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SoloInter

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  1. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Jordan Invision for an entry, Drum roll please… announcing Achievements!   
    One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can!
    Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6. 
    We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways.
    Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules!
    Here’s what you need to know...

     

    Points
    Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community. 
    Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!!
    This is done through creating Rules.

     

    Rules
    Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel. 
    Here are what members can earn Points for:
    When a...
    Member joins a club Reaction is given New poll is created User follows a content item Review is posted Member logs in for the first time that day New club is created Content item/comment is promoted or featured Comment/reply is posted User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc User votes on a poll User is followed New content item is posted Post is marked as best answer There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above. 
    When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens.
    Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded.
     

     
     

    Badges
    Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges. 
    For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days.
    Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created.
     

     
     
    Ranks
    In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements. 
    Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system*
    Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated. 
    Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment. 
    Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community:
     
     

     

    There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn? 
    When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have.
    Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
  2. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 3 Improvements to Spam Management in 4.6   
    Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.
    But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6.
    As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration.
    These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release.
    Spam Defense Scoring
    I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system.  These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions.
    Spam Defense Blocking
    The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not.
    In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.

    This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public.
    Word Filters
    We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts.
    For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts.
    This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval.

    We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community!
    I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.
  3. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Rikki for an entry, 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
     

    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.

    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.

     
    We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!
  4. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 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.

    Obtaining Resources
    Paid resources can be purchased directly from the Marketplace and are available to install immediately after the payment is complete. You no longer need to download and install the files yourself.
    You may also notice some additional information with the resource listing, we'll be introducing a new 'tab' to marketplace resources to allow the authors to provide more useful information such as answers to frequently asked questions, or configuration instructions etc.

    The video below takes you through the purchase and installation of a Marketplace application.
    marketplace-install.mp4
    Installing an Application
    Updates
    Some of the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed in the first screenshot that there are more 'bubbles' showing in the menu on the left. These are supported for Applications, Plugins, Themes and Languages.
    In Invision Community 4.5 every resource available via the AdminCP is automatically versioned, you will see update notifications for everything you have installed (previously, you would only see update notices if the resource author supports them).
    Installing an update is as simple as clicking on the update notice, then clicking 'update' on the Marketplace listing.

    Installing Updates
    Downloads Changes
    Our Marketplace is built on our Downloads application, during development of this feature we needed to add new functionality. We have included as many of these improvements as possible in our software for the benefit of our customers, some of these are:
    Custom Fields can now be set to only show to members that have purchased a file. Files can now be set to accept a single file upload instead of multiple. New file versions can now be moderated without hiding the current version from view. Downloads REST API Performance Improvements New /download endpoint that counts the download Added more data to the /downloads/file/{id} response Ability to sort file results by last updated date We hope you're as excited about this feature as we are.
  5. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 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.
    Head over now to the Invision Community Alpha test site.
    Please be aware that this test site is running in 'development mode' so it is automatically updated with the latest fixes throughout the day. This means it has to work extra hard on each click as there are no caches, pre-built languages or templates to use, so it will be a lot slower than a production version. So please don't worry about it being a touch slow, and definitely don't try and run Page Speed analysis tools on the alpha site!
    You can read about the headline features over in our product updates blog.
    Let us know what you think!
  6. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Ryan Ashbrook for an entry, 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 these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5.

    Pages Phrase Tools
    If you have the Pages application, you can also use these phrases in HTML pages and HTML Blocks without needing to visit the translation tools area. Simply use the tag editor in the sidebar when editing a page or block's contents.



    The new phrases sidebar options
    You can quickly create new multi-lingual phrases by clicking the + icon.

    The new add phrase dialog
    Additionally, WYSIWYG Blocks have now been made translatable, so you can now create WYSIWYG blocks that will display their content in specific languages.
    Translation Tools
    Language pack creators can now set a version update URL which is checked to notify admins within the AdminCP that an update available, just like the theme system. This is a great way to notify customers when fixes are available.

    Finally, you can now quickly add a new phrase from the Translation Tools page without the need to use the developer tools.

    The new "Add Phrase" option

    These little changes should make a huge difference in your workflow, and make it easier than ever to create fully multi-lingual pages throughout your site.
  7. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Rikki for an entry, 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.
    Goals
    Redesigning for the sake of it is never a good idea, so we first laid out what we wanted to achieve:
    A brighter UI with more saturation & contrast and simpler overall color scheme Improved typography Better, more consistent, spacing around and between elements, especially on mobile Better logical grouping of sections of each page Reducing underutilized links/buttons on the page and finding alternative ways of making them available Improving how post states are displayed Modernizing and enhancing the underlying code that powers the default theme Let's talk a little about each of these.
     
    Brighter UI
    The most obvious change will be that our default colors are brighter and more saturated than before. Before making any changes, we first created a color scale for both neutrals and the brand color (blue, of course). This gave us a flexible but consistent palette of colors to choose from, with appropriate contrast built in. Neutrals have a touch of blue too to avoid seeming washed out.
    We've simplified the style, in particular reducing reliance on background colors to differentiate sections within cards (a card essentially being an ipsBox, for those who are familiar with our framework). Instead, we use spacing, borders and appropriate typography to achieve visual separation.

    Brighter default colors
     

    Simplifying the UI by removing block backgrounds
     
    Improving typography
    We've felt our typography has been somewhat muddled for some time - with a mixture of sizes, weights and colors used depending on the particular context.
    The first step to improving it was to create a typography scale that we could refer to and implement, to ensure we remained consistent throughout the product.

    Our typography scale
    (The keen-eyed amongst you may also notice we've switched our default font to Inter. Inter is a fantastic open source font that is ideal for text on the web, and was recently added to the Google Web Fonts project making it super simple for us to incorporate it into our default theme.)
    We've been much more deliberate about applying type styles, especially for titles, ensuring that they are always visually distinct from surrounding text. We've done this through both color and weight. As a result, pages should instinctively feel more organized and logical than before.

    An example of improved typography, from the Downloads app
     
    Improved spacing (especially on mobile)
    We identified that spacing (padding and margins) needed some improvement. A lot of spacing values were arbitrary and inconsistent, leading to poor visual harmony across any given page.
    Most troubling of all, on mobile sizes we simply halved desktop padding values. While this was a reasonable approach in the days of phones with small screens, it has felt decidedly dated for some time. Phone screens are now typically larger and able to accommodate roomier UIs without appearing comical.
    In 4.5, we have done away with that approach, and the impact was immediate. Mobile sizes now get a much more pleasant interface, with elements having room to breathe. In addition, we've also made most cards full-width to provide additional breathing space for content.

    Posts can finally breathe on mobile
     
    There are numerous other tweaks across the product too: default spacing has been increased a little, data tables (e.g. topic listing) get extra vertical spacing, and spacing between elements has become more consistent.
     
