Oxwall 1.8 beta!

Oxwall audience is so diverse, I don’t even know where to start today. It’s September 1, so some of you go back to school (Congrats! Try to look at least half-interested), while some of you send your kids back to school (Huge congrats! You can finally win back some time for yourself). But there’s one event all of you will hopefully celebrate together with us: it’s September 1, and it’s Oxwall 1.8 beta day!

We’ve been long developing a few big things that didn’t make it to earlier minor releases. Finally the stars aligned, and we got them ready to be unleashed upon you in one release. That’s Oxwall 1.8.

So, what’s new? In short: new theme and many admin area improvements. In detail? Follow along:

New default theme: Simplicity

Our new theme to succeed the Origin theme is here. It’s Simplicity and it’s called so for a reason. Reflecting the latest trends of reducing visual clutter, it’s really all about highlighting content and helping your users take advantage of everything your Oxwall site has to offer. Stand out from the crowd!

Simplicity

Simplicity theme covers the desktop version and the admin area so far. It will support mobile version in 1.8.1.

New admin area navigation

At some point a piece of software becomes so powerful that only looking at all configuration possibilities becomes daunting. With Oxwall we tried several approaches to reorganize the admin area to make it intuitive without reducing what it has to offer.

Admin

Having touched the topic of navigation we also reorganized some admin interfaces in a different way to make administering your website as easy a daily task as possible.

Admin dashboard widgets

Continuing the quest of admin area improvements we are introducing something that makes Oxwall even more open source in the ideological sense: Dashboard widgets.

Widgets

With version 1.8 your dashboard comes prepopulated with important statistics widgets like user registration, finance, content, and moderation. Now developers can take advantage of this new feature to create more widgets essential to your daily routine as admin.

Content graphics management

And the last one in the admin area for today: greatly improved management of graphic images. This interface proved to be so inefficient before, now your life as a content creator is a little easier.

Graphics

Complete list of changes can be found in the changelog.

… but hold your horses, folks: it’s a beta!

Now, to the less exciting yet very important things:

Oxwall 1.8 beta is available immediately for beta testers. All developers and designers are encouraged to test their items on the new release to ensure compatibility.

How to become an Oxwall beta tester: https://docs.oxwall.org/dev:store:beta-testers

ATTENTION: This is a beta release which is unsuitable for applying on live websites, hence we do not provide any update tools. Please, wait for the official release – it will show up as the update button in your admin area.

The official Oxwall 1.8 release is scheduled for September 8.

Thanks for creating with us!
Oxwall team

Oxwall 1.7.5 release

Oxwall 1.7.5 is available for download immediately. Complete changelog can be found here.

The highlight of this release is mobile forum and mobile WYSIWYG:

We hope your community gets a good boost with the mobile forum which is one of the most anticipated feature. We continue our quest to properly mobilize Oxwall, so expect more news from us in the future.

Important: If you are running Oxwall of any previous version, you are encouraged to wait until the auto-update prompt appears in your admin area. Before you attempt it, make sure to:

  • Back up your website. Seriously, folks, better safe than sorry;
  • Run the platform update first, only after that run all available plugin updates;
  • Run theme update also only after the platform update.

If you don’t want to perform the update yourself, check companies and contractors specializing in Oxwall support.

Thanks,
Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.7.5 beta

Here’s the planned release 1.7.5 beta release. Most notably, it features:

  • Mobile forum (finally!);
  • Mobile social sharing for forum topics/posts (will later be added to other features);
  • Mobile WYSIWYG editor for forum topics/posts.

Among other useful improvements are changed password hashing routine, suspended users’ avatar change, friends plugin enhancements, etc. Complete (ongoing) changelog is here.

Oxwall 1.7.5 beta is available immediately for beta testers. All developers and designers are encouraged to test their items on the new release to ensure compatibility.

How to become an Oxwall beta tester: https://docs.oxwall.org/dev:store:beta-testers

ATTENTION: This is a beta release which is unsuitable for applying on live websites, hence we do not provide any update tools. Please, wait for the official release – it will show up as the update button in your admin area.

