Dev Diary, April 30, 2014

Here we are again with our Dev Diary series. This time we want to let you know about the upcoming changes in internal communication tools in Oxwall.

As you know, there are two plugins now, Mailbox and Chat. They are independent, so you can only communicate in real-time chat or using mailbox (that mimicks email). There are several important issues with that though, namely:

  • Messaging communication keeps getting transformed. There’s a reason why the border between email and instant messaging blurred so much, and we are not fully content with any one of these.
  • People don’t necessarily want to remember where the talk happened. It’s just convenient to have everything in one place with ability to search.
  • Sometimes it’s really much more convenient to keep your chat going in a focused, standard page interface, than to type and read in that small chat window; or to have back-and-forth email followup’s in bite-sized messages.

Fundamentally, while a social website is a complex system, sending a message is a trivial, casual, frequent operation. It means, there have to be different ways to send, receive, and respond to messages, all suitable for context and task at hand.

But then, communication is different. While casual messaging is sufficient for some websites, other may really benefit from a more formal, email-style approach. Since Oxwall websites are used for different purposes, we have to support both paradigms and make them work nicely together, if required.

With all this in mind, we decided to do the following:
- Make a unified Messages plugin that will incorporate functionality of both Mailbox and Chat plugins;
- Allow to enable either of those, or both at once;
- Have chats and “emails” in one interface with search (retaining chat and contact list windows, of course);
- Provide granular (if excessive) permission settings for every action in mailbox and chat.

Screenshot from 2014-04-30 17:30:54

The new Messages plugin will be available as the successor of the two current plugins with the platform 1.6.1 release. We hope communication in Oxwall will become much more efficient now. And of course, we are ready to iterate on your feedback.

Thank you for being such a fantastic community!

Dev Diary, February 6, 2014

We know that as a rule our posts tend to be surprise announcements of releases, despite the fact that many community members are keen on learning what us, Oxwall guys, are actually up to in the times between updates. Well, recently we’ve come to think that it’s a pretty good idea to let you in on all the fun we have inside, namely, our work process and development progress. Ready? Here we go.

We understand that there are still many elements within Oxwall software that can be improved. Let’s take a look at one such area, which will likely make it to the next iteration – the functionality extension of user roles and account types.

The problem here is the lack of option for admins to assign an individual user role per individual account type during new member registration. At the moment all new site members get the same user role, unless admins set said roles manually, which significantly complicates their work on community-driven sites. Say, you have a literature-driven community with writers and readers. These roles are obviously different for members, as writers write posts, while readers can comment or grade them. Putting an option in place for admins to assign individual user roles during registration will make their lives much easier.

Now, there are also a couple of related issues with account types. The interface is somewhat difficult to grasp, and there is also the fact that one question can be assigned per one account type only. Both of these will be tackled, and in the result the interface will become significantly more user-friendly, while single profile questions will be allowed to be assigned per multiple account types simultaneously.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight on the things that keep us occupied. There’s a lot of stuff we have to share with you, so keep reading our blog for more info on our adventures in development.

Love,
Oxwall Team.

Happy New Year: Ten Coolest Plugins of 2013

Happy coming New Year, dear friends! We here at Oxwall Foundation are excited about the coming year and the opportunities ahead. 2014 is going to be a year of big announcements! As we are wrapping up 2013, let us take a look at the list of 10 interesting plugins developed this year.

