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Update OpenLucius | Major facelift (and room for custom branding)

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Last months we had more than 300 people testing the alpha-3 version of Lucius. We interviewed them and soon came to the conclusion that the base layouts needed big improvements. It was received as 'mhew..', we agreed. So we went to work and released alpha-4 today. We implemented a complete new base theme from scratch: clean, lean, fast and Bootstrap 4 based. Goal is to leave all the room for custom branding and other design needs.

Below you'll find some screenshots and short explanation of the alpha-4 version, I intentionally kept the screens quite low resolution: it's best to experience the real deal in our live test environment, or go to the project page on and install it yourself.

So yeah, we revamped everything:

  1. Overall layout and navigation;
  2. Activity streams;
  3. Social posts;
  4. Messages;
  5. Document management (files and folders);
  8. Chatrooms (where are they?).

1. Overall layout and navigation

  • All markup was rebuild from the ground up, based on Bootstrap 4. This way we got rid of all the cluttery html and designs, it's now as Bootstrap-native as humanly possible.
  • The main navigation went from the left sidebar to the top of the page, this also leaves room for extensions / extra menu items and new goodies in the future.
  • The basic color scheme is now minimalistic: black and white with primary and secondary 'action colors'.
  • Also, the platform is much more responsive now: easy of use on mobile devices improved beyond compare.

  1. Main navigation, including a 'Groups' drop-down (with activity badges);
  2. Quick add button;
  3. User area;
  4. Group name / page title;
  5. Sections within groups (including activity badges);
  6. Action buttons.

2. Activity streams

  • This is the default homepage, where you'll find all activity from all your groups in one stream;
  • All activity is now clearly bundled per day, per group. Instead of one big blurred stream of everything together as in previous versions the case was;
  • In the right sidebar you'll find all your groups, including activity badges;
  • (Every group now has a dedicated activity stream);
  • (Every user now has a dedicated activity stream).

3. Social posts

  • Clean new design, with great new image experience;
  • Comments and likes (AJAX based) build into freshly styled components.

4. Messages

  • The new screens for message lists -and message detail pages;
  • With comments and likes;
  • And likes on comments :) ;
  • The message as well as the comments can be enriched with file attachments.

5. Document management (files and folders)

  • The layout for 'Docs & Files' is also completely rebuild;
  • It's now based on DataTables, that brings all goodies like: instant search, sorting and a paging.
  • The table is responsive now;
  • It's still possible to manage folders to organise your files.


  • Inline with other UI improvements, the like area is now also nice and clean.


  • Also inline with other UI improvements, the comment area including attachments is improved.

8. What about the chatrooms / channels per group?

Well, in previous versions this was integrated in the activity streams. That wasn't received very good, so we split them up. In this alpha-4 release the activity stream is fully working and restyled as you can see above.

The realtime chat will be back in a future release within a dedicated section for it. For now it's 1 step back, a next release it will be 2 steps forward for the chatrooms / channels. The activity streams already made that 2 steps forward because of this approach.

Wrap up

Alright, there you have it for a major design update for OpenLucius: a social productivity platform -built into a Drupal distro. You can download and install it yourself open source: check out the project page on If you'd like to try it this instant, go to the product page and hit the 'try now' button.

Always looking forward to new feedback.

Written by Joris Snoek | Nov 23, 2020 in Product
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