Archive for March, 2009
Included with all of the new features of Lyons is an upgrade to FCKeditor. This upgrade introduced a new web based spell checker based off of www.spellchecker.net. If you have MindTouch Deki behind a firewall though, the spell check will not work. In order to get spell check working when MindTouch is behind your firewall, follow the steps listed in the following FAQ: http://wiki.developer.mindtouch.com/Deki/FAQ/Editor/How_do_I…Change_the_web_based_spell_check_to_local_Aspell
It was a long time in the making, but we’ve finally released the open source version of MindTouch Deki Lyons!
Since the release of Kilen Woods, we’ve been listening to the needs of both our open source community as well as our commercial customers to define the direction of the Lyons release – well, we’re proud to show you what we’ve been working on. The primary theme behind the Lyons release is the continued extension of the MindTouch Deki platform for developers to build applications that connect and remix data.
But what about pushing that data back out? With Lyons, we’ve turned MindTouch Deki into a switchboard by adding push notifications. Custom applications can hook into Deki and be sent notifications when content changes are made – this makes it possible to send data back out from Deki. Using the new notifications feature, we’ve added perhaps the most-requested feature we’ve heard over the last year: email notifications. Changes made to pages or whole trees will be sent out as email notifications to anybody who is subscribed to a page.
Developers writing complex applications on top of Deki now have access to a local data store with properties. These properties are key/value pairs that are used to describe files, pages, or users.
In addition, we’ve added a front-end plugin API which simplifies the process for adding custom UI behaviors to Deki. These plug-ins allow developers to adapt Deki to workflows specific to their organizations.
Along with all the goodies for developers, we’ve also made it much easier to manage your Deki communities. Armed with the results of our usability testing from the revamped control panel, we’ve made more changes for administrators which make it much easier to discover all of Deki’s configurable features. Administrators will also notice that there are more tools at their disposal for tweaking and configuring all of Deki’s functionality.
On top of all the developer and administrative additions, we’ve also spent time making the editor’s job easier. Users will find that editorial control is much easier to exert in the Lyons release. For example, you can now completely control the permissions of every user and group on every page (or page tree) with ease. It’s also much easier to track changes made inside Deki with our new RSS feed formats, updates to the Recent Changes UI, and our new revision comparison diff engine. With these updates, it will take users less time to view the specific changes and to undertake actions based on these changes, like banning an abusive member.
For the daily contributors of Deki, we’ve improved the content creation tools. We’ve created a new tagging method which aids users in finding existing tags and help hone a single vocabulary of tags. Users will also notice that inserting images and attachments on the fly has been streamlined to make producing content even easier. In addition, we’ve added support for editing Word documents with save capabilities, for Internet Explorer, inside Deki.
Please drop by our forums if you’ve questions or concerns.
Howdy all… you might have seen my blog post over at www.mindtouch.com/blog about getting in the spirit of governmental openness. Our CEO (Aaron Fulkerson) is attending the Gov2.0Camp in Washington DC, and will even be presenting a workshop there focusing on using Deki to learn more about the people that make the laws some of us we all live by.
In the blog post, I talked about the new Sunlight Labs extension (read more about it here). The information retrieved from Sunlight is fairly straightforward, but is mostly useful when mashed up with other functions and APIs (such as the Twitter mashup at the bottom of that tutorial). Today I wrote up an extension that talks to the Capitol Words remote API (functionality seen here at the Capitol Words API). This retrieves information about topics discussed, when they were discussed, and who discussed it. For example, I discovered today that Barney Frank said the word “gentlewoman” 76 times in 2007 (it was his 6th most used word that year!). While that info in and of itself isn’t anything more than amusing at best, when you start pulling in that data and putting it up against other information, trends start to appear. Yes, you can watch topics come and go, maybe seeing what’s hot and what’s fallen out of favor in politics. What if, however, I were to do a comparison between the big topic of the day and what MY representative spoke about that same day? It may very well be that my representative was up there blabbering about a Museum of Tea Kettles while everyone else was talking about Afghanistan. I can track his or her points of focus, what projects they are championing, and even whether they’re ahead of (or behind) the political trend. THAT’S powerful information.
So check it out! It’s currently running at our developer site. Going forward, I’d like to mash this up with some line charting so that you can visually track topics in Washington. Maybe even match that line against what my reps are speaking about, if for no other reason than I could see how far off-base they really are. If you have any suggestions as to possible uses or improvements, please feel free to let me know.
The XML for this extension can be found here.
The Lyons (9.02) release brings a lot of change – not only in the features we’ve added, but also in the mentality shift the engineering team will have when approaching the open source and commercial versions. These changes will be fleshed out in more detail over the coming weeks (a first pass can be seen here), but I wanted to talk before the release about one of the ways it’ll impact some of you in Lyons. (Unfortunately, this will entail me utilizing a bad four-letter word beginning with “f” and ending with “k”, so be prepared!)
Over the past few releases, MindTouch has focused its innovation on the core open source engine – this involved MindTouch Dream, the MindTouch API, DekiScript, and other aspects which will always be available to the open source community. While we are not neglecting this core engine in future releases, we will increasingly focus on differentiation between the open source and the commercial versions based on our customers’ feedback.
One of the most popular modules utilized in MindTouch Deki by our customers is the MindTouch LDAP module. Over time, with the help of the participants of the LDAP forum, the LDAP module has grown into solid module with a great set of features and the ability to support a lot of different flavors of LDAP.
However, there is increased demand for more complex features, like nested group support. To that end, we have created a fork (ooh, there’s that nasty four letter word!) of the open source LDAP module to work on an commercial LDAP module. Max will have more details on this commercial LDAP module, but going into the future, all MindTouch work on LDAP (features + bug fixes) will be put into the commercial versions.
We will continue to ship the open source LDAP module in MindTouch packages - upgrading to Lyons will NOT cause your LDAP integration to break. We are maintaining the same SID for the open source LDAP, and have created a new SID for the commercial LDAP module. The LDAP module, still available in SVN, will essentially remain frozen in its 8.08 stage as an evolutionary dead-end. Any community members who want to submit patches are free to do so – we will still apply those for the open source module for you. All future packages (both open source + commercial) will contain both the open source and commercial LDAP modules, but our documentation and the LDAP helper in the control panel will reference the commercial SIDs.
I know this sets a dangerous precedent (this issue was not taken lightly internally – it took many heated discussions to reach this conclusion), but I want to reassure you that we are NOT going to be taking away key features that you already utilize that makes MindTouch great. Many of you have championed MindTouch, and we recognize that ripping away features from release to release reflects poorly on you, which is why the community has always remained at the forefront on ALL of our product decisions.
There is an ongoing conversation about this topic at the forums, so I invite you to join the discussion, and voice any concerns and complaints you have with this move. It’s my hope that this move will be a balance between our commercial interests and the needs of the open source community.
In MindTouch Lyons (9.02), we’ve finally pushed the Deuce skin into the public release. Because it hasn’t been fully vetted across all different browsers and platforms, it’s called “deucebeta” in your installs.
If you’d like to try out the skin on a test site, check out trunk.mindtouch.com and navigate around.
You can find some of the known shortcomings inside Deuce Beta as well as some of the reasoning behind the skin on the Deuce wiki page.
I would love to hear your feedback on this new skin – please drop by the Deuce page and add some comments there! With your help, we can stabilize this skin and release the full production skin soon :)
Download Lyons Preview 3 and check out the skin today!