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Matt

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  1. We're very pleased to announce that beta 3 of IP.Board 3.1.0 and its applications are now available! Please read through this announcement for information on where to download and what is available. What's Available? The following releases are available: IP.Board 3.1.0 Beta 3 IP.Gallery 3.2.0 Beta 3 IP.Blog 2.2.0 Beta 3 IP.Downloads 2.2.0 Beta 3 IP.Content 2.0.0 Beta 3 IP.Chat 1.1.0 Beta 3 Where can I download these? Please log in to your client center. Click on 'Downloads'. The beta releases will be in the 'Development Releases' category. Please note that you must have an active license for IP.Board before you can download. Likewise, you must have an active license for the application (Blog, Gallery, etc) you wish to test. What is a beta? A "beta" release is a version that is considered ready for extended testing. This is a feature complete release that needs as much testing as possible so that we find and fix any bugs that are found. It is possible that we will further refine some features based on feedback. We do not expect to add any features to these releases. Can I upgrade from a previous 3.1.0 beta? Yes, simply upload the files as normal and run /admin/upgrade/ Can I use it on my live site? We strongly recommend that you do NOT use this version on your live site. Although it has been internally tested and used on this forum, we cannot recommend that you use it on a live site as there may be undiscovered bugs which may impact stability. Furthermore, while we will assist on the forums where possible, beta releases are not supported officially. This means that you cannot receive technical support on these releases and we will not offer any installation or upgrades on these beta releases. Can I install it as a test board? You may install a test version of 3.1.0 beta. You do not need to purchase another license to do this. Please ensure that you take every effort to keep your test board private. It is acceptable to allow select members register to help in testing, but you may not use it as a second community. I've found a bug! Please report all bugs to the relevant section in our bug tracker. We will investigate all reports made. Please try and give as much detail as possible when making a report. Browser versions and operating system versions are especially relevant when reporting skin/interface bugs. What's new in 3.1.0? For a complete list of what's new for IP.Board and its applications, please see this topic. We've also been maintaining a regular blog of all new features. Please see this category for a list of recent blogs detailing recent feature additions. I have feedback Great! We always love to hear from you. Please use the special beta releases forum for feedback and other discussion on the beta releases.
  2. We're very pleased to announce that beta 2 of IP.Board 3.1.0 and its applications are now available ! Please read through this announcement for information on where to download and what is available. What's Available? The following releases are available: IP.Board 3.1.0 Beta 2 IP.Gallery 3.2.0 Beta 2 IP.Blog 2.2.0 Beta 2 IP.Downloads 2.2.0 Beta 2 IP.Content 2.0.0 Beta 2 IP.Chat 1.1.0 Beta 2 The CleanCut skin will be updated early next week for beta 2. (You're welcome, Ian). Where can I download these? Please log in to your client center. Click on 'Downloads'. The beta releases will be in the 'Development Releases' category. Please note that you must have an active license for IP.Board before you can download. Likewise, you must have an active license for the application (Blog, Gallery, etc) you wish to test. What is a beta? A "beta" release is a version that is considered ready for extended testing. This is a feature complete release that needs as much testing as possible so that we find and fix any bugs that are found. It is possible that we will further refine some features based on feedback. We do not expect to add any features to these releases. Can I upgrade from a previous 3.1.0 beta? Yes, simply upload the files as normal and run /admin/upgrade/ Can I use it on my live site? We strongly recommend that you do NOT use this version on your live site. Although it has been internally tested and used on this forum, we cannot recommend that you use it on a live site as there may be undiscovered bugs which may impact stability. Furthermore, while we will assist on the forums where possible, beta releases are not supported officially. This means that you cannot receive technical support on these releases and we will not offer any installation or upgrades on these beta releases. Can I install it as a test board? You may install a test version of 3.1.0 beta. You do not need to purchase another license to do this. Please ensure that you take every effort to keep your test board private. It is acceptable to allow select members register to help in testing, but you may not use it as a second community. I've found a bug! Please report all bugs to the relevant section in our bug tracker. We will investigate all reports made. Please try and give as much detail as possible when making a report. Browser versions and operating system versions are especially relevant when reporting skin/interface bugs. What's new in 3.1.0? For a complete list of what's new for IP.Board and its applications, please see this topic. We've also been maintaining a regular blog of all new features. Please see this category for a list of recent blogs detailing recent feature additions. I have feedback Great! We always love to hear from you. Please use the special beta releases forum for feedback and other discussion on the beta releases.
