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Squiz Matrix Newsletter #469: Matrix 5 in Testing

Last week, we announced the exciting news that we will soon be releasing Squiz Matrix 5 and revealed your first look at the new administration and Edit+ interfaces. 

Squiz Matrix 5: Interface 

We've got more updates this week, including a sneak peek at one of the great new features that you can look forward to in Matrix 5.

Testing 1, 2, 3

While we only announced Matrix 5 last week, our development team have been secretly working on this release for months. We can report that as of this week, Matrix 5 is now in a feature freeze. This means that work on new features has now been suspended in order to concentrate on extensive user testing.

So rest assured, we'll be ironing out all the kinks leading up to the release of Matrix 5, identifying and fixing any bugs and ensuring that all our newly introduced features are performing as they should.

In this testing phase, our goal is to make sure that in a little over a month's time, we release the most stable and reliable version of Matrix 5 that we can offer so that you don't have to worry about running into any nasty surprises.

The best thing about this news is that now that all our features have been completed, we'll be able to reveal more information about what Matrix 5 has in store for you all. First up is a new feature that offers you personalisation of your content like never before!

Control your content!

We like to think that Matrix is a web platform that, above all else, is flexible. In fact, one of the slogans on our web site is Anything you want, you got it, and it's by this principle that we continue to develop for Matrix with the goal of providing our users with a wide variety of implementation possibilities.

We've taken a giant leap forward with this aim in our upcoming Matrix 5 release by allowing our users to dynamically present content, based on a range and combination of content container conditions.

The Conditions Screen 

This feature introduces the new Conditions screen for Standard Page assets, that allows users to create and edit conditions. These conditions can then be implemented on the bodycopy containers of your asset via new Container Conditions settings.

The conditions you can create are the same as those that are available when configuring conditional keywords on a Paint Layout. These vary greatly and include conditions such as exceeding a set amount of time passed, matching on a user's entry page URL, and the matching a pattern of pages a user has  previously visited on a site.

Editing a Condition 

Once conditions have been created on the Conditions screen of an asset, the Container Conditions settings will be available on its content containers. These settings allow you to select which conditions to use and also set up rules using AND and OR operators. Content will only be displayed on an asset if it meets the content conditions configured in these settings.

The Edit Container Condition Settings 

Additional previewing options allow you to view the content of your assets on the frontend under multiple conditions. These options allow you to test your assets and its condition rules, and are also useful in aiding marketing techniques, such as A/B and multivariate testing. 

Previewing Conditional Content 

These new condition content rules can be utilised in an almost endless amount of scenarios. We've been working on usage cases like displaying nested content after a user has been active on a site for an extended period of time, and dynamically displaying contact information on a site based on the user's location.

While a lot of this functionality can already be achieved with existing Matrix functionality, this new feature provides content editors with the ability to more easily create dynamic content with greater flexibility than ever before.


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #468: Matrix 5 is Coming!

Squiz is excited to announce today the upcoming release of Squiz Matrix 5, available for download in late April. 

Squiz Matrix 5: Login Screen 

After months of development, Squiz Matrix 5 is set to be the most significant leap in the history of our product, with notable updates and improvements to almost every aspect of the system. We are extremely enthusiastic about this release, and cannot wait to let it loose amongst our users. 

To whet your appetite, we'll be releasing new details of the functionality and major changes each week, as we get closer to release day. There's some great stuff to look forward to!

This week's Squiz Matrix newsletter is your first opportunity to get a sneak peek at what's in store for Matrix 5.

Out with the old...

Here at Squiz, we pride ourselves in the continued support and development of our products. From adding new functionality, to refining and improving existing features, Squiz Matrix has evolved over the years into what is now a leading platform in the field of web content management.

One constant since the launch of Matrix, however, has been the design of the administration interface. The charming purple and white facade of the back-end has become a familiarity for almost every Matrix user.

But that's all about to change.

With the introduction of Matrix 5, we're happy to reveal that we are rolling out a brand new back-end interface that is not only easier on the eyes, but one that is cleaner, more intuitive and a delight to navigate.

