AlexWebsites reacted to Rikki for an entry, Web push notifications, native sharing & offline support
As we approach the release of Invision Community 4.6, I wanted to take you through some improvements for using Invision Community on a mobile device.
Web push notifications
For some time, we've used the local browser notification API to show users notifications. There's a big drawback though: users had to have the site open in a tab for these to work. This is particularly problematic for mobile devices.
In 4.6, we've added support for the WebPush API, which allows sites to push notifications to users' browsers & devices even if the site isn't open - or even if the device is asleep.
We already have support baked in for push notifications via our beta mobile app, so we've piggy-backed on that system and expanded it to support browser-based push notifications.
Choosing push notifications
For users, it's a simple process. A little while after joining a community they will prompted to accept notifications from the site when they open the notification list dropdown (or they can opt-in any time from the notification settings screen). After accepting, they will be able to choose a "Notification List + Push" option for any of the available notification types.
Push notifications enabled
Existing users, who may have already granted permission to the site in the past, will be re-prompted to accept push notifications upon logging in after the 4.6 upgrade.
Push notifications typically show on the homescreen of a phone or in the notification tray of a desktop computer, so receiving dozens of notifications could be overwhelming. For that reason, Invision Community will automatically merge related notifications - for example, multiple mentions from the same topic, or multiple new topics from the same forum.
Grouped push notifications
And, of course, users can stop push notifications across all of their devices with a single click if they want to opt out.
We're excited about the engagement potential of push notifications, since they allow you to immediately reach users who aren't currently on your site - a job previously left to email alone.
On the subject of notifications, one more thing: we've heard your feedback about notifications for new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6. We're acutely aware that making notifications annoying results in users turning them off, so we're always looking to ensure there is a reasonable balance.
Splash Screen Images
When you add a website to your phone's desktop, it appears like a native app. Tapping to launch the site can show a blank screen for a few seconds while the website is loaded. Fortunately, you can now set a 'splash' image in the Admin CP which is shown when launching the app.
Sharing using native share options
Another enhancement coming in 4.6 is the addition of the device share sheet when sharing content from within Invision Community. Users will now see a "More Sharing Options" button (providing their device/browser supports the underlying API) which, when tapped, will open the device share sheet. The options available depend on the device, but typically include actions like sharing links in WhatsApp, posting to Facebook or creating a note.
With a larger share of users now using mobile devices for most of their browsing comes the problem of patchy phone signal and internet connections dropping out. For a dynamic web-based platform like Invision Community, it's difficult to offer much in the way of full offline support, but starting in 4.6 we will present a branded offline page to users when they have no internet connection and try to access the community.
We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, Updates to our community
You’ve probably already noticed that something looks a little different in our community today.
As part of our ongoing community improvements, we’ve performed some housekeeping to streamline the forum structure, make more distinction between areas and open up a few areas to guests and friends.
The big visual change is that we now have four separate areas: support, community, marketplace and developers. It should hopefully be clear what each section does, but let's go through a few examples.
This area is where you can leave feedback on existing features, help shape Invision Community’s future by suggesting new functionality and also where you can get quick support from fellow Invision Community owners and our team.
Starting today, you can post in the Help & Support forum to get help from our team. If you’re unsure what a feature does, or think you’ve spotted an issue that needs our help, then you’re welcome to start a topic. Of course, if you want private support, then you are welcome to create a ticket in the client area as normal.
Even the most seasoned community manager needs a little help from time to time. This section is the place to ask about strategy, to blow off steam in the lounge or to ask for fellow owners to help with support requirements outside of official support, such as configuring servers, databases and so on.
Our Marketplace brings hundreds of new features, themes, language translations and plug-ins to your Invision Community. If you need support or have a request for something you’ve purchased from the Marketplace, drop into the forums here.
Invision Community is blessed with a strong developer community extending the rich functionality of Invision Community. If you’re looking to develop an idea for Invision Community, these forums will let you connect with our development team to answer questions as well as get help from other marketplace authors.
There are a few other changes of note that I’d like to go through. Firstly, ‘Visitors’ (that is a registered member without an active license) are now ‘Friends’. Who doesn’t need new friends? Guests and Friends can now view the official support forums, but cannot post a new support request or reply to existing ones.
We’ve merged ‘General Chat’ in with the Client Lounge to form ‘The Community Managers’ Lounge’. This is still a perk for active customers and the topics are not viewable unless you have an active license.
Finally, we’ve gone through and spruced up some of the forum rules, descriptions and custom error messages.
I hope these changes make it easier to find what you need and get a little help when you need it.
AlexWebsites reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Sign in with Apple
Since the feature was announced at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) we have received lots of requests to implement Sign in with Apple in Invision Community. We’re pleased to announce that as of 4.5 this is now available.
You will need a paid Apple developer account to use it but once enabled users will be able to sign in using their Apple ID and all the convenience that brings. Touch ID and Face ID is supported natively where available and works across all your devices.
Choose to share or hide your email address
Isn’t it just another login button?
Sign in with Apple is built on similar technologies as other login buttons such as those already available in Invision Community from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The difference is Apple’s unique focus on privacy. On certain community types users can be reluctant to sign up when they fear they need to disclose lots of personal details. Every community is different so allowing your users to share as little or as much info as they like could be important to your success. Apple have stated that no user tracking will take place in contrast to other services where this forms a part of their business model.
When signing in with their Apple ID the user can choose whether or not to share their real email address with your community. If the user chooses to hide their email address then your community will receive a relay email address that will forward to their real address. The email address used is unique to your community so the user can retain control.
Can users link their existing Invision Community accounts?
Yes! If a user signs in using the Apple button and shares their real email address, then providing they already have an account on your community they will be prompted to link their account in the same way as other social login buttons. They can also link an existing account from their account settings. If linking from account settings then the email addresses used do not need to match.
Sign in with Apple is already enabled here on our community and is available in the 4.5 beta available to download now.
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, Welcome to Invision Community 4.5
We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019.
The first feature we announced was a revamped Admin Control Panel interface which created more visual space and brightened it up. Actually, we made it so bright that the first feature request was to add a dark mode (which we did).