  3. We're very pleased to announce that IP.Board 3.1.0 and its applications are now available for beta testing! Please read through this announcement for information on where to download and what is available. What's Available? The following releases are available: IP.Board 3.1.0 Beta 1 IP.Gallery 3.2.0 Beta 1 IP.Blog 2.2.0 Beta 1 IP.Downloads 2.2.0 Beta 1 IP.Content 2.0.0 Beta 1 IP.Chat 1.1.0 Beta 1 MySQL: New installation and upgrades from previous versions (1.3+) are available for testing MSSQL: New installations are available for testing. The upgrade system will be available in beta 2. Where can I download these? Please log in to your client center. Click on 'Downloads'. The beta releases will be in the 'Development Releases' category. Please note that you must have an active license for IP.Board before you can download. Likewise, you must have an active license for the application (Blog, Gallery, etc) you wish to test. What is a beta? A "beta" release is a version that is considered ready for extended testing. This is a feature complete release that needs as much testing as possible so that we find and fix any bugs that are found. It is possible that we will further refine some features based on feedback. We do not expect to add any features to these releases. Can I use it on my live site? We strongly recommend that you do NOT use this version on your live site. Although it has been internally tested and used on this forum, we cannot recommend that you use it on a live site as there may be undiscovered bugs which may impact stability. Furthermore, while we will assist on the forums where possible, beta releases are not supported officially. This means that you cannot receive technical support on these releases and we will not offer any installation or upgrades on these beta releases. Can I install it as a test board? You may install a test version of 3.1.0 beta. You do not need to purchase another license to do this. Please ensure that you take every effort to keep your test board private. It is acceptable to allow select members register to help in testing, but you may not use it as a second community. I've found a bug! Please report all bugs to the relevant section in our bug tracker. We will investigate all reports made. Please try and give as much detail as possible when making a report. Browser versions and operating system versions are especially relevant when reporting skin/interface bugs. What's new in 3.1.0? For a complete list of what's new for IP.Board and its applications, please see this topic. We've also been maintaining a regular blog of all new features. Please see this category for a list of recent blogs detailing recent feature additions. I have feedback Great! We always love to hear from you. Please use the special beta releases forum for feedback and other discussion on the beta releases.
  4. A common problem for all administrators that have skin customisations is having to apply them after each upgrade. This is often time consuming and laborious. One has to pour over a difference report and manually copy and paste the new code into existing templates. A major upgrade such as 3.1 can mean dozens of changed templates. I'm pleased to say that we've added a new tool to greatly assist in this process. Indeed, skins with just a few minor customisations such as colours can almost automate the upgrade process. Introducing the Template Merge Center This new tool will check for differences and attempt to perform a merge on your templates and CSS files. For those interested in the technical details, a three way merge works like this: A diff(erence) off the old default and new default is performed, and a difference of the custom skin and the new default is performed. The differences are examined and merged into one text. if a change is detected in both the old > new and the custom > new, this is flagged as a conflict. Anyone who has worked with version control systems will be familiar with the concepts. If you'd like to see a practical demonstration, please see this video: Apologies for the quiet audio. A typical work flow would be as follows: Run the merge report on a skin set Automatically or manually resolve the conflicts Commit the merged items Tweak the final result by hand if required Let's run through that: This screen shot shows a 3.0.5 skin from a customer running on a 3.1 board. As you can see, there are several problems such as missing items and incorrectly styled items. When we run the tool, it checks all the templates for differences: This produces a list of all templates that have differences and we can filter the result set further: We can preview the conflicts: And we can edit the conflicted text manually: Once we have resolved the conflicts, we can commit these changes: The end result is pretty good. We'd need to tweak the CSS to change the border colour of the notifications box but we've done a lot of the hard work with a few mouse clicks: Of course, this tool isn't a magic wand, but it will greatly assist in the manual upgrading of a skin an as we've seen here, skins with simple customisations may require little manual intervention. We hope that you find this tool useful when upgrading to IP.Board 3.1.
  5. A common problem for all administrators that have skin customisations is having to apply them after each upgrade. This is often time consuming and laborious. One has to pour over a difference report and manually copy and paste the new code into existing templates. A major upgrade such as 3.1 can mean dozens of changed templates. I'm pleased to say that we've added a new tool to greatly assist in this process. Indeed, skins with just a few minor customisations such as colours can almost automate the upgrade process. Introducing the Template Merge Center This new tool will check for differences and attempt to perform a merge on your templates and CSS files. For those interested in the technical details, a three way merge works like this: A diff(erence) off the old default and new default is performed, and a difference of the custom skin and the new default is performed. The differences are examined and merged into one text. if a change is detected in both the old > new and the custom > new, this is flagged as a conflict. Anyone who has worked with version control systems will be familiar with the concepts. If you'd like to see a practical demonstration, please see this video: Apologies for the quiet audio. A typical work flow would be as follows: Run the merge report on a skin set Automatically or manually resolve the conflicts Commit the merged items Tweak the final result by hand if required Let's run through that: This screen shot shows a 3.0.5 skin from a customer running on a 3.1 board. As you can see, there are several problems such as missing items and incorrectly styled items. When we run the tool, it checks all the templates for differences: This produces a list of all templates that have differences and we can filter the result set further: We can preview the conflicts: And we can edit the conflicted text manually: Once we have resolved the conflicts, we can commit these changes: The end result is pretty good. We'd need to tweak the CSS to change the border colour of the notifications box but we've done a lot of the hard work with a few mouse clicks: Of course, this tool isn't a magic wand, but it will greatly assist in the manual upgrading of a skin an as we've seen here, skins with simple customisations may require little manual intervention. We hope that you find this tool useful when upgrading to IP.Board 3.1. View full blog entry
