Invision Community has been going strong for over sixteen years now. Many of those who work for us were customers first before they signed away their souls and became staff. This month, we part the mists of time and ask:
How did you first come across Invision Community?
Andy (Developer and man of mystery)
Way back in 1998 I was involved with an online investment club in the UK (of course you were - Editor) and we set up a directory of national share clubs with a threaded “bulletin board”. This was based on a freely available perl script (as everything was back then (did they claim it would always be free? - Editor)) but it just wasn’t up to the job. This was my first exposure to writing web based software as I started customising it for our needs. Soon after, we switched to UBB which moved away from messy layouts and to a more structured forum, topic, post experience. With the release in 2004 of Invision Community 1.3 we switched again and I’ve been working with Invision Community software ever since (and you had such a promising life planned out - Editor).
Around the same time the investment club moved to Invision Community, I also started up two other sites, one for modified cars which was an extremely popular niche at the time and one for my home town of Bedlington which is still running to this date. When developing for Invision Community I find it very useful to have that historical experience and real world insight. A lot of my input when we discuss new features as a team comes as a direct result of this first hand experience.
I was part of this Investment Club when I was younger
Marc (Support and fan of bouncy castles)
My first real experience trying to set up forums/communities for myself was somewhere around 2000 (lol slow down grandpa - Editor). Me and a few friends used to host gaming servers for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and wanted something for storing stats on, so I set up UBB which I remember thinking was really cool at the time. I never really did much with it other than setting it up for people to use, and remember at the time backing things up on a 1mb hard drive (can't even fit a picture on that these days (need a push on that rocking chair? - Editor)).
Over the years, I ran a few more sites and the software at some point became vBulletin (cant recall when, but just seemed to happen) which I ran through version 2 and late into version 3. At that point I was starting to add things for myself, usually learning from other peoples "FIND abc, AFTER ADD, xyz" which is how we all used to add our own modifications at the time. The thought of an upgrade at the time, I know used to make me cringe.
At some point during vBulletin 4 release, I was becoming a little disillusioned with the whole community software scene in general (other disappointing platforms are available - Editor), and hadn't really used Invision Community before, but ended up using that for a site for my wife.
I was using Invision Community more and more. Purely because it was the site that was most active at the time. This led me to becoming very interested in the new Invision Community 4 release, and was becoming a bit of an social addict on the alpha forum that was released, helping out people who weren't sure of things, and generally asking questions. It was around this point I was asked to join the team here at Invision. And you guys have had to put up with me ever since! My sincere apologies for that. (apology accepted - Editor)
This has nothing to do with Castle Wolfenstein but it's late and I need this blog entry done
Mark H (Support and keeper of Dropbox)
The internet was in its infancy in 1985 (and there goes 80% of our readers - Editor), and I was using BBS's on a dial-up 1200 baud modem. In 1986 I took over a BBS from a friend, running it on a 2400 baud modem and single phone line. It was just a few years later that I got my first look at the real "Internet", using Netscape and now a 9600 baud modem (we just lost another 10% - Editor). At some point I discovered online communities, then only "Forums" with perhaps photo gallery software similar to Coppermine.
My focus was gaming at the time, so I gravitated to forums for such things as (like Marc) Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and the first RPG-type text-based games. I also joined a number of MUD's (multiplayer real time worlds - Editor), and am a (now retired) staff member of the MUD, Ancient Anguish.
I've seen the progression of technology and software which, today, we take for granted. But back then if someone had told me where we would be today, (oh boy, here we go - Editor) I'd have been...... skeptical. Over the years, I've used a verity of "forum software" but well over a decade ago started using Invision Community version 1.3a. Today I am a partner with another person running a site using Invision Community software, and it's the highest-ranking result at Google for its (admittedly niche) speciality.
Since I was using Invision Community, having purchased it at version 2.3, and given that background, it seemed a natural progression to join Invision Community as an employee when the opportunity arose, and I have never looked back! (must be dangerous when reversing - Editor)
Actual footage of Mark listening to an internet podcast back in 1985
Jennifer (Designer and sock fanatic)
I was personally never good at it but I found a community called "Eden Enchanted" where all these really awesome pixel artists were. So I started to develop my own Pixel art community (because back then I thought I might eventually get good at it so I should admin). I started on the free community software of "SMF" but envied the ease of use and the beauty of Invision Community (which this awesome pixel community used (they have outstanding taste - Editor)).
After what felt like forever, which mind you was really only like 2-3 months, I bit the bullet and purchased an Invision Community license. I wanted this gorgeous piece of software and I couldn't live with the second rate free stuff anymore (there's our new advert slogan - Editor). So I bought Invision Community 2.3 and delved in (this was back in 2007). I really haven't looked back since. I've been developing skins since I got it and I've made a few mods/applications on it back in the 3.0 days.
