A Guide to get Your Favorite Feature in eXo Platform

At eXo, we are proud of our community, and we are grateful to all who contribute to make eXo Platform a better solution and an effective ecosystem.
As the main contributor to the source code, eXo has a great responsibility toward the community, and we strive to best serve both through discussion forums, through documentation, and in the constitution of our product roadmap.

One of the biggest challenge of our product managers is to select the features that will make up this roadmap. Indeed, there are so many different requests that we can’t satisfy them all. This can sometimes generate some understandable frustration. And let’s be honest–it takes a lot of effort to be heard in such a large community. Therefore we’ve created a handy guide to give the best chance for your favorite feature idea to capture attention to our product team and ultimately to be implemented.

Do your homework

You think you have the best idea. And you are even surprised that no one had it before you. Well, think again–someone has probably already thought about it. But to be sure, go to the Feature Requests page and run a search.

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If you find nothing, I suggest you expand your search to the discussion forums. In fact, your idea may have been mentioned during a discussion on the forums, and an answer to your request may have already been given.

Warning: it is very tempting to skip this step and simply create a new feature request. After all, someone will be notified when you make your request, right? This may be true, but in doing so, you risk creating a duplicate request.
And be aware that in order to serve the greatest number, the eXo product team focuses greater attention on requests that are voted on and discussed by many. Thus, if a request exists, it is always a better idea to weigh in on it by leaving a comment or by rating it.

Weigh in on existing requests

To support an existing feature request, we encourage you to vote and give your opinion in the comments.

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In the interest of all, avoid useless comments like “+1,” “me too,” “great idea!” or “nope.” However, opinionated comments on how to implement the feature, examples of use cases, or anything that clarifies your expectations are more than welcome. In general, anything that will advance the conversation will be useful.

While you’re there, take a moment to browse other requests and vote on the ones you find interesting. Indeed, the rating of a request is the average of the ratings awarded. So more ratings indicate that there is a greater overall interest in a request.

Write the perfect request

When you are sure that the request does not already exist, you are ready to enter a new one. Here are some recommendations for your application to be taken seriously.

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Give it a good title

To be effective, the title of the request must concisely describe the expected functionality. Avoid the following:

  • Abstruse titles (e.g., “integration of a tool,” “exo improvement“). Your request will struggle to attract attention.
  • Question titles (e.g., “Can I use eXo for a job board?” “Is there a way to moderate streams?“). They would be better in the forum.
  • Thematic titles (e.g., “user management,” “gamification,” “user engagement“). Be a little more specific in order to focus the discussion. If necessary, create several different applications.
  • Uppercase and punctuation (e.g., “OpenGraph SUPPORT REQUIRED!!!“). It is very irritating to the eyes of those who read it, and it does not make your application more important than others.

Describe the need

Use the Details field to develop your requirements. Be sure to use proper English, and eliminate your business jargon. It’s a good idea to use bulleted lists to separate different sub-functionalities or needs that you are considering.

Important advice: even if you have a clear idea of ​​what you want, try to describe your need, rather than the solution. Otherwise, others may have trouble understanding the value of your claim.
For example, “a hide button to hide the activity” is a clear request, but it corresponds to an oriented solution to a problem when better solutions could be found. Instead, you could better express the need like this: “Sometimes, I want to skip some conversations because they distract me.
Stay open, and you will see that the community often offers ingenious ideas you have not thought of!

Suggest a solution

If you know exactly how to solve the problem, I recommend that you list your solution as one of the answers below the request. Indeed, thanks to the + 1 / -1 voting system, you’ll know if your solution generates interest. Furthermore, there may be several alternative solutions to the same request.

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Evangelize your request

Now that your feature request is entered, you can patiently wait for someone to notice it and to get interested. Our product team regularly reviews requests, moderates, provides solutions, refines requests, and links them to specifications of the backlog.
Or–even better–you can evangelize your request in a more audible manner. One way to do this is to open a conversation in the forums. The forums are frequented by members of the community. Hence, there is a good chance that you might pick up some votes and trigger a constructive discussion.
To do this quickly, you can use the Discuss in forum function. This will create a new topic in the forums, and it will be directly connected to your request.

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Be convincing. Explain why you think your idea deserves attention. Reply with honesty and courtesy. If you do so, you will quickly see some likes coming up, then a discussion should start. Make it live!

Developers: take the lead!

If, despite your best efforts, nothing moves or is moving too slowly for your liking, do not forget that eXo Platform is open source. So you can easily tackle it head-on by coding the missing functionality by yourself. Set up your development environment, get the code, and send a pull request!

If you manage to federate a group of members around your idea, I suggest that you create a space to start your project and get things organized properly. Several add-ons have already made this choice. And you, too, can start your own add-on project from the Add-ons Center.

What are you waiting for?

I’m sure you have lots of ideas of features that you would like to see in eXo Platform in the future. If this is the case, you now have no excuse. Follow these recommendations, and I can assure you that your feature requests will not be ignored.
If you have not already done so, join eXo Tribe and get started! A constructive discussion around a feature is a form contribution that is extremely valuable. It helps to improve eXo Platform to allow us to serve the greatest number of people.

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I am the product officer at eXo. I oversee product management and product marketing. My teams design, create and promote the features of and improvements to eXo Platform. As a former enterprise software developer turned product manager, I have a passion for how IT can improve people’s lives. In this blog, I write about some of my personal interests, such as productivity, alternative forms of management and corporate organisations, collaboration, open-source and emerging technologies.

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