Squiz Matrix 5: Interface

The entire back-end interface of Matrix has been completely revamped. We've gone to great lengths to bring Squiz Matrix up-to-date and deliver an interface that we feel reflects the true ingenuity of the product.

But we've also been very careful.

We know that most Matrix users have been using our platform for many years and know the back-end as well as they know the backs of their hands. Don't panic. Every function, button and tool are exactly where they have always been. This, we have not changed.

In fact, the great thing about the new Matrix interface is that existing users will be able to fire it up and use it as if they have been familiar with it for years. We guarantee it.

Squiz Matrix 5: Editing Screen 

With a more neutral colour scheme, improved spacing, and larger, easier to read content, working in the back-end of Matrix should feel more natural and intuitive than it has ever before. 

We hope you'll agree that the new interface design is a massive improvement. We certainly think so!  

In addition to the changes to the administration interface, we've also updated the Edit+ for Squiz Matrix interface, to bring it more in line with the new look and feel of Matrix 5.

Like the new back-end interface, we've given Edit+ a fresh lick of paint but have been careful to make sure that existing users will have no trouble adapting.

Squiz Matrix 5: Edit Plus 

Some of the new changes include updated screen and asset icons, and new layouts for both the Asset Creation Wizard and Asset Finder pop-ups, that are now easier to traverse and use.

These additions, along with other interface changes are set to provide a greater and more streamlined experience for your content editors.

But wait, there's more!

These interface changes are fantastic, but they're really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Matrix 5. We've got some great features lined up to reveal in the coming weeks that we're very enthusiastic about.

We'll have more information on Matrix 5 in next week's newsletter, so be sure to check back then for all the latest on the upcoming release.


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #467

You may have noticed that we've been a bit quiet on the development front so far this year (or at least it's seemed). In fact, the reality is that we've had our heads down, working hard on some very exciting upcoming releases of Matrix. While we can't reveal everything just yet, trust us when we say it will definitely be worth the wait!

This week's newsletter is your first look at just a few of the things we've been working on recently, so without further ado, let's get to this week's list of developments.

We have three new features to report this week, all of which will be included in our upcoming major release of Squiz Matrix (more on that soon!). Continue reading below for further information on these three additions.

Improved Squiz Matrix Session Security

Due for release in version 5.0.0 (TBA)

This feature introduces the following security measures for Squiz Matrix sessions:

  • All session handlers will now use an updated, higher hashing algorithm, than the existing MD5 algorithm. This stronger hashing algorithm will help prevent brute force session hijacking and session collisions.
  • A new function has been added, security_regenerate_session_id(), as a wrapper for session_regenerate_id(). This function has the added bonus of expiring conflicting cookies on higher domains and paths, which will prevent cookie based DOS attacks.
  • The Set Cookie trigger action will fail if attempting to play with the Matrix session cookie. 

This feature has been added to provide improved session security within Squiz Matrix systems.

View the Squizmap idea for this feature at https://squizmap.squiz.net/4866

Improved and Updated Squiz Matrix Password Hashing Algorithm 

Due for release in version 5.0.0 (TBA)

Previously, Squiz Matrix used the MD5 crypt tool to encrypt password for users stored in the Matrix database, rather than storing the actual password. Recently, this algorithm was announced as no longer being considered secure by its author: http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2012-3287.

This feature replaces the hashing mechanism within Squiz Matrix, instead using either bcrypt() or SHA512 to generate the password hash.

Squiz Matrix will automatically generate a new password hash to override the existing hash when the system is initially upgraded (if this process hasn't been done yet). This means that most active Matrix users will have their password hash automatically upgraded.

After Squiz Matrix is upgraded, the system will generate a new password hash to override the existing hash, if it hasn't yet done so. This means that most active Matrix users will have their password hash automatically upgraded.

Naturally, once your system has been upgraded, the creation of new users and password setting and resetting in both the backend and frontend will use the new hashing algorithm will be used.

An audit script is included to report users whose passwords have not been rehashed.

This feature has been added to provide greater password security within Squiz Matrix.

