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Matt

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  1. Despite your best efforts, is engagement a problem for your community? You have your site promotion running well and you are seeing plenty of traffic but it doesn't convert into comments, posts or reactions? Invision Community is a powerful platform that offers layers of complexity for the many sites it powers. When you are struggling to convert page views into comments, it's worth taking a step back and evaluating your site from a new user's point of view. We'll take you through our 6 best tips to simplify your site and increase engagement using built in tools. #1 Use Social Sign In with at least Facebook and Twitter enabled. Social sign in makes it easy for causal visitors to become content contributors by creating an account. Social sign in removes the complex registration form that may put some off. It's a fact that most people visiting your site will have either a Facebook account or a Twitter account. Use that to your advantage! #2 Use Profile Completion One of the biggest reasons sites fail to convert visitors into members is because of large or complex forms. If you have many required profile fields, your potential member is likely to abandon the form. Use the Profile Completion system with fewer fields where possible for a simpler registration form. The Profile Completion system allows new members to complete their profile in their own time. Of course, you can still enforce vital fields before members can contribute. #3 Use Fluid View Traditional forums can be a little daunting to site visitors used to Facebook. The top down categorisation is a strength for separating conversations. Yet, it can be confusing for a first time visitor to navigate. Fluid view breaks down these boundaries by presenting your conversations in one simple list. By removing the need to jump between forum containers, new visitors are encourage to keep diving deeper into your conversations. An engaged visitor is more likely to contribute. #4 Keep your forum structure simple Even with fluid view enabled, complex forum structures can confuse. Consider a brand new forum with a hundred different conversation areas. Would a new user know where to go and post? Would they be put off thinking they are posting in the wrong area? The best advice is always start off with as few forum containers as possible and increase them as your community grows. #5 Use Reactions One of the simplest ways to increase engagement is to turn on Reactions. Reactions allow other members to leave feedback on a post in a few clicks. The default reactions allow one to like, give thanks, express confusion, sadness or happiness. You can add your own reactions to tailor the platform to your niche and personality. Non-verbal engagement is important for your active posters. If they receive reactions to their posts, they are more likely to reply more and return often to see what feedback they have received. #6 Use the Sign In/Sign Up widget A very simple way to increase visitor to member conversion is to just ask them to register. Invision Community ships with a drag and drop widget that you can use to outline what your site is about and encourage registration. In one very simple but prominent box, you can see what the site is about and how to join in. Summary New and existing communities should take a moment to see their site through a new visitor's eyes. Consider how easy your structure is to navigate and how many barriers to registration there are. You can streamline both registration and conversation presentation with our built in tools. The key to increasing engagement is to make it a simple as possible to join your community. Make sure your barriers or entry are set low. Not using Invision Community? We can convert you from other platforms preserving your data. Our migration page has more information on the platforms we can convert you from.
  2. Matt

    4.2.7

    4.2.7 is a maintenance release that fixes issues identified in 4.2.6 and also adds settings to help with GDPR compliance. This release also contains several security updates.
  3. It's hard to believe that we're close to wrapping up 2017 already. It seems like only yesterday we were putting the finishing touches to Clubs, Fluid View, Profile Completion and all the other new features added this year. We're not resting though, Invision Community 4.3 is well underway and we'll be releasing news of its new features soon. Our developers have been busy squashing bugs and release Invision Community 4.2.6. Regular visitors to our own community may have noticed that we've been running several search tests to improve the results search brings. Our latest community articles continue to be well received. This month's highlights are: In team talk we post a simple question that proved hard to answer. As always, we'd love to hear what you think of our articles. If there's anything you'd like covered, just let us know below! Thanks!
  4. It's that time of year again! Have you been thinking about starting your Invision Community? Or perhaps you're currently using another service and want to take advantage of our modern, mobile ready and social media equipped platform? This has been a great year for Invision Community. We've added many new features including Clubs, Fluid View, Profile Completion and more. We've been adding useful articles such as the benefits of owning your own community versus a Facebook Group, how to optimize your community's SEO, and how to stop spam. And we're already working on our next major release due out early 2018. To celebrate, we have two new coupon codes for you! 20% OFF ALL CLOUD PACKAGES Start with Invision Community today with our hassle free cloud packages. There's nothing to upload and nothing to install. You don't need to know your FTP from your MySQL. We do all that for you! Use coupon code during checkout: CICBF2017 15% OFF SELF HOSTED LICENSES Prefer to manage your own hosting? No problem. Grab your downloadable license today. Use coupon code during checkout: SHBF2017 The small print These coupons are valid from today right through to midnight Monday 27th November (EST). Note, the self hosted coupon is not valid for renewals. Thanks and happy shopping!
  5. This month we ask a very simple question that got our team thinking hard. “If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?” Now, this doesn't assume that there is a disaster, so you don't need to think about things like food and water. It also doesn't need to include humans or pets. This is also not a "Desert Island" question so survival tools are not required. This got us really thinking about what material possessions are important to us. It also made us realise how much technology has made a lot of things redundant. We might have said "CD collection and my favourite books" ten years ago, but with a phone, that's no longer the case as so much is handled on the device. Ryan (Developer & Guitar showroom owner) In terms of just packing up and moving on, I actually don't own a lot that I would consider critical / prized / irreplaceable. My dad's 50 year old acoustic guitar is all I would take with me, as it's the only thing that *isn't* directly replaceable. Maybe include iMac and iPhone to have some sort of connection to the outside world at all times, but I really don't need anything else I own. Brandon (Developer & Jet ski owner) I guess if I were to pick five things I couldn't live without I'd have to narrow down the list to my phone, my wallet, my TV (I unwind by zoning out on movies or home repair shows), my car (I can't walk to anything but the ICW here which wouldn't do me much good), and coffee (with International Delights Cold Stone Creamery creamer). Brandon neglected to mention that he owns a Jet Ski Marc S (Support technician & cycle injury enthusiast) Top 5 is hard, and makes you realise that despite living in a world of material possession, we actually rely on very few things. Albeit tending to be expensive things. So here goes. Mobile Phone - Despite the calls (which I could do without), and facebook (which I probably should do without), I have a problem with sleeping. For years now I have been using the audible app on my phone to listen to audiobooks. Usually factual stuff, so it doesnt really matter if I lose position. It helps me with my sleep, and therefore my sanity. Computer - This isn't just because I work on one. I tend to spend a lot of hours at it, even when I am not working. Whilst I do support here at IPS, I do a lot of development in my spare time, on my own projects, and quiet enjoy it. Currently working on an app for my brother which tracks horse racing points for a game that he runs, which is just something a bit different to do of an evening. Kettlebells - I'm trying to get a little