Upgrade Pico 1.0 to Pico 2.0

Let us take you on a journey to Pico’s next evolutionary stage!

We are not exaggerating, when we say that Pico 2.0 is the next evolutionary stage of Pico! From routing, over Pico’s plugin and theme system, to cutting of “old habbits” - there’s basically not a single aspect of Pico we didn’t improve. Making Pico simpler, faster, and more flexible than ever before! Best of all, there are no major breaks in backwards compatibility.

If you have a question about one of the new features of Pico 2.0, the upgrade process, or about Pico in general, please check out the “Getting Help” section of the docs and don’t be afraid to open a new Issue on GitHub.

Upgrading to Pico 2.0

Do you remember when you installed Pico? It was ingeniously simple, wasn’t it? Upgrading Pico 1.0 to Pico 2.0 is no difference! Since it’s a new major release, the changes are pretty heavy - but this shouldn’t affect you much. The upgrade process can be summed up in just one sentence: Install Pico ordinarily as if it were a new website, and copy all of your site-specific files (like assets, the config file, your content files, plugins and themes). For convenience, there are step-by-step instructions provided below.

  1. Create a backup of your Pico installation. You will need the files later!

  2. Empty your installation directory and install Pico just ordinarily. We recommend installing Pico using Composer whenever possible. Trust us, you won’t regret it when it comes to upgrading Pico! For more information about Composer, refer to the “Pico and Composer, a perfect match” section below. If you don’t want to use Composer, please don’t forget about uploading hidden files like .htaccess.

  3. Copy config/config.php from your backup to your new Pico installation. It’s not strictly necessary, but we highly recommend you to convert your PHP config file to a YAML config file (i.e. config/config.yml). Please refer to the “Use YAML files to configure Pico” section below for more details.

  4. Copy both the assets (if present) and the content folder from your backup to Pico’s installation directory. They are fully compatible, so no changes are necessary. 😊

  5. If applicable, copy the folder of your custom theme within the backed themes directory to your Pico installation. We made various improvements to Pico’s theme system, but the most important change (because it might break your theme) is that Pico now requires Twig templates to use the .twig file extension. So, if your custom theme still uses .html file extensions (like index.html), rename all templates to *.twig. If your theme uses includes (e.g. {% include "header.html" %}), you must change the file extension there as well. Naturally this isn’t the only change, but none of them is strictly necessary, though highly recommended. So, please refer to the “Amazing new features for theme developers” section below for more details. If you’re using a 3rd-party theme, make sure to check whether there’s a new version available. If you encounter any problems, please refer to the theme developer - the theme might need to be updated to work with Pico 2.0.

  6. Provided that you’re using plugins, copy all of your plugins from the backed plugins directory to your Pico installation. Don’t copy the outdated files 00-PicoDeprecated.php, 01-PicoParsePagesContent.php, 02-PicoExcerpt.php and DummyPlugin.php. Pico 2.0 heavily improves the plugin system and unfortunately also introduces some backwards-incompatible changes. The most important change is that Pico no longer tries to interpret any file in the plugins directory as plugin, but this also means that it might ignore a plugin or stumble over a superfluous file. If all of your plugins consist of just a single file (i.e. plugins/<plugin name>.php), you’re likely good to go. However, if you’re copying folders to your plugins directory, please note that Pico now only interprets plugins/<plugin name>/<plugin name>.php as plugin. So make sure to check whether there are updates available for the plugins you use. You might want to take the opportunity to switch to Composer, it makes keeping your plugins up-to-date way easier. Please refer to the “Pico and Composer, a perfect match” section below for more details. If one of your plugins stops working after upgrading to Pico 2.0, please refer to the plugin developer - the plugin needs to be updated. You want to know more about the improvements in Pico’s plugin system? Just refer to the “Use Pico’s next generation plugin system” section below.