    Improved grouping of related elements
    Prior to 4.5, most content areas existed inside cards. However, one notable exception to this was page headers and as a result, they could feel particularly disorganized, especially for users who had many controls in this part of the page (such as staff).
    To solve this problem, we've developed a new, standardized design for content item page headers, giving them their own cards and consistent button placement.

    Topic view header
     
    Some areas don't necessarily fit into the same design pattern above. In those areas, we've tweaked styling to suit the context, while still adhering to our overall aesthetic.

    Calendar header

    Messenger conversation header
     
    Reducing underutilized links/buttons
    Finally, another area we identified as needing improvement is the abundance of tools, made up of links and buttons, across pages. Many of these are only used occasionally and so would be better moved out of the main view to simplify the page.
    Two particular areas we focused on were share links and postbits (both forum posts and comments in other apps).
    Research shows social share links are used by a vanishingly small percentage of users, so even though they were at the bottom of the page, it was unnecessary to make them so prominent (given their eye-catching colors). To solve this, we've added a share link to the page header, with the social network links themselves in a popup menu. The result is ideal: sharing functionality is unobtrusive but obvious.

    Share links in content items
    Comment areas have also suffered from 'button creep' over the years. A typical comment will contain a report link, a share link, a quote link and multiquote button, reactions, plus IP address, checkbox, edit and options links for certain users. That is a lot of visual noise around the important part: the content.
    We've therefore simplified comment boxes as much as is reasonable. Reporting and sharing comments/posts is now available in the post options menu, as are any tools for the author/staff. Quoting and reacting are two primary interactions for users, so they of course retain their position in the control bar.

    Simpler postbits, even for staff
     
    Improving post states
    Posts/comments in Invision Community can have many states - sometimes more than one. Posts can be hidden/unapproved, popular, recommended, solved (new in 4.5!) or highlighted because of the author's group. It's always been a challenge to indicate these statuses well.
    In previous versions, we added a border but the most prominent indicator was a flag in the top-right corner of the post. This had three problems:
    Due to the lack of space (thanks to report/share links), showing more than one flag was difficult. Showing any flags on mobile was messy because of the space constraints. The meaning of the flags was not obvious, especially to new users. Group-highlighted posts had no flag, just a border, which made them even more difficult to understand. With the top-right corner of posts now tidied up and free from fluff, we were able to much more effectively use this space to indicate post statuses.
    In 4.5, posts and comments will show badges when they have a particular status, as well as a more attractive semi-transparent border. For group-highlighted posts, we show the group name instead (the colors of this highlight are still controllable via theme settings).

    A post with two states: group highlighted and popular
    This works much better on mobile too, where the status badges get the prominence they deserve:

    Mobile post statuses
     
    Modernizing the underlying code
    I wrote about the technical improvements behind the theme in a previous entry. If you're a theme designer or edit the theme for your own community, go and check it out now!
     
    Wrapping up
    As well as these large-scale concepts, you'll notice many other smaller enhancements as you start using the new theme.
    I've shown some snippets of pages in the screenshots above, but I've included some full-page views below so you can see the overall aesthetic and how these pieces fit together.
    Modernizing and refreshing our default theme has been needed for some time, but we view this as just a stepping stone to future work that will be reserved for a major version bump, and we're excited to figure out where we go next.
     
    Screenshots
      
    Desktop forum views (click to expand)
     
        
    Mobile forum views (click to expand)
     
     
    Activity streams & messenger (click to expand)
     
  8. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Rikki for an entry, 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.
    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. Keep an eye out for our next blog for more on the facelift.
    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.
    IE11 Support
    Until now, we've supported IE11 as a 'B' browser - meaning we didn't aim for perfect support (especially visually), but did aim to make all functionality work, and we fixed IE11-specific issues if possible.
    As of 4.5, we no longer support IE11 in any way and Invision Community will not work well in that browser. By removing support for IE11, we are able to make use of newer CSS technologies which significantly eases development for us and third-party designers. I'll discuss some of those below.
    Combined theme settings
    We've combined a number of existing theme settings into one new setting. We've found that settings like poll_bar, step_background, rating_hover and so on are nearly always set to the same color - typically the site's main brand color. These settings have therefore been replaced with one new brand_color setting, which is used throughout the CSS in places where this primary color would be needed. This will simplify the early stages of theme development and make it easier to match branding in Invision Community.

    Front end colors
    Removing hardcoded colors
    While our theme settings have allowed community owners to change most colors, there were still many hardcoded in our CSS framework. These were typically neutral colors used for things like 'close' links, semi-transparent backgrounds and so on, but it was enough to make creating a dark theme an unrealistic prospect without an awful lot of effort (and kudos to those designers who have offered dark themes up until now!).
    In 4.5, we've removed hardcoded colors from our framework, and instead rely on colors already defined by theme settings. You can now, finally, create a dark theme just by editing the built-in theme settings.
    Type scale & {fontsize} tag
    While we've had fixed type-size classes (e.g. ipsType_normal) for a long time, in practice many elements had their own font sizes set. This leads to inconsistency and poor visual rhythm too. Another side effect is it was also tough to globally change the font size (such as for branding purposes, or to create a theme for visually-impaired users).
    To solve these problems, we first created a type scale; that is, a fixed number of sizes to choose from. A product the size of Invision Community does have need for a flexibility, so we settled on the following scale:
    x_small: 12; small: 13; medium: 14; base: 16; large: 18; x_large: 20; 2x_large: 24; 3x_large: 30; 4x_large: 36.
    All of these values are editable as theme settings, so each theme can adjust the type scale used. Our default CSS in 4.5 has been fully updated to put all type on this scale.
    To actually make use of these settings, we have added a new {fontsize} tag which accepts either a scale key, or a specific pixel size (for those occasional situations where a specific size is absolutely needed, e.g. icons).
    Why couldn't we just use {theme="x_small"}, or even CSS variables? To solve the problem of globally scaling text, we have also added a percentage-based scale setting that will save you from having to create your own type scale. The {fontsize} tag automatically applies the global scale to any values passed into it. Want text in your theme to be twice as big as default? Simply set the global type scale to 200% and the entire theme will reflect the change immediately. 