In the space of three short months, we had spoken about Club improvements, invites and referrals, RSS feed improvements, blog categories, the simple stock photo picker, search insights, security enhancements, user interface updates, new statistic views, and notification improvements.
Most will agree that March and April seemed to last months, thanks to a global pandemic. We used these extra days to talk about marking posts as a solution, topic view summary, Zapier integration, forum view updates, post-installation onboarding, private staff notes, page builder widgets, theme designer improvements, a new default theme, language system updates and everything else we missed.
We have also revamped the front end user interface to modernise the look and feel but also to introduce new CSS frameworks, variables and other time-saving features our design team have been eager to implement.
On the subject of modernisation, we've deprecated some legacy functionality. We've given up trying to make anything look good with IE11 which last saw an update in 2013. We've also deprecated older caching engines like Memcache, APC and Wincache and recommend using Redis instead. The web hosting and domain management features of Commerce are also deprecated as is BBCode. BBCode has its roots in the earliest bulletin-board systems long before rich text editors were common use. It's 2020; we should no longer be asked to type in special codes in square brackets to format text. BBCode is still functional in Invision Community 4.5, but it is likely to be removed in a future version.
Now that primary development has finished, we move onto the beta testing stage. This is where you get to try it out and evaluate the new features before scheduling your own upgrades.
As always, we do recommend that you only test early betas on staging sites or simple test sites. Many a weekend has been ruined by over-enthusiastic upgrading of live sites; so we don't recommend that.
You'll also notice that we're running Invision Community 4.5 on our own site. If you do spot an issue, please let us know in the bug tracker.
I've been creating and releasing products for close to twenty years now, and I still get a real buzz out of hitting the release button. It's always a pleasure to see the result of hundreds of hours of coding, dozens of meetings and numerous passionate exchanges among the team.
You can access the beta in your client area.
We hope you enjoy Invision Community 4.5!
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Forum View Updates
Invision Community has had different view modes for a good number of years.
Forum grid view was added to create some visual interest when listing forums, and we've had expanded and condensed view modes in streams since they were introduced.
We've taken both of these views a step further in Invision Community 4.5
Forum Grid View
To create even more visual interest, the grid view now allows you to upload, or choose a stock image for the header. This instantly makes for a more dynamic and inviting forum list.
The new grid view image headers
You can choose an image from the Admin CP when creating or editing a forum.
Choose a stock photo, or upload your own
Topic List View
For the topic list view, we have taken inspiration from our stream view options to introduce a new 'expanded' view mode, which displays a snippet of the first post.
The new expanded topic list mode
This immediately entices you to engage with the topic because you can read part of the post without having to click inside to see if it interests you.
This is controlled via the Admin CP, where you can choose the default view, or turn off the new view completely.
You may notice a few other subtle changes in these screenshots. The first is that we now included the follower count as a metric on both the forum grid view and the topic expanded view modes. The number of followers is usually a good indicator of how others perceive the value of the content. A higher follower count generally means a more engaging topic or forum.
You can also see that we've switched to a short number format to keep the displays clean. Instead of say, "2,483 posts", it will merely say "2.5k posts". Reducing visual clutter is always crucial to maintaining a clean user interface.
We hope that you find these new view modes useful and that they make your community even more vibrant!
AlexWebsites reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.5: Zapier Brings Integration with Over 2,000 Web Apps
Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 2,000 web apps. In Invision Community 4.5 we are launching a beta service of Zapier integration for Invision Community in the Cloud.
What does Zapier do?
Zapier acts as a bridge between Invision Community and other apps, such as Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. Zapier has over 2000 apps registered currently, and that number grows every single day.
Let us look at a real life example.
Right now, if you wanted to add a member to a Google Sheets document each time a new registration was completed, you'd need some fairly complex code to be written that was "triggered" by this registration event. This would take days to write at some cost.
Zapier simplifies this by allowing you to connect Invision Community with Google Sheets without needing a single line of code. Zapier allows you to streamline your workflows in minutes.
Zapier has two types of events, triggers and actions.
When a certain thing happens on Invision Community, like a member registering or a topic being posted, a trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps. For example, you might create a zaps to...
When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators.
Invision Community Integration with Mailchimp through Zapier
You can also set up Zaps so that when something happens in an external application, it triggers an action in your Invision Community. For example, you might create a zaps to...
When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community.
Invision Community Integration with Google Calendar through Zapier
In addition to using Zapier to integrate with third party services, you can also connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum.
Self-Integration through Zapier
Frequently Asked Questions
What integrations are available?
In the beta launching with Invision Community 4.5, Zapier will be able receive a trigger when a member account or content (forum post, gallery image, etc.) is created and send actions to create the same. More triggers and actions will be added over time. When will this integration be out of beta?
Later this year. Will third party applications and plugins be able to create Zapier triggers and actions?
Because the integration requires an app hosted with Zapier (which is written in Node.js) and this has to be submitted directly by the vendor, it will be difficult for third party applications and plugins to integrate with Zapier through Invision Community's integration. In the future we may be able to provide basic abstracted integrations for third party applications and plugins through an extension API. In the meantime, third party authors can of course write their own Zapier Apps if desired.
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Topic view summary and more
A topic is more than a collection of posts; it's a living entity that ebbs and flows over time.
Evergreen topics can see month-long gaps between posts and longer topics spanning numerous pages can end up hard to navigate through to find useful content.
With this in mind, we've added numerous improvements to the topic view to bring context and summaries key areas within the topic.
Topic view updates
The first thing you likely spotted in the above screenshot is the new sidebar. This acts much like a summary of activity within the topic. It very quickly lets you know how old the topic is and how long it has been since the last reply. This context is essential if you are unwittingly replying to an older topic.
Most topics are driven by a handful of key members. The topic activity section shows you who have been most active, which may influence which posters you give greater authority to.
Likewise, popular days lets you dig into the 'meat' of the topic which may have evolved quickly over several days.
More often than not, a single post attracts more reactions if it is particularly helpful or insightful, and this is shown too.
Finally, a mini gallery of all upload images allows you to review media that has been attached to posts.
The topic activity summary under the first post
This activity bar can be shown either as a sidebar or underneath the first post in a topic. If you enable it for mobile devices, then it will show under the first post automatically.
