Dev Diary: Admin Panel Changes

Greetings and welcome back to the Dev Diary!

Last time around Emil was kind enough to walk the community through Oxwall’s general plans for the year (check it out if you need a refresher), and of course everyone is now clamoring the details. Well, that’s what Dev Diary is for, so let’s get right down to business. Today we’ll take a look at the Admin Panel and what we’ve been doing to it lately.


One of the things that bothered us for a while in regards to the current Admin Panel is rather obvious – a lot of space is used irrationally, including –

  • notifications cluttering up the top of every page;
  • a multi-level horizontal menu absorbing quite an area;
  • gradual accumulation of system settings (sometimes found in unexpected or not obvious places).

Apart from the visual aesthetics problem, the aforementioned issues can potentially disorient you or negatively impact your performance.

Oxwall Navigation

To fix that and optimize your work we decided to create a more user-friendly environment right in the heart of your site. To do so we’ll introduce a new vertical menu, and also restructure the settings. This allowed us to move all notification to the console and bunch them up under a single icon. Now you can access all available updates or necessary system settings at any moment on any page.

Oxwall NavigationDashboard

It’s been our goal for a while now to give all admins some sort of work areas. Think individual space to shape it up to your liking, where you can manage all the necessary site information in the most accessible form.

That idea was implemented as Admin Dashboard – a widget page with purpose-built stat tools like User Statistics (Registrations, Online), Content Statistics, Moderation Tools, etc. Most of the data is supplemented with accompanying graphs for your convenience. Meanwhile, third-party developers will be welcome to introduce their own Admin Dashboard widgets.

Oxwall DashboardResponsive

Finally, the next ambitious step we took was the adptation of the current Admin Panel for the work on tablets. Without giving too much away, we can reveal that this segment is indeed important for us, and we are already hard at work on a brand new responsive theme. That, however, is a topic for an entirely new Dev Diary post.

Subscribe to our social media feeds and never miss an announcement. See you next time!


Happy New Year from Oxwall Team and Holidays Schedule

Dear friends,

The New Year is right upon us, and it gives us enormous pleasure and a sense of pride when we look back at 2014. A lot was achieved, and what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Major internal shifts laid the foundation for much needed improved operation.

Still, the year was quite productive, and set us on the right path towards even bigger, better, and more organized future ahead. Here’s just a glimpse of what to expect in 2015.

Right now we want to take a short but much needed break from work – our support will be limited from December 31 to January 5. Hope you do the same, and get some energy needed for a robust 2015.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Oxwall 1.5.3 Cron Fix

Following the last week’s release of Oxwall 1.5.2 we were alerted to an issue with cron job encountered by some of the users. Without postponing the resolution until a future major release, we have eliminated the problem with the unplanned minor Oxwall 1.5.3 update.

  • Fix for cron job notification in Admin Area (even if a cron command is setup right).

Note that the fix does not affect any of the third-party projects, thus the developers in the community are not required to make any changes in their plugins due to this update.

Don’t forget to check out the full list of goodies (new theme, plugins and platform improvements) released with Oxwall 1.5.2. As always, bу sure to backup your sites before attempting this latest update.

Five New Free Themes For Oxwall

Remember the Darklets social networking template released a couple of weeks ago? It proved quite popular with the Oxwall crowd due to it’s universal appeal and accessibility. But that was only a teaser, since we are ready to roll out another batch of five brand-new free professional themes! What a great way to start the week, don’t you think? Take a look at these samples:


Crayon Theme for Oxwall


City Theme for Oxwall


Stars Theme for Oxwall


Silent Theme for Oxwall


Pastel Theme for Oxwall

This line of themes can be applied to a variety of niches, representing a particular mood of a given online community. All five templates are already available through Oxwall Store; enjoy them and let us know what you think in the comments bellow. In the meantime, we are happy to tell you that more regular updates for our collection are planned, and we are already hard at work creating new themes for future releases.

Oxwall 1.5.1: Bug Fixes and New Theme

We hope everyone had enough time to play around with Oxwall 1.5, since we are ready to give you the next regular update. This release will remedy a few pesky bugs left from 1.5, and will further improve the software performance.

  • Profile questions are no longer removed alog with deleted account types;
  • Site activity notifications are now sent to users who haven’t logged in for more than two days;
  • Slideshow preloader improved;
  • Blogs routing bug fixed;
  • Resolved Cron error for theme processing;

Of course, it’s not a proper Oxwall release without a new theme, and this time we are joining the dark (but fun) side, with an all-original Darklets social networking template. Expect more quality themes in the future. Enjoy!

