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Andy Millne

Invision Community Team
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  1. As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community. Email Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website. It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests. Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task. With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content. Highlight the best content from throughout your community In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest. Capture return visits with interesting content Social media links in email footers If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails. Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel. Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more. Respond to Reviews We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase. New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme. Matt is talking to himself again One more thing... Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list. We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community.
  2. I noticed this steady decline on my personal site incidentally but it turns out it was Google simply dropping http links from the index. After I added https to the search console I'm seeing the count back up where it should be.
  3. That is an error coming from the quizzes application not classifieds. Try disabling it and try again.
  4. This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release and features content specifically aimed towards developers. If you are not interested in developing for 4.2 you may wish to skip this entry. Don't worry we still have lots of exciting core feature announcements still to come. We are expanding on the already available REST API endpoints to include more support for nodes. This significantly increases the flexibility of the API and now allows forums, downloads categories, calendars etc. to be created programmatically via external sources. As is usual with the existing content item endpoints, access for nodes is configured via the admin control panel for each API key that is generated. Configuring API Permissions via the Admin Control Panel For those new to the REST API, documentation can be found in the developer resources section and within the admin control panel. Endpoint Documentation New endpoints in 4.2 include; GET /core/groups - Get a list of groups GET /core/groups/{id} - Get information about a specific group DELETE /core/groups/{id} - Delete a group GET /forums/forums - Get a list of forums GET /forums/forums/{id} - Get information about a specific forum POST /forums/forums - Create a forum POST /forums/forums/{id} - Edit a forum DELETE /forums/forums/{id} - Delete a forum DELETE /blog/blogs/{id} - Delete a blog GET /calendar/calendar - Get a list of calendars GET /calendar/calendar/{id} - Get information about a specific calendar POST /calendar/calendar - Create a calendar POST /calendar/calendar/{id} - Edit a calendar DELETE /calendar/calendar/{id} - Delete a calendar GET /downloads/category - Get a list of downloads categories GET /downloads/category/{id} - Get information about a specific category POST /downloads/category - Create a category POST /downloads/category/{id} - Edit a category DELETE /downloads/category/{id} - Delete a category We are continuously looking for ways to improve developer functionality so if you have any ideas for additional endpoints or suggestions for improved documentation please feel free to share them in the comments below. We are really looking forward to seeing the new and imaginative ideas 3rd party developers can create using these additional capabilities.
  5. This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have added some additional customization options for Blogs The sidebar now features a space reserved for Blog owners to add a little further info, add links to social network sites, contact info, or anything at all they desire. The New Blog Sidebar The sidebar will show across all of the Blog pages (unlike the Blog description) and uses the standard built in text editor which supports all of the usual features such as embeds, images, links, and all other editor plugins you have enabled. Editing the sidebar is as easy as editing the Blog info via the Manage Blog menu. It's then a simple matter of toggling the sidebar on and entering the info. Editing The Sidebar The Blog sidebar content is controlled by the owner of the Blog and is only available if the administrator activates the option. If set, the content shows above any other widgets placed in the sidebar. This has been a frequently requested change and we are happy to add this to make Blogs more individual and engaging.
  6. This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release. Following on from our previous news entry "Add Similar Event" we are pleased to announce another feature that will make adding and discovering new events as easy as possible. Support for geographic event locations has been in Calendar for some time now but with 4.2 we have taken this a step further with venue support. When enabled, members can set the event location from a list of pre-defined venues. Address details and maps will then be automatically shown in the event view. Event view shows the venue map and address as well as a link to other events at the venue Additionally, a link will be added so that other events occurring at this venue can be discovered. Venue view shows all events at the location Venues can be added via the admin control panel or inline when adding events (for users with permission) ACP venue management Inline adding of venues when adding events If a venue has not already been added then a fallback to the standard address form input is provided. We have a few more Calendar improvements still to reveal so be sure to follow News & Updates for further announcements.
  7. This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release. Social Sign In has long been a feature of the IPS Community Suite but we are always looking for ways to make interaction easier for your visitors. A small but significant improvement we are able to add for 4.2 is to include social sign in links directly at the point where your customers are ready to contribute. Hassle free inline sign in brings your customers right back where they need to be to comment Visitors are much more likely to comment when the registration process is as fluid as possible and social sign in has fast become a familiar and efficient way of doing so. After signing up via these methods users are logged in and brought right back to where they started ready to comment. Feedback from our testers has already shown that this change has an immediate effect on the volume of new registrations and we look forward to making it widely available with 4.2.
  8. 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.