The topic activity summary on mobile
As with many new features in Invision Community, you have several controls in the Admin CP to fine-tune this to your communities needs.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few other changes to the topic view.
The first is the badge underneath the user's photo. The shield icon notes that this poster is part of the moderation team. Of course, this badge can be hidden for communities that do not like to draw attention to all their moderators.
You will also notice that when the topic starter makes a reply to a topic, they get an "author" badge as their reply may carry more authority.
When you scroll down a topic, it's not often apparent that there has been a significant time gap between replies. For some topical topics (see what I did there) this may alter the context of the conversation.
We have added a little identifier between posts when a period of time has passed between posts.
These changes add a little context to the topic to give you more insight into how the replies direct the conversation.
The new topic activity summary gives you an at-a-glance overview of key moments and posters to help you navigate longer topics.
We hope that you and your members enjoy these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5!
AlexWebsites 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."
AlexWebsites 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!
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Simple Stock Photo Picker
We have come a long way since the late 90s when someone had the genius idea of using a small yellow smiling face image instead of the more common colon-bracket representation of a smiling face.
In Invision Community, there are various places that photography can be used to create visual interest. From uploads in topics, to cover photos for blogs and members.
The humble upload field has served these areas well, but sourcing images to use can be a pain; especially when you have to walk the minefield that is copyright and attribution.
Fortunately, there are a few "CC0" online stock photo libraries that offer quality photography that requires no attribution and are not hampered by copyrights.
One such library is the ever-popular Pixabay, which was established in 2012 and features a very powerful API. Pixabay has over a million images ready to use from llamas to sausages and everything in-between.
Invision Community 4.5 now includes support for Pixabay which brings those images to your fingertips (or mouse pointer if you're on a desktop.)
This video shows the feature in use.
As you can see, not only can you upload into posts from the stock photo library, but you can also use it to add a cover image to your profile and blog entries.
Finding quality photography has never been so easy!
For those that love technical details, the stock photo picker is a programmatic option on the upload form field type making it very easy to add to your own code and apps.
How will you use this new feature? Let me know!
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, Invision Community: A decade in review
When the clocks strike midnight on New Year's Eve, we will enter the third decade of producing Invision Community.
A lot has changed since we set up in 2002. Our team has grown and our product matured. In a world where online startups explode and die within a few years, we're something of an anomaly.
We still have the same love and passion for creating the very best tools to build a community, and we have always ensured that Invision Community is in touch with modern demands.
This decade has seen Invision Community go from strength to strength. In 2010 we were one of many forum systems catering to smaller niche audiences. In 2019 we're powering discussion for many international and well-known brands.
Online habits may have changed in this time, and social media may have swallowed up smaller informal communities, but the need for independent community platforms remains strong.
2020 will see us release 4.5 which will bring another round of essential updates to existing features and a fresh batch of new features.
But first, let us climb inside our Delorean, rewind the clock to 2010 and start from the beginning.
As the sun rose on 2010, Bruno Mars was singing about parts of the human face in "Just the way you are", Katy Perry irritated Microsoft Word's spellchecker with "California Gurls", and CeeLo Green was trying to "Forget you" (at least in the radio edit).
Christopher Nolan's boggled all our minds with Inception, James Franco lost the ability to clap in 127 Hours, and Colin Firth stammered his way through The Kings Speech.
Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad to a collective snort, moderate derision and questions over just how useful a giant iPhone will be.
President Obama, just a year into office warns of "Snowmageddon" that eventually dumps up to 40 inches of snow on the east coast of the United States.
We lost comedy legend Leslie Nielsen (we'd never dream of calling him Shirley), and we gained a small child named Ryan who in just nine years would be earning $29,000,000 by opening boxes of toys on YouTube.
62% of us were using Internet Explorer to the chagrin of most web developers who wished that Chrome's 5% market share was more significant.
Facebook celebrated its sixth year by reaching 400 million users (a far cry from the 2.5 billion it currently has). Twitter, just four years old hits 30 million monthly active users (and none of them talked about fake news).
And how about Invision Community?
We hit 2010 running by releasing numerous updates on IP.Board v3.1, including finally using long-established web standards, and share features now that "social networking is all the craze these days" noting that "friends and colleagues often share similar interests, after all."
How innocent we all were in 2010.
Back then, each product had its own name and release cycle. IP.Gallery's new features included being able to rotate images by 90 degrees. Honestly, people used to go crazy for this stuff.
In May, we released a brand new application called "IP.Commerce". A few months later we renamed it "IP.Nexus" and years later, it was changed back to "Commerce". Naming things is hard.
The announcement contained exquisite details such as "It's hard to say when it'll be available" and "we don't know how much it will cost". We were so sure that it would be accepted positively, we removed the ability to post comments to the blog entry.
As summer turned to autumn and the end of the year loomed large, we released news about a significant update to Gallery called "IP.Gallery 4.0" which pre-dates Invision Community 4 and confused customers for years (so IP.Board 3 works with IP.Gallery 4, but IP.Board 4 works with Gallery 4?). Numbering things is hard too.
The last blog entry was about an app called 'IP.SEO' that I had utterly forgotten existed. It was written by Dan who once locked Lindy out of his own datacenter, but we don't talk about that.
I don't even remember this website
Charles opens the year by managing expectations for IP.Board 3.2 by outlining our three key goals (promotion, usability and modernization). The last one was us removing the "back to top" button and then spending the next eight years explaining why we removed it.
Our spam monitoring service processed 300,000 requests in the first two weeks of 2011. 30% of these requests were deemed to be spam and blocked (0.1% was probably an administrator registering 50 fake accounts before being banned from their own site).
I posted about "exciting new technology" in our new "WYSIWYG" editor (although what you see is sometimes close to what you get) would be more appropriate but slightly less catchy. We spent the next eight years explaining why no one uses BBCode anymore to almost everybody.
Brandon closed out the year with a blog promising "new toys" for IP.Content 2.3 (now called Pages, keep up!) which promises a "who's online" widget and a "shared media field" that was not only complicated to explain, but also use.
IP.Board 3.2 in all its glory
We start the year with news on IP.Board 3.3. This release was to feature essential updates such as the "Remember me?" checkbox on the login form and emoticons in signatures.