The official Oxwall 1.7.5 release is scheduled for July 14.

Thanks for creating with us!
Oxwall team

IMPORTANT: Security notice for oxwall.org users

We have reasons to believe that some user data on oxwall.org might have been compromised by a malicious third party through WordPress software. Right now the problem has been eliminated and security measured taken, however everyone on oxwall.org also needs to co-operate to stay safe.

  1. We strongly advise all Oxwall.org users to change their password;
  2. Developers and designers who have items in the Oxwall Store are also STRONGLY ADVISED to check their items’ data to be correct, including financial settings.

We will be monitoring website activity closely to prevent this from happening again and we appreciate your understanding.

Thanks,
Oxwall team

P.S. Yes, you NEED to go change your password, like, right now.

Oxwall 1.7.4 is released

Oxwall 1.7.4 is available for download immediately. Complete changelog can be found here.

Important: If you are running Oxwall of any previous version, you are encouraged to wait until the auto-update prompt appears in your admin area. Before you attempt it, make sure to:

  • Back up your website. Seriously, folks, better safe than sorry;
  • Run the platform update first, only after that run all available plugin updates;
  • Run theme update also only after the platform update.

If you don’t want to perform the update yourself, check companies and contractors specializing in Oxwall support.

Thanks,
Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.7.4 beta

Oxwall 1.7.4 beta is out today.

It contains a few bugfixes and a new platform search mechanism based on Zend Search Lucene engine that we first appled to our forum search feature. If it proves to have acceptable performance, we’ll extend it to other forms of text search in the software, including unified site search.

Also, forum gets advanced search mechanism long asked by avid forum users:

With this release we continue to apply sprint development approach, so you can expect regular updates that will contain only those features that get finished by the feature cut-off dates. Currently we optimize our technical infrustructure and work at bigger features that will surface in Oxwall 1.8.

This beta release is aimed at beta testers, plugin developers and theme designers. Please make sure your items work with this beta and report any problems you find.

How to become an Oxwall beta tester: https://docs.oxwall.org/dev:store:beta-testers

ATTENTION: This is a beta release which is unsuitable for applying on live websites, hence we do not provide any update tools. Please, wait for the official release – it will show up as the update button in your admin area.

The official Oxwall 1.7.4 release is scheduled for June 2.

Thanks for creating with us!
Oxwall team

Oxwall 1.7.3 is out

Oxwall 1.7.3 is available for download immediately. Complete changelog can be found here. Important: This release drops support for PHP 5.2, so BEFORE you attempt to upgrade, make sure your hosting supports PHP 5.3. Important #2: If you are running Oxwall of any previous version, you are encouraged to wait until the auto-update prompt appears in your admin area. Before you attempt it, make sure to:

  • Back up your website. Seriously, folks, better safe than sorry;
  • Run the platform update first, only after that run all available plugin updates;
  • Run theme update also only after the platform update.

If you don’t want to perform the update yourself, check companies specializing in Oxwall support. Thanks, Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.7.3 beta release

Here’s the planned release 1.7.3 (beta) with the most important fixes.
While we are working on the next big iteration of Oxwall, we are sure you will enjoy to part with some annoying bugs in the current version.

Oxwall 1.7.3 beta is available immediately for beta testers (with the detailed changelog). All developers and designers are encouraged to test their items on the new release to ensure compatibility. Important note: With 1.7.3 release we drop PHP 5.2 support, so the minimum requirement becomes PHP 5.3.

How to become an Oxwall beta tester: https://docs.oxwall.org/dev:store:beta-testers

ATTENTION: This is a beta release which is unsuitable for applying on live websites, hence we do not provide any update tools. Please, wait for the official release – it will show up as the update button in your admin area.

The official Oxwall 1.7.3 release is scheduled for April 14.

Thanks for creating with us!
Oxwall team

Edit: Notice about PHP 5.3 version requirement.

Dev Diary: Admin Panel Changes

Greetings and welcome back to the Dev Diary!