fitter than I am at the moment. I spent a long time being a very unfit person, and sitting at a computer 24/7. Never a good thing to do, and it eventually starts to catch up with your wasteline (honestly. You in your 20s reading this, it does!). I joined a gym before I moved house, and got quite into working out with kettlebells, so when I moved, I bought some to use myself. I now have a PT who creates sessions for me each week. We're unsure who took the photo Bike - Whilst I havent used it half as much as I would like lately, I trained for, and completed, a 100 mile bike ride earlier this year, along with a few friends, including Andy Milne. This made be realise just how much I enjoy riding a bike. To the degree we're now planning our next bike challenge. Kettle - I'm pretty sure I would die without coffee. There is little else to say about that! Andy (Developer and Support technician) I realise I have far too much clutter in my life answering this question but I managed to come up with 4 things; Running Shoes Bike Watch Laptop Andy finishing the Reykjavik marathon, 19 August 2017 I’m going to make a conscious effort to be a bit more minimalist now and switch to a standing desk and a Paleo diet or go barefoot or whatever other healthy lifestyle choice @Matt recommends this week. Mark W (The Senior Developer) To answer this question I opened up my travel checklist - having taken off the things you said are excluded like clothes and toiletries, the only thing I have is my meditation stool, my laptop, my iPad, my phone, and my watch... so I guess that's my 5! Matt (Developer and object of ridicule) It's a hard one to answer. Years ago, before the internet, I could have listed many things but digital devices and "The Cloud" replaces so much. Here's my five. Macbook Pro. This is my daily work machine and uses iCloud to sync up my work and personal items like photos, etc. I'd have this packed first. iPhone. It's never far from my hands and with Netflix, Amazon, Audible, iTunes and Kindle contains books, music, favourite TV shows and more. I use Audible most nights to help me switch off and get to sleep. Sleepphones. I like to look really cool while sleeping, so a grey fleece headband is a must. Fortunately, they also double as bluetooth headphones designed to not dig into your ears while you sleep. I couldn't be without these. Air Pods. Yes, another pair of headphones. But these little beauties fit in my pocket and I use them when out and about. The lack of cable is a real plus although they're easy to lose. Concept 2 Rower: Ok, so it's not really going to fit in my hand luggage but I thought about which bit of fitness equipment I'd keep. It's a tough one between kettlebells, weights, the treadmill and the rower but I think the rower wins as it can be used many ways for a good workout. Mark H (Support Technician and part-time Phil) Macbook, iPhone, E-cig, suspenders, and my .357 Magnum. (Editors note: I'm genuinely not sure if this is a joke answer or not but didn't like to ask. Either way it's the best list of things I've ever seen.) Daniel (Support Technician and Developer) My five are: Phone, watch, laptop and 1000kg of headache medicine. That's it, i don't need a fifth item since it's only about "stuff" and not family. (Editors note: I'm hoping that 1000kg is just a guess. I'm starting to regret asking this question.) Jennifer (Designer) Computer - This is my work, play, entertainment, and more device. Plus it's a beast. Mobile Phone - When I'm not on my PC I'm on my phone. It keeps me connected to my communities when I'm out. Plus Zombies, Run is on it. High heels - If I had to choose a specific pair it would one of these two. Bed - It is wonderful and has all of my blankets. I couldn't live without my blankets. Dix It - Because I really couldn't think of another thing and this game is hilarious and fun. This really got us thinking about what is important to us and how much "stuff" we have. What would your five things be?
  6. We all know what a pain spam can be. We deal with it daily in our inboxes often relying on clever software to filter it out for us. Even worse, some spam is so well disguised that it can fool you into thinking it is a genuine message. You've put in the hard work with your community. You've used the built in social promotion tools and SEO features to get it noticed. Now that it's indexing well with Google, you've become a target. Invision Community has several tools in its arsenal to deal with spam leaving you free to concentrate on your members and content. We'll take a look at these tools in more detail. First, it's important to know that there are two main types of spam. Computer generated and human generated. Computer generated spam is malicious software that throws millions of messages out and hopes some sticks to high profile communities. Human generated spam is more pernicious as it can often bypass automated measures. Human spammers often register accounts and post as members on your community. The first line of defense Invision Community comes equipped with Spam Defense. This is free with all cloud and licensed plans. Spam Defense harnesses the combined knowledge of thousands of Invision Communities. It will assess the potential threat of each new user and stop them before they can cause any problems. To date, Spam Defense has blocked over 3,000,000 spam accounts. Spam Defense works by evaluating the registering member against its database. It will score the account from 1 (not a spammer) to 4 (a known spammer) allowing you to decide what to do with each level. If a spammer gets past the Spam Defense, flag them as a spammer using the built in tools. This will clear up all their posts in a single action and report back to Spam Defense that this account has spammed your site. These community led reports allow Spam Defense to learn and adapt. Preventing spammers from registering The CAPTCHA ("Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") is a well tested and robust method to defeat computerised spammers. It is usually a small widget on a sign up form that asks you to re-enter words shown in an image. Invision Community supports Recaptcha2 by Google, meaning that in most cases your users don't even have to type in random letters. Instead, Google algorithms determine if the user is human or otherwise. Invision Community supports KeyCaptcha. This requires guests to solve a simple problem before they can contribute. The Question and Answer challenge works on its own or in conjunction with a CAPTCHA. This system allows you to create simple question and answer challenges unique to your community. As these answers are unique, computerized spammers cannot solve them. Also, human spammers not knowledable with your niche are often unable to solve them too. While the above are great for reducing the number of computerized spammers, we need to be especially clever to weed out human spammers. Dealing with human spammers Smart configuration of your community will also help in defeating spammers. Invision Community supports posting without registering. This feature allows for fast engagement but use it with caution. It works best if you only allow it for specific forums. Invision Community's membership promotion system also has tools which you can leverage. To make your site less appealing to human spammers, you can configure two membership groups. Let us look at an example which uses "New Members" and "Members". "New Members" is the default group for new registrations. In this group you can remove the ability to add a signature to each post. Often spammers use signatures to earn referrals on links. You can also define a limit for posts per day. This will throttle the number of spam posts a member can make. Now that you have your "New Members" group set up to build trust, you can promote them using Group Promotions. A good strategy is to promote them to "Members" when they have reached a certain level of reputation. This shows that they have become a trusted member of the community. You may wish to promote them a week after joining knowing that spammers usually leave after a day or so. There are many different criteria you can use allowing you to tailor it for your own needs. Summary Dealing with spam is a reality for every successful community. Invision Community has several features to mitigate its impact. Through leveraging its built in tools to smart configuration, you can make your community a fortress against spam. In addition, our exclusive Spam Defense system grows and learns every day stopping spammers from registering. To learn how to configure Invision Community's spam prevention tools, please see our help guide. Not using Invision Community? We can convert you from other platforms preserving your data. Our migration page has more information on the platforms we can convert you from.