    The new font size options
    Spacing scale
    The lack of a consistent spacing scale has led to some arbitrary values being used in any given situation, which again has had a negative impact on the visual harmony of our design. We've therefore implemented a 4px spacing scale (using CSS variables rather than theme settings this time) and applied across almost all padding/margin values. In time, we anticipate fully switching all measurement values to the scale.
    New CSS class families
    We have added a range of new spacing classes for padding and margins, allowing far more control over how these are applied, especially on different device sizes. Previously, ipsPad (15px) was simply halved on small screens - with no 'opt-out' short of adding specific CSS. We've felt this has been imprecise for some time, especially since mobile devices typically have larger screens in 2020 and don't need to be so tightly-spaced.
    ipsPad_all now replaces the existing ipsPad, and does not halve itself on small screens. Instead, there's a new responsive naming convention that allows you to apply specific padding on specific device sizes:
    ipsPad_all:double md:ipsPad_all sm:ipsPad_all:half
    In this arbitrary example, desktop size (the default) get double padding, medium (tablets) get regular padding and small (phones) get half padding.
    We've added similar classes for top, bottom, left and right padding, as well as horizontal, vertical and none (to removing all padding) shortcuts.
    For margins, the old ipsSpacer_* classes have been replaced with a new ipsMargin family that work exactly the same as the padding classes above, with the same range of flexibility.
    The old ipsPad/ipsSpacer classes will continue working as they did before for backwards compatibility, but should be considered deprecated from 4.5 onwards.
    We've also added a whole range of new ipsFlex classes, also with responsive controls (making it easy to have horizontal layouts on desktop and vertical layouts on mobile, for example), as well as a new ipsGap utility that automatically adds spacing between elements, without requiring manual :first-child/:last-child exclusions.
    CSS variables & calc()
    In 4.5, thanks to IE11 support ending, we're finally making use of CSS variables and calc() to make CSS more maintainable and easier to customize. A lot of repeating or often-customized styles - such as form field styles, message colors, card styles, border radii etc. - are now created as CSS variables, allowing theme designers to easily change styling in one place. Instead of magic numbers, we either stick to our spacing scale, or use calc() to avoid hardcoded numbers.
    The future
    The work we've done so far is just a 'first-pass'. We'll be pressing forward with modernization throughout the 4.5.* series and beyond with a view to reducing our footprint, improving our ability to maintain our CSS and, of course, making theming easier for our customers.
  9. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 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.
    For an overview of this new feature, please take a look at the video below.
    As you can see, these new widgets offer a lot of customization without the need to code any CSS or HTML. You can add background colours and images, adjust padding and borders and even add colour overlays right from the widget menu.

    The new Page Builder widget options
    Blandness be gone! Now you can let your creativity loose on your pages and all other views that have the drag and drop zones.
    I'd love to know what you think of this new feature; please let me know below!
  10. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Private staff notes   
    Managing a community as a team makes internal communication an essential part of its successful management.
    There are times where you want to leave notes for other staff on specific topics that you're watching. Perhaps a member is close to breaking the rules, or it might be that you want to keep the topic focused and on point so wish to split off-topic posts into a different area.
    Whatever the reason, Invision Community 4.5 adds the ability to leave private staff notes on topics.

    For some time, Invision Community has had the ability for staff to leave public notes. Now, in 4.5, staff can choose between public and private notes.

    This change was made based on customer feedback, so thank you! We do read and listen to all the feedback you leave.
    Who is looking forward to Invision Community 4.5? Let us know below!
  11. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 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
    Forum Grid View
    To create even more visual interest, the grid view now allows you to upload, or choose a stock image for the header. This instantly makes for a more dynamic and inviting forum list.

    The new grid view image headers
    You can choose an image from the Admin CP when creating or editing a forum.

    Choose a stock photo, or upload your own
    Topic List View
    For the topic list view, we have taken inspiration from our stream view options to introduce a new 'expanded' view mode, which displays a snippet of the first post.

    The new expanded topic list mode
    This immediately entices you to engage with the topic because you can read part of the post without having to click inside to see if it interests you.
    This is controlled via the Admin CP, where you can choose the default view, or turn off the new view completely.
    Other Changes
    You may notice a few other subtle changes in these screenshots. The first is that we now included the follower count as a metric on both the forum grid view and the topic expanded view modes. The number of followers is usually a good indicator of how others perceive the value of the content. A higher follower count generally means a more engaging topic or forum.
    You can also see that we've switched to a short number format to keep the displays clean. Instead of say, "2,483 posts", it will merely say "2.5k posts". Reducing visual clutter is always crucial to maintaining a clean user interface.
    We hope that you find these new view modes useful and that they make your community even more vibrant!
  12. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 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.

    Topic view updates
    Topic Activity
    The first thing you likely spotted in the above screenshot is the new sidebar. This acts much like a summary of activity within the topic. It very quickly lets you know how old the topic is and how long it has been since the last reply. This context is essential if you are unwittingly replying to an older topic.
    Most topics are driven by a handful of key members. The topic activity section shows you who have been most active, which may influence which posters you give greater authority to.
    Likewise, popular days lets you dig into the 'meat' of the topic which may have evolved quickly over several days.
    More often than not, a single post attracts more reactions if it is particularly helpful or insightful, and this is shown too.
    Finally, a mini gallery of all upload images allows you to review media that has been attached to posts.

    The topic activity summary under the first post
    This activity bar can be shown either as a sidebar or underneath the first post in a topic. If you enable it for mobile devices, then it will show under the first post automatically.

    The topic activity summary on mobile
    As with many new features in Invision Community, you have several controls in the Admin CP to fine-tune this to your communities needs.

    AdminCP settings
    Other improvements
    The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few other changes to the topic view.
    The first is the badge underneath the user's photo. The shield icon notes that this poster is part of the moderation team. Of course, this badge can be hidden for communities that do not like to draw attention to all their moderators.

    You will also notice that when the topic starter makes a reply to a topic, they get an "author" badge as their reply may carry more authority.
    When you scroll down a topic, it's not often apparent that there has been a significant time gap between replies. For some topical topics (see what I did there) this may alter the context of the conversation.
    We have added a little identifier between posts when a period of time has passed between posts.

    These changes add a little context to the topic to give you more insight into how the replies direct the conversation.
    The new topic activity summary gives you an at-a-glance overview of key moments and posters to help you navigate longer topics.
    We hope that you and your members enjoy these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5!
  13. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Rikki for an entry, 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.
    RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 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.

    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.
    RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4
  14. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, Team Talk: What do you want for Christmas?   
    Famously, all Maria Carey wants for Christmas, is you. This is great news if you're a Maria Carey fan.
    As the holiday season draws closer and our staff chat channel turns to egg nog, twinkly lights and why is wrapping so hard, we asked the question:
    What would you like for Christmas?

    Brandon
    With so many children, Christmas is more focused on them and the family than myself. My eldest son who started college this year just returned home for the holiday season yesterday which has been awesome. You don't realize how it's like a piece of you is missing until they're back. I guess you could call that a Christmas present for me. Also, my wife and I took a quick 2 day cruise to the Bahamas as a gift to ourselves. My children have not requested very much for Christmas this year either, so my wife and I have decided we're going to plan a trip to Disney/Orlando for some time later in 2019 as a family gift instead of focusing on a bunch of little toys the kids will quickly get bored with. The family time together is the best Christmas gift to me.

    Awww

    Mark H
    In truth, what I’d like for Christmas isn’t something Sanata could provide. At my age I already have most of the “things” I simply want, and the things I really *need* I already have; family and friends. But… I wouldn’t object to Santa dropping off a new gaming computer with a motherboard for an Intel core i9, an RTX 2080 Ti video card, 16 GB of RAM, and one or two NVME SSD’s.

