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Rikki

Web push notifications, native sharing & offline support

As we approach the release of Invision Community 4.6, I wanted to take you through some improvements for using Invision Community on a mobile device.

Web push notifications

For some time, we've used the local browser notification API to show users notifications. There's a big drawback though: users had to have the site open in a tab for these to work. This is particularly problematic for mobile devices.

In 4.6, we've added support for the WebPush API, which allows sites to push notifications to users' browsers & devices even if the site isn't open - or even if the device is asleep.

We already have support baked in for push notifications via our beta mobile app, so we've piggy-backed on that system and expanded it to support browser-based push notifications.

push_options.jpg

Choosing push notifications

For users, it's a simple process. A little while after joining a community they will prompted to accept notifications from the site when they open the notification list dropdown (or they can opt-in any time from the notification settings screen). After accepting, they will be able to choose a "Notification List + Push" option for any of the available notification types.

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Push notifications enabled

Existing users, who may have already granted permission to the site in the past, will be re-prompted to accept push notifications upon logging in after the 4.6 upgrade.

Push notifications typically show on the homescreen of a phone or in the notification tray of a desktop computer, so receiving dozens of notifications could be overwhelming. For that reason, Invision Community will automatically merge related notifications - for example, multiple mentions from the same topic, or multiple new topics from the same forum.

Notifications_Badge.jpg

Grouped push notifications

And, of course, users can stop push notifications across all of their devices with a single click if they want to opt out.

We're excited about the engagement potential of push notifications, since they allow you to immediately reach users who aren't currently on your site - a job previously left to email alone.

On the subject of notifications, one more thing: we've heard your feedback about notifications for new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6. We're acutely aware that making notifications annoying results in users turning them off, so we're always looking to ensure there is a reasonable balance.

Splash Screen Images

When you add a website to your phone's desktop, it appears like a native app. Tapping to launch the site can show a blank screen for a few seconds while the website is loaded. Fortunately, you can now set a 'splash' image in the Admin CP which is shown when launching the app.
 

PWA Splash screen.gif

Sharing using native share options

Another enhancement coming in 4.6 is the addition of the device share sheet when sharing content from within Invision Community. Users will now see a "More Sharing Options" button (providing their device/browser supports the underlying API) which, when tapped, will open the device share sheet. The options available depend on the device, but typically include actions like sharing links in WhatsApp, posting to Facebook or creating a note.

Webshare.gif

Offline support

With a larger share of users now using mobile devices for most of their browsing comes the problem of patchy phone signal and internet connections dropping out. For a dynamic web-based platform like Invision Community, it's difficult to offer much in the way of full offline support, but starting in 4.6 we will present a branded offline page to users when they have no internet connection and try to access the community.

offline.jpg

 

We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!

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On 2/26/2021 at 6:51 AM, bfarber said:

The link should do as it says and stop all email notifications. Having said that, it's not a new feature; it's available in the current release.

https://invisioncommunity.com/notifications/options/

image.png

 

Hello, I was told it doesn't do that. I tried to ask in same ticket but new ticket system is odd and not easy to reply. It keeps on saying, Continue writing.... while I just want clarification in that ticket. Can you please help? Thank you, as always! 

 

image.png.020f84892ce8a305a027f16c28db1a7d.png

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17 hours ago, usmf said:

What is the eta for 4.6? The change to Like Button notifications is something that our members ask for almost every day. 4.6 can't be too soon.

Oh, likewise - we are still getting complaints about this one - we can't wait for it to be fixed.

What are we expecting as the ETA for 4.6?

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3 hours ago, Nigel Moore said:

Oh, likewise - we are still getting complaints about this one - we can't wait for it to be fixed.

What are we expecting as the ETA for 4.6?

I feel for you. I can't imagine how this behavior got approved to be in the first place....

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10 hours ago, Maxxius said:

I feel for you. I can't imagine how this behavior got approved to be in the first place....

Same here, it's one of the oddest decisions I've seen made in a software update in my last few decades of being in the software world. 

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Quote

new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6

I just had a closer read of this and whilst it is a step in the right direction, I still don't think it's amazing.

Most people that use these notifications will still want to be notified when one of their posts is quoted by someone else.

