"We believe in more robust, industry/niche specifc CMS's… Something like… Blogs on steroids! … Or as we call them… Couches" – Michal, Thomas & Nick

BETA Closed & Malware Cleaned Out

Hello!

As many of you may have noticed, CustomCMS.net has been on “Malware Alert” over the last week or so. After digging through the system, we found that the most of the script injections were seen in the community & we had to take measures. We took the opportunity to adjust our hosting services, clean up the website & work on a fresh community install with a newer version of the forum software in preparation for the first release of the product.

Keep in mind that the Malware messages you may be getting on your browser may still appear until Google & other search engines white list us.

Going forward, the community will be suspended until the product is released. Furthermore we are officially closing the BETA & simply providing a signup form which will allow new enthusiasts to join the waiting list while we prepare for a first software release!

It’s going to be a great year coming 2013! We look forward to a seeing what our valued members will create with the software :)

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

 

A Much Needed Update – Custom CMS Software Limited Corporate Structure Almost Completed

Hello,

It’s been several months since our last update & several aspects of the business & surrounding brands have been evolving – from corporate structure, to organization, financing & team.

To start things off, in January 2012 we began discussing with a high status law firm that was highly interested in helping us setup a new corporate identity & structure in Europe – particularly Malta since our co-founder was located & living in the country. They were particularly interested with both the brand, product & story behind the hard work of 3 entrepreneurs that put together a variety of Internet related services with little to no financing. Many topics were brought and we came to an agreement to organize part of the corporation in Malta for many aspects that will improve the business in the long run. Since then, we’ve been in discussion with both Spiegel Sohmer & the world renown firm KPMG for the new Canadian / Maltese identity.

We don’t expect for our audience to fully understand the logistics of setting up a corporate structure between Canada & Malta, however let’s just say that it’s a tedious, long & complicate process that spans over months of discussion, due diligence, planning & patience.

With that said, we are expected to have the Custom CMS Software Limited corporate structure completed by the first quarter of 2013. The release of the product has been greatly affected by this legal structure, however it had to be done for many reasons that would benefit the company, brand & its customers.

While the months have passed, Thomas, Nick, other team members & I were working on both the product and several other brands which we operate in Montreal, Canada, namely:

  • XIRGO – A local Business IT Management & Network Optimization Service.
  • queen b media – A local Web Development & Digital Strategy Brand (we are working on a new identity to flow with the others).
  • Made to Love Servers – A Shared Cloud Hosting, Cloud Server & Global CDN Provider.

We have drastically grown with both the XIRGO & Made to Love Servers brands – as you may notice, both brands follow a similar flow when it comes to design, services & goals. If you read between the lines, we’re starting to unify our solutions. The XIRGO brand & Made to Love Servers are beginning to work hand in hand to offer customers a variety of services that could’ve never been done prior to these new organizations. We’re working on expanding these solutions to queen b media next, followed by Custom CMS Software Limited & Couch Gamers in the longer run.

We built a name locally, we built a powerful cloud infrastructure in a datacenter, we built a new method of operating virtually (95% of our team is not in Montreal), we organized ourselves legally between all brands & companies and it’s soon coming the time to complete the products / services & begin a strong push with marketing & promotional activities to bring the companies to the next level.

Couch Gamers and its mother company have endured many new directions that will change the course of the company in the coming years. The community has been eagerly waiting for news & updates in regards to the product so here’s some new facts for you guys:

  • Custom CMS Software Limited will be ready for operation in Q1 of 2013.
  • Thomas Sultana – the co-founder & lead developer of Couch Gamers will be taking a seat from development & shifting his duties to more administrative tasks while we shift to the new corporate structure.
  • A new & improved team is being organized to prepare for the operation of all brands & products. We have met & worked with a variety of new designers, developers & web experts over the last year which will be contributing to the product & brands.
  • Couch Gamers will be leaving its BETA stage in Q1 2013 & will be prepared for a first release in 2013 – we are hoping for a release in Q2.

Many could argue that the code of the current Couch Gamers product is outdated & will damage the future of the product – which is both true & false in our opinion. Code can be easily replaced with newer more efficient code with proper organization, however operation methods, experience, complexe setups & business growth cannot be done in a matter of weeks – they all take time, patience, effort & timing. As we release the first version of the product, operations will be improved, teams will grow & the product will quickly evolve to a newer version – we are not worried in any way and don’t believe that any of these delays have & will impact the success of the product both on the market & in terms of its future quality.

Over the next months, we’ll be dipping into the Custom CMS community to discuss the recruitment of new team members for all brands & products. Please stay tuned for some interesting emails & newsletters!

