Development update: January-February 2023

A 3 minute read, posted Paul Dean on 27th February 2023.

Development update: January-February 2023

Welcome to our fourth Easy Eatery development update

After a welcome break over Christmas, we're full-steam ahead again, and we've had a very productive start to 2023. The past eight weeks have been transformative for Easy Eatery, and our recent progress brings us closer to launch.

Over the past few months, most of our activity has centred around getting the first early-access website live (not to mention the services and infrastructure required to support it), and there have been plenty of last-minute additions, changes and fixes implemented.

That being said, we've made progress in every area, and we're nearly ready to move to our next stage of development.

Fair warning, this update is one for developers.

We've integrated a leading global CDN, into Easy Eatery.

We've 'hopped' onto one of the fastest content-delivery networks in the world to deliver on our promise of lightning-fast performance for our customer's websites —

Our integration with bunny's cloud storage and global content delivery solutions will supercharge our customers' websites to deliver truly enterprise-grade performance and the best possible experience for their visitors.

Moreover, this exciting new integration makes it easier to grow Easy Eatery, and opens up future opportunities, such as allowing our customers to self-host automatically optimised video clips, for use on their website.

We've reviewed Easy Eatery's theme structure.

The past six or so months have seen Easy Eatery change dramatically. Every feature we've added or updated on our platform comes with corresponding updates to the structure of every theme.

Because these changes have been made on an ad-hoc basis for some time, things got a little complex under the hood. To address this, we've entirely refactored Easy Eatery's theme structure.

Every component that makes up an Easy Eatery website has its source code reviewed. We've:

  • Removed some legacy variables which are no longer required due to updates made since they were added to Easy Eatery.
  • Changed some page builder block options to make them more generic, whilst still allowing the site owner to understand the effect of the selected option.
  • Revised the naming convention for variables to make them more consistent throughout the theme, making life easier for developers creating and managing themes.
  • Added some new variables as they might be helpful to theme authors.

All this talk of variables leads us nicely into our next update...

We've enhanced our developer tools.

I've said it many times before, but one of our goals with Easy Eatery is to ensure that it's easy to create, edit and customise themes on our platform. As a result we've put a lot of hard work into our developer tools.

While we have been using, reviewing and updating our tools internally for several months, we've only recently begun to involve third-party developers and show them what we've created.

The feedback we've received has been very positive, but not without some valid criticism.

One query in particular that came up was about template variables. These are small text snippets added to your website's theme, which get replaced with text, images and other content when your customers visit your website.

We've often been asked "what variables exist for each theme file?" in the demos we've run.

We've added a variable 'cheat sheet' for every HTML file.

Whenever HTML files are open within the theme editor, a new button is now available on the toolbar with the label 'variables'. If you click this button, you'll be shown the cheat sheet, which you can see above.

The cheat sheet is split into three main parts:

  1. Unique variables - Variables unique to the file currently being modified in the theme editor.
  2. Global variables - Variables shared by every HTML file within your Easy Eatery theme.
  3. Attributes - These are modifiers for variables that change the output of the variable when used.

We've added a date-time format attribute.

In addition to the attributes we discussed in our previous development update, we've added a new attribute for date variables in January.

For any template variables representing dates (such as blog post publish dates), it's possible to use the DateTime formatting parameter to control how the dates are formatted when rendered.

We've decided to follow PHP's DateTime formatting practices for easy adoption.

For example, { [dt-format:F jS Y] }, would be output as January 22nd 2023.

This parameter can also be used with the tag flag, CSS class, and ID parameters.

We've launched our knowledge base.

After what feels like an eternity writing documentation, we've launched the initial version of our support portal, the Easy Eatery Knowledge Base.

Whilst now live, our knowledge base is still very much in development and many support articles and documents still waiting to be written.

We're adding more articles daily and planning our first round of tutorial videos to be available later this year.

We've also launched our changelog.

Easy Eatery's changelog will, to an extent, replace these posts in future. While I'll return to posting monthly development updates on our blog again, these future updates will be much shorter and more of a summary of changes.

Most content typically found in these posts will migrate to our changelog instead.

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Paul DeanPaul Dean

Paul is the owner and lead developer at Easy Eatery and is also senior web developer at the award-winning Cardiff-based digital creative agency, Blue Stag

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