Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, Highlight Topics With Replies From Groups
Wouldn't it be great to know if a staff member had replied to a topic before you clicked to open it?
When you're scanning a list of topics, knowing which have had a reply by a member of the community team can help decide which to read. Currently, you need to open the topic and scan the posts to see if there's a reply from the team.
Happily, in our next release, we've made it clear which have had a reply by a member of a specific group.
You can specify which groups to show as having replied via the Groups form in the Admin CP.
The per-group setting in the Admin CP
You can select to detect the group based on the member's primary group, secondary group or both.
When viewing a list of topics, you will see a badge showing that a member of that group has replied.
This simple feature will make it easier to highlight when important replies have been made to topics, which is a great addition for forums using the new 'solved' feature.
Let me know below if you'll use this new feature and what you'd like to see in the future.
Makoto reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.5: Commerce Trials
One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price.
I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works.
In 4.5 you can now specify an initial term that is different to the normal renewal term for any subscription plan or product. For example, you could make the initial term $0 for 1 week and the normal renewal term $10 per month which will allow you to create 1 week free trial. The initial term doesn't have to be $0, you can use any special price for the initial term you like.
Subscription Plans showing Free Trials
For developers creating their own applications with Commerce integration, this functionality is also available to you simply by passing a DateInterval object representing the initial term when creating the invoice.
Collecting Payment Details for Free Trials
Previously, if you were buying something that is free, the entire of the last step of the checkout would just be skipped and the invoice marked as paid.
In 4.5, if:
The user is purchasing something which has a free initial period, but also has a renewal term (i.e. is a free trial), and You have a payment method which can collect card details (Stripe, Braintree, etc) The user will be prompted to provide payment details that will not be charged until after the free trial. If the user already has a card on file they will not be prompted to provide the details again but will see a confirmation screen rather than the order just being marked paid immediately.
Checkout Process for a Free Trial
As you can see, allowing a free or reduced cost trial period has never been easier. We hope that you enjoy using this new feature of Invision Community 4.5.
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, A call to arms for community leaders
We are currently living through one of the most turbulent times in history.
A once-in-a-century pandemic has a grip on all of us.
Whatever the outcome, come the end of the year, few of us are going to be the same again. We will have to sacrifice our personal freedoms, and some of us much more.
Like you, I'm worried about my family, my friends and neighbours. I'm watching the news, scrolling through social media and consuming articles from scientists, scholars and doctors.
The news coming out of Italy is truly heartbreaking. Doctors and nurses have to make life and death decisions daily as they wage war with the virus. Those of us in the UK and the USA are nervously watching the graphs climb in lockstep of Italy from just a few weeks ago.
It would be easy to succumb to fear and withdraw completely.
But as community leaders, we cannot.
Let us take some inspiration from the brave people of Italy who have suffered much with an overstretched health care system and enforced quarantine yet still sing from their apartments in a display of resolve.
In a time where we have to remain apart, we must come together.
We have to keep showing up and leading.
We must focus on what we still have and not what is being taken away.
Now more than ever, we are needed to keep the world connected. To bring comfort; to support and to love each other.
This year is going to test every one of us.
But whatever comes our way, I know that we are stronger together.
"Their faithful and zealous comradeship would almost between night and morning clear the path of progress and banish from all our lives the fear which already darkens the sunlight to hundreds of millions of men."
Makoto reacted to Ehren for an entry, 4.5: ACP Dark Mode
A short while ago we revealed the new look Admin CP for Invision Community 4.5. The focus was on increasing the workspace, brightening and modernising the look.
However, for some this new look was perhaps a little too bright, especially when setting your OS to use dark mode.
Rather than cause an increase in sales for sunglasses, we went ahead and implemented a dark mode for the Admin CP.
You can set it to work inline with your OS preference, or you can choose to enforce light or dark mode.
I'm sure the next question you're about to ask is "Hey Ehren that looks amazing and now working at 3 am won't wake up the neighbours when I log into the AdminCP but can you do the same for the front-end?"