We’ll never forget the kindness & patience of our followers – Couches will improve the Internet.

Kind regards,

Custom CMS Team

Cleaning, Documentation & Organization Progress – Database Optimization

Hello!

We understand that Couch Gamers can get adopted by high traffic websites, therefore we spent some time focusing on some database improvements such as:

  • Restructuring certain queries which call Couch Gamers data tables.
  • Creation of indexes.

This has allowed us to improve how much data a typical Couch Gamers installation could hold, without touching server configuration and various hardware / software setups related to optimization. We run our development / testing environment on a Cloud Server, and the product was able to easily accomodate the following database figures:

  • 200,000 Games
  • 15,000 Posts
  • 4,000 Companies
  • 10,000 Videos
  • 400,000 Users

Of course these figures can vary from website to website as they’re highly reliant on hosting environments. The optimization of the product is extremely critical for future services that will rely on the API. For example, if X video game publisher would like to populate Couch Gamers websites with game content, he would create a service using the API to allow automatic population. We needed to make sure that Couch Gamers powered websites can withhold large influxes of data.

This testing gave us some insights on the product’s standing, and provided the development team some new guidelines as to which areas of the product will need to be improved after the release.

The cleaning, documentation & organization continues!

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

 

Cleaning, Documentation & Organization Progress – ERD & Various Diagrams

Hello,

Since we’ve entered a “cleaning/documentation/organization/preparation” mode, we’ve had nothing interesting to showcase to our followers & community. We’ve decided to showcase a little preview of what we’ve been working on this week…

Thomas is a reworking the ERD & various other relationship diagrams. This will greatly improve as to how we look at the product, create features & go at bug testing in future release cycles. It’s also helping us with final cleaning / documentation of the product as we have a broad scope of the product (it’s massive) :)

As you can see from the following screenshot, we’re showcasing the User sections of the product (and that’s just a fraction of the entire CMS).

ERD Couch Gamers

Every task is time consuming, but essential to the future organization of the product!

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

 

Couch Gamers BETA 0.9.9 – Template API + Image Properties & Masks + New Skin

Happy Friday Couchers!

Notice: Before visiting the Couch Gamers BETA demo page, please clear all your browser’s cache.

Another week has gone by with solid progress on the cleaning phase of the product. As we were building the final color-skins for the default platforms these last few weeks, we found a few inconsistency errors. We took a peek at the CSS one last time to resolve any inconsistencies in the color palette style for the skins, while completing the last color-skin for the product – the Android skin.

As we were cleaning the template files, we came to a conclusion that we need to improve share-ability further by providing the ability to change template files without having to dip into core files of the system. In return, we created the Template API… let us explain…

Template API:

We are now introducing an API allowing you to directly call information on the website from the smarty templates. No longer will you be required to edit PHP files to tweak how information is displayed on the website – everything will be accessible from your smarty templates (aka template files). Just about anything related to content can be pulled from templates. For instance, let’s say you wish to pull the 10 latest posts from the website, you’d plug in the following code:

{get_posts limit=”10″}

Pagination is also made available by running the following command:

{get_posts items_per_page=”10″ paginate=”1″}

These are basic examples and the exact code may change in the final release. This is more of a guide to show you the easiness of building custom modules without having to learn PHP.

Image Properties with Masks:

To further improve the share-ability of templates, we have decided to add a mask field into image properties (thumbnails). This will allow you to resize an image straight from your smarty templates. For instance, if we have an image property for our post list on the homepage and we call it homepage_post_list. We can now reference this mask inside our smarty template by plugging in the following code:

{create_image mask=homepage_post_list image=”http://url.com/toimage.jpg”}

This will output the new source to the image, already cropped and resized to the new sizes defined in the homepage_post_list image property. This will aid in the share-ability of templates as you will be able to create custom image properties and assign them to skins, which in turn can be exported as 1 package.

———

These recent improvements have both made the product cleaner – and will greatly improve our productivity in the future as we extend the product. Stay tuned for a new update next week as we progress further with our cleaning tasks.

Please note that all user accounts on the Couch Gamers BETA site have been deleted. Please re-register if you would like to continue browsing with a personal account.

If you would like to request Couch Gamers BETA access, please visit the following link: Request Access

You may discuss in our new community located at: http://community.customcms.net

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

Couch Gamers BETA – BETA Portal “Forgot Password” Feature Added!

Hello Couchers!

We noticed that it was a big inconvenience for our “Access BETA Portal” to not have a “Forgot Password” system, therefore we recently updated the BETA Portal to new password retrieval functionalities.