    Me too

    Andy
    I’ve been trying to de-clutter my life for most of the year so hopefully I won’t get much in the way of stocking fillers and things that are fun for a few days and then pushed in a drawer. I’m not a total Scrooge though, honest. I’m really looking forward to spending time with family and friends, Christmas Day walks in the snow and coming home to a toasty warm fire and a few beers… just the simple things really.

    Marc S
    I think you get to the point with Christmas where presents become largely unimportant, and its more a time for family to get together and have fun etc. But I guess if I'm going to choose anything particular that I know I would use, I would probably go for a new iMac pro with all the extras. LOL. Seriously though, I'm happy with the break, a few drinks and games. This is what Christmas is all about. Lost a couple of family members over the past 12 month, and unfortunately none of us live forever. Brings home the realisation that there is more to life than material items, as much as we all enjoy them.

    Where's My Computer?
    Jennifer
    I don't really celebrate Christmas traditionally in my house. Like almost everyone in my house has already gotten all of their Christmas gifts. I would probably want just a quiet night with a long hot bath, my favorite bath bomb and a glass of wine.

    She really does
    How I became a cliche mom that wants bath stuff for presents. I have no idea.
    I'd likely love to get Metro Exodus pre-order. I know my BF doesn't pre-order games anymore because of some of the new pre-order issues with games with un-dedicated developers but it's a game I am excited for and hope to have come February when it comes out.

    Rhett
    A week in Hawaii, no phone, no computer, feet in the sand and a beer in my hand!  Is that too much to ask for Santa?  I've been good.

    Jim
    I'd say world peace but I think a 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 would be easier!

    Mark Wade
    A couple good bottles of wine, or I'd also quite like a new iPad Pro.

    Not relevant but made me laugh
    Matt
    Like others here at Invision Community, I've reached the grand old age where material possessions aren't what I long for. I'm happy watching my two children open their gifts on Christmas morning and then share a meal with family.

    Or maybe a new iPad Pro because if Mark is getting one, I want one too.
    Yet again Charles and Lindy declined to comment, so in the spirit of Christmas generosity, I've written their answers for them.

    Charles
    I would like a butler because it is what I deserve.
    Lindy
    I would like a panic room like in that Jodie Foster movie. I don't think for a second I'm going to be attacked in my own home. I just need a place to hide from the kids now and again. I'll kit it out with fresh kombucha, artisanal popcorn and poetry books. I'll be happy for hours.

    So, that is what we want for Christmas. What about you? Have you been naughty or nice?
     
  15. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: Turbo charging loading speeds   
    It might seem a little odd starting a blog on increasing Invision Community's speed with the word "lazy",  but I'll explain why this is a good word for performance shortly.
    Earlier this year, Google announced that page speed is a ranking factor.
    Simply put, if your site is slow, it will be ranked lower in Google's search results.
    It is always a challenge making a large application like Invision Community as efficient as possible per page load. A single Invision Community page can pull in widgets from multiple applications as well as a lot of user-generated content with attachments, movies and images used heavily. 
    This is where being lazy helps.
    Lazy loading is a method by which attachments, embeds and images are not loaded by default. They are only loaded when the viewer scrolls down enough to make them visible.
    This allows the page to load a good deal faster now it doesn't have to load megabytes of images before the page is shown as completely rendered.
    I was going to take a fancy video showing it in action, but it's hard to capture as the system loads the media just before you get to it, so it looks fairly seamless, even with sluggish connections.

    Not the most dynamic image, but this shows the placeholder retains the size of the image
    In addition to image attachments, we have also added this lazy loading to maps and Twitter emoji images.
    Improving non-image attachments
    Once we had implemented the lazy loading framework, an area we wanted to improve was non-image attachments.
    We have listened to a lot of the feedback we had on this area, and have now made it very clear when you add an attachment into a post. We've even returned the download count now it's being loaded on demand.

    Using attachments when posting
    All the letters
    When we first implemented the letter avatars in 4.3, we discussed whether to use CSS styling or use an image.
    We decided to go with an image as it was more stable over lots of different devices, including email.
    We've revisited this in 4.4, and switched the letter avatars to SVG, which are much faster to render now that the browser doesn't have to load the image files.
    Other performance improvements
    We've taken a pass at most areas with an eye for performance, here is a list of the most significant items we've improved.
    Several converter background tasks have been improved, so they work on less data Duplicate query for fetching clubs was removed in streams Notifications / follower management has been improved Member searches have been sped up (API, ACP live search, member list in ACP, mentions, etc.). Stream performance has been improved UTF8 conversions have been sped up Elasticsearch has been sped up by using pre-compiled queries and parameterisation, as well as the removal of view filtering (and tracking) HTTP/2 support with prefetch/preload has been added Several PHP-level performance improvements have been made Implemented rel=noopener when links open a new window (which improves browser memory management) Several other performance improvements for conversions were implemented that drastically reduce conversion time IP address lookups now fetch IP address details from us en-masse instead of one request per address Cache/data store management has been streamlined and centralised for efficiency Many background tasks and the profile sync functionality have all been improved for performance Brotli compression is now supported automatically if the server supports it Redis encryption can now be disabled if desired, which improves performance Phew, as you can see, we've spent a while tinkering under the hood too.
    We'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know below!
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  16. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: AdminCP Notifications   
    Do you recall that scene in Harry Potter where young Harry is sitting in his Uncle’s living room when hundreds of letters from Hogwarts burst through the fireplace, filling the room?
    Sometimes, when you log into the administrator’s control panel, it can feel a bit like that.
    As the administration control panel has evolved, there has been more of a need to display notifications, alerts and warnings to the administrators.
    There are several things which may require an administrator's attention which may show a notice on the AdminCP dashboard, a banner on the community, or send an email. For example:
    When a new version of Invision Community is released. A new member registers and requires administrator validation. A configuration issue is detected, for example if dangerous PHP functions are enabled on the server. There are items Commerce which require manual action, such as transactions pending manual approval or items to be shipped. Up until now, each such area would manage how these notifications show and are sent independently. In 4.4 we have introduced a new section of the AdminCP which shows all things which require administrator attention in one place, easily accessible from any AdminCP page.

    AdminCP Notification Menu
    Clicking on any of these notifications will take you to the relevant area of the AdminCP, or there is also a full-screen Notification Center which allows you to quickly take common actions such as approving members.

    AdminCP Notification Center
    While the best approach is to take the appropriate action (which will automatically dismiss the notification) so you always have an empty Notification Center, most notification types can be hidden, either temporarily on a per-notification basis by clicking the cross in the top-right, or administrators can hide all notifications of a certain type from their individual settings. Administrators can also choose which type of notifications to receive an email notification about.

