We have been working on EasyDiscuss for almost a decade now and this is one of our biggest rewrite in the history of EasyDiscuss.
The Origin of EasyDiscuss
Our first encounter with forums on the web was with PhpBB and SMF Forums. Ever since then, it has always been instilled at the back of our heads that this is how forums should work. When we launched EasyDiscuss about a decade ago, our intention has always been about changing the way forum works. Throughout this journey, we have strayed away from our initial concept because we tried to make EasyDiscuss behave like a conventional forum.
With EasyDiscuss 5, we went back to the drawing board again and focused on the roots of EasyDiscuss and that is to simplify the way forums are used.
Joomla 4 Support
Out of the box, EasyDiscuss 5 supports Joomla 4 Beta 4 and it is also backwards compatible with Joomla 3.9.x and the upcoming Joomla 3.10 series.
One of the most tedious tasks in maintaining EasyDiscuss is handling all the different themes in every release. We have to modify every single file that is updated in each release to ensure that they all receive the same changes and because of that, maintenance is a nightmare. Updates started slowing down because we are afraid of making changes.
Therefore in EasyDiscuss 5, we decided to keep things as minimal as possible and only sticking to a single theme which is the wireframe theme along with the dark mode support.
Along with the theme changes in EasyDiscuss 5, we have now added dark mode support on the wireframe theme. It looks really stunning along with your dark templates.
Brand New User Experience
We have overhauled the entire user experience and interfaces in EasyDiscuss 5. With the redesigned user interfaces, it definitely increases user engagements as well as the overall experience on the board.
The all new category & post filters allow users to easily filter posts on the site without having to go through the whole process of navigating between forums.
Redesigned Administration Interface
We have refreshed the entire back-end of EasyDiscuss to offer a much better user experience and also giving a much more modern touch considering that the back-end that we have is already starting to show the signs of aging.
We have added new comment listings at the back-end to allow site administrators to be able to moderate and manage comments in a single administration area.
Redesigned Profile Page
The all-new profile page is now even more user friendly than ever! We have also simplified the overview to enhance the user experience on the web as well as mobile devices.
All badges in EasyDiscuss 5 has been redesigned to have a modern and unique look and feel.
User listings is also redesigned to offer clear and precise information about users easily.
In EasyDiscuss 5, we are introducing post labels. Post labels provide another method to label and distinguish posts alongside the post types and tags. This is very handy when it comes to the all new insane post filtering in EasyDiscuss which makes searching and filtering for posts to be extremely easy!
With EasyDiscuss 5, you can now quickly duplicate a category instead of creating them separately. We have also updated the workflow of category permissions by allowing inheritance so that you do not need to explicitly set permissions for each category (What a relief!).
Apart from that, you can now use icons instead of a category avatar. To ease the process of identifying categories, you can also pick a color for your icon.
We have also added a new post activity in the post that helps provide a timeline of events that happens in a post. This would provide users with a clear indication of what happened to the post. These are the activities that are monitored for the post:
- Title changes
- Category changes
- Post label changes
- Post is marked as resolved or unresolved
- A moderator is assigned to a post
- Post is locked or unlocked
- Post is featured or unfeatured
- User marked a reply as the answer for the post
We believe that your users would love this new functionality!
Brand New Toolbar
The brand new toolbar in EasyDiscuss 5 sports a new look and feel. The new toolbar will now adapt to the template of your site without having its own backgrounds and it just stunning!
Rich Data Embeds
A new option that we added into EasyDiscuss 5 is the ability to share Tweets and Gist links. These links will be automatically converted into interactive and rich embedded posts on the posts.
Post types has also been updated and we have added a brand new icon picker for post types so you can now associate icons with post types.
Custom fields can now also be associated with categories. That's right! You can now have a more selective set of custom fields dependent on the category that is being viewed.
We have been experimenting with honeypot traps with EasySocial and our site for the past couple of months. We realized that the usage of a honeypot trap alongside other anti spam capability can eliminate almost 99.9% of spam posts. We believe the new addition of honeypot traps will help reduce spams on your site!
Joomla! Action Logs
Just like the rest of our extensions, we have also added integrations with the built-in action logs in Joomla! With the action logs, you get to view the history and activities of your forums!
