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

Happy New Year from Oxwall Team and Holidays Schedule

Dear friends,

The New Year is right upon us, and it gives us enormous pleasure and a sense of pride when we look back at 2014. A lot was achieved, and what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Major internal shifts laid the foundation for much needed improved operation.

Still, the year was quite productive, and set us on the right path towards even bigger, better, and more organized future ahead. Here’s just a glimpse of what to expect in 2015.

Right now we want to take a short but much needed break from work – our support will be limited from December 31 to January 5. Hope you do the same, and get some energy needed for a robust 2015.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Oxwall 1.7.2 is out

Oxwall 1.7.2 is available for download immediately. All details about this release 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;
  • Install all available plugin updates right after the platform update completes;
  • Install a theme update right after the platform update completes.

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

Thanks,
Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.7.2 beta release

Hey there! We’ve been very busy during the 2.5 months since the last release, and for a good reason. It took us longer than we expected to develop this iteration and test it internally, that’s why we are glad to finally show you what we’ve been working on.

Today we are releasing Oxwall 1.7.2 beta. This release will contain some important fixes that we invite you to make yourself familiar with.

Most notable changes:

Flags (platform)

Flagging content has always been an underdeveloped aspect in Oxwall. We are focused on optimizing daily experience with Oxwall, that’s why we came up with a new, completely redesigned moderation interface in the admin area. If will be populated with various types of flagged content for your review:

IMG_18112014_171039

Avatars (platform)

Finally! Users can now choose avatars from their existing photo albums. Sorry, it took unreasonably long, nonetheless here it is:

Choose_picture

Oh, the new, redesigned avatar crop interface:

CaptureCapture

Messages (plugin)

And of course, we continue to smoothen our new Messages plugin, since it needs a lot of care to be a valid site communication tool. Here’s what we’ve done with it this time:

– Increased conversation body area;
– Improved conversation list (back icon, attachment indicator, group actions);
– Text formatting for input;
– Various performance optimizations (see changelog).

messages_3

These are the most notable changes for this release. Review complete changelog here.

Please note: this is a beta release, not intended for deployment in production environment.  Beta testers now have the time to test the new release. Developers and designers are invited to check their store items for 1.7.2 compatibility.

Public release of Oxwall 1.7.2 is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov 25.

Thank you,
Oxwall Foundation team

Plugin Links: looking for a new owner

We at Oxwall always try to streamline our operations because there’s only so much a small team can do. Sometimes it means that we have to give up an area of activity that no longer serves community’s best interests. Today is the case with one of our old-timer plugins, Links (view item in the store).

Rather than let it slide into the oblivion, we decided to give away this plugin to a 3rd party. Probably somebody can take better care about it than we did. So, if you:

1) have experience with Oxwall plugin development;
2) have ideas how to improve this plugin;
3) are ready to make it happen,

… send an email to [email protected] and let us know about your vision for this plugin. Also, don’t forget to attach the link to your plugin portfolio. We’ll review the applications and hand the ownership to the best applicant.

Thank you,
Oxwall team

P.S. The new owner is found, thank you.

Dev Diary, October 2, 2014

Wanna know what’s cooking here at Oxwall? You are in luck, since we’ve got a fresh serving of latest news from the dev kitchen!

Oxwall 1.7.2

With the upcoming update we are taking an aim at Content Moderation. For quite sometime we’ve been looking for an opportunity to fix/improve the current flagging system (that was begging for an overhaul), and we finally found enough time to do just that.

The new user-friendly interface will be more intuitive, and allow to flag Users, Comments, Events, as well as Newsfeed status updates.screenshot1

The option for the Admin to appoint Moderators for each type of content will remain in place.

Welcome to the Family

In unrelated news – let’s welcome a new major addition to the grand family of third-party plugins available in the Oxwall Store. That’s right, our cooperation with TopCMM bore fruit in the form of 123 Flash Chat plugin. So, if you ever wanted to add a live chat room to your site or play around with PPM/PPV, you’ve got it now. Proceed to the Oxwall Store to learn more and download the plugin now. Take this announcement as our seal of approval.

screenshot2

Looking Ahead

Now that monumental work (that takes ages to release) is out of the way, things should fall back into a more regular and familiar pace. Nevertheless, even more great stuff is coming your way, as we have some ambitious plans for the short and long term futures. Watch this space for announcements and dev reports, since the next year and a half are shaping up to be quite exciting. Here’s why:

– Admin Panel Improvement;
– Content Management System Introduction;
– Default Theme Reimagining;
– Mobile Version Enhancement;
– User Interface Facelift;

There’s likely more stuff, and that’s quite a full plate, isn’t it? Still, our team is always excited and passionate about continuously improving the product, but only if the changes are consistent, healthy and gradually introduced.