  6. On Wednesday at the F8 conference, Facebook unveiled their new "Graph" API. This is brand new set of APIs including a new oAuth based log in system. There is much speculation in the media about the current (now old) APIs like Facebook Connect, which IP.Board currently uses. Some sites are reporting that Facebook will simply kill it off while other more optimistic journalists envision a long grace period to allow developers update and migrate their applications. We didn't want to hang around and find out, so today I recoded our Facebook integration using the new oAuth 2.0 methods using FQL as much as possible which is more likely resistant to change. What does that mean for you? First off, apart from adding your Facebook application ID (this is listed on your "Edit my application page") into your Admin CP after upgrading, you don't have to do much else. Your currently 'connected' members will just have to re-log in once to accept a new token which is saved in the database. All the new permissions 3.1 needs will be asked for in a single page at the first Facebook log in from an IP.Board page. All of the features we added have been updated for the new API including: logging in, synchronizing profile data, publishing links to your wall and importing/exporting status updates. An example of a permission request actioned when you log in for the first time The Facebook 'Connect' Page using the new APIs. Some test status updates and links published to my test Facebook account. Any improvements? Actually yes. The new APIs are much more streamlined which have allowed a lot of the inline JS and mark-up to be removed. Better yet, as we're no longer using Facebook Connect, we are not shackled by Facebook's Connect TOS which mean that now when you log in using Facebook and you don't have a current forum account, you are asked to enter a display name rather than having your real name used automatically. We've even added a few default hooks (that are disabled by default) to show off some of the new Facebook API features. Facebook has an activity feed widget which lists all Facebook related activity on your forum You can now like any publicly viewable topic Of course we understand that not everyone requires these new Facebook features which is why they are disabled by default. To re-cap: - 3.1 now uses Facebook's new oAuth / Graph APIs (and FQL) - You only need to add your application ID to your Facebook settings in the ACP to use this once you upgrade - Your current Facebook members will not have to do anything other than log in once via Facebook from the log in form or from the Facebook settings page in their UserCP - Your members can now set their own display name when they log in with Facebook and they don't have a local account We felt it pertinent to move quickly on this so that IP.Board 3.1 was released with the very latest APIs possible.
  7. On Wednesday at the F8 conference, Facebook unveiled their new "Graph" API. This is brand new set of APIs including a new oAuth based log in system. There is much speculation in the media about the current (now old) APIs like Facebook Connect, which IP.Board currently uses. Some sites are reporting that Facebook will simply kill it off while other more optimistic journalists envision a long grace period to allow developers update and migrate their applications. We didn't want to hang around and find out, so today I recoded our Facebook integration using the new oAuth 2.0 methods using FQL as much as possible which is more likely resistant to change. What does that mean for you? First off, apart from adding your Facebook application ID (this is listed on your "Edit my application page") into your Admin CP after upgrading, you don't have to do much else. Your currently 'connected' members will just have to re-log in once to accept a new token which is saved in the database. All the new permissions 3.1 needs will be asked for in a single page at the first Facebook log in from an IP.Board page. All of the features we added have been updated for the new API including: logging in, synchronizing profile data, publishing links to your wall and importing/exporting status updates. An example of a permission request actioned when you log in for the first time The Facebook 'Connect' Page using the new APIs. Some test status updates and links published to my test Facebook account. Any improvements? Actually yes. The new APIs are much more streamlined which have allowed a lot of the inline JS and mark-up to be removed. Better yet, as we're no longer using Facebook Connect, we are not shackled by Facebook's Connect TOS which mean that now when you log in using Facebook and you don't have a current forum account, you are asked to enter a display name rather than having your real name used automatically. We've even added a few default hooks (that are disabled by default) to show off some of the new Facebook API features. Facebook has an activity feed widget which lists all Facebook related activity on your forum You can now like any publicly viewable topic Of course we understand that not everyone requires these new Facebook features which is why they are disabled by default. To re-cap: - 3.1 now uses Facebook's new oAuth / Graph APIs (and FQL) - You only need to add your application ID to your Facebook settings in the ACP to use this once you upgrade - Your current Facebook members will not have to do anything other than log in once via Facebook from the log in form or from the Facebook settings page in their UserCP - Your members can now set their own display name when they log in with Facebook and they don't have a local account We felt it pertinent to move quickly on this so that IP.Board 3.1 was released with the very latest APIs possible. View full blog entry
  8. When we developed IP.Board 3, one of the main goals was to centralize searching and simplify it to provide results cleanly and concisely. Since then we have had a lot of emphatic feedback on how to develop the search further and to improve the interface. We've have taken all that feedback on board and completely overhauled search making it more flexible and more useful. This blog entry lists the major improvements. There's a lot to get through, so lets get started. Search Form The search form has been redesigned with separate applications in mind. Right away you'll notice that there are radio buttons to select which app you want to search in which then presents its own filtering options. As the filter and sort options are unique to the application, you can request to sort by very specific fields such as topic title, views, etc. Full boolean searching is supported with the ability to choose the search mode between "match all words" and "match any words". Phrase searching is also available, for example searching for "roses are red" will find topics or posts that match that phrase precisely. Search Results This screen shot shows the search results as a topic list. You'll notice immediately two things; first it now shows hidden or soft deleted topics in the result stream (assuming you have permission to see them) and also a multi-moderation checkbox to the right. As when viewing a normal forum, you can select multiple topics and perform moderation on them in a few clicks. This makes it much easier to moderate the board especially as the same functionality is applied to both "View New Content" and "Active Content" and User's Content. We've also implemented the topic preview when you mouse over the topic row. This screen shot shows the same search but listed as posts. You'll note it uses the familiar post template and also has multi-moderation available. Multiple Content Types Now that applications have more control over the search itself, you can specify multiple content types that can be searched. The 'members' tab allows you to search through members or profile comments. This screen shot shows the result of searching in profile comments. Finding User Content As of IP.Board 3.1, "Find my posts" and "Find my topics" have been merged into a more useful view "User's Content". This works across all applications so you can quickly view all of the content the user has created. Remember that hidden and soft deleted items are also shown where permission allows making moderation even easier. The new button on the user's profile. The forum application's "Users Content" view. Note that this first view shows all topics the user has started and all topics the user has posted in, much like a "My Activity" feed. This works across all applications, like IP.Gallery Sphinx Integration We added Sphinx integration into IP.Board 3 to provide a way to offset the resources used when members search. However, it was a very simple implementation and many filtering options were removed. I'm happy to say that I've completely overhauled Sphinx integration so that it is identical to the regular search. Indeed, Sphinx is running on my local test board and all these screen shots are taken with Sphinx activated. I'm also pleased to say that Sphinx is now used for searching, active content, new content and user's content views so you can take full advantage of the fast and efficient searching it provides. That concludes our search updates. I hope that you enjoy these updates and that you find searching less of a chore in IP.Board 3.1.0 We genuinely appreciate all the feedback that we get and we've really listened with your search feedback. Oh, one last thing... If you'll excuse the Jobzian finale, there is one other improvement to the search system: The global search box is now context sensitive so that when you are viewing a forum or topic, you have the choice to restrict your search.