But no-one wants to be notified when their post get a like/reaction. 

Keeping "quotes" and "reactions" bundled into a single option is a mistake in my opinion.

I feel like "quotes" should either be bundled with "replies / mentions" or setup as it's own option.

To be honest - for the best granularity - all 4 options should be separate.

I.e.

- REPLIES         [ON / OFF]
- MENTIONS   [ON / OFF]
- QUOTES        [ON / OFF]
- REACTIPONS [ON / OFF]

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On 4/1/2021 at 11:59 AM, Daniel F said:

It was mentioned in 

😉

It’s planned to have a public version in few weeks

Thanks @Daniel F

Although linking me to a separate thread in a way that makes it sound like I should have read about the update over in that thread seems like a strange way to answer a legitimate question.

Especially when the title and topic of the linked thread doesn't appear to have anything to do with an "update release date".

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If it doesn't work on macOS/iOS/iPadOS, why show the option to enable push notifications at all?

This is a lie:

image.png.282634564b24a8e92b4b2e4668ed5b6e.png

Why not detect the browser or OS, and not show the option (since it's going to fail) on those OSes?

I know Apple's privacy tracking (for which I'm very grateful) obfuscates some data, but you can still detect the OS or handle this more gracefully, no?

Edited by iacas
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About ETAs I want to throw in one aspect I am very content with IPS: It's done when it is done which has kept up quality builds. I am a client and am in the same boat as you. I want everything asap in high quality, done quickly and cost effective.
There is a lot of beta software out there and a lot of banana products and I don't want to use that.

If I need to chose I would chose quality over time:
spacer.png

Edited by Thomas P
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On 5/25/2021 at 4:50 PM, iacas said:

If it doesn't work on macOS/iOS/iPadOS, why show the option to enable push notifications at all?

This is a lie:

image.png.282634564b24a8e92b4b2e4668ed5b6e.png

Why not detect the browser or OS, and not show the option (since it's going to fail) on those OSes?

I know Apple's privacy tracking (for which I'm very grateful) obfuscates some data, but you can still detect the OS or handle this more gracefully, no?

so the push notification only works on Android?

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On 5/26/2021 at 4:37 PM, Thomas P said:

If I need to chose I would chose quality over time:

I 150% agree with you @Thomas P and I always choose quality over time where appropriate.

However, in this instance, it's not as black and white.

What happened was Invision actually changed core functionality to something that's worse than what it originally was (and what our members were comfortable with).

In our members eyes it's simply "taking functionality away that was already there". 

After hearing a bunch of feedback from members that it was a bad change, they acknowledged it and essentially "'We'll fix it in the next realease" and so far it's been months and months since then.

In our personal case, with 4,000+ members who were affected with the core functionality change (that wasn't asked for or expected), there's only so many months we can keep saying something like:

"The developers have acknowledged that they didn't get the change quite right after feedback from many users and they've said they're going to fix it in the next release which is coming soon."

We're still hoping for a quick release date so we can finally stop fielding off support requests from members (still) complaining about it. 

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On 5/25/2021 at 9:50 PM, iacas said:

If it doesn't work on macOS/iOS/iPadOS, why show the option to enable push notifications at all?

This is a lie:

image.png.282634564b24a8e92b4b2e4668ed5b6e.png

Why not detect the browser or OS, and not show the option (since it's going to fail) on those OSes?

I know Apple's privacy tracking (for which I'm very grateful) obfuscates some data, but you can still detect the OS or handle this more gracefully, no?

We did tweak the detection slightly in beta 2, however it will work on MacOS if you are using Edge, Chrome or Firefox (Safari doesn't support it).

On 5/28/2021 at 9:35 PM, kevinnguyen said:

so the push notification only works on Android?

Essentially, Chrome, Edge, Firefox (etc) on Windows, Android, MacOS. - iOS doesn't support this.

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Hello I have a question. It will be possible to provide push notifications for new articles on the portal in the pages application? And will these notifications then be displayed on the phone with a thumbnail of the article-photo?

And , we will be able to ask users if they want to receive notifications about new articles?

Thank you in advance for your answer guys!

Edited by Mateusz Manikowski
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