Today NetObjects crosses another item off the wish list by releasing French and German language packs for all Premium Themes.
Today NetObjects released an update enhancing the usability of the Library by making the thumbnail images resizable. This small UI change makes it much easier to visually identify similar images.
Since the acquisition the NetObjects team has been hard at work learning Koken and diving into customer support. Today we released Koken 0.21.3. This minor release squashes a few bugs, makes the site settings property panel dock-able and adds enhancements to several themes. For more information review the release notes. For newer users who are updating for the first time, here's how.
The Site Settings property panel can now be docked.
Chastain, Elementary, Ensemble, Répertoire and Boulevard were updated.
Hello Koken Community.
NetObjects is excited to announce the acquisition of Koken has closed and are thrilled to add Koken to our portfolio of website design products. We’ve put together an experienced team committed to the continued success of Koken.
Work is well underway to address areas that need improvement and to continue to enhance Koken. We understand that without you, Koken cannot exist. I'd appreciate you answering a few questions to help ensure our development plans are aligned with your goals and desires.
Thank you in advance for your time.
President & CEO
We are thrilled to announce that Koken has agreed to be acquired by NetObjects. The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, has been approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, and is expected to close by September 30, 2015.
NetObjects has been developing, marketing and distributing web design software since 1995. They are a mature, established company with extensive experience and knowledge in the self-hosted software space. Their website design software, NetObjects Fusion, has garnered hundreds of awards and eleven patents, has licensed 15 million copies, and has facilitated the creation of millions of websites.
Here's what they have to say:
"We are proud to add this exceptional product to our award-winning portfolio of web design products. The Koken CMS meets every need for managing and sharing our ever growing libraries of digital images -- whether run from a home based server or a shared hosting account -- the user is in complete control of their images. For the past few years I've used Koken to manage my own personal photography website. We at NetObjects are excited to continue development of this special application and introduce it to an even larger global audience." -- Steve Raubenstine, President and CEO of NetObjects
What this means for current users
This acquisition is great news for our community, for you may continue to use Koken to publish your web site and upload photography. NetObjects shares our vision for providing quality software that may be independently installed and operated through your own web hosting provider. Independence, ownership and control of your content is a vision we both share and respect.
What this means for new users
New installations of Koken may continue to be set up, for free, same as ever. NetObjects shares our enthusiasm for the freemium business model and will continue to offer free installations of the core system in addition to expanding the Koken Store with a mix of free and premium themes and plugins.
We believe this acquisition is the best possible outcome for everyone, including our community. We love Koken as much as our most ardent supporters and worked incredibly hard to find a company with the requisite resources, leadership, and vision to continue developing, supporting and expanding the Koken platform. NetObjects checked every box on our list, and we're super excited to see where Koken goes from here.
It’s been a month since our for-sale sign was placed in the window, so we thought we'd provide everyone with an update on what all has been happening behind the scenes.
We’ve had numerous, extended conversations with third parties of all shapes and sizes, including sole proprietors, small design studios, venture capitalists, as well as established software companies. A few are people we reached-out to directly prior to the announcement, others are people that came across the news and contacted us shortly thereafter.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to appreciate during this time, this is a slow, methodical process that not only involves two parties discussing finances, terms and details, but also getting to know each other. Everyone has different ideas, plans and projections for how Koken would fit with their existing business, and part of our job is sorting through which opportunities make the most sense in the long term for ourselves, our community and the product itself. It's hard to hit all three targets, but we're trying our best.
In general we're very positive and optimistic that Koken will indeed find a new home. We're trying to move quickly, while at the same time allowing enough time for the process to play itself out. People continue to come out of the woodwork expressing interest, and we're giving each and every opportunity the attention it deserves. As soon as we have more information to share, we will.
After considerable reflection and discussion, we've decided the time has come for us to step aside and seek new owners for Koken. As much as we'd like to stay, all of us have decided to pursue new professional opportunities that will prevent us from being able to support and develop the platform going forward. This was a painful, difficult decision, but we feel it's ultimately the best for Koken and our community. Koken deserves new leadership and a new home.
To reach audiences outside of the Koken community we've published a lengthy Medium post explaining the decision in detail, along with a number of interesting statistics and financial details.
To everyone who installed, used, and spread the word about Koken these past few years, we thank you. Rest assured this announcement will not affect your Koken installation or your web site. You may continue to use the system, download items from the store, and carry-on as you have been. Once we hear anything new regarding Koken's ownership we'll let you now.
