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SeNioR-

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    SeNioR- reacted to Jordan Invision for an entry, Help me, Invision Community. You're my only hope: from administrator to community leader   
    Harness the force as a community leader.

    A long time ago in the Interwebs far, far away... I proudly signed off all my posts and emails with the title: Owner, Administrator. Anyone in a 10-mile digital radius from me was made well aware:
    I AM AN OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR. I AM IMPORTANT I PROMISE. I OWN AND ADMINISTRATE!!! 
    Granted I held off on the all-caps, but still.
    My assertion permeated throughout all areas of my online presence. 
    Though well-intentioned, my identity as an administrator pushed me away from the community I fostered. 
    I focused more on growing the group rather than being part of the group, thus creating an unspoken hierarchy that placed my members below me. 
    Recognizing your members are living, breathing, sentient people is one of the most important aspects of community building, but I couldn’t see the forest from the trees. 
    Part of me enjoyed the authority and power attached to my role as the website’s administrator. But with that power came isolating separation – the dark side if you will. 

    A community I unknowingly built was unrelatable to me because I was unrelatable to them. Is it possible to remove “me” and “them” from the equation entirely and replace it with an “us?” 
    Our community members aren’t naive to the fact that someone does technically own the community, and that part of your role as a community leader is administrating. It’s less about the title and more of the mindset. How can you connect with your community? By being relatable and approachable. Better yet? Leading by example.

    Become a community leader
    Shifting your interpersonal narrative from administrator to community leader can profoundly change your community’s culture for the better. 
    As a community leader, you’ll inevitably perform administrative tasks, including the nitty gritty like group promotions, moderating and reputation (all critical functions for a high-functioning community). However, it’s possible to execute said functions while cloaked under anonymity that the administrator title can provide (that’s not necessarily good or bad, it just is). An important component to community leading is visibility.

    For many years, I made sure my Invision Community software was up-to-date, licenses paid, the registration system worked, spam defense was light-saber slicing the plastic-surgery-gambling bots to Tatooine. I was a fantastic administrator, but my presence from my community, the very place I worked tirelessly to keep running, was sorely missed. 
    The moment I went “all-in,” meaning I decided to become an integral part of my community outside of the administrator role (by commenting on members’ topics, responding back in private message group chats, reacting to content, listening to feedback and opening up about real-life success and failures) is the moment I evolved into a community leader. I wanted to be seen.
    My deliberate change of self perception produced exponential growth in terms of traffic and new registrations. More importantly, I became a better community leader. 
    I feel compelled to not only share pop music news with my community, but also what’s going on in my life. It wasn’t a comfortable transition, but a necessary one. Upon stripping away my title from administrator to community leader, I became a role model. I became someone my members came to for more than just technical forum advice. They wanted to see how I was doing. They wanted to share their wins and losses with me after seeing me succeed and fail in public. They saw me as a person; a leader. 
    At the end of the day, community leading means forging connections, sharing your highs and lows and showing up for your members. That starts from within, which may feel incredibly awkward at first, but get comfortable with discomfort and watch you and your community blossom.

     
    Thoughts on transforming from administrator to Jedi community leader? Sound off in the comments! And may the +1 be with you.
  2. Like
    SeNioR- 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.

    Offline support
    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!
  3. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, Highlight Topics With Replies From Groups   
    Wouldn't it be great to know if a staff member had replied to a topic before you clicked to open it?
    When you're scanning a list of topics, knowing which have had a reply by a member of the community team can help decide which to read. Currently, you need to open the topic and scan the posts to see if there's a reply from the team.
    Happily, in our next release, we've made it clear which have had a reply by a member of a specific group.
    You can specify which groups to show as having replied via the Groups form in the Admin CP.

    The per-group setting in the Admin CP
    You can select to detect the group based on the member's primary group, secondary group or both.
    When viewing a list of topics, you will see a badge showing that a member of that group has replied.

    This simple feature will make it easier to highlight when important replies have been made to topics, which is a great addition for forums using the new 'solved' feature.

    Let me know below if you'll use this new feature and what you'd like to see in the future.
  4. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to bfarber for an entry, Solved Content Improvements   
    For a long time, Invision Community has supported a Question and Answer mode within the Forums application which allows a reply to be flagged as the "best answer" to the question posed. With the release of 4.5, we also introduced a way to allow topics to be marked as "solved" which introduces similar functionality without transforming the look and feel or other behavior of the forum itself.
    Based on the popularity of this new addition in 4.5, we have made some further improvements to solved topics and answered questions in our next release.
    Notification to topic/question starter
    While notifications were available to the poster who answered a question or solved a topic with the release of 4.5, this release also adds notifications for the topic or question starter so that they can be made aware that an answer is available to their question.

    Topic and question starters now get notifications for solutions
    AdminCP Statistics
    Solved topics and answered questions provide for measurable statistics that can help you determine the health and direction of your community, particularly for support communities. To that end, we have introduced two new content statistic blocks that can help you measure how well areas of the community that support answers and solutions are faring.

