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IP.Board 3.2.0 Dev Update: Some VNC and User Content Improvements

The "View New Content" (commonly abbreviated to "VNC" on this community) and "My Content" search routines are important tools for most communities using IP.Board. While we have made improvements to these tools in 3.2 to improve both the reliability of both features, and the interface, we wanted to spend a little time enhancing the functionality of both tools as well. We realize that many of our customers have various suggestions and ideas for these tools, and while we cannot implement every suggestion put forth, we did want to implement some of the most useful and common requests where possible.


Search In Titles

In IP.Board 3.1, there is a global "Search in titles" checkbox available for all content types when using the advanced search form, however there is then an additional option for the forums content type specifically to search in "titles and posts" or "just in titles".



Naturally, this is somewhat confusing and contradictory. Additionally, it limits certain functionality to the forums application alone, functionality that may be useful in other applications. We have resolved this in IP.Board 3.2 by removing the forum-specific option (the second arrow in the previous screenshot) and enhancing the global option to allow you to specify "Search title and content", "Only search in titles", and "Only search in content".



This level of customization for searches in any application should help you better find content when you know where the search terms may be contained.


Moving and Merging Topics

In IP.Board 3.1 we added multi-moderation to the search results page, however many of our more astute customers noticed right away that the ability to merge topics and move topics was a glaring omission. This was not a mistake (there are additional challenges at the code-level with regards to forum permissions for moving topics), however we have overcome these limitations for IP.Board 3.2 and are happy to announce that you will now be able to merge and move topics right from the search results screen.


Sorting and Ordering User Content

In IP.Board 3.1, you are unable to sort or order a user's content, forcing you to review content from a user in a date-based fashion. While there is nothing immediately wrong with this approach, we have enhanced IP.Board 3.2 to now allow you to sort and order user content in any fashion supported by the application or content type.



We expect that this small but useful change will help you better find content individual users have submitted to the community.


Default VNC Method

A minor change, but one we have seen requested many times on these forums, we have added an ACP setting to allow the administrator to define the default "View New Content" method. You can now specify for your new users whether they should see "Content I have not read" by default, or "Content since my last visit". Users can still overide this when viewing the VNC results, but now you will be able to define the default that you feel is best for your community.


Content Filters for VNC

In the previous screenshot for "My Content", you will see that there are filters to drill down to "Topics I participated in", "Topics I started", and "Posts I made". This is a useful feature when viewing a user's content ... so we decided to expand it to the VNC search results as well.

The option "Posts I made" is not relevant to view new content (if you made the post, it will never be new of course), so this option is not present. However, you can now filter VNC results down to "Topics I participated in" and "Topics I started", allowing you an easy way to review new content on the community in topics that you are interested in. When combined with the new filter "Content I am following", you have a granular level of control over your content discovery process never before seen in forum software!


Forum Filtering in VNC

Another oft-requested feature, we have added the ability for user's to filter which forums they wish to see results from in the VNC search results screen.

Under the 'Other Filters' area in VNC, you will have an option "Filter by forum", which will launch a modal popup allowing you to specify which forums you wish to see content from. These filters are remembered (between sessions and across separate computers), with an indicator to let the user know when the filter is being applied.




We Hope You Enjoy!

While we realize that these changes do not necessarily satisfy everyone's wishes for VNC and My Content in IP.Board 3.2, we believe they will help resolve some of the most common limitations in the system, giving you greater flexibility and control over your searches. These changes should help members better find the content they are looking for and interested in, increasing activity on your site, and increasing probability of return for new users finding their way around. We will of course continue to improve VNC and all areas of IP.Board based on our client feedback.


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. If you have feedback related to changes beyond what this entry is referring to, please start a feedback topic. 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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[quote name='AtariAge' timestamp='1303169456']
[quote name='3DKiwi' timestamp='1303156575']Another often requested filter is "Show me new topics with no replies". I would add this to the "Other" options. Handy for moderators / admins to find topics often by new members that for whatever reason no one has bothered replying to.



Something I have been requesting for a long time too. Looks like it's been added in 3.2 though? New Content => Other => Topics I Participated In. Hopefully that's something similar to "view new replies to your posts" like how SMF handles it.

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  • Management

Stephen, as I've said a dozen times, you can opt to have stuff be shown as read (items since my last visit) or you can have stuff disappear (items I've not read).

It's up to you.

You either want a list of stuff you've not read or you don't.

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Sometimes, I wonder, why IPB added Past 6 months and Past 1 year in View 'New' Content option.. Looks like 1 year old topics will be revived often now... Anything over past month.. I am just so not going to read it.

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[quote name='Matt' timestamp='1303194735']
Stephen, as I've said a dozen times, you can opt to have stuff be shown as read (items since my last visit) or you can have stuff disappear (items I've not read).It's up to you.You either want a list of stuff you've not read or you don't.


The current behaviour on forums like here running Sphinx and with "Show me all new content since my last visit" as your option is that after you have read a topic in the VNC results that topic no longer appears when you run VNC again i.e. they disappear. In my opinion this is incorrect behaviour. Without Sphinx like my forum those read topics still show up in VNC i.e. they don't disappear. I think this is what Stephen is referring to.

The only time topics should disappear from VNC is when either: your option is "Show me all new content that I have not read" or you mark the board as read or you exit the forum and then return later.

Nigel

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Looking good! Glad to see that the search titles confusion is changed for the better as I have mentioned in another thread. :) Will sphiinx work 100% correctly with the new search and VNC?

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  • Management

@3DWiki - Forget about what happens here, or with Sphinx, or with 3.1 - 3.2 fixes all these issues. It's the very point I've been trying to communicate for the past few weeks. :)

Probably best to wait until you can use it.

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Yes, while we love previewing the coming changes for you guys, I think a lot of this feedback being shared through the blog is probably best held until you can actually see the new interface, test the functionality and get a feel for how it works and acts.

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I just posted this on other Post, but I feel this is the right place.



Some suggestion as for UI -

As of now IPB gives great features for users to Post Content in the right place.

We need to focus on serving new updates or content to casual users. Very oftern they miss the right topic or are too lazy to search.
I feel Facebook does it well, they server the content than let users explore it.

People use Search or browse category when they know what they want. We have to know also focus on other users also.

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