Top 10 Features introduced in XWiki Enterprise 3.x Cycle

Version 26.1 by Sorin Burjan on 2012/05/15

The 3.x development cycle

To see the detailed list of features done in the 3.x cycle please check the Release Notes for each version.

We've setup a Jira dashboard to present the work done during the previous cycle. In summary, 1444 issues have been closed by 19 committers (and other contributors providing patches), out of which 664 are fixed bugs.

Quick and Easy application development with AppWithinMinutes

After the introduction of the new class editor and the live table generator, this release brings the App Within Minutes wizard tying all the other aspects making up the App Within Minutes feature. The wizard helps you create collaborative web applications within minutes, based on XWiki's powerful structured data management system.

Start by going to the App Within Minutes home page. There you can see listed the existing applications. Click on the "Create Application" button to start the wizard.

AppWithinMinutes-Step0.png

In the first step you have to provide the application name, which will determine the application home page URL and the application space. Each application is mapped to an XWiki space.

AppWithinMinutes-Step1.png

In the second step you define the application structure, i.e. the type of data the application will handle. At the end of this step the wizard will create for you the template and the sheet that will be used to create new application entries.

AppWithinMinutes-Step2.png

In the last step you customize the way the home page of your application will look like. You can choose which columns to display in the entries live table.

AppWithinMinutes-Step3.png

At the end the wizard takes you to the home page of your application, which is the place from where you can manage the application data: edit the application structure, add new entries, edit or delete existing ones.

AppWithinMinutes-HomePage.png

For more information, click here.

Extend your wiki with the Extension Manager

Although there's no back-end repository where to search for new extensions yet, the new UI for the Extension Manager is starting to shape up. The previous experimental UI has been replaced by a new category in the Administration dedicated to the extension manager, with three different sections.

EMGlobal.png

EMSearchExtension.png

EMCoreExtensions.png

For more information, click here.

Better organization of your teams with Wiki Workspaces

We have adopted the Workspace Application as an XWiki platform project. In a few words, the Workspace Application allows regular users to create workspaces where they can collaborate on a specific topic. Once the work is done, they can delete the workspace if they wish so. A workspaces is, in essence, a regular subwikis that is to be used only by global users. It allows global users to join or be invited and to easily navigate through the available workspaces and to the main wiki.

The Workspace Application suits best for intranets or any other usecase that involves having only global users and going back and forward through projects or departments that are separated in subwikis. On the other hand, the Workspace Application is not intended to be used in environments such as wiki farms, where each subwiki is a bubble, having it's own users and not knowing/caring about other subwikis or the main wiki. This later use case is better served by XWiki Enterprise Manager.

Create workspace button
Main wiki section displayed in top menu while in a workspace
Workspace Users section in the workspace's administration section replacing 'Registration' and 'Users'
Workspace Directory listing available workspaces and available actions

The Workspace Application is not bundled by default with any XWiki product, but it can be installed as an extension.

For more information, click here.

Getting social: Twitter-like messaging and networking inside the wiki

Users can now post status messages which will be visible on the main dashboard and on the user profile page.

messageStream.png

Users can follow each other's activity streams.

follow.png

In order to see the members of your network and the network activity you can use the Network menu:

networkMenu.png

which leads you to the Network tab from the user profile page:

network.png

For more information, click here.

Gallery Macro and Office Presentation Viewer

The Gallery Macro helps you create a simple image gallery where images are displayed using a slide-show view. You can use images from any source, both internal (attached to a wiki page) and external. The gallery macro collects all the images it finds in the macro content. The Office Macro has been improved to use the gallery macro when displaying office presentations:

presentation.png

For more information click here.

Make your wiki documents accessible to desktop office suites through Office Document Export

exportAsODT.png

If you configure your wiki to work with an office server (LibreOffice or OpenOffice) as described in the Office Importer Application you'll notice a new entry in the export menu (as long as you are connected to the office server). By default only the ODT (OpenDocument Text format) export is exposed but you can tweak the export URL to export to other office formats supported by your office server. For instance /xwiki/bin/export/Sandbox/WebHome?format=doc exports Sandbox.WebHome page to Microsoft Word's proprietary DOC format.

For more information click here.

Let each user customize their environment for better productivity through User Dashboards

After wiki- and space-wide dashboards, this release brings support for personal dashboards. Each user can define their own dashboard in their profile document, and they can use it either in their profile document, or display it instead of the homepage default dashboard.

userdashboard.png

For more information, click here.

