Category Archives: Update

Glow Blog Reader

In the coming weeks there will be a Blogs release that will introduce aggregation functionality to the Glow Blogs service. This will allow teachers, students and non-teaching staff to see an aggregate view of latest blogs posts from blogs (public, private and Glow-only blogs) that they choose to follow. It will also be possible to group the aggregate view into different folders/groups which will make it easier for users to manage a large number of blogs that they are following.

We envisage that this feature will be particularly useful to teachers whose pupils are using the Glow Blogs e-Portfolios.

We have started a help page were you can find out more: Glow Blog Reader.

Glow Blogs Update 4 April 2016

There will be a new release on the Glow Blogs service on Monday 04th April 2016 between 16:00 and 17:00. 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 change in this release is the display of cookie policy notification informing users of cookies being used in the Blogs 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.

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

 Enhancement

.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:  blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/LA/BLOGName/wp-admin/index.php?page=myblogs is now: blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/LA/wp-admin/my-sites.php

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.

Plugins

  • 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.

Glow Blogs Phase 2: WordPress Upgrade

Phase 2 of the Glow Blogs project is upgrading to WordPress 4.0. This upgrade will happen on 20th January 2015 and will involve approximately 2 hours of downtime (from 16:00 to 18:00) when the blog service will be unavailable.

Moving to WordPress 4 is a major upgrade. Of course moving from version 2.9.2 to 4 of any software will bring changes. Among the major changes are: An improved menu system, making creation of more complex navigation easier; much better media handling; a generally better editing experience on modern browsers; much improved mobile interfaces; and most importantly a way to move forward and add more features in the future. We will have several new themes and some existing themes will be updated too.

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.

Help for the new features is listed at:  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/glowbloghelp/how-to-wordpress-4/.

This content will replace the main Glow help blog shortly after the upgrade, please do not bookmark this page or links on this page.

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.