  9. When we developed IP.Board 3, one of the main goals was to centralize searching and simplify it to provide results cleanly and concisely. Since then we have had a lot of emphatic feedback on how to develop the search further and to improve the interface. We've have taken all that feedback on board and completely overhauled search making it more flexible and more useful. This blog entry lists the major improvements. There's a lot to get through, so lets get started. Search Form The search form has been redesigned with separate applications in mind. Right away you'll notice that there are radio buttons to select which app you want to search in which then presents its own filtering options. As the filter and sort options are unique to the application, you can request to sort by very specific fields such as topic title, views, etc. Full boolean searching is supported with the ability to choose the search mode between "match all words" and "match any words". Phrase searching is also available, for example searching for "roses are red" will find topics or posts that match that phrase precisely. Search Results This screen shot shows the search results as a topic list. You'll notice immediately two things; first it now shows hidden or soft deleted topics in the result stream (assuming you have permission to see them) and also a multi-moderation checkbox to the right. As when viewing a normal forum, you can select multiple topics and perform moderation on them in a few clicks. This makes it much easier to moderate the board especially as the same functionality is applied to both "View New Content" and "Active Content" and User's Content. We've also implemented the topic preview when you mouse over the topic row. This screen shot shows the same search but listed as posts. You'll note it uses the familiar post template and also has multi-moderation available. Multiple Content Types Now that applications have more control over the search itself, you can specify multiple content types that can be searched. The 'members' tab allows you to search through members or profile comments. This screen shot shows the result of searching in profile comments. Finding User Content As of IP.Board 3.1, "Find my posts" and "Find my topics" have been merged into a more useful view "User's Content". This works across all applications so you can quickly view all of the content the user has created. Remember that hidden and soft deleted items are also shown where permission allows making moderation even easier. The new button on the user's profile. The forum application's "Users Content" view. Note that this first view shows all topics the user has started and all topics the user has posted in, much like a "My Activity" feed. This works across all applications, like IP.Gallery Sphinx Integration We added Sphinx integration into IP.Board 3 to provide a way to offset the resources used when members search. However, it was a very simple implementation and many filtering options were removed. I'm happy to say that I've completely overhauled Sphinx integration so that it is identical to the regular search. Indeed, Sphinx is running on my local test board and all these screen shots are taken with Sphinx activated. I'm also pleased to say that Sphinx is now used for searching, active content, new content and user's content views so you can take full advantage of the fast and efficient searching it provides. That concludes our search updates. I hope that you enjoy these updates and that you find searching less of a chore in IP.Board 3.1.0 We genuinely appreciate all the feedback that we get and we've really listened with your search feedback. Oh, one last thing... If you'll excuse the Jobzian finale, there is one other improvement to the search system: The global search box is now context sensitive so that when you are viewing a forum or topic, you have the choice to restrict your search. View full blog entry
  10. We recently blogged about our new profile customization options. I've made a few updates since and wanted to update you on them. As you may already be aware, we have added Twitter integration into IP.Board 3.1. This enables you to 'connect' your Twitter account to your forum account to share links, status updates and to allow you to use your Twitter photo on the board. I've taken this a step further and added an option to allow you to import your Twitter background preferences to your profile: My test Twitter account with using a different Twitter theme The background preferences (img and color) imported into IP.Board The preferences control panel I've also added a few handy links to the Profile Customization control panel. These links allow you to revert all customizations, remove just the background image and load your profile to see the changes: I've also included a quick way to remove your own customizations while viewing your profile: And if you are a "Super Moderator", then you remove and remove and disable customizations on any profile you view: We hope that you enjoy this feature and allowing Twitter to set your background further personalizes your board profile and re-enforces your own personal brand.
