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Elgg‘s development continues and appears to be progressing toward its next release—version 1.5. The svn revisions “odometer” has begun moving again this week after a brief break following the release of version 1.2.

Elgg’s roadmap states that Curverrider plans to make major relases every six months with Version 1.5 due in February. Several target enhancements due with this release have already been completed:

  • An Administrative interface for customizing profile fields
  • Metastring garbage collection
  • Log Rotation
  • Additional themes

Scalability enhancements are partially completed. Slated further improvements include:

  • Views and plugin location caching
  • A mobile device view
  • An OpenDD client for syndication, imports, and exports (will this mean 0.9–>1.x migration?)
  • Improved front page layout and submenu system
  • The often requested group deletion
  • Drillable site-wide activity stream

Elgg progress is not limited to the work of core developers. We are starting to see institutional support for Elgg development and customization. Kevin Jardine developed are critical event calendar plugin funded by the Royal Institute of British Architects. A large K12 school district in the US is considering an Elgg roll out with monetary support for the necesssary customization by core developers. Other institutions are beginning to pour manpower into Elgg modifications.

These developments bode well for  Elgg’s future. I plan on continuing to support Elgg through a number of means in the future. I look forward to its implementation in K12 education.

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My plugins for controlling content access needed updating because Elgg 1.2 changed views/default/input/access.php; therefore, they no longer worked. I have made the appropriate changes to:

  • nopublic
  • nopublicwithfeeds
  • allpublic

In the near future I will also update higherwalls.

The real news here may be how the plugins will be housed and supported. I uploaded the plugins to a wiki that also gives information about the use, configuration, and installation of these and other plugins that I have created. There will also be a link to a discussion forum offering support for specific plugins.

The plugins are available here. Please be aware that both the wiki and the forum are in early stages of development.

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I have had several requests for the Higherwalls plugin with out the walled garden functionality. I decided to make the plugin with two flavors.

The original version also overrode the owner’s block so that the links to create RSS and OpenDD feeds were deleted. I created another version that retains the ability to click on the links to get the feeds.

Again, to totally disable the feeds, you will need to go to your elgg/views folder and delete the rss and opendd folders.

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Jonathan Rico of Peesco.com released a Google Gadgets widget for Elgg called xgadget. Google Gadgets are snippets of code that can be inserted into widgets to present a wide variety of content. They deliver weather forecasts, rss feeds, games, videos, and more–ranging from the practical to frivolous.

Once xgadgets is installed, it appears in the widget gallery in the profile and dashboard. To get started, you need to find some suitable gadgets by going to Google’s gadget directory.

There are thousands of gadgets to choose from. Once you find a suitable gadget, click the “Add to your Webpage” button. Depending on the gadget selected, you will presented with some configuration options.

Once you have it configured as desired. click “Get the Code.” Copy the code to your clipboard and return to Elgg. If you haven’t set up your gadget widget by dragging it from the Widget Menu to one of the cloumns do so now.

(Note that you can also click on the Additional tools gadgets which brings you to Lab Pixies). Click the edit button on the upper right hand corner.

Name your Gadget in the top field, paste the Code into the code field, and adjust the height as needed (try 10-15 px more than your gadget’s size). Next set the access and click save.

You may have configuration options with your gadget. In this case, you would click edit and type in your zip code for a local weather forecast.

This is a great little plugin that makes thousands of widgets available to both the dashboard and profile in Elgg. It helps them function more like a Pageflakes or Netvibes portal. This is a great addition to the growing collection of Elgg plugins.

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Elgg’s new support community has brought new contributions from Elgg’s Development team.

Ben Werdmuller created a COPPA plugin. COPPA is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which prohibits website from collecting personal information from children under thirteen. This plugin inserts a check box into the registration page, requiring individuals to affirm that they are over 13. One small mistake with this plugin is that sites can collect information of children over 12, not 13.

I have edited the languages/en.php file changing I am over 13 years of age to over 12 years of age. I notified the creator, but I uploaded the revised version here.

Dave Tosh contributed a Twitter Widget. This widget allows users to put a twitter feed from any user in their profile or dashboard page. Just enter the twitter username and the number of tweets to show, then set the access.

Once displayed it displays the user’s tweets:

Both of these plugins are installed by uploading them to the mod folder and activating through the Tools Administration interface.

I look forward to seeing more plugins from the developers, particularly some that I see on their community site. They have a Privacy and a Terms of service plugin that displays links to these pages on the Elgg community site’s footer. Additionally, the site has an Events plugin that I’m sure everyone would like to have access to.

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