Last time around Emil was kind enough to walk the community through Oxwall’s general plans for the year (check it out if you need a refresher), and of course everyone is now clamoring the details. Well, that’s what Dev Diary is for, so let’s get right down to business. Today we’ll take a look at the Admin Panel and what we’ve been doing to it lately.

Navigation

One of the things that bothered us for a while in regards to the current Admin Panel is rather obvious – a lot of space is used irrationally, including –

  • notifications cluttering up the top of every page;
  • a multi-level horizontal menu absorbing quite an area;
  • gradual accumulation of system settings (sometimes found in unexpected or not obvious places).

Apart from the visual aesthetics problem, the aforementioned issues can potentially disorient you or negatively impact your performance.

Oxwall Navigation

To fix that and optimize your work we decided to create a more user-friendly environment right in the heart of your site. To do so we’ll introduce a new vertical menu, and also restructure the settings. This allowed us to move all notification to the console and bunch them up under a single icon. Now you can access all available updates or necessary system settings at any moment on any page.

Oxwall NavigationDashboard

It’s been our goal for a while now to give all admins some sort of work areas. Think individual space to shape it up to your liking, where you can manage all the necessary site information in the most accessible form.

That idea was implemented as Admin Dashboard – a widget page with purpose-built stat tools like User Statistics (Registrations, Online), Content Statistics, Moderation Tools, etc. Most of the data is supplemented with accompanying graphs for your convenience. Meanwhile, third-party developers will be welcome to introduce their own Admin Dashboard widgets.

Oxwall DashboardResponsive

Finally, the next ambitious step we took was the adptation of the current Admin Panel for the work on tablets. Without giving too much away, we can reveal that this segment is indeed important for us, and we are already hard at work on a brand new responsive theme. That, however, is a topic for an entirely new Dev Diary post.

Subscribe to our social media feeds and never miss an announcement. See you next time!

 

Oxwall 2015

Hey everybody,

The year is off to a fast start, and January is already past without you realizing it. So it’s high time we shared our plans for 2015.

Before, let’s talk about our priorities. We have to choose wisely where to apply our effort, and here’s how we look at it. There are things that can grow to take care of themselves in the community (like any particular plugins, themes, translations and utilities) and those that require our full attention (like general direction, standards and critical platform functionality). Thus, for the next big iteration of the product (and the project) we identified key directions and objectives for this year.

CMS, interface changes

Content management has always been an underdeveloped part of Oxwall. We’ve been busy with making Oxwall better in social aspects (it’s a social network product after all), but because of that some basic tools that any website requires (like CMS) went overlooked. Having received fair criticism for that, we’ve developed our vision for content management in Oxwall’s next iteration. Together with that we refine existing interfaces and rethink some basic assumptions in the product, and how they match real life usage patterns.

This is going to be a series of releases spreading the new paradigm across the product and leaving plenty of time for user and developer adoption. Details will be gradually introduced in our Dev Diary column and beta release announcements.

Mobile

Pocket version of Oxwall has been around for some time but it still lacks important features. We will be working on that front since a lot of people now use phones instead of desktops/tablets, even if Oxwall is not especially accommodating for that. We laid solid foundation for the small screen version of Oxwall but haven’t been active on feature development side yet. This will change.

To reiterate, we think that the “pocket” version of Oxwall (the one adapted for phones) differs from the desktop/tablet primarily by usage patterns, let alone obvious input/output characteristics. That’s why we made a decision to essentially build two products instead of one, so now we have to catch up in the mobile part.

Documentation, test coverage

More news coming to the Oxwall developers camp. This year we finally start covering code with tests and we’ll be working on better documentation. Right now third party developers mostly rely on the existing plugins to build their own ones. To create systematic approach to developing plugins we have to step up our game in the essential technical aspects. These works are to be launched together with the new development cycle.

All in all, we are looking into a very busy year of creating value for users and grow Oxwall as the product and the project. Although we are a small team and our capabilities are limited, we expect 2015 to be the year of making the biggest difference for users in a long time. Thanks for creating with us!

Oxwall team