1. USER HINT

This free plugin gives you a visual hint for user’s profile. Has a very flexible configuration page with live preview and lot of customization options.
Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:20:00

 

2. GOOGLE MAPS LOCATION

Today users prefer seeing to reading. Visuals are always loved. This plugin displays the location information added by users to their profiles. Great tool for travel or international communities.
Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:21:45

 

3. MYTAGS

Here is one of the most long-awaited Oxwall plugins — user tagging! Today “@” user tagging functionality is not only Twitter’s feature, it is adopted by Facebook and Instagram as well.  Every website aiming to keep up with tech updates should have this very necessary feature.
Screenshot from 2013-12-27 11:31:33

 

4. COOL CKEDITOR

Oxwall editor with a very wide editing abilities, includes MSN Smiley Pack to give more emotion to your words.
Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:27:00

 

5. CATALOG

This plugin allows creation of any type of catalog with custom searchable fields, prices, photos and google maps.
Screenshot from 2013-12-18 15:25:26

 

6. PHOTO TAGS

It’s a necessary plugin for social networking site owners. It allows instant tagging of users or objects on photos.
Screenshot from 2013-12-18 15:40:59

 

7.  INSTANT CHAT WITH VIDEO SUPPORT

Better see a real smile of your friend than a sign of smile, right? Made for easier communication real-time video chat.

Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:31:19

 

8. COMPOSE MESSAGE + GROUPS AND EVENTS MASS MAILING

Make composing and sending a message to multiple users at once possible to your users. Great to use when inviting to events.
Screenshot from 2013-12-18 16:21:04

 

9.  PHOTO VIEWER LIKE FACEBOOK, G+

Photo viewer plugin which inherits versatility and friendly interface of Facebook and Google Plus’s photo viewer.
Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:33:06

 

 10. LOGIN AS USER

Plugin allows site administrator and site moderators to login with other users credentials with just one click. This allows to edit profile details, read internal messages, customize profile an so on.
Screenshot from 2013-12-25 11:36:43

Oxwall: 100,000 Downloads and Counting

Oxwall: 100,000 Downloads and Counting

Dear friends,

As many of you have noticed, we have climbed over another impressive milestone. Ladies and gentlemen, as of last week Oxwall Software has been downloaded over 100,000 times since first becoming publicly available! These are the numbers straight from our site, so the final figure is even bigger once auto-installer downloads are counted in.

We take this as great encouragement and a sign that we took the right development trajectory. In a few days we will give you Oxwall 1.4, and with the next programming cycle around the corner, we are already working on even more impressive features.

Indeed, we have a pretty hot summer ahead, with plenty of tasty delights coming your way pretty soon. Here is a sneak peek at what to expect in the nearest future:

  • New default theme
  • New real-time notification system
  • New member console
  • More professional themes
  • Store improvements
  • Mobile version
  • New CMS functions

As you can see, we are keeping quite busy to make sure all people downloading our software are not disappointed. Expect some of the listed features this coming season.

We would like to thank the entire Oxwall community for making this breakthrough a reality.

Oxwall Team.

Oxwall: The Progress

Oxwall: The ProgressLadies and gentlemen,

Today we would like to share some great news with you. Oxwall Foundation has reached several important milestones, which prove that we are moving in the right direction, steadily giving the community tools necessary for our common success.

First of all, Oxwall Software now boasts over 71000 source lines of code. Compare that with 64000 of the very first Oxwall iteration released in August 2010. Not bad, considering that this metric is a very important indicator of a project’s size, and shows the effort the development team puts behind it.

Now, that was the platform itself. Even more impressive is the rapid increase in the number of source lines of code for plugins developed by the Oxwall Foundation. Altogether they now take over 64000 LOC (30% growth from the times of Oxwall 1.0.1), which is really impressive, when you take into account the time-frame and the relatively small team size.

All of that, coupled with the success of the recently released Oxwall 1.3 helped to boost the platform downloads from the 250 per day average in 2011, all the way up to 350 at the start of 2012.

Finally, Oxwall Store also witnesses some stable evolution since its full-scale launch a mere year ago. By now, the gradually growing number of published items have passed 100, adding even more to the progress of the entire project.

With our joint efforts and great input from the international Oxwall community, these achievements have been reached in just under two years. This is the programming productivity and expansion rates we are quite content with, although we’ll be obviously looking to build on this success even further in the near future.

UPDATE

An unfortunate slip made its way into the above text. Of course we meant the DAILY download average (not monthly) in the fourth paragraph. So, the daily platform download average in 2011 was 250, boosted up to 350 since the release of Oxwall 1.3.