  7. This week, we were inspired to discuss home automation after @Joel R raised the question in a topic. With so many commercial options available now, such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home, we started discussing what automation we have in our homes. This week we'll focus on the a few team members who have heavily automated teams. Although @bfarber's answer "I have kids to help automate the home" was a clear winner. Marc S (Support technician & cycle injury enthusiast) For me I just have Hive, which is automation for my central heating system, and an Echo. So I can tell my heating to switch on and off by speaking to the echo if I wish, but to be honest its very rare that I do so. I tend to just use my phone, as it would rely on me being in the same room as my echo. I have some lights which are on sensors in my en-suite, and in my entrance hall. I have thought about getting bulbs I can switch on and off with voice control, but I'm honestly not sure how much they would be used in comparison to what they cost to buy. Because of the way my lights are configured, it would cost a fortune to do (for example my living room would need 5 bulbs for the main light). If I decided to go down that route, I would be looking for lightswitch adaptations, rather than bulbs. Andy (Developer and Support technician) This is a hobby of mine so might be a long answer! When I fully renovated my apartment I took the opportunity to go wild and put structured cabling and do all the prep work for a complete system. I use a system designed and manufactured by a company in my local area (Idratek.com) as the “controller” which handles heating, lighting, presence detection, intercoms, door locks etc and binds everything together. I installed everything myself and in total used about 2km worth of cat5e wiring with hidden magnetic reed switches recessed in door and window jams. I’ve then extended this by adding integrations with other things such as Hue lighting, automated curtains, zoned heating, a smart kettle and cameras etc. A particular favourite of mine is the integration with Logitech Squeezebox. If somebody rings the doorbell or calls me on Skype then the volume automatically decreases in the room I’m in so I can take the call. This system goes beyond the mainstream ad hoc automation kits such as Hue and other retail “smart” products in that it’s not just motion detection but presence. So for example if you’re in a room and the doors and windows are closed the system knows you are in that room until the door is opened. So if you’re sat still reading the light won’t turn off on you but it will still turn off automatically as soon as you leave. There’s no relying on extended 10 minute time outs. Lighting is controlled using internal and external light level sensors too so there’s no messing about adjusting the on/off times with seasonal changes. The system has all the usual smartphone controls but the idea is that it is truly “smart” in that once set up there is little intervention required. Heating is weather compensated for example and although curtains open automatically once the sun comes up, they won’t do so if you’re still in the room to prevent inadvertent flashing to neighbours. If you open a window in a room then the radiators in that room and connecting rooms are automatically switched off so you’re not wasting money heating the outside. I like to kid myself that I’m saving money but in reality the money I have spent probably exceeds any savings I will make in two lifetimes. So if I’m not saving money at least I’m being eco friendly whilst having some fun seeing how far I can push the tech. Mark W (The Senior Developer) I'm not as crazy as Andy, but I do have quite a bit of stuff: All the lights in the house are Hue. These are coupled with motion sensors (Hue motion sensors which also handily double as temperature and light sensors) but for completeness, I took all of the light switches off the walls, replaced the switches with a blank plate which I then added Hue Dimmer Switches on top of - this means that I can still use "normal" light switches when I want to. I have a Hive thermostat, and wrote a Homebridge plugin (https://github.com/mark-wade/homebridge-hive) to allow me to control it with Homekit, which is what I use to tie all my stuff together (Homebridge itself is running on a Raspberry Pi) I have a coffee machine and kettle from Smarter, which I also have Homebridge plugins for. Every room has a Sonos (Play:1 in bedroom and bathroom, Play:3 in office, kitchen and living room), again with Homebridge plugins I have automation set up to: Turns the lights and music on and off as I move throughout the house Turn the coffee machine on after I go into my office in the morning Turn everything off and turn the thermostat down once everyone has left the house But, because I use Homekit to tie it all together, I also use Siri quite a lot. "Hey Siri, turn the coffee machine on" literally never gets old. I'd really like to get a smart door lock and window blinds, but I'm still waiting for products that are actually decent to arrive on the market (there's a lot of US-centric stuff available, but here in the UK we normally need to wait a bit longer). Mark H (Support Technician and part-time Phil) I use an ISY-994i by Universal Devices, which controls *almost* all lights in the house, the door locks (Schlage Z-wave), and is integrated with my: Elk security system OneLink fire/CO alarms 3 Raspberry PI's with temperature sensors (DS2482-100 I2C to 1-Wire IC) Logitech Harmony Davis weather station (Vantage Pro 2) The mobile App I use to control this all, is Orchestrated Mobilinc. Daniel (Support Technician and Developer) A Raspberry Pis running HomeBridge 2 Amazon Dots + 3 Logitech Harmony Hubs & Elite Controllers allow me to control everything via remote controls, phone or voice. Lights: Hue Sound: Sonos in all rooms I have also dozen of homekit compatible sockets to control some none smart devices via the system. The Harmony Hub but also the Raspberry allow me also to control Dyson Fans. Since I moved to a Samsung Phone it's quite a mess because I had to find an alternative to control the homekit stuff Quite clearly, giving developers a box of gadgets and some spare time can lead to very creative things. Do you have any home automation? Do you prefer Alexa to Google Home? Do you also want to move into Andy's house? Let us know.