  11. We recently blogged about our new profile customization options. I've made a few updates since and wanted to update you on them. As you may already be aware, we have added Twitter integration into IP.Board 3.1. This enables you to 'connect' your Twitter account to your forum account to share links, status updates and to allow you to use your Twitter photo on the board. I've taken this a step further and added an option to allow you to import your Twitter background preferences to your profile: My test Twitter account with using a different Twitter theme The background preferences (img and color) imported into IP.Board The preferences control panel I've also added a few handy links to the Profile Customization control panel. These links allow you to revert all customizations, remove just the background image and load your profile to see the changes: I've also included a quick way to remove your own customizations while viewing your profile: And if you are a "Super Moderator", then you remove and remove and disable customizations on any profile you view: We hope that you enjoy this feature and allowing Twitter to set your background further personalizes your board profile and re-enforces your own personal brand. View full blog entry
  12. We read virtually every piece of feedback we receive, even if we don't reply and we often see the same requests coming up. The ability to 'preview' the topic by viewing an excerpt from the first post is often requested and we've added this into IP.Board 3.1. We've made it a little more useful by also including the last time you read a topic (if applicable) and the number of unread posts so you can quickly review how much activity has taken place since you last read the topic. When you 'mouse over' a topic entry, you'll see a little 'pop-up' icon. Clicking this loads an excerpt from the first post along with some data underneath. This is very useful for moderators who can quickly review un-approved topics and well as being useful for normal members who can quickly decide whether they want to open the topic or not. Technical Details: - Icon appears for moderators / admins and normal members. If there are no moderator tools, it shows on its own. - When you mouse over the cell, the icon is "faded" until you mouse over the actual icon. - Data is loaded via Ajax to reduce mark-up required in the templates. - The post excerpt is stripped of all BBCode and mark-up to prevent it breaking out of the pop-up. This feature adds a little more functionality and polish to the forum index allowing you to perform your daily routine a little quicker and a little easier.
  13. We read virtually every piece of feedback we receive, even if we don't reply and we often see the same requests coming up. The ability to 'preview' the topic by viewing an excerpt from the first post is often requested and we've added this into IP.Board 3.1. We've made it a little more useful by also including the last time you read a topic (if applicable) and the number of unread posts so you can quickly review how much activity has taken place since you last read the topic. When you 'mouse over' a topic entry, you'll see a little 'pop-up' icon. Clicking this loads an excerpt from the first post along with some data underneath. This is very useful for moderators who can quickly review un-approved topics and well as being useful for normal members who can quickly decide whether they want to open the topic or not. Technical Details: - Icon appears for moderators / admins and normal members. If there are no moderator tools, it shows on its own. - When you mouse over the cell, the icon is "faded" until you mouse over the actual icon. - Data is loaded via Ajax to reduce mark-up required in the templates. - The post excerpt is stripped of all BBCode and mark-up to prevent it breaking out of the pop-up. This feature adds a little more functionality and polish to the forum index allowing you to perform your daily routine a little quicker and a little easier. View full blog entry
  14. The IP.Board 2 series introduced a number of new profile features designed to make your profile page a little more interactive. Besides the usual stats and figures, we introduced a personal photo and the ability to leave comments and list recent visitors. This made your profile page a little more personal and encouraged repeat visits. With the status updates feature in IP.Board 3.1, the profile page is becoming increasingly like a little user portal. With that in mind, we've extended the personalization options to include profile page background customization. You can allow your members permission to add a new background image or change the background color which instantly changes the feel of the page. Here's an example of my own profile: I've chosen a beach scene, so I've not tiled the image. This allows the image to not repeat and remain 'fixed' so that when you scroll, the background doesn't scroll with it. You'll note a new menu item in the User Control Panel: Naturally, you as the administrator can control which groups have permission to do this: When the user adds a profile background, the margins on the profile page increase so you can see the background image. If the user doesn't have a background image set, the profile appears as normal with minimal padding. You can adjust this by editing the profile page CSS as normal via the Admin CP. The profile page has undergone a few tweaks to make it a little neater. We've moved all the user's information into the left hand bar leaving more space to the right for other data such as the status updates, etc. We plan to develop user customization further in future releases. Technical Notes: - Group settings to enable / allow uploads / allow URL images / maximum upload size - Ability to disable on a per-user basis - Ability to tile an image, or to fix it (background-repeat: no-repeat; background-attachment: fixed)
  15. The IP.Board 2 series introduced a number of new profile features designed to make your profile page a little more interactive. Besides the usual stats and figures, we introduced a personal photo and the ability to leave comments and list recent visitors. This made your profile page a little more personal and encouraged repeat visits. With the status updates feature in IP.Board 3.1, the profile page is becoming increasingly like a little user portal. With that in mind, we've extended the personalization options to include profile page background customization. You can allow your members permission to add a new background image or change the background color which instantly changes the feel of the page. Here's an example of my own profile: I've chosen a beach scene, so I've not tiled the image. This allows the image to not repeat and remain 'fixed' so that when you scroll, the background doesn't scroll with it. You'll note a new menu item in the User Control Panel: Naturally, you as the administrator can control which groups have permission to do this: When the user adds a profile background, the margins on the profile page increase so you can see the background image. If the user doesn't have a background image set, the profile appears as normal with minimal padding. You can adjust this by editing the profile page CSS as normal via the Admin CP. The profile page has undergone a few tweaks to make it a little neater. We've moved all the user's information into the left hand bar leaving more space to the right for other data such as the status updates, etc. We plan to develop user customization further in future releases. Technical Notes: - Group settings to enable / allow uploads / allow URL images / maximum upload size - Ability to disable on a per-user basis - Ability to tile an image, or to fix it (background-repeat: no-repeat; background-attachment: fixed) View full blog entry
