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SQUIZ MATRIX: 08/15.

Welcome to the NEW Squiz Matrix Newsletter, a monthly look at all the latest and greatest Matrix news, direct to you from our Squiz Labs development team.

The Squiz Matrix Newsletter: August 2015

We're trialling a brand new format, so feel free to take a look around, read some articles, and make yourself acquainted with our new newsletter style. Listed below are our featured stories in this month's edition, including a closer look at the new Squiz Matrix Newsletter.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Out with the Old and in with the News
  2. Be Inspired: Squiz Summit 2015
  3. A New Look for Squiz
  4. What's in Our Latest Releases?
  5. Content Creation: The Template for Success
  6. A Crash Course in UX at Usability Week Sydney

You can use the links above to head directly to an article, or just simply continue reading below.

We hope you enjoy the new format and welcome any feedback you might have on our new monthly newsletter. You can email us at matrix-newsletter@squiz.com.au. Happy reading!

The Squiz Labs team.

OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEWS

For over ten years, the Squiz Matrix Newsletter has been the go-to source for all the latest development news on your favourite CMS, Squiz Matrix (it is your favourite, right…?).

Originally titled the MySource Matrix Development Newsletter, it started from humble beginnings, basically as an email subscription to a simple list of features and bug fixes for the week. In fact, that format lasted quite a while, until 2012 when it moved to its current home, here on the Squiz Labs Blog.

Issue 1 of the Matrix Newsletter

Since then, we've been bringing you news on the latest features and enhancements (almost) every week, and last year celebrated the milestone of our 500th edition - not too shabby!

However, just as our product has changed over the years, we've determined that the way we bring you news is also in need of a bit of an overhaul.

This month we've debuted our new newsletter format, and there's more than just a couple of changes, so let's take a closer look.

Is Less Really More?

As you've probably already noticed, the newsletter will no longer be a weekly affair. Instead, we'll be releasing on a monthly schedule. We're aiming for the last Friday of each month, so next month's issue is due out on Friday, 25th of September.

Why are we no longer releasing on a weekly basis? Honestly, we just feel the recent newsletters haven't been all that content rich.

With our new release schedule introduced in Matrix 5.0, our feature development has changed and often there's just not a lot that we are able to report on in any given week. We want to keep your interest and there's only so much we can do to stretch a new keyword modifier to fill an entire week's worth of news.

By releasing on a monthly basis, we'll be able to really focus on the big features that you're sure to be excited about and also, go a little more in depth than we have previously been doing.

So don't worry, our new release schedule doesn't mean that you'll be getting less from us, in fact, quite the opposite.

Let's Talk Content.

We're pretty excited at the opportunity to bring you more content, and content that you actually care about.

Don't get us wrong. We'll still be covering all the latest features, enhancements and releases of Matrix, this is the Squiz Matrix Newsletter after all. But the manner in which we are planning to deliver this content will hopefully provide a more engaging, helpful and relatable reading experience.

We're big on stories here at Squiz and we're embracing that with how we're going to be presenting content from now on.

When we announce the latest awesome feature, we don't want to just tell you about it - we want to provide real-world implementation examples, discuss the reasons behind development, and show you why you should be looking forward to it.

We Want You!

With all that being said, as you know, this is only our first issue. We're still ironing out the kinks, so bare with us. There's always room for improvement.

We want to hear from you, what you like and what you don't like; what you want more of and what you honestly could do without.

As mentioned above, we've got an email address where you can send us your newsletter feedback: matrix-newsletter@squiz.com.au.

We want to hear from you, so please feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think.

BE INSPIRED: SQUIZ SUMMIT 2015

This year's annual Squiz Summit is fast approaching and with the event coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Squiz Melbourne, we thought it fitting that Australia's coffee capital play host.