    New AdminCP statistics
    You can now quickly see the percentage of topics/questions that have been solved (relative to the total number posted in areas that support solutions), as well as the average time it has taken for a solution to be marked on a topic or question (relative to the time the topic or question was initially posted). These statistic blocks support time period filter, time period comparisons, and node filtering to narrow down the statistical data for your specific needs.
    User profile enhancements
    User profiles now show the number of solutions the user has posted, and also allows you to view all of those solutions, in a manner very similar to reputation.

    Prolific problem solvers will now be called out boldly

    Answers can be quickly found on user profiles
    These improvements should help reward the most helpful users on your community by giving them more prestige and helping other users find their answers quicker.
    Collectively, we hope that these changes make the question and answer and topic solution features in the Forums application more useful for your community members, and the administrators behind the community.
  5. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, Anonymous Posting   
    For a very long time Invision Community has allowed community owners to choose how open or private their communities should be. Communities could optionally allow guests to post without registering, they could allow the use of pseudonyms or they could require the use of real names.
    This covers a diverse range of communities but feedback from our clients made us realize that some use cases have not been accounted for.
    For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community.
    With our next release, we are pleased to introduce Anonymous Posting to make this a reality.
    When enabled, members will see the option to post anonymously when creating or replying to content.

    Starting a new anonymous topic
    Author details for anonymously posted content is hidden throughout the community and instead a default profile picture and name is shown.
    Total anonymity is not always desirable however and in some cases it may be necessary for trusted staff members to know who posted the content. Where allowed, these staff members will be shown an option to reveal the content author.

    Author details are hidden but can be revealed by trusted staff members
    Anonymous posting can be enabled on a per group basis and also limited to specific forums, albums and categories etc. The ability for staff members to reveal who really posted the content is a moderator permission.
    We hope this new feature is a useful addition and where appropriate makes your members feel safe or comfortable to share info they might not have otherwise.
    How open or private is your community and what do you find are the benefits or disadvantages of anonymity?
  6. Like
    SeNioR- 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!
    Who Reacted?
    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.

    Quote Collapse
    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!
  7. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, Trial Invision Community 4.5 Now   
    If you're preparing to upgrade to Invision Community 4.5, there's now an easy way to test it out.
    We have updated our Invision Community demo system to use Invision Community 4.5! This is a quick and easy way to take 4.5 for a test drive and test all the new functionality before making your upgrade plans.

    Taking out a demo is very simple, just head over to our demo sign up page, follow the instructions and within a few minutes you'll receive your own private demo log in.
    We'd love to know what you think! Please let us know in the feedback forum.
  8. Like
    SeNioR- 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!
  9. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Marking as solved   
    Invision Community has had a question and answer mode for a good few years now.
    This mode transforms a forum into a formalized way to handle your member's questions. Members can upvote answers, and the topic starter and your community management team can mark a reply as the "best answer".
    This is great when you want to add rigour to specific forums which encourage your members to find solutions.

    The existing "QA" mode
    But how about a way to mark a topic as solved without transforming the look and feel of the forum?
    We get asked this a lot.
    Happily, it's now a feature just added to Invision Community 4.5! Those with a long memory will recall we had something very similar way back in Invision Community 3.

    The new "mark as solved" feature
    This new feature allows the topic starter or your community management team to mark a post as the solution. This highlights the post within the topic as well as adding an icon to the listing views. 

    The green tick notes that the topic has a solution
    In addition, it also increases the member's solved count, which is displayed under their name in the post and even in a draggable widget that shows members with the most solutions. We have also added a new filter to the existing post and topic feed widgets to allow only items with a solution to be shown, so you can create a "Recently solved" feed.

    The new widget
    Finally, a notification is sent to the author of the post that is selected as the best answer, so they're made aware that their helpful content has been spotted.

    Let your members know their content was useful
    We hope you enjoy these changes and look forward to allowing your community to find answers quickly, and to reward the members that provide them.
  10. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Ehren for an entry, 4.5: ACP Dark Mode   
    A short while ago we revealed the new look Admin CP for Invision Community 4.5. The focus was on increasing the workspace, brightening and modernising the look.
    However, for some this new look was perhaps a little too bright, especially when setting your OS to use dark mode.
    Rather than cause an increase in sales for sunglasses, we went ahead and implemented a dark mode for the Admin CP.
    You can set it to work inline with your OS preference, or you can choose to enforce light or dark mode.
    I'm sure the next question you're about to ask is "Hey Ehren that looks amazing and now working at 3 am won't wake up the neighbours when I log into the AdminCP but can you do the same for the front-end?"
    The short answer to that is "no". The theme system isn't currently designed to support both light and dark colour schemes, however our marketplace has a great selection of dark themes to enhance your community.
    I hope that you like this new feature and I just wanted to say thanks for your feedback; we do listen!
  11. Confused
    SeNioR- reacted to Joel R for an entry, 4x4 Superuser Concepts 🏅   
    Whether you call them Champions 🤩, Advocates 🌟, or Superusers 🏆, every community contains an elite group of members that carries 🏋 the community.  They don't just drink the kool-aid 💧.  They mix, chug, and swim 🏊‍♀️in the community kool-aid.
    Learn 🔢 four community management concepts about Superusers in less than 🕓 four minutes.
    1. 90-9-1 Rule (aka "1% rule"): The 90-9-1 principle refers to the lopsided inequality of user engagement that 90% of users are lurkers 🙈, 9% of members contribute from time to time 🙉, and 1% of users 😸 account for almost all contributions.  Superusers are the 1%.  
    2. Intrinsic Motivator: Motivation that comes from internal motivation💖, rather than any external rewards. This could be a sense of satisfaction 😃, pride 😤, ownership, loyalty, friendship 🤗, or other emotional and internal motivator.  Long-term superusers 🏃 are wired to intrinsic motivation.  Tapping into intrinsic motivation is key to providing new motivation for superusers.
    3. Spiral of Silence: Be careful ⚠️, however, that your superusers don't overwhelm 🛑 the conversation which can lead to the Spiral of Silence: a theory that as the vocal minority becomes louder 📢, other members adopt the same views or fail to share opposing views. You'll need to privately manage this vocal minority, especially if they're negative 💢.     
    4. Work Out Loud 💬: An engagement practice for superusers to visibly share 🗣 their work online in your community. It offers opportunities for superusers and members to openly share 👯 their knowledge, generosity, purposeful discovery, and growth ✨. Usually entire point ✴️ of communities of practice.
  12. Like
    SeNioR- 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.
    Technology Preview
    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.
    RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 Pricing
    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.