View the Squizmap idea for this feature at https://squizmap.squiz.net/2579.

Warranty Key and Expiry Reminder Removal

Due for release in version 5.0.0 (TBA)

Previously, Squiz Matrix used a warranty key system to reflect the status of a client's product, as reflected in their Service Level Agreement. If a warranty key had expired, a reminder screen would be displayed to remind clients to update their SLAs.

If a system was unwarranted, this would be reflected as a note in the administration interface.

After a review of our internal policies and procedures, our view is that this warranty key system held little value, and instead wasted resources and annoyed clients.

Due to the introduction of Squiz Plus and improved internal processes, we are able to more easily manage these dates and expiry times, even where a client's warranty covers products other than just Squiz Matrix (e.g. Funnelback).

As a result, the warranty key system within Squiz Matrix has been removed, along with the accompanying expiry reminder.

View the Squizmap idea for this feature at https://squizmap.squiz.net/2590.


Squiz Matrix Versions 4.16.8 and 4.18.4 Released

We're happy to report that our March releases of Squiz Matrix are now available for download. These releases contains a great collection of new features and enhancements.

Version 4.16.8 of Squiz Matrix is the latest release of our 4.16.x branch, launched last year. This release contains fifteen new bug fixes.

Squiz Matrix 4.18.4 is the newest release of our 4.18.x branch, launched late last year. This release contains nine new features and enhancements, as well as twenty-two bug fixes.

Some of the functionality introduced in our 4.18.4 release includes a new Regular Expression asset, JS File Folder and CSS File Folder enhancements, additional login form keywords for Asset Builder and Account Manager assets, and new input field ID keywords for Simple Edit Layouts.

Please be sure to follow the relevant user guides when updating or installing your system. 


Squiz Matrix Newsletter #466

As we say a sad farewell to Summer, we've got some news that will hopefully brighten up your day: two new releases of Squiz Matrix! Versions 4.16.8 and 4.18.4 of Matrix will be available Monday (March 3rd). These releases contain some great new functionality, including a new Regular Expression asset, as well as JS File Folder and CSS File Folder enhancements.

Be sure to check back on Monday for more information on these releases, including patch notes, right here on the Squiz Labs blog.

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This week we have two new enhancements to report, both of which will be included in next week's 4.18.4 release. Continue reading below for more information on all this week's developments.

New Login Form Keywords on the Asset Builder/Account Manager Assets 

Due for release in version 4.18.4 (March 3rd 2014)

The Asset Builder and Account Manager assets within Squiz Matrix allow you to define the layout of the login form provided to users who are not yet logged into the system.

Previously, the Not Logged In bodycopy, used to define this layout, only provided a general %login_form% keyword to print the entirety of the login form.

The Login Form on an Asset Builder 

This enhancement introduces new keywords on the Not Logged In bodycopy to further define the layout of the login form presented to users. The following keywords have been added:

  • %login_form_username% will print the username field of the login form, where users can enter the username of their account.
  • %login_form_password% will print the password field of the login form, where users can enter their account password.
  • %login_form_submit_button% will display the submit button, allowing users to submit the login form.

These new keywords have been added to allow users to customise the output of the login form, for accessibility reasons.

New Input Field ID Keywords on the Simple Edit Layout

Due for release in version 4.18.4 (March 3rd 2014)

Squiz Matrix's Simple Edit Layout provides a variety of keywords to print attribute and metadata input fields of assets, for example, %details-F_name% and %metadata-id_F_123%, for users to edit while in Simple Edit Mode.

To make these Simple Edit forms accessible, label tags should be used on the form field labels provided to users, with the ID of the input field. Previously, however, this was not possible, as there was no way to retrieve the ID attribute value of the input field elements being printed.

This feature introduces a new %[screen]-id_F_[field]% keyword replacement, which will return the ID for the specified input field, for example:

<label for="%details-id_F_name%">Full Name</label>%details-F_name%
<label for="%metadata-id_F_123%">Address</label>%metadata-F_123% 

This enhancement has been added to allow you to provide fully accessible Simple Edit forms for your content editors.


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.