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IP.Content 2.1 Dev Update: Database Improvements

The article and database functionality in IP.Content helps you manage content on your site in many ways, so one goal we work towards in each release is balancing functionality and capability with ease of use. We don't want to remove functionality to make the software easier to use, but we also don't want the functionality available to inhibit how you use the software. We also work towards integration and consistency with the forums to help deliver a consistent experience for your users. Some changes you can expect to see to the databases and articles areas in IP.Content 2.1 have been implemented to help deliver on improved functionality, consistency, and ease of use.

Facebook Like
IP.Board 3.1 introduced the ability to "Like" any topic on Facebook, helping to share content from your community on the world's largest social network. This functionality has been well received, and we are pleased to announce that IP.Content 2.1 will feature this same capability for any articles and database records on your site. Your users will now be able to "Like" (and comment through Facebook) any content you post in your articles and databases areas (if you have enabled the Facebook Like hook).

Easier Moderation
It can be challenging for your moderators to know what content is pending approval in your databases in IP.Content 2.0. We have improved moderator interaction with the databases and articles in a few key ways that we believe will help you better manage the content stored in your databases.

1) Records pending approval in the articles section are now highlighted with the "moderated" CSS class on frontpages and in archive listings in the articles section. This allows you to easily see which articles are not yet approved so your moderators know which ones require approval.

2) Records pending approval are now tracked at the category level. This allows IP.Content 2.1 to show a link below each category "There are x articles pending approval". Your moderators can click on this link, and all articles pending approval will be shown at the top of the listing, similar to how the forums function.

The records pending approval tracking has also been implemented for general databases as well.

Enhanced Frontpages
Frontpages are a new concept introduced in IP.Content 2.0 - they act as a landing page for the articles area (or individual categories within your articles section). We have added two new key features to the frontpage feature of IP.Content 2.1 which we believe will help you better control this page and configure it to work how you like.

Pinned Articles
The "pinned" status on an article is honored in the archive listings, however pinned articles were not automatically pinned to the top of frontpages. We have added a new setting to the Frontpage Manager in IP.Content 2.1.0 that will allow you to choose if you want your pinned articles to be pinned at the top of your frontpages as well.

Frontpages were meant to act as a sort of "portal" for your articles, and were not originally designed to allow you to walk through all of your content. You could use the archives view in order to walk through all of the submitted content, if you wanted.

In IP.Content 2.1.0 you can now enable pagination in the Frontpage Manager, allowing for pagination right from the frontpage. When enabled, a simple pagination method is utilized to provide a "Next Page" and "Previous Page" (when appropriate) at the bottom of your frontpages, allowing you to walk through all of your articles right from the frontpage similar to how a blog might work. It is important that you match the number of "articles per page" setting in the frontpage manager to the number of articles that are displayed (as frontpages can show fewer articles than you configure) in order for frontpage pagination to work 100% correctly, however after you have configured your frontpages correctly your users will now be able to more easily view all of the articles on your site without having to load each category's archive view individually.

Database Plugin Updates
Databases support plugin callback functionality to allow advanced developers to exert more control over how IP.Content processes data before updating it's local records. We have expanded the plugin support in 2.1 to give you better control in your callback plugins. All areas that support plugins now have preX() and postX() plugin callbacks, and further to that, context-specific data is now passed to the plugin to allow you to more easily check for errors in submissions or manipulate the data that will be stored in the database. For postX() plugins, the new primary key ID for the inserted content is passed to the plugin callback so you can manipulate the new record as needed.

Even better, we already have basic documentation written up for the plugin changes, so we should have all of our plugin documentation available when IP.Content 2.1 is launched!

We believe these small but useful features will allow you to better control the behavior of databases in IP.Content 2.1, giving you more functionality, more consistency with the forums, and more control over how IP.Content functions on your site.

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