I've owned and ran many communities, and roleplays, on Invision Community since. My current community, which has officially been running on Invision Community since December 2013, was transferred from InvisionFree (not my choice but god were we happy when we left).
Ah the memories. Terrible, terrible memories
Brandon (Developer and XP log in screen enthusiast)
Back in roughly 2004-ish I got into customizing Windows XP (specifically I created custom login screens (this was actually a thing? - Editor) but knew a lot of people who did the full alternative to Windows Blinds by hacking dlls) and eventually opened a site to host my work and to allow others to share theirs: bfarber.com.
I used Invision Community v1.3 which was free at the time (2.0 was just getting into beta testing as I recall) and needed a file manager to share my work and to allow others to do the same. I downloaded a free file manager by a modder named 'parkeet' and after installing it on my site (which required those good ole "find X and replace with Y" PHP file modifications) I found that it was lacking in a few areas, so I set out to customize it.
Never used this, apparently it was OK
Stuart (Developer and owner of large computers)
My story is rather similar to the other ones here (selling this story from the off - Editor). My story starts around 2000 when I started a car club with my brother, being the technical one, one of the first things to do was to set up a forum. We started with Ikonboard (imagine Perl & flat-file databases etc), we swiftly followed Matt over to his new PHP-based project "Invision Power Board" (pretty sure the restraining order prohibited that - Editor). With the introduction of the new licensing structure unfortunately with being very low budget we had to then move over to WBB (er... - Editor). Soon after we moved back to Invision Community (It was the best and totally worth it! (I made him say that - Editor)) and I started to get interested with PHP (up to this point, I had only really used HTML/CSS) and learning how to make some changes that we needed for working with 'members' and tying our website in with our community. -- A really simple SSO type approach where the main website would show the user that's logged in and save data they submit, such as a tech spec and images of their vehicles.
That community is still using Invision Community and in the meantime I've also converted (and run) some other car club communities that I've been involved in over the years. From there, I was asked to start writing SSO (single sign on, you're welcome- Editor) integrations in early 2014 for Invision Community and soon after became a full member of staff.
I still run a number of communities to this day which gives great insight into how end users interact with the software and generally what their feelings of the platform is. Quite often, I'll deploy Alphas to these communities to gather feedback.
Oh, he said Car Club...
Jim (Support and his name is a bit like the lead singer from The Doors)
The first community I really heavily participated in was around 2003. Being a nerd and liking wrestling at the time (Ultimate Warrior FTW- Editor), I joined a wrestling forum that ran a very beginning version of IPB. A lot of time was spent on this website and after becoming a moderator, I really feel in love with IPB.
A sub-forum on this community that was pretty active was around graphic design. Feedback/showcases and competitions with the main point of focus around the wrestling world. This really took my interest and while my interest in wrestling kind of faded, graphic design led to the next step in my life and naturally joining graphic design communities.
After being a part of quite a few graphic design forums (that were ran quite badly (honesty is always good - Editor)) came time for me to try my hand at this. Being technically inclined, I thought I could run a better show. We started out on PHPBB due to cost but after some frustrating moments, I persuaded the move to Invision Community.
Come sometime around 2008 or 2009 and my new passion around cars had reached its peak, I came back onto the forum scene. In 2010, my favorite brand had become defunct so I decided to open a community dedicated to keeping its memory alive. First and only choice was to come back to Invision Community! (Believe early version 3 at the time) This community is still alive and I still have a lot of fun with it!
I've been waiting months to post this GIF
Rhett (Hosting and boasting)
My time on forums started in the late 90's, with a few motorcycle and photography forums I visited often. During the years as time progressed some of these went astray from what the core members wanted, so I started a few of my own Motorcycle forums with the core members following, that lead to other online communities such as Android (is that the cheap iOS knockoff? - Editor) in the late 2000's, and a few other communities. In about 08-09 I had enough of the main platform we were using and made the move to Invision Community (a man of fine taste - Editor). I started digging in, converting all the sites to Invision and haven't looked back (seriously, how do you guys get out of parking spots? - Editor). It's a great product, a great team, that I'm proud to be a small part of.
Instagram in the 80s
Daniel (Developer and owner of a shop and spa in Arendelle)
My Journey started 2003 at an Austrian electronical music forum which was also written in perl.
After years where I was only a member, the owner lost interest and a handful of people(incl. myself) took it over (hopefully you asked nicely first - Editor), but we realized that perl was such a pain to work with (I could have told you that - Editor), so we restarted the whole project with phpBB.
This was also the time, where I got really interested into coding and customizing stuff.
After a long journey from phpBB, to vBulletin(2006), and others, I landed finally here (the best one of course (someone's getting a bonus - Editor))
The forum doesn't exist anymore , I blame facebook and all the european laws, but TBH, I'm just too busy to run one 😁
Probably not Daniel
Those are our stories, but we'd love to hear about your first experiences with Invision Community. Let us know below!
Edited by Matt