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IP.Board 3.2.0 Dev Update: Calendar Improvements, Part II: Consistency

We are continuing to make improvements to Calendar to both bring it more in line with the rest of the suite of IPS products and to modernize the application and make it more functional and useful for our customers. If you haven't read our first blog entry describing improvements you can expect to see with Calendar in IP.Board 3.2.0, Part I: SEO Improvements, feel free to take a moment to read our last blog entry to catch up. In this entry we'll discuss some of the changes you can expect to see in the Calendar with the release of IP.Board 3.2.0 that provide for a more consistent use of the application when stacked up to our other products.


With the next update of Calendar, you will now be able to rate events very much like you can rate topics now. Ratings are saved through AJAX, just like with topics, falling back to a normal page load and redirect if javascript is disabled on the user's browser. You can control on a per-calendar basis which permission masks have permission to rate events within the calendar. If the user has permission to change their rating via their user group configuration, they will be able to change their previously rating for any event in Calendar as well.


As with posts within the forums, you will now be able to give the member who submits an event reputation when viewing the event in Calendar. The reputation box displays just like it would for a forum post, allowing your users to quickly and easily understand the interface and functionality. By allowing reputation to be issued for event submissions in Calendar, you provide incentive to your users to submit events in your Calendar, making it all the more useful for your entire community!


In our continued effort to increase consistency and functionality in Calendar, we have also implemented attachments for Calendar in the next update. When submitting or editing an event, the standard attachment uploader will be shown on the event posting form. You will be able to submit attachments based on the ACP configuration, just like you would be able to for posts in the forum. You can embed the attachments anywhere within the event content, or let Calendar just append the attachments to the end of the event information, again just like a post within the forum. Attachments may be useful for Calendar to share an event poster or flyer, to share coupons for an event, or to attach documentation users may need to be informed of prior to the event, just to name a few uses.


Users can now optionally elect to be notified of new or updated events in Calendar, allowing your site to notify users of changes to the Calendar that they may elect to be informed about. Previous versions of Calendar provided no way to push information to the user to notify them of changes in Calendar. Any user interested in an event saved to your Calendar would need to manually check on it periodically to verify any changes made to the event, which we can agree is certainly not an optimal experience or expectation. As of the next version of Calendar, users can follow both individual calendars and individual events, allowing them to be notified of additions to calendars they are following, and updates to events they follow. By letting Calendar notify your users of changes, the software becomes more functional and useful in it's prime goal, sharing event-based data with the community.


Your members will now be able to comment on events submitted to Calendar. You can control on a per-calendar basis which permission masks can comment on events in each calendar, and you can also specify whether comments must be moderated prior to becoming visible (again, on a per-calendar basis). Comments in Calendar use the central commenting class of IP.Board, meaning it works identically to all other applications (e.g., identical to the blog commenting system at the bottom of this page), allowing for a consistent interface users can understand and utilize without having to learn how to use yet another posting screen. If a user opts to follow an event to be notified of updates to the event, they will also be notified of comments made on the event, allowing your site to better communicate updates to users about content they are interested in, and driving more activity within the Calendar in the process.


Alongside commenting, users can now "like" calendars and events (the aforementioned "follow" capability), giving them the opportunity to either show their support for the calendar/event, to be notified of updates to the calendar/event, or both. As with IP.Blog, IP.Downloads, etc., the like system is a central class within IP.Board that is reused within Calendar, again to provide a consistent interface to users that they can learn and understand once, and expect to use throughout your entire site.


The general use share strip that you see below each topic (and elsewhere throughout our suite of applications) has been added to Calendar. This allows users to share events through social networking sites, through email, or even to print an event's details out with their printer. If Facebook support is enabled in your ACP, the Facebook "like" button will also show up for the user, allowing them to share the event on Facebook. This is likely to drive activity to your site as the user's friends see this content shared on Facebook and follow it through to your site, where they may be interested and join your site...a win-win!

I realize this blog entry is pretty concise and the above-mentioned changes are not thoroughly detailed here, however because these are consistency-based changes to bring Calendar in-line with the rest of our products, the majority of our customers will already be familiar with everything mentioned above. By bringing these changes to Calendar, we allow for more useful functionality and more consistency with the rest of our suite of applications for IP.Board. Our next blog entry for Calendar will start detailing some of the changes unique to Calendar that we believe will make it much more useful for you and for your community. Stay tuned, and if you would like to be notified when we post future blog entries, be sure to "like" our company blog.

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