  16. When we were developing IP.Board 3.0 we were looking for ways to lower the barrier for registering. There are many single sign in providers but most of them required separate registration and set-up. Around this time, Facebook released their emerging API "Facebook Connect". We seized the opportunity to implement it within IP.Board 3 and adhered to all their guidelines. The first implementation of the Facebook Connect API was less of a point of authentication but more of a way to appear as a member of a site. This was slightly at odds with the concept of permanent registration at a forum and a few work-arounds had to be made. For example, there was no way to request your Facebook data without you actually being active on the board and connected (logged into Facebook). Also, Facebook did not allow you to request the Facebook user's real email address but instead had to make do with a long proxy email address that Facebook would use to forward mail to your Facebook account. Despite these limitations, it worked well in allowing users with a Facebook account to register almost instantly on your forum. Since then, Facebook have updated their API dramatically allowing so much more functionality. Naturally, we have taken the opportunity to update the integration within IP.Board. You can now request several different permissions to allow IP.Board to fetch your Facebook data without you being online. Furthermore, IP.Board can now store a permanent "key" to link your forum account to your Facebook account meaning that you shouldn't see the "Connect" button once you initially set up your forum account. As these permissions need to be explicitly granted, we have added a little section to the "Manage Facebook Connect" page to list the permissions IP.Board requires and whether or not such permission has been granted. If permission has not been granted, you will be give the option of requesting permission. You can now also publish your status updates directly to your Facebook account using the new API methods: This new implementation should clear up a lot of the current Facebook issues people experience, mostly due to authorization errors between IP.Board and Facebook caused by expired sessions. The new methods also allow the new sharing links system.
  17. When we were developing IP.Board 3.0 we were looking for ways to lower the barrier for registering. There are many single sign in providers but most of them required separate registration and set-up. Around this time, Facebook released their emerging API "Facebook Connect". We seized the opportunity to implement it within IP.Board 3 and adhered to all their guidelines. The first implementation of the Facebook Connect API was less of a point of authentication but more of a way to appear as a member of a site. This was slightly at odds with the concept of permanent registration at a forum and a few work-arounds had to be made. For example, there was no way to request your Facebook data without you actually being active on the board and connected (logged into Facebook). Also, Facebook did not allow you to request the Facebook user's real email address but instead had to make do with a long proxy email address that Facebook would use to forward mail to your Facebook account. Despite these limitations, it worked well in allowing users with a Facebook account to register almost instantly on your forum. Since then, Facebook have updated their API dramatically allowing so much more functionality. Naturally, we have taken the opportunity to update the integration within IP.Board. You can now request several different permissions to allow IP.Board to fetch your Facebook data without you being online. Furthermore, IP.Board can now store a permanent "key" to link your forum account to your Facebook account meaning that you shouldn't see the "Connect" button once you initially set up your forum account. As these permissions need to be explicitly granted, we have added a little section to the "Manage Facebook Connect" page to list the permissions IP.Board requires and whether or not such permission has been granted. If permission has not been granted, you will be give the option of requesting permission. You can now also publish your status updates directly to your Facebook account using the new API methods: This new implementation should clear up a lot of the current Facebook issues people experience, mostly due to authorization errors between IP.Board and Facebook caused by expired sessions. The new methods also allow the new sharing links system. View full blog entry
  18. Following on from our recent blog entry about Twitter Integration, I'd like to present our newest IP.Board 3.1.0 feature: Sharing Links. This new feature makes good use of our improved Facebook Connect integration and the new Twitter integration. As most Facebook and Twitter users have discovered, sometimes you see a link to a great article or topic and want to share it with your friends and followers. This new feature makes this very easy to do. You don't even have to leave the page to do it. The ease of use will encourage your members to share your links among their friends increasing the traffic to your forum. If you have connected your forum account to Twitter and Facebook, then clicking on the share link icon for those services loads a pop-up enabling you to tailor your content before sending it. Of course, there are many more places to share links which is why we've included a few other methods by default and made it very easy to add your own. Let's look at the feature in more detail. The screen shot below shows a typical topic and the new share icons underneath. In this case, we've just clicked on the "Twitter" icon: Now, lets hit "Share". We see a confirmation of our tweet and a link to it: Let's take a quick look on the Twitter site to confirm it. (I've removed some of the bit.ly URL in this screen shot) Now, let's hit the Facebook icon: A quick look on Facebook confirms the link has been added to my wall Of course, if you don't have your account linked to Twitter or Facebook, the standard "share" link is launched for each service. The other services act like this too, a new window is opened with the service's share page loaded and filled in. Developers will be pleased to note that adding share links to your own pages is incredibly easy. All you need to do is add one small line of code to your templates and it handles the rest. You don't need to load or parse any data directly, it's all handled for you. For example: Share this: {IPSLib::shareLinks( $documentTitle )} Wouldn't it be great to know which links were shared and how many times? You'll be pleased to know that IP.Board tracks the number of shares for each URL and service type and can show a log of this data in the Admin CP. We've also put together a side bar hook to process this data: This data is cached each time a link is shared, so it is very light to load and process. It is entirely abstracted so your own applications can make use of it. It's no secret how social media has improved how we share data to each other and this feature allows your board to gain more exposure using existing services. The seamless integration with Facebook and Twitter lowers the barrier for sharing your content. Here's a quick overview of the feature: - Global on/off switch to remove the share link icons and functionality - On/off switch per forum to remove the icons and functionality - Fall back to simple service's "share" page if member doesn't have JS enabled, or does not have their account connected - Admin CP options to add more services and to disable existing services - Sidebar hook uses cached data and can be disabled. Guests cannot see it. - Topics that are shared that you do not have permission to see have the topic title "Protected Topic" by default in the sidebar block.