    Availability
    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.
    Questions?
    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.
    Why now?
    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.
    RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4
  13. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Recurring PayPal Payments and more with Braintree and Commerce   
    Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which provides some great additional features for PayPal transactions including a significantly improved recurring payments model. We are delighted to be bringing full support for Braintree for Commerce in Invision Community 4.4.
    What is Braintree?
    Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which supports taking payments by credit cards (including Apple Pay and Google Pay) and Venmo as well as PayPal, providing a good option for communities wanting to use a single payment gateway, and also brings improved functionality for recurring PayPal transactions.
    For PayPal transactions, there are no additional fees and the checkout experience uses the normal PayPal experience your customers are used to.
    Recurring PayPal Improvements
    Recurring payments / Billing Agreements in PayPal have up until now been initiated by PayPal. Invision Community tells PayPal what the renewal terms of a purchase are, but then it's up to PayPal to take that payment and notify your community when it succeeds (or fails).
    This comes with a number of limitations and problems. It makes it difficult for you as an admin to modify an existing purchase or for the customer to upgrade/downgrade. It also means the customer has to create separate Billing Agreements for each purchase. Most significantly though, it means if there is a delay in receiving the payment (such as an expired card) it is sometimes unclear what should happen on your community's end, and how it can be resolved if/when the payment is received.
    Other payment gateways work the other way around. When a customer pays by card, for example, they have the option of storing their card details. Later, if they make another purchase or a renewal invoice is generated, Invision Community can tell the gateway to recharge the same card - and if it fails, allow the customer to provide an alternative payment method. This allow both you and your customers to have much greater control, and is much more reliable.
    Braintree resolves this by allowing customers when paying with PayPal to save their PayPal account in the same way they would save a credit card on file. When paying with PayPal, users will see a simple checkbox which, if checked, will allow future payments to be taken with PayPal automatically.

    Storing PayPal Accounts for Recurring Payments
    Other Features
    In addition to an improved checkout experience, our integration with Braintree supports:
    Taking payments by Credit Card, including 3DSecure checking and the ability for customer to store card details on file. Braintree uses a fully PCI-compliant method of taking card details in a way that ensures the card information never reaches your server. Apple Pay and Google Pay Venmo, which also allows storing accounts in the same way as PayPal accounts. Offering PayPal Credit Handling chargebacks/disputes Support for Braintree's Advanced Fraud Tools
    A Disputed PayPal Transaction
    Existing Setups and Upgrading
    The existing PayPal gateway will continue to be available for basic PayPal integration, and your existing set up will continue to work exactly as it does now after upgrading.
    If you are using PayPal, especially if you are using Billing Agreements, we strongly recommend switching to Braintree after upgrading. While it isn't possible to convert existing Billing Agreements, you can allow existing ones to continue to work and use Braintree for new purchases.
    Please note that while existing setups will work fine, from 4.4 it will no longer be possible to set up a new PayPal method with either Billing Agreements, or to take payments by card, as PayPal has deprecated the API this was using in favour of Braintree and it can no longer be enabled on new accounts.
    As mentioned though, this does not affect any existing setups, which, if you do not switch to Braintree, will continue to work as they do now.
    This blog is about our upcoming release Invision Community 4.4.
  14. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: 6 New Micro Features   
    I really enjoy writing about the new features the development team have been slaving over for weeks (and sometimes months.)
    It's a real joy to be able to share the finished product after we've seen it through inception, discussion, planning, assigning to a developer, coding, peer reviewing and final group testing.
    Although sometimes, the features can be explained in a few screenshots, which makes for a pretty thin blog entry.
    With that in mind, I've grouped together 6 of the best new micro-features for Invision Community 4.4.
    Browser notifications
    We introduced browser notifications in a previous version of Invision Community.
    Once you've opted in to receive them, you'll get a fancy browser notification when new content is posted while you're off browsing other sites.
    However, the browser prompt to ask for permission to push notifications isn't subtle, and it attacks you the second you log in for the first time.
    In Invision Community 4.4, we've made it, so you're only asked to opt-in once you open the notification drop down.

