Dev Diary, October 2, 2014

Wanna know what’s cooking here at Oxwall? You are in luck, since we’ve got a fresh serving of latest news from the dev kitchen!

Oxwall 1.7.2

With the upcoming update we are taking an aim at Content Moderation. For quite sometime we’ve been looking for an opportunity to fix/improve the current flagging system (that was begging for an overhaul), and we finally found enough time to do just that.

The new user-friendly interface will be more intuitive, and allow to flag Users, Comments, Events, as well as Newsfeed status updates.screenshot1

The option for the Admin to appoint Moderators for each type of content will remain in place.

Welcome to the Family

In unrelated news – let’s welcome a new major addition to the grand family of third-party plugins available in the Oxwall Store. That’s right, our cooperation with TopCMM bore fruit in the form of 123 Flash Chat plugin. So, if you ever wanted to add a live chat room to your site or play around with PPM/PPV, you’ve got it now. Proceed to the Oxwall Store to learn more and download the plugin now. Take this announcement as our seal of approval.


Looking Ahead

Now that monumental work (that takes ages to release) is out of the way, things should fall back into a more regular and familiar pace. Nevertheless, even more great stuff is coming your way, as we have some ambitious plans for the short and long term futures. Watch this space for announcements and dev reports, since the next year and a half are shaping up to be quite exciting. Here’s why:

– Admin Panel Improvement;
– Content Management System Introduction;
– Default Theme Reimagining;
– Mobile Version Enhancement;
– User Interface Facelift;

There’s likely more stuff, and that’s quite a full plate, isn’t it? Still, our team is always excited and passionate about continuously improving the product, but only if the changes are consistent, healthy and gradually introduced.

Well, ‘till next time, when we’ll take a more detailed look at some of the things in our plan. In the meantime, subscribe to our updates on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to never miss an announcement.

Oxwall Foundation Team

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 21, 2014

Ah, the last breathes of winter… It’s getting warmer, so the life’s good, and that’s exactly the attitude that boosts our strive to get a few more ideas through to the next release. One such idea is the improvement of the Photos plugin – a real essential toy in the arsenal of any serious social site. Our goal here is to fix all the obvious bugs and add some exciting options to make users happier.

As you know, at present the plugin operates by means of either basic uploader, or through flash upload. And frankly, both are dated. The flash one cannot be customized in css/html, and requires an additional plugin in the browser. Sometimes this leads to unnecessary confusion, and that’s what we want to eliminate.

The solution – a photo uploader that uses native browser capabilities and doesn’t require additional browser extensions. Also, it’s easily customizable in css/html, maintains drag’n’drop interface, and allows quick editing at the very first step (rotate, hashtags, album name, etc.)



One of the things we learned with the old system is that most users find comments under pictures inconvenient. When the page is scrolled down for more comments, the picture itself gets out of sight, and is basically “lost.”

An easy solution to prevent this is to move comments and description to the right side of the picture. That’s the trend across the industry anyway, and seems to be the right approach for us. Still, we are leaving the old system as an available option as well, so you can choose what’s working better for you.



We’ve also decided to play with the visual presentation of the photo list, which was kind of boring (being strictly square and all). The addition of a Pinterest-like mode should spice things up a bit, don’t you think?



There are no search options for photos in Oxwall right now, which isn’t handy, since users resort to tags when they are looking for something. We’ll change that by making it possible to search by descriptions, usernames and hash tags.


So that’s the gist of things to come. But there’s even more interface stuff that we are tinkering with right now. Liking and varying privacy settings for different photo albums are on the plate too, and will be ready to be served with Oxwall 1.6.1, or soon thereafter.

Keep reading our Dev Diary guys, and learn what else keeps us busy.

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.

Oxwall Team.

Moving forward

Hi all. With the successful release of Oxwall 1.6 we wanted to express our appreciation for your passion, assistance, valuable feedback, and patience. All we aim for is to give you the best product, while remaining committed to the constant improvement.

It is no secret to anyone that mobile is the future. Thus it’s quite satisfying for us to finally make the first all-important step in this direction, and give you the long-awaited mobile platform. This is just the beginning, with plenty of new features forthcoming, in addition to all kinds of mods for the already present ones.

Excited and full of energy, we are moving on with our other development plans. Check out our Roadmap. It’s gonna be cool, so make sure to stay tuned! Once again, thank you!

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.


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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