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IP.Board 3.2.0: Notification Enhancements

We added a notifications system in IP.Board 3.1.0 and it's been a very popular addition allowing your members to select the type of notification they receive for specific events like a new personal message, quoted post, etc.

However, we've received a lot of feedback since and we wanted to make some enhancements to address some common issues. I'm happy to say that we've completed a lot of interface work in this area and we feel we have a much better system.

The actual functionality hasn't changed. You can still elect to receive and/or a personal message, email or inline notification for certain events and you can still elect to receive an inline 'pop-up' (it's actually an inline javascript modal box but we've retained the familiar phrasing) when you receive a new inline notification. Many members set their notifications up so they receive an inline notification with pop-up when they get a new personal message, for example.

Interface
As IP.Board 3.2.0 has a completely revamped skin, the actual "PM count" and "Notification" boxes have been removed from the drop down icons and placed with a high visibility count.

Please keep in mind that IP.Board 3.2.0 is still in heavy development so this interface may change between now and the first release.

Here's what you'll see with some new personal messages and new notifications:


And here's what you'll see without any notifications:


Regardless of if you have any new messages or not, clicking the inbox link will bring up a list of recent personal messages:


Likewise, regardless of if you have any new notifications or not, clicking the notifications link will bring up a list of recent notifications:


The inline 'pop-up' has been re-styled:


Enhancements
The eagle eyed among you may notice that the new inline pop-up contains the proper personal message text and not simply a copy of an email that could be sent out. We've made it so each notification can have 'meta data' attached to link the notification to the piece of content. This means that the pop-up can correctly fetch the live data without any additional mark-up or text.

More excitingly, we now mark the notification as read when the personal message has been read. This was a long standing complaint about the system and I'm pleased to say that we've now addressed this.

We've also changed how the 'red alert' counts work. In the old system, when you viewed the notification drop down, the count and the menu contents were removed so that on the next click, it would tell you that there were no notifications to view. We've now changed that so the count will disappear when you click the link, but the actual contents will remain so you can go back after a page reload and view it again.

Likewise, previously the 'new' personal message counter didn't vanish when you viewed your inbox. Now, when you click the inbox link the alert count will disappear but the drop down will show you the recent messages still. They are highlighted with a blue background in the screenshots above.

We feel this makes the alert system much more useful as you truly only get alerted when there is new content you've not acknowledged without losing the read/unread status of each item.

Recap
To recap the new functionality:
- Redesigned inline pop-up window
- Inbox link available at the top of the page at all times
- Notification link available at the top of the page at all times
- 'Alert count' for each only shows content you've not acknowledged.
- Once you've viewed the drop down list the alert count is removed until fresh content arrives.
- Reading a personal message will mark any associated notification as read.

We really hope you enjoy these enhancements and that you find them very useful to keep track of new content or items requiring your attention.

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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How so Shamil? We've had notifications in place since 3.1 came out well over a year ago now (probably longer!). We've also had a PM count. I've just moved them out of the drop downs and into the header bar. Admittedly, you can't see the header bar in context so you're just comparing four links with another forum product?

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This is a good change, i like the new user bar too. Will there not be an option to limit amount of characters in the inline notification? Not keen on the whole message showing up before clicking read message.

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[quote name='majdi' timestamp='1301083832']
[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301079847']
This is reminiscent of XenForo... big time.


i agree, its looks very xenforoy


To be honest I fail to see why thats a problem .... I am glad of xenforo's existance for that reason ... I have a licence for both and just the fact that it exists is pushing Invision forward ....... Which is ACE :D

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I don't think it's like Xenforo.

In Xenforo, you only see notifications for defined amount of days(time). There is cut off limit in Xenforo. After the cut off limit it says, "You do not have any recent alerts." while in IPB even after xx days, it will show you notifications.

AFAIK in IPB , it will show you all notifications, even though you have read those notifications.

Both are different. I could be wrong but that's how I see it.

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[quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301086929']
Actually it's like Facebook and other social networking sites which is how people "expect" it to work :)



Just because one has implemented it, doesn't mean you have to copy it. Whilst it is a crucial paradigm, it can still be improved upon.

