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Friendica 3.5 "Asparagus" released

After one and a half year of developing the "Lily of the Valley" (these are some 2100 commits by 26 people) it is time to welcome the "Asparagus", which brings many exciting new things, small improvements and many fixes along the way. Big Thanks to everyone who was involved in the process.

What is new in Friendica 3.5?

For the users most visible are the new theme Frio (which is currently marked as experimental) and enhancements to the vier theme. Both are mobile friendly so you don't need to select a special theme when you are using one of them. Another visible aspect are the events. You can now signal your attendance to an event. Also sharing events was improved. Profiles now contain an overview of the public events and, if you like, links to export these events as ical or csv file.

Behind the curtain large parts of the code have been rewritten to improve the performance of Friendica and the federation with other projects using the OStatus or Diaspora protocols. The background processes can now be better controled by the node admin(s) by managing the workers. For a better overview in the code, you can now use doxygen.

With this release we also dropped the support for old versions of PHP and MySQL. The requirements are now PHP 5.4+ and MySQL 5.5.3+. or an equivalant alternative for MySQL (MariaDB, Percona Server etc.).

For a more complete list of changes, please have a look into the CHANGELOG or watch the gource visualization.

How to update?

If you have an installation using git, all you have to do is a git pull in the friendica and the addons directory. That will fetch the new version from the master branch and you are ready to go. Alternatively you can find a zip file of the released version of friendica at github.com for download. Just unzip it on your local machine and replace the files on your server with the new files.

Changes to the database will be applied automatically in the background. Especially on larger nodes the changes to the database structure might take some time in which your server will be in the service mode (maybe several hours). Additionally there are several changes to the data that are done in the background. These changes will cause a higher system load for some time (perhaps several days or weeks) but should not affect it too much since they are done sequentially to spare ressurces. Until the data update is finished some functionality will not work completely. For example the search for user posts will not return all data.

If you want to use the bleeding edge code and thus helping the project to discover problems, you should use the git method. Then checkout the develop branch of the source tree and let us know if you encounter something odd.

Update (Sept 17th): Some users reported unexpected high system load and hight numbers of PHP processes after the update to Friendica 3.5. This did not manifest in the tests before. To avoid these, please deactivated the cron job before making the update. Make the update as described above and then go to the admin panel. There is a new section "Worker", which is a new mechanism to handle the background process. Please activate it and also activate the fastlane. Afterwards reactivate the cron job again.

How to contribute?

If you want to contribute to the project you do not need to have coding experience. There are a number of tasks listed in the issue traker with the label "Junior Jobs" we think are good for new contributors. But you are by no means limited to these—if you find a solution to a problem (even a new one) please make a pull request at github or let us know in the development forum.

Contribution to Friendica is also not limited to coding. Any contribution to the documentation, the translation or advertisement materials is welcome or reporting a problem. You don't need to deal with git(hub) or Transifex if you don't like to. Just get in touch with us and we will get the materials to the appropriate places.

Have fun :-)

P..S. as in the last years, we are planning a Hackathon at e-lok in Berlin in November on the weekend of the 19th and 20th.

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