    No more being attacked by a permission dialog
    Widget display settings
    One of the most popular features we've added to the front end in recent times is the drag and drop widgets.
    We see these used on almost every site we visit.
    A popular request, though, was to be able to hide them from specific devices. By default, the sidebars appear under the main content when viewed on a smaller device such as a phone.
    There may be times where you wish to show a block for those on tablets and desktops, but remove it for phones, so it doesn't take up precious retail space.
    Happily, you can now do this on each block with 4.4.

    Desktop only?
    Club Navigation
    Clubs are relatively new to Invision Community but they incredibly popular as they allow you to run micro-communities within your main community.
    You're not limited to just forums either; you can add gallery albums and more to each club.
    We've added the ability to re-arrange the club tabs allowing you to prioritise what you members see first.

    Rearranging club tabs
    Announcement URLS
    Announcements have been a core feature for a long time now. We use them whenever we have a holiday so we can notify our customers about reduced support on those days.
    We've made it so you can now link to an item, rather than have to provide new copy for each announcement.

    We may have overdone it a bit
    Time Frame selector
    We noticed that in numerous areas around the Admin CP we had time input boxes. These would sometimes be used for seconds, minutes, hours and even days.
    We've seen customers forced to enter things like 86400 seconds when they want the time frame to last a day. The lack of consistency wasn't great either.
    In Invision Community 4.4, we've added a new Time Frame selector which is used as standard on all areas we ask for a time frame to be entered.
    No more taking your socks off to work out how many seconds in a month.

    Time is no longer relative
    Group Name Styling
    For about as long as I can remember (and as I get older, this is not an impressive amount of time), we've allowed group names to be stylized when shown in the online user list.
    A very popular request is to extend that same group highlighting throughout the suite.
    Finally, Invision Community 4.4 brings this to the suite.

    If the group name is visible, that gets the styling, otherwise the name does
    These features may be micro in nature, but we hope they make a significant improvement to your community.
    Which are you most looking forward to? Drop a comment below and let us know.
  15. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: New Email Features   
    It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps.
    And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email?
    Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention.
    In 2017, over 269 billion emails were sent and received per day. Of those, 3,360,250,000 are opened, read, and a link clicked.
    Email is still very much a critical tool in your quest for retention.
    Invision Community knows this. We have options to notify members of replies by email, weekly or monthly digests by email and members can opt-in for bulk emails sent from your community team.
    Given how important email is, it was only fair that we invested in some love for our email system for 4.4.
    Email Statistics
    Just above, I mention that 269 billion emails are sent, and 3.4 billion are opened, read and clicked.
    How many emails are sent from your Invision Community daily?
    (No cheating and checking with SendGrid)
    You probably have no idea as we didn't record email statistics.
    As of Invision Community 4.4 we do!

    Chart showing the number of emails sent daily
    We now track emails sent, and the number of link clicks inside those emails.
    Email Advertisements
    Email notifications are a powerful way to get your members to revisit your community. The member welcomes these emails as it means they have new replies to topics they are interested in reading.

    While you have your member's attention, you have an opportunity to show them a banner-style advertisement.


    The new email advertisement form
    When creating a new email advert, you can choose to limit the advert to specific areas such as topics, blogs, etc. - and even which forums to limit by.


    Subliminal messages
    This is a new way to reach your audience with your promotions.
    Unfollow without logging in
    Despite spending most of this blog entry shouting the virtues of email, it's inevitable that one or two members may wish to stop receiving notification emails.
    In previous versions, the unfollow link would have taken you to a login page if you were signed out. For members that haven't been back in a while, this may cause some annoyance if they do not recall their login details.
    Invision Community 4.4 allows non-logged in members to unfollow the item they received an email about or all followed items without the need to log in.

    You no longer need to log in to unfollow items
    Respecting your member's inbox is vital to keep on good terms with them and to keep them engaged in your community.
    We'd love to know which of these features you're most keen to try in 4.4. Please drop a comment below and let us know!
  16. Like
    SeNioR- 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.

     
    Pagination
    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:
    yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?page=3
    Which is fine but it gets a little confusing when you add in a bunch of sort filters like so:
    yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?sort=asc&field=topic&page=3
    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:
    yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/page/3/?sort=asc&field=topic
    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.
    Canonical Tags
    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.
    For example:
    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.
    Soft 404s
    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.
    Other changes
    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 "truncate" method that is used to display a snippet of text in areas such as the activity stream now only sends the first 500 characters to the javascript method to reduce page loads and page 'noise'.
    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.
  17. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Rikki for an entry, Theme Tip: 5 useful template tags   
    IPS4's theme system has a feature called template plugins, which are special tags that do something to the values you pass in. You'll see them throughout the templates - they look like this:
    {lang="..."} This tag displays the language string for the key you pass into it, and is probably the most commonly used one. But there's many others too, so let's review some of the useful ones you can use in your themes and addons.
     