For some time, two feature requests have dominated the Koken discussion forum and our inboxes: password protection and contact forms. We resolved the first request with the release of Koken 0.20 and the Password Protect plugin last month, allowing users to lock down their entire site or particular albums. And today, with the release of Koken 0.21, we're fulfilling the second request. Contact forms are now built-in to Koken!
A long time coming
While contact forms may appear to be a straightforward feature on the surface, we had to balance the needs of thousands of Koken users. Contact forms may have completely different requirements from user to user, so we tried several iterations over the last several months until we arrived at the flexible solution included in 0.21.
You can add a contact form to any page via the Text screen in the Koken console.
The plugin includes sensible defaults, but you can customize what fields to display, what order they display in, how to label those fields, even what message is shown to the user after the form has successfully sent.
Once you have your form configured, Koken takes care of the rest. Form validation, sending the email, and showing the user a message after the form has been submitted are all handled by Koken internally, regardless of what theme you are using.
For more information on how to add contact forms to your site, consult the documentation.
Supported in all themes
All Koken themes have been updated to ensure that your new contact forms blend right into your Koken site's existing style. Go to Store > Updates to update your themes once you have updated to Koken 0.21.
Contact forms are of no use if the emails sent from them disappear into thin air. Often, shared hosting providers do not properly configure outgoing email for PHP, meaning contact form emails and other Koken system emails may never arrive in your inbox. To resolve this, we've released a new free plugin to the Koken Store: Email Endpoints.
The Email Endpoints plugin allows you to send all your Koken email through Mandrill, a third party transactional email service that offers dependable, rock-solid email delivery. Best of all, Mandrill is free for up to 12,000 emails a month, which should be more than enough for your Koken contact form. Alternatively, you can also use your own outgoing SMTP server (Gmail, for example) instead of Mandrill. See all the details by reading the usage guide for the plugin.
Also new in Koken 0.21 is a dedicated look at your server's email configuration. Visit Settings > Email to see how email is configured for your Koken install. You can also send a test email from that screen to ensure that email sending and delivery are working properly.
Two new updates are available today for Koken users. First, we've released Koken 0.20.4 with a few important fixes. See a full list of the updates at the release notes page.
Also, there's a new update for our recently released Password Protect plugin. Early users of the Password Protect plugin asked if their password protected albums and sets could be made discoverable through their public site. In response, we've added the ability to add a custom albums index to display just the password protected albums in your Library:
Once added, the list of protected albums will be visible to any user who visits your site. They will only be prompted for a password when they click an album to view its content. With this in place, you can send any client a link to your site and they can find their album, then enter the password you've provided them.
For instructions on how to publish a page of protected collections, check out the plugin's guide. You'll find a detailed walkthrough at the end of the article.
If you are a new Koken user and need help upgrading, check out our updating instructions for both Koken itself and Store plugins.
We've just released Koken 0.20.3, which includes several minor fixes for issues our fine users have reported in the last several days. It also includes a notable fix for users of our Lightroom Publish Services plugin.
For some time, a portion of our Lightroom users have reported odd, intermittent behavior when uploading from the Lightroom plugin. Some uploads would work while others would not, accompanied by cryptic error messages. Further complicating matters was the fact that our team was unable to duplicate the issue on any of our numerous test installations.
Thanks to Koken user Jonathan Levy, we were finally able to get a reproducible form of the issue late last week. After some investigation, we traced the issue to something known as 'keep-alive' connections. When a server was using keep-alive connections, the first upload would work, but subsequent uploads would often fail due to how the connection was shared from the previous upload request. So, as of Koken 0.20.3, we now explicitly close the connection after each upload, which negates the effect of keep-alive connections and in turn resolves this problem.
For those of you who have been experiencing this issue, thank you for your patience. This is one of the challenges of self-hosted software, as it is often difficult to track down server specific issues like this one. We're glad to have this one behind us!
After a few weeks of beta testing and previews, we're happy to announce that the Password Protect plugin for Koken is now available to all via the Koken Store. Like all of our themes and plugins, it can be installed without ever leaving your browser, meaning you can purchase the plugin and enable password protection for your Koken site in a matter of minutes.
Ready to get started? Then head over to the Koken Store product page for the Password Protect plugin to purchase and install the plugin. If you want a little more info on what the plugin does, read on.
Protect your entire site, or just parts of it
The plugin works in one of two ways. First, you can protect your entire Koken site. In this mode, any visitor attempting to access any page of your site – an album, an essay, anything – will need to enter the password before they can enter. This is useful for family sites or other scenarios where you are sharing content with a select group of people. Or, you may want to password protect your entire site while you are initially getting setup, then disable the password protection only when you are ready to open your site to the general public.
