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IP.Content 2.0 Dev Update: Improvements to Databases


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Database "Tweaks"
The database functionality in IP.Content is quite powerful at its core. You can do a lot of things with the database feature that would normally be laborious coding yourself. A lot of addon applications add common features: rating, comments, sorting options, etc. IP.Content takes all of this legwork out of the picture by providing it for you with just a few clicks in your admin control panel. But there's always room to improve! We have focused on some small but useful tweaks and improvements to the core database features that we think will benefit everyone.

Specify The Text

IP.Content databases refer to stored entries as "records". This is a generic term that can be used for just about any database, which is why we chose to use this originally. It is understandable, however, that some of you want to personalize the interface a bit more. "Records" isn't exactly the clearest term in all cases to all users, so it makes sense that you might want to refer to the entries as "articles," "pets," or "recipes", for instance.

With IP.Content 2.0 you will be able to define the text bit to use to represent "records" in a database right from the database configuration form in the ACP. Four fields will be presented to allow you to define the singular and plural versions of the words in both lower-cased, and first-letter-capitalized versions. I know this probably reads a little confusing, but basically it allows you to define "record", "records", "Record" and "Records" independently. While PHP has many useful functions that can handle this just fine for the English language, in an effort to better-support our international customers we felt it prudent to allow you to define all of these versions of the word yourself.

Specify The Content

In IP.Content 1.x we provided an option on the database configuration page to allow you to indicate which field represents the "title" of a record. Because databases are so configurable, we needed to give you a way to specify this field so it can be re-used properly throughout IP.Content. In IP.Content 2.0, you will now also specify which field represents the "body" or "content" of a record. Some databases may have no use for this, but if you are setting up a database of articles, you will surely want to specify which field represents the "content". This designation is then used to determine which field to show as the "body" in a database feed, and in our next new feature we'll talk about...

RSS Feeds

Yes, you can now allow automatically generated RSS feeds in your IP.Content databases. Even better, RSS feeds are supported at both the database and the category level, automatically. You can also disable RSS feeds individually on a per-category level, should you wish to. This is useful if you have a private staff-only category of articles, for instance, which you do not want to publish via RSS with the rest of the articles in the database.

Settings have been added to both the database and the category configuration forms to enable/disable RSS feeds, specify how long (if at all) you wish to cache the feeds, and to specify how many records to include in the feed. The category configuration form also has a setting to exclude it from the global RSS feed, as mentioned previously. Feeds are cached, if configured to do so, for performance reasons.

Duplicated Sort Form

In the ACP record management screen, we have duplicated the sort/filter form to the top of the page. If you have a lot of record management duties to perform in the ACP, this can help you to more quickly drill down to find the records you need to work on by eliminating the need to scroll to the bottom of the screen each time you wish to change the returned records.

We have also added a "Save and Reload" button to the record add/edit form. You can stop with the PMs now Ditchmonkey! :lol:

Save and Reload

We've added a button to the add/edit record form in the ACP that will allow you to "Save and Reload" the record. If you are making may small changes to a record (for instance, you want to refresh the record on the front end to verify how it's displaying), this is useful as it will save your changes, and then immediately reload the form so you can continue editing the record, instead of forcing you to save, find the record, and click edit on it again to bring the form back up.

Meta Tags

Configuration fields have been added to the database and category forms in the ACP to allow you to define your meta keyword and description tags for your databases and categories. For records, meta tags by default will be automatically determined, just the same as happens in topics in the forum. You can, however, also manually override the meta tags on a per-record basis from the ACP by editing the record, should you need to.

Display Subcategories

Similar to how the board index will list subcategories underneath their parent forums, IP.Content 2.0 will now (by default) display subcategories of a category underneath the category title when viewing categories.

And more to come!

These are just a few of the changes we've made to the databases system in IP.Content 2.0 that we believe will make your databases more useful, more configurable, and more "your own". The changes better integrate IP.Content with the forums, providing a more seamless feel to the site, while at the same time enhancing IP.Content-specific functionality to let you better control your content.

Be sure to stay tuned for our future updates on IP.Content 2.0! We have a lot of other useful changes in store you'll surely want to take advantage of.

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