 

 

Oxwall Drops IE7 Support

It looks like the time has come to finally push that button. Starting with Oxwall 1.2.7 we’ll completely cut support for Internet Explorer 7. It just had to happen somewhere down the road for a number of reasons. Microsoft’s browser is outdated, unresponsive, incredibly slow, and has a major disadvantage of having far superior and popular competition worth supporting out there. Check this out, it’s browser popularity last month -

Oxwall Drops IE7 Support

Now, if you think that’s not representative enough, look at last year’s graph -

Oxwall Drops IE7 Support

Also, we have more pictures -

Oxwall Drops IE7 Support

See, that’s Microsoft hunting down its own IE6 – trying to eliminate the last few remaining copies of that cursed software. Well, we are not Microsoft, so we boldly went even further and just decided that IE7 doesn’t cut it. Want to know who cuts it? We have a list of all browsers supported by Oxwall right here.

Anyway, IE7 is out of the picture for good, and only good can come of this, obviously. Just thought that’d be good news to start the year. Good.

Happy 2012!

Happy 2012!And so the time has come to say goodbyes to 2011. We hope that the past year gave you a lot of great memories, just as it did to the Oxwall Foundation staff.

At the same time, we are sure that 2012 will see even more breakthroughs, innovation, and real success, as we look forward to continue bringing our vision to the community, in the form of Oxwall Software.

Our entire team wishes you all the best in the New Year! Let the Dragon bring power and wealth to all of you!

Oxwall Policy Changes and Oxwall Club

Oxwall Policy Changes and Oxwall ClubDear community members, we would like to draw your attention to several changes and additions to our policies. For your convenience all of them can now be found in the ‘Oxwall Policies and Licenses‘ section of the main Oxwall website.

Oxwall Domain Policy

This new policy is introduced due to trademark issues and to avoid possible confusion among regional and vertical Oxwall websites dedicated to the software itself (translation, distribution, etc.). In short, we ask webmasters not to use ‘Oxwall’ in top-level domain names. Click here for more details.

Oxwall Attribution Policy

The attribution topic frequently comes up in the comments, when webmasters of Oxwall-powered networks ask us whether they can remove the ‘Powered by Oxwall’ logo at the bottom of the page. The thing is – Oxwall is Open Source, and in return we only ask the community to keep the attribution. Click here for more details.

Other important documents in the ‘Oxwall Policies and Licenses‘ section include Oxwall License, Oxwall Store Terms of UseOxwall Store Commercial License, and Oxwall Software Terms of Use.

Oxwall Club

Now we are getting to the fun part. Oxwall Foundation is proud to launch an exclusive Oxwall Club. It will unite officially recognized international communities devoted to local promotion of our software, as well as helping Oxwall-powered networks in their native languages. So now you know that anyone with a CLUB badge in the forum is actually a representative of a regional or vertical community. Click here to learn about the benefits of Oxwall Club membership and other details.

 

 

Oxwall Foundation

With Oxwall 1.1 release there’s one more piece of news today and hardly less important.

Starting with this release Oxwall project is operated by Oxwall Foundation – a non-profit organization that takes duties from Skalfa LLC. We have put our profile and the underlying story here: www.oxwall.org/foundation

We are the team that have been working on this project for 3 years already as a part of Skalfa LLC and now we continue the journey as the decision-makers with Skalfa’s backing. I can’t imagine any better climate for the project.

I, as the Chairman of Oxwall Foundation, want to thank Skalfa LLC stakeholders for the wise decision to grant intellectual rights and Oxwall trademark to the independent non-profit entity. Our team proudly and thankfully accepts the honorable duties of operating Oxwall software project.

Empowered with the goodwill of the original Oxwall parent we are taking the reign with the biggest enthusiasm ever and hope to make Oxwall the best open source social software in the world. No small task, I say!

Thanks,
Emil Sarnogoev
Chairman
Oxwall Foundation