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Invision Power

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  1. Invision Community has supported member referrals via the Commerce app since Commerce was called Nexus all those years ago. Community owners have been able to see at a glance who is spreading the word and members have received the kudos associated with a growing referral count in return. When planning Invision Community 4.5 we saw that this feature had the potential to be so much more… So what have we done to improve it? See Who Was Referred In addition to seeing a count of referrals, it’s now possible for both admins and members to see who they referred. If Commerce is enabled admins can also see how much commission (if any) was earned. The new referral settings page shows links, code snippets and who you've referred Member Promotion Seeing a rising count of who has been referred gives members a great feeling of community involvement but wouldn’t it be great if you could reward your members in other ways too? Referral counts now work as a member filter when using the group promotion feature. You can now automatically promote members that have referred more than a specific number of members to another user group and give them access to exclusive content. This still works alongside paid subscriptions so be another method for members not willing or able to pay for subscriptions to get access. Integration With Sharing If the feature is enabled, any time a link is shared via the built-in share links, referrals will be tracked. This occurs automatically without the member needing to think about it. It’s now easier than ever to see who your superfans are and who is bringing new people to the community. Blocks As well as the default share links we have added a new sidebar block that can be added anywhere across your community. This prominent call to action can be added on pages you think are most likely to result in recommendations. The new "Invite a friend" widget Given that referral capabilities have been expanded into many more areas outside of Commerce we decided that this should now be available as a core feature. Earning commission on sales as a result of referrals will still, of course, require Commerce to be installed. We hope that these are welcome improvements and they help you encourage more members to participate in your community. View the full article
  2. You'd be forgiven for thinking that RSS feeds belong in some bygone era of the web where Netscape was king and getting online meant listening to your modem scream at your phone line. There's certainly a lot of newer web technologies to share data, but the venerable RSS feed still has a place. Invision Community has supported RSS feed importing and exporting for a very long time now; however, it has been restricted to just Forums and Blogs. Importing an RSS feed is a simple way to populate content on your community. It's even a great way to share content to and from your site without creating blocks or writing custom code. Invision Community 4.5 now centralizes RSS feed importing, so it is available for Forums, Blogs and Pages. You can now choose to import an RSS feed to any Pages database. Better yet, there is now full support for image enclosures. RSS feeds have a special tag to note that the feed entry has an attached image. Lots of RSS feeds use this, such as the NASA Image Of The Day feed. Until now, this image has just been silently discarded. Now, it is imported as an attachment (so it can be moved around in the post or Pages entry). If the Pages database you are importing to has record images enabled, you can optionally import the enclosure as a record image which some template sets can use as a header image, just as our blog here does. But what about exporting enclosures? Happily, Invision Community 4.5 can now export the main content image of an item as an enclosure. This certainly makes the Gallery RSS feed export a lot more useful! While these updates are not revolutionary, they certainly make RSS feed importing and exporting much more useful. We've been asked to support RSS feed importing into Pages for quite a while now. What do you think of these changes? What will you import into your Pages databases? View the full article
  3. Without a doubt, clubs is one of the most popular features added to Invision Community in recent times. Invision Community clubs allows you to run sub-communities on your site. We've seen clubs used in many ways, including managing geographically local groups and clan groups for large gaming sites. This popularity drives us to keep incrementally improving the feature set for clubs, and Invision Community 4.5 is no different. One thing that was raised many times was a way for club owners and leaders to create simple pages with general information members need. Happily, in Invision Community 4.5, this feature now exists (and more!) In addition to the title and visual editor that allows full formatting of the page content, there is an additional visibility setting which allows owners and leaders to define which types of members can view the page. This is perfect for showing a page that is only visible to non-members which informs them how to join the club. Likewise, it is a great way to display moderation guidelines to the club moderators only. Of course, owners and leaders will always be able to see all pages added to a club. Additionally, once a page is added to a club, a tab will be added alongside others, and the page can be re-arranged just like the rest. Using this, owners and leaders can create an alternative unique index page for the club. default-view.mp4 This is just one of many club improvements finished for Invision Community 4.5. We'll be talking about these in a future blog! View the full article
  4. Invision Community has come a long way over the past five years. We've added many new features and invigorated the front-end user experience to keep it current and in-line with modern interfaces. One area that has remained largely the same is the Admin Control Panel. When we released Invision Community 4.0 back in 2014, the Admin Control Panel was updated but has stayed relatively dormant since. But that's all about to change with the upcoming release of Invision Community 4.5! The Admin Control Panel in 4.5 has received a substantial update, resulting in a modern color scheme and a clean, minimalistic design. We felt that a lighter, more open design allowed the content more space and to feel less crowded. The dark grays have been replaced with shades of blue and aqua which closely reflects Invision Community's new branding, while other colors have been lightened and saturated. Along with the new color scheme, the overall layout of the ACP has intentionally been kept similar to the existing version, resulting in a design that feels surprisingly familiar yet refreshingly new at the same time. We hope you've enjoyed this small sneak peek into Invision Community 4.5 and we look forward to introducing you to some more new features in the upcoming weeks! View the full article