  8. What is the one thing you'd like to do in life, but haven't got around to yet? This week, we get introspective and look at the things we'd love to do but haven't found the time to do yet. Brandon (Senior tech support and development) Travel more. I've traveled a little bit, but there are still many many places I'd like to visit. Something tells me I'll need to wait for some of the kids to get older and move out first however. Mark H (Tech support) Take a vacation in Hawaii, as that will complete a goal I set in my youth: Visit all 50 States of the US. Have vacationed, usually camping, in 49 of them so far. Marc S (Tech Support) I have a friend who I have spoken to in the US since I was about 13, through originally chatrooms, then ICQ, and these days Facebook. We have always said one day we will meet up, and thats something I certainly intend to do one day, but havent gotten around to it. Rhett (Cloud Support) A week in Phillip Island, Australia for the MotoGP Race. It's still on my todo list! Matt (Senior Developer) Write a book. Unlike my colleagues, I have no strong desire to travel. I've always wanted to write a book though. In my early teens I used to spend time in front of a mechanical typewriter (through choice, I'm not THAT old) and knocked out a few short stories. They were awful, obviously, but I do love the written word and have a few stories I'd like to get down. Andy (Senior tech support and development) Over the years I’ve started learning a few languages and know just enough French and Italian to be dangerous. I’ve never really focused on either though. I would definitely like to get around to becoming a proficient speaker in at least one other non native language. Mark W (Senior Developer) I'm going to go with everyone else and say more travel. Since I get to work from home I often get a niggling feeling that I could be doing this anywhere in the world rather than in my little office in Colchester. I've made some strides in that direction this year: I spent New Years Eve in Sydney, a somewhat interesting series of events led me to spend some time in Washington DC (but that's a story for another time), plus I visited Berlin and Krakow. 4 countries in one year isn't too bad I think, hopefully next year I can break it though! Jennifer (Designer) Visiting my Irish friend in the UK and attempting to go drink for drink with him to see what sort of shenanigans/trouble he gets me into. Daniel (Senior tech support and development) I want to sail around the world for at least one year (but preferable much longer) and visit as many countries as possible on this trip. I would really love to spent my whole retirement on a sailing ship cruising around the world till i get bankrupt! Stuart (Senior tech support and development) I think quite a few people may have a similar answer, but travelling more is something I would really love to do but haven't got to it yet. I've been to USA many times. There are many places on the list I'd like to go at some point like Peru (Machu Picchu), Austraila, Dubai, Indonesia, Bali... Endless list really. A more realistic answer would be to finish some of my project cars that have been sat in a barn for years. We'd love to hear what you would like to do, but don't have time for just yet. Let us know below!
  9. This week's question is inspired by liquidfractals's reply to last weeks question. What is your favorite music and which bands would you have loved to see live? We learned many things; mostly that our team have poor taste in music. Brandon (Senior tech support and development) I like a lot of different genres. I grew up with rap and pop, but I like R&B, country, electronic and rock too. Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs n Harmony is probably my favorite rapper (and I've seen the group perform live), with Chamillionaire being a close second (and I've actually met him and talked to him one on one). I'd love to see Pentatonix live, that's on my bucket list I'd say. Mark H (Tech support) My tastes in music are quite eclectic. Given my age, "Rock & Roll" is at the top of the list, but after that it's "anything except Rap and Country". Who I'd like to see? Well.... I did have an invite from an older friend to attend Woodstock with him and his even older brother. Problem being, I was still very much a minor. Dad put the kibosh on that idea. I do wish I had gone. Marc S (Tech Support) I have lots of different genres of music that I listen to. Pretty much everything from Classical to hard trance, Whitney Houston to Marilyn Manson. I think if I was forced to pick just one, then it would likely be Progressive, or uplifting Trance. I could listen to this all day and night, and have produced some tracks, alongside one of my friends in the past. Rhett (Cloud Support) That's a hard one for me, I have kids, and a wife, we listen to all sorts of music, I'm not often in control of the station ? Matt (Senior Developer) Music is a huge part of my life. I listen to music all day while I work and I always have a pair of headphones in my pocket. My tastes change considerably depending on my mood but Sigur Ros, Radiohead, The National and Metallica are often on repeat. I quite like Apple Music as it often suggests bands that I've not heard of. I used to be a guitarist in a Metallica cover band in school. Thankfully it was before the internet existed so no shameful footage exists of those days. Mark W (Senior Developer) <looks over to now playing... "Miley Cyrus"> Maybe I won't take part this week... Jennifer (Designer) I listen to a lot of different genres and artists. Honestly my music tastes depend on my mood and what I'm focusing on. Thank god for Spotify. I listen to nearly everything except for Death Metal and Country (although I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule for both of them). I tend to lean to female voices over male voices most of the time. I have a special love for Five Nights At Freddys Fan songs, Portal Music and Pink Fluffy Unicorns (dancing on rainbows). I'd say some of my top artist loves would be: Amanda Palmer, Janelle Monae, Lily Allen, Nicki Minaj, The Pretty Reckless, Muse, Black Veil Brides, Fall Out Boy, Maroon 5 and Skillet Daniel (Senior tech support and development) All kind of electronic music (DnB, Electro, Frenchcore... literally everything) Stuart (Senior tech support and development) I listen mostly to classical music (being married to an Opera singer does that to you). I do also enjoy listening to rock and metal. One band I would have loved to see live is Queen, but unfortunately that was a little (not much) before my time. Drop us a line and let us know what your favorite music is. If you have any questions for the team that you'd like to be featured, let us know and we'll queue them up!
  10. This week, the team have been discussing the one thing they can not live without. Some found this a hard question to answer. What is the one thing you cannot live without? A tricky question for some. Could you pick just one thing? Brandon (Senior tech support and development) My family is my saving grace and escape, and even though they're (collectively) the ones typically causing me the most work I wouldn't trade them for anything. Mark H (Tech support) I believe my choice would have to be "good coffee". I can deal with no phone, even deal with no credit card. But no coffee? The horror.... the horror. (2 points for naming the reference). Marc S (Tech Support) For me, no matter how much I like my computer, and look around for my phone before I do so much as make a coffee, it would have to be speakers. Not because I have a decent set of speakers, and don't even have to be my own speakers, but something that can play music. Whether I'm doing tickets, developing, cleaning, driving, sat in my office or sat in a bar, its the one thing I cant do without. Rhett (Cloud Support) The question really has two answers, On the tech side, it would be my iPhone, I can do anything from it you can think of really and my go to device for communication of all sorts. In life in general, that's an easy one, "My children, they are the center of my life, and really all that matters is I have them by my side!" Matt (Senior Developer) The one "thing" means I don't have to say family or kids! So I definitely think it has to be my MacBook Pro. I switched from a traditional desktop set-up earlier in the year and haven't looked back. I like being able to pick up my MacBook and carry on working while out and about. When I'm home, I plug it up to my two external monitors and it performs as well as any desktop. Jennifer (Designer) My iPhone. There is no worse thing than leaving my house without being able to check my chat programs or to be able to play Pokemon Go. Daniel (Senior tech support and development) The nerd in me can't live without alfredapp to automate all the things! ( check out their great forum https://www.alfredforum.com ) And the two hours a day of free time I get, I couldn't be without my son and bike. Stuart (Senior tech support and development) I pretty much couldn't be without my laptop, I use it for everything from Gaming, Films to Work. Is there one thing that you can't be without? Let us know below!
  11. Matt

    4.2.5

    4.2.5 is a maintenance release that fixes issues identified in 4.2.4.
