Oxwall 1.6 released

Today is January 8, and somehow this date is important… Oh yeah, today Oxwall 1.6 is getting unleashed into the wild.

Oxwall 1.6 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.

Everybody, have fun!

Emil & the Oxwall team.

Oxwall 1.6 goes live January 8, beta today

Oxwall community is a patient bunch; That’s a hard fact, which we really appreciate, and have something to show you in return. Oxwall 1.6 has finally taken shape for a beta release, and I’m glad to give you a sneak peek of what our team has built.

New Theme: München

Per our tradition, we highlight every major release with a brand new theme. This time it’s a shoutout to the fine town of München:

Munchen

Theme Auto-update

One important thing to note is that now themes can also be auto-updated, just like plugins. It will definitely make life easier for designers and all users.

Social Share Plugin

We decided to make our own integrated social sharing solution that third party plugins may also utilize. It doesn’t place sharing buttons on every page, instead locating them exactly where you need – right near the content in question.

IMG_29112013

Mobile Browser Version

That’s right, Oxwall is now mobile-friendly. Yay! First of all, this is neither a responsive theme, nor a hack to “mobilize” content. This is a completely reimagined product for phone screens (that’s one of the main reason why it took so long to develop it), and it’s optimized for performance in major mobile browsers available today:

In this roll-out we are starting with basic features and several native plugins that show the direction for what Oxwall mobile browsing experience is going to be. We can’t wait to hand it over to the community. You can also expect other native and third party plugins to have their mobile executions ready soon.

Beta and Release

We are entering public beta stage, making Oxwall 1.6 Beta 1 available today.

  • If you are an approved beta-tester, join us at the Beta forum. We start accepting feedback immediately.
  • If you are a plugin developer / theme designer / translator, then you have work to do right now. We urge you to apply for beta-tester status and start making your goods 1.6-compatible.

On January 8, upon the completion of public beta period, the upgrade will be available for all the Oxwall websites out there, as always, right from the admin area.

Oxwall 1.6 is a huge milestone in the product lifecycle, since it finally opens up the new platform for plugins, namely mobile. In a sense, this is more important than anything we’ve done in the last couple of years. Now that mobile context is enabled, other developers can pick it up, and continue their work along with us. Let’s see how this turns out.

This has been a long and arduous year for us, finally bringing the team to the final stages of hard work during this holiday season. January 8 can’t get here soon enough.

Big and exciting things come to Oxwall, so stay tuned and we’ll surprise you. I promise.

Thank you for creating with us!
Emil & the entire Oxwall team.

Service provider interview: YouNet

We are starting our interview series with individuals and companies creating all kinds of products and solutions for Oxwall. The first in the spotlight is YouNet company. Here we go:


YouNet is a leading niche social network consulting company with more than 120 engineers. We offer full services for Oxwall including Consulting, Plugins, Templates and Customization. With more than 4 years of experience, having completed 400+ social projects, we are the best partner for your success.

Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us about your experience in web development.

A: Formed in 2008, we are a company dedicated to services on open source platforms for social networks. Over the years, we have developed many useful tools and solutions for social network development projects. We have completed more than 400 projects so far including governmental projects.

Q: What level of projects are you ready to tackle for the benefit of Oxwall users?

A: We provide full-cycle services starting from consulting, design, development and maintenance. Consulting is very important as it is the first step to build a successful project in terms of cost, schedule, and quality. During consultation, we synthesize our technical experience with our client business concepts to develop a feasible and successful social network.

Q: What sort of client-company communication model do you employ? Share the rules and regulations if you have any.

A: One of our strengths is the communication process with clients. We use Online Project Management Tracking System (Jira) in which clients can work/communicate with us as a leader of project so that they can monitor all activities/changes of the project with Agile Model. In addition, we also provide chat and phone for further communication when needed.

younet
Figure 1: YouNet Communication Process

Q: Do you see any particular shortcomings within Oxwall software that need immediate attention?

A: The first prominent shortcoming of Oxwall is that it does not provide rich options for Admin configuration, especially for layout customization; For instance, it seems that widget option to drag/drop is not supported in many pages, but only Homepage and Dashboard. The provided layout and functionality also introduce some uncommon designs, such as when users want to embed a YouTube video link in Feeds, they have to copy whole embed code instead of URL only, which may make users confused.

