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Top content from across the community, hand-picked by us.

Trial Invision Community 4.5 Now
If you're preparing to upgrade to Invision Community 4.5, there's now an easy way to test it out.

We have updated our Invision Community demo system to use Invision Community 4.5! This is a quick and easy way to take 4.5 for a test drive and test all the new functionality before making your upgrade plans.
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Lessons from the Virus: Community Engagement from WHO
Community leaders need to proactively communicate.  As WHO recommends, "One of the most important and effective interventions to any event is to proactively communicate what is known, what is unknown, and what is being done to get more information."  Communication from community leaders establishes the chain of communication and establishes themselves as a source of credible information.  By getting out in front of disruptive events and staying in regular communication with your members, you build trust and ensure that proper advice will be followed.

Welcome to Invision Community 4.5
We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019.

Let's take a look at all of the new functionality coming to Invision Community as we release the first beta.
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4.5: One More Thing...
Almost ten years ago we launched the Marketplace; a place to connect Invision Community owners with talented developers creating new functionality.

Over the decade, the Marketplace has grown to hold thousands of applications, large and small. For many Invision Community owners, the Marketplace has become an essential resource.

Our aim was always to have the Marketplace available inside your Admin Control Panel to make it even easier to purchase and install extra functionality.

I'm pleased to say that as of Invision Community 4.5, this is now a reality. You can browse the Marketplace and install new add-ons without leaving the Admin Control Panel.
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4.5: Two feature additions

As the deadline slowly comes down, two last feature additions race towards the descending door and slide in underneath with seconds to spare.

If you've never seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark", then you probably think this is a weird way to start a blog.

As we wrap up development for Invision Community 4.5, we squeezed in two extra features that I want to talk about today.

4.5: Commerce Trials
One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price.

I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works.
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Test drive Invision Community 4.5
We started talking about Invision Community 4.5 way back in November of last year. Now, less than six months later, it's ready for you to test.

While we put the finishing touches to a few features, we have set up a preview site so you can test out the new features, leave your feedback and make a note of any bugs you spot.

4.5: Everything else
We have announced a lot of new things coming soon with Invision Community 4.5. Most of these are pretty big new features worth a blog on their own.

However, we've made a lot of smaller changes that may not deserve their own blog but still have a significant impact.

Let's run through some of those.
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4.5: Language System Updates
Ever since Invision Community 4.0, there has been a huge focus on making communities multi-lingual by providing translation features inside the AdminCP.

We have received a lot of feedback on our multi-lingual and translation tools over the past year, and we're happy to announce new features coming to Invision Community 4.5.
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4.5: Introducing our updated default theme

If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2.

With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version.

In this entry, I want to talk a little about some of the design decisions that went into building the new theme.

4.5: Improvements for theme designers
If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2.

In this entry, I want to go over some of the design and code-level changes we've implemented that will be of particular interest to third-party theme designers, or those building a custom theme for their community.
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4.5: Page Builder Widgets
Invision Community introduced drag and drop widgets many years ago. These widgets allowed anyone to add blocks to existing views, and to build up entirely new pages.

These widgets were great for quickly adding content to a page, but they weren't incredibly customizable. 

For Invision Community 4.5, we've added three new Page Builder widgets which allow you a little more control.
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4.5: New Post-Installation Onboarding
Installing Invision Community for the first time is a fun and exciting process. After all, you're about to launch a new community that is going to thrive and attract members from all over, and you want to make sure you set it up just right to facilitate a painless experience for your visitors.

Here's now we've improved post-installation set-up in Invision Community 4.5.

4.5: Forum View Updates
Invision Community has had different view modes for a good number of years.

Forum grid view was added to create some visual interest when listing forums, and we've had expanded and condensed view modes in streams since they were introduced.

We've taken both of these views a step further in Invision Community 4.5
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4.5: Zapier Brings Integration with Over 2,000 Web Apps
For Invision Community 4.5, we are launching a beta service of Zapier integration for Invision Community in the Cloud.

Zapier acts as a bridge between Invision Community and other apps, such as Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. Zapier has over 2000 apps registered currently, and that number grows every single day.

Connect your community to other apps and services in minutes without writing a single line of code.
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4.5: Topic view summary and more
A topic is more than a collection of posts; it's a living entity that ebbs and flows over time.

Evergreen topics can see month-long gaps between posts and longer topics spanning numerous pages can end up hard to navigate through to find useful content.

With this in mind, we've added numerous improvements to the topic view to bring context and summaries key areas within the topic.
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4.5: ACP Dark Mode
A short while ago we revealed the new look Admin CP for Invision Community 4.5. The focus was on increasing the workspace, brightening and modernising the look.

However, for some this new look was perhaps a little too bright, especially when setting your OS to use dark mode.

Rather than cause an increase in sales for sunglasses, we went ahead and implemented a dark mode for the Admin CP.

4.5: Marking as solved
Invision Community has had a question and answer mode for a good few years now.

This mode transforms a forum into a formalized way to handle your member's questions. Members can upvote answers, and the topic starter and your community management team can mark a reply as the "best answer".

This is great when you want to add rigour to specific forums which encourage your members to find solutions.

But how about a way to mark a topic as solved without transforming the look and feel of the forum?

We get asked this a lot.
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4.5: Notification Improvements

Notifications are a crucial feature in enticing members back to your community to read updates and post their replies.

It makes sense that there should be as little friction as possible when setting up notifications. We want to encourage members to enable notifications relevant to them.

The current notifications form in Invision Community is functional but overwhelming and confusing for new members.

Thankfully, we have simplified it to make it clear what notifications are available and which you have enabled currently.
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The Paradox of Choice: Why A Major Retail CEO Spent His First 100 Days Thinking About Can Openers
One of the great benefits of the modern web is a proliferation of choice: choice in sprawling ideologies, choice in niche interests, and choice in shopping for thousands of products at a click of a button. All of this, every day. Unfortunately, that abundance of choice can stress and even paralyze our ability to make decisions.

What does this mean for online communities?
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4.5: Identify Statistical Trends

One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data.

There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood.

However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views.

Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics.
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4.5: User Interface Improvements
Invision Community has certainly changed a lot over the years as we've moved through major updates and large user interface changes.

While large scale changes offer a dramatic difference, it is sometimes the smaller changes that bring the most satisfaction when using your community daily.

This blog entry rounds up some of the UI improvements Invision Community 4.5 brings.
  • 33 replies

4.5: Club Statistics
Statistics can help you manage and monitor the direction of your community, giving you valuable insight into how your visitors are interacting with your site and what areas of your community deserve the most of your attention.

With the popularity of Clubs in Invision Community, we determined that some statistics aimed at helping administrators review how this feature is being received by their end users was warranted.
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iOS & Android Apps: Open Beta
Since we announced native Invision Community apps for iOS and Android, the response has been incredible.

Hundreds of customers registered interest in joining the testing process, and for the initial round we selected around thirty users, roughly split between iOS and Android. Thank you to those testers for their work in reporting issues and providing feedback over the past couple of months.

I'm pleased to report that we are now ready to begin an open beta of the app, allowing everyone to install it and test it.
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4.5: Security Enhancements
Although we continuously review security within Invision Community, a major release such as 4.5 allows us to be especially proactive when it comes to keeping your community safe.

This blog entry outlines several enhancements to improve security in Invision Community 4.5.
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