Category Archives: Releases

All the latest news about new releases of the Glow Blog Service.

Glow Blogs Update January 2016

There will be a new release on the Glow Blogs Service on Thursday 28th January 2016 between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm.
We expect that the service will be unavailable for only a few minutes but should be considered at risk for the whole period.

The main focus of the release is a change to the Add Users screen. Blog administrators will be able to bulk add users to a blog by selecting and adding teaching groups, if they have been setup in SEEMiS. Manual addition of users to blogs will continue to be available as now. Help will be added for this change in the Glow Blogs Help blog once the functionality is live.

e-Portfolio Plugin Version 1.0

The e-Portfolio Plugin Version 1.0 has been released.  Pupils can now set up an e-Portfolio by selecting e-Portfolio from a popup on the Create Blog page. Exiting blogs can gain the functionality by activating the e-Portfolio plugin. The old portfolio them are no longer available in the theme picker.

The e-Portfolio plugin make creating a profile from a series of posts much simpler. There is a new Taxonomy ‘Profile Tags’ which control which posts appear on the profile. Pupils can create as many profiles as they like.

We have started producing a series of help pages on using the e-Portfolio Plugin.

Continue reading e-Portfolio Plugin Version 1.0

Glow Blogs – e-Portfolio update 4th November

In preparation for the forthcoming e-portfolio update we will be retiring all of the current e-portfolios themes on Thursday 5th November 2015.

The e-Portfolio themes will not be available to apply to new or existing blogs from the Theme picker.
The themes will continue to work on blogs that they are already applied to.
In the future we would recommend changing these themes to a more standard one and using the forthcoming e-portfolio plugin to produce profiles.

At some point in the future the e-portfolio themes will be turned off altogether and blogs using these themes will revert to the default theme. We will give notice of the timing of this.

The new e-portfolio plugin will be released on Tuesday 10th November 2015.

On both days the blog service will be down for a short time between 4-5pm

Help for the new e-portfolio plugin is being developed: e-Portfolios – Glow Blog Help

This release will also add functionality to the My Sites pages so that teachers and non-teaching staff will be able to remove their membership from the sites that appear there.

Glow Blogs Update October 2015: e-Portfolio Plugin

Please note that the update planned for Thursday 29/10/15 -16:00 to 17:00, is now in the process of being rescheduled. A new post will be added when a release date/time has been agreed.

There will be a new release of the Glow Blogs Service on Thursday 29th October 2015

The update is planned for between 4:00 to 5:00 pm on Thursday 29-10-2015.

We expect that the service will be unavailable for only a few minutes but should be considered at risk for the whole period. This is in addition to the regular scheduled maintenance release at 4:30 today.

The main focus for this release is the e-Portfolio Plugin.

This will change the way that profiles are created in an e-Portfolio blog.

New e-Portfolio blogs will not be theme dependent. They are created from any blog using the new Profile Tags.

More details are available on the help blog e-Portfolio pages.

The documentation is in progress and will be expanding over the next few weeks.

The current e-portfolio themes will be retired. They will continue to work on blogs that are already using them. They will no longer be available for users to choose. If you remove an old e-portfolio theme from your blog you will not be able to re-apply it.

We recommend that users adopt the new e-Portfolio plugin and turn off the older e-portfolio themes. Advice on how to do this is on the help blog.

The other main change will be the ability to allow teachers to remove themselves from sites on the My Sites page.
We anticipate that this will allow teachers to make the My Sites page more useful by leaving e-Portfolio blogs of pupils who are no longer in their care.

Please get in touch with any questions or concerns.

Blogs Update August 2015

The Blogs service had a new release on Thursday 27 August 2015

Included in the release

Five New Themes

  1. Suburbia more information on the theme home page
  2. OXYGEN more information on the theme home page
  3. Visual more information on the theme homepage
  4. Digg 3 Column
  5. Fjords04


  1. Local Avatars
  2. Display Posts Shortcode


To video and audio display in posts syndicated into a blog by the Syndication plugin. These now display properly.


Embed clickview video in posts
Several Authorities use the ClickView service, they can now embed video in their posts by pasting the url to the video into the editor. You need to extract the URL from the ClickView iFrame code, not use the whole code.

Information about the plugins and additions will be added to the Glow Help Blog shortly after the release.

Blogs Update Phase 2.2 – WordPress 4.1.2

This update took place Friday 24th April 2015 between 8am and 9am. There was 4 minues downtime.

The server will be shut down only for a short period of time but there could be intermittent disruption to the service should be considered at risk for the hour. The previous  update took only 12 minutes.

The Plans for this release are listed below, as usual this depends on the results of testing:

Upgrade of WordPress to 4.1.2

This will include the features added in WordPress 4.1

and bugs fixed in 4.1.1 and the 4.1.2 security release

Upgrade to new Akismet version for spam protection

Theme Changes

The Twentyfifteen, yoko and p2 themes will be added to this release.

The Spectrum News Theme will be retired. Existing blogs that use the theme will continue to do so. It will not be able to be selected in the Theme chooser for new or existing blogs. We will turn this theme off completely in six month, blogs with the ‘Spectrum News’ will need to be changed to another before then.

Addition of Plugins


Jetpack is a multifunction plugin from

We will be installing a customised version of Jetpack which will remove features that require a account. Details of the modules Glow Blogs will be able to use are at the end of this post.

