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Thinking of returning to Invision

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I bought the lifetime license for IPB so so many years ago. The forums were exactly what we needed and we used it up to 3.4.x something. But when I needed to continue with it support was removed, my lifetime license was terminated and I was stuck with a broken forum who's database may or may not even be corrupted. 


Out of frustration I looked into other options and bought Xenforo in 2021


All in all, I feel like I've made a mistake. There are so many features that our 3.x forums had from IPB that ran circles around the stuff I can do (and am limited to) in XF. A decades old forum could manage admin and user permissions, layouts, just little things I took for granted. Every time I couldn't do it I would sigh and say "Why can't this do what my 20 year old forums could do easily?" 


Today was another example. I was trying to find a way to allow the admin to upload unlimited attachments while the users were restricted to 20 per post. Asked on the forums and was just told "Cant do it, it's a global setting"


One of the things I'm working on in the first place is to create a landing page with articles to replace Wordpress and just have one unified site. I hate wordpress ,it's bloated and we don't use 90% of the features and it's never been properly bridged to the forums in the first place. 


So, with hat in hand, I'm back here looking for options.


What I need - a robust forum and a fully functioning landing page where we can post our "news" articles about new toy releases, interviews, and that sort of thing. 


Before I make another jump I'd like to see some of this stuff in action. I know there are demos and I intend to try them at some point - but I'd like to see live sites that use the Pages and the Forums features natively and have at least some level of traffic. I see quite a few forums pages out there if I look hard enough but I don't see any showcasing working landing news/pages


Can someone point me to any of these? 

If this is something that I think would do what we need it to do, I'd end up needing to convert the XF data and import to Invision. But I guess I can worry about that if I make it that far.

If you have any comments to add or questions I'd be happy to answer those as well. 

Upon reviewing this post I may have put this in the wrong forums and I apologize for that. 

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Hey there!

This very site itself uses Pages for the main website.   There is some extra CSS and such but for example you can tell the whole site is powered by the software when you do an upgrade. 😄 

The site blog/news system was actually built using pages with custom templates.


The deprecation tracker is a simple pages database.


The IPS Marketplace uses Downloads. 
Im sure others will chime in with some of their own site. 🙂 

Edited by Randy Calvert
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I thought this site was likely using it. I'd still like to see if any external parties are using it and how it might be implemented there so hopefully someone else will post it in here. 


I hate buyer's remorse and I hate that it took almost 2 years to admit it to myself. 



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3 hours ago, The Allspark said:

I see quite a few forums pages out there if I look hard enough but I don't see any showcasing working landing news/pages


Can someone point me to any of these? 

With or without customizations/third-party templates? That makes all the difference. 
You can easily set up articles and landing pages with the Pages app, but the default layout is somewhat limited. With customizations/third-party templates the sky’s the limit. 

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I'm happy to share my site as an example, @The Allspark. My forum is here: https://board.sonicstadium.org/ and the news/articles side of my Invision Community is here: https://board.sonicstadium.org/news/

I wanted to unify my Wordpress (which has been the main platform for my site since 2008) and my Invision Community (which I've had since mid-2000s but treated very much as a separate world to my Wordpress site) in the same way you're looking to do. I started this whole process a couple years ago, and I'm not quite ready to make the full transition yet but as you can see the Pages/CMS app is really flexible with the templates and what you can do with them.

A few cool things that I was able to do that would have been very difficult to do on Wordpress:

