Exciting news from Brighton

Since I’m currently researching social networking systems and their potential for Earlham Learning Spaces markII I checked in at Community@Brighton which is running an older version of Elgg (like us) — 0.8 I believe. To my delight I found that they are planning to roll out an upgrade in the latter part of September. Even more thrilling was the fact that my account was still active and so I made the following posting (which I’ll duplicate here just in case …) :

Stan,

I was wondering what your upgrade plans were and I noticed this announcement today:

On 23rd and 24th of September, Community@Brighton will undergo a significant upgrade to a brand new version of Elgg, the software that powers Community. This will significantly change the way Community looks and works, with a raft of improvements and new features – including brand new photo galleries, video facilities, a wiki, SMS and email notifications and lots more.

This is very exciting and I’m hoping that we can see some more details. For example:

  1. How are bringing over content from the Elgg version you’re currently using (0.8?) to 1.5 given that the database schema are totally different?
  2. You had to hack the core in order to create the cool theme of community@Brighton (I know because I had to do similar hacks on my system in order to display a tabbed interface). Are you creating a custom theme for the upcoming upgrade?
  3. What plugins are you planning to implement? Are you implementing version 1.5 or 1.6? Will you have a policy for system upgrades?
  4. Could you tell us something more about the wiki implementation and SMS notifications?

All this is rather exciting and it’s good news for elggphiles in Higher Education to see Sussex Uni going in this direction. Do you have an open developer’s blog where we can follow progress?

Apologies for all the questions. We are looking to migrate from Elgg 0.9 to something else and it’s encouraging to see where the big fish are swimming.

This is very interesting and I’ll be following developments closely.

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2 thoughts on “Exciting news from Brighton

  1. I got a ‘reply from Stan Stanier the same day (9/15/09):

    Hi Mark,
    1. We’ve paid Curverider to build and execute migration scripts to move the data across
    2. We’ve commissioned a new design
    3. We’re going with 1.6.1 and we’re using standard plugins plus tidypics, new video tool and possibly a few others – not fully decided yet
    4. Wiki = Pages & SMS is a new plugin that hooks SMS into notifications and allows users to post to the wire via SMS

  2. Here’s my response the same day:

    Thanks Stan,

    1. Is there any chance that the migration script might end up as Open Source? It strikes me that there are a number of Universities in the UK who are/were on the 0.8/0.9 release of Elgg who might appreciate the help (including Earlham college in the US :-).
    2. I’m intrigued that you commissioned a new site design rather than producing one in house as you did with your current system. Would you be prepared to explain the reasons behind this decision? What implications might this have for other educational sites? I must say that I was inspired by the design of the community@brighton site and so I figured out a way of hacking the source to implement my own design.

    Since then I have received no communication ….

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