Q: Do you have any plans to develop and release purely Open Source products for Oxwall?

A: We plan to develop most popular plugins for Oxwall platform by the end of this year. With these plugins, we hope to bring the community a complete productivity suit to further advance their social network to the next level.

Q: Are you currently developing your own plugins and templates for Oxwall? What can we expect in the nearest future?

A: Yes, we are working on some plugins. We are going to have a dedicated team making templates and plugins for Oxwall as well. That is our commitment in supporting Oxwall community.


Check out YouNet store profile and feel free to ask your own questions in comments bellow. We hope to have company representatives answer them.

CSV import for Oxwall

While Oxwall 1.6 development is humming along nicely, we never stop making other, less noticed but very useful things for the community. Earlier we released a CSV user data import plugin. Here it goes: http://www.oxwall.org/store/item/718

It does what it says — lets you import your user accounts from other databases to restart your community on Oxwall. It doesn’t import other content like blogs, photos, etc, but attempts to bring all critical user profile data into the new place.

People always asked for such a tool, so we tried to make it as useful and easy to use as possible. Feel free to try it out. This is version 1.0, so we are listening to your feedback, and of course, problem reports.

Thanks,
Emil
Oxwall team

Vote for Oxwall at 2013 Critic’s Choice CMS Awards

We are busy with Oxwall 1.6, we just gave developers enough material to be busy with, and now we have an idea what the rest of the community could do.

Oxwall has been nominated for the Critic’s Choice CMS Awards again this year. I’ll remind you that in 2012 Oxwall won People Choice award in the Best Social Network Solution category, thanks to you.

So, if you want to vote for Oxwall this year again, here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Critic’s Choice CMS Awards homepage;
  2. Enter your name and email;
  3. In the Best Social Network Solution category (last on the form) choose Oxwall and submit.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to show your appreciation for our hard work, while we fight for your convenience. With Oxwall 1.6 we are aiming to repeat and exceed the impact of Oxwall 1.5 last year, so now you can do it, too.

Thank you,
Emil Sarnogoev & the Oxwall Foundation team

Oxwall plugin development examples + public repository

While the product team is deep in Oxwall 1.6, we have an idea of what third party developers could do in the meantime.

Oxwall plugin skeleton

Newbie in Oxwall development? We were thinking of you. Today we want to introduce probably the easiest and fastest way for you to start and get up to speed with the platform. Experienced Oxwall developer will also find it useful to complete and refine their knowledge.

Here goes Oxwall plugin skeleton. Its name speaks for itself — this plugin implements a carcass for real world plugins, demonstrating working examples of various pieces of Oxwall functionality. It tackles:

  • File structure
  • Developer Tools
  • plugin.xml
  • Routing
  • Localization
  • Forms
  • Database
  • File storage
  • Sending email
  • Notifications
  • Newsfeed
  • Floatbox
  • Widgets
  • Access Level
  • Profile Questions
  • Cron jobs
  • Ping
  • Plugin installation/activation

As you can see, the range of functionality is extensive. It should help you create plugins of any levels of complexity — all with the best practices from the Oxwall dev team. Benefits? Better compatibility, less inter-plugin conflicts, faster store review times, and ultimately, better user experience.

How to start:

  1. Download and install the plugin on a test setup (not on your live site!);
  2. Sign in as admin, open mysite.com/skeleton URL;
  3. Find what you are interested in, say Database;
  4. View how the example works, and find listed code files implementing the example. All of this Oxwall plugin sample code is self-explanatory. Non-intuitive situations are commented along right in the code.

Development for Oxwall can be easier and/or trickier than you think. See how we do it, do it with us, and create new plugins for the Oxwall Store!

Oxwall public repository

Apart from your own Oxwall plugins, this new knowledge can also have a good use. From now on, developers can submit patches to the stable branch, if they find bugs, inconsistencies, or optimization opportunities.