  19. Following on from our recent blog entry about Twitter Integration, I'd like to present our newest IP.Board 3.1.0 feature: Sharing Links. This new feature makes good use of our improved Facebook Connect integration and the new Twitter integration. As most Facebook and Twitter users have discovered, sometimes you see a link to a great article or topic and want to share it with your friends and followers. This new feature makes this very easy to do. You don't even have to leave the page to do it. The ease of use will encourage your members to share your links among their friends increasing the traffic to your forum. If you have connected your forum account to Twitter and Facebook, then clicking on the share link icon for those services loads a pop-up enabling you to tailor your content before sending it. Of course, there are many more places to share links which is why we've included a few other methods by default and made it very easy to add your own. Let's look at the feature in more detail. The screen shot below shows a typical topic and the new share icons underneath. In this case, we've just clicked on the "Twitter" icon: Now, lets hit "Share". We see a confirmation of our tweet and a link to it: Let's take a quick look on the Twitter site to confirm it. (I've removed some of the bit.ly URL in this screen shot) Now, let's hit the Facebook icon: A quick look on Facebook confirms the link has been added to my wall Of course, if you don't have your account linked to Twitter or Facebook, the standard "share" link is launched for each service. The other services act like this too, a new window is opened with the service's share page loaded and filled in. Developers will be pleased to note that adding share links to your own pages is incredibly easy. All you need to do is add one small line of code to your templates and it handles the rest. You don't need to load or parse any data directly, it's all handled for you. For example: Share this: {IPSLib::shareLinks( $documentTitle )} Wouldn't it be great to know which links were shared and how many times? You'll be pleased to know that IP.Board tracks the number of shares for each URL and service type and can show a log of this data in the Admin CP. We've also put together a side bar hook to process this data: This data is cached each time a link is shared, so it is very light to load and process. It is entirely abstracted so your own applications can make use of it. It's no secret how social media has improved how we share data to each other and this feature allows your board to gain more exposure using existing services. The seamless integration with Facebook and Twitter lowers the barrier for sharing your content. Here's a quick overview of the feature: - Global on/off switch to remove the share link icons and functionality - On/off switch per forum to remove the icons and functionality - Fall back to simple service's "share" page if member doesn't have JS enabled, or does not have their account connected - Admin CP options to add more services and to disable existing services - Sidebar hook uses cached data and can be disabled. Guests cannot see it. - Topics that are shared that you do not have permission to see have the topic title "Protected Topic" by default in the sidebar block. View full blog entry
  20. IP.Board already has many moderation tools, including the ability to "approve" and "un-approve" posts and topics to make them hidden from the general community. IP.Board also has a "Trash Can" forum which collects all deleted topics and posts giving you a chance to keep them and manually move them back if you wanted to do so. Recently, we've had several requests for a "soft delete" option. This would work in a similar manner to the "approve" and "un-approve" system but with an extended permission set. Essentially, when you "soft delete" a topic or post, it vanishes for the general community (by default) but is still visible to moderators and administrators in-line. You can also add a reason why the item was deleted and it records the time stamp. If you have permission, then you can restore the post if desired with a click of a button. The permissions model works like this: Per Member Group: - Can Soft Delete All Topics - Can Soft Delete All Posts - Can Soft Delete My Topics - Can Soft Delete My Posts - Can See Soft Deleted Items - Can See Soft Deleted Content - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Topics - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Posts Per Moderator: (Will override member group selection in the forum(s) they moderate) - Can Soft Delete All Topics - Can Soft Delete All Posts - Can See Soft Deleted Items - Can See Soft Deleted Content - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Topics - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Posts This gives you many options. For example, you could allow your members to "soft delete" their own content allowing you the chance to restore it. Conversely, you may also want your members to see that some items have been deleted, but not see the actual content of what was deleted. The choice is yours. Here's a few screen shots detailing the feature: When the delete button is clicked, a new dialogue appears giving you the option to "remove from view" (aka, soft delete) or "Delete Now" which will either remove it from the database, or move it into the Trash Can forum if it is set up. How the deleted post looks if you have "See Deleted Items" permission. The toggle button is visible for those with "See Soft Deleted Content" permission. The forum's topic list shows a pink background with a delete icon for topics with "soft deleted" posts. Clicking the delete icon brings up a list of the deleted posts. Clicking on the delete icon (that appears when you mouseover the cell) brings up a dialogue similar to the post one. Showing the deleted item in the forum's topic list. Clicking the topic title link will take you to the topic if you have "See Soft Deleted Content" permission. This feature also works with the multi-moderation allowing you to "soft delete" or "restore" many posts or topics at once. Please keep in mind that the screenshots shown are based on a pre-beta build of IP.Board 3.1 and will likely receive a little polish before release.