Well, ‘till next time, when we’ll take a more detailed look at some of the things in our plan. In the meantime, subscribe to our updates on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to never miss an announcement.

Cheers,
Oxwall Foundation Team

Oxwall 1.7.1 is out

Oxwall 1.7.1 is available for download immediately. All details about this release 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;
  • Install all available plugin updates right after the platform update completes;
  • Install a theme update right after the platform update completes.

If you don’t want to perform the update yourself, our friends from Skalfa can do it for you. Also, check other companies specializing in Oxwall support.

Thanks,

Emil & the Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.7.1 beta available

As we are returning to 5 week release cycle, Oxwall 1.7.1 public beta is out today.

Most notable changes are:

– New join form for mobile version (which didn’t make it to the 1.7 release);
– Messages plugin enhancements (based on feedback and real-life testing).

Here’s the complete changelog for Oxwall 1.7.1:

Platform

– new join form for mobile version;
– reorganized action buttons for profiles on the profile view page; new buttons ‘more’ and ‘moderate’ for grouped actions;
– default avatar image vulnerability in the Admin Panel is fixed;
– the bug preventing the save of changes in the admin panel > user settings >general due to the error ‘The image is not valid’ is fixed;
– all comments longer than 150 symbols are now truncated, and “View more” link is added;
– display of profile action buttons in mobile version is fixed;
– new option to create links to external sites in mobile menu;
– design improvements for account type administration interfaces;
– embedded videos are now playable on-site, no need to leave for external destinations.

Messages

– new form to create a message and select recipient;
– various performance improvements;
– new tooltip with user info on user avatar mouseover;
– new invitation labels within text inputs for clarity;
– new option to send messages to users who have no permission to ‘read’, ‘write’ and ‘continue chat’, in case the site has pre-installed Memberships and User Credits plugins;
– ‘Chat now’ button now disappears when user is online and the mode ‘Chat Only’ is turned on;
– new line formatting bug is fixed (sorry for this one).

Photos

– both “post_max_size” and “upload_max_filesize” PHP settings are now recognized during the calculation of file’s maximum limit for upload;
– action buttons for albums are now displayed on album view page;
– optimized display performance of ‘User’s albums’ widget on profile view for users with a large number of photos;
– the bug affecting ‘Add photo’ button for users with unavailable ‘upload photos’ service is fixed.

Groups

– group description text on the group listing page is now truncated after 300 symbols;
– now user automatically unfollows the group after leaving it;
– the bug allowing unauthorized users to delete wall comments is fixed.

Forum

– performance optimization for supporting large number of topics.

Video

– vimeo support now fixed.

Birthdays

– design improvements for the widget and newsfeed listing.

Events

– display of private events in user dashboard is fixed.

Public release of Oxwall 1.7.1 is scheduled for Monday, August 25. Beta testers now have time to test the new release. Developers and designers need to check their items for compatibility.

Thank you,
Oxwall Foundation team

Oxwall Store: important improvements

Hello there Oxwallers,

Our community grows. It’s exciting to see this growth since it assures that our work is important, and warrants that Oxwall is here to stay. With user growth some aspects of the community work also need to evolve, and today it’s the Oxwall Store that is affected.

We just released some small and big improvements that I want to introduce. They are based on developers’, designers’ and users’ feedback, and also on our own careful examination of the usage patterns. Let’s look in detail:

My purchases:

  • Item list is now divided into Plugins and Themes;
  • Search by item name (new);
  • Add review for purchased items right there (new).

My items:

  • Item list is now divided into Plugins and Themes;
  • Search by license key and buyer’s username.

Item listing improvements:

  • Oxwall Store now supports version compatibility between items and the platform. From now on every item should state platform versions that it supports, and users will see it;
  • Mandatory “Terms of Use” field for items (new);
  • Optional “ReadMe” field for items (new).

Suspended items:

  • Suspended items are now shown to license holders in “My Items”;
  • “Item suspended” page is shown to all but license holders;
  • Suspended items can’t be deleted by owners but will be deleted in 4 months unless activated by Store moderators.

Reviews:

  • Now authors can not only modify but also delete their reviews.

Apart from these changes there are many tiny things changed to help developers better manage their items.

Policy updates

Last but not least, we have updated Oxwall Store Terms of Use, and added Store Item Policy and Item Review Policy. Everybody is encouraged to actually read this document, it’s written by humans for humans in the most comprehensive way possible.

Enjoy the updated Oxwall Store and leave your feedback! We are always listening. Also, there’s a special Store-related forum, so developers can find additional technical info and questions.