  9. This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release. There are many Calendar related improvements in 4.2 designed to make adding and engaging with events easier than ever before. First of these is Event Reminders. Reminders are easy to create. Simply use the Set Reminder button shown on all future events and specify when you would like your reminder. Choose when you would like to be reminded Changed your mind? Simply adjust the reminder or remove it altogether. Easily adjust existing reminders When the time comes a notification will be sent via the member's chosen email or inline method. Receive inline or email reminders using the standard notification settings Event reminders are a simple but often requested feature and we're excited to be introducing it with 4.2. Don't forget to follow the News & Updates section as we have many more announcements to help keep your members engaged.
  10. We will require a ticket so that we can check the PHP configuration. We have not yet had any ticket submitted where this was not working for any reason other than the EXIF extension was not properly configured or the image itself had been manipulated by some other application that removed the orientation data.
  11. The pics we have been provided are rotating fine locally in testing. Please make sure the PHP EXIF extension is installed on your server.
  12. If altering this you would need to also make sure PHP is configured so that the session expiration time is at least as high as the value you set or you'll see varying results when garbage collection runs. that is one of the reasons it is no longer configurable as increasing the value does not necessarily lead to reliable results
  13. One of the goals for IPS Community Suite 4.0 was improving content discovery. In other words, making sure content still receives exposure even if it is posted in less used areas of the suite. The sidebar that shows on the IP.Board index page in 3.x helps with this goal to some extent, however people who visit the forums app infrequently may miss out on valuable content. This became an even more important issue when the decision was made to decouple IP.Board as a standalone application. What if the focus of your site is Gallery or what if IP.Board is not even enabled for example? Our solution was to extend the sidebar across all applications as shown below in IP.Downloads. You may notice from the screenshot that the announcements block is not specific to the downloads application. Any block can show in any application and they are configurable using moderator permissions. This immediately addresses the issue of content discovery. While the sidebar is now global in 4.0, it is important to note that individual areas can enable and disable the sidebar if necessary. Some areas of the suite simply require more room in order to display ideally, so the sidebar is disabled in these cases (e.g. the calendar "monthly" view needs a full page table grid to display in its ideal format). Further, you can configure sidebars differently for different areas of the suite in context-sensitive manner. You may show a recent topics block in the IP.Board application, for instance, while showing a recent files block in IP.Downloads. Or you can show both blocks in both areas - the choice is yours. Many areas of the suite have specific things they wish to automatically show in the sidebar and will do so. This is determined at a programmatic level and is not something that can be shut off. For instance, in IP.Downloads the primary screenshot and the download button show in the sidebar, while in IP.Calendar a map and a button to download an event show. Each application has the ability to output arbitrary content to the top of the sidebar where-ever necessary. It is also worth noting that advertisements have the inherent ability to display in the sidebar site-wide as well. Editing Editing is carried out inline from the front-end, rather than the ACP, and can be customized based on the application, module or individual view. The technicalities of this are beyond the scope of this blog entry but what this means in practice is that you can vary what is shown in the sidebar for each individual area of your site. Ordering of the blocks is of course fully supported using a simple drag and drop interface, and some sidebars additionally have configuration options available to them as needed. Here is a video demonstration of how editing the sidebar works in IPS Community Suite 4.0. Caching With this approach it was important that performance was not compromised and for that reason sidebar blocks support varying degrees of output caching. The active users block which must always be kept up to date utilizes no caching, a more general block showing overall statistics is cached for all users at once and other blocks that rely on permissions are cached for each user group combination. The level of caching used is determined by the developer when writing the block so, while it is important to mention that this performance aspect has been considered, it is something that is transparent to end users and admins in day to day use. Summary Community integration is a key strength of the IPS platform and the new sidebar in version 4 expands on this even further allowing you to share content across all areas effectively.
  14. Day to day administration of your site and particularly managing member permissions has been greatly improved in IPS Community Suite 4.0. It is now easier than ever to see who has access to what but there are still times when being able to see exactly what a member sees can be useful. Perhaps a member is reporting that they can't view a section of the site or they need assistance altering settings on their account? For this reason administrators can log in to other users accounts automatically via the admin control panel where allowed. Security When dealing with access to other people's accounts security is of critical importance and we take this very seriously. Permissions for this are of course controlled by the ACP restrictions system so the ability can be toggled easily on a per user or group basis only to trusted administrators. The member also does not need to reveal their password to the administrator and all login actions are recorded in the logs so security and an audit trail is maintained. Logging In The process of logging in as a user starts in much the same way as in previous versions of the suite. When viewing a member in the ACP you simply click sign in and a new window with your user session is created. For IPS Community Suite 4.0 we have improved several areas of this implementation. Firstly, when logging in as a user you do not lose your existing admin session. You still show logged in as yourself but acting on behalf of somebody else. The user menu updates to show this and serve as a reminder so you do not forget to log out and continue posting using another account. All actions you now perform are as if you were logged in as the user themselves. Viewing and posting permissions reflect the user you are logged in as and any content created will show as if posted by that user. In previous versions not having this workflow was frustrating as you would log in as another user and then when you were finished need to log back out and then log back in with your administrator account. We have now made this seamless. When logging out from another user account in IPS Community Suite 4.0 you are simply returned back to your original admin session with no need to log back in. Summary We hope that these small but powerful changes make for a much more productive workflow. Helping members with access issues and making sure your user permissions are set up correctly should now be much more practical and intuitive.