The short answer to that is "no". The theme system isn't currently designed to support both light and dark colour schemes, however our marketplace has a great selection of dark themes to enhance your community.
I hope that you like this new feature and I just wanted to say thanks for your feedback; we do listen!
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Identify Statistical Trends
One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data.
There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood.
However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views.
Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics.
This new 'overview' view not only shows you a snapshot of your community but also allows you to compare time periods. In the video, you can see that I select different date ranges, such as "three months". This shows you the data of that time period, and also compares it against the previous three months.
In this example, you can clearly see that we have 50% more registrations and 33% more contributors compared to the previous three month period.
Likewise, in this example, you can clearly see that we have a 1200% increase in reactions given with a clear breakdown of the type of reaction given to help understand community sentiment.
These interactive displays automatically update, so if you are so inclined, you could leave the statistic pages open and watch as the data changes live.
We hope that you find these new views useful in identifying trends and help to inform strategic decisions within your community.
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: User Interface Improvements
Invision Community has certainly changed a lot over the years as we've moved through major updates and large user interface changes.
While large scale changes offer a dramatic difference, it is sometimes the smaller changes that bring the most satisfaction when using your community daily.
This blog entry rounds up some of the UI improvements Invision Community 4.5 brings.
Content View Behavior
What do you want to happen when you click a topic link? Are you taken to the first comment, the last comment or the first comment you've not read? If you speak to 100 people, I'm pretty sure you'll get a good spread of votes for each.
Invision Community has always offered subtle ways to get right to the first unread comment. Our infamous dot or star allows you to do this, but it is so subtle almost no one knows this.
Invision Community 4.5 now allows each member to choose (with the AdminCP offering a default).
Now everyone wins!
Invision Community has had reactions for a long while now. Although finding out who exactly reacted without clicking the counts has proved irksome.
We've fixed that in Invision Community so simply mousing over the reaction icon reveals who reacted.
Sign In Anonymously
For as long as I can remember, Invision Community has offered an option to sign in anonymously via a checkbox on the login form.
However, as we've added faster ways to log in via Facebook, Twitter, Google and more it's become less straight forward to ensure your anonymity.
Invision Community 4.5 removes this login preference and moves it to your members' settings.
Now your members can resume hiding as they move around your community across multiple logins.
Resize Before Uploading
One of the most popular requests we've had in recent times is to resize large images before uploading. It's quite likely that your giant full resolution image will be denied when attempting to upload, and it's a bit of a faff to resize it in a photo editor.
Invision Community leverages the uploader's ability to resize before uploading, which makes it a much happier experience.
Switch Off Automatic Language Detection
Invision Community attempts to map your browser's user-agent to a specific language pack.
When you visit a site, your browser lets the site know which language our browser is set to (often dictated by your operating system) and we use that to show you the correct language if the community you're visiting has multiple languages installed.
However, it might be that you don't want this to happen because although your computer's OS is set to a specific language, it doesn't always follow that is the one you wish to use on a website.
Invision Community 4.5 allows this automatic detection to be switched off.
We will finish with another popular feature request; the ability for long quotes to be collapsed, reducing the amount of scrolling one has to do.
Quite simply, Invision Community collapses long quotes with an option to expand them to read the entire quote.
Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to leave feedback. As you can see, we do listen and action your feedback.
Which change are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below!
Makoto reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.5: Search Insights
Every single day, your members are searching your community for answers or interesting conversations to join.
Wouldn't it be great if you could learn what is being searched for to identify hot issues, commonly asked questions and discover trends?
We thought so too, which is why Invision Community 4.5 comes with search statistics.
For the first time, Invision Community gathers anonymized information on what your members are searching for so you can use this to highlight more relevant content and shape strategic decisions with your community's structure.
Search statistics help you track searches performed on your community
When a member searches, their identity is converted into a unique key that cannot be reversed to identify the member. This allows us to track a single member's search usage over many search sessions without being able to link it to a specific member account.
