CPUT uses the Connect Portal for staff collaboration and networking to improve productivity. Much like what Yammer or Facebook does, but for enterprise work that adds value to the lives of staff members.
Since its launch in 2014, there have been thousands of staff who have logged into this useful platform. In 2015, we are hoping that there will be new features we will release to Connect. Connect is powered by an Open Source software called Exo Platform. We think its great. The following features will be released into Exo Platform version 4.2 this year:
In 4.0, we introduced email notifications to help transition to a more efficient collaboration model. Now, following the same flexibility, you will be able to decide if you want to receive some of them in a tiny badge counter right in the top navigation bar.
User Profile Redesign
The user profile page is being redesigned to organize the information better. Here is how it should look now.
We took the opportunity to add some extensibility for developers by adding a few dynamic containers to enrich it with extra components.
Since we spend so much time reading information, it’s important to make it a pleasant and refreshing experience. With the new document preview available from the activity stream and the content explorer, documents will look beautiful and more engaging.
The preview component integrates comments on the side for your convenience. Like its predecessor, it will be able to read office files, pdfs, images, videos and audio content, but now with more style.
Open in Office
A recurring request from users was for the ability to not only store, but also easily edit their documents, spreadsheets and presentations. With Open in Office, you will be able to open a file remotely with your Office application suite.
In truth, this feature already existed, but we are now extending the support to more operating systems and browsers. It will be able to open not only Office formats, but also virtually any file format as long as an application is associated with it in your computer.
While end users generally appreciate eXo Platform’s look and feel, one size will never fit all and some developers have asked a few times how they could customize it. Indeed, it’s possible via css. But in Platform 4.2, it will be much easier. First, it will be possible to ship a skin as an add-on to override the eXo default skin. Second, no more than 4 variables will be required to make a full new color theme.
The Calendar app was lacking an API to create calendars, events and task objects. Platform 4.2 will bring a brand new REST API for it. Until we provide the api doc, developers are advised to check out the specification.
Spring MVC Support
Spring MVC is a very popular web development framework among developers. In fact, many developers are already using it to make portlet applications in eXo. Platform 4.2 will bring official support and documentation to it.
Learn more about Spring MVC at: http://docs.spring.io/spring/docs/current/spring-framework-reference/html/mvc.html
Because more is better, we are adding official support for another great web development framework. Juzu is a modern web development framework inspired by Play, but written with Java standards in mind. With Juzu you can write applications for eXo Platform. In fact, Juzu has been there for a while and some native apps in eXo Platform are powered by Juzu. But in eXo Platform 4.2, developers will be supported to write their applications with Juzu 1.0.
Learn more about Juzu at: http://juzuweb.org
The Answers and FAQ applications have been in eXo Platform for a long time now. They provide a great alternative to forums for knowledge management and support scenarios.
But in reality, they have not been used very often by eXo customers. Starting with Platform 4.2, Answers and FAQ apps will be an optional feature, shipped as a separate add-on. Of course, it will remain a supported feature for existing customers, but through the add-on.
Security is a key aspect of any enterprise software. One of the reasons eXo Platform is a solution of choice is its wide support for single sign-on solutions.
But let’s face it, installing and integrating a SSO server with eXo Platform is a tedious task. By shipping several SSO add-ons for single sign-on integration, we hope to simplify the installation process and make it more automated and less error-prone.