Welcome to Commons 1.7

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Commons 1.7 is out!  This is a major feature release of the Commons and includes a number of new improvements and some important, behind the scenes upgrades, as well as the release’s marquee feature, “My Commons.

My Commons – Your New Personal Homepage

mycommonsthumbWhen you are on the Commons “Home” tab and log on, you will be automatically sent to the new “My Commons” tab.  On this personal homepage you can see activity relevant to you.  This new feature highlights the personal network you’ve created on the Commons, by keeping you in touch with your friends, your groups, and the Commons site you follow.  You can read more about this slick new feature of the Commons on a separate post.  We hope you enjoy this convenient way to aggregate content and stay current with your Commons network.

Following Sites

Prior to Commons 1.7, the only real way to keep track of a site was to subscribe to it or access it via an RSS feed.  Those ways still work well (if the site offers those options), but now you have the ability to “Follow” a Commons site.  When you follow a site, your “My Commons” page aggregates activity, and you have a quick way of seeing what is happening.

The screenshot below shows how to follow a site so that its activity will show up in your “My Commons” tab.  Simply locate the site on the “Blogs” tab and click on the “Follow” button, on the right. (Sites you are a member of are automatically added to your “My Commons” page.)


followAlternatively, when you view a site, you will see if the lower left-hand corner two icons – one that lets you follow the site (a “plus” sign), and the other that lists all the sites that you follow. If you click on this button, you can easily maintain your list of followed sites. If you are currently reading content from a site you are following, and decide to not follow it, you can use the “minus” toggle button to un-follow.

Group Forum Upgrade

bbpress3We have updated to the most current version of the software that enables forums (bbPress), and you will notice a slightly different and improved interface.

Say goodbye to manually formatting posts via HTML.  You can now use a convenient toolbar (pictured above) to add images, links, and formatting to your topics and replies.

You can also control topics by status.  Options here are open, closed, spam, trash, or pending.  Only group admins are able to change a topic Type and Status.  There is also a slightly different way to make topics normal or “sticky” (i.e. stay at the top of the list).

And the new version allows you to have “threaded” replies to forum posts. Threaded replies make it clear that you are replying to someone else’s comment – kind of a thread within a thread the might delve deeper into a particular issue.

BP Docs Upgrade

We have also upgraded to the latest version on BP Docs which enables us to provide some much needed, behind-the-scenes improvements.  On the interface, you will notice that the “Tags” and “Parent” sections have been beefed up, but the biggest improvement is that link and unlink are now new options on the toolbar!  This makes hyperlinks much easier.

Scribd Support

We now natively support embed codes generated from Scribd.  No plugin is needed to embed pdfs from this service.  Read about it here.

Download All Files

download all files 2When you go to the “Files” tab on your Group page, you see a list of all the files that have been uploaded to your group.  You can of course download them one-by-one, but now you can choose to download “All Files.”  See the screenshot which will appear to the right of your “File List.”

Search and Sort Group Members

Have a lot of members in your group?  You can now search for group members or sort their list alphabetically.  Go to “members” tab on your Group page and you should see the following options:


Improvements to Email Notifications

A couple improvements that will help group admins:

  • When a group membership request is sent, the admin gets the content of the request message in the notification.
  • When a group admin updates the group’s name or description, that information is included in the notification sent to the group and posted to the activity stream

Performance Improvements for the Commons “Home” Page

We draw in a large amount of content on our Home page, and the dev team has managed to use some caching tricks to make our response time quicker.

We also have new functionality that lets you hover over the homepage slide to stop it from advancing, to give you the time to read it.  Hover outside the slide, and the animation will continue.

“Percent Complete” for User Profiles

Are you a procrastinator when it comes to your Commons profile?  You’ll probably get a gentle nudge that your percentage complete is less than 100%.  You can easily dismiss and never see this informational message again, but on the other hand, it’s a great time to develop an enhanced  user profile for your online presence.

Clear Formatting on Profile Page

Text fields on you Profile widgets now have a new option to clear HTML formatting.  This helps in cases where content is cut and pasted from another place, and residual HTML tags interfere with display.  You can clear out the tags (line breaks are left intact) and then reformat to suit your needs.

Thanks to the Dev Team!

As can be seen from the list above, Commons 1.7 release is very comprehensive, and we thank the Dev team for the hard work that made it possible.  We hope you enjoy all the new features!



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