    Notification Settings
    Each notification has a severity indicated by the coloured bar on the side and certain notifications can also show banners either across the AdminCP, or also on the front-end (to administrators).
    Notifications group automatically (so for example, if there are 5 members pending approval, you will see 1 notification rather than 5 separate ones) and where appropriate each administrator can choose if they want to receive a single email, or a separate email with each occurrence.
    Now you won't miss an invitation to Hogwarts, or anything important again.
    This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year.
  17. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, GDPR updates for Invision Community 4.3.3   
    Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner.
    Last week we wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community.
    We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week.
    Downloading Personal Data
    Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV.
    However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable.
     

    You can access this feature via the ACP member view
    The download itself is in a standard XML format.

    A sample export
    Pruning IP Addresses
    While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content.
    There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold.

    The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value.

    This new setting is under Posting
    Deleting Members
    Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name.
    We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses.

    Deleting a member
    Privacy Policy
    We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you.

    The new setting

     
    Finding Settings Easily
    To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change.

     
    These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required.

    Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week.
  18. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, Your GDPR questions answered   
    You've no doubt heard about GDPR by now. It's a very hot topic in many circles. Lots of experts are weighing in on the best approach to take before the May 25th deadline.
    Which reminds me of my favorite joke:
    "Do you know a great GDPR expert?”
    Yes, I do!
    “Could you send me his email address”
    No, I'm afraid not.
    I wrote about how Invision Community can help with your GDPR compliance back in December. I've seen a lot of posts and topics on GDPR in our community since then.
    First, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. I'm a humble programmer and not a GDPR expert or a lawyer. The information here is presented to assist you in making decisions. As always, we recommend you do your own research and if you're in any doubt, book an appointment with a lawyer.
    It is also worth mentioning that GDPR is very much a living document with phrases like "legitimate interest" and "reasonable measures". None of these phrases have any real legal definition and are open to interpretation. Some have interpreted them severely, and others more liberally.
    GDRP is about being a good steward of the data you store on a user. It's not designed to stop you from operating an engaging web site. There's no need to create stress about users linking to other sites, embedding images, anonymizing IP addresses, and such on your site. These don't impact any data you are storing and are part of the normal operation of how the web works. Be responsible and respectful of your users' data but keep enjoying your community.
    Let's have a quick recap on the points we raised in our original blog entry.
    Individual Rights
    The right to be informed
    Invision Community has a built in privacy policy system that is presented to a new user, and existing users when it has been updated.

     
    What should your privacy policy contain? I personally like the look of SEQ Legal's framework which is available for free.
    This policy covers the important points such as which cookies are collected, how personal information is used and so on.
    There may be other services out there offering similar templates.
    Right to erasure
    I personally feel that everyone should listen to "A Little Respect" as it's not only a cracking tune, but also carries a wonderful message.
    The GDPR document however relates to the individuals right to be forgotten.
    Invision Community allows you to delete members. When deleting members, you can elect to remove their content too. There is an option to keep it as Guest content, thus removing the author as identifiable.
    It's worth using the 'keep' option after researching the user's posts to make sure they haven't posted personal information such as where they live, etc.
    Emailing and Consent
    Invision Community has the correct opt-in for bulk emails on registration that is not pre-checked. If the user checks this option, this is recorded with the member's history. Likewise, if they retract this permission, that action is also recorded.

     
    When you edit the terms and conditions or privacy policy, all users are required to read it again and opt-in again.
    Cookies
    A lot of GDPR anxiety seems to revolve around these tiny little text files your browser stores. If you read the GDPR document (and who doesn't love a little light reading) then you'll see that very little has actually changed with cookies. It extends current data protection guidance a little to ensure that you are transparent about which cookies you store.
    Invision Community has tools to create a floating cookie opt-in bar, and also a page showing which cookies are stored and why.
    This is the page that you'd edit to add any cookies your installation sets (if you have enabled Facebook's Pixel, or Google Analytics for example).
    Your GDPR Questions
    Now let's look at some questions that have been asked on our community and I'll do my best to provide some guidance that should help you make decisions on how to configure your Invision Community to suit your needs.

    Alan!!
    Is the soft opt-in cookie policy enough? What about the IP address stored in the session cookie?
    Great question. There's conflicting advise out there about this. The GDPR document states:
    The ICO states that session cookies stored for that session only (so they are deleted when the tab / window is closed) are OK as long as they are not used to profile users.
    This is re-enforced by EUROPA:

    My feeling is that GDPR isn't really out to stop you creating a functioning website, they are more interested in how you store and use this information.
    Thus, I feel that storing a session cookie with an IP address is OK. The user is told what is being stored and instructions are given if they want to delete them.
    Given the internet is very much driven by IP addresses, I fail to see how you can not collect an IP address in some form or another. They are collected in access logs deep in the server OS.
    Finally, there is a strong legitimate interest in creating a session cookie. It's part and parcel of the website's function and the cookie is not used in any 'bad' way. It just allows guests and members to retain preferences and update "last seen" times to help deliver content.
    Do I need to delete all the posts by a member if they ask me to?
    We have many large clients in the EU with really impressive and expensive legal teams and they are all unanimous in telling us that there is no requirement to delete content when deleting a user's personal information. The analogy often given is with email: once someone sends you an email you are not obligated to delete that. The same is true with content posted by a user: once they post that content it's no longer "owned" by them and is now out in public.

    Ultimately, the decision is yours but do not feel that you have to delete their content. This is not a GDPR requirement.
    What about members who haven't validated? They're technically not members but we're still holding their data!
    No problem. The system does delete un-validated users and incomplete users automatically for you. You can even set the time delay for deletion in the ACP.

     
    What about RECAPTCHA? I use this, and it technically collects some data!
    Just add that you use this service to your privacy policy, like so:
    I see many companies emailing out asking for members to opt back in for bulk mail, do I need to do this?
    Short answer: No.
    Since Invision Community 4.0, you can only ever bulk email users that have opted in for bulk emails. There's no way around it, so there's nothing to ask them to opt-in for. They've already done it.
    There is a tiny wrinkle in that pre 4.2.7, the opt-in was pre-checked as was the norm for most websites. Moving forward, GDPR asks for explicit consent, so this checkbox cannot be pre-ticked (and isn't in Invision Community 4.2.7 and later). However, the ICO is clear that if the email list has a legitimate interest, and was obtained with soft opt-in, then you don't need to ask again for permission.
    What about notifications? They send emails!
    Yes they do, but that's OK.
    A notification is only ever sent after a user chooses to follow an item. This falls under legitimate interest.
    There is also a clear way to stop receiving emails. The user can opt-in and opt-out of email as a notification device at their leisure.

     
    Do I need to stop blocking embeds and external images?
    No. The internet is based on cross-linking of things and sharing information. At a very fundamental level, it's going to be incredibly hard to prevent it from happening. Removing these engaging and enriching tools are only going to make your community suffer.

