Pressbooks Product Updates [March 2022]

It’s fair to say that March brought several big and exciting changes internally at Pressbooks! Most of us took some time away from work for ‘spring break’, spending time with our partners and children and recharging ourselves emotionally and physically. In addition, one of our developers moved with his family from Brazil to Montreal and has been settling into a new apartment in a new city in a new country and another developer from our team welcomed a new child to their family and went on parental leave.

With our team capacity reduced over the month of March, we focused our available energy on improving our documentation for network managers, finishing up a development contract for eCampusOntario, improving infrastructure and overall system performance for our hosted clients, and making a few small bug fixes.

The first big change that came out of our ‘spring cleaning’ was a total refresh/overhaul of our network manager guide: We reorganized the structure of the guide, made chapter titles and headings clearer and more action-oriented, and created several new ‘how to’ videos. We gave special attention to improving the guide chapters which describe how to set up our SSO integrations and use Pressbooks Results for LMS, which uses LTI connections with several supported learning management systems. You can see an overview of several of these improvements in our last product update webinar video: March 2022 Pressbooks Product Update - YouTube. If you’re a network manager and notice anything that seems missing or inaccurate, please let us know!

March also saw the completion of a development contract commissioned specifically by eCampusOntario. The project involved the creation of some custom copyright licenses used only on their Pressbooks network and building an integration with a custom identity provider they’ve implemented. While the work we completed in March isn’t of general interest to other Pressbooks users, it still required a lot of planning, development, and testing.

We also made several hosting and infrastructure changes for our hosted clients in March. All hosted Pressbooks networks now run PHP 7.4 and use MariaDB 10.5 as their database engine. We also made other infrastructure improvements to improve self-healing processes, server monitoring, caching, page load time, and over speed & performance of our hosted networks, particularly during times of increased traffic. If you have questions about Pressbooks infrastructure or how we host networks for our SaaS clients, we’re always open to discuss further.

Finally, we released a few small fixes to improve our EPUB and LTI Common Cartridge exports. The common cartridge export improvements were primarily focused on improving the experience of anyone using Pressbooks Results for LMS with the Blackboard learning management system. If you’re using Blackboard and Pressbooks Results for LMS, the upshot is that Common Cartridge imports should once again be working as expected.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in our next monthly product update, at 2pm ET on Thursday, April 28!

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