Please take the opportunity to check whether your webserver is proberly configured, and access to Pico’s internal files and directories is denied. Just refer to the “URL Rewriting” section in the docs. By following the instructions, you will not just enable URL rewriting, but also deny access to Pico’s internal files and directories. Please note that you should configure your webserver slightly different for Pico 2.0 than for Pico 1.0, so you should update your webserver config no matter what.

That’s the bare minimum you need to know when upgrading to Pico 2.0. However, there’s way more to know. Thus we highly recommend you to keep reading, the things you’ll learn, will not disappoint you!

Use YAML files to configure Pico

Configuring Pico is now easier than ever before. Up to this point, Pico used a regular PHP file, the programming language Pico is written in, for its config (config/config.php). However, dealing with PHP isn’t “stupidly simple”, especially for non-developers: It has some pretty strict and unapparent syntax rules, and just the slightest typo results in a PHP error and breaking your whole website. That’s not what we want!

For this reason we’re happy to anounce YAML config files! As a Pico user you know YAML from the YAML header of your content files, thus it was the obvious choice. But we didn’t stop there. Rather than having just a single config file, you can now use a arbitrary number of config files. Simply create a .yml file in Pico’s config directory and you’re good to go. This allows you to add some structure to your config, like a separate config file for your theme (config/my_theme.yml).

Just take a look at the config/config.yml.template and create your own config file config/config.yml. Even though we still support the old PHP config file (config/config.php), we highly recommend you to replace it by a appropiate config/config.yml. We will likely drop support of config/config.php in Pico’s next major release.

Please note that Pico loads config files in a special way you should be aware of. First of all it loads the main config file config/config.yml, and then any other *.yml file in Pico’s config directory in alphabetical order. The file order is crucial: Config values which have been set already, cannot be overwritten by a succeeding file. For example, if you set site_title: Pico in config/a.yml and site_title: My awesome site! in config/b.yml, your site title will be “Pico”.

Since YAML files are plain text files, users might read your Pico config by navigating to https://example.com/pico/config/config.yml. This is no problem in the first place, but might get a problem if you use plugins that require you to store security-relevant data in the config (like credentials). Thus you should always make sure to configure your webserver to deny access to Pico’s config dir. Just refer to the “URL Rewriting” section in the docs. By following the instructions, you will not just enable URL rewriting, but also deny access to Pico’s config dir.

Pico and Composer, a perfect match

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve incorporated Composer in our work flow, allowing you to benefit from Composer’s amazing functionality. We’ve used Composer from the beginning to resolve Pico’s dependencies (e.g. Twig and Symfony’s YAML parser), however, this didn’t really affect the average Pico user. We as developers love Composer, it was therefore obvious to think about how we could let you, the user, benefit from Composer - and we think we don’t promise too much when we say that it worked out great! Composer allows you to install and update both Pico itself, as well as plugins and themes with just a single command.

Starting with Pico 2.0 you can (but are not required to!) use Composer to manage your Pico installation. The only thing you need is Shell access to your webserver. You don’t have Shell access to your webserver? Don’t despair, you can still use Pico’s pre-bundled release, and install plugins and themes the same way as with Pico 1.0. However, if you have Shell access to your webserver, we recommend you to use Composer to manage your Pico installation. Trust us, you won’t regret it when it comes to upgrading Pico!

Anyway, it’s not like you can’t change your mind later. Pico’s pre-bundled release is basically just a Composer installation packed in a ZIP archive. There’s virtually no difference between a pre-bundled release and a Composer installation, both use picocms/pico-composer as a basis.

Installing a new plugin or theme is just a single command away. If you want to install e.g. Pico’s official File Prefixes plugin, you just have to run composer require phrozenbyte/pico-file-prefixes - that’s it! You later want to update Pico and all your plugins? Simply run composer update.

You’re a plugin or themes developer, and you want to let your users benefit from this amazing new feature? It’s picocms/composer-installer that is responsible for installing plugins and themes. Just add { "type": "pico-plugin" } or { "type": "pico-theme" } to your composer.json, and you’re ready to go. Please refer to the installer’s README.md for more info.