  12. This week, the team have been discussing their very first computing memory. This will probably reveal a lot about the age of some of our team. We recently worked out that when Matt and Charles first met and started producing community software, some of the younger members of our team were still in primary school. What is your first computing memory? An easy question for tech-heads as we've all been toying with computers since our earliest days. Brandon (Senior tech support and development) We had a VIC20 and a Commodore128 growing up. In 6th grade I got into BASIC a little bit and wrote my own home-grown computer program for my school's science fair on the Commodore. It had a 'moon' and a rocket ship sprite, and the sprite flew around the screen and landed into the moon, ending with a quit or play again option. I won the science fair that year. Mark H (Tech support) My first "Computing Memory"...... that would be the mainframe I got to play with in 10th grade, one which some wealthy benefactor donated to my Junior High School, 1970. Magnetic core memory and drum memory, and not a transistor to be found within it.. Marc S (Tech Support) First memory of an actual computer, rather than just a games console, would be the Atari 65XE. My parents got me one for Christmas, along with a few different books and games. My parents were expecting me to hit the games the second I got it, and instead I was copying out the code for making the computer 'Do things'. I guess that was my introduction to programming at the time. Rhett (Cloud Support) "Learning "Basic" on an Apple II in College with 5 1/4 floppies! followed by building my first PC, a 386DX 40, then doing home banking via dial up and dos prompts" Matt (Senior Developer) The BBC Micro. It was a computer developed for the classroom to encourage a nation of coders. My dad brought one home along with a magazine and we spent all night typing in a Star Trek game from the magazine and debugged it together. I still have nightmares over my brother reading it out and calling a full colon "a double dot". I loved that machine and often tinkered with it between playing games and using it for homework. I remember writing a Naughts and Crosses (tic-tac-toe) game in school that my teacher did not understand and assumed I had cheated. Special shout out to "Elite" the space trading game that stole most of my youth. Ryan (Senior Developer) My first real computing memory was on a Packard Bell running Windows 3.11. I performed my first "echo" at the MS-DOS Command Line, and it was all downhill from there. Andy (Senior tech support and development) My first computing memory is probably playing Sim City on the BBC micro at school aged 6 or 7 but computers were a part of family life from before I was born so I must have had some interactions before this I can’t remember. My first Internet memories were getting home from school aged 10 helping dad build PC motherboards he designed from scratch. I would help place the components before they were soldered and then I would get to use the single machine set up in the corner which had the Mosaic browser and then later the first version of Netscape Navigator installed. I still have an original Internet Movie Database account from 1993. This was probably also my first “Job”. I’m still waiting for my first pay packet! Jennifer (Designer) My first really strong memory of computers in general was a Mac. It was Oregon Trails at school with those huge 5 1/2 floppy disks. I always remember how excited I would be to see that black and green screen with that 8 bit old west adventure. True facts. If there was a modern like Conan Exiles survival game that was Oregon Trail based I would most probably get it. If it exists don't tell me about it! Daniel (Senior tech support and development) My first coding experience was in the school with really, really old DOS computers.. No Basic, No Pascal ... it was the famous TURTLE aka LOGO! Stuart (Senior tech support and development) My first real computer related memory was having a Commodore 64 and an early Amiga with Theme Park. For some reason we also had an external drive for the Amiga that meant we could copy games. After that it was a steady progression of Windows based PCs and now I've got a "large" Laptop that everyone at IPS loves to joke about.
  13. Welcome to the first of a new regular series we're calling "Question of the week". Each week, we'll ask our team a question and share the replies. To kick things off, we posed a very simple question: What is your favorite TV show right now? We may have over-estimated how much TV the average geek watches. Here's what our team said. Brandon (Senior tech support and development) How do I answer this without writing an essay?! I really don't watch too many TV shows personally, and I definitely don't have any that I watch religiously. I'd say my favorite is probably Fixer Upper as I tend to like to have those sorts of home repair shows on in the background, and Chip and Joanna Gaines are just too hard not to love. Mark H (Tech support) Nova, on our PBS station, because it is not filled with speculation, half-truths, and fake news. Marc S (Tech Support) Have been watching misfits. It just seems to be its the more likely scenario around someone getting superpowers. Lets be honest, superman/spiderman etc just isn't what you would realistically do? Rhett (Cloud Support) "The Blacklist" James Spader is excellent in this series! I've been hooked since it started in 2013. Matt (Senior Developer) I’m in Game of Thrones hibernation along with most of the world at the moment. I’ve just finished season two of Preacher which I really enjoyed. I found Eugene’s journey through Hell to be a highlight and enjoyed how a small character in season one was fleshed out some more. Also, who cannot love watching Hitler order plum cakes? Mark W (Senior Developer) RuPaul's Drag Race. Because I'm what? Sickening. Ryan (Senior Developer) I don't really watch a lot of TV - there isn't anything that really catches my eye nowadays, so I mostly just stick to watching my local sports teams with friends (Cincinnati Reds [baseball] and Cincinnati Bengals [football]). That being said, though, I saw a commercial for the Big Bang Theory spin-off "Sheldon" the other day, and I might get hooked into that. It looked pretty good. Andy (Senior tech support and development) I'm looking forward to the next series of Stranger Things on Netflix Jennifer (Designer) I'm personally in between shows at the moment. I just finished The Walking Dead Season 7 and I'm watching some Anime with the family. I'm the sort of person that bounces around binge watching TV shows and movies. I can say that I am really looking forward to the next season of Santa Clarita Diet though because a zombie housewife is just funny to watch the misadventures of. Daniel (Senior tech support and development) I've started watching Dexter. Stuart (Senior tech support and development) Star Trek TNG, Just because of Jean-Luc Picard! Drop us a line and let us know what your favorite show is. If you have any questions for the team that you'd like to be featured, let us know and we'll queue them up!
  14. This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release. When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first. If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics. A fan site for a band is a good example of a community that will benefit with fluid view. There will likely be forums for album reviews, tour dates, general discussion and so on. Even though there are many forums, the common topic is the band. This makes fluid view ideal as your members can see all those related topics in one view. If your members wanted more specific topics, they could select a single forum to view. Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail. The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums. Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working. You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it. You have full control over the display options. This screenshot shows that the control panel option to choose the default view. There is also an option to control which views your members can select. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose. You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some screenshots. We added the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view. This feature color also works on the table view. We added a feature color hint to topic view to enforce the association between the forum and its color. This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don't lose your place when you go back to the listing. The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for your audience. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. Your members will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page. We hope that fluid view is an asset to your community and your members enjoy this new functionality. Technical notes. The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.