  15. At IPS not only do we create market leading products, we also use them heavily ourselves. In doing so we often identify problems and needs in the software very early on. Two of the minor changes we've introduced with Nexus 1.5.8 are a direct result of management and support staff feedback during their use of the product internally. Separating Outgoing Email Addresses In the next release of IP.Nexus we've introduced the ability to set up separate outgoing email addresses for billing and support related notifications. these in turn are also separate from the default suite outgoing address. What this means in practice is that you can set up your community with a "noreply@" address where replies are not desirable and you want to avoid having to deal with bounced emails. Your billing notifications could be set up from "billing@" and ticket notifications from "support@". Replies can then be received via email and directed to the appropriate departments automatically. Account Credit Increase Item Businesses often have a primary contact and a separate billing contact. For accounting purposes, it is easier for them to add 12 months worth of account credit to the main account. Currently, in order to do this an invoice needs to be generated for a miscellaneous charge. The alternate contact has to then log in and pay this invoice then notify us that they've made payment. Finally, we have to look up the invoice and then manually add the credit to the account. In IP.Nexus 1.5.8 we have added a new invoice item type in the ACP. When an invoice containing this item type is paid, the customer's account credit will be automatically increased without further intervention from a staff member. These types of real world usage scenarios and feedback are vital when developing all of the products in the IPS Suite. Your feedback as well as our internal usage help us to build products based on what our customers actually require rather than what an isolated group of developers may think they require. Do you have suggestions for any other other workflow improvements such as these? However small or seemingly trivial you think they may be we are always interested in hearing ways in which we can make these tasks that little bit easier.
  16. We are pleased to announce an update to our popular converter application and with it support for conversions from vBulletin 5 Connect. This release has been particularly focused on converter stability and performance improvements. At the time of writing there are 0 open bug reports in the bug tracker. Performance Improvements Whilst data integrity will always be our number one priority we do often review and apply performance improvements where appropriate. In a previous release we introduced a feature that would significantly reduce the time taken when selecting data from the source software but this was only applied to a select few products. We are happy to report this change has now been applied across all converters. For the technically curious, this eliminates the need to use expensive LIMIT clauses with high offsets when converting forums with large amounts of posts. Additionally we identified a few areas that would benefit from extra indexes particularly in the area of looking up relational content. Software Specific Improvements Support for vBulletin5 Connect is now available and the following items are converted - Permissions, Groups, Members, Passwords, Forums, Topics, Posts, Attachments, BBCode, Profile Fields, Emoticons, Moderators, Friends, Ignored Users, Reputation, Ranks, Warn Logs The Ning converter has been greatly overhauled and now works much more reliably. Considering switching to IPS? Now is a great time to switch to IPS. We have a full community suite of products and a great resource community in the Marketplace. For a limited time through May 15 you can use the coupon code SWITCH at checkout to take 10% off your order. Feel free to email sales@invisionpower.com with questions or post in our pre-sales forum to get feedback from other clients.
  17. Custom Sidebar Blocks and Profile Photos Since the IP.Board 3.2 update, the look & feel of content blocks and sidebar widgets has been somewhat left behind in IP.Blog. Inconsistent avatar image sizes and design decisions that were made for IP.Board 3.1 have left some areas of IP.Blog looking dated and disconnected from the rest of the suite. For IP.Blog 2.6 these sidebar blocks have been given an overhaul and brought up to date with IPB 3.3. In addition to this, the much loathed pink Twitter block has finally been replaced by a more modern and clean look; vs Inline Moderation Moderating blogs from the front end has become somewhat tedious over time. With this release the moderation tools have been updated and now use the much more friendly popup style as seen in the forums. Furthermore, moderation now works across pages. No more selecting multiple items only to move to page 2 and see your options removed for you to start over. This inline popup is also context aware and only shows those options that are relevant to the selected items. Managing Categories Another source of frustration for Blog users and an issue that comes up often is the inability to edit individual blog categories. Many users have spent time setting up categories only to discover they cannot be renamed and must be removed and then re-added causing the blog entries to have to be recategorized. Thankfully it is now possible to edit these category names inline on the front end with the changes automatically assigned to entries. Wrapping Up Continuing to ensure the look & feel of all IPS products remains intuitive and consistent is a key goal. We hope that these small changes will help refine the end user experience in IP.Blog adding to the already feature rich options. Whilst it's not always possible to release with no outstanding bugs, I'm also pleased to say that all confirmed bugs reported to the tracker have been fixed for IP.Blog 2.6 in time for QA testing.
