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Everything posted by Rikki

  1. Although this isn't supported now, IPB does support log in plugins, so a modder could create a new login plugin to handle Facebook Connect. This is all the OpenID part is, too :)
  2. We wanted to use this blog entry to bring you an update on the brand new IPB3 skin. In my previous entry, I didn't go into any detail about the skin itself, but I did introduce the Style Guide and some goals/ambitions for the front-end interface. We're now at a stage where we can talk about the skin itself. Whereas most of our other entries explain one particular feature in-depth, this post will be more of a quick-fire overview of some of things we're implementing on the front-end of IPB3, and some other tidbits. Popup Windows We took the decision to try and eliminate all popup windows from IPB3. Popup windows create several problems: in this day and age, you can't guarantee a user will even see them due to popup blockers, and secondly, with the myriad devices accessing the internet now, you can't be sure that a popup window will be supported, or a good user experience. Instead, where browsers support it, inline ajax-populated popups are being used. Where browsers don't support it, the user is taken to the content like they would any other page. Our goal is to keep the entire experience confined to one browser window/tab, as I believe it should be. This includes friends management and warning management (for moderators). Unobtrusive Javascript Going hand-in-hand with the above was a desire to make IPB fully usable even if you had javascript disabled. As such, we've worked to make every feature, as far as is possible, available and usable even without javascript. There are some exceptions to this, e.g. the post editor (although you can still post, you'll just see a textarea), but on the whole we're on our way to making IPB3 much more accessible than IPB2. Getting at user information IPB has a lot of relevant information about each user, but presently it can be tedious to access the important details quickly since you have to go to their profile, taking you out of your workflow. New to IPB3 is a user card which can be accessed almost anywhere; wherever you see a username, simply hover over it to get all the relevant information for that user, including photo, contact details and reputation. This has been implemented in such a way that skinners and modders can also integrate it incredibly easily. We've also added a new bbcode which allows users to create these special links from within their posts. Better uploading tools In the past we've had numerous calls for TRUE multiple attachments. You'll be pleased to know that we've fully integrated SWFUpload into IPB3 for webservers that support it (which should be most). For those unfamiliar with this tool, it allows users to select multiple files in the Open dialog, and javascript then manages the upload queue for you. Another cool improvement is we now support upload progressbars with no additional server requirements! In addition, if you upload images, you'll see a thumbnail immediately, making it easy to insert the right image to your post, right where you want it. Searching The search form and results page have both been completely redesigned. Since the search mechanism in IPB3 underwent such a big change in being able to search all applications at once, we needed a new interface that made this easy to use. The result is a search form that adapts, showing you additional filters based on the applications you've chosen to search. The search results page combines all results from the applications you selected, but also allows you to show the results from just one application at a time. And finally, multiple results from one object (e.g. several matching posts in one topic) are grouped together so it's really easy to see the breakdown of your results. Other significant improvements While almost every page of IPB3 has been recoded from scratch and improved, some areas have undergone more changes than most. I'll cover them briefly so you know what you can expect when we unveil the skin: Improved board index One of the first steps I made when developing the new skin was to look at each major page and figure out if it could be made more useful than it is now. One result of this process was to improve the board index - and the new hooks system made this possible. The board index now features a collapsible sidebar, showing relevant information such as recent topics, top posters and more. Naturally, since this is hook-based, mod authors will be able to easily add their own data to this area. User control panel The control panel was a big focus right from the start. We first knew we were going to remove the messenger from the UCP, since it didn't fit conceptually. What was left has been redesigned, with settings broken down into tabbed sections, showing only the menu for that section - this should prevent new users from being overwhelmed when they open their UCP and seeing so many links. Messenger As noted above, the Messenger is now its own complete section, reducing clutter. User profiles User profiles have been redesigned, bringing them more into line with what users might expect from their favorite social networking sites. One new feature we're excited about is a Recent Activity feed, which allows you to see quickly what content a user has contributed recently, be it topics or posts, calendar events, images and more. This is made possible by the search index, which we covered in a previous post. Media tag We've added a new bbcode tag, which will insert all kinds of media right into a post. If you put a YouTube link in a media tag, it'll insert the YouTube player; similarly, if you link to a Flickr album, it'll insert a Flickr slideshow. New media handlers can be created in the ACP for those sites we don't support out of the box, while still using the same tag - making it really simple for your users. Quick PM One last feature to mention - we have implemented a Quick PM feature, which allows you to PM a member from topic view without leaving the page. We hope this increases personal communication, and reduces the chance of topics going off-topic. I hope that gives you some idea of what you can look forward to with regards to the front-end appearance of IPB3. We'll be previewing the actual design of the skin in the coming weeks as we ramp up testing, so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions on the things I've covered here, now is a good time to get them out!