Customizable PDF Export

pdfExportOptions.png

If you export a wiki page to PDF using the Export menu you'll get a panel where you can configure some PDF export options. These options are defined in the PDF velocity templates and were previously available only as query string parameters to the PDF export URL.

Find the right document faster thanks to the improved search results scoring

The search results retrieved by the Lucene plugin have been for a long time the target of many complaints, since documents that were actually relevant for a query usually appeared too low in the results list. This issue has now been improved, by scoring results differently depending on the field where the search query matches. A hit on the document title will ensure that the document will be among the first results, while a hit on the owner document's name of an attached image will place the image towards the end.

search.png

For more information, click here.

User Interface Improvements for a better User Experience

New color themes for a modern look

XWiki Enterprise 3.4 comes with a new default color theme and other three (Mint, Ruby and Dusk) that you can choose from. All four use CSS3 rules and new color variables in order to be able to have gradients. All color themes that were previously available are now considered deprecated and have been published as extensions: Default, Bordo, Nature, BlueSky, Inner Dark, Nightfall and Peach.

colorthemes34.png

Revamped Administration UI

We have redesigned the administration application providing a new layout and new icons (the icons are designed by Ciprian Amaritei). Administration sections are now grouped in several categories displayed using a vertical menu. Each section has been modified in order to be consistent with our Vertical Layout Usage Form Standard. The sections have been reorganized as well, making them more intuitive.

administration.png

The WYSIWYG content editor can now be easily configured from the wiki administration. Look for the WYSIWYG Editor section under Applications category. You may still need to scan the list of available plugins and features in order to know what to enable. In the future we're hoping to integrate this information in the administration section.

wysiwygConfig.png

For more information, click here.

A new UI for changing user avatars

Attachment Selector Macro is now bundled with XWiki Enterprise.

choosefile.png

The UI for changing the user's avatar has been modified to use the attachment selector macro:

changeAvatar.png

For more information, click here.

Live suggestions for the search input

This release introduces the first iteration on a "suggestions as you type" feature for the search box.

searchSuggest.png

The suggestions proposed come from several sources, configurable in the wiki administration under the Search Suggest section. The sources configured by default include "Document name", "Document content", "Attachment name", "Attachment content" and "Users".

Better Dashboard editing

Automatic hiding of the top menu

The action menu is now minimized when the page is scrolled. You can access it by hovering the top of the browser window.

MinimizedActionMenu.png

Better looking icons

Compatibility with IE6 meant that whenever transparent icons were needed, we had to rely on GIF images, which is a limited file format with only 256 color palettes, simple "yes or no" transparency, and non-optimal compression. Because of this, most of the icons had a visible white border that contrasted on darker background colors, and in general were more crisp than the original Silk icons. Having dropped the requirement of supporting IE6, we switched to using the official PNG version of the Silk icons, which appear much better on all backgrounds. While subtle, the improvement is noticeable and does contribute to a more professional look.

Before:
icons1.png

After:
icons2.png

Bonus: Infrastructure changes

Fork us on GitHub!

XWiki Enterprise 3.1 was the first version to be released from our new repository on github. We decided that git was sufficiently advanced over svn, our old version control system, that it warranted the effort spent to convert. If you are a developer who uses git then you already know what this means to you, you can participate in the XWiki development process by forking (git speak for copying) the source repository rather than being forced to provide patches to the benevolent committers who will accept or reject your patches at their pleasure. If you want to make something great but there's a part of the XWiki core which is holding you up, you can go right ahead and fork it into your own repository where you can fix it and share the results. We are excited to learn what you will create!

As a consequence, the structure of the repositories, the version numbers of the applications, plugins and build tools, as well as the structure of the projects on the issue tracker have changed. We moved all the plugins and applications inside the platform core, releasing them all together. This is also reflected in the issue tracker, where all the individual projects for each extension disappeared, since applications are now jira components inside the XWiki Platform project. This means that the version number confusion will stop, since everything has the same release version.

Commons and Rendering as top level independent projects

Moving further along the separation of modules from the old monolithic core, several modules that don't depend on the XWiki platform, or on the wiki paradigm in general, have been extracted to two new top-level repositories. XWiki Commons contains modules offering basic functionalities such as a powerful Event bus with Listeners, a generic and very lightweight Injection framework with a simple component lifecycle, XML and HTML/XHTML manipulation and cleaning APIs, and so on. The XWiki Rendering Framework is a generic syntax conversion framework, providing support for almost 20 syntaxes. All modules from these two repositories don't depend on the XWiki core and can be fully reused in any project. Even more, they are made available on the central maven repository.

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