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Rikki

Invision Community Apps for iOS & Android

I'm excited to reveal that we are making Invision Community native apps for iOS and Android!

For the past few months, our staff has been using an internal test build right here on our community. Now we are ready to widen testing to a larger pool of customers. Information on how to become a tester is at the end of this post. But first, let's take a look at the app itself.

Technology Preview
We have a lot of exciting plans for the Invision Community app.

We wanted to take full advantage of a clean slate and build a brand new experience that embraces a native app's interfaces. While the app is unmistakably Invision Community, it features new ways of interacting with your content.

We want the app to help shape the future of Invision Community, and we're asking for you to help.

What we are opening up for testing today is a technology preview. This slim app covers the essentials with a view to much more expansion later.

The technology preview is locked to our community. The app we will release will be a 'multi-community' app; a directory of communities users can browse and save.

We’ve taken this approach because the app stores have clamped down on ‘template’ apps, and the cost involved in building and maintaining a separate app per-community won’t be an option for many of our customers. A multi-community app is a great approach for most: simple setup, minimal cost, still fully-featured, and a great way for new users to find your community too.

What The App Does
For the initial phase of this technology preview, discussions are the main focus which is the foundation of every Invision Community. Also available are profiles, streams, search and notifications - including (at last!) push notifications.

Any areas that the app does not currently support will open seamlessly in a web view within the app. As we build new functionality into the app over time, users will encounter fewer of these hybrid views.

Your feedback will allow us to target the highest priority areas during the technology preview phase.

Pricing
Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores.

The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities. This funding will secure the app's long-term future.

The premium option could enhance their listing in the directory, or provide special functionality when users use that community in the app.

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Availability

We intend to release the app alongside the next significant point release of Invision Community, expected to be 4.5. Communities will need to upgrade to this version to allow their users to use the app.

Questions?

Why not a PWA (progressive web app)?
Invision Community 4.4 already supports several PWA features. However, until iOS supports Push Notifications (and other features) in PWAs, we don't feel they are a fully-rounded solution to using communities on a phone. Building native apps allow us to experiment with new interfaces and approaches. As PWA support improves in the years to come, we'll feed what we learn back into the main product for the benefit of all users.

Why now?
Those with a long memory will recall that we've had a few attempts at providing an app in the past that weren't successful.

We are great at building apps with web technologies but creating native apps ourselves wasn't sustainable.

Enter React Native.

React Native is an open-source technology for building native apps. React Native allows teams to build native apps using web technologies, but crucially, React Native doesn't build hybrid apps. They are compiled into real native apps - not browser wrappers, but native buttons, text, dialogs, animations and more.

A year or so ago, we started experimenting with React Native to see if it might be a viable approach for us. And it was. Finally, there was a technology that enabled web engineers to build delightful cross-platform native apps.

As we can build native mobile apps using the technology we are familiar with allows us to incorporate mobile app development into our existing processes.

Why just forums?
Invision Community is a large, fully-featured platform, and building the entire platform in a native app from the get-go didn't seem to be the best approach. Instead, we've focused on the most active area of most communities - forums - with other areas still supported in the app via webviews. Over time, additional features and tools will be built into the app so that it eventually reaches feature-parity with the web version. We'll take feedback from our customers to determine which areas to support next.

How will I add my community to the app?
The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options. 

Is the app ad-supported?
There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future.

Can I get a white-label version for my community?
We aim to offer a white-label option in the future.

Will my plugins work in the app?
Probably not. We're intentionally building the app to work with standard Invision Community features and apps right now. If your plugins add new UI elements or change the functions that users interact with it's likely they will not work with the app.

What about themes?
Themes won't work in the app because the app doesn't use HTML. However, some branding/customization will be available via the AdminCP, and we may expand upon this in future.

Have other questions? Let us know in the comments, and we'll answer them!

Sign Up For Testing
For the next stage of our testing process, we will be inviting several customers to try the app and provide feedback/bug reports. As part of the sign-up process, we'll ask for some information about your own community. We'll use this to select further testers once we begin testing of the 'multi-community' version of the app later. The answers you provide will not affect your chance of testing the app on our community.

Interested in joining the testing group? Click here to sign up.

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Comments

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On 10/18/2020 at 2:25 AM, Arahnid said:

Some people have a problem when registering or logging in to the forum through a mobile application - the authorization and registration buttons are unclickable and do not lead to any action.

Correct, everyone is spinning their wheels,  it is not ready for prime time yet. We got published, but have same issues you mentioned. App is very stripped down, some things don't load, and others are very slow.

Your community can be found listed in the "communities by invision" app AFTER you've submitted it from within cp panel and waited a few days to a week.

For mobile issues contact the email they give you in the mobile app. 

They're still working on it. Best for most to just wait until its out of beta testing.

Keith

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We have shared about the app on our forums on 99nicu.org and I got this comment from one of our members

Quote

 

When I tried to connect and log in with my 99nicu.org credentials, my iPhone immediately reported that my password was made public therefore I need to ASAP change it to protect this account. Is this normal?😅


 

Any comments on this?

