State of the site: Features and Progress [May 2017]

Progress

Every so often I publish a post like this going over our plans and how far along they are. These posts give an overview of all the features that are active, how well we are progressing, and which features we have planned but not yet gotten out of the door. The last one was here.

This update has progress bars. these are not, sadly, tied to some back-end project management system as I had first hoped. They are just a general indicator of how well I think certain things are going.

Author Buzz (main site)

Overall 50%
Features 60%
Look and feel 25%

While the main site functions more or less as expected I am less than happy with some of the layout, the styling, and the gneral feel of the site. I knew going in that this was going to be slow going (I am not a designer). We are at a stage now where a lot of what I do is hard work for small or invisible changes that should add up over time.

The thing I need more than anything else right now is some help to test things out.

Profiles

Overall 95%
Features 75%
Look and feel 50%

Create a profile

This is possible but the sign-up link is well hidden which is something I will be correcting.

Feedback suggests that the password strength enforcement may be a little too strict. I’m looking into this.

Additionally, there may be issues with the sending of emails for the sign-up link.

Edit your profile

Once signed up you can make all the changes you want.

To make changes use the drop down menu in the top right and choose Profile > Edit.

  • Avatar
  • Banner
  • Real Name
  • Bio
  • [new] website or blog
  • [new] Google Plus profile link

Editing of profile takes place “in line” on your profile itself. There is no need to drop back into the admin area.

Activity streamsStatus updates

These were already in place at the time of the last update. They are not necessarily the most good looking right now but they fully work.

  • Activity updates
  • Blog post updates
  • Writing published (not as pretty as blog posts but available)

Friend others

Implemented and functional. Let us know how well this feature works for you.

Follow authors

Not yet implemented. This is something that will have to wait for a few other features first.

Special profiles for publishers and agents

Currently, there are no special agent or publisher profile options. This is something we want to do but we need to get a whole bunch of other stuff taken care of first. See “Books” for more on what we need to get done.

Passive profiles

The idea is to allow publishers and agents to create profiles for authors or for API discovery to list authors that you can “follow” and that an agent, publisher or author could alter claim if they wish.

Not yet implemented.

Groups

Overall 90%
Features 85%
Look and feel 50%

Groups can be open, closed, or private. They can have a forum if you wish. There are other possible features that we have in the pipeline for groups.

Free Group Creation

Disabled while we test and fix stuff (still)

Group logo

Enabled but there are some theme/plugin clashes that make the crop not work.

Group banner

Enabled but there are some theme/plugin clashes that make the crop not work.

Joining Groups

Fully functional. Let us know how this works for you.

Books

Overall 5%
Features 25%
Look and feel 0%

Last time I wrote one of these we had disabled the system we had planned because it was not working very well. We have chosen a new plugin and are looking at integrating more closely with PuddyPress.

Add books you have written

Available in the admin area. We plan to make this part of profile editing.

Edit books

Available in the admin area. We plan to make this part of profile editing.

View an author’s books

Implemented but not tested fully.

Read some (or all) of a book for free

Authors can choose to add an excerpt from their books.

  • The WYSIWYG editor allows for as little or much as you want to add to the except.

Book cover pages

Each book should have its own page with an overview and so forth.

Implemented but not tested fully.

Featured books

Not yet implemented.

Promote my book

Not yet implemented. This is quite likely to become a premium feature. I don’t want to have too much that is not totally free but this server is not going to pay for itself.

Books can appear on front page like posts

Not yet created.

Books appear in activity stream

Not yet. This is my next project.

Members can write book reviews for on Author Buzz

Ideally, these reviews would exist as posts and be available on the front page (if highly rated). They would also appear with the books in question.

Implemented but not tested fully.

Retailer Database

Ideally, this would allow us to list all the sorts of places (like Amazon, Barns and Nobel, etc.) where you might be able to buy a book. Thus once a book is added you can click through to your preferred retailer and buy a copy.

A basic purchase links section exists but I’d like to expand it considerably.

Writing

Overall 15%
Features 90%
Look and feel 50%

We want writer groups and cooperative authors to be able to write together. This would also allow more experienced writers to use the site to tutor others. The features exist and are in private testing.

Custom books

In the private testing stage

Group writing projects

Please stand by for announcements

Teaching area

Not yet enabled.

Writing can appear on front page like posts

Not yet implemented

Blogs

Overall 70%
Features 25%
Look and feel 0%

Custom blogs for individual authors or for group projects

Create an Author Buzz Blog

The features exist already but we are still figuring quite a bit out so this is currently only available to Super Admins and Developers. If you want a blog, please ask nicely.

This may become a premium feature depending on the level of strain additional blogs place on the server. Premium (or potentially premium) features are free to beta testers.

Blog creation form

Not yet implemented. See above for how to ask for a blog.

Plugins

The following plugin features have been added

  • Anti-Spam
  • WordPress.com integration (JetPack)
  • Creative Writing customisable writing types (WriteShare).
  • The same books listing database as on Author Buzz.

Themes

A handful of nice themes have been added and are being tested out. Currently, it looks like the best use of these themes would require us to do some customisation to make things play nicely. We are working on this.

If you have experience creating WordPress themes please get in touch. We could use some more support.

  • Themes and integration require a little more polish.

Content promotion

Currently, the following content promotion methods exist for blogs.

  • Posts appear on Author Buzz regardless of blog they are posted to
  • Posts appear in the author’s activity stream
  • Common social sharing features
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