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openfire

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    openfire reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Recurring PayPal Payments and more with Braintree and Commerce   
    Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which provides some great additional features for PayPal transactions including a significantly improved recurring payments model. We are delighted to be bringing full support for Braintree for Commerce in Invision Community 4.4.
    What is Braintree?
    Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which supports taking payments by credit cards (including Apple Pay and Google Pay) and Venmo as well as PayPal, providing a good option for communities wanting to use a single payment gateway, and also brings improved functionality for recurring PayPal transactions.
    For PayPal transactions, there are no additional fees and the checkout experience uses the normal PayPal experience your customers are used to.
    Recurring PayPal Improvements
    Recurring payments / Billing Agreements in PayPal have up until now been initiated by PayPal. Invision Community tells PayPal what the renewal terms of a purchase are, but then it's up to PayPal to take that payment and notify your community when it succeeds (or fails).
    This comes with a number of limitations and problems. It makes it difficult for you as an admin to modify an existing purchase or for the customer to upgrade/downgrade. It also means the customer has to create separate Billing Agreements for each purchase. Most significantly though, it means if there is a delay in receiving the payment (such as an expired card) it is sometimes unclear what should happen on your community's end, and how it can be resolved if/when the payment is received.
    Other payment gateways work the other way around. When a customer pays by card, for example, they have the option of storing their card details. Later, if they make another purchase or a renewal invoice is generated, Invision Community can tell the gateway to recharge the same card - and if it fails, allow the customer to provide an alternative payment method. This allow both you and your customers to have much greater control, and is much more reliable.
    Braintree resolves this by allowing customers when paying with PayPal to save their PayPal account in the same way they would save a credit card on file. When paying with PayPal, users will see a simple checkbox which, if checked, will allow future payments to be taken with PayPal automatically.

    Storing PayPal Accounts for Recurring Payments
    Other Features
    In addition to an improved checkout experience, our integration with Braintree supports:
    Taking payments by Credit Card, including 3DSecure checking and the ability for customer to store card details on file. Braintree uses a fully PCI-compliant method of taking card details in a way that ensures the card information never reaches your server. Apple Pay and Google Pay Venmo, which also allows storing accounts in the same way as PayPal accounts. Offering PayPal Credit Handling chargebacks/disputes Support for Braintree's Advanced Fraud Tools
    A Disputed PayPal Transaction
    Existing Setups and Upgrading
    The existing PayPal gateway will continue to be available for basic PayPal integration, and your existing set up will continue to work exactly as it does now after upgrading.
    If you are using PayPal, especially if you are using Billing Agreements, we strongly recommend switching to Braintree after upgrading. While it isn't possible to convert existing Billing Agreements, you can allow existing ones to continue to work and use Braintree for new purchases.
    Please note that while existing setups will work fine, from 4.4 it will no longer be possible to set up a new PayPal method with either Billing Agreements, or to take payments by card, as PayPal has deprecated the API this was using in favour of Braintree and it can no longer be enabled on new accounts.
    As mentioned though, this does not affect any existing setups, which, if you do not switch to Braintree, will continue to work as they do now.
    This blog is about our upcoming release Invision Community 4.4.
  2. Thanks
    openfire reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Increase visitor registrations with Post Before Registering   
    It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community.
    It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off.
    Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members.
    Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
    However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many.
    Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with.
    Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community.
    This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site.
    Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works.
    When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address.

    Posting as a guest
    This works in any application for new content (topics, Gallery images, etc.) as well as comments and reviews. It will only show when a newly registered member would be able to post in that area - for example, it will not show in a forum that only administrators can post in. 
    After submitting the post, the post will not be visible to any user, but the user will immediately be redirected to the registration form with an explanation to complete the registration. The email address they provided will already be filled in.

    Registration form after posting as a guest
    At this point, the user can either fill in the registration form, or use a social sign in method like Facebook or Twitter to create an account. After the account has been created, and validation has been completed if necessary, their post will automatically be made visible just as if they had registered and then posted.
    If the user abandons the registration after they've submitted their post, an email will be sent to them to remind them to complete the registration.