The AdminCP now features a dashboard to review the most popular search terms as well as a raw log of recent searches along with the results they returned.
We have a lot of ideas in mind for additional changes down the road with the tracking of popular search terms, but for now, we hope you like the new statistics page and find the information presented useful for your future site plans.
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Security Enhancements
Although we continuously review security within Invision Community, a major release such as 4.5 allows us to be especially proactive when it comes to keeping your community safe.
This blog entry outlines several enhancements to improve security in Invision Community 4.5.
Keeping your member's passwords secure is the simplest way to keep accounts safe and out of the wrong hands, so it makes sense to look at ways to ensure this doesn't happen.
Invision Community already uses strong one-way hashing when storing passwords, which means that once the password is stored in the database, there is no way to know the plain text version.
However, when creating a new member account via the AdminCP, a random password was created, and this was sent in the welcome email to the new member's email address.
As of Invision Community 4.5, this no longer happens, and the new member is invited to create a new password when visiting the community for the first time.
Part of your internal security procedures might be to force a reset of all passwords periodically. Invision Community 4.5 allows this on a per-member basis, or via a selection of filters to enforce a reset for many members at once.
This clears out any stored password hashes and emails the affected members to remind them to set up a new password.
The Admin Control Panel contains the most powerful tools available to Invision Community. This is already a very secure area with a separate login with an option to add two-factor authentication to the login flow.
Part of the session authentication has been a special key in the URL. While we have protection in place to prevent this special key being discoverable by a malicious user, there remains an incredibly remote theoretical chance that this could happen with a series of complicated steps. There was an additional annoyance that you are unable to share links within the AdminCP to members of your team due to the increased protection to keep URLs safe.
As of Invision Community 4.5, we have removed the special key from the URL and moved it elsewhere in the session authentication flow. This means that it's impossible to fetch the special key via the URL and links can now be shared and will survive a login action.
There are a few areas within Invision Community that we use text encryption to allow us to save data in the database in a format that is encrypted when saved and decrypted when read. This protects you in the incredibly remote event of your own hosting being compromised and your database downloaded (of course, our Community in the Cloud customers do not need to worry about this!)
Invision Community 4.5 improves on this encryption by using PHP's built-in methods which give "bank-level" security to our encryption.
Security is critical to the success of your community, and we are always proactive in improving security throughout Invision Community.
Do you have any comments on this entry? Let us know below!
Makoto reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Blog Categories
Ever since Invision Community 4.x was launched you have been asking for the ability to categorize blogs in your community.
We heard you loud and clear, but sometimes when a feature sounds straightforward, it requires some re-engineering of the framework. Because users in your community can create both blog entries and their own blogs to hold these entries, this was one of those areas.
Starting with Invision Community 4.5 I’m pleased to announce that it is now possible for blog authors to categorize their blog entries and it's now possible for administrators to categorize blogs.
Blog Entry Categories
When creating a new blog entry, your members will now be able to create a new category for the entry or choose an existing one that had been created previously.
Choosing your category when creating a new blog entry
When a reader then visits the blog they can choose to display only those categories that interest them.
Filtering by category
Running a community where users can create their own blogs, you don’t only need to make sure individual pieces of content are categorized correctly, you also need to make sure the blogs themselves have a logical place. Well guess what? Now you can!
As an admin you can now set up predefined categories in the control panel and Blog authors can then choose which one to create their new blog in.
Managing blog categories
We realize some of you have been waiting a long time to see these changes so we hope you enjoy this and everything else to come in Invision Community 4.5!
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, What's new in 4.4.5?
Minor releases are almost always just maintenance releases. We gather up a fistful of bug reports and fix them to ensure that every month or so, our clients enjoy more stability and efficiency with Invision Community.
However, more recently we've noticed that we're running low on bug reports, so we've managed to squeeze in a handful of improvements in Invision Community 4.4.5.
Let's take a look and see what's new in Pages.
How should the canonical tag behave?
