You’ve probably seen the news post announcing communities. It’s really exciting, and we’ve been meaning to do this for a really long time, but the logistics – more than any other part of the system – have been daunting to say the least.
It’s there now, and I thought some of you might appreciate a quick tour from the developer, so here goes:
New sidebar blocks
Moderator Of: This displays all communities you own, and is hidden if you haven’t created any.
Member Of: Displays all the communities you are a member of.
As with the ‘friends’ panel, only the first eight are shown; you’ve got to click on the “Communities” or “Owned Communities” links to get a full list.
Joining / Leaving a Community
You can join or leave a community by clicking the little icon you’ve been using to add friends, next to the community’s name. I’m aware this is probably confusing, so that graphic will be changing for communities.
Communities are stored internally more or less like people; you can see community weblog posts on the ‘all weblog posts’ page (assuming they haven’t been access restricted), you’ll see posts and community files in the search results.
Which brings me to …
Communities have weblogs and file repositories
If you’re a member of a community, all of that community’s weblog posts will appear on your friends list. To post to a community weblog, visit its ‘community weblog’ page and click the “Click here to post to this weblog” link.
Uploading to a community’s file repository works just like uploading to your own repository, although obviously you need to navigate to that community’s repository pages first. The community’s file quota will be depleted as opposed to your own.
You can restrict weblog posts, files, profile items etc so that they’re only readable by the members of a community you’re a member of. That isn’t just restricted to things within that community – any weblog post, file, etc, can be restricted to the members of communities you’re a part of.
To create a community, go to your ‘communities’ page; enter its name and a short name that will be part of its website address (i.e., elgg.net/shortname). The community will appear in your ‘moderator of’ sidebar box and you’ll be made into its first member.
Customising communities you own
If you then navigate to its main profile screen as if it were a user, you’ll see three useful links: “Click here to edit this profile”, “Upload / edit site pictures for this community” and “Change this community’s name”. I’ll leave you to guess what they do. It’s not hard.
More to come …
I haven’t finished building yet – templating is conspicuous by its absence for the time being, but it’ll be there within a matter of days. As the news item suggests, there will also be the ability to restrict membership access to the community itself.
We’re still looking at more features – as ever, the roadmap is a good place to look to see where we’re going.