Squiz Summit 2015

Melbourne's Docklands is set to provide the backdrop for a day full of remarkable content on our latest products and features, as well as an abundance of education and training possibilities. We'll also be hosting a networking happy hour and our fantastic Gala Dinner, featuring performances from one of Australia's most beloved entertainers, Monica Trapaga.

With an impressive list of speakers lined up, including some of the best and brightest at Squiz, our partners and clients, this is an event that should not be missed!

Tickets are available now on the Squiz Summit site, so come join us on Thursday, September 3rd and be inspired.

A NEW LOOK FOR SQUIZ

Originally posted at: https://www.squiz.net/blog/a-new-look-for-squiz.

A new look for squiz.

We're delighted to announce the launch of our newly designed website! Take a look around and let us know what you think.

Our main goals for the website were to make it easier for you to navigate, with a more attractive design and an engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation. But most of all, we wanted to help you get to know us better and make life easier for you.

The new website is full of resources to help those who are looking to use Squiz for their digital transformation needs. We'll be regularly updating our content to help you find out about creating digital strategies to help drive growth and gain a competitive advantage.

We hope you find the website engaging, fresh and relevant.

Enjoy!

Check out the newly designed Squiz website at https://www.squiz.net.

WHAT'S NEW IN OUR LATEST RELEASES?

On August 17th, we released two new versions of Squiz Matrix, 5.2.7.0 and 5.1.14.0, containing a number of bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Earlier, July saw the release of four new versions of Matrix: Micro releases 5.1.13.0 and 5.2.6.0 on July 13th, and patch releases 5.1.13.1 and 5.2.6.1 on July 28th.

All of these recent releases are available now via our Git repository; contact Squiz for access. Continue reading below for some of the great functionality introduced within the last two months.

HTML Entities Keyword Modifier

Squizmap Idea #7585

Keyword modifiers within Squiz Matrix allow you to modify the returned values of keyword replacements. 

This feature introduces the new htmlentities modifier, which will convert all applicable characters to HTML entities. This modifier takes a flag argument to specify how to handle quotes, invalid code unit sequences and the used document type. The default flag is ENT_COMPAT. 

In the example below, we are using the ENT_HTML5 flag to handle the converted code as HTML 5.

Example: %asset_metadata_feature.about^htmlentities:ENT_HTML5%
Effect: what " ' ' " < > ! , . / ? '  : ; > <p>what " ' ' " &lt; &gt; ! , . / ? ' &nbsp;: ;</p> 


A list of the available flags can be found on the PHP: htmlentities documentation.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.7.0.

Custom Form: Re-Order Form Submission Actions

Squizmap Idea #6037

The Submissions Actions screen on a Custom Form asset allows you to create custom actions that are run whenever a user submits the form, for example, running a db query or sending an email.

Previously, actions on this screen would be listed in the order they were created, without providing the ability for you to change this order.

This feature introduces a new option on the Submission Actions screen allowing you to reorder the actions that have been previously created.

The Reorder icon on the Submission Actions screen

Reordering your actions is a breeze, simply click the Reorder icon for the action you want to move, then drag and drop the action to the desired location.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.7.0.

Improved Styles and Layout on Data Source Record Assets

Squizmap Idea #7583

Data Source Record assets within Matrix store information returned from Data Sources, such as a DB Data Source, querying external resources (e.g. a database or LDAP directory). These records can be used within your site, for example, to expose record information on an asset listing.

This feature improves the styles and layout of the information on the Details screen of Data Source Record assets, to make record data easier to review and understand, as shown in the figure below.

Layout improvements on Data Source Record Set assets 

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.7.0.

Last Chars Keyword Modifier 

Squizmap Idea #7592 

This feature introduces the new lastchars modifier, which will return the last characters of the returned values, based on a set numeral argument.

In the example below, the keyword format will print the last four characters of the returned value e.g. homepage would be returned as page.

%asset_name^lastchars:4% 

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.7.0.

Reverse Keyword Modifier

Squizmap Idea #7521

This feature introduces the new reverse modifier, which will reverse the returned value of a keyword.

