Commons 1.13.12

I’ve just released version 1.13.12 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release is a major update release for plugins and themes, and includes fixes for the following:

  • Hotfixes for plugin incompatibilities with new server infrastructure
  • Improved messaging in reply-by-email error messages
  • Improved behavior of group Files filters

For complete details on the release, visit the 1.13.12 milestone.

Commons 1.13

I’ve just released version 1.13.0 of the CUNY Academic Commons. Twice a year, the Commons team prepares a “feature release”, which includes major new functionality in addition to routine upgrades and bug fixes. Version 1.13 is the feature release fer Spring 2018.

Below are some development highlights for the release. Read more about the user-facing improvements in the 1.13 post on the News blog.

  • A new system for invitations – The Commons has various entities that one can “belong to” – sites, groups, the Commons itself – and, historically, the process of inviting someone to “join” one of these entities was completely different for each entity type. For the 1.13 release, we reconceptualized the idea of “invitations” on the Commons, with an all-new unified invitation system. Invite friends to join the Commons, to join groups, to join sites, all from a common interface. As the Commons starts to welcome more students taking courses on the platform, we’ve included features that will make it easier for instructors to invite students in bulk to join course groups or sites.
  • HTTPS for all administrative tasks – For a number of years, we’ve forced HTTPS for all *.commons.gc.cuny.edu subdomains, which encompasses the vast majority of sites on the Commons. As part of the 1.13 release, we’ve made a change that forces “mapped domains” – those sites that are part of the Commons, but have a domain that doesn’t end in .commons.gc.cuny.edu – to be managed over HTTPS. This is another step in our ongoing project of making the Commons a platform that is as secure as possible for all members.
  • Reply-by-email for group sites – We’ve long supported reply-by-email for group forums, private messages, and other social content on the Commons. As part of this release, we’ve added reply-by-email functionality for posts and comments on Commons sites that are linked to groups.
  • An improved CSS editor – We’ve overhauled the custom CSS tool under Dashboard > Appearance on Commons sites, for better compatibility with modern CSS and a slicker interface.
  • Accessibility improvements – The Commons team is dedicated to making the site usable for all members, including those who use assistive technologies to engage with the Commons. In 1.13, we’ve made significant improvements to our accessibility standards across the main site, for better compatibility with screen readers and other assistive technologies. Stay tuned for more improvements in our ongoing accessibility improvements.

For complete details on the release, visit the 1.13 milestone.

Commons 1.12.1

I’ve just released version 1.12.1 of the CUNY Academic Commons. This maintenance release addresses a number of issues:

  • Usability improvements for Reply By Email, including better error messages when attachments cannot be posted
  • Improvements to ScholarPress Coins plugin
  • Fixes for the group cuny.is URL admin panel
  • Fix for a Social Paper bug that caused hidden groups not to be shown when associating a paper with a group

For complete details, visit the 1.12.1 milestone.

Commons 1.12.0

I’ve just released version 1.12.0 of the CUNY Academic Commons. Twice each year – once in the spring, and once in the fall – the Commons team prepares a “major” release, which generally includes some new features or large overhauls to existing functionality. Version 1.12.0 is our major release for Fall 2017.

Here’s a brief overview of the major improvements in 1.12:

  • The registration process has seen a substantial streamlining and redesign. Notable changes include the elimination of many profile fields from the registration page #8637, the addition of an improved avatar upload form #8639, and a new “progress” UI for newly registering members #8640.
  • When participating in group forums via email (“Reply by email”), it is now possible to attach files to the email. As long as these files meet our general size and filetype restrictions, they’ll be added as attachments to the forum post #8386.
  • Groups on the Commons are now automatically provided with cuny.is URLs. Group administrators who would like to customize the automatically-generated URL can request a new one on the group’s Manage panel #6241.
  • We’ve made some under-the-hood improvements to the way that uploaded files on non-public Commons sites are protected. First, we removed a layer of protection for public sites that have no need to hide uploaded images, etc; this change means significant performance improvements, especially on image-heavy pages like the Media Library. Second, we added additional tools that ensure that files uploaded to non-public sites cannot be accessed by guessing their non-public URLs #7997.

For complete details, visit the 1.12 milestone.

A small programming note. We generally do minor releases on the 1st, 11th, and 21st of each month. Because November 1 is only two days from now, I’ve slated 1.12.1 for November 11. This means there will be no release on November 1, unless there is some sort of urgent issue that must be fixed earlier.