Discourse has been growing by leaps and bounds, and we’re deep into the 1.3 release, which has some exciting new features.
Along with this growth, there have been some growing pains, mostly in the area of keeping up with configuration changes in our infrastructure. Which reminds me, have you followed @discourse on Twitter? If not, you should!
It has become very clear that we need someone here at Discourse working full time on system adminstration and ops. Obligatory XKCD:
We’ve had excellent part-time support from our beloved Michael Brown, aka Supermathie, but despite offering him unlimited poutine, Coffee Crisp bars, Timbits, and as much milk in a bag as he could carry, we were sadly unable to convince him to join us full time.
Needless to say, we’re sorry.
So, effective immediately, we are looking for an awesome full time 100% remote, work from home system administrator!
With the help of our community and our customers, we’re proud to release Discourse 1.2 today!
The complete release notes have a detailed summary of the hundreds of fixes, UI improvements, feature tweaks, and new features. The focus of this release was performance and extensibility; here are a few highlights:
Export Your Posts
One of the promises of Discourse is that your data belongs to you! Not just for site owners, but for every participant in every Discourse discussion, for all time, forever! We had the button in V1 but it was cut due to time constraints. It’s back in 1.2 and now it works. Give it a shot — head to your profile page and press the Download My Posts button.
Improved Emoji Support
You could always type : to autocomplete the full Emoji list, but now it’s even easier — just look for the little smiley button in the editor and there’s a full tabbed Emoji picker.
You can also select from four default Emoji “families”: Apple, Android, Twitter, and EmojiOne. Even better, you can now upload and define your own custom Emoji! If you wanted :trollface: on your Discourse, now you can have it.
Better Custom Profile Fields
You can now define custom user fields that are editable by the user on their profile page, and visible on their user profile, too.
Cleaner Category Styles
Discourse is a system of rainbows, yes, but the category badges styles were perhaps a bit too colorful, and when a lot of topics were displayed together it could be a bit noisy. In the interest of sticking with the Discourse design goal of being simple, clean, and clear, we restyled the default badges to reduce the amount of color shown to just a bar next to the category title.
(If you prefer the older, more colorful “box” category badge style, that can be selected in your site settings.)
Combining Stars and Bookmarks
The relationship between bookmarking (which worked on any post) and starring (which only worked on topics) was always a subject of debate. To keep Discourse easy to understand, we’ve now combined those two very similar concepts into bookmark. You’ll notice that any topic with a bookmark on it, anywhere, will show up with a bookmark icon — and clicking or tapping on that bookmark icon will take you to your first bookmarked post in the topic. Try it out!
Official Tag Plugin
Discourse supports categories and subcategories — but what if you want hundreds or thousands of categories? It just doesn’t scale, either in our brains (which category did I want again?) or in the software. So we’ve created an official tagging plugin that lets you arbitrarily tag topics with as many keywords as you like, browse those tags, search for those tags, and generally have a much more flexible, lightweight method of organization for your topics. And it all works in harmony with your existing categories and subcategories.
Official Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin
We’ve seen the rise of far more human spammers than we expected — and existing anti-bot methods and CAPTCHAs are completely powerless against people. So we built an official Akismet plugin to help vet posts by new users to make sure they don’t look spammy before they hit your site. We’ve tested this with a number of our customers and it greatly reduces community and moderator load by zapping the most obvious human spam.
(You do need to purchase an Akismet key for this to work, but anyone on our hosted platform will get Akismet support for free.)
Even More Importers
If you’re thinking of making the switch to Discourse, it is easier than ever, because we now have open source importers for vBulletin, phpBB, Vanilla, Ning, Kunena, Discuz!, bbPress, Simple Machines, Drupal, and myBB.
You’ll still need to be a developer to perform the import, but this is something we plan to make easier over the next year. The more the merrier!
Better Topic List Performance
We dramatically improved the performance of rendering in topic lists — you should feel the 3x improvement in performance when browsing topics, or returning to the topic list, especially on older devices.
Easy One Click Upgrade
Sound good? Of course it does! As always, upgrade your Discourse instance today to get these amazing new Discourse features (and OK, maybe 1 or 2 bug fixes) via our easy one click admin panel updater.
We’d like to thank our customers for their support, and the broader Discourse community for all their contributions toward this release — whether it was in pull requests, feedback on meta.discourse, or feedback on your own Discourse instance. Thank you!
(Also, a particular thanks to avid meta.discourse user erlendsh who created the super cool feature demo videos that you see above.)
For insight into what’s coming up in future releases of Discourse, keep an eye on the releases category at meta discourse.
We’ve been working hard on streamlining our signup process to handle the additional scale, and to make sure creating new Discourse instances was simple and easy. This is the most affordable hosting plan we’ve ever offered.
Discourse is now powering over 3,000 discussion sites on the Internet:
Thanks for letting us host your amazing communities. We hope that Discourse can fit your community, too, whether it is large, medium, small, or anything in between. We’re proud to be a part of your team.
We have big things planned this year, starting with the Discourse 1.2 release which is currently in late beta and should arrive within a week or two.