Thanks to some great ideas and support from our community, our clients, and the Fastspot team, we’re almost ready to release BigTree v4.3, with exciting new features that will help solve some of your biggest challenges.

Bulk Upload and Improved File Management

We’ve known for years that content is key to the success of any website. Today, “content” increasingly means images, videos, and other files that are used to create websites with visual impact and emotional resonance. We want to ensure that BigTree provides maximum support for using assets like this on the sites it powers. 

You’ve always been able to upload images, files, and videos to BigTree, but it was necessary to do so in the course of creating a page or otherwise “using” a particular asset. A saved file would be added to the file structure, but didn’t have a lot of information attached to it and wasn’t easily findable once it had been added.

With BigTree 4.3, you’ll be able to bulk upload files, images, and videos directly through a new File Manager interface. If you’re uploading images, you’ll be prompted for multiple crops. When an image is selected for use on a particular page, BigTree will prompt you to select the appropriate crop from among those that have already been created. 

As you upload assets, BigTree 4.3 will also allow you to attach metadata to an image and later search using this metadata. You can move images or files from one folder to another if needed, and you can replace an image that has become dated and needs to be refreshed.

If you’re updating to version 4.3, you can actually go back, organize, and add tags and metadata to all of the images that have already been uploaded to the browser directory. You can take advantage of all of this new functionality with your existing content. 

Open Graph Control

When you’re working on a digital experience for a brand, institution, or organization, the experience doesn’t end where the website stops. You’re creating assets that also have value on social networks, where they may have a second life (or a third, or fourth…) beyond your primary site. BigTree 4.3 will make it easier for you to ensure that, when content from your website finds its way off the site (whether it’s shared by your team or by your users), it’s still ready for primetime.

BigTree 4.3 allows the content creator to make choices about Open Graph titles and descriptions, as well as the graph type and images. Your team may have a different strategy for different networks (i.e. buttoned up and professional on LinkedIn, highly visual and creative on Instagram). BigTree’s improved functionality will let you ensure that the pages you’re creating are aligned to the nuanced direction of that strategy. This gives you more control of what’s shared and how to a greater degree than ever before.

Tag Manager

One of the great things about working with a content management system is that it allows a central team to assign editing responsibilities to a wider group of people. BigTree is often selected for exactly this reason. The downside of distributed authorship can be that each person can do things just a little bit differently. One types “course” and the other types “courses,” and pretty soon you have a tagging system that looks more like a thesaurus.

BigTree 4.3 is designed to help clean up and manage your tagging strategy. BigTree will display the available tags to users as they type, so they can select the correct tag if it exists, and only create new tags when it’s absolutely necessary (if at all). When it comes to maintaining an orderly and searchable system for content like news articles or events, this is a huge step forward and will extend the life of your website by ensuring that the strategy you start with is the one that’s executed—even when you have many cooks in the tagging kitchen.

Full List of New and Updated Features

New Features

  • File Manager - Manage files through a dedicated tab with metadata fields, editing, deleting, and moving folders and files.
  • Tag Manager - Manage tags through a dedicated tab with merging and deletion support.
  • Open Graph support - Modules and pages can accept open graph titles, descriptions, images, and types which can be drawn with  new setHeadContext and drawHeadTags methods in the BigTreeCMS class.
  • Character length limit support has been added to Text and Textarea fields
  • Image Reference, File Reference, and Video Reference field types which allow/force users to choose a managed file from the File Manager and bring in its metadata into template or module content.
  • Database based session handling allowing for more reliable user sessions as well as better load balancing on cloud servers (e.g. support for automated scaling groups of servers)
  • Security settings to allow developers to force the logout of all users, force all of a user's session to logout when changing the user's password, invitation emails rather than creating a password when adding users, and the ability to logout all of your sessions (e.g. all browsers that are currently logged in as you) when logging out.
  • Added the ability to re-crop your existing image uploads.
  • Added support for processing LESS files in the admin (for extensions and custom add-ons).
  • Added progress indicators throughout user submission forms.
  • Added a new BigTreeImage class that allows for easy storage and modification of images.

Updated Features

  • Better tagging interface which shows the number of existing relationships a tag has
  • When publishing a change, the audit trail now attributes that publish to the author of the change rather than the publisher.
  • Advanced search now respects view filters when showing results
  • Field types are now stored in a more reasonable file structure (/custom/admin/field-types/field-type-id/ directory as draw.php, process.php, settings.php)
  • Amazon S3 storage now supports all regions and automatically invalidates CloudFront caches when a file is changed.
  • Passwords are now stored using PHP's password_hash and are automatically rehashed to the latest supported default algorithm on login.
  • Crops are now created based on the largest supported sizes if a minimum height and width are not set rather than creating botched crops from a too-small image.