If you visit the “Access BETA Portal” section, you’ll notice a “Forgot your password?” section in the footer. This system will allow you to reset your password without any manual intervention from the Custom CMS staff.

Hope this helps!

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

Couch Gamers BETA 0.9.9 – BETA Language Kit + New Skins

Hello International Couchers,

Notice: Before visiting the Couch Gamers BETA demo page, please clear all your browser’s cache.

As promised earlier this week, we’ve completed the English BETA Language Kit. This kit is a simple .XML file that holds all of the phrases used on both the Front End & Admin Control Panel of Couch Gamers BETA.

You can download the English BETA Language Kit by navigating to the BETA Portal (See the left side navigation “Language Kit”). If you have misplaced your BETA Portal login details in your inbox, you may retrieve them using the following methods:

  1. Search your inbox for an email with the following title: “You’ve been invited to the Couch Gamers Beta” or Search for emails sent from: [email protected]
  2. Use the following request form to request a new password.

———

Language System Information:

  • Language = English, French, German etc.
  • Mask = “hello_my_name_is” (Used in template files).
  • Phrase = Hello my name is. (The phrase of the mask which is displayed on the website).

.XML File Definitions:

If you look inside the .XML file, you will notice the following:

  • location=”0″ means this is a Front End phrase (Couch Gamers website). We also define the masks with an “fe” prefix to make them easily distinguishable in the template files.
  • location=”1″ means this is an Admin Control Panel phrase.

New Language Creation Procedures:

To create a new language, simply follow these steps:

  • Locate all phrases you want to modify.
  • Let’s say you were converting Couch Gamers BETA from English to French, you would make the following alteration:
    • <![CDATA[News]]> turns into <![CDATA[Nouvelles]]>
  • Save the .XML file.
  • Email us the .XML file to [email protected] along with your community username. We will verify the .XML for security purposes & upload it to the Couch Gamers BETA website with your community username as the language.

We are taking some safety precautions & as of now, BETA testers are not allowed to upload the .XML file to Couch Gamers BETA themselves. There is a possibility we may open up access for self-testing in the near future. More details are to come shortly!

As we’ll be documenting / cleaning / stress testing the product in our next steps, we may fall into instances where we’ll need to adjust / improve a section of the system – making it a BETA Language Pack. We don’t expect many modifications, however it is likely that certain members may have to rework some of their language packs upon release of the 1.0 product.

———

We also released the new 3DS, Wii & iPhone/iPad & Xbox 360 default color skins for Couch Gamers BETA. Please take some time to see the new skins on the BETA demo page. They’re awesome :)

Please note that all user accounts on the Couch Gamers BETA site have been deleted. Please re-register if you would like to continue browsing with a personal account.

If you would like to request Couch Gamers BETA access, please visit the following link: Request Access

You may discuss in our new community located at: http://community.customcms.net

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

Couch Gamers BETA 0.9.9 – English BETA Language Pack + New Skins Coming

Hello Couchers,

Following last Friday’s update, we’d like to provide some quick information in regards to our next steps:

  • Release 2 new platform skins.
  • Continuously monitor bugs / minor improvements & create hot-fixes.
  • Release the English BETA Language Pack – which will hold all frontend & backend language masks for 0.9.9. As we’ll be documenting / cleaning / stress testing the product in our next steps, we may fall into instances where we’ll need to adjust / improve a section of the system – making it a BETA Language Pack. We don’t expect many modifications, however it is likely that certain members may have to rework some of their language packs upon release of the 1.0 product.Upon release of the English BETA Language Pack, BETA testers will be able to download the .xml file & start working on their translations of the product – which they’ll be able to test on the Couch Gamers BETA website.

Stay tuned for our next update this coming Friday!

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

 

 

Couch Gamers BETA 0.9.9 – Improved Skin, Language & Product Sharing + New Skins

Hello Couch Lovers,

Notice: Before visiting the Couch Gamers BETA demo page, please clear all your browser’s cache.

This week, Thomas (the lead developer) devoted much of his time to improve the skin / language / product import & export system. As we strongly believe that a strength of Couch Gamers lies with its unique niche approach towards CMS’s, we know that a large number of developers & designers will be putting their efforts toward creating / sharing / selling languages, skins & products upon the release of the product. With this in mind, we needed to improve the importing / exporting process greatly. Let us explain…

Skin:
You are now able to create Language Masks according to a specific skin. This is useful in the case you may want to create custom modules or re-arange text inside the new skin. With this feature you are able to assign language mask and phrases to a specific skin making it very easy to share skins accross many other Couch Gamers websites – without having people regret installing your skin (if the languages are bad). The uninstallation of the skin will force the delete of any language masks assigned to it, making it easy to test skins without affecting your website.