    {member}
    If you need to show any data about a member, the {member} tag is very useful. It's a shorthand that can display properties and call methods on a member object, so it's much neater than the manual approach. It's used like this:
    // Get a property, like 'name' {member="name"} // Call a method, like 'link()' {member="link()"} By default, it will work with the currently logged-in member, but you can pass an id attribute to show data about any member:
    // Show the name of member #67 {member="name" id="67"}  
    {expression}
    The expression tag allows you insert simple one-line PHP expressions into your templates. For example, if a variable is an array of values and you want to show one per line, instead of writing a loop, you could do:
    {expression="implode( '<br>', $myArray )"}  
    {prefix}
    The prefix tag is unusual in that it's designed specifically for use in CSS files. It prefixes CSS styles with the various vendor prefixes, meaning instead of writing:
    .myClass { -webkit-transform: scale(3) rotate(45deg); -moz-transform: scale(3) rotate(45deg); -o-transform: scale(3) rotate(45deg); transform: scale(3) rotate(45deg); } You can write:
    .myClass { {prefix="transform" value="scale(3) rotate(45deg)"} }  
    {hextorgb}
    Continuing with the CSS theme, next there's the "Hex to RGB" tag. If you're a theme designer and want to use a theme setting value but apply some transparency, this tag will be particularly useful to you. Color theme settings are simple hex values, e.g. #000000. To apply some transparency, you need to use the rgba notation however (the 'a' meaning 'alpha channel', otherwise known as transparency). The {hextorgb} tag does this for you.
    It accepts either a hex color, or a theme setting key. By default it outputs the same color in rgb notation, but if you want to add transparency, you can add an opacity parameter which will represent the alpha channel value.
    {hextorgb="#ff0000"} --> rgb(255,0,0) {hextorgb="page_background" opacity="0.6"} --> rgba(235,238,242,0.6)  
    {truncate}
    Finally, there's the truncate tag. This tag takes some text (usually as a variable), and truncates it to the length you specify. By default it appends an ellipsis (...) to the end of the content, although this is configurable via the append parameter.
    {truncate="$someLongText" length="300"} Note that this isn't designed to be used on HTML markup; you may break your page if HTML tags are included in the text. For those cases, consider using the javascript ipsTruncate widget instead.
     
    I hope this overview of 5 lesser-known template tags will help you as you build themes or applications! Share your related tips in the comments.
  18. Thanks
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: Turbo charging loading speeds   
    It might seem a little odd starting a blog on increasing Invision Community's speed with the word "lazy",  but I'll explain why this is a good word for performance shortly.
    Earlier this year, Google announced that page speed is a ranking factor.
    Simply put, if your site is slow, it will be ranked lower in Google's search results.
    It is always a challenge making a large application like Invision Community as efficient as possible per page load. A single Invision Community page can pull in widgets from multiple applications as well as a lot of user-generated content with attachments, movies and images used heavily. 
    This is where being lazy helps.
    Lazy loading is a method by which attachments, embeds and images are not loaded by default. They are only loaded when the viewer scrolls down enough to make them visible.
    This allows the page to load a good deal faster now it doesn't have to load megabytes of images before the page is shown as completely rendered.
    I was going to take a fancy video showing it in action, but it's hard to capture as the system loads the media just before you get to it, so it looks fairly seamless, even with sluggish connections.

    Not the most dynamic image, but this shows the placeholder retains the size of the image
    In addition to image attachments, we have also added this lazy loading to maps and Twitter emoji images.
    Improving non-image attachments
    Once we had implemented the lazy loading framework, an area we wanted to improve was non-image attachments.
    We have listened to a lot of the feedback we had on this area, and have now made it very clear when you add an attachment into a post. We've even returned the download count now it's being loaded on demand.

    Using attachments when posting
    All the letters
    When we first implemented the letter avatars in 4.3, we discussed whether to use CSS styling or use an image.
    We decided to go with an image as it was more stable over lots of different devices, including email.
    We've revisited this in 4.4, and switched the letter avatars to SVG, which are much faster to render now that the browser doesn't have to load the image files.
    Other performance improvements
    We've taken a pass at most areas with an eye for performance, here is a list of the most significant items we've improved.
    Several converter background tasks have been improved, so they work on less data Duplicate query for fetching clubs was removed in streams Notifications / follower management has been improved Member searches have been sped up (API, ACP live search, member list in ACP, mentions, etc.). Stream performance has been improved UTF8 conversions have been sped up Elasticsearch has been sped up by using pre-compiled queries and parameterisation, as well as the removal of view filtering (and tracking) HTTP/2 support with prefetch/preload has been added Several PHP-level performance improvements have been made Implemented rel=noopener when links open a new window (which improves browser memory management) Several other performance improvements for conversions were implemented that drastically reduce conversion time IP address lookups now fetch IP address details from us en-masse instead of one request per address Cache/data store management has been streamlined and centralised for efficiency Many background tasks and the profile sync functionality have all been improved for performance Brotli compression is now supported automatically if the server supports it Redis encryption can now be disabled if desired, which improves performance Phew, as you can see, we've spent a while tinkering under the hood too.
    We'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know below!
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  19. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Store Filters and other Commerce updates   
    Allowing your customers to find exactly what they need as fast as possible will no doubt increase sales.
    A good number of our customers use Commerce to sell physical items. Until now, it's always been a little tricky to set up the store to allow customers to drill down into specific items within the store.
    In Invision Community 4.4, the sidebar in the store now includes filter options to help customers find the product they're looking for.