    Email reminding user to finish registering
     
    Some Notes
    Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks.
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  3. Thanks
    openfire reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Commerce Subscription Manager   
    We've recently spoken about how we've brought our Gallery and Blog apps up to date with interface overhauls to bring them inline with the high standards our customers expect.
    Keeping this in mind, we're thrilled to announce that we've taken Commerce right back to 2009.
    This needs an explanation.
    Way back in 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Minecraft was put into beta, Slumdog Millionaire was released to critical praise and we had a product called IP.Subscriptions.
    IP.Subscriptions was a lightweight member subscriptions manager that allowed members to purchase elevated permissions via a user group upgrade.
    It was a fine little app. However, on the horizon we had a brand new eCommerce app in development. Then called Nexus, now called Commerce (we took months to come up with that).
    It made sense for us to merge the products into one app given they both had overlapping functionality. They both could create packages to promote members to a new user group. Commerce was much more developed as an invoicing and billing system.
    Everyone was happy.
    Almost.
    Commerce has grown to be an incredibly powerful app. It can sell anything from physical products like t-shirts, to digital products such as license keys and it can even manage your hosting set-up.
    We use it for our support and billing systems, so we know how robust it is.
    While it's an incredibly powerful commerce system, setting up basic subscriptions packages became a little more complex.
    Over the past few years we've received a lot of feedback on this.
    We've listened.
    Commerce Member Subscriptions
    We've built a brand new section into Commerce specifically for membership subscriptions.
    Let's take a look at this in more detail.
    On the front end, there's a very clear and easy to understand page for membership subscriptions.

    The main subscriptions interface
    Here you can see all the available packages, which one you're currently subscribed to and the upgrade and downgrade options.

    A simple way to upgrade
    There's several choices for costing upgrades in the Admin CP, here we have chosen to charge the difference between packages.

    Get to your subscriptions easily
    Your subscriptions are easily found in the user menu.
    If the Admin allows, the package you're subscribed to appears as a badge on your profile.

     
    There's also a little widget showing the packages which you can drag and drop to the sidebar for an additional prompt for non-subscribers.

     
    This gives Invision Community a very clear and easy to understand interface for subscriptions which lives outside of the Commerce store and its packages.
    Now, let's dive into the Admin CP
    The main engine for this feature is the package list. This is in a separate area within Commerce.

     
    The list also shows the number of currently active and inactive subscribers. This links to the list of subscribers.

     
    Other than Bob having a total nightmare, you can easily view which members are currently active. The buttons link you to the Commerce invoice and purchase.
    If you wish to add a member to a subscription without charging them (you generous soul, you), then that is easily possible.

     
    Creating a new subscription package is very straight forward. We've built a new form which is stripped down to the fundamental items you'll need for a subscription.

     
    As you would expect, there are several settings to control the system.

     
    A few things worth mentioning here:
    You can force new members to purchase a subscription on sign-up You can show or hide the profile badge indicating which package they purchased. You can choose to allow upgrades or downgrades. You can choose how you'd like to charge for upgrades or downgrades Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback over the years. We're really pleased to present this new feature and hope that it'll make your daily lives just a little easier.
    Let us know what you think!
     
  4. Like
    openfire reacted to Rikki for an entry, New: Richer Embeds   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    You are probably already familiar with our content embedding feature in IPS Community Suite. When a link to content in the community is pasted into the editor (e.g. a topic, or a post, or a gallery image, etc.) it is automatically expanded into a preview of the content, usually with an accompanying image, allowing users to click through to that content if they are interested.

    An embedded Gallery image in IPS Community Suite 4.1
    While it has proved a useful feature to members, each embed used essentially the same structure - a small thumbnail on the left, a title, and a few lines of text. This works fine for topics, but isn't ideal for other kinds of rich content that might be posted.
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2, we greatly improved upon our embedding handling, giving every type of content within every application its own customized embed style, allowing that content to be displayed however works best. This means larger high-res previews of Gallery images, a button to download a file right from the embed for Downloads files, showing a map for Calendar events, and so on. We worked to keep a consistent overall style between apps, but allow each to display its own relevant information.
    For users, things will work exactly as they do now - they simply paste a link to content, and it will continue to expand automatically. The changes are also backwards compatible. Any existing embeds in your community will automatically show the new styling you see below - no rebuilding necessary.
    So with that in mind, let's take a look what the new embeds look like! I won't show every single embed here because there's a huge number, but I'll try and give you a feel for how we approached the embed styles for each app.

