May 2021 Updates

Hi all! It's been a busy two months. Here's a recap of everything coming down the pipe in the release that just dropped today!

New Notification System

While the previous notification system was fairly effective, it lacked some key functionality and required a lot of hand-holding to put any new notifications into the system. The new system routes almost all notifications through the same functionality so that future notifications are comparatively simple to build. Email notifications still require specialized work, but all others are the same now.

The other major addition here is the creation of a new notification pane in the top right corner of the screen, similar to other social media sites. In case you close out a notification or simply choose not to receive any notifications, your unread notifications will all be showing for you when you next log into CallToAr.ms.

This is one of those changes that doesn't look particularly major, but in reality there was a ton of work happening behind the scenes to get this to work. Hopefully this means that future notification enhancements will be much smoother and more reliable.

Our first iteration of this will only show the last 20 notifications sent to you. These are not getting backfilled, so any notifications you may have received up until this point won't show up in your notification tray.

The new notification panel

Private and Closed Communities

The notification system rework was required to support the most exciting addition to the system: private and closed communities. With the original release of communities, all communities were public, and so anybody could join or leave any community. This release allows for communities to be closed (visible from the community directory) or private (hidden from the community directory). In both cases, users need to be invited by a member of the community in order to gain access. This will be further enhanced in future releases to allow community administrators more fine-grained control of who can invite others to the community, similar to how Discord allows roles to govern that.

Community visibility settings in the community admin page

To invite a user to a closed group, simply go to the Members page and click the Invite button. All of your friends who are not already a member will show up on the list. Future enhancements will allow for a custom join URL to be created, similar to how Discord creates invites for joining servers.

Community Posts

Community owners now have the ability to create news posts for their community to keep them informed about any upcoming events or community news. This is just the first iteration of many to provide a more valuable experience for community posts. Right now, there is no extra formatting support, but this will be showing up in an upcoming release.

The latest post will show up at the top of the front page of the community, and you can see a history of old posts on the Posts page.

The latest post sitting on the front page of a community

Email Template Updates

Some minor changes were made to the email template to clean it up a bit. Nothing major; mostly just a header change. The changes here were mostly to help support the new notification system.


What's on the backlog for June? I'm afraid that's a Patreon-only secret...🐱‍👤

That's it for now! I hope you enjoy the new updates. As always, if you run into any issues you can reach out at [email protected]

Brian
I own and run CallToAr.ms