    Using the filter sidebar
    Administrators can set up whatever filters they like for each product. In this video above, you can see we have set up filters for color and price.
    You can set these filters up in the AdminCP by simply specifying each possible option:

    Creating a custom filter
    Once the filters have been set up, you can then add each filter to the categories it applies to (so you can have different filters for different categories) and when editing any product you can specify as many values for each filter as is appropriate (for example, if you have a color filter, you can choose multiple colors if the product allows the customer to choose a color, or if the product has multiple colors).

    Choosing the filter values when creating/editing a product
    In addition to these custom filters, you will also see filters for price (you can set appropriate bands for each category), rating, and stock level.
    Other Commerce Improvements
    In addition, we also have a few more features new to Commerce in 4.4:
    There are new sidebar blocks for best selling products, latest products, product reviews and a featured product. When sending a bulk mail, you can target recipients by the total amount they have spent. Categories with no products in them are hidden automatically in the store. Notification emails sent to customers to let them know their purchase will expire soon (including if they will be automatically charged) have been improved to show more clearly what will happen. When viewing a customer page in the AdminCP, active purchases are separated from expired and cancelled purchases to make it easier to discern which are active. Custom field values are now included on printed invoices. When filtering support requests in the AdminCP, you can now choose "more than" or "less than" for all time-based filter options. When using stock actions to reply to support requests, the stock reply can be incorporated into the staff member's default reply content rather than overwriting it. Invoices in the AdminCP can now be filtered by status. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  20. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, Team Talk: What's your favourite movie?   
    This month, I thought I'd ask a trick question. "What is your favourite movie?"
    I fully expected to be told "but Matt, we work so hard on Invision Community, we don't have time to watch movies." just so I didn't have to complete this month's entry.
    But no. Apparently, most of our team have MULTIPLE favourites. Hmmm.

    And here they are.
    Jennifer
    Favorite movies are a pain to choose because there are so many great (and greatly terrible) movies out there. So I'm going to choose a few that I just really adore and explain why.
    So the first one is "Halo: Forward Unto Dawn". I have never played a Halo game in my entire life. I just find the movie intriguing and smooth. It has an amazing pace and of course there are aliens. It's also one of those movies that I can just put on when I don't feel like watching anything else but I want to watch something. The replay value for me is amazing.
    The Next one is a psychological thriller called "Pandorum" this movie is a thriller about a man that wakes up in a broken space ship that was on its way to another world. The way it's put together is amazing, the story is twisted and it's just an amazing watch. It's something that I can easily say was a quick favorite from the first time I saw it.
    I can never forget the lovely "Dredd" in this list of my favorite movies. Muricer for the win! It has all the elements of a great Sci-Fi plus Karl Urban and Lena Headey. I win all around on this movie. Plus, it's even better in 3D with the Slo-mo drug.
    While I can list more I'm going to round off my answer with 2 Series movies. "Tremors" and "Sharknado". What most of you don't know about me is that I'm a sucker for horribly trashy horror movies ("Zombeavers" is another favorite with the same reason as these two series). Scantly clad women, screaming, monsters, corrupt people and lots of blood. There is no better thing to watch. I love a good day of Monster Movies and beer. The trashier the better.

    When Mark Wade is challenged in a git review

    Marc
    I think I will go for 3 different points in time for favourite movies. One from growing up, one which is a classic IMO, and one more recent that I've enjoyed.
    Growing up, it has to be 'Labyrinth' staring David Bowie. It's the first movie I ever watched at the cinema with my parents, and one I can still watch to this day. I'm very much guilty of singing along to every song, and I'm actually banned from watching it anywhere near my wife as I say every single word in the script a split second before they say it. I think its safe to say I have seen it a few times.
    A classic for me would be 'Schindlers list'. To me this is one of the best movies ever made, and while I'm sure it will have been greatly adapted for a movie audience, it also shows what many went through during WW2 which are not so common knowledge. A great movie for children to sit there and watch who don't know about it, as it gets them asking questions that all children should ask and learn from.
    For a more recent movie, I quite enjoyed 'Sully: Micracle on the Hudson'. I generally like movies by Tom Hanks anyway, but I did particularly enjoy this one.
    Bonus recent movie - Baby Driver I really enjoyed. Great movie, and the star somehow looks familiar I'm sure 'ed' will find a suitable image to illustrate.

    Disapproving Wade
    Mark W
    Airplane. I must have seen it dozens of times, it never gets old, I quote it constantly... I just love it.

    When Wade is reviewing your branch

    Andy
    Zathura - Jumanji in space, no more words are required.

