It's been a while since I posted a blog post and many of you were curious as to what the team and I have been working on. It also has been a while since we released a major release of EasyDiscuss and I guess it is time for me to share with you guys some of the items that we are working on (progress report!)
History Of EasyDiscuss
A little history of EasyDiscuss and how it all came about. In the early days, we were using phpBB as our forums and the available integrations with Joomla at that point of time was practically useless. We had to write a lot hacks on phpBB and when a new update was out for phpBB, it was our nightmare because we had to port all these hacks on the newer version. There were no good alternatives at that point of time and we gave up.
While we were using EasyBlog (This blog) and SectionEx (for our FAQ), the team had a very funky idea and thought of combining both SectionEx and EasyBlog to build a new support system. This is where the journey begins. Codes were mashed-up and combined and formed into EasyDiscuss :)
As a result from the massive code mashup of SectionEx and EasyBlog, it was a pain in the *ss to maintain. Maintaining it is no longer a nightmare, adding any new features to it is almost like triggering a time bomb. Therefore, in EasyDiscuss 4.0, the team refactored almost 100% of the underlying codebase. In the eyes of users like yourself, this does not mean or benefit you in any way (unless you are a developer like me of course). In the long run, the code would be more manage-able and adding new features / customizing the system should be a breeze.
New Email Editor
We have been getting tons of request on how one should edit the email templates. In this release, we have added an email editor which allows you to edit email templates easily from the back end. This email editor also automatically saves the contents on the correct template override folder so you don't have to worry about template files being overwritten!
We have been finding ways to unify the toolbar across all our extensions and with this initiative, our designers came up with a brand new way to present the toolbar. This toolbar will be spread across all our extensions :)
New Wireframe Theme (Bootstrap 3)
EasyDiscuss 3.x was built around Bootstrap 2 and it is ancient! We have now added a base theme called "wireframe" which rides on Twitter Bootstrap 3 but we have made modifications to it so that it doesn't look like a boring stock Bootstrap 3 template. I am glad to announce that we now have a base framework theme across all our extensions.
Managing with EasyDiscuss 3.x feels old. In fact it felt too dull and boring. With the new and improved administration interface, all our extensions are now sharing the same DNA :) I love the new and improved back end interface, what do you think?
Greater Forums View
As EasyDiscuss is being adapted in more community / hobby / support sites, we have now added a new forums view. This view is pretty similar to what you see on our forums with the exception that it looks and works better :)
More Autoposting Places
With EasyDiscuss 4.0, we also added 4 additional new auto posting places. These new additions brings a huge possibility in automation. These 4 new auto posting places are:
- Telegram Bots
Whenever someone creates a new discussion on the site, EasyDiscuss will be able to automatically post to these places
You can now create gist snippets on the fly! Gone are the days where you have to create a snippet on Gist and then place the embed codes in EasyDiscuss. You just need to use the gist "icon" that is on the toolbar and you are good to go!
Amazon S3 Support
Yep, this is one of my most favorite feature of all time. EasyDiscuss 4.0 allows you to store attachments on the forums on remote storage like Amazon S3. By storing these attachments on a remote storage, you no longer need to worry about your disk space getting filled up! Yay to that!
We have been toying with lots of ideas with conversations on both EasySocial and EasyDiscuss. We have finally taken the step now to do this with EasyDiscuss. The revamp of the conversation would give a fresh touch to boring conversation systems.
We also received numerous feedback about having the ability to ban users for a specific period of time for any reasons at all. With EasyDiscuss 4.0, this is made possible and as a site admin or a moderator, you can now ban users :)
Our main priority in EasyDiscuss 4.0 is to optimize our sql queries since we have refactored the entire code base. With EasyDiscuss 4.0, we are extremely proud of the overall speed improvements. We have now a separate table used to keep a cache of the posts to avoid running heavy and expensive sql queries.
We have also removed the Foundry framework altogether. EasyDiscuss now runs on requireJS and jQuery. That's just the tip of the iceberg. With EasyDiscuss 4.0, you can also configure it to include / exclude jQuery (Should your site already have jQuery in place).
These features above are just the tip of the iceberg as there are a whole load more of other features but we'll probably go into details in the stable release.
When can I get EasyDiscuss 4.0?
As always, we never disclose the exact dates but expect an alpha release soon :)
Discounts and discounts...
While I was juggling between support and the development of EasyDiscuss 4, we received a lot of feedback from our customers about running a promotion. I was initially reluctant because if you come to think of it, our extensions also comes with our awesome support! But after having lots of conversation with our customers, I admit defeat and since this is the start of the year, I will be throwing a 20% discount for ALL of our product bundles.
Wait! It doesn't just stop there, it also comes with a FREE Joomla template of your choice when you purchase our Social Bundle. You have a choice to choose from either the spanking awesome Wanderers or Elegant template. Kindly email us via firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your FREE template after the purchase of Social Bundle.
Apart from the bundle discounts, I have decided to slash 30% off for ALL single purchases, renewals or even upgrades.
P/S: We have exciting line-ups and introduction later this month, so please do keep visiting our blogs more often :) Something awesome is being developed!