bfarberApril 6, 2010 in Invision Community Insider
Development is under way (and wrapping up, in fact!) on IP.Chat 1.1.0, so we wanted to take a few moments to illustrate what new functionality you can expect to see with the next update of IP.Chat.
While IP.Chat does include a hook that shows the number of users in the chatroom on the board index, many users felt that the display of this hook was too hidden (it is at the bottom of the screen, along with the other board stats), and only shows on the board index. As a result, users are frequently unaware when someone enters the chatroom, limiting the amount of activity the chatroom gets.
We've implemented the most popular suggestion to counter this problem: we've added a count to the 'Chat' tab at the top of the screen that displays how many users are currently in the chatroom. This has been implemented as a hook, and as such can be disabled in the Manage Hooks page of the ACP if you have no use for the feature. You will also have the option to disable the count if no one is in the chatroom, and to hide the count on the tab when you are actually viewing the chatroom page itself.
If you allow the count to display while viewing the chatroom itself, the count will dynamically update as users enter and leave the chatroom, allowing you to easily and quickly tell how many people are still in the room just by looking at the tab at the top of the page.
We feel this is a small, but useful, addition to the chat software which should help spur activity in your chat room.Private Chatting
Another highly requested feature has been implemented for IP.Chat 1.1: private chats. You will now be able to chat within the chat software privately with other users who are logged into chat.
A new ACP setting has been added, allowing you to control which groups are allowed to initiate private chats (note: anyone can receive private chats). When your group is allowed to initiate private chats, the username menu that exists presently for moderator actions will have an option to "Start Private Chat". When clicked, a small popup box appears to allow you to fill in the private chat text you wish to send to the user.
When a new private chat is started, a new tab is created within the interface.
And if new messages are received for inactive tabs, a count is displayed to let you know.
As the name of the feature implies, private chats are a one-to-one relationship between two users only.What if I don't want to talk to you?
It's natural that you may not wish to converse privately with certain members of a community you are a part of. A "block user" feature has been added to allow you to prevent specific users from sending you private chats within the chat room.
There is a new user control panel page where you can block and unblock users.
You can also block and unblock users directly within the chat interface. AJAX is used to save the option, and your preferences are updated dynamically (users will be blocked immediately). The user is not made aware that you have blocked them. Instead, any private chats will simply be ignored on your part, as if it was never initiated.Wrap-up
IP.Chat has proved to be a stable, useful, and popular addition to our community software line-up. Many of you are making good use of the chat software on your site, and we hope these new additions improve and expand the functionality available in the software in useful ways for you and your users. We have some good ideas for future features, however we wanted to keep a focused approach for 1.1.0 first. Stability and security is of the utmost importance to us. The new functionality introduced for IP.Chat 1.1.0 lays the foundation for many new useful features in the future.
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