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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS. ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.

ocPortal 7.1 released

ocPortal 7.1 released
This is ocPortal 7.1, which is a major usability improvement and bug fixing release, also with beta support for HTML5 and microdata.

In past releases we have fixed the obvious usability challenges with ocPortal, done extensive team reviews, and acted aggressively on solving issues reported by the ocPortal community. The problem with this approach is that there is a strong correlation between people who find computer software easy to use and people who engage in online communities and give feedback. Put another way, we rarely hear the feedback of the more casual and less-experienced users, because they would move on rather bringing anything to our attention. This problem of 'unknown unknowns' (as Donald Rumsfeld would call it) is a big one, because even the presence of such issues would go completely under the radar even with the active engagement effort we have run over the years.

To solve this problem, for 7.1 we sought-out people with no website management experience, no ambitions to make websites, no training, and polar-opposite personal traits to our typical user – and we sent them wholly unprepared and unassisted through a number of extended trial scenarios covering all the most important kinds of ocPortal management task (17 extended scenarios in total, and 5 testers). This has been very fruitful, leading to a long list of improvements that make this release of ocPortal truly user-friendly even for untrained beginners. We're pleased to say all stumbling blocks the users found were resolved.

To upgrade follow the steps in your website's http://mybaseurl/upgrader.php script. You will need to copy the URL of the attached TAR file (created via the form below) during step 3.

Your upgrade to version 7.1

You can generate an upgrader from any version of ocPortal to any other version. If you access this upgrade post via the version information box on your Admin Zone front page then we'll automatically know what version you're running.
If you'd prefer though you can enter in your version number right here:

(usually blank)

(example above is for upgrading from 4.3.2 beta1)

The Usability Improvements are:
  • The CMS zone icons now say how many entries there are for each content type
  • Block re-editing is now done via buttons liked to forms in WYSIWYG, rather than manual Comcode changes
  • Made timezone selection consistent with Microsoft Windows TM (thanks to temp1024!)
  • Added word-count feature
  • Improved usability of the permission preset selector
  • Major reorganisation of the usergroup add/edit form, for usability
  • Added link between frontend search and Admin Zone search, for newbie admins trying to find admin features via the frontend
  • Change the Add Comcode Tag icon to include our standard Comcode icon in it, for usability/consistency
  • Improved usability of private-room creation and display significantly (better default permissions, skipping of mention of room deletion if disabled, display of which rooms are private, display of who is in what usergroups when adding room, automatic permission for admin to go to any private room, neater room list, better display of when nobody is in a room)
  • Improved text explaining the 'disable_lost_passwords' privilege
  • Improved labelling on some do-next menus
  • Increased the font size on form field descriptions
  • Changed some 'Proceed' buttons to be more specific and clear
  • Renamed the member 'Wide' option to 'Opt to hide the left/right navigation' for clarity
  • Added inline links to add/edit forums, and add/edit usergroups, and edit forum groupings
  • Rearranged member profiles to include less in the right-column and more in the main space, so it is less cluttered
  • Renamed 'Links' on Admin Zone front page to 'External links' to make it clear they are not a key navigation
  • When adding a Comcode tag changed the 'Wrapped Comcode' label to be much more clear.
  • Made the function of the dashboard more obvious for new users (that it is not a menu)
  • Made forms look prettier: dotted-border around them, and tidier 'required field' markers
  • No longer refer to 'CRON', refer to 'Scheduler'
  • Removed faded zone menu in admin sections, as confused users and made them get lost
  • Made the 'edit' buttons on Theme Images only apply to larger images, and stick around for as long as the popup is still there (when re-clicked, it will re-focus to the popup, to help the user understand how the windows are related)
  • Reworked the 'choose picture' interface, as some users thought the faded non-selected items and the backgrounded selected-item were all disabled
  • Made the choose-theme-image-to-edit screen not have internal scrollbars
  • Provided link from the Logo Wizard to edit the logo theme image directly
  • More help on what personal topics do when you are starting a personal topic
  • SEO keywords are now inputted in a more user-friendly way (no need for user to understand what a comma-separated-list is)
  • The CSS editor now explains in the help panel how to find a theme image for editing
  • Changed 'The source this entry is from, perhaps you.' to simply 'The author of this entry.'
  • Changed 'This field supports Comcode' to 'You can use Comcode'
  • Made the 'Add Block' tooltip better explain what a block is
  • Added accessible-writing-guide to news module
  • When going to 'Module Management' the 'Blocks' choice stands out better from the Zones
  • Google Analytics no longer runs for staff, for more accurate statistics
  • Noted in the interface that the 'Add Theme Image' feature is 'Advanced'
  • Made the do-next navigation a bit prettier
  • Defaulted 'collapse user zones' option to on, so by default here is no welcome/site-zone difference
  • When previewing some Comcode in the Comcode editor, or some content from a content-chooser-table, the preview now shows in a box titled 'Preview' rather than floating alone
  • When you use the 'Add Comcode' or 'Add Block' buttons, it now tells you what it has done at the end, so you know you still need to save before the action takes effect
  • The block 'zone' options have been put under 'Advanced', and documented better.
  • The catalogue 'Auto-fill' option is now labelled 'Auto-fill with categories', and now accepts comma-separation as well as pipe-separation (precedence goes to pipe separation though, as the user may want commas in their category titles)
  • The multi-moderations are now grouped as such in the topic actions dropdown
  • The 'global.css' editor in the footer now mentions it is the main place to make style changes
  • The CMS zone menu now says 'Content Management Zone' rather than just 'Content Management', to help the user understand it is a zone
  • In the menu editor the 'Add branch' action is now 'Add branch (e.g. another link)' so the user knows it can be used to add links
  • In choose-to-edit tables, the 'Edit' link is now bolded so the user knows it is the primary link
  • Changed 'Add one' to 'Add an entry' (etc) in do-next icons
  • Improved 'main_content' and 'main_multi_content' block help for various parameters
  • Made the zone editor save button more prominent, and put in a hint to it's position
  • Added tooltip to explain what the ticks (checks) on the staff checklist block do
  • Added search synonyms between 'multi-moderations' and 'multimoderations'
  • The multi-moderation and post-template management is now placed under 'Forums', rather than on their own menu spots
  • The 'include' Comcode tag can have it's page selected visually, rather than having to type in the zone and page name
  • Renamed 'Add member' to 'Add member account' (etc), to clarify things better
  • Put 'Open Site' on the default admin checklist
  • CSS3 fading effect for hover actions

Expand: Bug fixes and cleanups: Bug fixes and cleanups:

It is also interesting to note, weeks later we still seem to be the only CMS to provide support for

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