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IP.Board 3.2.0: Remote Skin Editing

IP.Board's Admin CP comes with many useful and powerful tools to edit your board's skin. You can edit virtually all of the HTML as well as the CSS from within the "Look & Feel" interface. This suits most people but sometimes you just want to use your own desktop editing tools so you can take full advantage of your text editor's syntax coloring, search and replace, merge and other tools.

We added a tool back in IP.Board 3.1 to enable this in a limited way. If you put the board into 'developer mode', you could export the templates into a PHP file per skin group. This worked reasonably well but many found it tricky to put the board into developer mode as it requires different folders and files to be created and exporting the templates into a single PHP file meant that an external merge tool wasn't effective.

We're pleased to say that we've overcome these issues in IP.Board 3.2 by using the popular WebDAV protocol. This protocol is already used by many popular applications like Dropbox to synchronise files between your desktop and their servers. We've used this existing technology to allow you to edit your board HTML and CSS in a totally native format right on your desktop. Indeed as far as your computer is concerned, these are local files!

I've taken a short video (sorry, no sound!) that takes you through a template and CSS edit. I've used the mobile skin for this demonstration as we're not ready to reveal the new skin just yet.

Here's a quick walk through of what you see on screen.

- I log into 'Transmit' which is an OS X FTP/WebDav app. You can use the 'Connect to server...' option in Finder for this task but I find Transmit faster as it caches requests whereas Finder does not.
- I use my forum ACP username and password to log in.
- I browse the template groups, select 'global' and then globalTemplate.html.
- I make a simple edit and save.
- I browse the CSS folder and open ipb_styles.css
- I make a simple edit and save.
- I then refresh the board and you can see the changes have taken instantly.

I hope you enjoy this great addition! You can use this with OS X, Linux and Windows and we'll prepare some guides nearer to IP.Board's release on how to make best use of this feature for your OS. I'm sure you'll agree that this offers an excellent way of editing templates outside of the Admin CP that doesn't need a special 'developer mode'.

Feel free to comment on this blog entry below or, if you have feedback unrelated to this blog entry, start a new topic in our feedback forum. Be sure to check the What's New in IP.Board 3.2 topic for a running list of announced changes!

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