  15. There are many strategies for growing your community, such as newsletters, mailing lists and advertising on other sites. IPS Community Suite 4.2 puts a new tool at your disposal: promotions. There’s no denying the popularity of social media. Worldwide, Facebook has 1.86 billion users active monthly. Every day, millions of people are using Facebook to speak with friends, to talk about their interests and to find new people to connect with. Of that 1.86 billion people, a good portion of those are actively discussing topics your forum covers. There is a huge opportunity to tap into social media to join in the discussion and to promote your community and provide a venue to carry on the discussion. For a while, we’ve had social media log in extensions, which means that your users can sign into your community simply by clicking a relevant button. We’ve also had the ability to share things to a personal Facebook account. These tools are great for your users, but how do they help you, forum owner? IPS Community Suite 4.2 introduces a way to promote your content directly to your brand’s Facebook page and your brand’s Twitter account. You can curate fun and engaging topics and share them. The workflow is simple. Simply browse your community and queue up interesting topics, comments, gallery items, blog posts or database articles for posting throughout the day to your brand’s social media accounts. You choose the schedule, the hashtags and the wording to send. Let’s look at the feature set in more detail. Your first stop is to set up the feature from the admin panel. The system will guide you through the necessary steps of connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once Facebook has been set up, you can select any page that you are an administrator of on Facebook. The admin panel also offers scheduling options and permissions. You can pre-set the times for when content will be posted. Facebook and Twitter both have analytic tools to determine when your visitors are most frequently online. A good tip here is to set the time to a slightly odd number, so 11:45am is better than 12:00pm as you are likely to catch the attention of someone waiting for lunch, or a lunchtime meeting. You have full control over who can promote items to your social media accounts. You can specify by group or pick individual members who may not be in those groups. Now that you’ve set up the backend, we can get promoting. Each item, that is a topic, gallery album, blog entry or article has its own Promote button. Each post and comment can also be shared individually, which is an easy way to share great content your visitors add to existing conversations. Clicking this brings up the sharer. This is where you can customize the text that is sent out to each social media channel. You’ll also notice space to promote this item within your own community in addition (or instead of) Facebook or Twitter, we will explore that shortly. The sharer is smart enough to pull attachments already added in the post, and you can upload your own images to be sent. Generally, shared items that have an image get better organic reach than just text alone so you’ll almost always want to choose or add an image. Twitter can use up to 4 images, and Facebook allows 1000 pictures per album, but you’ll never want to upload that many! Once you’ve filled out your content and picked your images, you can schedule the promotion. Generally, you’ll want to use the auto schedule option as this allows you to just stack up multiple items and let the auto scheduler post the items according to your pre-set schedule. You can also set a specific date and time if you are looking to run a promotion or other time sensitive event. The promoted content viewed in Facebook and Twitter It’s easy to see the status of your queued and sent items from the moderator view. This area allows you to see previous promotions and modify pending promotions. Earlier, we mentioned that the system has the ability to promote content internally. Promoting items to your own community lets you, the community manager, curate interesting items and comments and present this to your community. This is a great way to allow your visitors to explore content you think they’d enjoy. Promoting content to your community via Our Picks also allow you to promote content if you cannot or choose not to use social networks. It has the advantage that social networks do not have over a community platform like IPS Community Suite: consistency. The content on your community is always there whereas a social network is all about right here right now. Miss it and you miss out. On your community you can engage and re-engage a subject all you want. Of course, we’ve built a widget that you can drag and drop to most pages to make this curated list more visible. IPS Community Suite 4.2 gives you, the site owner and community manager the tools you need to reach out and engage new users already discussing the topics on social media your community covers. With single click sign in and the built in retention functionality the suite offers, you’ll have a powerful way of growing your user base. It furthers that goal by created a list of that promoted content for continual reference and promotion for visitors already on your site. We’ve got lots more to discuss on this subject, and in the coming months we’ll be putting together some guides on social media best practices and how to leverage Facebook’s excellent post promotion / pay per click tools to further boost your site’s visibility to social media users. We’re here to help you make a success of your community and to give social media users a venue for when they outgrow Facebook.
  16. Version 4.1.19 is now available in the client area! This release focuses on bug fixes and performance along with some new key features. Ability for members to lock and unlock their own content We've added a new group level option to allow members to lock and unlock their own content. This is disabled by default. Messenger Quota Display To help diagnose issues your members may find, we now display their personal message quota in the ACP. Default view for Activity Stream When creating a new activity stream, you can specify either expanded or condensed as the default view. This is especially handy for streams you wish to share with other members. Other key changes include: Performance and speed improvements. A new moderator setting to restrict users from ignoring moderators. A new group setting to hide a group from filters in search. When moving content moderators are now prompted for where you want to be redirected after the action. An email is now sent when an account is locked for too many bad login attempts. Check out the Release Notes for a full list of changes.
  17. Matt

    4.1.12.1

    This is a maintenance release to resolve the following issues: Permission matrix can show incorrect permissions when using the Member > Group permission tool. Using Authorize.Net Payment Gateway may result in an error. A logged in member without a valid timezone set will trigger exceptions any time another members age is checked. Where the upgrader can result in a fatal error due to an invalid class stored for a Pages record comment. An upgrade error where reports are loaded for Pages databases that no longer exist. Orphaned comments trigger an exception when search index is rebuilding. An exception can occur continued upgrades: DateTime::setTimestamp() expects parameter 1 to be long, object given. Recursion can occur if the core_log table doesn't exist yet (as happens during auto upgrade). An issue where importing a theme can break CSS. MySQL strict mode upgrade to 4.1.12 can fail. Installing a new plugin via the ACP can fail. As part of our ongoing internal security audit, this release also improves security in the following areas: Possible XSS in the "hovercard" system. Further hardening to the insecure file upload code.
  18. We are releasing patches for IP.Board 3.3.x and IP.Board 3.4.x to address two issues recently reported to us. It has been brought to our attention that certain PHP configurations allow for a potential SQL injection vulnerability. Although this exploit requires some knowledge of your configuration and for certain files to be web-readable, we felt it important to release an update. Additionally, it has been brought to our attention that it may be possible to send attachments via the email classes which would ordinarily be removed. To apply the patch Simply download the attached zip for your IP.Board version and upload the files to your forum server. You do not need to run any scripts or the upgrade system. IP.Board 3.3.x 3_3_x_patch_nov_14.zip IP.Board 3.4.x 3_4_x_patch_nov_14.zip If you are an IPS Community in the Cloud client running IP.Board 3.3 or above, no further action is necessary as we have already automatically patched your account. If you are using a version older than IP.Board 3.3, you should contact support to upgrade. If you install or upgrade to IP.Board 3.4.7 after the date and time of this post, no further action is necessary as we have already updated the main download zips. We extend our thanks to Andrew Erb for notifying us of the email issue privately and promptly. patch12_5_2014 - 3.3.x.zip patch12_5_2014.zip
  19. One of IPS Community Suite 4's main goals was to overhaul the user interface. We wanted to go further than just a few cosmetic changes to the theme, we wanted to examine each part of the user interface and see what could be improved. The community suite has a lot of functionality and there's a lot of tools that we all use regularly so we felt that any improvements on these common areas would be very welcomed. I'd like to focus on such a change in IP.Downloads. IP.Downloads has always had version control. Essentially, this allows you to upload new versions and keep a historical record of the older versions. You can read change logs and even download older versions where allowed. Let's take a look at how IP.Board 3 does it currently: Although there's nothing particularly wrong with this form, we can see that it mixes up the ability to upload a new version with the general file settings such as title and description. The end result is a bit confusing and a little intimidating the first few times you use it. The section to add your change log is a little lost in the file information block. Now lets take a look at how IPS Community Suite 4 handles this: The first step is to enable download revisions for this category inside the Admin CP. Now that this has been enabled, lets navigate to the "File Actions" menu to upload a new version. This loads the "Upload a new version form". As you can see, it's very clean, very easy to follow and isn't cluttered with settings and text fields that you aren't interested in editing. Once you've uploaded your new version, you can see what's new on the file listing page. You can even view previous change logs and the download link without leaving the page. Conclusion As this blog entry shows, IPS Community Suite 4 is really focused on making real improvements to everyday interfaces. We believe that these changes are very important to modernise the suite and to make it as easy to use as possible.