For those who need selective password protection, you can instead choose to assign passwords to individual albums and sets in the Library. You may also setup a "master password" that works like a skeleton key for viewing any password protected album or set. Adding a password to an album or set is simple, it's built right into the Library's inspector.
Supported by any Koken theme
You can begin using the plugin right away, no theme changes are required. The plugin includes a simple, clean login template that will work with any Koken theme. Our premium themes – Axis 2, Madison 2, and Regale 2 – have been updated with custom login templates to match their unique style.
Today we're happy to announce a new major update as well as give you a sneak peek of our upcoming Password Protect plugin.
First, let's talk about what's new in 0.20. The most notable change is an update to album visibility that brings it in line with how content visibility already works. You can now mark albums as "Private". Those albums will only be viewable inside of your console. Or, perhaps you could share them with other people with a password. If there was only a plugin for such a thing. More on that in a minute.
Other than album visibility, the changes are mostly under the hood. The plugin system has been overhauled to be faster and allow for deeper connections to the core functionality of Koken, which will allow for more interesting plugin development in the future. Several performance bottlenecks were also identified and resolved, resulting in improved page load times when viewing your published site.
The 0.20 update is available now for all installs. If this is your first time upgrading, you can find instructions here. You can find a summary of all the changes here. Please note that this is the first update that enforces our new requirement of PHP 5.3 or higher. If you are running 5.2, the update will not proceed until you have worked with your host to upgrade PHP. If you need more info on the PHP 5.2 phaseout, see our dedicated article on that topic.
Password Protect plugin coming soon
As Koken has matured over the last year, one yet-to-be-realized feature has floated to the top of most user's wish list: Password protection. In fact, some of you have been wondering if you'll ever see such a feature at all.
Well, good news Bradlyn. The answer is zero. Zero more years.
We're happy to report that in the next few weeks, the Password Protect plugin for Koken will be landing in the Koken Store. We think it's pretty great, so much so that we couldn't wait to give you a little preview.
Protects your entire site
Want to lock down your entire site? With this plugin, you can. Any page accessed by a site visitor will display a password page for them to enter your assigned password.
Protects private albums and sets
For those who need selective password protection, this plugin also allows passwords to be assigned to individual albums and sets in the Library. You may also setup a "master password" that works like a skeleton key for viewing any password protected album or set.
Perfect for clients, family and colleagues
Password Protect fits right into the workflow of photographers and designers who need a single web site to display their public work plus private content accessible only to clients and close contacts.
Supported by any Koken theme
Every Koken theme supports this plugin by displaying a unique login template provided by the theme itself, or a simple, clean password submission page provided by the plugin as a fallback. No matter which theme you choose, it's compatible. Our premium themes – Axis 2, Madison 2, and Regale 2 – will be updated with unique login layouts that match their respective designs.
We're putting the final touches on the plugin and it should be available soon. Be sure to update to 0.20 and stay tuned!
Hot off the press, a new version of Koken is now available. This release, version 0.19, includes notable improvements in two key areas: content sorting and links.
To say we've "improved" content sorting is an understatement. We've redesigned sorting from top-to-bottom to more effectively meet your needs.
View any album, set, or even the root list of public albums in the Library, and you'll now see this:
The "Sort" button has been relocated from the top of the Library interface to the bottom and expanded to reflect the sort criteria currently assigned. The old "Sort" button only affected your current view (for editorial purposes). The new button does the same but also changes site order.
You may also now sort collections individually. For example, one album may be sorted by "date captured", another by drag-and-drop, and so on. This allows you to select whatever sort criteria is most appropriate for the content each collection contains.
Will the new sorting affect my current site?
If your site is published with sort filters assigned to index templates like Albums, Sets, etc, the automatic sort you've assigned there will be transferred over and applied to the source Library content. For example, if your Albums page is currently sorted by "Title", then after this upgrade your albums in the Library will also be sorted "Title". That way sorting preferences applied in Site aren't lost as part of the transition.
Content link editing
Content links -- or more specifically, their "slugs" -- are now editable in Koken 0.19.
These slimy little suckers are generated automatically by Koken using content titles or filenames when new content is published. These slug assignments were permanent, and could not be edited thereafter without deleting and recreating content with different titles.