In the example below, the keyword format will print the name of your asset in reverse, e.g. Page would be returned as egaP.

%asset_name^reverse%

This modifier has been developed to be best used in conjunction with other modifiers, to further configure a returned value.

%asset_name^reverse^maxchars:4^reverse%

In this example, we've used the reverse modifier with the maxchars modifier to only print the last four characters of our asset name. So, if the name of our asset is PageHome, this keyword format would return Home.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.1.

After Workflow Step Condition Approved Trigger Event

Squizmap Idea #7459

Squiz Matrix's Trigger system contains a variety of workflow-based functions, allowing you to fire triggers based on the status of workflow within your system, as well as approve and reject existing workflow processes.

Previously, however, trigger events were only available for instances when the entire workflow was approved or rejected; individual step approval did not allow you to fire triggers.

The After Workflow Condition Approved trigger event

This feature introduces the new After Workflow Step Condition Approved trigger event that will fire when the conditions of a workflow step are approved. So, for example, if a user approved the changes made to the asset, which then satisfies the conditions for the workflow step, the trigger will be fired.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.0.

New Keywords to Print an Asset's Parent and Lineage Asset IDs

Squizmap Idea #7391

New keyword replacements have been added to print an array of an asset's parent and lineage asset IDs.

  • %asset_parents%: will print an array of all parent IDs of an asset, e.g. ["1111", "2222", "3333"].
  • %asset_parent%: will print the current parent asset, based on the current asset in its lineage context, e.g. 1111.
  • %asset_linking_info%: will print an array of the link information of an asset e.g. [{"linkid":"111","link_type":"1","link_value":"","lineage":["1111", "2222", "3333"]}].
  • %asset_linking_lineage%: will print the current asset lineage, based on the current asset in its lineage context, e.g. ["1111", "2222", "3333"].

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.0.

New Keywords to Print the User Groups a User is a Member of

Squizmap Idea #7330

New keyword replacement have been added that will print the user group asset IDs of all the groups a user is a member of.

  • %asset_member_groups%: will print the user group asset IDs a user asset is a member of.
  • %globals_user_member_groups%: will print the user group asset IDs that the current user is a member of.

These keywords will return an array of comma separated list of asset IDs, like so:

["1111","2222","3333"] 

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.0.

New Keywords for Next and Previous Sibling Assets

Squizmap Idea #7461

New keyword replacements have been added to print the asset ID of both the next and previous sibling assets in the asset tree.

  • %asset_sibling_next%: will print the asset ID of the next asset in the tree order for the current asset, based on the current lineage.
  • %asset_sibling_prev%: will print the asset ID of the previous asset in the tree order for the current asset, based on the current lineage.

If there is no next or previous sibling, these keywords will return an empty value.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.1.

E-Commerce: Transaction Response Keyword Replacement

Squizmap Idea #7556

A new keyword replacement has been added to Matrix's E-Commerce system to show the transaction response XML from the payment server.

%transaction_response%

This keyword is available in the Receipt bodycopy of an E-Commerce Form Page and the E-Commerce form email format.

This feature was introduced in Squiz Matrix 5.2.6.1.

CONTENT CREATION: THE TEMPLATE FOR SUCCESS

Content is no longer simply 'nice to have' or even the proverbial 'king'. Today, content is a true must-have for all organisations and should be at the very core of their business in this era of digital transformation. 

Grace Kraus
Content Strategy Lead
Read More: The Content Imperative (Squiz Blog)

Back in June, we brought you news of an exciting new content template feature that would allow you to create and apply custom templates to content containers.

Adding a content container template 

Just to refresh your memory, this new asset allows you to create Paint Layouts, Metadata Schemas, and Simple Edit Layouts that can be applied to content containers as templates. These content templates can be used by your editors on the Contents screen of Standard Page assets, taking care of the presentation, data storage, and editing interface for the containers they are applied.