  20. Please note that this entry may be a little technical, if you do have any questions, please post them in the comments below. A little history IP.Board was first released over ten years ago when the web landscape was very different. A lot of emerging technologies were still trying to define new standards. Very early versions of IP.Board allowed one to specify the document character set and had a default of "ISO-8559-1" which is useful for languages that use latin based characters. This meant, for example, that if you needed Chinese characters you would need to change the character set to something more suitable. This disparity between character sets creates many challenges when working with a single code base. UTF-8 Over the past handful of years there has been a push towards a single document character set; UTF-8. UTF-8 is a variable-width encoding that is able to show every character in the Unicode character set. This makes it suitable for latin and Chinese characters (and many many more!). Popular Javascript libraries such as jQuery require that data is sent and received with UTF-8 and many native PHP string functions prefer UTF-8. The future is very much UTF-8 and trying to keep our codebase working with any other character set is going to be more and more challenging. IPS 4.0 Even though IP.Board 3 introduced UTF-8 as the default character set for new installations, we're aware that we still have many clients that are not using UTF-8 currently. IPS 4.0 is going to be strictly UTF-8 only which means we need to convert the data before or as part of the upgrade process. Converting to UTF-8 isn't as simple as changing the database encoding. Merely doing this will simply corrupt the data you have in your database. We need to be a little smarter and use a script to do this work for us. The great news is that even if you choose to convert your data to UTF-8 today, your IP.Board 3.x will run just fine and you may even find it more efficient as it doesn't have to convert lots of data on the fly. The IPS UTF-8 Database Converter We've written a script that can safely convert your database to UTF-8. The script does not overwrite your data until you manually confirm that the conversion process has been successful. This means that there is no risk of corrupting your existing data. Of course, it is good practice to perform a full MySQL back-up before making any changes to the database as a precaution and we recommend that you do this. You can download the converter and its instructions here. How can I tell if I need to convert my database? When you first run the converter, it'll check your database and let you know if you need to convert or not. Even if you are running UTF-8, you may not be using the correct collation (utf8_unicode_ci) so you have the option of changing your collation which is a very fast procedure and does not need a full conversion to complete. If you first used IP.Board with IP.Board 3.0 then you may only need to change your database table collation. This isn't a required step and the IPS 4 upgrade process will perform this task if you'd prefer to wait until IPS 4.0 is released. Support Please note that while we're happy to provide some pointers within the client forums, this release is not officially supported by our technical support department. Beta Release As this is a beta release, please be aware that there may be bugs. If you do spot one, please post it to the IPS Extras bug tracker.
  21. A few years ago we revolutionised theme editing in IP.Board with the addition of the "Visual Skin Editor". This tool quickly became a popular way of making broad color changes to new themes to match in with an existing site or existing branding. For the first time, you could instantly view the changes you were making. Goodbye Visual Skin Editor, hello Easy Mode Editor. We have rewritten this tool from the ground up in IPS Suite 4.0 and renamed it the Easy Mode Editor now that it's a fully integrated part of the suite and not just a license add-on. It retains all the features you love and has a much better interface, more control and fully supports gradients. Let's take a look! When you create a new theme, you have the option of creating an "Easy Mode" theme or a "Manual Mode" theme. As you would expect, the manual mode allows full editing of CSS and HTML. Easy mode allows you to edit the theme with an instant preview. Once the new theme has been added you can launch it from the Theme list inside the administrator's control panel by clicking the wand button. You can still edit the HTML templates and custom CSS as normal should you need to. The easy mode editor launches in a new browser tab or window (depending on your browser's settings). The floating palette overlay in IP.Board 3 was a little cumbersome as it took up a fair amount of room and you had to move it out of the way to view your changes. In IPS 4, we've made this a fixed sidebar which means that it doesn't have to reload when you navigate through the suite. I've cropped out most of the public display as we're not quite ready to reveal that yet! You can quickly colorise your new theme with the Colorize option. This chromatically changes the main colors of the suite quickly and easily. A limitation of the Visual Skin Editor in IP.Board 3 was that it couldn't manage gradients so themes had those gradients removed and flat color applied. We now support gradients in IPS 4.0 from the Easy Mode Editor's color editing panel. We previously blogged about the fantastic new theme settings feature in IPS 4.0. Some of these settings are now available to editing in the settings panel. This is a really quick and convenient way to change these settings. Although the new Easy Mode Editor allows you to change most of the colors within the suite, there may be times when you want to write a few lines of custom CSS to tweak the theme a little more to your liking. We've got that covered too. You can leave the theme as an Easy Mode theme for as long as you want. However, you may decide that you want a little more control and need to edit some of the framework CSS that underpins the suite. That's easy to do. Just choose the option to convert it to a Manual Mode theme and you are all set. Never before has theming been so simple! This re-invented tool allows you to quickly edit your theme without fuss and you can instantly see the changes as you make them. We can't wait to see what you do with it!
