We have started work on IP.Board 3.4 and this blog entry will give you a general idea of our goals and also introduce some important license changes and future plans from IPS. It's an important entry so read on!
As always we will be blogging about specific features as they are completed. IPS does not post traditional roadmaps as roadmaps are subject to change. Instead, we post blog entries when a topic is completed and include screenshots and details so you know what you see is for sure going to happen. Here are the three high-level areas of interest for IP.Board 3.4:
- Very few front end changes so version 3.3 skins will work with little changes on 3.4.
- Focus on back-end improvements (AdminCP user experience, SSO integrations, SEO options, and so on). Versions 3.2 and 3.3 were more about front end experience so now it's time for the AdminCP and other areas to get some focus.
- Work will be put into making areas that are difficult for non-technical/non-designer clients to use. Examples include skinning system, Visual Skin Editor, and upgrade system.
Three areas of focus will result in a lot of great changes and of course we will be doing other, smaller changes outside of those three areas but these will be the focus. Beyond this we have some bigger things planned but that will be revealed later. In addition to IP.Board: IP.Nexus and IP.Gallery are receiving large updates and other apps will receive smaller updates for maintenance and consistency.
We do not currently have a release date for IP.Board 3.4 (and if we did ... well you know :smile: ). Our continuing goal of offering the most stable platform possible will see continued maintenance releases on the 3.3 series and other applications. Expect to see an IP.Board 3.3.3 release coming out soon.
To make our licensing system easier to manage for everyone we are going to be restructuring how they work and are displayed.
Here is how licenses show now:
- IP.Board Standard License
Here is how the new structure will be implemented:
- IPS Community Suite
The main change is that IP.Board will no longer be the "root" license item. You will instead have a license to the IPS Community Suite and will then have the various applications as additions under that root license. Anyone with a current IP.Board Standard License or IP.Board Business License will see this change happen automatically in their client area in the coming weeks. There will be no change to your services of course.
Another change we are making is consolidating renewal dates. It's very cumbersome for both IPS and our clients to have the various apps under a license have different renewal dates. So we will be changing this to prorate purchases so they all have the same renewal dates. Of course the renewal frequency and amount will not change from how it is now. For example, if you choose to add IP.Nexus to your existing IPS Community Suite license the order system will automatically give you a credit based on the number of days until your next renewal cycle so everything balances out.
When we switch over to this new setup your existing purchases will also be prorated and your renewal date for your licenses will adjust based on a formula that gives you credit for all days remaining on all of your licenses. Said formula is a bit involved so check out this topic if you are so inclined to pull out your calculator :smile:
Finally, if your license is currently expired then you will still be put into this new structure but just in an expired state so nothing will change. Legacy license holders will see no change to their license terms but will also see an adjustment in the structure shown here.
This will all be implemented soon after IP.Nexus 1.5 is released which offers many great enhancements.
So why are we doing all this?
IP.Board 3.4 will be a milestone in the history of IPS because it will be the last release of IP.Board as we know it. It's pretty amazing to think that after 10 years this will be the last time IP.Board is released on its own as the flagship product.
After IP.Board 3.4, we will introduce the IPS Community Suite. The new Suite approach will see IP.Board become an application under the Suite just as IP.Gallery, IP.Nexus, and all of our other apps are today (hence the license structure change). There are some huge advantages to this way of doing releases:
Of course beyond these changes we have lot of exciting changes in store for IPS Community Suite 4.0 but that's for the future after IP.Board 3.4, new versions of IP.Nexus and IP.Gallery, and continued laser-focus on stability.
To clarify everything here is a summary timeline:
Very soon: IP.Board 3.3.3 maintenance release
Near future: Blog updates about IP.Board 3.4, new versions of IP.Nexus and IP.Gallery, and working toward releases
After next release cycle: Changes to the license structure
Then we will start work on IPS Community Suite 4.0!
The good news here is that we are not talking a long period of time. Since the IP.Board platform is very stable we can develop these releases in months rather than years.
We have disabled comments on this blog entry as a lot of various subjects were presented that clients will surely want to discuss and comments would get overlooked. However, feel free to start topics in the Client Lounge. Thank you for your support and continual feedback!
Only one version
Currently we have a version number for each of our products. This gets very confusing for everyone to know what version works with what other version. When we release IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 at that time all of our Suite will also be on 4.0.0. No longer will each application have its own release cycle and version numbers. Just one version number for you to look to when you are checking to be sure you're up to date!
As we will be releasing our entire Suite at once for both new features and for maintenance releases you will always know everything is consistent and up to date. For example, if we add a new feature to moderation in one area it will be available in all areas without having to wait for a separate update.
IPS community products have always had great integration with each other. Our new Suite offering will further this integration by offering total uniformity and compatibility between all the features of the Suite.
No forums requirement
Currently if you want to use IPS products you are required to buy IP.Board even if you don't need a forum. Even though you might just need a commerce platform or a CMS you have to buy IP.Board as it is also the "core" application. No more with IPS Community Suite. You will be able to run a community with just a gallery, blog, and member list if you so choose. Maybe you are just looking to run a site and need a CMS and commerce system. The ability to mix and match our great product line will finally be here!