While this isn't the most exciting name for a feature, it does explain it reasonably well. We had a recent discussion on the forums where it was pointed out that the canonical tag directed search engines to the first page of any record. While this makes perfect sense for an articles or blog system where the content you create is more important than the comments, it makes less sense if the user-generated content (aka the comments) is more important than the content you put up. A good example here is where you put up a video or link for review. You don't want the canonical tag pointing to the first page as it will ignore the reviews themselves.
If you didn't understand much of that, don't worry. The idea behind this feature is to provide Google and friends with a better hint about which content is more important. A happier Google bot slurping your site is a good thing.
How about that Admin CP menu?
When you create a new database in Pages, it is shown in the ACP menu under 'Content'. This is fine, but when you get a lot of databases, it starts looking a little cluttered, and it can be hard to find the correct one.
We've reworked the menu so items have their own section, and can be re-ordered using the ACP menu re-ordering system.
Member fields are now filterable.
Pages allows specific field types to be filterable. This means you can sort by them with the table's advanced search box, and you can drag and drop a filters widget next to the table to refine the rows shown.
Now a member custom field is filterable, which is handy if you use them in your databases.
Other areas of the suite.
A while back, we made a change that removed the ability to search messenger by the sender or recipient name. We also limited the reach of the search system to one year and newer.
Unsurprisingly, this wasn't very popular. We've restored sender, and recipient name searching removed the one year limit and re-engineered the internals of search, so it's more efficient and returns results much faster.
How many members do you have?
You can see quite quickly if you have the member stats widget on the front end, but finding out via the Admin CP is a little more tricky.
Until now! We've added a dashboard widget that not only shows the number of members you have registered, but also a break down of their email opt-in status.
A happier autocomplete.
Apple has this cool feature where if you receive a text message for a two-factor authentication login, it offers to auto-fill the code box for you.
We've had a sweep throughout the suite to ensure two-factor authentication fields allow this autocomplete to happen.
While we were at it, we made sure that other fields are more easily autocompleted.
That wraps up the new features in Invision Community 4.4.5. How many have you spotted after upgrading?
Let us know your favourite below.
Makoto reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.4: Application manifest and icon management
Who remembers the earlier days of the internet? Back when you popped your logo at the top left of your site and you were largely done?
Invision Community has continually developed to account for all the new services that have been built during our 16 years.
We now have social media sharing images, favicons and more to consider.
Invision Community 4.4 also adds mobile application icons, Safari mask icons and data for an application manifest. Handling of these logos and icons was a prime candidate for improvement in 4.4.
Moving our current options
Step one for improving our handling of these images was to move our current options out of themes and to allow them to be managed suite-wide from a single area. You can still upload a logo image per-theme (which shows in the header area), but the rest of the options have now been relocated to a new area: Customization > Appearance > Icons & Logos.
Adding new options
After giving favicon and share logo management its own dedicated area, we took a look at enhancing the configuration options made available through the interface without requiring theme template edits.
Multiple share logos
You can now upload multiple share logos. If you elect to upload more than one share logo, Facebook and similar sites will generally either show a carousel to allow you to choose which logo to use when sharing, or simply use the first image referenced.
You can now upload an image to represent your website which will be used to generate the "home screen" icons for iPhones and Androids automatically. Uploading a single image will result in several different copies of the image (in different dimensions) being generated, and mobile devices will automatically choose the best option from the list as needed.
Safari mask icon
You can also now upload a Safari Mask icon, which is used to represent your website in certain areas on Apple computers (such as on the "touchbar" of certain keyboards). This image must be an SVG image with a transparent background, and all vectors must be 100% black.
Additionally, you can specify the mask color which is used to offset your image when necessary (e.g. to represent it as "selected" or "active").