    When you're late reviewing Wade's branch
    Brandon
    This is a fairly challenging question to answer, as someone who watches a lot of movies. I own somewhere around 1500 DVDs/BluRays, though in recent years I've been buying fewer and renting more. A few of my top movies would include (in no particular order)...
    1. The Matrix Series - while I've overplayed the series at this point, the story was amazing at the time and it had so many allegories to real life that were fun to think about even when you were done watching.
    2. Doom - it was campy and silly overall, but a lot of fun. Karl Urban and The Rock together was a cool mix.
    3. The One - I have always been a fan of Jet Li, but when this came out I thought the cinematography was awesome. The way they did the slow-mo movements was neat, and the story was quite unique. Plus, Jason Statham is awesome, and he was a supporting role instead of a lead.

    When you challenge Wade in a review
    Jim Morrissey
    The Beatles’ “Help!” has got to be my favorite movie due to the special place it holds with my family. My sister growing up was a huge Beatles fan and being the younger sibling, it kind of got forced on me but grew to be a fan as well. This movie, in my opinion, was my great due to the music (great album) and very dry comedy that is hilarious.  Think I can recite each line of the movie as I’ve seen it too many times. It definitely isn't a movie set out to win any acting awards but if you haven’t seen it and like the Beatles, I would recommend it.

    When you get a list of 'recommendations' on your branch

    Daniel
    As Daniel Son I have to say Karate Kid 🥋
    Nah, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is just to sick and amazing and gets never boring!

    Daniel likes to commit on, then commit off

    Mark H
    Like the others, I can’t pick just one movie.
    For documentaries, that would be “The Longest Day”, the story of the Jun 6, 1944, allied invasion of Normandy, with perspectives from all sides of the conflict. The book by Cornelius Ryan on which it’s based is a very long read, but gripping and factual, and this movie is one of the few that actually did justice to the book from which it was derived. Anyone with a passion for history should both see the movie and read the book.
    The runner-up in this category would be “Saving Private Ryan”, although it did take liberties with historical fact.
    In the Sci-Fi category, the original “Blade Runner”. The city in which it is set was once described as “a cross between Hell and Hong Kong on a bad day”, and that’s disturbingly accurate. It’s a warning about the future of humanity if we do not curb our use of the planet’s natural resources, and do not carefully overwatch technology in the hands of corporations driven only by profit and without any societal morals.
    Two close runner-ups in this category would be the film “Soylent Green”, another cautionary tale that is similar to Blade Runner in its warning about the future of humanity, and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, a speculative tale about our own evolution and our future.
    For other general fiction it would be “The Silence Of The Lambs”. Few movies have creeped me out like this one did. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lecter was truly chilling,
    Two runner-ups would be the mini-series “Lonesome Dove”, based on the books by Larry McMurtry, a fictional work about the frontier Wild West, but could easily be true, and “The Thorn Birds”, a similar genre set in Australia and based on the book by Colleen McCullough.


    When you run out of logical facts during a developer's meeting
    We'd love to hear which movies you love, or that have inspired you in some way.

    Let us know below!
  21. Thanks
    SeNioR- reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Increase visitor registrations with Post Before Registering   
    It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community.
    It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off.
    Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members.
    Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
    However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many.
    Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with.
    Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community.
    This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site.
    Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works.
    When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address.

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

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

    Email reminding user to finish registering
     
    Some Notes
    Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks.
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  22. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.4: Application manifest and icon management   
    Who remembers the earlier days of the internet? Back when you popped your logo at the top left of your site and you were largely done?
    Invision Community has continually developed to account for all the new services that have been built during our 16 years.
    We now have social media sharing images, favicons and more to consider.
    Invision Community 4.4 also adds mobile application icons, Safari mask icons and data for an application manifest. Handling of these logos and icons was a prime candidate for improvement in 4.4.
    Moving our current options
    Step one for improving our handling of these images was to move our current options out of themes and to allow them to be managed suite-wide from a single area. You can still upload a logo image per-theme (which shows in the header area), but the rest of the options have now been relocated to a new area: Customization > Appearance > Icons & Logos.

    Adding new options
    After giving favicon and share logo management its own dedicated area, we took a look at enhancing the configuration options made available through the interface without requiring theme template edits.
    Multiple share logos
    You can now upload multiple share logos. If you elect to upload more than one share logo, Facebook and similar sites will generally either show a carousel to allow you to choose which logo to use when sharing, or simply use the first image referenced.
    Application icons
    You can now upload an image to represent your website which will be used to generate the "home screen" icons for iPhones and Androids automatically. Uploading a single image will result in several different copies of the image (in different dimensions) being generated, and mobile devices will automatically choose the best option from the list as needed.
    Safari mask icon
    You can also now upload a Safari Mask icon, which is used to represent your website in certain areas on Apple computers (such as on the "touchbar" of certain keyboards). This image must be an SVG image with a transparent background, and all vectors must be 100% black.
    Additionally, you can specify the mask color which is used to offset your image when necessary (e.g. to represent it as "selected" or "active").
    Application manifest
    In order for devices to support the application icons that you upload, a file known as a web manifest must be generated and delivered to the browser. This now happens automatically, using details and icons specified in the AdminCP. Certain details, however, can be configured explicitly from the Icons & Logos page:
    Short name
    This is a short name to represent your site in areas with limited screen space, such as below your application icon on a mobile phone home screen. Site name
    This is the name of the site. The "Website name" setting is automatically used if you do not explicitly override it when configuring the manifest. Description
    A short description of your site Theme color
    You can choose a (single) color to represent the general theme of the site. This color may be used by devices in areas such as the address bar background. Background color
    You can also choose a (single) color to use as the background color for your site when the application is launched from a shortcut saved to the user's device home screen. Display mode
    Finally, you can specify the display mode your site should launch in. For our more astute designers and developers, you may have already realized that generating the manifest file lays the groundwork for future PWA (Progressive Web App) development and support. Additionally, some Android devices will automatically prompt users to add your website to their home screen now that a manifest file is generated by the site.
    Oh, and for the sake of completeness, we also generate the special browserconfig.xml file that Microsoft products (including Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, X-Box, and Microsoft-based mobile devices) look for when pinning sites and generating live tiles. There are no additional configuration options for this file - everything is automatically generated from the aforementioned options.



