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IP.Chat 1.1 Dev Update: Logs

We introduced IP.Chat 1.0 in January of 2010 and our servers have already processed over 6 million chat messages in just a few short months and the rate of adoption of IP.Chat continues to accelerate. Many communities are making good use of the chat software and we hope you are enjoying the IP.Chat product so far.

Logs of your chat room are an important tool for moderation of your community. Presently, you can download your chat logs from your client area, and while this is fine, it limits access to the account owner only. Wouldn't it be nice if you could access your chat logs right from your IP.Board ACP?



Beginning with IP.Chat 1.1.0 you will be able to review chat logs right from the ACP.

The Interface

Chat logs will be styled similar to how you see the chats appear right from the chat room. Background coloring helps to identify /me messages, moderator actions, user has entered/left room messages, and private chats.



Here, you can get an idea of how the log messages appear. There's not a lot to explain here. BBcodes and smilies will be parsed similarly to the front end, and the rows will be styled similar to the front end.

Searching and Filtering

By default, private chats will NOT be displayed. We debated how to handle private chats early on. We knew that some users would want them to appear in the chat logs, and some users would feel it's a breach of privacy. The way the chat logs work is that private chats are hidden by default. There is a search/filter bar at the bottom of the chat logs table allowing you to control which chats you wish to see, as well as search your logs.



By default "Public" is checked, so you will only see private chats if you choose "Private" or "Both". Your selection will be remembered when browsing from page to page, but you can reset it at any time using the form at the bottom of the page. If you don't wish to review private chats made on your community that is absolutely fine - just don't check the radio button to do so and they will be kept private.

In addition to controlling which types of chat messages are displayed, you can search for keywords (and/or usernames), and restrict the logs to a specified date range. You can also fill in only the "from" or "to" field (to get all chats after a specified date, or all chats up until a specified date). The javascript date picker is used to help you supply a from and to date.

Pruning

A new setting has been added to allow you to specify how far back to keep chat logs. By default, chat logs will be kept for 30 days, and then a task will prune any logs older than 30 days. You can increase or decrease this retention period, or disable pruning altogether.

The Backend

Chats are still processed through our central servers, so in order to provide this functionality, we have introduced a method for allowing you to retrieve the chat logs for your chat room from our servers. A task is added with IP.Chat 1.1.0 that will download chat logs from our servers every 30 minutes. The task will only retrieve logs saved after your most recent log entry to reduce bandwidth consumption and processing time (and to prevent pruned logs from returning at some future point).

Further to this task, you can manually refresh the logs by clicking the "Refresh Logs" button you'll see in the chat logs window. This effectively executes the task immediately, downloading any logs available on the server but not yet stored in your local database.



Conclusion

As IP.Chat's popularity continues to grow and our customers continue to make use of the software, we felt that this small addition would aid administrators and moderators in managing their communities. Having the logs available locally to your site means anyone with ACP permissions on your board can access the logs, and review anything they need to. You also have control over how long your logs are retained this way, and don't need to visit your client center to review them. We hope you find this new feature useful in the upcoming IP.Chat 1.1.0 release.

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[quote name='Invisiσnist±' date='29 April 2010 - 06:01 PM']
Very nice, It would be ncie if logs can only be accessible by certain users though (using the user ID)

I'd (assume) you would be able to restrict the log viewing via ACP Restrictions, so that you could only allow certain administrators access to them.

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ABSOLUTELY SUPERB! There is a way to change the frequency of log retrievals from 30min to say every hour or every six hours right? So that boards with low activity can cut down on the hits made to the IPS server and such.

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Wouldn't there be a gap with the way this is done? Lets say I login just before the task runs. It would then not download everything. Why not something on demand, like download chat logs from X date and time to Y date and time? Or perhaps just record the timestamp of the last time it was downloaded... Basing it on last login date seems a bit odd.

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  • Management

It stores the last successful retrieval time so it would just catch up next time it fetches. There will always be a delay between a chat being made and showing up in AdminCP of course.

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It's not based on last login date, it's based on last log date. Perhaps I made a typo somewhere?

Further to this task, you can manually refresh the logs by clicking the "Refresh Logs" button you'll see in the chat logs window. This effectively executes the task immediately, downloading any logs available on the server but not yet stored in your local database.

Yes, there will be a delay between the time the text is made in the chat window, and the time you can see it in your logs - but that's no different from our current setup where you retrieve the logs via the client area. This is simply part of having a distributed service and maintaining it efficiently. :)

@Wolfie - it's a task. Just edit the task, like any other task in the System Scheduler, and you can change how often it runs.

The task will only retrieve logs saved after your most recent log entry to reduce bandwidth consumption and processing time (and to prevent pruned logs from returning at some future point).



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Hi Brandon! I love this update, was well needed on my forum!


Also, is there any plans to add multiple rooms in a future release??

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[quote name='Nuclear General' date='29 April 2010 - 06:06 PM']
Will there be something for group permissions on who can view the private chats? And possibly having the original two members able to view their private chat? That'd be a good feature as well. :)

I like the idea of members being able to read their own private chats, provided they are given permission to do so. Talk about a feature that is oozing with the community concept!

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[quote name='Nuclear General' date='29 April 2010 - 06:06 PM'] Will there be something for group permissions on who can view the private chats? And possibly having the original two members able to view their private chat? That'd be a good feature as well. :)

There are no group permissions because this is entirely in the ACP. You can use ACP restrictions to deny access to the logs if you wish, but there's no real point in introducing group permissions for an ACP-only feature.

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