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[quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']
And we have improved on it.



I'm not seeing major improvements over the other solutions offered of this segment. Maybe you are working with smaller incremental updates?

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I'd like to recommend a small change to the notification drop down. My members all expressed great praise when they saw options for notifications. It's surprising how few members know that they can change the settings.

PBEqw.png

Otherwise, great work!

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[quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301086929']
Actually it's like Facebook and other social networking sites which is how people "expect" it to work :)

I hate that on FB, when I have multiple notifications, that viewing one will clear all the others.

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[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301101225']
[quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']And we have improved on it.


That's because you're not willing to see anything that doesn't support your viewpoint that Xenforo is the best product in existence, and clearly any development that bears even a vague resemblance to it is copied from it. You know who else holds that viewpoint? I'll give you a hint: they're suing Xenforo.

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[quote name='Kyanar' timestamp='1301111281']
[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301101225'][quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']And we have improved on it.




I don't think that XenForo is the best product in existence. It excels is some areas, and not in others. When things look exactly the same, and ideas and paradigm may have been copied.

The difference between myself and Internet Brands, is that I don't believe the method has been copied, just the interfacing elements, which could be improved upon.

How did IPS improve on XenForo's implementation exactly?

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[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301136062']
[quote name='Kyanar' timestamp='1301111281'][quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301101225'][quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']And we have improved on it.


And to turn the tables, what exactly did XenForo improve over Facebook's implementation, huh?

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IPB and XF are different, but there's little merit to arguing about it here on the IPB site.

I've got an XF site in the making and I'm enjoying working with it. The template system is refreshingly simple, the ACP is very compact and easy to use, and I like the simple layout and front end. It's a joy to use and administer.

However, I'm getting quite excited about IP.Board 3.2 as it appears to be moving in the right direction with regard to improving the user interface (for both Admin's and end-users) and enhancing the feature set, whilst at the same time improving the code and streamlining a few things to make our sites run faster and better.

All good, isn't it ? (w00t)

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[quote name='Tanax' timestamp='1301163620']
[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301136062'][quote name='Kyanar' timestamp='1301111281'][quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301101225'][quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']And we have improved on it.


I never said they did anything different, they've done the first stage of implementation and improvement. We're not talking about the Facebook/XenForo ecosystem, but more of the forum/community ecosystem as a whole.

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[quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301190102']
[quote name='Tanax' timestamp='1301163620'][quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301136062'][quote name='Kyanar' timestamp='1301111281'][quote name='Shamil' timestamp='1301101225'][quote name='Charles' timestamp='1301088998']And we have improved on it.


You asked how IPS did improve "Xenforo's implementation" when Xenforo used the same system that Facebook has. That, at least to me, sounds like you're saying Xenforo came up with the idea which wasn't the case, they "stole" it from Facebook.

I mean, c'mon! If you're gonna be like that then you'll find that a lot of things that IPS implemented has been taken from other softwares aswell as other softwares taking features from IPS. If you already have a nice system that everyone likes, why not implement it in your software aswell? It's like saying IPS can't move over to a MVC-pattern:ed file-structure just because Xenforo uses it. It's stupid.

And if you want differences in Xenforo's notification system and IPS' notification system you'll surely find a bunch but let's wait until 3.2 comes out, you haven't even seen the complete update and you're already saying(based on a VERY SMALL teaser) that they're copying Xenforo. If you're that into Xenforo, then go there and stop commenting here. If not, then stop complaining about stuff you haven't fully seen yet.

I like Xenforo, some parts of it at least, and if IPS wants to implements some of their nice front-end things but with their own flavour to it, then I'm all for it!

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We have had a notifications system since 3.0/3.1, before XenForo was released. You can see how it is implemented here (you can access your notifications log at the top of the page with the little dropdown).

3.2 is improving upon our implementation, which in turn was inspired in part by Facebook's. There is merit in making certain elements of the interface work as an average user would expect.

We did not copy XenForo. We've had the notification system in place since before it was released, and what you see for 3.2 is not all that drastically different from 3.1. We are simplifying the user interface and the functionality so that it functions smoother and as our customers have requested directly to us.

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