Welcome to the last gasp of 2023! The Omeka Team has been hard at work to offer users, designers, and developers a little surprise before December slips away. Today we’ve packaged and released the Omeka S 4.1 release candidate for your review and comment before the final release early in 2024. (Install this version in a development site, not one that is live for production.)
Over the past year, the whole Omeka Team has been focused on making significant improvements to the page authoring experience for site builders and theme designers. The current method of page building by stacking of individual blocks in a page, which we’ve come to call “Normal flow”, will continue to be available for users who like to work that way. However, OS 4.1 brings the implementation of a Grid layout system. Grid uses the native CSS grid feature to provide users with more tools for positioning their content the way they want without needing custom theming or CSS skills. For example, a page builder could configure a Grid layout of 12 columns and then position an Item block in the first 4 columns and an HTML block in the subsequent 8 columns. Then, they could move on to place an HTML block in the first 6 columns and then add a data visualization block to fill the subsequent 6 columns. The possibilities for flexible layouts have infinitely increased.
Additionally, we’ve worked to regularize the configuration settings for blocks. Previously, the configuration settings were variable depending on block type. Now, each block has a dependable set of configuration settings that include alignment, and the ability to choose a template or a class for a block. In a new setting, users can now also add a background to a block. Block developers can still add additional settings for their individual blocks, but these will be consistently available. Designers also will be pleased to see that now, site builders can select a template to apply to an entire page. This addition allows designers to create different visual signatures for different areas of a site: a homepage, a section opener, an exhibit narrative page, about pages, etc.
The release includes a whole host of other developments, including the ability to upload multiple media files at once, a range of administrative user interface improvements, some bug fixes, and lots of under the covers improvements for developers. You can read more about all of the new elements, updates, fixes, and changes in the release notes. Additionally, block developers and designers will be interested in the the new events and templating process.
We’re eager for you to take the Release Candidate for a spin. We would welcome comments and questions on the forums, and technical problems and bugs filed as issues on the GitHub repository for the core.
In the meantime, you have our very best wishes for a peaceful end of the year. The Omeka Team will be taking a well-deserved break between December 25 and January 1, but we’ll see you all in the New Year.