Despite being constantly told that we don't take SEO seriously, we round up the latest serious SEO changes including tags, soft 404s and micro schema.
We also celebrated our tenth year in business.
Something terrible must have happened to one of our competitors because we asked if you'd like to switch to IPS.
The year ends with IP.Board 3.4 being released for beta testing. This being a rare year where we release two major versions in less than 12 months.
Brandon has eight coffees and tries to explain what it's like to be a developer: "us developers are a strange bunch. We have a lot of crazy thoughts that just don't make sense to anyone else. Our brains are wired differently. We get from point A to point B by going around point Z and bouncing off point M first.", he closes the blog entry by urging you to ignore us.
The big news is that work on 4.0 is officially underway! Don't get too excited, releasing two major versions in 2012 clearly fatigued us as "IPS Community Suite 4.0" is not released until June 2015, over two years later.
4.0 was our first complete rewrite in years. We threw out all our stable and tested code and started over with an empty editor. It was a vast undertaking that consumed us completely. The result was worth it as we had a new modern framework that still serves us today. But we're getting ahead of ourselves a little.
Back in 2013, Mark talks about trees. Not the kind you find laying around in forests, but rather the programmatic type. It's just a way for Mark to show off how beautiful his code is.
IP.Board 3.4 still gets many updates (along with IP.Gallery, IP.Blog, IP.Content, IP.Downloads and IP.Address (ok that last one was made up)).
We spend the year talking about various new things in 4.0, including a new-new editor and various special features (and no one noticed we started calling it "IPS Social Suite 4.0" - it just rolls off the tongue!)
I introduce the new theme engine for 4.0, and this time, my code is not deleted by Mark (true story).
We didn't know it at the time, but 2014 was not the year that IPS Social Community Suite 4.0 (naming things is hard) will be released. Still, Rikki talks enthusiastically about "extending JS controllers and mixins" a way of coding so complex, to this day you can count the number of people who truly understand it on one of Rikki's fingers because it's only Rikki that understands it.
Determined not to be outdone in the confusing customers' stakes, I go on about how important it is to convert your database to UTF-8 when upgrading from 3.0.
As 2014 neared its inevitable end, we did manage to put up a pre-release testing site and release Beta 1 a release so unstable; it makes the current political climate look absolutely peachy.
IPS Community Suite 4.0 (Preview)
Finally, the year that 4.0 is to be released! We released six betas and a few release candidates before nervously hovering over the 'release' button (actually it's a collection of git commands and 'to the letter' instructions I ignore).
After a year of training customers to call our forthcoming release "IPS Social Suite 4.0," we release it as "IPS Community Suite 4.0". Lindy writes a lengthy blog article that sounds like a cross between a technical discussion of the Brother 8987-A printer and an award acceptance speech.
Quite frankly, after nearly two years of development, we're just relieved to have finally released it.
The year is spent refining and fixing 4.0 and culminates in the news of 4.1, where we add activity streams and a menu manager. We also talk about the new-new-new editor.
December 16th marks the time that IP.Board 3.4 officially dies as we declare it "end of life" and no longer support it. That shiny new release we were excited to talk about in 2012 is finally put out to pasture. The last we heard, IP.Board 3.4 moved to a farm and is doing well.
Now that IP.Board 3.4 is end of life; we do the sensible thing and make a few minor IP.Board 3.4 releases to improve security.
IPS Social.. sorry, Community Suite hits version 4.1.17 (confusing Lindy) before the year is done with many new improvements, including embeds, warning notes and the new leaderboard.
We're still mostly undecided what to call the product, so we avoid trying in all our blog entries.
In fact, looking back, it's quite remarkable how often we changed the name of our product. You'd be forgiven for thinking that it was a robust and well-considered attempt to prevent Google from serving up relevant search results and to confuse potential customers.
We find time to update our own website and introduce a new developer's area.
Barely 16 days into the new year, and we release news of the two-factor authentication feature added to IPS Community Social Invision IP.Board Suite 4.1.18.
When spring has sprung, Charles drops the news that we're working on 4.2, the main feature being a screenshot of the Admin CP log in. We promise that you will love it and that it will be released mid-2017.
Updates come thick and fast. Calendar event reminders, content messages, recommended replies, letter profile photos device management and delayed deletes all make the blog.
Still not convinced that people take us seriously when we say we're committed to SEO, we post about more SEO improvements.
This time, we talk about implementing JSON-LD, rich snippets, pagination tags and more.
We also squeeze another one in about the new-new-new-new editor.
We overhaul our own blog (using Pages because that's how we roll) and I start a hilarious series of blog entries where I troll our own team. Everyone including me loses interest early on in 2019.
During April, we do the sensible thing and change the name of our product once more. IPS Community/Social Suite 4.1 is out, and Invision Community 4.2 is in.
Just to recap: IBForums > IPB > IP.Board > IPS Social Suite > IPS Community Suite > Invision Community.
You're welcome search engines!
As promised, we release Invision Community 4.2 around the middle of the year. Well done, everyone! We finally hit a release date!
As is now tradition, we end the year with news of our next big release Invision Community 4.3 (and tease the new emoji feature). We also calm nerves about Europe's endless fascination with regulation (it's this kind of joke that caused Brexit you know) and wrote up a guide on GDPR.
Phew. We're almost there, dear reader. If you skimmed through most of the blog to this point and expected me to finish with a bang, you'll be disappointed.
We start 2018 at full speed releasing feature news on Invision Community 4.3 including emoji, OAuth, community moderation, REST API, subscription manager, announcements and more.
Oh and we hit our sweet sixteenth birthday in February!
We release Invision Community 4.3 in April to rapturous applause after a short beta testing period. We all agree that 4.3 was a great stable release which instantly makes the developers nervous.
Towards the end of the year, we announce that work has begun on Invision Community 4.4. We talk about new features such as GIPHY integration, AdminCP notifications, Post Before Registering, Commerce Updates and more.
Still not sure if we care about SEO? Well, how about another blog entry on SEO?
The only thing missing this year is a new update on our editor.
And we arrive back home in 2019. A week into January and I pull the massive twist that we're using Invision Community 4.4 on our own community. It's not quite up there with "Bruce Willis is a ghost" though.