Redesigned E-mail Templates
Just like the complete make-over of the user interfaces in EasyDiscuss, we have also redesigned and updated every single e-mail template in EasyDiscuss 5. The new e-mail templates are elegant and stunning!
This is one of the most anticipated requests by our customers and we hear ya! With EasyDiscuss 5, you can now preview the post right from the editor before submitting your post!
Every once in a while, we reply to a thread only to realize that someone has already replied and that leads to many misunderstandings. With EasyDiscuss 5, we have added live updates to notify you that someone else has already posted an update before you and instead of posting your reply, you can always preview their posts first.
An added bonus with EasyDiscuss 5 is the capability to assign badges to users from the back-end.
The slash commands are pretty similar to the @ commands where you can just type / and EasyDiscuss would auto suggest actions that you can perform on a post. These are the commands supported in EasyDiscuss 5.0:
- Labeling a post
- Marking a post as resolved
- Marking a post as unresolved
Operation Hours Module
To maintain simplicity in EasyDiscuss 5, we have also extracted the operation hours in the toolbar and converted it into a beautiful and elegant module that can be used throughout your site.
Post Rejection Notice
Prior to EasyDiscuss 5, it was possible to reject a post submitted for moderation but it was not possible to include a message to be sent to the post owner. These post owners are often unaware of the reason that their post wasn't approved.
With EasyDiscuss 5, we have added the option to notify post owners with a message when their post is being rejected.
Rich Snippet Schema Support
EasyDiscuss 5 also supports rich snippet schema support out of the box. This gives your site an added advantage over other forums when it comes to search engine rankings.
EasyDiscuss 5 also supports AMP support out of the box giving you added advantage over other conventional forums as search engines (Google) would be able to take advantage of these AMP pages.
All the modules that you have in EasyDiscuss 5 have been redesigned from the ground up with the new user interface and the improved user experience throughout EasyDiscuss 5.
Default Post Assignments
Automated Post Assignments
To enhance the workflow of sites using EasyDiscuss as a support platform, EasyDiscuss 5 also offers the capability to automatically assign new posts in a specific category to a moderator defined in the category settings.
We have also added a brand new ACL to determine if current users are allowed to download attachments. This would be extremely handy when integrated with PayPlans (for instance, a user with a subscription would be able to download attachments)
When we added GIPHY in EasySocial and ConverseKit, we immediately realized that it increases the interaction between users. We realized we had to include this into EasyDiscuss 5 as it would be a key factor in getting user engagement. Along with the GIPHY integrations, we have added stickers from GIPHY too!
Image Optimization Service
Image Optimization Service by StackIdeas
With EasyDiscuss 5, we have also added integrations with the Image Optimization service that we offer. The integration supports optimizing existing images through a cron service and also new uploaded images.
Optional Font Awesome Rendering
Optional Font Awesome Rendering
As an extension developer, our biggest concern has always been about multiple assets loaded on the page because of different modules, plugins and templates on the site. Since most websites already have Font Awesome rendered on their site, we have made the rendering of the Font Awesome library optional. If your site already has the latest and greatest Font Awesome, you can now turn off the rendering of Font Awesome to remove redundant rendering of the font family.
We have also optimized the SQL queries as well as the overall performance for EasyDiscuss 5. You will notice the speed improvements throughout EasyDiscuss 5 compared to the previous version.
Conversations in EasyDiscuss is starting to show its age and many sites powered by EasyDiscuss either do not utilize conversations or uses a different conversation system such as EasySocial or other 3rd-party conversations system. This is why we are now removing Conversations from EasyDiscuss 5 altogether. By removing Conversations, we will focus on our origins of EasyDiscuss, which is to build the next generation forums for Joomla!
PHP (5.6+) Requirements
Minimum Requirements Updated
Along with this new update, we are also increasing the minimum requirements for PHP to PHP 5.6.
Download or Try EasyDiscuss 5 Beta Today
EasyDiscuss 5 beta can be downloaded today and we strongly encourage that you install the beta on a staging or test site before deploying them on a live site. Alternatively if you do not have a staging site, you can try it on our own staging site.