Commons 1.9

I’ve just released version 1.9 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This is a major release for the Commons; we aim for two feature-based releases each year, and this is our first one since 1.8 in May of 2015.

Major releases often coincide with the introduction of a brand-new major project for the Commons. For 1.9, our focus has been on the new Social Paper feature. With Social Paper, we hope to provide a space where Commons members can do their academic writing in a context that is natively connected with the other social spaces on the Commons, a tool that is as beautiful to use as it is powerful and flexible.

Social Paper is a heavily customized writing and reading environment for WordPress, powered in part by the WP Front End Editor and Inline Comments plugins, and integrating tightly with BuddyPress. In the future, we hope to make Social Paper available as a one-click installation package. But for the time being, you are welcome to experiment with this beta tool on your own WordPress site. Documentation and code is available on our public Github repo.

Commons 1.9 also features a number of critical improvements to BP Event Organiser, the BuddyPress calendar plugin that was the focus of our 1.8 release. For 1.9, we built the ability for users to subscribe, via their native calendaring applications, to group and user event feeds – whether public or private. We also made the BuddyPress integration tighter, by allowing group administrators to control who is allowed to attach events to their groups. In addition, we’re moving forward with plans to make BP Event Organiser content available outside of the BuddyPress context; sites in a WordPress Multisite network can now take advantage of a widget that embeds a calendar from any of their groups.

Version 1.9 includes dozens more small (and not-so-small) enhancements to the functionality and design of the Commons. For complete details on the release, visit the 1.9 milestone.

Commons 1.8.1

I’ve just released version 1.8.1 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release resolves a number of issues related to last month’s 1.8 release, including:

  • Fixed some bugs related to the way SSL URLs are generated when creating/editing events
  • Improved formatting for event venue archive pages
  • Improved language regarding username character restrictions during registration
  • Fixed incorrect “Cancel” link when editing a BuddyPress Docs item

For complete details, see the 1.8.1 milestone.

Commons 1.8

I’ve just released version 1.8 of the CUNY Academic Commons. Version 1.8 is a major feature release for the Commons. Features of note:

  • An events calendar for Commons groups and users. The calendar allows users to create events and link these events to one or more groups. Users can then view events on individual or group calendars. Group-linked events are also hooked into our group email notification system. On the technical side, this feature is powered by a plugin called BP Event Organiser, written by Commons team members Raymond Hoh, Christian Wach, and Boone Gorges. BP Event Organiser is, in turn, an add-on for the popular Event Organiser, by Stephen Harris. Event Organiser is freely available in the repo. BP Event Organiser is available via Github, though please note that it’s still in beta form; a cleaned-up version for general use is planned fo the future.
  • When creating a new forum topic in a bbPress-powered group forum, users can optionally cross-post the new topic to other groups that they’re a member of. This custom functionality was developed by Daniel Jones of the Commons development team.
  • Users can now search through the contents of a single bbPress-powered group forum. This is powered by a custom plugin, bbp-single-forum-search, written by Ray Hoh of the Commons dev team.

The Commons 1.8 news post has a more complete round-up of new user-facing features in this release.

Commons 1.8 is also a major plugin/theme update release, including an upgrade to the WordPress 4.2.x series.

For complete details on the release, visit the 1.8 milestone.