The focus of this release was new features, as requested by our customers and users.
For sites where the subject matter demands that people sometimes post anonymously, we now support an anonymous mode, if enabled in your site settings. Simply select Anonymous Mode from your user menu and you'll be provided a new anonymous account account to post as. Switch back and forth to anonymous mode as much as you like.
Discourse now supports the new WHATWG notifications API for desktop (and mobile, in some cases) notifications! This means, depending on your OS and browser combination, you may see small banners from your operating system notifying you of events in Discourse as they occur. You do need to opt in when asked by your browser -- you'll be asked the first time a notification occurs. Thanks to Kane York for all his hard work on this!
We've always been opposed, for both social and technical reasons, to the idea of muting a person and making them entirely "disappear", but community member Accalia proposed something more civilized -- what if we just muted all notifications from people on your mute list?
That did indeed seem rather civilized to us, and minimizes any disruptions to yourself and the community. So you'll find a new muted user section on your user page.
We launched with a basic poll implementation in Discourse contributed by the community, but it was high time we improved that. So Régis rolled up his sleeves and made it awesome and way more flexible. We now support single or multiple choice polls, numeric polls, polls can be in any reply in the topic, and you can even have multiple polls in the same post.
The simplest form is now:
[poll] - Option A - Option B - Option C [/poll]
One of the commonest requests was for a mode to approve all new user posts. This is especially important if the discussion is based on a sensitive or potentially dangerous topic. We now ship with a mode where staff can manually approve the first (n) new posts from every user who is below a given trust level. It is a bit of an inevitable tradeoff of staff time versus user time, but once post approvals are enabled you can rest assured that new users won't come along and cause problems in your community while they learn the ropes of posting.
Cleaner default style
Discourse is built around the idea of a simple, minimalist design, but we haven't always achieved that. In Discourse 1.2 we tried to de-rainbow a bit with less emphasized category badges, and that simplification trend continues in 1.3 -- except we're also trying to de-grey the design and make it cleaner, airier.
You may notice grey tiger striping is gone, the intensity of grey quotes is turned way down, and expanded quotes and replies no longer have grey backgrounds. There was, uh, a lot of grey. We also switched to rounded avatars for a bit more whitespace and a more organic look. Look how far we've come from Discourse 0.9!
We finally built a user directory at
/users which lets you see where your community fares on a variety of sortable metrics, including read time, posts, and days visited.
Simpler Pins and Banners
We unified the UI for deciding how you want to "feature" a topic, from pinning in the category, to pinning globally, to making a site-wide banner. We also let you know how many pins you have so that you're not overwhelming your users with static information.
More Flexible Invites
Because discussions are more fun with more people, we continue to improve and enhance our invitations system. By popular request, you can now invite existing users to a topic, not just new users via email.
More Code Language Highlights
If you post source code on your Discourse, you'll be pleased to find out you can now customize exactly what programming languages are highlighted in the code. No matter how common or obscure, it's probably supported by highlight.js, so just add it to the list in your site settings!
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 by the end of the year.
You should see better performance on the client with our Ember 1.11 upgrade which offers a 30% speed boost. And on the server, we made several enhancements for large topics and large sites to keep things speedy.
And so much more
These are just the major highlights in 1.3 – there are literally hundreds of other tiny improvements, refinements, and bugfixes in 1.3 that we aren't covering here, but are in the full release notes.
Easy One Click Upgrade
I think you'll agree that 1.3 is the best version of Discourse EVER!
Upgrade your Discourse instance today to get these amazing new Discourse features (and OK,
a lot of some bug fixes) via our easy one click admin updater linked in your dashboard:
As usual, we'd like to thank our customers for your support, and the broader Discourse community for all their contributions toward this release -- whether it was in pull requests, feedback on meta.discourse, or our personal favorite, feedback based on user activity in your own Discourse instance. Thank you!
(Also, a particular thanks to avid meta.discourse user erlendsh who created the super cool feature demo videos and screenshots 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. Keep the feedback coming! We're always listening… although we listen especially hard when you purchase a hosting contract with us. ;)