    There's no harm in adding a few lines in your privacy policy explaining that the site may feature videos from Vimeo and Youtube as part of user contributions but you do not need to be worried. As stated earlier, GDPR isn't about sucking the fun out of the internet, it's about being responsible and transparent.
    Phew.
    Hopefully you've got a better understanding about how Invision Community can assist your GDPR compliance efforts.
    The best bit of advice is to not panic. If you have any questions, we'd love to hear them. Drop us a line below.
  19. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: AdminCP Member Profiles   
    Viewing and editing a member is probably one of the most frequently used features of the AdminCP. With the design unchanged for many years, and the tabbed interface starting to grow unwieldy, it was due for some love. We have not only dramatically improved the design but added many new features.

    New AdminCP Member Page
    Let's look at some of the improvements:
    Easy Toggle between Member and Customer View
    If you have Commerce installed, you can now toggle between "Member View" (which shows the screen above) and "Customer View" (which shows the current customer page in Commerce with the user's purchases, invoices, etc.). This makes it much easier to view all of a member's information in one place.
    If you don't have Commerce installed, the top tab bar will not show.
    Basic Information
    The pane in the top-left shows the member's basic information like name, email address and photos. You can now reposition a member's cover photo and crop the profile photo (functions previously not available in the AdminCP). To change the display name or email address, you just click and hold on the information and a textbox appears. The buttons below allow you to merge, delete, sign in as, and edit the preferences or password for the member.
      
    Basic Member Information Pane
    In addition, this pane lists any social networks the user is logged in with. It shows you the member's profile photo and profile name on that network (for example in this screenshot, it is showing my Facebook profile's photo and name) and for many networks you can click on this to be taken directly to their Facebook/Twitter/etc profile. You can also edit the syncing options for the method and unlink the accounts, features which weren't available previously.
    If you have Commerce installed, there is also an indicator if the user has an active subscription.

    A member with an active subscription
     
    Alerts
    If a member is validating, banned, flagged as a spammer, or locked, a large banner will display drawing your attention to this. For validating and banned, it will explain exactly what the status is (for example, if they haven't responded to the validation email yet versus they are awaiting admin approval, or if they have been banned manually versus are in a group without permission to access anything).

    A member that has been locked



    Other possible alerts
     
    Locations & Devices
    This pane shows you, on a map, all of the locations the user has been when using the community (based on their IP address) as well as the IP address they used to register and most recently.

    IP Address Locations
    While the devices tab shows the most recently used devices.

    Recently Used Devices
     
    Content Statistics
    Right in the middle of the profile you can see some statistics about the member's activity. This includes:
    A sparkline graph of their recent content. Their content count and reputation count (with tools to manually change or rebuild). A breakdown of the amount of content they have made across all applications. A visual indication of how much of their messenger and attachment storage they have used. If Gallery and Downloads are installed, the existing statistics overview provided by these apps are also available here.
    Content Statistics
    Warnings & Restrictions
    This block shows recent warnings on the account, and also highlights if any restrictions (i.e. content moderation, restricted from posting, or application-level restrictions) are being applied, which previously was difficult to see at a glance.

    Warnings & Restrictions Block for an account which has content moderation in effect
     
    Account Activity
    On the right is a pane which shows all of the latest account activity. While this was available in previous versions (called "Member History") we have made some significant improvements:
    The number of things that get logged has been significantly expanded. We now log photo changes, group changes, when a new device is used to login, if an account is locked (by failed logins or failed two factor authentication attempts) or unlocked, password/email/display name changes, when a user links or unlinks a social network login method, initial registration and validation, merges, being flagged/unflagged as a spammer, receiving/acknowledging/revoking a warning, restrictions being applied, two factor authentication being enabled/disabled/changed, an OAuth token being issued if Invision Community is being used as an OAuth Server, enabling/disabling receiving bulk mails, and accepting the privacy policy / terms and conditions, as well as all of the Commerce-related information that is already logged. Much more information is now shown such as who made the change (i.e. an admin, the user themselves, or if it was changed by the REST API or syncing with a social network) and how the change was made (for example, for a password change - if the user used the "Forgot Password" tool or changed it in their Account Settings) and what the data was before and after. This includes being aware of if the change was made by an admin after using the "Sign in as User" tool. You can now filter what information you are seeing to quickly find what you are looking for.
    Recent Account Activity
     
    Extensibility
    The new profile has been designed with extensibility in mind. Third party developers can easily add new blocks our even entire new tabs. Any apps/plugins which are currently adding a tab to the "Edit Member" form will retain backwards compatibility with their tab continuing to appear when clicking the "Edit Preferences" button in the basic account information pane.
  20. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Matt for an entry, Invision Community 4.3 Beta Released!   
    We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 Beta is available to download now.
    After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the beta release.

    You can download the beta from your client area.
    Be sure to read the full information on support and service limits that go along with beta releases. You will see this in client area prior to downloading.
    If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights.
    If you you find a bug, we'd love for you to report it with as much detail as you can muster in the bug report area.
    We'd love to know what you think, let us know below.
  21. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.3: Engagement Improvements   
    As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community.
    Email
    Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website.
    It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests.
    Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task.
    With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content.
    Highlight the best content from throughout your community
    In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. 
    This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest.

    Capture return visits with interesting content
    Social media links in email footers
    If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails.
    Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel.
    Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more.
    Respond to Reviews
    We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase.
    New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme.

    Matt is talking to himself again
    One more thing...
    Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list.

     
    We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community.
     
  22. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.3: Announcements   
    We have a very important announcement to make!
    There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition.
    Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved.
    Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier.
    The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations;
    Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar
    The three new announcement locations
    Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed.
    Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement.

    New customisable options
     
    The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details.

    Modal showing announcement content
    We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)!
  23. Thanks
    SoloInter reacted to Charles for an entry, 4.3: Usability improvements to make your day better   
    Often it's the smaller changes that can make a big improvement in the day to day use of your community. We have made quite a few updates that will make your community flow better for you and your members.
    Update files in Pages Media Manager
    Previously when you wanted to update a file in the Pages Media Manager you actually had to upload a new file and then change the references to that file to the new one. This was obviously not so great.
    When you select a file there is now a replace option. We're not sure why we didn't do this earlier but as they say: better late than never!
    Tag Input when Optional
    On communities with tagging enabled, we have often noticed that people tend to feel the need to tag everything even when it's not really necessary. If your site is about cars you don't really need everything people post to be tagged "car" as that's sort of obvious.