  21. IP.Board already has many moderation tools, including the ability to "approve" and "un-approve" posts and topics to make them hidden from the general community. IP.Board also has a "Trash Can" forum which collects all deleted topics and posts giving you a chance to keep them and manually move them back if you wanted to do so. Recently, we've had several requests for a "soft delete" option. This would work in a similar manner to the "approve" and "un-approve" system but with an extended permission set. Essentially, when you "soft delete" a topic or post, it vanishes for the general community (by default) but is still visible to moderators and administrators in-line. You can also add a reason why the item was deleted and it records the time stamp. If you have permission, then you can restore the post if desired with a click of a button. The permissions model works like this: Per Member Group: - Can Soft Delete All Topics - Can Soft Delete All Posts - Can Soft Delete My Topics - Can Soft Delete My Posts - Can See Soft Deleted Items - Can See Soft Deleted Content - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Topics - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Posts Per Moderator: (Will override member group selection in the forum(s) they moderate) - Can Soft Delete All Topics - Can Soft Delete All Posts - Can See Soft Deleted Items - Can See Soft Deleted Content - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Topics - Can Restore Soft-Deleted Posts This gives you many options. For example, you could allow your members to "soft delete" their own content allowing you the chance to restore it. Conversely, you may also want your members to see that some items have been deleted, but not see the actual content of what was deleted. The choice is yours. Here's a few screen shots detailing the feature: When the delete button is clicked, a new dialogue appears giving you the option to "remove from view" (aka, soft delete) or "Delete Now" which will either remove it from the database, or move it into the Trash Can forum if it is set up. How the deleted post looks if you have "See Deleted Items" permission. The toggle button is visible for those with "See Soft Deleted Content" permission. The forum's topic list shows a pink background with a delete icon for topics with "soft deleted" posts. Clicking the delete icon brings up a list of the deleted posts. Clicking on the delete icon (that appears when you mouseover the cell) brings up a dialogue similar to the post one. Showing the deleted item in the forum's topic list. Clicking the topic title link will take you to the topic if you have "See Soft Deleted Content" permission. This feature also works with the multi-moderation allowing you to "soft delete" or "restore" many posts or topics at once. Please keep in mind that the screenshots shown are based on a pre-beta build of IP.Board 3.1 and will likely receive a little polish before release. View full blog entry
  22. I had previously blogged about the status update improvements coming in IP.Board 3.1.0. This blog runs through some exciting new integration features with Twitter. As IP.Board already has Facebook integration, it makes sense to also integrate Twitter. This further lowers the bar when registering a new account on your forum. If your visitors have have a Twitter account, they can use this to register a new forum account or to "connect" their existing account with their Twitter account. Integrating your Twitter account allows you to use your Twitter profile picture and description on the board. You can also import your latest Twitter status onto the board, or post your board status to Twitter. If your forum status is longer than 140 characters, it will cut the status off and automatically add a Bit.ly URL pointing to your forum status update. You may note that each status update on the forum has a little icon showing where the status originated. These improvements should increase registrations on your board and generate more traffic to it.
  23. I had previously blogged about the status update improvements coming in IP.Board 3.1.0. This blog runs through some exciting new integration features with Twitter. As IP.Board already has Facebook integration, it makes sense to also integrate Twitter. This further lowers the bar when registering a new account on your forum. If your visitors have have a Twitter account, they can use this to register a new forum account or to "connect" their existing account with their Twitter account. Integrating your Twitter account allows you to use your Twitter profile picture and description on the board. You can also import your latest Twitter status onto the board, or post your board status to Twitter. If your forum status is longer than 140 characters, it will cut the status off and automatically add a Bit.ly URL pointing to your forum status update. You may note that each status update on the forum has a little icon showing where the status originated. These improvements should increase registrations on your board and generate more traffic to it. View full blog entry
  24. I blogged just before Christmas about the improvements to the status update feature in IP.Board. A recent addition is the ability to locks a status update. A normal member can lock their status to prevent comments from other members, although a super moderator (and admin) can over-ride this and reply and/or unlock the status. When a super moderator (and admin) lock a status, it means that in addition to other members being able to reply, the status owner can not unlock it. I have also improved the sidebar hook to allow on-the-fly commenting, updating and deleting without leaving the page. You can see it in action, here: We feel these minor 'social networking' style features add interest and a secondary reason to re-visit your forum. Members can receive email notifications when a reply is made to their status, or a reply is made to a status they have commented on. This will continually drive traffic back to your site and encourage more interaction between members.
  25. I blogged just before Christmas about the improvements to the status update feature in IP.Board. A recent addition is the ability to locks a status update. A normal member can lock their status to prevent comments from other members, although a super moderator (and admin) can over-ride this and reply and/or unlock the status. When a super moderator (and admin) lock a status, it means that in addition to other members being able to reply, the status owner can not unlock it. I have also improved the sidebar hook to allow on-the-fly commenting, updating and deleting without leaving the page. You can see it in action, here: We feel these minor 'social networking' style features add interest and a secondary reason to re-visit your forum. Members can receive email notifications when a reply is made to their status, or a reply is made to a status they have commented on. This will continually drive traffic back to your site and encourage more interaction between members. View full blog entry
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