New features in sh404SEF 4.7 and roadmap
Today we're happy to release version 4.7.0 of sh404SEF. Though still in the 4.x branch, it is an important release, where we can start to see the benefits of taking back control of support and sales of our products last April.
What conclusion did we draw from these 6 months?
First, sh404SEF must be simpler to use. The data it provides must be more accessible. This is not about removing features, as SEO is a more than ever evolving topic. We need more features, but better laid out, and in a more modern layout.
Second, SEO, like many online activities, is more and more data-centric. We must provide more data - that's easy!, but more importantly relevant data and, again, in a very easily accessed way.
So that's the direction we're taking sh404SEF and you will find already some of it in this new version 4.7.0: a modernized interface, and more data, relevant to your daily webmastering tasks.
You will now get access to hits, referrer, user agent, IP address and whether links are internal or external for the 404 errors happening on your site, for the redirects you have setup and the short URLS (shURL) provided by sh404SEF.
This will prove very helpful when trying to fix bad links on your site, but also to analyze your marketing or social campaigns.
We have now added support for Referrer policy tag - to better protect your users, to Analytics enhanced link attribution for better understanding how users behave on your site and reworked the 404 page handling to finally be able to handle pretty much all errors, even if your template or other extensions say otherwise.
In preparation for updating the Analytics features and others, we have added ACL support, and access to various parts of sh404SEF can now be granted to separate users groups with standard Joomla ACL functions.
We have removed a few settings, and that is a trend. Duplicating the "Enable URL rewriting" setting of Joomla! was not needed any longer now that we can't provide alternative rewriting methods for instance.
Though our roadmap is as with many projects a moving target, we have established the following objectives for the coming months:
- Rewrite our Analytics module to provide more relevant and actionable data, faster
- Provide more information on search engines crawling/indexing facts and issues
- Automate some crucial SEO function such as noindexing pages
Please also note that support for Joomla! 2.x will cease on December 31, 2015. Currently, new features are only added to the Joomla 3.x version, with only a few exceptions. The Joomla 2.5 version of sh404SEF available at that time will still be available for download after that date, as a courtesy and for an as of now undetermined period, but in a "frozen" state. It won't get any update after that.
[EDIT]To clarify the wording used above, "end of support" includes both providing updates to the software as well as technical support for Joomla 2.x based web sites.