Amazing new features for theme developers

Theme developers have always been a subject close to our hearts, and with Pico 2.0 we make them more powerful than ever before. Sure, we love Pico’s plugin system, but let’s face it: PHP isn’t as easy as Twig. Thus we introduce two amazing new features, allowing theme developers to do things only plugin developers could do before: Accessing HTTP GET and HTTP POST parameters, and accessing pages using a tree structure. If your theme stops working after upgrading to Pico 2.0, please refer to the theme developer - the theme needs to be updated.

Starting with Pico 2.0 you can use the url_param and form_param Twig functions to access HTTP GET (i.e. a URL’s query string like ?some-variable=my-value) and HTTP POST (i.e. data of a submitted form) parameters. This allows you to implement things like pagination, tags and categories, dynamic pages, and even more - with pure Twig! Simply head over to our introductory page for accessing HTTP parameters for details.

The second major improvement for theme developers is the introduction of page trees. Did you ever wanted to use dropdowns for your page navigation? Well, this wasn’t that easy before… But no longer! Starting with Pico 2.0 you can use Pico’s built-in page tree to implement awesome new features like recursive menus. The page tree even makes things like iterating through just a page’s direct child pages way easier. Just head over to our page tree documentation for details.

Besides adding amazing new features we always strive for improving Pico’s existing features. One of our main goals for Pico 2.0 was to improve consistency. The only backwards-incompatible change that affects theme developers is that Pico now requires all Twig templates to use the .twig file extension. This change allows a way better integration of plugins and themes: Many plugins generate HTML markup that is hard-coded into the plugin’s PHP source code. This isn’t a very flexible approach, so we rather recommend plugin developers to create small Twig templates to parse the HTML markup. Using a consistent file extension now allows you, the theme developer, to overwrite a plugin’s Twig template. If you’re still using the .html file extension, you don’t have to do more than just change all file extensions to .twig. If your theme uses includes (e.g. {% include "header.html" %}), you must change the file extension there as well.

Another very important change is the way how Pico handles YAML meta headers: Starting with Pico 2.0 we no longer lower a meta header’s key unsolicited. If a user adds SomeKey: value to a page’s meta data, you must use {{ meta["SomeKey"] }} (rather than {{ meta["somkey"] }} as of Pico 1.0) to access the meta header’s value. Pico furthermore no longer compares meta headers case insensitive - this caused to many confusion in the past. There will be a transitional phase in which we preserve backwards compatibility with Pico’s official PicoDeprecated plugin: With Pico 2.0 you can access a meta header like SomeKey: value through both {{ meta["SomeKey"] }} (recommended) and {{ meta["somkey"] }} (deprecated). However, please note that this transitional phase will end with Pico’s next major release (i.e. Pico 3.0).

Besides the bigger new features, Pico 2.0 introduces some more smaller improvements and changes:

  • The markdown Twig filter now supports passing meta data to replace %meta.*% placeholders (e.g. {{ "Written *by %meta.author%*"|markdown(meta) }} yields “Written by John Doe”)
  • The sory_by Twig filter now supports the remove fallback, telling Pico to remove all pages that couldn’t be sorted (e.g. {% for page in pages|sort_by("time", "remove") %} iterates through all pages with a valid Date meta header)
  • Besides accessing the current page’s respective previous and next page, you can now access the respective next and previous page for any page (e.g. {{ pages["sub/page"].next_page.title }})
  • The rewrite_url and is_front_page Twig variables have been removed (use {{ config.rewrite_url }} and {{ current_page.id == "index" }} instead)
  • You can now access Pico’s current version string (e.g. 2.0.0) using the {{ version }} Twig variable and %version% Markdown placeholder

Use Pico’s next generation plugin system

One of Pico’s greatest strenghts is its expandability - but what would this be without plugin developers? Yes, we’re talking about those awesome guys making so much possible! Pico 2.0 introduces a vast number of improvements for plugin developers. If you’re not a plugin developer, most of the changes won’t affect you directly, however, two major changes are important for every Pico user: Starting with Pico 2.0 we load plugins in a different way, what might affect how the plugins you use work. If one of your plugins stops working after upgrading to Pico 2.0, please refer to the plugin developer - the plugin needs to be updated.