    Gallery Image

    Comment on a Gallery Image

    Gallery Album

    Forum Topic

    Downloads File

    Review on a Downloads File

    Calendar Event

    Comment on a Calendar Event

    Commerce Product

    Record from a Pages database
    I hope that gives you a good overview of what to expect when your users try out the new embeds for themselves. As always, please share your feedback in the comments below!
     
  5. Like
    openfire reacted to bfarber for an entry, New: Group promotion improvements   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    The ability to automatically promote users from one group to another based on set parameters has been a staple of community software for some time. Traditionally, the most common determination of promotion has been post count. Additionally, the 4.x Community Suite supports promoting members automatically based on the time elapsed since the user joined the site and based on their total reputation count.
    With 4.2, we have completely overhauled and enhanced the group promotion feature bringing many new options to administrators looking to promote members through different group levels.
    To start with, the group promotion options have been removed from the groups configuration pages into their own area.

    Group promotion rules overview page
    You will notice that rules are no longer strictly tied to a single group, and that rules can be sorted however you desire. When you create and edit rules, you can choose which groups the rule applies to, what parameters the user needs to meet in order for the rule to be activated, and then finally, which primary and secondary groups the user will be moved in to. You can also configure the rule to remove specified secondary groups, which can be useful if one rule adds a secondary group for users, and then the next rule should change them to be part of a different secondary group (i.e. add a new secondary group, but also remove the previously awarded secondary group).
    The system uses the same member filters available when configuring bulk mail, and we have made some updates to the member filters area (and have introduced some new filters) in this release as well. For example, you can create a rule that only applies to members who have won the daily leaderboard at least once, or members who have created a blog.

    Some of the group promotion filters, which are also available when sending bulk mails
    Any time a member account is updated for any reason (a new visit, editing the member, the member makes a new post, etc.), the software will loop through all configured rules and the last rule in the list that matches the member will be applied. This approach allows you to create promotion levels, for instance when a member reaches 100 posted content items they will be promoted to a new group, and when they reach 1000 posted content items they will be promoted to yet a different new group.
    Groups can be wholly excluded from any promotion rules, which is useful when you have administrator and/or moderator groups and you want to ensure that they are never moved to a different group. These groups will be disabled from selection when configuring group promotion rules, and these groups will be ignored if "any group" is selected for a promotion rule.
    Finally, if a user is moved to a new primary group by Commerce because they have purchased a product which moves them to a new group, they will also be excluded from group promotion rules (however, Commerce purchases that only adjust secondary groups will not exclude users from being checked by group promotion rules).
     
    Developer note: You can add your own filters for group promotion rules (and bulk mails) by adding MemberFilter extensions in 4.2, available in the Developer Center for your application.
  6. Like
    openfire reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Fluid Forum View   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first.
    If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media.
    Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics.
    A fan site for a band is a good example of a community that will benefit with fluid view. There will likely be forums for album reviews, tour dates, general discussion and so on. Even though there are many forums, the common topic is the band. This makes fluid view ideal as your members can see all those related topics in one view. If your members wanted more specific topics, they could select a single forum to view.
    Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.

     
    The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.

     
    Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

     
    You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it.

     
    You have full control over the display options. This screenshot shows that the control panel option to choose the default view. There is also an option to control which views your members can select. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose.

     
    You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some screenshots. We added the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view.

     
    This feature color also works on the table view.

     
    We added a feature color hint to topic view to enforce the association between the forum and its color.
     

     
    This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don't lose your place when you go back to the listing.
    The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for your audience. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. Your members will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page.
    We hope that fluid view is an asset to your community and your members enjoy this new functionality.
    Technical notes.
    The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.
     
  7. Like
    openfire reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Editor Uploading   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    IPS Community Suite has supported drag and drop uploading to the attachments area at the bottom of the editor since 4.0. In 4.2 we're pleased to add the ability to drag and drop right into the editor, so you can drop your attachment exactly where you want it to show without having to add it afterwards.

