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Commons 1.14.6

I’ve just released version 1.14.6 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release fixes a number of bugs, including:

  • Fix bug that caused Teaching Template not to be applied properly to new sites in certain cases
  • Fix BuddyPress “Export Data” screen
  • Add new embed support for Padlet, Sutori, Voicethread
  • Sort Courses directory primarily by course term, with alphabetical as a secondary sort
  • Fix some formatting errors in groupblog emails

For complete details, visit the 1.14.6 milestone.

Commons 1.14.5

I’ve just released version 1.14.5 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release is a major-update release for plugins and themes. It also includes an update to the WordPress 5.0.x series, which features the new “Block Editor”. Blog authors have the choice of whether to use the Block Editor or the legacy Classic Editor; existing sites default to Classic, while new sites default to Block.

The release also addresses the following:

  • Remove duplicate content from groupblog creation screen
  • Fix bug that caused privacy settings not to be applied properly after server upgrades
  • Condense the sitewide footer

For complete details, visit the 1.14.5 milestone.

Commons 1.9.31

I’ve just released version 1.9.31 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release is a major-theme-and-plugin release, and also contains the following:

  • Update to Events Calendar to allow group calendar embedding on a WP site (more information to come alongside the 1.10 release)
  • Fixed bug that caused group blog post edits to be reflected in the activity stream

For complete details, visit the 1.9.31 milestone.

Commons 1.6.7

I’ve just released version 1.6.7 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release includes:

  • Updates to Reply By Email that should help to address duplicate posts
  • A fix for HTML email notifications related to group blog posts
  • Reinstate the ability for group admins to determine which members can invite others to the group

For complete details, visit the 1.6.7 milestone.

Streamlining Group Blogs

Rodney Blevins and Marius Ooms wrote a fantastic plugin for BuddyPress called Groupblog, which allows BP groups to easily create a blog associated with their group. The killer feature of the plugin is the ability to add all group members to the blog (as authors, editors, subscribers, whatever you’d like) in a more or less automatic fashion – a far, far easier task than adding users manually through Dashboard > Add User.

I found, though, that the process wasn’t quite as automatic as I’d like. They’d based the code for adding users on a plugin by Burt Adsit called Community Blogs. Community Blogs only triggered the user adding process on a one-by-one basis: members of a group weren’t added to the group’s blog until they visited the blog. This is problematic for a few reasons. First, it’s an added step that creates some confusion among group admins and members, who assume that community blog membership should be automatic. Second, we’ve enabled various levels of privacy for blogs at the CUNY Academic Commons, and group members who were not yet members of a private group blog couldn’t really visit the blog to kick start the process. (Strictly speaking, that’s not true: the add user process was hooked to a process that took place when the blog’s login screen popped up, which happens when you persistently try to visit a blog to which you don’t have access. But this is extremely confusing.)

I took a bit of time today to rework how Groupblog handles the add user process. With the new setup, every member of a group is added to the group blog at once. The process is put into motion when the blog’s administrator updates and saves the group’s Group Blog settings. Other members of the BP community who join the group after the initial blog setup are added automatically to the blog as well, in accordance with the settings that the admin has determined for member permissions.

All the changes I made to the plugin are found in the main plugin file, bp-groupblog.php. You can download the modified file here: bp-groupblog.php.txt (don’t forget to make sure that the file is named bp-groupblog.php to make the plugin work). Just replace the stock version of the file with this one to make the changes. I intentionally did not clean up the plugin – all the original code is deactivated but still present beside the new code – because I wanted users to be able to differentiate what I had written from what the original authors had written (at least for now).