    The end result?
    Your community can now better convey, automatically, certain details to the myriad of devices out there that may be accessing your site, and you now have much better control over those details. You can more easily fine-tune the "little things" that help paint a complete picture of your web presence, and the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the future as standardization and adoption of PWA functionality improves.
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  23. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: Animated GIFs   
    Communication has come a long way since those very early humans grunted at each other to determine if they wanted more mammoth for lunch.
    The course of human history has seen cave paintings, hieroglyphics, the written word, emoji and now GIFs.
    GIFs have been around since the dawn of the internet. Many websites proudly displayed a 'man at work' animated GIF when they were under construction.
    Now, GIFs are now mostly used to express complex thoughts and emotions by showing a short animation.

    Mind Blown
     
    Invision Community has allowed GIPHY to be used as an embed for a while now, but we craved something much more straightforward.
    Behold, the GIF button!
    Now your members can reply with the majesty of animation.
    Of course, GIFs won't replace real and meaningful conversation, but they are a fun way to express yourself quickly and encourage more engagement.
    The GIPHY functionality is enabled via the 'Community Enhancements' page in the Admin CP.

    GIPHY is enabled from the enhancements page
    All you need to do is grab a key from GIPHY, and you're all set!

    Configuration
    You'll notice a "MPAA style rating" option.
    This allows you to select a maximum rating for the GIFs as some will have adult themes and language that may not be suitable for your community.
    For example, you can choose "G" for general audiences, "PG" or "PG-13" to limit what is shown.

    Yes!
    Drop your favourite GIF below to show us how you feel about this new feature.
    This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year.
  24. Like
    SeNioR- reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: AdminCP Notifications   
    Do you recall that scene in Harry Potter where young Harry is sitting in his Uncle’s living room when hundreds of letters from Hogwarts burst through the fireplace, filling the room?
    Sometimes, when you log into the administrator’s control panel, it can feel a bit like that.
    As the administration control panel has evolved, there has been more of a need to display notifications, alerts and warnings to the administrators.
    There are several things which may require an administrator's attention which may show a notice on the AdminCP dashboard, a banner on the community, or send an email. For example:
    When a new version of Invision Community is released. A new member registers and requires administrator validation. A configuration issue is detected, for example if dangerous PHP functions are enabled on the server. There are items Commerce which require manual action, such as transactions pending manual approval or items to be shipped. Up until now, each such area would manage how these notifications show and are sent independently. In 4.4 we have introduced a new section of the AdminCP which shows all things which require administrator attention in one place, easily accessible from any AdminCP page.

    AdminCP Notification Menu
    Clicking on any of these notifications will take you to the relevant area of the AdminCP, or there is also a full-screen Notification Center which allows you to quickly take common actions such as approving members.

    AdminCP Notification Center
    While the best approach is to take the appropriate action (which will automatically dismiss the notification) so you always have an empty Notification Center, most notification types can be hidden, either temporarily on a per-notification basis by clicking the cross in the top-right, or administrators can hide all notifications of a certain type from their individual settings. Administrators can also choose which type of notifications to receive an email notification about.

    Notification Settings
    Each notification has a severity indicated by the coloured bar on the side and certain notifications can also show banners either across the AdminCP, or also on the front-end (to administrators).
    Notifications group automatically (so for example, if there are 5 members pending approval, you will see 1 notification rather than 5 separate ones) and where appropriate each administrator can choose if they want to receive a single email, or a separate email with each occurrence.
    Now you won't miss an invitation to Hogwarts, or anything important again.
    This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year.
  25. Thanks
    SeNioR- reacted to Matt for an entry, GDPR updates for Invision Community 4.3.3   
    Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner.
    Last week we wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community.
    We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week.
    Downloading Personal Data
    Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV.
    However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable.
     

    You can access this feature via the ACP member view
    The download itself is in a standard XML format.

    A sample export
    Pruning IP Addresses
    While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content.
    There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold.

    The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value.

    This new setting is under Posting
    Deleting Members
    Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name.
    We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses.

    Deleting a member
    Privacy Policy
    We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you.

    The new setting

     
    Finding Settings Easily
    To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change.

     
    These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required.

    Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week.
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