    Drag and drop into editor
    If your browser and OS supports it you can also copy and paste, either from the desktop or from other content on the web:

    Copy and Paste
    Naturally this works for ordinary files as well as images:

    Drag and drop a file
     
  8. Like
    openfire reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Promoting Content   
    There are many strategies for growing your community, such as newsletters, mailing lists and advertising on other sites.
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 puts a new tool at your disposal: promotions.
    There’s no denying the popularity of social media. Worldwide, Facebook has 1.86 billion users active monthly. Every day, millions of people are using Facebook to speak with friends, to talk about their interests and to find new people to connect with.
    Of that 1.86 billion people, a good portion of those are actively discussing topics your forum covers. There is a huge opportunity to tap into social media to join in the discussion and to promote your community and provide a venue to carry on the discussion.
    For a while, we’ve had social media log in extensions, which means that your users can sign into your community simply by clicking a relevant button. We’ve also had the ability to share things to a personal Facebook account. These tools are great for your users, but how do they help you, forum owner?
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 introduces a way to promote your content directly to your brand’s Facebook page and your brand’s Twitter account.
    You can curate fun and engaging topics and share them. The workflow is simple. Simply browse your community and queue up interesting topics, comments, gallery items, blog posts or database articles for posting throughout the day to your brand’s social media accounts. You choose the schedule, the hashtags and the wording to send.
    Let’s look at the feature set in more detail.
    Your first stop is to set up the feature from the admin panel. The system will guide you through the necessary steps of connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once Facebook has been set up, you can select any page that you are an administrator of on Facebook.
     

    The admin panel also offers scheduling options and permissions.
     

    You can pre-set the times for when content will be posted. Facebook and Twitter both have analytic tools to determine when your visitors are most frequently online. A good tip here is to set the time to a slightly odd number, so 11:45am is better than 12:00pm as you are likely to catch the attention of someone waiting for lunch, or a lunchtime meeting.
     

    You have full control over who can promote items to your social media accounts. You can specify by group or pick individual members who may not be in those groups.
    Now that you’ve set up the backend, we can get promoting.
    Each item, that is a topic, gallery album, blog entry or article has its own Promote button.

     
    Each post and comment can also be shared individually, which is an easy way to share great content your visitors add to existing conversations.

     
    Clicking this brings up the sharer.

     
    This is where you can customize the text that is sent out to each social media channel. You’ll also notice space to promote this item within your own community in addition (or instead of) Facebook or Twitter, we will explore that shortly.
    The sharer is smart enough to pull attachments already added in the post, and you can upload your own images to be sent. Generally, shared items that have an image get better organic reach than just text alone so you’ll almost always want to choose or add an image. Twitter can use up to 4 images, and Facebook allows 1000 pictures per album, but you’ll never want to upload that many!

     
    Once you’ve filled out your content and picked your images, you can schedule the promotion. Generally, you’ll want to use the auto schedule option as this allows you to just stack up multiple items and let the auto scheduler post the items according to your pre-set schedule. You can also set a specific date and time if you are looking to run a promotion or other time sensitive event.


    The promoted content viewed in Facebook and Twitter
    It’s easy to see the status of your queued and sent items from the moderator view.

     
    This area allows you to see previous promotions and modify pending promotions.
    Earlier, we mentioned that the system has the ability to promote content internally. Promoting items to your own community lets you, the community manager, curate interesting items and comments and present this to your community. This is a great way to allow your visitors to explore content you think they’d enjoy.

     
    Promoting content to your community via Our Picks also allow you to promote content if you cannot or choose not to use social networks. It has the advantage that social networks do not have over a community platform like IPS Community Suite: consistency. The content on your community is always there whereas a social network is all about right here right now. Miss it and you miss out. On your community you can engage and re-engage a subject all you want. 
    Of course, we’ve built a widget that you can drag and drop to most pages to make this curated list more visible.
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 gives you, the site owner and community manager the tools you need to reach out and engage new users already discussing the topics on social media your community covers. With single click sign in and the built in retention functionality the suite offers, you’ll have a powerful way of growing your user base. It furthers that goal by created a list of that promoted content for continual reference and promotion for visitors already on your site.
    We’ve got lots more to discuss on this subject, and in the coming months we’ll be putting together some guides on social media best practices and how to leverage Facebook’s excellent post promotion / pay per click tools to further boost your site’s visibility to social media users.
    We’re here to help you make a success of your community and to give social media users a venue for when they outgrow Facebook.
  9. Like
    openfire reacted to Rikki for an entry, New: Reactions   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    IPS Community Suite has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down system, later updated to introduce a Likes system as an alternative. Whichever system you chose to use, it tied in with our reputation system.
    We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, and it's something that has been requested for quite some time: Reactions.
    Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards content than a simple up/down or 'like'. They are now in common usage on social networks, and so users expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see.
    Let's see how they work in a post, and then cover the options you'll have available.

