One of the core philosophies of the Community Builder developers has always been integration, so you’ll not only find that CB runs on Joomla and Mambo, but plugins for 3rd party extensions like Fireboard and jAwards.
The release of CB RC 1.2 is a major upgrade, packed with new features and it runs natively on Joomla 1.5!
Note: If you are a Community Builder Documentation Subscriber, you can get early access to the new version of CB. This costs ~$49 a year, and you get detailed documentation (over 160 pages) for Community Builder.
I had a chance to "sit down" with two of the Community Builder developers, Beat and Nant to ask them about their new release of Community Builder.
Barrie: What is the biggest difference/new feature in the new CB?
Nicholas: One of the top features (if you can call this a feature) would have to be cross platform native compatibility. CB 1.2 works (without extra legacy layers) on Joomla 1.0.X series, Joomla 1.5.X series and Mambo 4.5.X and 4.6.X series. Of course, from a users point of view this might not be considered a feature!
Nicholas: Another top feature is the built-in front-end multi-criteria user list search functionality. This has been a huge request from our users. Up to now they handled this with various other tools developed by community developers – either free or for a fee, so, now they have a really cool built-in system.
Barrie: What are YOU most personally excited about in the new CB?
Nicholas: Well 2 things, the first was was already mentioned … the fact that CB 1.2 allows users to get the same CB features independent of the CMS platform. [The second is] I have asked Beat to codename this release as [eleftheria] (means freedom in Greek).
Barrie: Why is that?
Nicholas: Let the users chose the CMS!
Beat: On my side I’m very excited by the new CB framework API, which brings a new level of extensibility to CB. Now not only tabs can be extended (we saw over 100 CB extensions emerging from the community over the last year regarding this), but any level can be extended. . You can have custom field types. You can have custom workflows. You can extend core fields. You can add features to all installed field types. The HTML generator has been rewritten. The core joomla/mambo and CB fields are now handled as standard CB fields.
Barrie: So it sounds like the new CB is going to make it much easier to develop for, kind of like the idea behind 1.5 (as opposed to 1.0)?
Beat: The access granularity has been extended. Yes, it will be easier, and more powerful.
Nicholas: (and properly coded CB plugins will be cross platform ready).
Barrie: what do you think might be the "killer app" for community builder, what plugin in will be created that make people want to use CB?
Barrie: User blogs for example.
Beat: Right. We have also integrated geo-positioning into the framework core. Hint: that will allow for geo-position field types.
Barrie: Last question, what’s the next big thing for the CB guys?
Beat: Adding paid subscriptions plugin to CB’s plugins list, this thing is huge.
Barrie: You already have a working version you are using yourself… right?
Beat: [Yes] and [this] will allow community sites to get way easier profitable.
Nicholas: Yes an early version of the subscriptions plugin is in operation on Joomlapolis (powering the documentation subscriptions) – but we are currently in the last stages of beta testing for the next generation plugin. This will (in my opinion) be the killer application for us.
Barrie: Well, thats my questions, would you guys like to add anything, any last words?
Nicholas: Yes. The biggest thrill was the first actual face to face (family included) meeting Beat and I had 2 months ago in Switzerland! Beat and I had actually shared the same Bell Labs roof many years ago but never really bumped into each other. Community Building at its best!
Beat: One important thing as last remark
- CB is open-source and free and that will stay so, but more importantly, it is *open-minded*.
This means that we don’t keep the API for us, but encourage people to use it to extend CB instead of hacking CB, so that the integrations become better.
Barrie: Yes, absolutely!
Barrie: Well, thanks for taking the time guys, and good luck on the RC launch!
There you have it. The new release of CB is plugin ready, native to Joomla 1.5 and ready to grow as developers create new plugins to extend CB’s features.
Have you tried CB? Got a site you’d like to share?