Syndication Plugin

This will allow blogs to pull in, via RSS, content from other sites. For example a school with several department/class blogs could pull all posts (or a category of posts) onto one main blog.

Attachment Search

This plugin will allow the search in a blog to be extended to attachments, files and images attached to a blog. This will provide more functionality for blogs that are for sharing resources.

You should not use this plugin if you are keeping content and file attachments behind a password protected post!


The deactivation of the Anarchy Media Player Plugin

This plugin is no longer supported so this means we would have to use scarce resources to keep it working, secure and up-to-date. As most of its functionality has been replaced and improved on by the built in WordPress media handling we are deactivating the plugin.

See for details of how to use the built in WordPress media embeds instead of anarchy.

Continue reading Blogs Update Phase 2.2 – WordPress 4.1.2

Blogs Phase 2.1 Release Tuesday 24th February

This is a small bug-fix release. The update will happen between 4-6pm when the service may be down. The Downtime for the last release was lesas than 5 minutes and we do not anticipate this should take any longer.

Issues Fixed

  • Password protected posts can now be accessed
  • Users can no longer edit first and last names
  • Problem where a username was changed and locked some users out of blog
  • Access to ‘My Sites’ was broken if a user created a blog before visiting ‘My Sites’
  • TwentyTwelve, TwentyThirteen and TwentyFourteen updated to latest version
  • Redirection to Unify went to generic RM Unify page, now goes to Glow branded one
  • Fix for Google Translation widget in Suffusion Theme
  • Accessibility improved in Add Users area of Dashboard
  • Various Admin functions that will help the support but not affect end users


.MOV video files are now embedded in player. Playing of these is browser dependent.

Not fixed

We had hoped to fix a problem with the Spectrum Theme’s broken sliders. Unfortunately it looks like this will take too long for this release. We hoped it would be fixed by an upgrade to the latest version of the theme, but this added in some other complexities and security concerns. We have rolled back to the existing version with the slider bug.

Since this theme is designed for single WordPress installs rather than large network site we are considering ‘retiring’ this theme in the next phase and adding some alternative themes with similar functionality. The theme would still work (as much as it does, for existing blogs but would not be available for new blogs)

Please get in touch if you need any more information on these issues.

Blogs Update Phase 2 WordPress 4

Later News: Blogs Phase 2.1 Release Tuesday 24th February

20th January 2015

Glow blogs were upgraded to WordPress 4
Moving to WordPress 4 was a major upgrade. Moving from version 2.9.2 to 4 of any software will bring changes.

Among the major changes are:

And most importantly a way to move forward and add more features in the future.

Changes to your admin area (Where has  that gone!)

  • Privacy settings, where you set you blog to private, glow only or public can now be found in Settings-> Reading
  • The discussion settings on a page may be hidden, you can show them using the Screen Options section opened from the Top Left of the page screen.
  • If you saved a link to your My Blogs page, the URL has changed: for example: is now:

We have several new themes (we have changed the help blog to twentyfourteen) and some existing themes have been updated too. There are a lot of changes to the suffusion theme.


  • The Anarchy Media Plugin has been simplified and left in for existing content. It is now highly recommended that you use the built in WordPress media embedding tools. See Adding Media.
  • The lightbox plugin has been simplified and there are now no settings.
  • The WP-spamfree plugin has been removed. The Akismit anti-spam plugin is automatically turned on for all Public blogs.
  • The functionality of the re-size at upload plus has been incorporated into Glow Blogs. If you do not want images downsized to a max of 1200 pixels you can turn this feature of or change the setting on the Media section of the Setting menu.
  • The Fourteen Colors plugin has been added, this lets you edit the colours of the TwentyFourteen theme.

While it might take users a short time to get used to the changes, we think that this will be a very positive upgrade to the Blogs service.

The Help blog will be updated to support WordPress 4 over the next few days. This post will be update with more details of the changes.

Security Note

As part of every upgrade to the blog service we have security experts review the service.

This time the report included a note explaining that password protected posts were only as strong as the password applied.

This potentially could lead to users using lightweight passwords for important private information. We do not believe that many bloggers are using password protected post but encourage all users to consider the strength of passwords if they use this facility.

Blogs Update phase 1.1 Report

This was patch release on the blogs service to fix a few issues.

We had anticipated that the release would involve approximately 2 hours downtime when the blog service will be unavailable. In the event the server was only down for around 5 minutes.

Fixes for the following issues were successfully applied:

  • Suffusion theme problem with featured posts turned on.
  • Message on Create a blog page incorrect for 3 local authorities.
  • First time Glow blogs user cannot see the ‘My Blogs’ link on the landing page, even when they have been assigned a blog.
  • Regulus Theme: Comments from external uses failing to work.
  • Fatal errors when using the Unite theme.
  • There were some infrastructure changes to improve performance generally.

We had hopped that the WP-SpamFree plugin would be activated as a site wide plugin that will be automatically activated for all public blogs. Testing before the release showed that activating the spamfree plugin site wide affected performance. Therefore it has been left as a user plugin. This means to be protected from spam you still need to activate the plugin on all public sites that accept comments.

We have started preliminary work on Phase 2, the upgrade to WordPress 4.