    What you see above is the default setup for a site that has used the Like system in version 4.1. We include 5 reactions by default:
    Like Thanks Confused Sad Haha If you currently use the older style up/down reputation system, don't fret - you'll still get the new reactions on upgrade, but they'll be disabled by default and instead the new reaction UI will show up/down reactions. This gives you the flexibility to decide which of the new reactions, if any, you want to allow.
    So, those are the basics - but what configuration options can you expect to see? First, you can of course add your own reactions! We expect that beyond the default reactions you'd expect to find, some sites will want reaction types specific to their use-case. On an intranet, you might want to have 'agree' and 'disagree' reactions for staff to use when responding to discussions. On a gaming community, you might replace the icons to be some graphic from a video game that means something to your particular userbase. There's a wealth of possibilities.
    Each reaction you set up can be configured to adjust the original author's reputation count - a reaction can be positive (i.e. award a reputation point), negative (i.e. subtract a reputation point), or neutral (i.e. leave the reputation count unchanged). Our default set won't include any negative reactions, but you are free to configure these and new reactions to suit your own use-case. A user's total reputation count is still shown alongside their content and in their profile, of course.
    If you don't want to use the new reactions for whatever reason, you can disable all of them except Like, and it'll behave just the like 4.1-and-earlier system:

     
    Sites that currently use the up/down system don't show a list of names of users, and instead show an overall reputation score for the content. With the new reaction system, you can enable this even if you don't use up/down reactions. This is great if you plan to use reactions as, for example, an agree/disagree system, or where the content score is more important to your site than the individual reaction types.

    How the reaction UI looks with the 'count only' setting enabled
    As you'd expect, you can click individual reaction counts (or the overall reputation score, if you enable that setting) to view who reacted to the content. This remains a permission setting that you can apply per-group.

    On touch devices, on-hover functionality is not suitable, and so for these devices the reactions UI looks like this:

    Reactions play well with all areas of the suite, including Recommended Replies:

    ...and activity streams...

    ...and a couple of places we aren't quite ready to reveal yet  
     
    We hope you're looking forward to this new feature as much as we are. It's already been a hit on our internal testing site, and we're looking forward to seeing how clients customize it for use on their own community.
    Developer note: Reactions are one of two new features (the other currently unannounced) so far that make use of PHP Traits.
  10. Like
    openfire reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, New: Calendar - Add Similar Event   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    Recurring events are not new with IPS Community Suite but often you may wish to create similar events that don't necessarily occur on a regular schedule. Previously this has meant creating a new event for each and then manually re-entering the information for event description, location, cover photo, RSVP options and so on. Often the only thing changing between the events would be the date and time.
    Starting with IPS Community Suite 4.2 it is now possible to create a similar event based on one you have already added with a single action.

    Create a copy of an event in one simple step
    After opting to add a similar event you will be presented with the add new event form with all of the event info already filled out for you. Just set the date and time, make any required adjustments and submit your new event.
    Note: This option is only presented to the author of the original event in order to reduce visual clutter for regular visitors.
    We will be announcing many more interface improvements such as this in the coming weeks so be sure to follow the News & Updates section for updates.
  11. Like
    openfire reacted to bfarber for an entry, New: Letter Profile Photos   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    IPS Community Suite comes with a default profile photo which is used when members have not set a profile photo for their account. While this model has served the software well for years, we felt it was time for an update to the software to keep pace with current internet trends. This has led to one of the latest changes you can expect to see with version 4.2: letter profile photos
    When upgrading you will be asked if you wish to use letter profile photos, or if you wish to stick with the generic per-theme default profile photo that is used presently. You can change your mind any time after upgrading by adjusting the setting in the AdminCP as well.

    AdminCP members list
    We have tested many languages to ensure maximum compatibility. The font used in the image is automatically selected based upon the characters to be written to the image, so sites that have more than one language will see compatibility for all of the profile photos that are created automatically.
    The colors are not set for each letter. You will notice in the screenshot that each "A" letter photo has a different color. They are chosen randomly when generated.

    Letter photos in a sidebar widget
    We hope that this change helps bring your communities to life with a little more style, flair, and uniqueness for each new user on your site.
     
