Late today we rolled out a new build of Community Server on www.communityserver.org. It’s a pre-release of our 1.2 version due in December and not available for download yet. We update the site every Thursday with the newest build to keep the quality bar high, but today we did a special release for a special new feature we’ve been hard at work on for the past 9 months: email support.
Sure, you’ve always been able to receive email notifications from most forum system, but now with Community Server you can also reply to those mails. You can see some discussions using it here:
It’s a feature we’re really excited about because we now have merged NNTP, Web base discussions, and Email! Of course with email now there is a lot of interesting new things we can do, e.g. email to blog (and some other cool things we’ll announce later). Of course the cool benefit is in the near future all the forums at forums.asp.net can also act as email lists and you can receive and reply all from your Exchange, Hotmail, GMail, etc. account! This also gives Community Server an awesom offline story now too.
We’ll package the email functionality as a commercial add-on for Community Server, but we’ll also have a usable ‘Community Edition’ designed for people that want to run individual sites and 100% of our commercial software is free for any (not for profit) .NET Community Site.
We’ve also been busy adding some of the Dozing Dog CMS capabilities into Community Server (and to be clear we don’t view Community Server as a portal, rather something that is added to portal system such as SharePoint). You can view a flash movie here (served from our new file gallery):
This is a pretty innovative feature we’ve added that makes editing the site content unbelievably easy. No special tools, no special admin screens… just click and edit. Of course it’s using some wonderful AJAX functionality. We’ve also completely re-written the backend Control Panel of Community Server (more about that later… another special surprise in store there 🙂 ).
Anyhow, if you haven’t visited www.communityserver.org lately we’ve been quite busy. I’ll share more later…
P.S., I intent to write and article for my MSDN ASP.NET column that shows exactly how we did the AJAX content editing functionality (as always we provide all the source for Community Server), but the article won’t be out until December 🙁 …credit the functionality to Scott Watermasysk the CS team lead who actually wrote this on a whim at the MVP summit.