In order for devices to support the application icons that you upload, a file known as a web manifest must be generated and delivered to the browser. This now happens automatically, using details and icons specified in the AdminCP. Certain details, however, can be configured explicitly from the Icons & Logos page:
This is a short name to represent your site in areas with limited screen space, such as below your application icon on a mobile phone home screen. Site name
This is the name of the site. The "Website name" setting is automatically used if you do not explicitly override it when configuring the manifest. Description
A short description of your site Theme color
You can choose a (single) color to represent the general theme of the site. This color may be used by devices in areas such as the address bar background. Background color
You can also choose a (single) color to use as the background color for your site when the application is launched from a shortcut saved to the user's device home screen. Display mode
Finally, you can specify the display mode your site should launch in. For our more astute designers and developers, you may have already realized that generating the manifest file lays the groundwork for future PWA (Progressive Web App) development and support. Additionally, some Android devices will automatically prompt users to add your website to their home screen now that a manifest file is generated by the site.
Oh, and for the sake of completeness, we also generate the special browserconfig.xml file that Microsoft products (including Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, X-Box, and Microsoft-based mobile devices) look for when pinning sites and generating live tiles. There are no additional configuration options for this file - everything is automatically generated from the aforementioned options.
The end result?
Your community can now better convey, automatically, certain details to the myriad of devices out there that may be accessing your site, and you now have much better control over those details. You can more easily fine-tune the "little things" that help paint a complete picture of your web presence, and the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the future as standardization and adoption of PWA functionality improves.
This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
Makoto reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: 6 New Micro Features
I really enjoy writing about the new features the development team have been slaving over for weeks (and sometimes months.)
It's a real joy to be able to share the finished product after we've seen it through inception, discussion, planning, assigning to a developer, coding, peer reviewing and final group testing.
Although sometimes, the features can be explained in a few screenshots, which makes for a pretty thin blog entry.
With that in mind, I've grouped together 6 of the best new micro-features for Invision Community 4.4.
We introduced browser notifications in a previous version of Invision Community.
Once you've opted in to receive them, you'll get a fancy browser notification when new content is posted while you're off browsing other sites.
However, the browser prompt to ask for permission to push notifications isn't subtle, and it attacks you the second you log in for the first time.
In Invision Community 4.4, we've made it, so you're only asked to opt-in once you open the notification drop down.
No more being attacked by a permission dialog
Widget display settings
One of the most popular features we've added to the front end in recent times is the drag and drop widgets.
We see these used on almost every site we visit.
A popular request, though, was to be able to hide them from specific devices. By default, the sidebars appear under the main content when viewed on a smaller device such as a phone.
There may be times where you wish to show a block for those on tablets and desktops, but remove it for phones, so it doesn't take up precious retail space.
Happily, you can now do this on each block with 4.4.
Clubs are relatively new to Invision Community but they incredibly popular as they allow you to run micro-communities within your main community.
You're not limited to just forums either; you can add gallery albums and more to each club.
We've added the ability to re-arrange the club tabs allowing you to prioritise what you members see first.
Rearranging club tabs
Announcements have been a core feature for a long time now. We use them whenever we have a holiday so we can notify our customers about reduced support on those days.
We've made it so you can now link to an item, rather than have to provide new copy for each announcement.
We may have overdone it a bit
Time Frame selector
We noticed that in numerous areas around the Admin CP we had time input boxes. These would sometimes be used for seconds, minutes, hours and even days.
We've seen customers forced to enter things like 86400 seconds when they want the time frame to last a day. The lack of consistency wasn't great either.
In Invision Community 4.4, we've added a new Time Frame selector which is used as standard on all areas we ask for a time frame to be entered.
No more taking your socks off to work out how many seconds in a month.
Time is no longer relative
Group Name Styling
For about as long as I can remember (and as I get older, this is not an impressive amount of time), we've allowed group names to be stylized when shown in the online user list.
A very popular request is to extend that same group highlighting throughout the suite.
Finally, Invision Community 4.4 brings this to the suite.
If the group name is visible, that gets the styling, otherwise the name does
These features may be micro in nature, but we hope they make a significant improvement to your community.
Which are you most looking forward to? Drop a comment below and let us know.
Makoto 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.
Makoto 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
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.
Makoto 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.
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.
Makoto 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.
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.
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!
Makoto 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
Makoto 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!