Judging by your questions about Oxwall 1.2 and the anticipated release date we realized that we didn’t do a good job communicating the current work in process. Even more, we gave the promise to release it within a week since that post but we didn’t keep it.
I want to shed more light on what is currently being developed and why it’s taking more than we originally planned.
1.2 is going to be a major step forward because of several changes that affect practically any aspect of current functionality. Let me atomize those changes with some more details.
1) Text input
We always knew that the current method of text input for users was temporary. We don’t believe in settling for something less than excellent and user experience for writing blogs, forum posts, etc (including adding rich text formatting and HTML) was always substandard. Until 1.2. Now we will make it WYSIWYG and add easy tools for adding custom HTML, images and subsequently videos. We will iterate until text input, HTML embed, and rich text formatting become super-convenient, fast, and efficient. Users shouldn’t notice they enter text at all – they should just use software without realizing all the underworks.
Text input rebuild is what takes a lot of time and doesn’t always want to obey the release plan dates. Particularly we are fighting several last bugs and shortcomings. We didn’t want to use heavy and clumsy solutions like TinyMCE – instead we are using a lightweight library that uses built-in browser capabilities. Those have their own trade-offs but the final result should be worth it.
2) Advanced photo upload
Photo upload is another topic that was long overdue radical enhancement. We will let you choose as many photos from your computer as you want, resize them for you, let you enter tags and descriptions for particular photos – all fast and convenient. For that task we will be using Adobe Flash plugin. In fact, we are not big fans of Flash but Java is worse. So please bear with Flash for all the convenience it will bring for any Oxwall site that has photo upload. This is almost finished, again we try to make it as easy to use as possible. When you play with it let us know how we did this time.
Flash is goofy so it certainly contributes to the release falling behind schedule.
3) Privacy and enhanced newsfeed
This is a change that will have profound penetration into all functionality across Oxwall. We are going to release a new plugin that will introduce basic levels of access for user’s content. All other plugins will be updated to reflect that.
Some privacy aspects are mixed with the updated Newsfeed plugin. It will also contain new items grouping for better content flow. This sounds vague of course but you will be able to see what I’m talking about when the update is there.
The update newsfeed will also allow to choose which types of content get in the streams – something that a lot of users ask us in private and public. First we thought it was a good idea to make it with one-size-fits-all approach but with more and more sites using Oxwall it starts proving itself wrong. Oxwall powers a lot of diverse communities nowadays and we understood we shouldn’t decide for you. Hope you will find that flexibility useful.
Yeah, yeah but WHEN?
Ouch, I hoped to avoid this question. Because of the nature of this update (broad horizontal changes across all plugins) we will have to ask Skalfa staff for help. Did you know Skalfa runs a free hosted Oxwall solution – Wall.fm?
After internal testing we will update select number of Wall.fm users first – probably next week (sounds familiar, I know). We will gather feedback for up to one week, then help Skalfa update Wall.fm completely and gather feedback again.
These measures are going to bring you super-stable core and plugin updates – just like your site deserves. Preferably all you will have to do is push buttons in admin area as usual. The downside: you will have to wait a little bit more.
We realize we are behind schedule but that is fine. Instead we give you quality, piece of mind, and a lot of thought put in this work. Hope you enjoy it.