4.1 Release Notes

The general aim of version 4.1 is to give you more interactive control over the appearance of your site. Viaweb 4.0 users will notice two major changes in the Editor.

  1. There is a new [Look] button.

  2. The old [New Group] button has been replaced by the more general [Layout] button.
The [Look] button is for changing the graphic look of your site (colors, typefaces, etc.) and applies to the site as a whole. When you click on it, the Look Tool appears, giving you a choice of 14 prefab looks. If you try the new looks, you can get back your old look, for the remainder of your current edit session, by clicking on [Revert] on the Look Tool.

The [Layout] button is for changing the organization of pages, and applies to pages individually. When you click on it, the Layout Tool appears, letting you adjust four parameters that control the layout of the current page. Click on Help for explanations of each parameter.

The [Layout] button only appears when there is content to organize: when you're looking at a section with at least one item.

The [Layout] button is a generalization of [New Section] and [New Group]. You can use it to get the look you're used to for both Groups and Sections, and lots of other looks.

We know that many users of previous versions will be used to Groups and will want to make pages that look just like what [New Group] button used to make. So here is how to do it:

  1. Click on [New Section].

  2. Add at least one item to it. (The Layout button doesn't show up till there is something to lay out.)

  3. Click on [Layout] to bring up the Layout Tool, if it's not up already.

  4. For "Put Contents" choose "On This Page".

  5. For "Columns" choose "1".
That's how to make pages that look like the old Groups. You may find, once you have the Layout Tool up, that some other layout is better for the page you're working on. That's the point: to give you more choices.

For those interested in what's going on behind the scenes (you know who you are), here is the complete story.

Groups never really existed. They were just another way of laying out sections. So what we've done by adding the Layout Tool is give you control over how a section is laid out, instead of having just two predefined choices.

The big difference between "groups" and sections was that groups were leaves, meaning any item you created in a group got put on the group's page, instead of having its own page like an item created within a section.

In the advanced interface, you could change this yourself by changing a section's Leaf property. And that is what the first parameter in the Layout Tool, "Put Contents", is switching on and off. The other parameters in the Layout Tool are implemented by overriding (or undoing overrides of) variables.

So for you advanced users, the Layout Tool offers a convenient on-screen way of doing a lot of things you had been arduously doing by hand.

As for the Look Tool, though advanced users may not want to use one of our predefined looks, you may well find them useful as starting points. Each look was carefully designed to yield color combinations that work together, and font sizes that line up on pixel boundaries.

Version 4.1 reflects a lot of suggestions from Viaweb users. Thanks to all of you, and please continue to let us know what we can do to make Viaweb work better for you.

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