In March we write up a case study on The Trevor Space, an LGBTQ charity set up to prevent suicide and to provide crisis intervention. TrevorSpace commends Invision Community for allowing anonymity online which isn't possible with social media.
Rikki drops a bombshell in September when he announces that we're actively working on native iOS and Android apps for Invision Community. Apparently mobile is a thing now.
November starts a series of blog entries talking about our new upcoming release, Invision Community 4.5. We talk about the Admin CP overhaul, Club Pages, RSS Feed Improvements and Club improvements.
And here we are. Right up to date. This decade may have only taken us from IP.Board 3.1 to Invision Community 4.5, but it really has seen a massive change in the company we are, and the industry we are in.
We have seen the inception, rise and stumble of social media. While it's true that forums are no longer the preserve of Star Trek fans obsessing over continuity errors and informal communities have been absorbed by Facebook and friends, spaces that you completely own to host discussions are still very much in demand.
Invision "Chameleon" Community in 2019
Over the past year or so we've seen a sustained rise in the demand for independent communities. Brands especially like that you own your data and can use it to gain insights into customer habits. Just this year, we've launched communities for LEGO, HTC, Sage, Mattel, Gibson Guitars, Squarespace, and many more.
We are constantly evolving Invision Community (assuming we stick with that name) to be at the very centre of your online presence. We have tools to add discussion comments to any page of your site, to embed widgets with a few lines of code. We want to showcase your community throughout your site by adding multiple touchpoints to take your customers on a journey with you. Our native apps will offer new and exciting ways to interact with a community via new interfaces.
As we move into our third decade, I can only see a resurgence for independent communities as we tire of the crushing intrusion of social media. We give away so much of our attention, time and information for very little reward.
We have never been more divisive and fiercely tribal.
It's time to come back together to discuss a topic with care and thoughtfulness. It's time to allow our personalities to take a back seat and let considered discussion live again.
And we'll be here doing what we have always done; creating the very best community platform possible.
I'd love to know when you joined us on this crazy ride. Was it before or after 2010?
AlexWebsites reacted to Rikki for an entry, Invision Community Apps for iOS & Android
I'm excited to reveal that we are making Invision Community native apps for iOS and Android!
For the past few months, our staff has been using an internal test build right here on our community. Now we are ready to widen testing to a larger pool of customers. Information on how to become a tester is at the end of this post. But first, let's take a look at the app itself.
We have a lot of exciting plans for the Invision Community app.
We wanted to take full advantage of a clean slate and build a brand new experience that embraces a native app's interfaces. While the app is unmistakably Invision Community, it features new ways of interacting with your content.
We want the app to help shape the future of Invision Community, and we're asking for you to help.
What we are opening up for testing today is a technology preview. This slim app covers the essentials with a view to much more expansion later.
The technology preview is locked to our community. The app we will release will be a 'multi-community' app; a directory of communities users can browse and save.
We’ve taken this approach because the app stores have clamped down on ‘template’ apps, and the cost involved in building and maintaining a separate app per-community won’t be an option for many of our customers. A multi-community app is a great approach for most: simple setup, minimal cost, still fully-featured, and a great way for new users to find your community too.
What The App Does
For the initial phase of this technology preview, discussions are the main focus which is the foundation of every Invision Community. Also available are profiles, streams, search and notifications - including (at last!) push notifications.
Any areas that the app does not currently support will open seamlessly in a web view within the app. As we build new functionality into the app over time, users will encounter fewer of these hybrid views.
Your feedback will allow us to target the highest priority areas during the technology preview phase.
Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores.
The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities. This funding will secure the app's long-term future.
The premium option could enhance their listing in the directory, or provide special functionality when users use that community in the app.
We intend to release the app alongside the next significant point release of Invision Community, expected to be 4.5. Communities will need to upgrade to this version to allow their users to use the app.
Why not a PWA (progressive web app)?
Invision Community 4.4 already supports several PWA features. However, until iOS supports Push Notifications (and other features) in PWAs, we don't feel they are a fully-rounded solution to using communities on a phone. Building native apps allow us to experiment with new interfaces and approaches. As PWA support improves in the years to come, we'll feed what we learn back into the main product for the benefit of all users.
Those with a long memory will recall that we've had a few attempts at providing an app in the past that weren't successful.
We are great at building apps with web technologies but creating native apps ourselves wasn't sustainable.
Enter React Native.
React Native is an open-source technology for building native apps. React Native allows teams to build native apps using web technologies, but crucially, React Native doesn't build hybrid apps. They are compiled into real native apps - not browser wrappers, but native buttons, text, dialogs, animations and more.
A year or so ago, we started experimenting with React Native to see if it might be a viable approach for us. And it was. Finally, there was a technology that enabled web engineers to build delightful cross-platform native apps.
As we can build native mobile apps using the technology we are familiar with allows us to incorporate mobile app development into our existing processes.
Why just forums?
Invision Community is a large, fully-featured platform, and building the entire platform in a native app from the get-go didn't seem to be the best approach. Instead, we've focused on the most active area of most communities - forums - with other areas still supported in the app via webviews. Over time, additional features and tools will be built into the app so that it eventually reaches feature-parity with the web version. We'll take feedback from our customers to determine which areas to support next.
How will I add my community to the app?
The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options.
Is the app ad-supported?
There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future.
Can I get a white-label version for my community?
We aim to offer a white-label option in the future.
Will my plugins work in the app?
Probably not. We're intentionally building the app to work with standard Invision Community features and apps right now. If your plugins add new UI elements or change the functions that users interact with it's likely they will not work with the app.
What about themes?
Themes won't work in the app because the app doesn't use HTML. However, some branding/customization will be available via the AdminCP, and we may expand upon this in future.
Have other questions? Let us know in the comments, and we'll answer them!
Sign Up For Testing
For the next stage of our testing process, we will be inviting several customers to try the app and provide feedback/bug reports. As part of the sign-up process, we'll ask for some information about your own community. We'll use this to select further testers once we begin testing of the 'multi-community' version of the app later. The answers you provide will not affect your chance of testing the app on our community.
Interested in joining the testing group? Click here to sign up.
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: SEO Improvements
It's been said that the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google.
While we can't promise to get you to page 1 for a generic search term, we have taken some time for Invision Community 4.4 to do an SEO sweep.