This new feature should allow you to create unique and tailored front-end content as well as custom user intuitive and friendly editing experiences that are targeted for specific implementation requirements and solutions.  

An accordion content template

As part of our testing here at Squiz, we've been able to come up a variety of different template ideas using these new features, such as: 

  • An accordion template (pictured above), allowing users to create accordion content easily with flexibility over how many tabs to create.
  • A template for embedding Google Maps within content with auto-complete street address searching for the default map marker position.
  • A template allowing for the creation of image galleries where the images can be sourced from a particular root node within the system or under the current asset.

These are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. We envision a multitude of potential template ideas, really, the possibilities are endless.

With a growing awareness of the power of high quality content, these container templates should provide your editors with more freedom when creating content, taking away any worry of initial HTML creation and element styling, as well as the overheads for initial setup and training.

Read More: 8 tips for creating standout content (Squiz Blog).

Content container templates are set to be introduced in our upcoming 5.3.0 release of Squiz Matrix.

You can view the Squizmap report for this feature for more information on the ongoing development and testing.

A CRASH COURSE IN UX AT USABILITY WEEK SYDNEY

User Experience (UX) refers to a user's end-to-end experience as they interact with your website or brand.

The ability to create a seamless user journey can drive customer relationships, loyalty and return on investment (ROI). It's worth noting that UX spans elements as diverse as search, navigation and payment. This can make it a confusing beast.

Beata Brodowska
Head of User Experience
Read More: UX Essentials (Squiz Blog)

The below video is a fun and slightly messy look at how a designer's vision might not always translate to the user (skip ahead about a minute, if you're short on time).

While this is a real-world example involving a bowl, the same concept can be applied to software development and the topic of user experience.

The Nielsen Norman Group is a leader in the UX field, conducting research, and providing UX training and consultations.

Squiz Labs' Usability Experience Analyst, Deborah Sherwood recently had the chance to attend NN/g's Usability Week in Sydney last month (July 20-24). The five day conference aimed to help attendees get up to speed on the latest proven methods and best practices in the UX world.

The conference was comprised of a number of all-day training courses, covering a variety of topics and methods. Deb attended three of these courses.

Lean UX and Agile

This course outlined how Lean UX approaches and Agile development processes, such as Scrum, can work together.

"As our development team uses the agile methodology to develop our products and the features within these products, this course provided ideas on how to work in UX within each iteration.

One of the main points that stood out to me during this course was testing using paper prototyping. As iterations generally last around two weeks, we normally don't have time to perform formal user testing with a product before it is released into the wild. With paper prototyping, we can take a design for a new feature before it has been developed, and test it with users to give a greater indication of how well it will perform."

Deborah Sherwood
Usability Experience Analyst

The Human Mind and Usability

This course discussed how to apply psychology principals to predict the actions and thoughts of your customers. By understanding the foundations of human cognition, you can more accurately predict and anticipate user behaviour.

"Coming from a development background, this course helped me to gain a greater understanding about the psychology concepts that affect design.

We are wired to see structure and logic, and rely on prior knowledge to help understand new information. Items in our peripheral vision can be easily overlooked by users, so it is vital to keep important information front and center. While users tends to not focus on every detail on the screen, they can still take away the meaning of what they are seeing."

Deborah Sherwood
Usability Experience Analyst

The One Person UX Team Tool Box

This course covered a variety of usability strategies and techniques for individuals who are the sole UX specialist on a project or in an organisation.

"Being a team of one in Squiz Labs, this course was right up my alley. We discussed various different methodologies that can be utilised to research and determine the usability of products, working as a team of one.

A lot of my existing research has been centered around usability testing, however, as our products are already being used by clients, this course encouraged me to consider alternative methodologies that could be potentially used to research the UX of our products, such as contextual inquiry, journal studies and surveys."

