Software Update (08 Oct 2008)
Written by Robin Morris ,
This is another bumper release with significant changes under the hood and some compelling new features too!
Improvements to Users
The main architectural change in this release is the adoption of the Zend Framework's Zend_Auth and Zend_Acl components for authentication and authorisation of user accounts.
User "roles" have been created with the intention of converting all other types of user (members, group managers, brand mangers etc.) over to using the same structure.
This structure is generic and will allow fine grained permissions to be allocated to specific roles. The permissions currently used for brand managers will disappear to be merged into this more convenient structure.
Set number for Features
In terms of packages/features we have now added the ability to restrict to a specific number with some features. This is used to e.g. restrict the number of images an entry can display (it does not affect upload). In doing this change a lot of legacy code was re-written to a more modern coding structure and future enhancements will follow in due course as we look to make our directory produce far more generic, allowing us to re-target it at other niche markets and uses.
Integration with Cybersource
While technically squeezed in with some bugfixes in the last release, we now have direct integration with the CyberSource Simple Order API for the online booking system. This should result in a higher conversion rate as users seem to be put off by the paypal structure (for good reason!).
Live Booking Prices in Directory
Another major improvement available in this release is the ability to see live prices in the directory search results (see example).
Due to the complexity of the rates that can be handled by the booking system, this presented a significant challenge.
Captchas have been added to enquiry forms which should make them less susceptible to spam bots. It may also reduce the number of genuine enquiries but anything that stops members perceiving the emails from this system as useless is probably a good thing overall. Captchas (Completely Automated Public Turing-test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) display a word somewhat mangled and wobblified. Humans can easily decipher these images but automated systems have more trouble.