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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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Wow, you guys have done so much that if you don't stop soon it's going to end up being really confusing. :P I think though that this really is something you have to try before you say anything about it. Regardless I can't wait to see what people complain about this time. ^_^

I have a question though. What about those of us who don't really use the vnc and want to do the simple thing back from 2.3 and 3.0 and just search for the topics a user made or the posts that user made. Is that still possible? Can't figure out how...

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These are all great improvements, and I'm elated to see some of these changes (such as the ability to move/merge topics on search results). The forum filters addition is also wonderful to see! Thanks for detailing these continued improvements in the VNC and My Content system. :)

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Will I be able to use "My Content" (in drop down menu) exactly the way I do now? Specifically see what topics i started/posted in (read or not) in the order of last post made (descending)? I find that feature (for me) more useful that View New Content. If "My Content" is integrated into VNC, can "My Content" be a preset option? Meaning will VNC remember sorting / filter options?

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I don't get it.. When I'm viewing someone's content, for instance Charles' content, I am able to filter "Posts I made", that would logically only show me posts that I have made.. but then it isn't Charles' content anymore, it's more.. my content.

What is the thought behind "Posts I made" on the Member's Content -page?

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Thanks for listening to us. This is a lot better :)

I still think the "By time period" options need some work. I think the reality is most people want to catch up on new content from the previous day or so. I would change the the options to:

Content I have not read
New since my last visit
Past 24 hours
Past 48 hours
Past 72 hours
Past week
Past 2 weeks
Past month

Past that they can browse by forum or use the search system. I also think the suggestion and demonstration my member Stephen where he showed stepping through new content by data was better still.

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.

Anyway, well done.

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[quote name='Tanax' timestamp='1303156397']
I don't get it.. When I'm viewing someone's content, for instance Charles' content, I am able to filter "Posts I made", that would logically only show me posts that I have made.. but then it isn't Charles' content anymore, it's more.. my content.What is the thought behind "Posts I made" on the Member's Content -page?

This is simply confusion in the screenshots you are seeing. We're still polishing everything, which is why it's not ready to be revealed. ;)

It's not really "Posts I made". It's "Posts the user you are viewing has made". The default filter ("Topics I participated in") is everything that the user you are viewing has submitted (topics and posts), and then you can further filter to see just their topics or just their posts. The word "I" here refers to the user you are viewing (not you). We agree it's confusing and are working on clarifying it the interface as much as possible still.

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Will content that has been READ or content that is NEW since last visited disappear once you read or it and or once you view it and OR mark things as read?

If stuff disappears from the STREAM of incoming content then this is a FAIL!

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[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.
Funny, I started a thread about this earlier today, suggesting the exact same thing:


I'm hoping this gets added. :)


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