Koken 0.19 makes this a thing of the past by allowing slug editing for images, videos, albums, sets, essays and pages. You'll now find an "edit" link under site links, as shown below:
Click edit and a panel will appear for you to input your new slug.
All links on your site will then use the new slug. If a page with an edited slug is requested using its old link, the content will still load, but an invisible canonical link will be inserted into the page's markup to alert search engines that a newer, preferred URL should be indexed instead.
We know that many Koken users were waiting for both of these improvements, and greatly appreciate everyone's patience and feedback. If you have any questions or issues with this release, don't hesitate to get in touch. If this is your first time updating Koken, you may find instructions for doing so here.
Our latest Koken update - v.0.18 - is out and ready for download. This release includes a few notable improvements that are worth pointing out.
Design facelift for HiDPI/Retina screens
Koken's entire interface has been updated with SVGs for all icons and buttons plus higher resolution images to support HiDPI / Retina displays. This makes the interface super sharp and smooth, even on standard resolution displays. A number of icons had to be completely redrawn from scratch in order to make the transition, but it was absolutely worth the effort. Koken users with late-model MacBook Pros should see a big difference.
While the hood was open we also took the opportunity to make subtle style improvements throughout the interface. All of the loading icons have been redesigned to use the "O" in our logo, gradients have been flattened, and drop shadows have been dropped. We also killed the extra footer row at the bottom of the UI to create more vertical room for content.
As the old song says, it's been a long time coming, but tags can now finally be deleted. You've always been able to remove tags from content, but until now there wasn't a way to permanently delete tags from the database.
To delete a tag, simply edit any piece of content containing the tag, then click the delete link to its right. The tag will be removed from any/all images, videos, albums, sets or essays and then deleted from the back-end.
Discard draft theme settings
We've updated the theme settings panel to include a new Discard edits button. The button appears anytime a theme's draft has unpublished settings edits. Click it and the draft reverts to the live version of your site. Makes it easy to test and discard edits without worrying about screwing up your site.
ICC profile optimizations
In case you didn't know, Koken maintains the appearance of your original images by copying and applying their ICC color profiles to all duplicate images generated from them. For example, this allows an sRGB image to stay sRGB, no matter the size. While important, this step had a drawback in that it could cause slowness in image publishing; especially with large images. So we went back and improved the ICC profile process to be less intensive and faster, which helps make image publishing faster overall. This new profile retention setup will apply to all new images you import using Koken 0.18 and will also be applied to any older images in your Library that are regenerated and cached.
Why we developed Pillar
Pillar is built-into every installation of Koken, so there's nothing for you to setup or install. Simply follow along with our documentation to integrate it into your custom theme. If you have any questions or feedback about Pillar, we'd love to hear it, and encourage you to get in touch.
We wanted to give you advance notice of a key change to Koken's server requirements that will take effect at the beginning of next year. As of January 1st, 2015, we will no longer provide support for PHP 5.2.
Since the first private beta release (nearly 2 years ago now), we've provided support for any web host running PHP 5.2 or greater. While this allowed us to reach a broader audience, it has also hampered support efforts as time has gone by. PHP 5.2 was last updated in January of 2011, and no longer receives bugfixes or security updates. Furthermore, newer versions of PHP are both faster and more efficient, resulting in a better overall experience for Koken users.
Beginning in Koken 0.17.4 (which was released today), users who are still using PHP 5.2 will be notified by a warning modal and a message in Settings > System when they are signed in to the administrative console. If you are running PHP 5.2, we suggest you contact your host sooner rather than later to see what options they have for upgrading PHP. They may already have a way to update to a later version. Koken supports all the maintained, stable versions of PHP, which currently includes PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and the newly released 5.6.
If you have not updated to PHP 5.3 or higher by January 1st, your installation will continue to work. However you will no longer be able to update Koken to new versions or receive technical support regarding server issues until PHP is upgraded.
At Koken we're always working to ensure you can setup our CMS at your web hosting provider of choice. Sadly, not all hosting providers are created equal, and it's frustrating and confusing (especially for us) when Koken runs slowly on one host compared to another.
To that end, we've published a list of recommended web hosts for some time. These hosts are known to be compatible with Koken and perform well. We regularly test installations at each provider and evaluate Koken's performance before every major release.
Today, we're adding a new entry to our recommended hosts: DigitalOcean. DigitalOcean is a hosting provider geared-towards web developers that provides high-performance virtual machines (DigitalOcean calls them droplets) at remarkably low prices. The $5/mo plan – which gives you a 512MB / 1 CPU droplet – is more than enough power to run most Koken sites, and it's really fast. All DigitalOcean droplets are equipped with SSD hard drives, which are ideal for file-heavy applications like Koken.