Deborah Sherwood
Usability Experience Analyst 


New Matrix Newsletter Format on Its Way

You might have noticed the lack of weekly Squiz Matrix newsletters recently. While we have been a bit quiet, there's definitely no need to worry. In fact, we've simply been busy working on a new newsletter format in order to bring you all the latest from the world of Matrix.

We're hoping this new format will provide more of the exciting and relevant news that you guys have been asking for.

Stay tuned to the Squiz Labs blog for more information on this new venture.


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #520

We released two new versions of Squiz Matrix earlier this week, v5.2.3.1 and 5.1.12.1. Both of these releases contain bug fixes and minor enhancements.

For more information on our release schedule, refer to the Release Information page on the Squiz Matrix User Manual Library.

This week we have one new feature to report, the new Content Container Template asset. Continue reading below for more information on all this week's developments

Content Container Templates

Released in version 5.3.0.0 (TBA)

A new Content Container Template asset has been added to Squiz Matrix, allowing you to create and apply custom templates to content containers in both the Administration mode and Edit+ For Squiz Matrix.

This new assets will allow for the application of Metadata, Simple Edit Layouts and Paint Layouts on the content container level, rather than on the page level.

The Details screen of the Container Template Asset 

When configuring the Content Container Template, you will be able to specify the layouts and metadata schemas to apply, as well as setting the allowable root notes. A Usage screen will also be available allowing you to view the containers that the template is currently applied to.

Selecting a Template for a Content Container 

Once a template has been created and configured, you will be able to select it when creating or editing content containers in Admin mode or Edit+ for any assets that support content containers.  Once selected, the template will be applied to the content container. 

 


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #519

This week we have one new feature to report, the ability to run ad-hoc bulkmail jobs in test mode. Continue reading below for more information on this great new addition. 

Test Mode for Ad-Hoc Bulkmail Jobs

Released in version 5.2.3.0 (TBA)

The Schedule Bulkmail Job trigger action allows you to schedule a bulkmail job when your trigger is fired, allowing you to specify the bulkmail job to run and its recipients.

Previously, however, these ad-hoc bulkmail jobs did not respect the Bulkmail Mode setting of the Bulkmail Post Office asset that the job was configured on.

The Bulkmail Mode setting on a Bulkmail Post Office 

This Bulkmail Mode setting is used for testing purposes, allowing you to log bulkmail messages but not send them out.

This minor enhancement ensures that these ad-hoc bulkmail jobs will now be run in Test Mode if it has been enabled on the Bulkmail Post Office. 


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #518

We released two new versions of Squiz Matrix earlier this week, v5.2.3.0 and 5.1.12.0. Both of these releases contain bug fixes and minor enhancements.

For more information on our release schedule, refer to the Release Information page on the Squiz Matrix User Manual Library.

This week we have one new feature to report, a new keyword modifier to return the array data for a JSON string. Continue reading below for more information on all this week's developments

New Keyword Modifier to Return Array Data for a JSON String

Released in version 5.2.3.0 (TBA)

Keyword modifiers within Squiz Matrix allow you to modify the returned values of keyword replacements.

For example, the as_json keyword modifier is an array-specific modifier that will convert returned array data into a JSON format string value. Previously, however, there was no modifier that would return the array data for a given JSON string.

This enhancement adds a new keyword modifier to Squiz Matrix: json_decode. This modifier will return the array data for the given JSON string value.

The json_decode modifier can be used in conjunction with the index modifier to return array data at a specific index. For example, in the usage below, we are returning the address array data from our asset metadata, and then printing the street index value of that array.

 %asset_metadata_address^json_decode^index:street% 

This modifier has been added to provide greater implementation possibilities to users when configuring their keyword replacements.


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Squiz Labs

R & D division of Squiz Pty Ltd

Open source web experience management solutions

Squiz Labs is the research and development division of Squiz, the company behind the Squiz Suite of web experience management and development tools.

Our PHP and JavaScript developers are responsible for producing innovative enterprise-quality software while our interface designers and testing team ensure our products both look great and are easy to use.