Moz.com defines SEO as "a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines."
We have the technical skills and were fortunate enough to have Jono Alderson of Yoast lend his time, knowledge and vast experience to improve our SEO.
This blog article gets a little technical. It's completely fine to leave at this point with the comfort of knowing that Google will be a little happier on your site with Invision Community 4.4.
The majority of the changes are designed to send stronger signals to Google and friends over which content to slurp and which to look at a bit later.
Still here? Good. Let us roll up our sleeves and open the hood.
The most visible change is that we've taken pagination out of query strings and placed it in the path.
For example, the current pagination system looks a little like:
Which is fine but it gets a little confusing when you add in a bunch of sort filters like so:
A better approach would be to make a clear signal to both Google and humans that pagination is a separate thing.
Invision Community 4.4 does this:
Not only is this good for search engines, but it's also good for the humans too as it is more readable and no longer confused with filter parameters.
Of course, we ensure that the old style pagination is redirected (via a 301 header) to the new pagination URL automatically so nothing breaks.
These tags are a way of telling search engines that a specific URL is the 'master copy' of a page. This helps prevent duplicate content from being indexed.
Without it, you are leaving it up to the search engine to choose which is the master copy of the page.
yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ and yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?sort=desc&field=time may show the same content but have different URLs.
By setting the canonical tag to point to yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ regardless of filters sends a strong signal to the search engines that this is the page you want to be spidered.
Invision Community sets these tags in many places, but we audited these in 4.4 and found a few areas where they were missing.
For example, viewing a member's profile doesn't always set a canonical tag which may confuse search engines when you click on "View Activity" and get a list of content items.
When an application or website wants to tell the visitor that the page they are looking for doesn't exist, it sends a 404 header code along with a page that says something "We could not find that item" or "No rows available".
If a search engine spiders a page that looks like a 404 page, but it doesn't have the 404 header code, it logs it as a "soft 404".
Given the short amount of time Google has on your site to discover new content, you don't want it to hit many soft 404s.
Invision Community 4.4 omits containers (such as forums, blogs, etc.) that have no content (such as a new forum without any topics yet) from the sitemap, and also adds a 'noindex, follow' meta tag into the HTML source.
Google will periodically check to see if the status of the page has changed and happily slurp away when content has been added.
Although the changes listed here don't deserve their own section in this article, they are no less important.
We have audited the new JSON-LD markup added to Invision Community 4.3 to help search engines better understand the relationship between pages.
The profile view in Invision Community contains a mix of information pertinent to the member and content they've authored.
We've ensured that the content areas are using a specific URL, with appropriate canonical tags. This will help reduce confusion for search engines.
If you made it this far, then well done. It's time to slam the hood closed and mop our collective brows.
These changes will certainly help Google and friends spider your site a little more efficiently and have a clearer idea about what pages and data you want to be indexed which can only improve your ranking.
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, Video Tip: ACP Tips and Tricks
Work smarter, not harder is a motto we hear a lot of in our modern age.
This is of course great advice. Invision Community's Admin CP is packed full of tools and settings to help you configure your community to your needs.
In this short video I show you how you can work smarter in the Admin CP.
I show you how create a dashboard perfect for your needs. The dashboard is perfect to show a snapshot of what is happening with your community.
The search bar is the most powerful tool in the Admin CP. From finding members, settings and Commerce tickets, it's something I reach for every day.
Re-order the Menu
Prioritise the menu to put often used sections of the Admin CP within easy reach.
With a few clicks, you can copy a single setting from a forum across multiple. This saves a lot of time moving between the forum list and forum settings. This of course works across the suite including downloads, blogs and more.
Got a forum or blog category set up perfectly and want to add one more like it? Just hit the copy button and save the hassle of filling in the form again.
These are our tips for using the Admin CP as effectively as possible. Do you have any tips? Let us know below!
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, January Wrap Up
What an exciting month we've had!
The big news is that it's all systems go on Invision Community 4.3, our big update to our apps.
We've already talked about Automatic Community Moderation, Emoji, Sign in from other sites using OAuth, blog updates, Scaleable search and interface improvements, Apple Pay (and more) support, Paid club memberships, and other club improvements and massive gallery updates.
Our team take a short breather to discuss their hidden talents, including the ability to solve a Rubik's cube in under two minutes.
In our community management series, we look at how you can brand your Invision Community in just a few minutes without knowing how to code.
This month's featured articles are:
You can see our full newsletter here.
AlexWebsites reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: AdminCP Member Profiles
Viewing and editing a member is probably one of the most frequently used features of the AdminCP. With the design unchanged for many years, and the tabbed interface starting to grow unwieldy, it was due for some love. We have not only dramatically improved the design but added many new features.
New AdminCP Member Page
Let's look at some of the improvements:
Easy Toggle between Member and Customer View
If you have Commerce installed, you can now toggle between "Member View" (which shows the screen above) and "Customer View" (which shows the current customer page in Commerce with the user's purchases, invoices, etc.). This makes it much easier to view all of a member's information in one place.
If you don't have Commerce installed, the top tab bar will not show.
The pane in the top-left shows the member's basic information like name, email address and photos. You can now reposition a member's cover photo and crop the profile photo (functions previously not available in the AdminCP). To change the display name or email address, you just click and hold on the information and a textbox appears. The buttons below allow you to merge, delete, sign in as, and edit the preferences or password for the member.
Basic Member Information Pane
In addition, this pane lists any social networks the user is logged in with. It shows you the member's profile photo and profile name on that network (for example in this screenshot, it is showing my Facebook profile's photo and name) and for many networks you can click on this to be taken directly to their Facebook/Twitter/etc profile. You can also edit the syncing options for the method and unlink the accounts, features which weren't available previously.
If you have Commerce installed, there is also an indicator if the user has an active subscription.
A member with an active subscription
If a member is validating, banned, flagged as a spammer, or locked, a large banner will display drawing your attention to this. For validating and banned, it will explain exactly what the status is (for example, if they haven't responded to the validation email yet versus they are awaiting admin approval, or if they have been banned manually versus are in a group without permission to access anything).
A member that has been locked
Other possible alerts
Locations & Devices
This pane shows you, on a map, all of the locations the user has been when using the community (based on their IP address) as well as the IP address they used to register and most recently.