  3. One of the first items we determined for IPBoard 3 was that it was going to ship with a brand new skin. Our current skin has been with us since the first release of IPB2, and the style goes back even further than that. The Pro skin was introduced more recently, but its main intention was to simplify, rather than bring a significant update. And so, the responsibility for designing and implementing the new skin came to me. This is a huge undertaking, both in terms of scope and sheer scale. The skin is the most visible part of any product; it is what forms your first impression, it is the part you use every moment. In addition, since we have big upgrades to the template system coming (detailed here), every aspect of the skin must be redone, from scratch. IPBoard is a huge application, so this is no mean feat. Objectives Before even considering the visual appearance of the skin, I wanted to set down some objectives for it. These are: - Ensure semantic markup as far as reasonably possible - Ensure XHTML validation (1.0 Strict) - Ensure Javascript is unobtrusive These objectives have real benefits for the modern web. Semantic markup is not only good for screenreaders, but it provides a solid base for skinners. When all stylistic decision is removed from the XHTML, those decisions can now be made in the CSS alone. My goal with the new skin is to minimize the need to edit templates, and semantic markup forms a part of this. The hope is the majority of skins will be achieved simply by editing CSS - I'm sure admins will appreciate how much easier upgrading will be when templates remain largely identical across skins! Another great benefit of semantic code is that we will now be able to serve a printer-specific stylesheet, and do away with the 'print-view' code in IPB itself. Javascript IPBoard 3 is going to ship with the PrototypeJS library. I've always believed that the new generation of Javascript libraries are a big step forward for Javascript usability, so I'm looking forward to making use of them (Nexus beta testers will know we already use it heavily in that product). PrototypeJS allows developers to focus on writing features, rather than fixing cross-browser compatibility issues or poor support for a particular part of the language. We'll be making use of the excellent event-handling capabilities to get as much Javascript as possible out of the IPBoard templates. Skins shipping with IPBoard 3 Our plan right now is to ship at least 3 skins with IPBoard 3. These will be: the default 'fancy' skin; a simplified skin intended to be used as a base for skinners; and a mobile skin, a lightweight version designed for use on mobile devices. This last skin will do away with the present lo-fi version, and become a full-fledged 'light' alternative, complete with posting, searching and so forth. Style Guide To ensure all developers within IPS are on the same track when writing XHTML and CSS, I developed a style guide that we will be using internally. This formalizes the practices we will be using and should help to ensure consistent output. I want to make the guide available to the public partly for review, but primarily so that our modding and skinning community can ensure their code follows our standards too, if they wish. Your feedback and thoughts on the guide are welcome. IPS_style_guide.doc Feedback I'm deliberately avoiding showing the progress on the new skins, but they are underway. Once they are nearer to completion we will begin previewing the design itself. For now, I just wanted to introduce you to our line of thinking and aims for the interface side of IPBoard 3 development. If you have any feedback on things I've mentioned here, or more general feedback about improvements you'd like to see in the IPB3 skin, I encourage you to leave a comment.
  4. Rikki

    Not happy

    Hi, As per our standards of service, you can expect a response within 48 hours (24 hours for business licenses), although it's generally much faster than that (within a day). Upgrades and installs can sometimes take longer than general queries just by the nature of what they require, so sit tight, and a tech will be contacting you soon :) Thanks for your patience!
  5. Just a quick note to let you know that Alex Duggan's excellent CSS guide has been updated for IP.Board 2.2, and is now available on the site :) You can download it as a PDF, or use a web-based version. Both are available at: http://community.ipslink.com/board/documentation.html Thanks to Alex for his hard work on putting this together again, we know the community appreciates it! Rikki
  6. Today is the day we've pencilled in a UT2004 game for any IPS members that want to play. Exact time is to be decided, probably starting around 9pm GMT and going on for a few hours. If you're interested in playing, let us know in this topic.
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