    Developer Note
    The code is structured in such a manner that third party developers can further extend the feature with plugins. The methods for writing text to images are exposed through our central \IPS\Image class introducing new possibilities in your own custom code.
  12. Like
    openfire reacted to Charles for an entry, Video: 4.2 So Far   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    I made a quick video to demo things we have already announced for 4.2 so far.
    Enjoy  
  13. Like
    openfire reacted to Charles for an entry, New: SEO Improvements   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    Improving your SEO can be a complex undertaking with many different approaches but there are things that everyone knows are good practice and also more modern approaches to SEO that have changed since we first started developing IPS Community Suite. So it was time for a review and update.
    Unfortunately no pretty screenshots on this one as this is all behind the scenes stuff but still quite useful to know . Also, some of this may sound a bit technical and dry but feel free to search some of these technologies if you are curious.
    Move from HTML structured data to JSON-LD and enhance our existing markup with sensible additions. Calendar, blog, forum and pages (articles) data marked up for rich snippets. General review of our schema.org markup and enhance where appropriate. Use sitelinks search and other sensible markup such as the website and logo markup. Allow administrators to specify social profile links in the AdminCP which we then show links to in the footer and also make available in schema.org markup. Fix many duplicate page title issues. Review and ensure nofollow/noindex tags are used in appropriate areas. Add item tags as HTML meta tags Adding <link rel="next" value="next page url"> helps search engines know next/previous page.  
    Nothing like a bulleted list of items to get you excited! But really these should be welcome improvements to all.
     
  14. Like
    openfire reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Device Management   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    One of our more technically-oriented features for 4.2, we have added more detailed logs of user logins, and the devices and IP addresses used. This brings several new features:
     
    Notification of a new device sign in
    If enabled, users can receive an email notification when a new device is used to log into their account:
     

    Email sent when a login from a new device is detected
    When a user signs in for the first time, a special key is set to recognise the browser on subsequent logins. This mean the notification email does not trigger on a new IP address, which would be annoying when travelling or if using a network where the IP address changes regularly. Instead, the notification is only triggered if someone signs into your account from a new physical device or web browser.
     
    UserCP Device Management
    If enabled, a new page will show in the user's settings page showing all the devices which have been used to log into their within the last 90 days (which is recent enough that could still be logged in if "Remember Me" was checked).

    Recently Used Devices
    Users can see the device, browser, physical location (obtained by a GeoIP lookup) and if applicable, how the login was processed (for example, if the sign in was with Facebook or Twitter, this will show). If they chose "Remember Me" when logging in, they can undo that (handy if you realise you accidentally left yourself signed in on a public computer).
    If they see anything they don't recognise, a page to walk them through the necessary steps to re-secure their account is available.

    Secure Account Information
     
    New Two-Factor Authentication Setting
    "Logging into the front-end" is one of the options of when to prompt for Two Factor Authentication. In 4.2, this has been separated into two distinct settings:
    Logging into the front-end from a new device Logging into the front-end from a known device If you enable the former, but not the latter, and the user has previously logged in devices, the system will automatically show an explanation to users alongside the other available recovery option. This can be useful especially if you do not want to offer other recovery options.
     
    AdminCP Device Management
    In the AdminCP, administrators can see all the device and IPs a member has used. They can also disable automatic login for any device.
     

    Edit member page shows most recently used device and IP address
     
     
    Viewing a device's details
    The system can also detect if another user is using the same device and will show this in the list of devices.
      
    Users sharing the same device
     
  15. Like
    openfire reacted to Rikki for an entry, Theme Tip: Color coding tags   
    We were recently asked if it's possible to color code tags - the customer in question used tags as statuses on topics, and so wanted 'resolved' to be green, and so on. Despite being a great idea, this isn't something that is currently possible 'out of the box' - although we'll add it to our internal feature idea list to follow up on later!
    But just because it isn't built in, that doesn't mean it isn't possible! In fact, with a little CSS, this is quite easy to achieve now.
     