  • Automatically post news stories/articles into a specific forum as its own topic, so users that are more familiar with your forums (and don't necessarily look at your articles directly that much) will see your articles and can post replies in those topics... which will then be synced with your articles as comments!
  • It works the other way too - I have a 'news' forum where my users can post news they find interesting and, if our news writers haven't covered it already, they can copy the topic to the news database, rewrite as they like, and copy any posts in the existing topic into the news article as comments, and sync the two up for future comments/topic replies.
  • I was able to add a "Member" custom field in my news article database, where I can search for users in my community and assign their name to a news story. I use this to manually credit my users who post news stories in my forum before our news writing staff can get to it. I want to look into making this crediting work automatically or even tie Achievements into this, but I think that's something that only IPS can do (or a third-party plugin). You can see this at the bottom of this article here.
  • I also have another 'wiki' like database (which is heavily WIP atm) and have been able to take advantage of custom fields, database relationships and templates to allow news stories to be paired with records in the wiki database. You can see it at the bottom of this article here - and if you click through to that database link, I created an 'articles' tab in the wiki database to allow users to see any news that have previously been tagged with this database record too. 

I do recommend exploring the CMS app for the Invision platform, because as others have said here once you get stuck into the templates and various customisations, you can really make something impressive. It's arguably as important an app as the core forums itself, for me.

However, as you're coming from Wordpress like I am, I figure it's worth advising you of some hurdles you may have to overcome, as there are many functions and features that are different between the two and the last thing you want to do is jump both feet into CMS only to get 'buyers remorse' about how good Wordpress was all over again! Experiences are obviously different for every person, but these were some of the teething problems I have faced/am facing with the suite so far...

  • The post editor will feel familiar to you if you are used to Invision Board of the past, but that's also its achilles heel as its based on an age-old ckeditor version that doesn't allow for a lot of features/functions that would be obvious in today's content-creating world. You may need to rely on a couple of add-ons for the ckeditor, and that is its own headache as not every plugin ckeditor offers can be installed due to the custom nature of Invision's implementation of the editor.
  • Media uploads are not great for content creators. The media uploader in the post editor is adequate for forum use, but if you have a news writing staff that share resources there is no way to easily allow for one accessible media folder that a privileged usergroup has collective access to. AdminCP has a 'Media' section under 'Page Management' within the CMS app, but it's useless for posting content and cannot be accessed through the post editor. I suggest an improvement here.
  • One of the big drawbacks to the current editor is the lack of any way to build inline image galleries - or any other content 'blocks' - out of the box. Wordpress is a big obnoxious mess in the CMS side, but you are able to cleanly upload images in bulk to a shared staff media gallery, and insert a number of images into a nice flexbox/gridbox into your post content. At present, if you want to post multiple images in a news story, your only option is to upload them to the Invision post editor media uploader, insert each image (which may be massive) into the space you want, then double-click each image and resize them in a way that they all have the same height values (so as not to look terrible) and then center the entire 'paragraph' of images. Here's an example of this in action - this was a news story featuring lots of images, and it took me WAY too long to manage every single image in this way. I suggest an improvement here.
  • While it's a very cool feature, there's a lot of jank with the topic > cms "Copy to Database" function that I hope are fixed/improved in v5. There's currently no way to copy a topic to database and completely rewrite it (so it matches the house style of a news story from your staff) without it replacing the topic OP on sync. I had to create a plugin to stop that sync from happening (so that the community user could feel like their content was still valued and existed, while also allowing staff to leverage the topic as a basis for active comments section).

    If you go down this route of leveraging forums for news creation, like I have, you may find that multiple topics will be created by multiple users (and sometimes your staff may write a story without realising there is an existing topic), meaning you could end up with two or three topics to merge. Usually this isn't a problem, but if one of the topics you're merging happens to be the one auto-created by your news staff when they wrote a news story, it causes all sorts of problems.

    I suggest a number of improvements here.


Overall, I think you'll find that the Invision platform will do what you're looking for really nicely! Especially if you're happy to get into the nitty gritty of template/theme design, you could make something really special. And the ability to connect your articles to your community and help reinvigorate the comments section is well worth the jump.

Just be aware of some of the QOL issues mentioned above (I'm hoping IPS will make some serious improvements to the above for the upcoming v5!), and prepare yourself for a different experience to Wordpress in terms of content creation. If you manage your expectations, you'll be more than fine.

Hope this post helps give you some insight! 🙂 

Edited by Dreadknux
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