IP Address Locations
While the devices tab shows the most recently used devices.
Recently Used Devices
Right in the middle of the profile you can see some statistics about the member's activity. This includes:
A sparkline graph of their recent content. Their content count and reputation count (with tools to manually change or rebuild). A breakdown of the amount of content they have made across all applications. A visual indication of how much of their messenger and attachment storage they have used. If Gallery and Downloads are installed, the existing statistics overview provided by these apps are also available here.
Warnings & Restrictions
This block shows recent warnings on the account, and also highlights if any restrictions (i.e. content moderation, restricted from posting, or application-level restrictions) are being applied, which previously was difficult to see at a glance.
Warnings & Restrictions Block for an account which has content moderation in effect
On the right is a pane which shows all of the latest account activity. While this was available in previous versions (called "Member History") we have made some significant improvements:
Recent Account Activity
The new profile has been designed with extensibility in mind. Third party developers can easily add new blocks our even entire new tabs. Any apps/plugins which are currently adding a tab to the "Edit Member" form will retain backwards compatibility with their tab continuing to appear when clicking the "Edit Preferences" button in the basic account information pane.
AlexWebsites reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Welcome to the future, blog!
We've taken Invision Community's Blog app by the scruff of the neck and dragged it into 2018!
There has been a growing trend for imagery to play a very important part of a blog entry. This update reflects that.
Introducing Grid View
We have added a new view that shows your blog entries as cards with space for a cover photo.
We've very visual creatures, and a good photograph can entice readers into your blogs to read more.
As you would expect, you can disable this mode from the Admin CP for purists that prefer the traditional list format.
For those who's sense of adventure runs deep, the new grid mode allows you to show a list of latest blog entries as the blog home page.
This puts valuable and engaging content right in front of your audience.
This list view persists when you view a blog's entries giving a consistent feel.
Viewing an entry
We've given the blog entry page a little make-over by featuring the cover photo above the content. The slimmed down blog details bar allows your audience to focus on the content.
Default Cover Photos
You may have spotted that entries without a cover photo have a rather fetching geometric pattern in different colors.
This is a new micro-feature of Invision Community 4.3. Currently, if you do not have a cover photo on a blog, profile or event, the bar is a rather sad shade of black.
The new default cover photo feature makes it much more cheerful. Here's what a profile looks like.
Here's a few technical details for those that love to know all the things.
The grid view feature can be turned off in the ACP (but doing so will make me very sad) You can choose the default home page view: Latest Entries or List of Blogs. You can still view a list of blogs when you're on the latest entries page. This choice is stored in a little cookie (GDPR friendly, it doesn't contain any identifying data) so navigating back gets you the last view you chose. Let us know what you think! We love it, and hope you do too.
AlexWebsites reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Express yourself with Emoji
Emoji: built in to Invision Community 4.3! ?
Invision Community has a long history. We remember the early days of forums, back when graphical "emoticons" or "smilies" were added.
We have always shipped our products with a basic set of emoticons with the ability to add your own images and has supported emoji from mobile devices.
Emoji has become a standard across mobile and desktop devices so it made sense to bring them to Invision Community fully.
You can choose from 3 different styles of Emoji:
The native style provided by the user's operating system (if you choose this option, users on different platforms will see different styles) Twitter style EmojiOne style
Once you have chosen one of these options, all of the available Emoji will show in the emoticons selector when making a post. Unlike in older versions, the entire list is scrollable (the categories drop down will jump you to the category rather than filter), you can search, and standard Emoji features like skin tone modifiers are fully supported, and of course, you can make them as big as you like.
Skin Tone Modifier
Make Emoji any size
Autocompleting Short Codes
In addition to using the selector, you can also use optionally enable standard :short_codes:. These will be autocompleted as you type.
Autocompleting Short Codes
You can also enable more conventional ASCII emoticons to be automatically replaced too:
ASCII Short Codes
Don't Worry: Custom Emoticons Aren't Going Anywhere!
You can use custom emoticons either instead of, or even alongside Emoji. If you give your custom emoticons a text replacement starting and ending with : they will even show in the autocompletion alongside Emoji.
Whichever style you choose, Emoji is stored in the database as the actual Unicode characters, so you can even change the setting and all Emoji, even those in existing posts, will immediately change.
If you choose to use the native style (so the Emoji will match the style provided by the operating system), the system will automatically detect which Emojis are supported and the selector will only try to show the ones the platform can render.
AlexWebsites reacted to Charles for an entry, Invision Community 4.3
We are happy to announce the new Invision Community 4.3 is available!
Some highlights in Invision Community 4.3 include...
We now support Elasticsearch for scalable and accurate searching that MySQL alone cannot provided. There are also enhancements to the overall search interfaces based on your feedback.
Express yourself with native emoji support in all editors. You can also keep your custom emoticons as you have now.
The AdminCP interface to manage your members is all new allowing you easier control and management of your membership.
Automatic Community Moderation
You as the administrator set up rules to define how many unique member reports a piece of content needs to receive before it's automatically hidden from view and moderators notified.
The new Clubs feature has been a huge hit with Invision Community users and we are expanding it to include invite-only options, notifications, exposure on the main community pages, paid memberships, and more.
Custom Email Footers
Your community generates a lot of email and you can now include dynamic content in the footer to help drive engagement and content discovery.
New Gallery Interface
We have reworked our Gallery system with a simplified upload process and more streamlined image viewing.
The full list follows. Enjoy!