    Writing a CSS selector
    We can do this by writing a CSS selector that matches the tag URL for the tag we want to style - a handy way to use CSS that can be applied to lots of other ideas within the suite!
    Lets say we have a tag called 'resolved', and we want to make it green. Add the following CSS to your custom.css file:
    .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/resolved/"] { background: SeaGreen; } html[dir="ltr"] .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/resolved/"]:before { border-color: transparent SeaGreen transparent transparent; } The first style is the main part of the tag element; the second matches the :before pseudo-selector which we use to make the 'point' of the tag.
    Another tag we'll style is called 'needs help'. In this case, there's spaces in the name, which are represented by the + symbol in the URL (since it's URL-encoded). We'll make it purple this time:
    .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/needs+help/"] { background: Purple; } html[dir="ltr"] .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/needs+help/"]:before { border-color: transparent Purple transparent transparent; }  
     
    Supporting prefixes
    This little CSS snippet won't change prefixes, however - they'll still be shown in the default color (specified by your theme settings). If you want to change prefixes too, you need to adjust the CSS as follows - replace the previous CSS with this version:
    .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/needs+help/"], a.ipsTag_prefix[href*="?tags=needs+help"] { background: Purple; } html[dir="ltr"] .ipsTags a[href*="/tags/needs+help/"]:before, html[dir="ltr"] a.ipsTag_prefix[href*="?tags=needs+help"]:before { border-color: transparent Purple transparent transparent; } (Note: Notice the slightly different string we're matching in the href attribute; once you upgrade to 4.1.14, this won't be necessary - both selectors can use the same href format, e.g. /tags/needs+help/. Prior to 4.1.14, tags and prefixes used slightly different URL formats.)
    That's it - now everything looks correct!
     

    Topic View
     
     

    Forum View
     
  16. Like
    openfire reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Content Message   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    Following on from our previous entry about the new Recommended Replies feature, we also have one more small feature change that will be very useful.
    Content Message is a small feature available in all IPS Community Suite content areas (forums, blogs, gallery, etc.) and allows a moderator to put a message at the top of any item.

    Topic with a moderator message
    This is useful if you have a special use for the area people are posting in, need to encourage conversation to stay on topic, or perhaps the conversation is becoming heated and you need to remind people to behave.
    Sometimes the smallest features can prove the most useful and already I have found myself reaching for this feature out of habit from using it on our test 4.2 installs and missing it on our production site. I cannot wait to have it available and I am sure you will enjoy the ability to add custom notes to any area of the Suite.
     
    Development Note
    For our power users: this feature and the Recommended Replies feature use a new content meta data capability. This allows you to store miscellaneous data that is attached to a content item which does not need to be otherwise searched or exposed unless you are viewing that item. We will provide technical details on this later but it is a really easy way to store data about content without having to create additional tables or methods.
  17. Like
    openfire reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Recommended Replies   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    Sometimes you may find situations where you want to highlight one or more replies to a content item to bring attention to a really great response. This is especially true on busy communities where you might have dozens or even hundreds of replies in a single discussion.
    There is now an ability for a moderator to Recommend a reply (or multiple replies) and even leave an optional note explaining why they think you should view that post.

    Moderator Permission

    Optional note for recommended reply
    When a reply is Recommended you will see a snippet at the top of the content item along with the optional moderator note and a link to jump right to that reply.

    A topic with a recommended reply.
    You can Recommend more than one reply and this feature works through IPS Community Suite in forum topic, blog entries, gallery images, and so on. You can set this permission along with other moderator permissions in the AdminCP.
    We really think this will allow moderators to bring attention to some of the best replies and guide users to the best content your community has to offer.
  18. Like
    openfire reacted to Charles for an entry, IPS Community Suite 4.2 Coming Soon   
    We are well into development on IPS Community Suite 4.2 and are excited to start announcing all the new features and improvements.
    Our next big release is focused on engagement with your members. You will see enhancements to our Reputation system, new ways to encourage people to register on your community, and enhancements to existing features to make them more interactive. There are also entirely new capabilities we cannot wait to show you ranging from new ways to organize content to tools to help promote your community.
    Version 4.2 also features a refreshed AdminCP and default front-end design. Theme changes in 4.2 are mostly in the CSS framework so your existing themes will either work without issue or require minor changes to work in the new version.
    Over the next several weeks we will be posting news entries with previews of upcoming features fairly often. Be sure to follow our News section, our Facebook, or Twitter to stay up to date.
    We expect IPS Community Suite 4.2 to be out in mid-2017 with a public preview available sooner.
    Everyone at IPS has worked very hard on this update and we think you will love it!
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