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On 11/5/2020 at 4:35 AM, Stefan Johansson_72643 said:

We have shared about the app on our forums on 99nicu.org and I got this comment from one of our members

Any comments on this?

Speaking logically, the first thing anyone would ask is: is the user's password unique to just that website, as in they have not ever used that password before, anywhere?

Some forums also have 2 factor enabled, as well as sending emails the first time someone logs in with a browser (as a normal security precaution)

If I were you. I'd get a screenshot from the user, ask them the questions above, and post someplace where you're likely to get a reply, such as the Invision Community here: https://invisioncommunity.com/forums/
 

Hope that helped!

Keith

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Hello,

App is great but I noticed many bugs on Android and iOS.

If you add a new tag to a new post (all my members add tags), the app "reset" and you lost all !

The only way I found is to settle tags on Off

are you going to fix this bug?

Thanks

 

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On 12/10/2020 at 3:08 PM, NAX said:

Hi there

we have been very happy with the app, but today i get a msg saying Communeties Beta is expired. 
Will it be up and running again some day?

You should updated the app via Testflight 

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The main reason I have upgraded to 4.5 was the mobile app cause I took the hard decision a few years ago and deleted Tapatalk which resulted several users to go other sites or use whatsapp instead.

I was willing to start using the application with a limited number of users within my site but even that could not be possible cause the notifications were not displayed and notification bubble on the application disappeared as soon as you opened it.

I have also sent an email to mobilesupport but had no reply. I really wonder if any progress is being made on this subject cause the latest version 1.0.4 was released back in December.

Edited by ABGenc
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3 hours ago, ABGenc said:

The main reason I have upgraded to 4.5 was the mobile app cause I took the hard decision a few years ago and deleted Tapatalk which resulted several users to go other sites or user whatsapp instead. I was willing to start using the application with a limited number of users within my site but even that could not be possible cause the notifications were not displayed and notification bubble on the application disappeared as soon as you opened it.

I have also sent an email to mobilesupport but had no reply. I really wonder if any progress is being made on this subject cause the latest version 1.0.4 was released back in December.

same situation, no feedback on that application

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32 minutes ago, Lauren3 said:

Without a nice mobile app, it's gonna be critical for our survival, Tapatalk is doing at most, a "correct" job...

Capture d’écran, le 2021-02-09 à 14.28.03.png

I have %83 Mobile vs %16 Desktop .

The interesting thing is that Management is acting like this subject and latest comments are for a third party application. 🙈🙉🙊

Edited by ABGenc
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1 hour ago, Duken said:

Mobile app is lost on IPB. I love the mobile site and functions. I really wanted the app to be good, but its lost. 

I dont count on it anymore 😞

Why "lost"? they updated it mid december, it´s not abandonware

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Hi everyone, after browsing the AdminCP I found a section on the left hand nav menu called "Mobile App". You need to select settings and submit a request where someone will review the content to ensure it meets requirements of the appstores.

Currently waiting for business hours to kick in to see what happens next

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1 hour ago, kims79 said:

 

I just installed Tapatalk on our forum, I never really took the time to look there.

And bah it turns out that it is more suitable (in my opinion) than that of ipb.

Great, it also works on IPB 4.5? Did not know. Thanks.

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On 12/13/2020 at 2:22 AM, uA_Y_C_A said:

You should updated the app via Testflight 

I was wondering why the app was saying "Communities" Beta has expired. Thanks for your post here. It works again after updating. 

Does anyone know whether the beta iOS app will ever be released as regular app in the iOS store without using TestFlight?

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We used the Tapatalk plugin (extension) until it wasn't compatible with Invision 4.5 and turned it off and waiting to see if Tapatalk will support Invision 4.5. We were really excited about having Android and iOS apps for Invision Community and hope we can get past this 'beta' stage and have the apps available in the Google Play and Apple App Store fully functional. It has been well over a year when Rikki announced this on September 10, 2019.  According to Centercode, "The typical duration of a Beta Test will vary depending on its objectives. Of the hundreds of tests we’ve run for customers in the last two years, about half of them were between three and five weeks of testing time."  Wonder why Invision Community is taking this long?

As far as using the Communities App for iOS using TestFlight, it looks good to me. I don't understand why it is still in Beta. Does anyone have any insight into this?

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16 minutes ago, bradybarrows said:

We used the Tapatalk plugin (extension) until it wasn't compatible with Invision 4.5 and turned it off and waiting to see if Tapatalk will support Invision 4.5. We were really excited about having Android and iOS apps for Invision Community and hope we can get past this 'beta' stage and have the apps available in the Google Play and Apple App Store fully functional. It has been well over a year when Rikki announced this on September 10, 2019.  According to Centercode, "The typical duration of a Beta Test will vary depending on its objectives. Of the hundreds of tests we’ve run for customers in the last two years, about half of them were between three and five weeks of testing time."  Wonder why Invision Community is taking this long?

As far as using the Communities App for iOS using TestFlight, it looks good to me. I don't understand why it is still in Beta. Does anyone have any insight into this?

So much silence about this. Of course I dont know why. But I remember some years ago they tried to make this mobile app happen and the results were really disappointing so never went "public". I hope this isnt the same case


 

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