This update has been a long time in the making, as we the @steempress team are finally ready to launch our new and renamed plugin for WordPress: Exxp. Despite its name, steempress has been Hive exclusive ever since the Hive hardfork. Today, we are happy to introduce the new brand, as well as several new features!
What's the name about? And why did it take so long to rename?
Following the Hive hard fork in spring, we had a lot of discussions with the WordPress team in the hope of changing the name for our plugin. However, it turned out that changing the name and/or url of a plugin was simply not allowed. So we had to create and submit a new one. We would like to encourage all of our users to download and rate the new plugin, as we intend to discontinue supporting new updates for the old steempress plugin as soon as most users have made the switch (a positive review on the new plugin would also be highly appreciated!).
With the need to rename came the opportunity to also do a complete rebrand. Something we had planned to do for a long time anyway. Over the years, we've found it difficult to design modern social UIs with yellow and black as the dominant colors. As we prepared a series of improvements to our user-dashboard, as well as plans for the future, we wanted to build it with a visual identity better fit for our plans and ambitions.
The same applies to the name. One of our first feedbacks when we launched steempress early 2018 was whether or not it could become compatible with other blogging platforms, thus already demonstrating the limitations imposed by a platform-specific name. Furthermore, we see a vision for Hive as a universal platform for several websites and and apps to connect. We thus wanted a brand name reflecting and supporting such a vision, rather than our current platforms. To us, the concepts of 1. enabling free expression and giving people ownership of their online presence, and 2. supporting a decentralized social media with cross platform integration and synergy are the very cores of that vision. These phrases are also key to what the plugin provides: A social comment section (expression), and automatic cross posting (cross platform). Hence the new and shorter name: Exxp - express yourself cross platform.
A new name and logo aside, this is still one of our biggest updates yet with a brand new website (exxp.io), much improved user dashboard, a new option to recover content stored on the blockchain, and an improved onbaording experience.
Perhaps most interesting to our existing users, we've created an entirely new user dashboard. Here, one can check the status of both your Hive account and blog posts published through our plugin.
New user dashboard
You can find our new dashboard at https://exxp.io/dashboard, or through the "my account" button on our website. For now, it primarily includes a Blog page and a Hive account page.
Hive account page:
The Hive account page displays information and provides settings relevant to one's Hive account. This includes:
- General account information including voting power, resource credits and token balances.
- A profile tab which lets you easily change your profile picture, display name, location, website etc from within the Dashboard. Ideal especially for our users who are not using traditional Hive front ends.
- A replies tab to show recent replies to any of your posts and comments and lets you navigate to them on your different blog posts.
- A referral tab which currently displays your referral link that you can use to onboard new users to Hive through Exxp (we provide free accounts to anyone with a decent blog), allowing you to earn 10% of any future benefactor rewards we make on their content. Anyone with a Hive account can earn rewards by helping refer new users to Exxp!
- The rewards tab give new users some help to understand how they can earn rewards on Hive. We expect to add more detailed statistics here in the future.
The blog page:
While the account page is specific to the Hive account, the blog page is specific to the WordPress blog connected through the plugin. Here, you can see all posts stored on the blockchain, moderate the comment section, and apply general settings.
The posts page also provides some cool new features. Most notably is the option to download the post in its original raw wordpress format. Thus allowing anyone to fully restore any blogposts stored on Hive on a future blog they may have. This can come in handy for anyone who runs into hosting issues, has their content taken down, or otherwise failed to store backups of their content. To us, this represents a very important value proposition of Exxp to any bloggers.
New website exxp.io:
With a new name, brand identity and colours, we also redesigned our website accordingly. While we expect it to see several improvements in the coming weeks, we still feel it looks a whole lot better than the previous version. Please give it a visit and share your initial thoughts on its layout and messaging. Is there anything you would have liked to communicate to a new visitor that we've left out?
Next, our sign-up process has also received an overhaul in order to be cleaner and simpler. We've been very happy to see our traffic to these pages steadily increase over the past few months with an ever increasing number of people signing up to get a Hive account. That's of course great news and we hope this trend can not only continue, but accelerate, with our new website. Please, if you have any old links in old posts directing people to our sign-up page, replace them with a link to exxp.io/sign-up, or find your referral link in our new user dashboard.
While not visible to you, we've also made a lot of changes to our software as a whole. We’ve been developing steempress for three years now, and accumulated lot of technical debt (things we wanted to fix, optimizations, shortcuts that were taken that now slows us down after the fact). So similarly to how the Hive blockchain team did a lot of work to stabilize and optimize the Hive blockchain for hard fork 24, we similarly did a lot of work to allow us to support new features more easily.
For instance we’ve long wanted to support Twitter and Facebook logins, but were stuck because in order to support them we had to rework a lot of the authentication processes. That’s now done meaning we can easily add such features in the near future!
Additionally, there were a lot of small bugs that we fixed along the way, like misalignments, text not being sent correctly or avatars not loading correctly.
Finally we had a lot of work ahead of us to adapt everything to work with the hard fork 24 apart from the obvious Steem -> Hive changes, we heavily rely on hivemind for a lot of our processes for the comment section in particular and hivemind went under a lot of changes so so a lot of work was spent there.
You can download the new plugin here : https://wordpress.org/plugins/exxp-wp/
As always, if you have any questions then please visit us on our discord channel!
If you appreciate our contributions to Hive, then consider voting for our witness @steempress
All the best,