  22. In a recent blog entry, we talked about theming in IPS Social Suite 4. More often than not, you'll want to upload a new logo, tweak a few colours, add some custom HTML or work on the global template to incorporate your existing site wrapper. For this blog entry, I want to talk about the tools we have for more in-depth theming that professional themers will want to use to create downloadable themes for others to use. Custom Settings In 3.x, we have a number of system settings throughout the suite that control design decisions, such as displaying sidebars, or controlling the layout of items on a page. This isn't ideal, because we're limiting what themes can do themselves (and of course enforcing what they must support too). Instead, it would be better if these design decisions could be controlled by each individual theme, giving theme designers the freedom to be creative and display content in entirely new ways. In IPS Social Suite 4, we've added per-theme custom settings. This enables you to create settings that are configurable by administrators when editing a theme. Even if you're not creating a theme to sell, you may want to add settings to control areas of your theme that are managed without making template edits each time you wish to make a change. For example, the default theme will have an option to add a rounded border effect to user photos. This is something that would be unnecessary as a system setting, but makes sense as a custom theme setting. Or you might want to add a setting that allows admins to toggle between showing and hiding a sidebar. There are a lot of possibilities here that would have required extensive custom code in 3.x. When creating settings, you can choose which tab that they'll show in when editing a theme. This means you can group your settings by specific criteria such as "Colors", "Layout", etc. Once you have created a custom setting, you're then able to use it in a HTML template or CSS file simply by using the following syntax: {{if theme.rounded_photos}} .ipsUserPhoto { border-radius: 100px } {{endif}} Or, if you want to use it without an IF clause, then you can simple use this: <div> {theme="rounded_photos"} </div> You can manage the custom settings from the theme edit form. In this screen shot, the tabs "Custom" and "Colors" are theme setting tabs. Version Check We've added the ability for theme creators to include a URL that is checked multiple times a day. All you as the theme creator needs to do is return a simple JSON object like this example: { "version": "4.0.1", "longversion": 40001, "released": 1377688587, "updateurl": "http://www.exampleurl.com/announcement.php?theme=xeonblue" } This is a great way to notify your customers about updates to your themes. More information is displayed when you mouse over the "Update available" badge. Designer's Mode There are times when you want to change many template bits and CSS files using your own development tools. The new ACP template and CSS editor is great for making edits now that it supports full syntax highlighting but for more advanced work you'll want to work with your favourite IDE and make use of its tools such as file compare and searching. In IP.Board 3 we have the WebDav interface which allows you to work with plain .html and .css files but because it's sent over HTTP and each item needs recompiling to show changes, it's often a little sluggish and can be frustrating to work with if connection speeds start to suffer. In IPS Social Suite 4 you can work with plain .html and .css files locally; there's no need to fire up a WebDav client. You enable designer's mode by adding a constant into constants.php. This will automatically write out the HTML and CSS files into a directory called "themes" right in your suite's root folder. You can edit these files and the changes are instantly applied to the suite making working very fast indeed. Once you're done working in designer's mode, simply sync back the changes using the menu item on the theme's row and remove the constant. This will copy the changes back to the database and remove any stale compiled templates and CSS files. Diff It's often very useful after upgrading to see which template bits have changed. The new "diff" tool instantly provides a list of changed, deleted or added template bits and CSS files. You can even download a copy as a stand-alone HTML file to distribute with your theme sets. These advanced tools will make creating themes for IPS Social Suite 4 easier than ever before. We look forward to seeing what you create with them!
  23. IPS Social Suite 4 is a modernization of our software line and rather than just refactor existing work, we are rewriting the code from scratch which gives us a chance to really evaluate the interface elements and labels. We felt that "themes" was a much more modern and better understood term than "skins". Of course, the name is just the start, here are some of the other improvements: Managing Themes in IPS Social Suite 4 As you would expect, the interface has been completely overhauled in IP.Social Suite 4. All the familiar elements are there but we've simplified areas and made it easier to manage your themes. As you can see from this screen shot, theme authors can now inform customers when they have an update available for them. The interface makes use of the new IPS Social Suite 4 Trees model which means you can quickly search for theme names and re-order themes. In IP.Board 3, you could change the logo of the suite. We've made this even easier in IP.Social Suite 4. The upload fields are easily accessible on the edit theme form. You can even upload a Facebook sharer image and favicon! Downloading and Uploading Themes In IPS Social Suite 4, downloading and uploading a new version of a theme could not be easier. Just select the menu item and it's done. You no longer need to navigate to separate areas of the Admin CP to do this. Conflict Management What happens if you upload a new version of a theme but it contains changes to templates you have also changed? You'll get a chance to review these changes and select which version to use on the conflict management page. Editing templates and CSS The template and CSS editor should be familiar for any existing customers. The editor is now fully syntax highlighted which will make writing and editing code so much easier. The template syntax is now much more compact as you can see from the above screen shot. We've also added a few things to reduce the amount of template logic required. A common need is to load a template if a condition is matched: {{if member.isAdmin()}} {template="admin_bar"} {{endif}} You can now put the conditional inside the template tag like so: {template="admin_bar" if="member.isAdmin()"} This is much easier to read and reduces a lot of visual clutter. The combination of the better template syntax and HTML 5 mark-up results in a dramatic reduction in size and complexity of often edited templates such as the globalTemplate which is commonly used to add your own site chrome. The screenshot below shows all of the IPS Social Suite 4 globalTemplate and for comparison, part of the IP.Board 3.4 globalTemplate which is over 340 lines long! The CSS framework much like the javascript framework has been completely rewritten and is now modular. This means that most CSS files are very small which makes looking for specific selectors much easier. In addition, upgrades are less destructive to your themes. If you made edits to the button styles, then only that one style sheet is altered leaving the rest as default. Of course, IPS Social Suite combines and minifies these separate CSS into fewer files when saved. This blog entry is just an overview of the theme section in the Admin CP. We'll go into more detail in a later entry on the new tools available designed to make theme creation and management a breeze for theme authors. We know you will have a ton of questions but please be patient with us if we keep saying "wait for next blog entry" :smile:
  24. We've just rebuilt IP.Board 3.4.4 for further beta testing. Thanks to everyone who has tested this release so far and for reporting the bugs you've found. We've fixed a good portion of these and would like for you to update your test installations with the latest release. All customers with an active IP.Board license can download the beta at: http://community.inv...ower.com/qa.php Once you've uploaded all the files to your server, there's no need to run the upgrade system as the version numbers haven't changed. You will need to rebuild your languages and skins. There's instructions here on how to do that. As always, please report any bugs you find with the beta to our bug tracker. Please pay particular attention to using the editor with IP.Board 3.4.4. A very large focus was placed on resolving some of the outstanding bugs and complaints with the editor, and we would appreciate any testing you can perform in this area. Create new posts, edit existing posts, toggle between the editor modes - if you find any bugs, let us know. As with all beta releases from IPS, IP.Board 3.4.4 is not supported by our technicians until it has been officially publicly released. Please do not upgrade your live installation using this beta, as you may find no path between this build and the final release that we put out. We recommended, instead, to create a copy of your live board as a test installation, and upgrade your test installation instead. Thanks!
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