We now support Elasticsearch which is a search utility that allows for much faster and more reliable searching. The REST API now supports search functions. Both MySQL and Elasticsearch have new settings for the admin to use to set search-defaults and default content weighting to better customize search logic to your community. Visitors can now search for Content Pages and Commerce Products. When entering a search term, members now see a more clear interface so they know what areas they are searching in and the method of search. Member Engagement
Commerce can now send a customizable account welcome email after checkout. You can whitelist emails in the spam service to stop false-positives. REST API has many enhancements to mange members. Ability to join any OAuth service for login management. Invision Community can now be an OAuth endpoint. Wordpress OAuth login method built in. Support for Google's Invisible ReCaptcha. Groups can be excluded from Leaderboard (such as admins or bot groups). All emails generated by Invision Community can now contain admin-defined extra promotional text in the footer such as Our Picks, and Social Links. Admins can now define the order of Complete Your Profile to better control user experience. Clubs
Option to make a Club visible but invite-only Admins can set an option so any Club a member is part of will also show in the parent application. So if you are in a Club that has a Gallery tab then those image will show both in the Club and in the main Gallery section of the community. Club members can now follow an entire Club rather than just each content section. There is a new option on the Club directory page for a list view which is useful for communities with many Clubs. If you have Commerce you can now enable paid memberships to Clubs. Admins can set limits on number of Clubs per group. If a group has delete permission in their Club, they can now delete empty containers as well. Members can ignore invitations. Moderation and Administration
Unrestricted moderator or administrator permission sets in the AdminCP are visually flagged. This prevents administrator confusion when they cannot do something as they will be able to quickly see if their account has restrictions. You can choose to be notified with a new Club is created. Moderators can now reply to any content item with a hidden reply. Download screenshot/watermarks can now be rebuilt if you change settings. Support for Facebook Pixel to easily track visitors. Moderators can now delete Gallery albums. Automatic moderation tools with rules to define when content should auto-hide based on user reports. Totally new member management view in AdminCP. More areas are mass-selectable like comments and AdminCP functions for easier management. New Features
Commerce now has full Stripe support including fraud tools, Apple Pay, and other Stripe features. Commerce packages can now have various custom email events configured (expiring soon, purchased, expired). Full Emojii support in the editor. Complete overhaul of the Gallery upload and image views. Announcements system overhaul. Now global on all pages (not via widget) and new modes including dismissible announcements and top-header floating bar option. Many new reports on traffic and engagement in the AdminCP. Blog has new view modes to offer options for a traditional site blog or a community multi-member blog platform. The content-starter can now leave one reply to Reviews on their item. Commerce now makes it much easier to do basic account-subscriptions when there is no product attached. Useful Improvements
Forums has a new widget where you can filter by tags. If tags are not required, the tag input box now indicates this so the member knows they do not have to put in tags. Member cover photos can now be clicked to see the full image. Any item with a poll now has a symbol on the list view. Twitch.tv embed support. You can now update/overwrite media in the Pages Media Manager. Mapbox as an additional map provider to Google Maps. Technical Changes
Direct support for Sparkpost has been removed. Anyone currently using Sparkpost will automatically have their settings converted to the Sparkpost SMTP mode so your email will still work. Your cache engines (like Redis) will be checked on upgrade and in the support tool to ensure they are reachable. Third-party applications will now be visually labeled to distinguish them from Invision Community official applications. The queued tasks list in the AdminCP is now collapsed by default as queued tasks are not something people need to pay much attention to during normal operations. When upgrading from version 3 series you must convert your database to UTF8 and the system saves your original data in tables prefixed with orig. The AdminCP now alerts you these are still present and allows you to remove them to reclaim storage space. On new installs there are now reasonable defaults for upload limits to keep people from eating up storage space. Categories in all apps (forums, gallery albums, databases, etc.) no longer allow HTML in their titles. This has been a concern both in terms of security and usability so we were forced to restrict it. Large improvements to the Redis cache engine including use for sessions. The login with HTTPS option has been removed and those who were using it will be given instructions to convert their entire community to HTTPS. Images loaded through the proxy system now honor image limits for normal uploads. We now consider BBCode deprecated. We are not removing support but will not fix any future issues that may come up.
There's a lot to talk about here so we are going to lock this entry to comments so things do not get confusing. Feel free to comment on upcoming feature-specific entries or start a topic in our Feedback forum.
AlexWebsites reacted to Charles for an entry, Avoiding Google Security Warnings
Google has recently been stressing that sites should use secure connections (served via HTTPS) whenever possible. They have recently also started warning sites that collect password on non-secure pages and will also be updating Google Chrome to warn users when a password is being entered on a non-secure page. You can read more information at Google and a good article on Ars Technica.
There are two ways on IPS Community Suite to avoid these alerts. Keep in mind that doing nothing will not cause you any problems, your site will still work, but users will get warnings and this may impact how people perceive joining your community.
Make your Community 100% Secure
The easiest option is to make every page on your IPS Community Suite use a secure connection. To do this you would need to ensure your web host has HTTPS support enabled on your site and then simply edit conf_global.php and change the URL field to https:// and that's it.
One thing to keep in mind is that your users, if you allow it, can still paste in links to externally hosted images which might not be secure. This does not impact the security of your site but it may generate a browser warning indicating your site has "mixed content" meaning some is secure and some is not. You can optionally enable the Image Proxy feature to make externally linked images route through a proxy on your local server to maintain 100% secure content.
Image Proxy Options
Only Login/Registration Forms and AdminCP Secure
If you prefer not to use HTTPS for your entire site, we do have a setting to only use secure connections for login, registration, and AdminCP.
Use HTTPS for Logins and AdminCP
When the login-only secure option is enabled the quick login drop down is also disabled and instead users are sent to a full page to login. This is a small change required to avoid browser warnings. Although the quick login menu submits to a secure connection, the form field itself may show on a non-secure page which would generate a warning.
Quick Login not Available when Login-Only HTTPS Setting Enabled
IPS Community in the Cloud
Those using IPS CiC can get secure connections for a $15 setup fee plus $5 month on our 40, 65 and 100 user Cloud plans. You can either bring your own certificate or we can provide one for you. On the 200, 450 and 750 plans, SSL is completely free - again, either your own or we can provide one.
AlexWebsites reacted to Charles for an entry, Cloud and Self-Hosted License Sale
Next week, IPS will be implementing the pricing changes to our product lineup that we published in 2015. In the spirit of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we are extending an opportunity to purchase a new license or add new applications to your existing suite at 15% off our current pricing.
To take advantage of this offer, please use coupon code IPSPROMO16 at checkout. This promotion is active starting now and valid until 1 December 2016 (EST) and applies to new purchases only. We are unable to retroactively apply the discount.
This promotion also applies to Community in the Cloud for your first month of service!
If you’ve been waiting to purchase a new license or add products to your suite, this is the last opportunity to obtain this level of pricing! Happy shopping!