As always, do not forget to back up your sites before launching the update, just in case, as an extra precaution.

  1. Back up your site;
  2. Update the platform (Instructions);
  3. Update all of the installed plugins;
  4. Update your themes.

Contribute to Oxwall documentation!

We are aiming to become the real open source community, when besides the core team, there are a lot of third party participants contribute to the project. At this point there are already hundreds of third party items in the Oxwall Store, both free and paid. Store downloads are really taking off in the latest weeks, so we are off to a good start here.

The next step in this process we are announcing today: it’s opening up the documentation for contribution. If the software gets better documented, we’ll have more developers working on the project. It means more plugins and themes in the store to the benefit of the community.

What we want you to do with documentation:

  • Corrections to the existing articles;
  • Ongoing support of the changing parts;
  • Writing new articles for the uncovered territories.

Now, not only developers and designers can get their hand in the project. If you are an aspiring technical writer, you can have your say. We will provide all necessary guidance.

Start contributing today:

The next logical step will be opening up Oxwall repository. It will include starting to accept third party patches, promoting activists to the core contributor team, and finally turning the Oxwall project into a mature open source community. But this is not before Oxwall 1.5 hits the Earth.

In open we trust!
Oxwall team

Oxwall Store Digest: Top of the Line

While everybody’s waiting for the fabulous Oxwall 1.5, we thought we could sum up some of the new and noteworthy items in the Oxwall Store. We are enormously glad to see developers and designers working to make the product better and third party plugins and themes getting better and better in quality.

Now we want to share some of the examples with you:

Theme: Your Space (free)

Nice and clean light-blue theme for a community of any kind. The author is really being on a roll with all the new works recently and is improving constantly. We hope to keep seeing more themes from him, including free ones.

View theme | Author: OW Visuals

Theme: Biohazard ($10.99)

An aggressive dark theme for a serious active sports community, gamer club, and other high adrenalin and anti-establishment projects. Bring it on!

View theme | Author: OW Visuals

Theme: TwentyTwelve ($10)

A neutral and balanced theme that users choose for its attention to detail. This theme is not new but it works really well for those who choose it, so it’s essential that more people know about it.

View theme | Author: Oxwall CandyStore

Theme: Nightclubbing ($10.99)

Switch on those neon lights, the party is coming! Another fine work from OW Visuals for lifestyle websites, fan communities and for all other informal projects aimed at youth.

View theme | Author: OW Visuals

Plugin: Anti Spammer (free)

This is a fairly new yet wildly popular plugin that effectively neutralizes a great deal of spam on Oxwall-powered websites. Kudos to Paul for creating and supporting the plugin. The community is really grateful, as reviews show.

View plugin | Author: Paul Cuffe

Plugin: User Carousel ($10)

A nice addition to your site if you are into fancy effects. Shows your website users as a revolving carousel. Does it “wow” you?

View plugin | Author: Sergey Kambalin

Plugin: Who Viewed Me (free)

Users are always curious about who visits their profile. There are communities that can benefit from this curiosity to drive engagement. Is it suitable for yours?

View theme | Author: Oxwall CandyStore

Oxwall Store: Introducing Item Pre-moderation.

You have probably noticed our ongoing efforts to make Oxwall Store a better place for finding great plugins and themes for your new, shiny website.

Today I’d like to inform you that all new items (plugins and themes) submitted to the Oxwall Store will be reviewed by editors before appearing in public. We will try to make item approval time blazingly short, so users can get their hands on the new stuff as soon as possible.

What exactly do you review?

– We make basic quality and security checks.
– We try to evaluate how the item fits the overall Oxwall  user experience, look’n’feel, process flow, interface conventions, etc.
– We want to make sure an item provides substantial value, doesn’t fully duplicate (or steal) other items in the Oxwall Store.

Why do that?

Oxwall platform is open, and we are after the best possible user experience. That’s why quality check for the main resource is so important.

Without those checks (as we’ve seen on other platforms) quality deteriorates quickly. When that happens, not much can be undone without significant ecosystem shocks.

As an example, in worst cases a user finds themselves searching for a “contact form” plugin and finds 20 of them. Half of those can be discarded upon the first look (bad reviews, no support, confusing description and screenshots), another quarter will not work because the author didn’t bother to keep the item updated. Finally, 2-3 items may be identified, and they will satisfy roughly 60-70% of user’s needs. We will work to make this process shorter and the final prize (the one fitting item) better. Basically, we want to fight quantity with quality. If we don’t start now, it may be too late.