Language:
Various improvements have been made to the Language system in this update. To start off, Admin & Frontend language masks have been seperated to make it easier for users to dissect Couch Gamers on a language level. This will give you the ability to create new languages for the frontend website, while keeping the backend in English for example. This is useful as it will save user’s of Couch Gamers time and money if all they are looking to provide translations to frontend website viewers. The frontend language pack holds ~ 300 language masks & the backend is ~800 language masks. It’s much easier to run through ~300 language masks if you’re only looking to update the frontend language!

When creating masks you may now also assign masks to skins (mentioned above) and products (will be mentioned later). You also have the ability to filter your searches for specific masks on a deep level, taking you exactly you want to go.

Sharing language packs has never been easier!

Product:
This may be the largest update from all in today’s update. Some of you have noticed that when creating a product on Couch Gamers, it previously only asked you for a product xml. This has been changed with today’s update, giving developers the ability to create products while interacting with various features inside Couch Gamers from the comfort of their own Admin Control Panel. You are now able to create a product from scratch then visit various sections such as the Language system to assign a specific mask, permission category and permission to a specific product. Our vBulletin Integration Pack is using this new product system.

With this comes the ability to export products with the languages, settings & permissions related to them.

As you can see a lot of steps have been taken to give you the ability to easily share new creations with others in the community. We feel it was an essential part in finalizing the product.

We also released the new PS3 & Xbox 360 default color skins for Couch Gamers BETA. Please take some time to see the new skins on the BETA demo page. Be warned – they pop :)

We also decided to release a 4th hotfix for 0.9.9. It addresses the following:

Hotfix #4:

  • Fixed various bugs found by community members.
  • Fixed a bug that occurred when pressing post for a comment – without having changed the text “Leave comment here…”. It would post that text.
  • Fixed a bug that occurred when pressing post for a pm – without having put any text in the conversation. It would post an empty message.
  • Improved the post comment system. If you click post 50 times, it will not post 50 times while ajax is loading. It disables ajax after your first post click.

We were also scheduled to begin the preparation of the Couch Gamers Language Pack – which we did, however did not have time to complete for today’s update. We’ll be providing a new blog post on Monday with details for our next steps.

Please note that all user accounts on the Couch Gamers BETA site have been deleted. Please re-register if you would like to continue browsing with a personal account.

If you would like to request Couch Gamers BETA access, please visit the following link: Request Access

You may discuss in our new community located at: http://community.customcms.net

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team

Couch Gamers BETA 0.9.9 – CSS Cleaning Completed & PC Skin Refreshed

Hello Couch Followers!

Notice: Before visiting the Couch Gamers BETA demo page, please clear all your browser’s cache.

Following last Friday’s update, we completed the cleaning of the CSS style sheets. As we progressed with the cleaning, we started to realize that there was much unused class properties – and in effect, we needed to quickly rethink how we can both make these CSS sheets workable, clean & organized for future developers & designers. We looked at the CSS from a broad perspective & decided that we needed to keep a balance between keeping the CSS sheet organized, consistent & not overcrowded with repeated classes. If you visit the CSS Editor of some of the skins, you’ll realize that we created a new standard for future team developers to work in while keeping it organized. (We also improved the look of the Template, CSS & Javascript Editors in the backend of the product – it now expands in height based on the total number of lines… it’s much easier to work in than having to scroll within a 2nd window!)

As we wanted to gauge whether our cleaning affected one performance for recoloring a new skin, we decided to clock ourselves while refreshing the PC skin. Having the new color palleted laid out for our frontend developer, the recoloring took a mere 1.5 hours. We estimate that with proper documentation (which we’ll be starting soon), a seasoned frontend developer should be able to recolor a new skin within 1.5 – 3 hours for the first run.

Some various consistency improvements were made throughout the backend of the product, along with a new set of minor bug fixes that we found along the way.

Please take some time to see the newly improved PC skin on the BETA demo page. We believed that the previous PC Skin was somewhat dull & washed out. This new one seems much more vibrant!

Next week we’ll be releasing 1-2 new platform skins along with completing the following previously assigned tasks to our schedule:

  • Final improvement to the skin system. It will improve the skin / langage sharing capabilities greatly.
  • Final language mask cleaning & preparation of the Official Couch Gamers Language Pack.

Please note that all user accounts on the Couch Gamers BETA site have been deleted. Please re-register if you would like to continue browsing with a personal account.

If you would like to request Couch Gamers BETA access, please visit the following link: Request Access

You may discuss in our new community located at: http://community.customcms.net

Best regards,

Custom CMS Team