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IP.Content 2.1 Dev Update: Block Improvements

Blocks are a core concept in IP.Content, allowing you to easily create widgets that you can embed on any page (within IP.Content or otherwise). IP.Content 2.1 introduces several useful updates for blocks that we believe will help you customize your pages even further than before.

Status Updates Plugin Block

IP.Board 3.1.0 improved status update functionality greatly, adding multiple status update support, commenting, and more. Along with this new functionality, the status updates sidebar plugin that is displayed on the forum index was updated to support the new features.

IP.Content 2.1.0 introduces a new plugin block that allows you to display this status update plugin on any IP.Content pages you wish.

New Feed Blocks

As of IP.Content 2.1.0, you will now be able to create feed blocks of both profile comments and status updates (and replies). This new feed block is available in addition to the previously mentioned status updates plugin block. You can filter both feeds to control what content is pulled based on the poster and receiver information (for instance, show all profile comments made by my friends, or show all profile comments received by the admin of the site). These feed types can be useful for creating social networking style pages - perhaps you want to show a feed of all profile comments for the currently logged in user, or perhaps you want to show a feed of all recent status updates from the logged in user's friends. These new feed types can be used in creative ways to create social pages your users will love.

New Filter Options: Members Feeds

Beginning with IP.Content 2.1.0 some new filtering options have been added for member feeds. You can now restrict a member's feed to only show members you are friends with. This can be useful to create a "friends feed", for instance, in order to list all of a particular user's friends. You can also now filter member feeds to only show logged in users. You could, for example, combine this with the option to only show friends for a user to show all of your currently online friends. These two new filter options can be used in creative ways to make interesting member feeds for your community.

Dynamic Filtering for Databases

In IP.Content 2.0, you can filter database and article feed blocks based on arbitrary data in up to 5 fields. This can be useful to create content-driven feeds based on specific fields in your database, however it has the drawback that the feeds are always static based upon the configuration in the ACP.

Beginning in IP.Content 2.1.0, you can now configure the database and article feeds to filter based on input variables. For instance, you can embed one of these feed blocks on a page, and then when you link to the page you can add an input variable that will allow for dynamic filtering of the content. This is probably explained easiest through an example.

Let's say you have a page "results.php" that you have embedded a database feed block in. This ecan create a feed of results from your database based on the block configuration in the ACP. With IP.Content 2.1.0, you could set one of the custom filter fields to search one of your database fields for "@title". The @ symbol here tells IP.Content to obtain the filter from the input variables - in this case an input variable named 'title'. When linking users to this page, you would use a URL similar to "mysite.com/results.php?title=hello". When IP.Content loads this page and parses the block, it will use the value from the input variable ("hello" in this example) to search in the field, finding all records that have "hello" in the title.

This feature may be hard to understand at first, but affords developers with powerful ways to create unique pages without having to manually configure feeds for every possible scenario. We will be posting some documentation on how to use this feature following the release of IP.Content 2.1.0.

We hope you find these updates to the blocks in IP.Content 2.1.0 useful and look forward to your feedback!

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