     
    So to make it a bit clearer that tags are not required we have hidden the input field behind a Choose link so people have to actively choose to tag if they really think it's necessary. We hope this cuts down on tag noise. If tagging is required then the normal input box will always show.
    Google Invisible reCAPTCHA
    The new Google Invisible reCAPTCHA allows you to prevent bot registrations without the need for all users to fill out the normal captcha process. As often as possible your members will never notice there is even a captcha happening on the page. It's another way to make the flow from guest to member easier.
    Whitelist for Spam Service
    The spam defense service Invision Community provides works very well at combatting spam signups automatically. The issue is sometimes it works too well!
    Let's say you are at work and all your colleagues share the same public IP. You are excited about your new community (of course you are) and your whole office tries to register at once. Our spam service would probably see your office IP as suspicious with that sudden influx of traffic and may even block it.
    The new whitelist tool allows you to specify IPs and email addresses to always allow on your community regardless of what score our spam defense gives it.
    Reply as Hidden
    Sometimes it would be nice if your moderators could reply to an item with a hidden reply. You might want to leave a note for other moderators or perhaps you have a database and want some replies public and some private.

     
    If you have permission you will now see a hide toggle when replying. This works in all apps anywhere you can reply to a content item and have hide permission.
    Exclude Groups in Leaderboard
    You can now exclude certain groups from being ranked in the Leaderboard. This is very useful if your staff or RSS bot tend to get all the reputation points. By excluding those groups you can focus on your actual member participation which is a better reward to encourage engagement.
    On a personal note this will make me very sad as I usually win reputation counts on our site. But, being such a great person, I am willing to make this sacrifice for you.  
    Complete Your Profile Order
    The Complete Your Profile feature introduced in version 4.2 has been a great success for clients. We have heard many reports of increased engagement as the system can walk people through the sign up process. Not having a big, scary registration form is always a huge plus.
    For 4.3 we added the new ability to change the order of completion for your members. This will allow you to stress the items you really want them to complete first and move your less important profile options later in the steps.
    Mapbox Support
    Mapping has been a feature of Invision Community for quite some time but up until now has been limited to Google Maps integration. For 4.3 we have added support for Mapbox which is based on OpenStreetMap data. The maps are beautifully designed and bring greater flexibility with an alternative look. The groundwork is now laid for some exciting new features still to come!
    Some of our existing customers also found Google policies and pricing structure incompatible with their own internal policies which this addition addresses.
  24. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Charles for an entry, Invision Community 4.3   
    We are happy to announce the new Invision Community 4.3 is available!
    Some highlights in Invision Community 4.3 include...
    Improved Search
    We now support Elasticsearch for scalable and accurate searching that MySQL alone cannot provided. There are also enhancements to the overall search interfaces based on your feedback.

     
    Emoji
    Express yourself with native emoji support in all editors. You can also keep your custom emoticons as you have now.

     
    Member Management
    The AdminCP interface to manage your members is all new allowing you easier control and management of your membership.

     
    Automatic Community Moderation
    You as the administrator set up rules to define how many unique member reports a piece of content needs to receive before it's automatically hidden from view and moderators notified.

     
    Clubs
    The new Clubs feature has been a huge hit with Invision Community users and we are expanding it to include invite-only options, notifications, exposure on the main community pages, paid memberships, and more.
    Custom Email Footers
    Your community generates a lot of email and you can now include dynamic content in the footer to help drive engagement and content discovery. 
    New Gallery Interface
    We have reworked our Gallery system with a simplified upload process and more streamlined image viewing.
     
    The full list follows. Enjoy!
    Content Discovery
    We now support Elasticsearch which is a search utility that allows for much faster and more reliable searching. The REST API now supports search functions. Both MySQL and Elasticsearch have new settings for the admin to use to set search-defaults and default content weighting to better customize search logic to your community. Visitors can now search for Content Pages and Commerce Products. When entering a search term, members now see a more clear interface so they know what areas they are searching in and the method of search. Member Engagement
    Commerce can now send a customizable account welcome email after checkout. You can whitelist emails in the spam service to stop false-positives. REST API has many enhancements to mange members. Ability to join any OAuth service for login management. Invision Community can now be an OAuth endpoint. Wordpress OAuth login method built in. Support for Google's Invisible ReCaptcha. Groups can be excluded from Leaderboard (such as admins or bot groups). All emails generated by Invision Community can now contain admin-defined extra promotional text in the footer such as Our Picks, and Social Links. Admins can now define the order of Complete Your Profile to better control user experience. Clubs
    Option to make a Club visible but invite-only Admins can set an option so any Club a member is part of will also show in the parent application. So if you are in a Club that has a Gallery tab then those image will show both in the Club and in the main Gallery section of the community. Club members can now follow an entire Club rather than just each content section. There is a new option on the Club directory page for a list view which is useful for communities with many Clubs. If you have Commerce you can now enable paid memberships to Clubs. Admins can set limits on number of Clubs per group. If a group has delete permission in their Club, they can now delete empty containers as well. Members can ignore invitations. Moderation and Administration
    Unrestricted moderator or administrator permission sets in the AdminCP are visually flagged. This prevents administrator confusion when they cannot do something as they will be able to quickly see if their account has restrictions. You can choose to be notified with a new Club is created. Moderators can now reply to any content item with a hidden reply. Download screenshot/watermarks can now be rebuilt if you change settings. Support for Facebook Pixel to easily track visitors. Moderators can now delete Gallery albums. Automatic moderation tools with rules to define when content should auto-hide based on user reports. Totally new member management view in AdminCP. More areas are mass-selectable like comments and AdminCP functions for easier management. New Features
    Commerce now has full Stripe support including fraud tools, Apple Pay, and other Stripe features. Commerce packages can now have various custom email events configured (expiring soon, purchased, expired). Full Emojii support in the editor. Complete overhaul of the Gallery upload and image views. Announcements system overhaul. Now global on all pages (not via widget) and new modes including dismissible announcements and top-header floating bar option. Many new reports on traffic and engagement in the AdminCP. Blog has new view modes to offer options for a traditional site blog or a community multi-member blog platform. The content-starter can now leave one reply to Reviews on their item. Commerce now makes it much easier to do basic account-subscriptions when there is no product attached. Useful Improvements
    Forums has a new widget where you can filter by tags. If tags are not required, the tag input box now indicates this so the member knows they do not have to put in tags. Member cover photos can now be clicked to see the full image. Any item with a poll now has a symbol on the list view. Twitch.tv embed support. You can now update/overwrite media in the Pages Media Manager. Mapbox as an additional map provider to Google Maps. Technical Changes
    Direct support for Sparkpost has been removed. Anyone currently using Sparkpost will automatically have their settings converted to the Sparkpost SMTP mode so your email will still work. Your cache engines (like Redis) will be checked on upgrade and in the support tool to ensure they are reachable. Third-party applications will now be visually labeled to distinguish them from Invision Community official applications. The queued tasks list in the AdminCP is now collapsed by default as queued tasks are not something people need to pay much attention to during normal operations. When upgrading from version 3 series you must convert your database to UTF8 and the system saves your original data in tables prefixed with orig. The AdminCP now alerts you these are still present and allows you to remove them to reclaim storage space. On new installs there are now reasonable defaults for upload limits to keep people from eating up storage space. Categories in all apps (forums, gallery albums, databases, etc.) no longer allow HTML in their titles. This has been a concern both in terms of security and usability so we were forced to restrict it. Large improvements to the Redis cache engine including use for sessions. The login with HTTPS option has been removed and those who were using it will be given instructions to convert their entire community to HTTPS. Images loaded through the proxy system now honor image limits for normal uploads. We now consider BBCode deprecated. We are not removing support but will not fix any future issues that may come up.
     