To help you get started with DigitalOcean we've created an official Docker image that allows you to boot up a DigitalOcean droplet and begin using Koken with a single command. If you're a web developer comfortable working with SSH and basic server administration, read on.
Docker bills itself as "an open platform for distributed applications for developers and sysadmins". What this means is that you can create consistent, fine-tuned environments for any Linux server that runs Docker. This allowed us to create a Docker image that is specifically tuned for Koken, providing the best possible experience on DigitalOcean or any other host that supports Docker. Our Docker image employs Ubuntu, nginx, MySQL, and the latest version of PHP 5 for optimum performance.
Interested in learning more? We've written up a full walkthrough on how to get get started. Also, the Docker image is open source and published at GitHub if you'd like to see how it's built. If you have a suggestion, feel free to open a pull request!
Since the beginning of the Koken public beta, Axis has been one of our most popular themes. It's a quiet, intentionally simple theme that combines center-aligned content with ample amounts of whitespace. It turns down the volume, and attempts to focus the viewer's attention on each and every image; similar to the experience of browsing a photo book or viewing a gallery exhibit.
Today we're excited to offer Axis 2, a completely revised version of the original Axis that maintains everything people loved about the original while extending and enhancing its design and customization options.
Here are a few of the new features included in Axis 2.
Grid layout control
Grids on content pages are now editable, allowing you to control the number of columns across all screen sizes, spacing, and the relative width of each column.
Redesigned mobile navigation
Visitors on smartphones may now browse your site through a persistent scroll-down menu that appears when clicking a button at the top. Mobile navigation also includes pagination buttons to scroll back to top or down to the next published item from anywhere in the page.
This menu appears automatically when a smartphone views your site, but you have the option of making this your primary navigation across all screens (as illustrated above) should you want even more whitespace and simplicity in your site design.
In addition to grid, list and slideshow layouts you also have the option of displaying your latest images, favorites, essays and timeline content as daily snapshots. This allows web site visitors to step through content one item at a time by day to help focus a viewer's attention.
Dynamic pagination, image heights
A common request from users of the original Axis was to help keep images from extending "beyond the fold" and allow pagination across pages without reloading the entire page (and then having to scroll down again). Axis 2 resolves both of these requests with images that scale automatically so they're never taller than a viewer's browser window and pagination links load neighboring content dynamically without page reloads.
Axis 2 adds additional templates for publishing a timeline, tags index, categories index, tag archive, category archive, and an alternate version of the home page slideshow that displays (and links to) featured albums instead of featured content.
Those are all the major new features you'll find in Axis 2. This is a premium theme priced at $60, which includes free technical support and upgrades. Check out the Axis 2 live demo to get an up close look at the new theme.
For users of the original Axis you may continue using the free theme for as long as you like, and we'll continue to update the theme with bug fixes and any necessary template improvements to reflect changes made to our Lens markup language.
Koken's built-in slideshow player - "Pulse" - now has the ability to scroll through content when swiped on smartphones and tablets. Simply touch a slideshow and swipe left or right to move the slideshow forward or backward. We think you'll agree it provides a more natural browsing experience that feels like a native app. View the front page our free Axis theme on your mobile device to see it in action.
Swiping is automatically turned-on for slideshows in most templates as well as all slideshows embedded in essays and pages. This applies to both new and existing slideshows on your site, and there's nothing for you to configure or change. Enable swiping today by signing-in to your Koken installation and upgrading to the latest release (0.16).
Also in this release we've optimized our responsive image publishing so replacement images are only requested if an element's size increases. The existing (larger) image is now re-used and downscaled if a parent element's size decreases instead of requesting a separate, smaller image. This saves bandwidth and avoids unnecessary image requests.
We've also added a setting that allows you to change your image processing software. This was added for users who install Koken on servers where multiple image processing software options are available and would rather use a different processor than the one Koken automatically selects at installation. You can find this new setting in Settings > Image Publishing.
This release also includes the usual round of bug fixes and optimizations, which you can read about in our release notes.
We've released an update for our Lightroom Publish Service plugin that addresses a few problems users have reported recently. Specifically, it resolves a bug that caused a recordPublishedPhotoUrl: must be called after recordPublishedPhotoId error to be shown inside of Lightroom. Also, we've improved how images that are members of more than one album are handled.
Head over to the Koken Store to download the update.