Friday, July 06


What's Pixy Up To?

I'm preparing for the release of Minx 1.2. There will be a big post up on closer to the launch date, but for my faithful followers, here's a quicky:
  • The database is moving from MySQL to MongoDB plus ElasticSearch. This means we'll be switching from a conventional fixed-column database to a partially free-form document model for both the database and the search engine.

  • The core Minx engine is being rewritten in an API-centric model. The API will be available via RESTful HTTP, via URL selection strings, from Lua for user code, and from Python and Ruby for development code.

  • Non-core functions are being moved from Python code to user-accessible Lua scripts using LuaJIT. Custom scripts can be triggered by both template tags and BBCode tags.

  • Templates can be interpreted (as present) or compiled down to a sequence of equivalent Lua API calls. This is then compiled down to machine code at runtime. In other words, we're moving from an interpreted language on top of an interpeted language (the Meta template language written in Python) to pure native code.

  • Layout is moving to Twitter Bootstrap. It doesn't make CSS go away, but it does a good job of beating it into submission.

  • The primary editor is being upgraded to Innova Live Editor. I have a source code license for the editor, plus the plugins for photo insert, photo retouch, video insert, drawing, and CSS buttons.


  • As an alternate editor I've licensed Redactor, which is lighter-weight than Innova but still very capable.


  • If you prefer working directly with markup, Minx 1.2 supports not just HTML and BBCode, but also Textile and Markdown, and I'm integrating the markItUp! editor to make it all easy.


  • For programming in the Minx environment, you can use Ace, which provides you with neat Lua syntax highlighting.


  • The dashboard will be getting a significant upgrade. I'm testing a very powerful Bootstrap-compatible admin theme called Utopia, and adapting it to work with the Minx API.


  • It will have lots of new features for managing your content.


  • You'll be able to use all those features on your blogs as well. It also comes with a fifth option for your editing needs, CLEditor. I prefer Innova or Redactor, but it's already been integrated with the rest of the dashboard, so including it is less effort than removing it.

  • For all your graphing and charting needs (within the admin panel, and on your site if you're into that sort of thing), I've licensed Highcharts.


  • And JWPlayer is available for embedded video.


  • Over a thousand new banner images and hundreds of new fonts to make your site semi-unique.

  • Support for other protocols (SMTP, POP, IMAP, NNTP, XMPP, FTP, SFTP) is under development, but will likely ship in a subsequent point release.

  • Experimental support for d3.js and Processing.js.

  • Image processing templates - apply Python Imaging Library and ImageMagick filters on your images on demand.

  • Pull in content from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr,, Deviantart, and Tumblr to fill up that dusty sidebar.

  • And... Tired. Here's some pics. More later.


  • Oh, and, for when you really need to turn your text into a swarm of blue neon bees:


  • Plus: BBCode Editor and Pure Editor Lite, Rama and Before-After sliders,  Social Media Tabs, Showbiz Carousel, Showcase, Hoverall, and Neon Text Effects.
  • And if that's not enough for you, I've also licensed this design pack (called Impressionist) in five different styles.  This is all done as Photoshop shapes, so it's not exactly drag-and-drop into Minx, and trying to load it into PS CS6 murders poor Nagi (I really need to get Shana and Lina up and running).  But it gives us some interesting possibilities, eye-candy-wise.


  • Basic Bootstrap looks like this.  The previous release (1.4) had quite a few rough edges; the current version (2.0.4) is much improved.  It's not as glossy as Impressionist or some of the jQuery plugins, but it's clean and functional.


  • And if you're still hungy, I've also licensed the FuturicoPro design by the creator of Impressionist.  Three styles, two dark, one light:


Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:30 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Sounds more like 2.0 than 1.2.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Saturday, July 07 2012 09:50 AM (5OBKC)

2 I'm tempted to just call it and release it without prior notice, given that it's been cooking for nearly four years.

It's changed direction a couple of times because quite a few of the things I'm using now simply didn't exist four years ago.  Even two years ago there were no really solid alternatives to SQL for the database, and I was working on my own scripting language because support for Lua and JavaScript in Python just wasn't there.  ElasticSearch, which is now the obvious choice for this sort of application, only appeared in 2010 too.

The whole thing has been terribly delayed because I've been working endless overtime at my day job.  But that extra income meant that I could splash out on neat stuff like the editors, the control panel, and all the jQuery plugins.  (I've only listed about half of them so far...)  And a shiny new server or two as well.  So there's some upside, at least.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, July 07 2012 10:08 AM (PiXy!)

3 My jaw dropped.  Then I wondered if the four of us still on will be able to use this/

Posted by: Wonderduck at Sunday, July 08 2012 01:35 AM (ifb6Y)

4 Definitely.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, July 08 2012 03:10 AM (PiXy!)

5 Heck, I can barely use any of what we've already got (how do you set up categores?  What do the publishing statuses besides Publish and Draft do, and will one of them let me preview a post before I make it live?)  But if the new editors don't home the browser window after I paste, I'll be happy.

Posted by: Mauser at Monday, July 09 2012 12:47 PM (cZPoz)

6 You can set up categories as folders with a type of "Category".
But yes, a big part of this will be a more intuitive (and better-documented) dashboard.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, July 09 2012 02:11 PM (PiXy!)

7 I suppose this may be finally the time for me to put together a Meenuvia client that I meant to do a long time ago, using the promised RESTful API. Back when I started thinking about it, the only portable platform was iPhone, which did not interest me at all. Now we have a legion of Droid devices.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, July 11 2012 02:48 AM (dON//)

8 I'm going to bring up a test instance on a VPS soon; I'm happy to give you an API key so that you can try things out.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, July 11 2012 07:01 AM (PiXy!)

9 Do keep us up-to-date. I am about to start another blog, this one commercially inspired, and will consider alternatives to WordPress.

Posted by: Michael Rittenhouse at Tuesday, July 24 2012 09:01 AM (2Oas0)

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