Releasing pretalx 1.1 – one year of hosting!

Dec. 21, 2019

We're pretty excited to announce that we're releasing pretalx v1.1 exactly one year after 0.9, when we started our journey into commercial hosting services. What's in the new release, we hear you ask?

Schedule widget

Our most prominent change: You can now embed the pretalx schedule into your own website – it can look like this.

You can find instructions on how to do this in your pretalx settings once you have completed the update. Since the schedule is embedded via JavaScript, you can style and even change it to your heart's desire – please tell us if you do so!

CfP editor

You can now change the texts of all the CfP pages, and also the hint texts below the text fields! pretalx is in use in a very wide variety of events, and it's impossible to provide pages that fit all events. So now the power rests with the organisers. We have ambitious plans for this CfP editor page, but you'll have to stay tuned for our New Year resolution post for details.

Access tokens

Nearly every conference faces to problem of late submissions, or submissions to special tracks that should not be open to the public. Up until now, your best bet was to create a submission from your organiser account and invite the speaker in question. This was pretty annoying, especially since you'd have to input data into all mandatory fields.

Instead, pretalx now offers access tokens. With links containing access tokens, you can permit late submissions, or submissions to specific tracks. You can limit them to a certain date, or to a total amount of submissions per access token, or to a specific track, any combination of these constraints. You'll also be able to track which submissions have been created from which access token!

API improvements

The pretalx API has continued to gain fields and endpoints – this time, it newly includes speaker availabilities. But even more excitingly, we have decided to enable the browsable API, so that you can interactively poke around the pretalx data.

Also, every HTML page contains a hidden ("alternate") link to the matching API page, to make the API even more accessible!

Update checks

The last big change is very important for self-hosted instances: pretalx now comes with an update-check. If there is a new version of pretalx or one of your installed plugins available, you will see a notification, and you can also have pretalx send you an email notification.

To make this work, your pretalx instance will send some anonymous data to this server at pretalx.com. We will not be able to see where these requests come from – they only contain a stable unique ID, plus the currently active versions and the number of events on the instance. This helps us keep an eye on the general ecosystems (i.e. do people upgrade? In case we have a big vulnerability: How bit is the group concerned by it?)

You will be shown a very visible reminder that this feature is now active, You can of course choose to disable the feature (but please keep an eye on this blog if you do so – updates are important!)

Smaller changes

  • The schedule is now shown in a nice tabbed display, with one tab per day. Much better than having to scroll forever!
  • In a similar vein, the mobile schedule has improved a lot, and allows smooth side-scrolling across room columns. We use the native scrolling mechanisms on phones, so that if we scroll sideways, each room column will "stick" a bit, to avoid overshooting your goal.
  • Organisers can regenerate the accept/reject emails – so if you noticed too late that you had planned to change the mail template before generating lots of emails, we've got you.
  • Speaker availability is now included in the API. We're looking forward to seeing the things you'll build with that!
  • Organisers can now limit the length of talk titles, to make sure they fit in a Tweet (or maybe in a printed agenda – but our bet is on Tweets).
  • We added a bunch of goodies for developers (read the release notes!), but the best one is the "create test event" command, which generates a random event, complete with submissions in the typical submission timeline, reviews, and a schedule.
  • You can now put explicit breaks between talks, which will be visible publicly.

As always: Please check the detailed release notes before upgrading, follow the documentation, and don't forget your backups.

We wish you relaxed holidays – see you next year!

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