Pico 2.0 no longer tries to load arbitrary files in the plugins directory as plugin. If you use a very old plugin that doesn’t follow our plugin recommendations, Pico might stumble over a superfluous file or ignore a plugin. Plugins consisting of just a single file (i.e. plugins/<plugin name>.php) aren’t affected by this, however, if you use folders in your plugins directory, note that starting with Pico 2.0 only the plugins/<plugin name>/<plugin name>.php file is interpreted as plugin. Make sure to remove superfluous files in your plugins directory and to upgrade all of your plugins when upgrading to Pico 2.0.

The second major change to Pico’s plugin system is in which order plugins are executed. Starting with Pico 2.0 we use a plugin dependency topology to change the execution order of plugins. Previously plugins were loaded in strict alphabetical order, so plugin A was executed before plugin B. However, what if plugin A depends on plugin B? This usually means that plugin B does things that plugin A depends on, and thus plugin B must be run before plugin A. Previously you had to ensure this yourself by renaming the plugin and adding numeric prefixes. This is no longer necessary. Pico now loads plugins, on which other plugins depend, before their dependants, so plugin B is executed before plugin A automatically.

That’s the important stuff for any Pico user. If you’re one of our splendid plugin developers, please refer to the “Developer News” section below for a complete list of all improvements.

Everything else that was happening…

But wait, there’s more than that! There’s a pretty big number of other important changes to Pico. First of all, we’ve updated our dependencies. Pico 2.0 now depends on Twig 1.35, Symfony YAML 2.8 and Parsedown 1.6.

The most obvious improvement of Pico 2.0 is likely Pico’s new default theme. It doesn’t look much different, but is actually rewritten from scratch. We’ve designed Pico’s new default theme as the perfect starting point for creating your own theme. It demonstrates some of Pico’s features and comes with a sleek design. This doesn’t only apply to the theme’s appearance, but also to its code: the Twig, HTML, CSS and JavaScript code was written with simplicity as main goal, despite being fully compatible with any modern browser. Simply copy the theme’s directory (themes/default to e.g. themes/my_theme) and start editing your theme! Please note that Pico’s default theme is no longer maintained in Pico’s core repository, but the picocms/pico-theme repository.

As in Pico 1.0, we heavily improved Pico’s routing system with Pico 2.0. One feature frequently requested was dropping the superfluous /index part from Pico’s URLs. Thus the page content/sub/index.md now corresponds to the URL https://example.com/pico/sub rather than https://example.com/pico/sub/index. Another source of confusion was enabling URL rewriting for webservers other than Apache. This is a thing of the past now! Pico 2.0 supports the REQUEST_URI routing method, allowing your webserver to simply rewrite all requests to just index.php. This makes enabling URL rewriting easier than ever before. For example, if you’re using nginx, a simple try_files directive is sufficient to enable URL rewriting. Just refer to the “URL Rewriting” section in the docs for details.

Pico 2.0 also changes its behavior regarding the content directory. First of all, Pico now searches for content/index.md when trying to auto-detect the content directory. A empty content directory no longer confuses Pico. More importantly, Pico now treats content files and directories prefixed by _ as hidden. If a user requests a hidden page, e.g. https://example.com/pico/my/_hidden/page, Pico responds with a 404 page, even though the content file content/my/_hidden/page.md exists. Hidden pages are still in Pico’s pages list (the Pico::$pages array), but are moved to the end when sorted alphabetically or by date. This allows you to specify content files specifically meant to be included, like content/_meta.md in Pico’s sample contents. Speaking of 404 pages: Pico now comes with a built-in 404 page as fallback when no content/404.md is found. Pico furthermore no longer responds with a 200 OK HTTP status code when explicitly requesting a 404 page.