Repository URL: https://bitbucket.org/oxwall/public

So, developers, we are waiting for your contributions. Oh, and don’t forget about Oxwall coding standards while creating your patches and plugins.

As a real open source project, we are gradually opening up and stepping towards decentralization. So, we think it’s crucial to enhance and maintain communication with developers through code. Exciting times to be a part of Oxwall movement!

Thank you,
Emil
Oxwall Foundation team

Oxwall 1.6 is delayed

Earlier we announced to release it in June, then we changed the target to August, now we are doing it again. Yes. Sorry.

We are very aware about armies of users waiting 1.6 with mobile solutions, and we know that expectations are high. This is the exact reason why we are taking more time to develop and polish every detail.

I’ll remind you that we are not just making “mobile versions” of essential plugins — our task is to also provide a basis for mobile plugins by other developers. Oxwall is a platform. Originally, Oxwall 1.0 also took much longer than it would take to just develop its community site features. And inevitably, also longer than we planned.

Oxwall 1.5 received spectacular feedback and community movement. We are aiming at repeating and exceeding this with 1.6. Having said that, I want to assure you that we are not making this mistake of miscommunication again. Target release date will be announced when we are 100% able to meet it, about the time Oxwall 1.6 enters the internal testing stage.

Oxwall has been known for its quality and support beyond what people expect from open source projects of similar size. We will do our best to keep it this way further. It’s your support and feedback that enables us to do so.

Thank you,
Emil
Oxwall Foundation team

SkaDate Lite: Oxwall for dating

While we work on this much awaited release (1.6 with mobile), our friends from Skalfa shipped the first commercial product based on Oxwall – SkaDate Lite.

This is an impressive product and a business solution for setting up an online dating site. Skalfa has been working in online dating market for almost a decade, so it’s fascinating to see Oxwall platform as the basis for a sophisticated business product.

Technically, SkaDate Lite consists of the Oxwall platform, specific dating plugins, dating site themes, and support solutions. A smart move by a commercial company that opens up the potential of the platform.

Right now we are talking to several other entities who plan to create vertical products based on the Oxwall core. We are ready to offer all kinds of assistance for that. This was our long-term goal from the very start, since Oxwall is a sophisticated platform that provides instant community features for any type of a website. SkaDate Lite is the first, but definitely not the last Oxwall-based third party product.

This is only the beginning.

The state of Oxwall 1.6

We are 5 days before the end of June, which we promised as the month of Oxwall mobile release. I have to inform you that we move the target release date to August.

We are deep in design and development, we make a lot of iterations to finally deliver the best result. This forces us to change plans because we always prefer quality to speed. That way we can deliver the results that you’ve come to expect from Oxwall.

This piece of news may disappoint somebody, but it’s all about not disappointing you with the product.

Critics Choice CMS Awards

Now, while we are working hard to put our best effort into your hands for free, you can do something in return. CMS Critic announced nominations for Critics Choice CMS Awards for this year.

Just to remind you, in 2012 Oxwall won People’s Choice award in the “Best Social Network Solution” nomination. Many of you contributed to this recognition, and now it’s time to repeat and outperform it.

  • Go to Critics Choice CMS Awards nomination form;
  • Enter your name and email;
  • Enter “Oxwall” as the product name;
  • Tick off the “Best Social Networking Solution’ category.

You are done. Oxwall is on its way to conquer the world.

We are excited with the growth of the project and can’t wait to give you the next major piece of Oxwall evolution. Let’s create the next wave of the social Internet together.

Thanks,

Emil

Oxwall Foundation

Oxwall Launchpad from Skalfa LLC

Good news!

Our good friends at Skalfa announced the launch of professional services for Oxwall.

Skalfa is not the first company to offer commercial assistance for Oxwall software, but this offer is unique. It’s a service from the original Oxwall authors, since Oxwall was created as one of Skalfa projects. Also, it’s positioned as “Oxwall for everybody” and claimed to be “affordable for projects with any budget”.

All in all, emerging commercial services are a good sign and a valuable addition for the Oxwall project. We encourage other companies to take notice and fulfill the growing demand.

Feel free to check what Skalfa has to offer: skalfa.com/launchpad.

Oxwall team