And just in case you’re still panicking…
We’re updating efx3.
If you visit the site and it’s broken, we’re in the middle of it.
If you visit the site and it looks completely different, we’re done.
You may know that the blogs on efx3 run on WordPress. What you might not have known is that wordpress has another nifty little tool – buddypress. Buddy press is a ‘plugin’ – that is, we, the admins, install it and it runs right alongside our existing wordpress installation. What that means is that you get all this new stuff, and you keep all your old stuff. All your blogs will still be there, exactly as you left them, and the control panel / dashboard for working on your blogs hasn’t changed.
The efx3 frontpage, however, HAS changed – and so has what will become your ‘main’ dashboard. There are so many new features with buddypress that it would take an incredibly long tutorial to explain them all in detail. Instead I’ve covered the main features, and hopefully your new dashboard and the new frontpage will be intuitive enough for you to find where everything is. I heartily suggest that before you ask us any questions, you use the site for a while. Click on everything you see, and find out what it does. I’ll give you one heads up though – from your new dashboard, hovering over the ‘My Blogs’ link from the top menu will show you a list of your blogs and clicking on one of them will take you to your blog dashboard.
Why have we done this?
Lots of reasons.
The original efx3 front page was designed quickly just so that we could have something there while we worked on the rest of the site. We weren’t entirely happy with how it looked and were planning a redesign to make it easier to navigate.
Buddypress contains a lot of the features that efx3 has been missing – friends lists, profiles, etc (see below for the full list of new goodies). Since buddypress is an official wordpress plugin, it is fully supported by wordpress. This means we don’t have to hand-code any of these new things in, they will all work straight away, and any help we need will be there. It also means that other people are working on improvements and additions and there will be new features added every few months or so (just to keep you on your toes!).
For those of you who came from modblog, and for those of you who remember the ‘original’ efx, you’ll know that it was a great place to network. It was a community, and it acted like one. It’s been pretty hard to reproduce that on efx3 without so many features missing. Buddypress will bring some of those features back and will make both building new networks and keeping in touch with existing ones a whole lot easier. We might not ever be able to get back what we had at modblog / efx, but buddypress will at least give us more of a chance. We can’t do it without your help though – the more you use and interact with the site, the more of a community it will become.
Now on to the goodies!
What you’re getting:
The extended profile component allows site admins (Rusty and I) to create specific profile fields for site members to fill in.
All members of efx3 will be able to search and see other members’ profiles and the information they contain. You can fill in as much or as little information as you want to, and we hope to give you plenty of fields to fill in (things like favourite books/movies, hobbies, interests, etc.).
You can now upload a custom avatar from your computer. YAY!
The new efx3 private messaging works like internal site email. Members can message people on their friends list as well as forward and reply to received messages.
Each member will have their own individual Inbox, Sentbox, and Drafts folder. They will be notified of new messages by a new message count as well as email notifications if enabled.
Sending of messages to multiple friends, as well as site wide messages by an administrator are also possible.
Members of efx3 can be connected together by one member adding another as a “friend” and then the other member accepting the friendship request.
Each member has a visible list of their friends on the site. Friends lists are browsable and members can click on each friend to see more information – or add them as their own friend. Profiles are not restricted as a whole.
The ability to search for members by a piece of profile information is also included in with the built in members directory.
Groups in efx3 are a gathering of members and wire posts. In future versions members will be able to post any sort of content to groups including blog posts, images and links.
Since it is possible to make ‘private’ groups that will not be visibly listed and can only accept members by invite from the group administrator, it will be possible in future versions (when buddypress update their release) to make private blog posts by posting a blog post to a private group.
Any member can create a group in efx3. They then become the group administrator giving them heightened privileges within that group.
Every group includes a place for group information, and the latest group news which can be kept up to date my group administrators. Groups also include a wire (see below) where group members can engage in discussions. These features can be selectively enabled by the group creator.
The wire is a place where friends and other members can come along and post messages to a specific piece of content within efx3.
The wire will work with any component within efx3. For example, within the components explained on this page, profiles and groups use the wire component. This allows members to post on other members profiles or leave messages for other group members.
Activity streams aggregate all of your activity across efx3. All of your friends activity is also recorded so you can check what others are doing on the site.
Every component can make use of the activity stream component, which means any sort of activity can be recorded. Wire posts, blogs posts, new friendships and blog comments are among the most popular activities recorded.
Allowing multiple blogs and multiple users per blog is a key feature of wordpress. The new efx3 with buddypress preserves this functionality.
The blogs component will aggregate all blogs, blog posts and comments for a member across the whole of efx3. This means other members can easily find all blogs that a member belongs to or owns, as well as their recent posts and comments.
The blogs component also adds an easy to use screen for creating new blogs built right into the new admin panel.
We’ve added a feature where you can, if you choose, link your facebook and efx3 accounts. You can bring across your friends and info from facebook, and publish your efx3 content to your facebook wall.
What you’re losing:
The only thing you’re losing is the comment alerts, and we’re building that back in (you won’t have it straight away but it will be coming). However what with the activity feeds across the site and the ability to see activity specific to your friends’, you’ll still be able to track comments – you just won’t get alerts for a little while until we work them back in.
Have fun, and please please email us if you have any feedback, problems, bugs, etc.