As described earlier (see the “Use YAML files to configure Pico” section above), you can now use YAML files to configure Pico. However, not just the config format changed, there are some additional config parameters, too! Starting with Pico 2.0, you can sort Pico’s pages list (the Pico::$pages array) by arbitrary meta values. This was a frequently requested feature and allows you to e.g. sort pages by author. Simply set pages_order_by: meta in your config/config.yml and set the pages_order_by_meta config parameter to the meta header you want to sort pages by (e.g. pages_order_by_meta: author). Speaking of sorting pages, if you specify a sorting method Pico’s core doesn’t recognise (i.e. something else than alpha, date or meta), it leaves sorting the pages list up to a plugin.

But that’s not all! Pico 2.0 allows you to configure Parsedown and change how your Markdown files are parsed. You can now use the original Parsedown parser instead of ParsedownExtra, enable breaks or escaping, or disable auto-linking URLs in your markup. Just take a look at the content_config config parameters in config/config.yml.template for more information. Last but not least, you can now use the theme_url config parameter to manually specify the URL to Pico’s themes directory.

Pico 2.0 also introduces some more smaller improvements and changes:

  • You can now explicitly specify the date_formatted (a formatted date string) and time (a Unix timestamp) meta headers in a page’s YAML Front Matter
  • As announced earlier, Pico 2.0 drops the PicoParsePagesContent (use the content Twig filter instead, e.g. {{ "sub/page"|content }}) and PicoExcerpt (use the description meta header instead, e.g. {{ meta.description }} in Twig templates or %meta.description% in Markdown files) plugins
  • Pico now uses the relative path between index.php and Pico::$themesDir when guessing Pico’s theme URL
  • Pico’s .htaccess file for Apache webservers now includes a directive to deny access to all “dot files” (i.e. files beginning with a ., e.g. the .git directory) by default; you should update your webserver config if you use another webserver
  • Pico’s default installation now includes empty assets and content directories
  • Pico’s official PicoDeprecated plugin is no longer maintained in Pico’s core repository, but the picocms/pico-deprecated repository

Developer News

We’ve learned much today about a great number of new features and the possibilities they will open up, but that’s not all! There are many more improvements and changes that don’t affect the average Pico user, but developers. Below you will find all changes that weren’t mentioned and explained in detail above. It’s a extract of Pico’s CHANGELOG.md. Please note that changes that break backwards compatibility (BC) are marked with an ! (exclamation mark). This doesn’t include changes for which BC is preserved by Pico’s official PicoDeprecated plugin.

Starting with Pico 2.0 we follow the best practices for license information of the REUSE Initiative. For this reason we’ve added license and copyright headers (Pico is released under the MIT license) to all of Pico’s relevant files. Pico is furthermore adopting the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) used by serveral other major Open Source projects. By contributing to Pico, you accept and agree to the terms and conditions of both the MIT license and the DCO for your present and future contributions submitted to Pico.

If you have a question about one of the new features of Pico 2.0, please check out the “Getting Help” section of the docs and don’t be afraid to open a new Issue on GitHub. For a complete list of what we have changed with Pico 2.0, please refer to our CHANGELOG.md.

