A lot of administrative UI elements were implemented to get Version 4.0 out the door, and now that we've had a couple of months to get feedback we were able to start making some improvements. You'll also notice that we've built out a very small and lightweight CMS that is designed for simple projects and landing pages. The important part of the new SlatwallCMS development isn't just the functionality, but also all of the new API features that were put in place to make Slatwall truly language-agnostic and capable of integrating with any type of application.

Version Highlights

SlatwallCMS, What & Why

I'd like to explain a little bit more about the SlatwallCMS, and clear up any potential confusion about what it might mean for our use and support of platforms like MuraCMS. The first thing to know is that the SlatwallCMS is NOT meant to replace robust enterprise CMS platforms like Mura.

What we found on some of our projects - specifically around things like 3rd party app companies - was that we really only needed a couple of pages, like a "Subscribe" landing page, checkout, and maybe some account management. In addition, some marketplace & data driven companies wanted to dynamically generate websites from custom databases in a very performant manner. A full blown CMS was just a bit of overkill because these pages were 100% developer implemented, and that was never going to change in a system like Mura.

The SlatwallCMS is a very lightweight 'application' that gets deployed from the core integration services. Because of this architecture, it allows for new and custom applications to be deployed on top of the Slatwall platform with ease just by adding an additional integration config.

I'd like to be 100% clear on this, we still use Mura every day and we love it! We plan to continue to use and support Mura while also bringing online support for other commonly used content management systems. In fact, some may not realize, but Slatwall has been able to work with other CMS systems like Content-Box and FarCry dating all the way back to version 2.0. Now we're just adding support for more non-CFML based platforms.

What does 'Language-Agnostic' really mean?

In an effort to continue expanding our user base we've developed functionality in 4.1 that allows developers of any language to use Slatwall as a commerce engine for their projects. A great example of this would be iOS or Android developers that would like to add billing support to their application. Many software start-ups are charging monthly subscriptions for the use of their product, and it has quickly become the billing model of choice. Now with very little effort, start-ups can leverage the Slatwall platform for cart, order management, billing, and application access entitlement. This allows companies to focus on their core platform and not have to worry about also building out an account, product, and order management system.

This move to support API-based commerce means that we can start developing plug-ins and modules in other languages similar to our Mura connector plug-in. This means that we can tap into other CMS platforms like Wordpress or Drupal to expand the overall Slatwall user base. We can also do some really cool stuff like run Javascript-only websites that can use all of the features of Slatwall.

Over the past few months we've been implementing Slatwall with our clients sites that are running both home-spun code bases in languages like PHP and ruby, and off the shelf products. By allowing an organization to tie lots of web applications across various technical stacks has been a HUGE WIN for the adoption of Slatwall.

What's next?

Right now our development team is actively working on version 4.2 code named "Chupacabra". One key piece of new functionality that we're really excited about is the ability to create and manage gift cards that can be both digital and/or physical. We're also putting a huge emphasis on usability in general, so in version 4.2 you will continue to see UI enhancements in the administrator.

In parallel, we have started work on an all new Development Center website that should be coming online in the months to come.  With an emphasis being put on API support, and some of these awesome new tools like the SlatwallCMS, we know that we need to have a robust set of guides and API reference docs to get new developers up to speed quickly.