  18. Another of the goals for IP.Blog 2.6 development was to increase the level of user engagement, both from existing on-site users and from elsewhere. Auto Share on Content Creation To complement the existing share links which appear alongside blog entries, it is now possible to automatically share Blog content with Facebook and Twitter at the time of posting. This is possible even if the content author has not yet linked their account with the sharing services. If a user has not yet authenticated they will be prompted to do so inline, provided they have opted to share and auto share has been enabled by the administrator. This significantly reduces the barrier to sharing that now exists. Share Images When sharing content with Facebook the page is checked for Open Graph meta tags. By default a tag is added to your logo for the purpose of displaying an image alongside the shared content snippet at Facebook. Starting with IP.Blog 2.6 we've included additional tags for all attachments that have been added to your content. It is therefore now possible to select a specific image which more appropriately matches what you are sharing. Auto Follow In previous versions of IP.Blog, it has been possible for Blog owners to optionally choose to be subscribed to all comments made on their blog via the per blog settings. The problem with this approach is that the option defaults to off and as many blog owners never revisit this settings page after the initial blog creation, it often goes unnoticed. In the forthcoming 2.6 release this setting has been removed and instead replaced by a checkbox presented when posting individual blog entries. This has two major benefits over the existing implementation. Firstly the checkbox is placed in a more prominent position and secondly it allows more granular control over the content notifications are received for. Additionally, the setting now defaults to auto follow in line with the rest of the IPS suite which should result in greater Blog participation. Reputation As of IP.Blog 2.6 it will now be possible to view the reputation or likes both given and received in a user's profile in a similar fashion to content in other applications across the suite. Blog related reputation will also appear in the global "most liked/highest reputation content" section of IPB bringing further emphasis to this application. Quick Nav The quick navigation feature within IP.Board allows an at a glance overview of the most important sections within IP.Board. This functionality now extends to IP.Blog showing featured blogs and the logged in user's own blogs. These areas of IP.Blog can now be reached in the fewest number of clicks in a consistent manner from whatever your location on the site.
  19. With the recent IP.Board 3.3 update much emphasis was placed on search engine optimization. Many areas were found where a small change would make a big difference in preventing duplicate content, reducing crawl errors and ultimately resulting in better rankings. One of the goals for IP.Blog 2.6 was to continue this trend and identify potential improvements. Duplicate Content Recent algorithm changes used by the major search engines have highlighted duplicate content as a particularly relevant problem. With modern web applications such as IP.Blog it is often possible for interface elements to cause genuinely unique content to unintentionally fall into this trap. One such area we have addressed in IP.Blog is the filtering of blogs on the index page. By filtering and sorting the content on these pages, the same content can be displayed in slightly different ways. Canonical tags have now been added causing content to be attributed to the single canonical URL regardless of the URL search engines use to enter the page. Page Titles When viewing individual categories within a blog the title shown was always that of the blog itself. For IP.Blog 2.6 we have tweaked these titles to also include the category name in the format; Category Name - Blog Name - Site Name Additionally, canonical tags have been added to these pages to prevent further problems with duplicate content. Dead End Links With IPB 3.3 we introduced changes to the way user profiles were linked. In cases where site owners disallowed profile viewing for guests, there were still numerous links to profiles throughout the site that resulted in permission denied error messages being served to search engines. Now, if you don't have permission to view a profile, then the username and profile photo are no longer hyperlinked. This functionality has been extended to IP.Blog for the 2.6 release Microformat and Schema Updates As well as improvements made to help your site rank higher, making those results also stand out is an increasing concern for site owners and webmasters. With IP.Blog 2.6 we've introduced two such changes to further expand your audience. Links to user profiles from blog entry pages now include the rel="author" microformat tag. This tag, when combined with a link to a compatible social network in the user profile, will allow search engines to identify and display author info directly in search results like so; Additionally, blog entry ratings have now also been tagged with appropriate schema data so entry ratings will display alongside search results further highlighting those entries. The addition of these small changes both assists search engines in finding relevant content and at the same time improves usability for the end user. It is also worth noting that the majority of these changes have come about as a direct result of user contributed feedback in the IP.Blog Feedback forum. We're very excited that we are able to continually act on readily shared experiences in this way and welcome any further comments you may have.
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