Zenario 9.0

Zenario version 9.0 is a new major release. It contains changes to the editing interface in the admin front-end, and changes to how layouts are stored internally.

Layout and skin changes

Layouts are now in the database!

Layouts are no longer stored as files inside the zenario_custom/ directory. All of the layout information is now stored in the database instead.

When you migrate a site to version 9.0, Zenario will read all of your layout files (.css and .tpl.php) and insert them into the database.

In addition, the Layouts panel in Organizer has been improved for better readability.

The skins/ directory is now inside zenario_custom/

After upgrading to 9.0, your site's front end will initially disappear with a "can't find skin" error. This is because Zenario is now expecting to find skins under zenario_custom/skins/ instead of the old location.

How to upgrade layouts and skins

1) Install your new Zenario software (leave zenario_custom/ as-is). Point your browser at /admin, log in, and apply database updates.

2) Your site will temporarily disappear, as Zenario isn't finding the skins in the new location. Move the skins like this:

cd zenario_custom/skins
mv ../templates/grid_templates/skins/* .

3) In doing the database updates in step 1, Zenario will have copied the layout files in zenario_custom/templates/grid_templates into its database. So long as you haven't put any non-Zenario files into the templates folder, you can now remove it:

cd ../
rm -r templates

4) Check permissions on folders and files by going to /admin in your browser (or clicking the stethoscope icon). If Zenario warns about bad permissions, you may need to fix these, so that your web server (e.g. www-data for Apache systems) has read-write permissions on CSS files and read-write-execute permissions on editable_css folders. For example for blackdog skin:

cd skins/blackdog
chmod 777 editable_css
chmod 666 editable_css/*.css

Changes to the admin toolbar

The admin toolbar has had a redesign to make it more streamlined. Here's a screenshot of it in Edit mode, for version-controlled content editing:

Admin toolbar screenshot Zenario 9

The admin toolbar modes now work like this:

  • closed position, browsing the site and previewing drafts
  • Edit mode to edit version-controlled content
  • Edit slots mode to edit plugins on the current content item (page)
  • Edit menu to change menu text or move nodes in the menu hierarchy
  • Edit layout to change slots on the layout, to alter the layout with Gridmaker, or edit CSS.

Changes to slots and page modes

The experience of managing slots and switching between page modes on the admin front-end has had several improvements to make it easier to use and more friendly.

Slot with tooltip Zenario 9

Every slot now has a tooltip to explain what is inside the slot, such as a plugin or a version-controlled editing area. When clicking a slot, the view mode (shown by the tab in the admin toolbar) changes automatically. 

Slots are colour-coded by their outline:

  • green slots are version-controlled, edits are performed on a draft
  • red slots are plugins, nests or slideshows on the content item, edits go live on save
  • purple slots are plugins, nests or slideshows on the layout (thus affecting all content items with that layout), edits go live everywhere on save.

The drop-down menus that appear on each slot in each page mode have had a redesign, to make them more clear and easier to use.

Slot controls for plugin Zenario 9



We have made various improvements to the Forms Editor.

In multi-step forms, steps are now called "steps" and not "pages". Every step can now have conditional visibility (previously this was not possible on the last step), provided a summary page is enabled for the form (in the form's settings).

There are improvements to repeating sections, so they are easier to edit.

When a user says "Save and complete later" on a form, there's now a handy "Resume now" button.

There is now a feature whereby forms can send on the response in a safer format, so that any URLs contained in the response are made non-clickable. This helps combat phishing when a user puts a malicious URL into a form.

Various bug fixes.

Pinning content items for Content Summary Lists (CSLs)

We have introduced the concept of "pinning" a content item, so that it always appears at the top of a Content Summary List plugin.

To use the feature:

  • Go to Organizer->Configuration->Content types, and select the content type for which you want to enable pinning, for example News (note: you can enable for all content types).
  • Edit the settings for that content type, scroll to the bottom and enable "Allow content items to be pinned".
  • Go to a content item of that type, edit it, and on the floating admin box enable "pin" and save (it makes a draft).
  • On a Content Summary List plugin, you will need to ensure that the principal filters will include the pinned content item (e.g. content type, privacy, language, menu position, category). Provided the pinned page falls within any of those filters, it may appear. If the CSL is for News items, you should set a date range (e.g. last 6 months) and on the "Overall list" tab, select to order results by release date. Select "Prioritise pinned items", and the pinned items will then come to the top of any list, irrespective of their release date. 

Multi-language sites

There is better support for multi-language sites. We have added abilities to:

  • change the language of a content item
  • add content items to a translation chain
  • detach content items from a translation chain

We maintain the principle that there can not be more than one content item in any given language in a translation chain.

Minor changes

The installer now only allows Zenario to be installed on an empty database. You can no longer run Zenario in a database with tables of other applications, or with tables of another Zenario installation (previously possible using a different table prefix).

When putting a site into Email Debug Mode (in Organizer->Configuration->Email), you no longer have to specify the debug email address, i.e. so the site doesn't send an email at all.

We've added a a warning on the admin login diagnostics page if you leave the Cache Debug Info enabled (in Organizer->Configuration->Cache).

When editing a nest in which some slides use a static method to determine if they are visible, they are clearly identified on the view-nest panel.

The Extranet Change Email plugin now has the option to show a captcha to prevent mis-use of the form.

Images used by the Multiple Image Container plugin now have their own panel in Organizer.

Zenario now only performs image optimisation (e.g. OptiPNG etc.) on images on a public pages, not those on private pages, to improve overall performance (private images are always created on the fly)

Menu nodes and Slides viewed in Organizer now have an icon that displays when they are using conditional display logic (e.g. they might be dependent on a user's country.)

Improvements to page caching

Previous versions of Zenario had an issue where if you used the Copyright plugin on one or more pages, any pages that it was on could not be cached, as it was always flagged as "can't cache".

We've tweaked this so that the Copyright plugin is now cacheable.

Please note that there is one small side-effect of this: if you use both the Copyright plugin and the caching feature when the calendar flicks over to a new year, your pages will continue to display the old year until the cache is cleared.

(If this is an issue you may manually clear the cache to fix it.)

Notes for hosting providers

Changes to the installer

We've now started trying to enforce that people create one database per Zenario site.

While we've not made any changes that will affect existing installations, we have added a new check to the installer, that will stop you from proceeding with an installation into a database that is not empty.

Advice on Linux vs. Windows servers

The majority of our clients use Linux/Ubuntu servers. In addition, the majority of our testing takes place on Ubuntu servers.

Zenario may still work on a Windows server, but if you have the choice, we now recommend that you use a Linux server if you can.