Backlight 5.3.0: Essay Anywhere in Kookaburra!

Backlight 5.3.0 is now available, and it’s a whopper of an update!

First and foremost, essays come to Kookaburra! The Pangolin Essay module was my favorite feature from Backlight 4, but the new essays in Kookaburra absolutely demolish the Pangolin version. From the day I began work on Kookaburra, I have been building toward this release, scaffolding the entirety of the Kookaburra series to become host to essay superpowers!

Here’s the TL;DR.

  • Essay functionality is available everywhere in Kookaburra, on album and essay pages, set pages, and non-album pages alike.
  • Essay image groups may include images from multiple albums.
  • Essay image groups are full-featured, functionally and visually indistinguishable from their standard album counterparts.
  • The essay presentation composer is larger, and easier to use.
  • The essay presentation composer can be used to embed full albums on any page.
  • You can reload an existing image group into the essay presentation composer for further editing.
  • You can create your own essay presentation types using PHPlugins, and then select your custom presentation types from within the essay presentation composer.
  • Kookaburra is compatible with the older Pangolin image group snippets, allowing easy migration of existing essays to newer Kookaburra templates.
  • Extend the essay presentation composer with custom presentation types, using a simple API via PHPlugins (example included).

Additionally, Kookaburra now has multi-language support!

In the coming week or two, I will be working the flesh out the documentation around these features, and maybe try to write more about the new features at length. A newsletter will also be coming.

As usual, update Backlight 5 to the latest version via the Backlight Modules page in the admin area of your Backlight site. See our video if you need to know how to perform updates in Backlight.

Changes in Backlight 5.3.0

  • Kookaburra: New! Essay features and design module
  • Kookaburra: New! API for extending the essay presentation composer using PHPlugins; see example in phplugins-kookaburra-sample.php
  • Kookaburra: Adds new essay_scripts and single_scripts PHPlugins hook
  • Kookaburra: Adds Sortable JS to core module
  • Kookaburra Album: Adds new presentation type, “Empty / Essay / None”
  • Kookaburra Page: Applies pointer-events: none and user-select: none to SVG elements for better Firefox compatibility
  • Kookaburra Page: Improves styling for checkbox and radio input elements
  • Kookaburra Page: Improves styling for navigation menus, specifically related to long album names in drop-down menus
  • Kookaburra Page: Improves styling when focusing the side-navigation Close button
  • Kookaburra Page: Adds language select buttons to navigation and cookies acceptance notice
  • Kookaburra Page: Adds multi-language support
  • Kookaburra Page: Adds new designer options, under Advanced Setup => Language Selection
  • Kookaburra Page: Overhauls slideshow captions
  • Kookaburra Page: Fixes modal color options
  • Kookaburra Page: Updates metadata features on single-image HTML pages, and related designer options
  • Kookaburra Page: Updates single-image HTML page back links to support referrer handling
  • Kookaburra Page: Removes next/previous image navigation from single-image HTML pages
  • Kookaburra Page: Adds #polaroid symbol
  • Kookaburra Page: Updates to a newer version of “The New CSS Reset”
  • Pangolin Album Set: Adds new Visibility option for album descriptions
  • Pangolin Page: Removes Advanced Setup => “Language” option from designer; it doesn’t do anything
  • JSON API: Changes JS version API functions to now return data for use in promise chaining
  • Pages: Adds checks so that Pangolin and Okapi albums/sets can only be embeeded in Pangolin and Okapi pages respectively
  • Albums: Adds Page number to titles of multi-page albums
  • Albums: Fixes handling of empty custom metadata and handling of custom and non-custom metadata
  • Admin: Adds advisory text to the Insert Album and Album Set sections of the page editor
  • Admin: Sets text-direction on a per-language basis, in Language settings; updated Pangolin and Kookaburra elements accordingly
  • Admin: Updates phpLiteAdmin with compatibility fixes for PHP