I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news: CaRP version 4.0 is finally ready for release.

The bad news: I'm going to be out of town for a week and won't be able to release it before then, so you'll have to wait till the 26th or so to get your hands on it.

The good news: it's got a bunch of powerful new features that are going to make things that used to be hard or impossible easy.

The bad news: it's not going to be a free upgrade.

The good news: correction – it will be free for some people, and discounts will be available for others.

Let me tell you about it...

Things That Used To Be Hard Are Now Easy

Atom Feeds: It used to be hard to display Atom feeds using CaRP – you had to convert them to RSS using Grouper first, and then have CaRP display Grouper's output. Now, CaRP 4.0 (Koi and Evolution, but not the free version) have seamless support for both Atom 0.3 and 1.0 feeds. CaRP will automatically detect the format of the feed and process it correctly.

Mashup Feeds: It used to be hard to filter and aggregate multiple feeds and republish their contents as a “mashup” feed – you had to install CaRP, Grouper Evolution and Moray. And then you had to figure out how to get them to work together. Now CaRP Evolution 4.0 can output RSS 2.0 feeds as easily as it outputs HTML, so feed filtering and remixing is a snap.

Tables, Alternating Colors, etc.: It used to be hard to display feeds in a table with individual stories in multiple columns and rows – you had to repeat the same settings for CaRP Evolution's Flex Format plugin over and over, once for every row in the table. Now CaRP Evolution 4.0's FlexFormat plugin has a new option for repeating settings, so it's easy to put feeds in tables, to alternate the background colors of stories, etc.

Isolated Servers: It used to be hard to install CaRP on a server that wasn't connected to the internet – the installer script would stop part way through when it failed to load a test feed. Now CaRP 4.0's installer script has the ability to load a test feed from your own server, or to skip displaying a test feed altogether.

Reader Comment:
healthstarman said:
I just discovered Carp tonight ... a few hours ago, and I keep coming back to it - it looks brilliant! Its 5 in the morning here (in Ireland) and I'm tired and going for it, can't wait 'til 2morrow, here we go ... Carpe Diem or what :)
(join the conversation below)

Adding 'rel=”nofollow”' And Other Attributes To Links: It used to be hard to make “nofollow” links – you had to tell CaRP how to build the link tag by combining the URL with the headline by yourself. Now CaRP 4.0 enables you to easily add any attributes you want to link tags, so you can use CaRP's easy built-in link and title combining code (...but I still advocate not using “nofollow” – it's how you “pay” people for the content they're giving you).

Things That Used To Be Impossible Are Now Easy Too

Grouping By Date: It used to be impossible to display a date header just once before all of the items published on that date, or to otherwise group the items from each date together. Now CaRP Evolution 4.0 has a plugin named Group Date that does that.

Editing Before Storing In MySQL: It used to be impossible to alter the content of a feed before storing it in a MySQL database – the MySQL plugin stored the data before the Replace Text plugin had a chance to work on it. Now CaRP Evolution 4.0's Replace Text plugin can clean up or truncate the data before it's saved to the database. It can also edit link URLs (for example, to fix relative URLs) without having to worry about messing up the headline text or formatting, etc.

Aggregating Feeds Without Dates: It used to be impossible to reliably aggregate feeds whose individual items didn't have timestamps, because aggregated feeds were sorted by date. Now CaRP 4.0 has an “interleave” function that takes one item from each feed being aggregated, then another from each, etc., without sorting by date.

Pricing Update

Atom support was the missing feature that's kept me from raising the price of CaRP for the last few years. To use Atom feeds, you had to shell out another $25 for Grouper Evolution. Now that CaRP can handle Atom without Grouper, I'll be raising the price to $47 for a single user license.

Since this isn't going to be a free upgrade, I was torn – how could I be fair to people who'd purchased Grouper Evolution only to get Atom support? What I've decided is that anyone who has purchased both CaRP (either Koi or Evolution) and Grouper Evolution (version 1.4 or later, or who've also purchased the XML plugins pack) will get the upgrade for free. (CaRP Koi isn't available for purchase anymore, but I'm still producing it, so Koi buyers who've bought Grouper will get CaRP Koi 4.0).

Here's how the pricing will work for everyone else (single user prices):

  1. For the first 5 days after CaRP 4.0 is released I'll be offering the following special pricing:
    • Buyers of CaRP Koi or Evolution 3.x will get CaRP Koi or Evolution 4.0 for $10.
    • Buyers of CaRP Koi 3.x and Grouper Evolution (version 1.4 or higher) can upgrade to CaRP Evolution 4.0 for $17.
    • Buyers of Grouper Evolution (version 1.4 or higher) can buy CaRP Evolution 4.0 for $22.
    • Everyone else will get CaRP Evolution 4.0 for $39.97 (the same price as buying CaRP Evolution 3.x now and upgrading for $10).
  2. After the first 5 days, CaRP Evolution 3.x buyers will be able to upgrade for $17, and CaRP Koi 3.x buyers will be able to upgrade to CaRP Evolution 4.0 for $27 (but will no longer be able to upgrade to CaRP Koi 4.0). All others will pay the full price of $47 for CaRP Evolution.

How To Get Upgrade Pricing

I'll be offering two upgrade methods:

  1. I'll create a special form that you can use to download CaRP Evolution 4.0 immediately. You'll pay full price and also submit information to help me find your original purchase transaction. I'll verify your prior purchase (or contact you for more information if I can't find it from the information you originally submit) and then issue a partial refund.
  2. I'll create another form where you can pay the upgrade price and submit information to help me find your original transaction. When I've found it, I'll send you a download link for CaRP Evolution 4.0. I'll try to process transactions as quickly as possible, but depending on circumstances, there may be delays.

Atom support, easy mashups, Group Date, interleaving, the Flex Format update (you can make some pretty designs with that one!), and all the other changes combine to make this the biggest upgrade to CaRP ever.