Users still use/buy without your checks

True to some extent, because in a lot of cases they have no alternatives. When we raise quality standards and improve Store inventory, they’ll know the difference. The approval process will allow Oxwall community to achieve the next step of quality and size, and prevent from ending up on a local maximum. With better software more people will want to choose Oxwall over other solutions.

Possible reasons for disapproval

Approval rules are based on clause 3 of the Oxwall Store Terms of Use. Make yourself familiar with those. Expect additions and corrections in future.

You don’t honor developers?

We do, but we honor users even more. If this measure helps users find what they want faster and easier — and will make developers and designers work harder — we are all for it.

In the end, a better average Store item means healthier and larger user community, which is everyone’s goal, including authors.

My item wasn’t approved. Now what?

We encourage you to process given feedback, modify your work and to resubmit your item. If you do not agree with our opinion, feel free to release the item elsewhere, like on your site. This is open source. We do not play dictatorship, we just want to keep the main resource comprehensive and easy to search.

Oxwall project is growing, so let’s take user experience on another level together. We’re on to something big here.

Oxwall team

Oxwall Store Revamped

General Thoughts

The essential changes to the Oxwall Store that we’ve talked about for some time now are finally here. As the Store experienced the increased activity, we couldn’t help but notice the system becoming cluttered. Something had to be done, and thus we undertook the task of introducing some order and organization within the project. It is our belief that Oxwall Store should be a simple and comprehensible place. Here’s what we did to achieve that.

Oxwall Store Revamped

Different Listings

Prior to the change, Oxwall Store featured one single listing of all plugins created for the platform. Needless to say, that wasn’t really convenient or efficient. Instead, we’ve come up with a division into four different listing types.

Oxwall Store Revamped

  • Featured

Items found here will be carefully selected by members of the Oxwall Foundation, as most beneficial for the entire community.

  • Most Popular

The section will show the end-user what the community thinks are the best themes and plugins. The popularity of items here will be measured by the combined score of top ratings, most downloads, etc.

  • Top FREE

Most popular free items will end up in this category.

  • Latest

This is self-explanatory – all the latest items will be automatically placed here.


Oxwall Store RevampedReviews are now comprised of three sections – title, short user opinion of the item, and the score (with the maximum of five stars). Also, all reviews can now be rated as helpful by other users. Paid items will be open for reviews only upon purchase. In addition, all submitted reviews will be pre-moderated by the Oxwall Team. Ain’t the democracy a great thing? 😉

Oxwall Store Revamped

Note that all support questions will be separated from the item score, and could be addressed or reported only on the forum.

Oxwall Store Revamped

While converting to the new system we have moved all comments about the item to a separate section of the item’s forum called Support Questions. It is no longer possible to leave simple comments on the item’s page. The scores (without feedback) have been saved as well. So if you browse the Store and see a score without any actual reviews around, that can mean only one thing – this score was converted from submissions prior to the introduced change.

More Items Widget

Oxwall Store RevampedWe’ve added a new widget to item pages, called ‘More plugins/themes from this author.’ It will show other items the user has added to the Store, which is a very convenient tool for promoting specific store items through the ones already achieved popularity. The item list for the widget is compiled by the user through the item edit page.

Minor Stuff

We have also revamped item pages themselves, to allow visitors immediaely see all the necessary information and scores left by other users.

The presentation of each item in the overall listing was made more detailed and informative.

Traditionally, we’ve fixed some minor system bugs.


We hope you will like this latest improvement of Oxwall Store. In our opinion the changes will benefit everyone, including visitors looking for new plugins, and developers displaying their creative output. Check out our progress and tell us what you think. Enjoy!



Oxwall Market Partners oDesk

Dear friends,

For quite a while now we’ve been looking into introducing improvements for Oxwall Market to streamline its entire operation. To do that we’ve partnered with oDesk – the world largest and fastest-growing online community of freelance developers.

For your convenience we’ve placed oDesk widget on the Oxwall Market page, listing all available developers pre-screened as qualified for Oxwall Jobs. The database of contractors can be searched right from within Oxwall Market, with the option to filter results by hourly rates, location, feedback score, etc., to find the best developer for the job.

We believe the partnership will boost Oxwall Market efficiency, and bring the community directly in contact with professional developers offering quality help.

Oxwall Market Partners oDesk