Pico events

* [New] Add Pico API versioning for plugins (see `Pico::API_VERSION` constant);
        Pico now triggers events on plugins using the latest API version only
        ("native" plugins), `PicoDeprecated` takes care of all other plugins;
        as a result, old plugin's always depend on `PicoDeprecated` now
* [New] Add `onPluginManuallyLoaded` event (see `Pico::loadPlugin()` method)
* [New] Add `onYamlParserRegistered` event (see `Pico::getYamlParser()` method)
* [New] Add `onSinglePageLoading` event, allowing one to skip a page
* [New] Add `onSinglePageContent` event
* [Changed] ! Don't pass `$plugins` parameter to `onPluginsLoaded` event by
            reference anymore; use `Pico::loadPlugin()` instead
* [Changed] Overhaul page discovery events: add `onPagesDiscovered` event which
            is triggered right before `Pico::$pages` is sorted and move the
            `$currentPage`, `$previousPage` and `$nextPage` parameters of the
            `onPagesLoaded` event to the new `onCurrentPageDiscovered` event
* [Changed] Move the `$twig` parameter of the `onPageRendering` event to the
            `onTwigRegistered` event, replacing the `onTwigRegistration` event
* [Changed] Unify the `onParsedownRegistration` event by renaming it to
            `onParsedownRegistered` and add the `$parsedown` parameter
* [Changed] ! The events `onYamlParserRegistered`, `onParsedownRegistered`,
            `onTwigRegistered` and `onMetaHeaders` are no longer part of Pico's
            event flow and are now triggered on demand and just once
* [Removed] Remove superfluous parameters of various events to reduce Pico's
            error-proneness (plugins hopefully interfere with each other less)

Pico API

* [New] Add public `Pico::getVendorDir()` method, returning Pico's installation
        directory (i.e. `/var/www/pico/vendor/picocms/pico`); don't confuse
        this with composer's `vendor/` dir!
* [New] Add public `Pico::loadPlugin()` method and the corresponding
        `onPluginManuallyLoaded` event
* [New] Add public `Pico::resolveFilePath()` method (replaces the protected
        `Pico::discoverRequestFile()` method)
* [New] Add public `Pico::is404Content()` method
* [New] Add public `Pico::getYamlParser()` method and the corresponding
        `onYamlParserRegistered` event
* [New] Add public `Pico::substituteFileContent()` method
* [New] Add public `Pico::getPageId()` method
* [New] Add public `Pico::getBaseThemeUrl()` method
* [New] Add public `Pico::getFilesGlob()` method
* [New] Add public `AbstractPicoPlugin::getPluginConfig()` method
* [New] Add `$enableLocalPlugins` parameter to `Pico::__construct()` to allow
        website developers to disable local plugin discovery by scanning the
        `plugins/` dir (i.e. load plugins from `vendor/pico-plugin.php` only)
* [New] Add `$default` parameter to `Pico::getConfig()` method
* [Changed] Change method visibility of `Pico::getFiles()` to public
* [Changed] Change method visibility of `Pico::triggerEvent()` to public;
            at first glance this method triggers events on native plugins only,
            however, `PicoDeprecated` takes care of triggering events for other
            plugins, thus you can use this method to trigger (custom) events on
            all plugins; never use it to trigger Pico core events!


* [New] Improve release & build process and move most build tools to the new
        `picocms/ci-tools` repo, allowing them to be used by other projects
* [New] Add Pico version constants (`Pico::VERSION` and `Pico::VERSION_ID`),
        and add a `version` Twig variable and `%version%` Markdown placeholder
* [New] Add a theme and plugin installer for composer; Pico now additionally
        uses the new `vendor/pico-plugin.php` file to discover plugins
        installed by composer and loads them using composer's autoloader;
        see the `picocms/composer-installer` repo for more details; Pico
        loads plugins installed by composer first and ignores conflicting
        plugins in Pico's `plugins/` dir
* [Changed] ! Disallow running the same Pico instance multiple times by
            throwing a `RuntimeException` when calling `Pico::run()`
* [Changed] ! Throw a `RuntimeException` when non-native plugins are loaded,
            but Pico's `PicoDeprecated` plugin is not loaded
* [Changed] Flip registered meta headers array, so that the array key is used
            to search for a meta value and the array value is used to store the
            found meta value (previously it was the other way round)
* [Changed] ! Change `AbstractPicoPlugin::$enabled`'s behavior: setting it to
            TRUE now leads to throwing a `RuntimeException` when the plugin's
            dependencies aren't fulfilled; use NULL to maintain old behavior
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Pico was made by Gilbert Pellegrom and is maintained by The Pico Community. Released under the MIT license.