    There's a lot to talk about here so we are going to lock this entry to comments so things do not get confusing. Feel free to comment on upcoming feature-specific entries or start a topic in our Feedback forum.
     
  25. Like
    SoloInter reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Sign in from other sites using OAuth   
    The best way to convert guests into members is to make the onboarding process as simple as possible.
    Over the years, we've added special log in methods for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Microsoft. We've carefully hand coded these integrations to allow guests to sign up with just a few clicks using services they're already a member of.
    These services used to use proprietary methods to link with other websites, but a new standard has emerged.
    OAuth
    You may not know it, but you're probably familiar with OAuth already. If you have enabled the ability for users of your community to sign in with their Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn or Microsoft account, you may have noticed that the process for setting up each of these is quite similar. This is because they all use the OAuth protocol.
    In Invision Community 4.3, we are introducing several exciting new features:
    In addition to all of the existing social networks above, which retain their "easy setup" status, we have also added Wordpress. Users on your community can now sign in with any Wordpress site you control (you will need to install a Wordpress plugin to enable OAuth capabilities). As well as those "easy setup" options, we have also added the ability for you to allow users on your site to sign in with any OAuth 2.0 based provider. This means, for example, if your community is based in a location where other social networks are popular, if they use OAuth, you can set those up too. While the setup is a little bit more complicated, this doesn't require any custom programming - you'll just need to find out a few more pieces of information from the provider (an example is provided below). Invision Community itself can now also serve as an OAuth 2.0 server so you can set up other sites to be able to facilitate logins using credentials from your community. This works in conjunction with our REST API, allowing you to make API calls as an authenticated member, which will return just the information that user has access to. With the ability for Invision Community to serve as both an OAuth server and client, this now provides standard integration for multiple Invision Communities together, which will now replace the old IPS Connect feature. We have also taken this opportunity to make a few other minor tweaks to login, registration and account management features, especially for communities which rely heavily on non-standard login methods (more details below).  
    Setting Up a Custom OAuth Provider
    For this example, I'm going to use vk.com, which is a popular social network in Europe. While Invision Community doesn't provide this as one of the "easy setup" options, it is based on OAuth 2.0 so we can use the new functionality in Invision Community 4.3 to set it up.
    In older versions, the list of login handlers in the AdminCP had all of the providers listed with enable/disable toggles - because now you can add as many custom handlers as you like in 4.3, it's now a list where you can add/delete options:

    Login Handlers List
    When clicking the "Create New" button, you'll see all of the different handlers Invision Community supports. Since vk.com isn't in the list, but is still OAuth 2.0-based, I'll choose the "Other OAuth 2.0" option:
     
    Choosing a Login Handler
    You'll now need to use the documentation provided by the site you want to integrate with to fill out this form. While no custom programming is required, the documentation is usually quite technical in nature - but you only need a few key pieces of information. We anticipate that for some of the more popular options, guides will be provided to help you find the information you need.
    I have created an application in vk.com's developer center and so I will copy and paste my credentials into the form:

    Inputting vk.com credentials
    I then need to find the endpoints from vk.com's documentation and input those too.

    Inputting vk.com endpoints
    Next I need to find the endpoint where I can access the user's information within their API and the parameters they are returned by. The only required piece of information is an ID, but you can also provide the parameters for accessing the display name, email address and profile photo. If display name/email address isn't available/provided, the user will be asked for this the first time they sign in. vk.com's API doesn't provide access to the email, but I can use the screen name as the display name, and they do provide access to the photo:


    Inputting vk.com User Information Endpoint and response parameters
    Finally, provide a logo and a color for the sign in button and some final settings:

    Inputting vk.com Logo and Button Color
    And now vk.com login is set up. A button will now show up on the front end which I can use to sign in. I didn't provide a way to access the email address, so on the first sign in, the user will be prompted to provide that, but the screen name and profile photo from vk.com will be used:

    Signing in with vk.com
     
    Using Invision Community as an OAuth Server
    You can also set up Invision Community itself to be an OAuth Server. This may be useful for two main reasons:
    If you want to integrate two communities together, or integrate with something else which supports adding custom OAuth clients. If you are a developer and want to use the REST API using OAuth for authentication rather than an API Key. You can either make requests as an authenticated user (by obtaining an access token) or using Client Credentials. The screenshots below show the full capabilities which are quite technical and mostly aimed at developers. If you will just use this feature to link two communities, don't be concerned if it looks too complicated, an easy-to-follow guide will be available to achieve that.
    You will set up the clients from the AdminCP:


    Setting up an OAuth Client
    When creating the OAuth Client, you can control which scopes are available, and which endpoints of the REST API they provide access to:

    Defining OAuth Client Scopes
    The login process is then the standard OAuth flow, and users have the ability to view authorisations in the account settings:

    Authenticating an OAuth Client
    The REST API has new and updated endpoints to be aware of the authenticated user:

    A new REST API endpoint which returns details of the currently authenticated user

    An updated REST API endpoint which, when called using OAuth authentication, will only return data the authenticated user has access to
     
    Other Login System Tweaks
    Users can now choose if they want to change their local display name or email address if it is changed by an external login method (or the administrator can choose this behaviour). If there is an issue with this (for example, it wants to change the email to one that is already taken), or profile photo syncing, this is now better communicated to the user. You can now control per-login-handler if new registrations are allowed using it. This addresses some confusion from previous versions as to if the "Allow New Registrations" setting applies to accounts being created by social network logins. The Standard login handler can be disabled if you rely totally on an alternate login method. To allow this to happen:  All areas where a user is prompted to re-enter their password (some areas of the account settings) now allow reauthentication using any login handler. You can disable local registration but still allow accounts to be created by other login handlers, or redirect users to an external URL to register an account. You can also disable or redirect to an external URL for changing email address / password or the Forgot Password tool. You can now create multiple instances of the external MySQL database and LDAP login methods which have also had some other minor tweaks: The external MySQL database handler now has PHP's password_hash() function as an available option for password encryption type, and defining a custom encryption method is now much easier, done entirely in the AdminCP without needing to modify PHP files. You can now choose if changes to the local display name / email address / password is synced back to the external database / LDAP database. You can optionally show these handlers in the Account Settings pages like other login handlers to allow users with an existing account to link their accounts. You can define a Forgot Password URL for the external database which the user will be redirected to if they try to use the Forgot Password tool and that is how their account is authenticated. 
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