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IP.Content 1.1.2

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IP.Content 1.1.2 is being prepared for quality assurance testing, and I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know about a couple of new (but useful) features and changes in this minor point release.

Stability and Performance
In addition to fixing all reported issues, and adding in proper support for our MSSQL driver, we've added many resource improvements throughout the software. Databases and fields are now properly cached, preventing the need to query this data throughout the front end of IP.Content. Additionally, we've added a few MySQL indexes that speed up certain areas of IP.Content significantly, reducing overall overhead and improving responsiveness.

Database feeds
A new feed plugin module has been added to facilitate database feeds. You can create feed blocks pulling content from your custom created databases. Various sorting and filtering options are available when you create database feed blocks, allowing for powerful control of how you display content from your custom databases.

Truncate option for listings
An option has been added when you create or update your custom fields for a database to control truncation of the field content in the listing display. In previous versions of IP.Content, data is automatically truncated at 100 characters for most fields (and certain fields have special behaviors, such as attachment fields displaying a count of the attachments, instead of the normal attachment HTML). Now you can disable this, or change the length to truncate the content at. This can be useful for providing longer previews of an article in the listing, or to display attachments instead of just the attachment count.

Member lookup field type
A member lookup field type (a user AJAX type-ahead field, like you see in the messenger area of IP.Board when typing in a username you would like to send a private conversation to) has been added. This allows you to create fields that directly relate to a member in the IP.Board user database.

Database relational field type
Several requests have been made for a database cross-referenced field type, and you will now have one in IP.Content 1.1.2. Essentially, this field type allows you to create a dropdown field in one database, using content from another database. You define which database and field you want to retrieve content from, and a dropdown menu is created. The user (or admin) selection when saving a new or edited record is stored as a reference to the record in the remote database, so if you update that remote record, it's automatically updated anywhere that it's referenced.

This concept may be a little difficult to understand at first, but an example should help clarify it. If you are creating a database of recipes, for example, every recipe is going to need to reference the ingredients used. With this new capability you could, for example, create one database of ingredients, and then in the recipe database you create, use this new relational field type to provide a select list of ingredients, rather than requiring the user to manually type in the ingredients used. If you find later on that you made a typo in an ingredient, or need to include a registered trademark symbol for a specific brand, you can edit that record in your ingredients database, and subsequently every recipe using that ingredient will be automatically updated.

We hope that these small but useful and oft-requested features will go a long way towards making IP.Content more flexible and customizable for your installation. If you have any questions or feedback we'd love to hear it! Just drop us a comment at the end of this entry. :)

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