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.

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.

In Focus:

We haven’t focused on a website in a while, so while we wait for the next scheduled update, why not dig in our portfolio for more examples of great creativity and customization skills displayed by Oxwall members.

Meet Koktui, a niche community network for connecting Nagas of the world. And if you don’t know who the Nagas are, maybe you should join the site and get introduced to their amazing culture.

The site itself shows great implementation of web 2.0 aesthetics.  The presentation is crystal clear and easy on the eyes. The front-page design is intuitive, straightforward and very inviting. Everything about the destination gives the immediate sense of calm, professionalism and dedication to bringing members of a specific community together. And that’s all we need to award this social network the In Focus achievement. Great job!


In Focus: Presence Effect

One of the benefits of developing open source software is that sometimes you have to resort to trial-and-error philosophy, which makes you constantly learn something new. For instance, last thing we learned here at the Foundation was that we should NEVER give promises to release updates ‘next week’.

The aforementioned philosophy, though, can be used to great effects while tweaking and customizing Oxwall software. Meet Presence Effect – a growing network from Russia.

Presence Effect

So, at first glance this is a site about aliens or video gaming. Either way it’s awesome. Seriously, what we have on display here is a great deal of design customization brought to the original Oxwall template. It truly shows the flexibility of the solution. The network’s presentation is appealing and right on target for the preferred community. Good job all around. If a website in those things Russians call letters made me stay for longer than at Gamestop, I’d say the mission was accomplished. If anything, Presence Effect shows that with a creative approach an Oxwall-powered site can be turned into a real professional community hub. Oxwall’s In Focus achievement well earned, comrades. Congratulations!

In Focus:

“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Perhaps it is not really obvious (yet), but here at the Foundation we really subscribe to this philosophy, spearheaded by non other than Albert Einstein.

You know who else supports the idea? Oxwall users. For instance, take Benjamin Murck from the Netherlands and his wonderful creation –

See the menu on the right? That’s an example of an aesthetic and functional brilliance. It might be counter-intuitive to display all the links at once, but we really like the way it is done on this portal. Instead of creating sub-menus, all the necessary options are grouped by screenplay-like notes on the header, further emphasizing the site’s goal of serving as a meeting place for local showbizzers – actors, extras and models.

Congrats, Benjamin! Your Oxwall-powered network became the inaugural choice for our new blog feature called Sites In Focus. Keep up the good work!