  5. I'm excited to reveal that we are making Invision Community native apps for iOS and Android! For the past few months, our staff has been using an internal test build right here on our community. Now we are ready to widen testing to a larger pool of customers. Information on how to become a tester is at the end of this post. But first, let's take a look at the app itself. Technology Preview We have a lot of exciting plans for the Invision Community app. We wanted to take full advantage of a clean slate and build a brand new experience that embraces a native app's interfaces. While the app is unmistakably Invision Community, it features new ways of interacting with your content. We want the app to help shape the future of Invision Community, and we're asking for you to help. What we are opening up for testing today is a technology preview. This slim app covers the essentials with a view to much more expansion later. The technology preview is locked to our community. The app we will release will be a 'multi-community' app; a directory of communities users can browse and save. We’ve taken this approach because the app stores have clamped down on ‘template’ apps, and the cost involved in building and maintaining a separate app per-community won’t be an option for many of our customers. A multi-community app is a great approach for most: simple setup, minimal cost, still fully-featured, and a great way for new users to find your community too. What The App Does For the initial phase of this technology preview, discussions are the main focus which is the foundation of every Invision Community. Also available are profiles, streams, search and notifications - including (at last!) push notifications. Any areas that the app does not currently support will open seamlessly in a web view within the app. As we build new functionality into the app over time, users will encounter fewer of these hybrid views. Your feedback will allow us to target the highest priority areas during the technology preview phase. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 Pricing Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores. The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities. This funding will secure the app's long-term future. The premium option could enhance their listing in the directory, or provide special functionality when users use that community in the app. Availability We intend to release the app alongside the next significant point release of Invision Community, expected to be 4.5. Communities will need to upgrade to this version to allow their users to use the app. Questions? Why not a PWA (progressive web app)? Invision Community 4.4 already supports several PWA features. However, until iOS supports Push Notifications (and other features) in PWAs, we don't feel they are a fully-rounded solution to using communities on a phone. Building native apps allow us to experiment with new interfaces and approaches. As PWA support improves in the years to come, we'll feed what we learn back into the main product for the benefit of all users. Why now? Those with a long memory will recall that we've had a few attempts at providing an app in the past that weren't successful. We are great at building apps with web technologies but creating native apps ourselves wasn't sustainable. Enter React Native. React Native is an open-source technology for building native apps. React Native allows teams to build native apps using web technologies, but crucially, React Native doesn't build hybrid apps. They are compiled into real native apps - not browser wrappers, but native buttons, text, dialogs, animations and more. A year or so ago, we started experimenting with React Native to see if it might be a viable approach for us. And it was. Finally, there was a technology that enabled web engineers to build delightful cross-platform native apps. As we can build native mobile apps using the technology we are familiar with allows us to incorporate mobile app development into our existing processes. Why just forums? Invision Community is a large, fully-featured platform, and building the entire platform in a native app from the get-go didn't seem to be the best approach. Instead, we've focused on the most active area of most communities - forums - with other areas still supported in the app via webviews. Over time, additional features and tools will be built into the app so that it eventually reaches feature-parity with the web version. We'll take feedback from our customers to determine which areas to support next. How will I add my community to the app? The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options. Is the app ad-supported? There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future. Can I get a white-label version for my community? We aim to offer a white-label option in the future. Will my plugins work in the app? Probably not. We're intentionally building the app to work with standard Invision Community features and apps right now. If your plugins add new UI elements or change the functions that users interact with it's likely they will not work with the app. What about themes? Themes won't work in the app because the app doesn't use HTML. However, some branding/customization will be available via the AdminCP, and we may expand upon this in future. Have other questions? Let us know in the comments, and we'll answer them! Sign Up For Testing For the next stage of our testing process, we will be inviting several customers to try the app and provide feedback/bug reports. As part of the sign-up process, we'll ask for some information about your own community. We'll use this to select further testers once we begin testing of the 'multi-community' version of the app later. The answers you provide will not affect your chance of testing the app on our community. Interested in joining the testing group? Click here to sign up. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 View the full article
  6. Minor releases are almost always just maintenance releases. We gather up a fistful of bug reports and fix them to ensure that every month or so, our clients enjoy more stability and efficiency with Invision Community. However, more recently we've noticed that we're running low on bug reports, so we've managed to squeeze in a handful of improvements in Invision Community 4.4.5. Let's take a look and see what's new in Pages. How should the canonical tag behave? While this isn't the most exciting name for a feature, it does explain it reasonably well. We had a recent discussion on the forums where it was pointed out that the canonical tag directed search engines to the first page of any record. While this makes perfect sense for an articles or blog system where the content you create is more important than the comments, it makes less sense if the user-generated content (aka the comments) is more important than the content you put up. A good example here is where you put up a video or link for review. You don't want the canonical tag pointing to the first page as it will ignore the reviews themselves. If you didn't understand much of that, don't worry. The idea behind this feature is to provide Google and friends with a better hint about which content is more important. A happier Google bot slurping your site is a good thing. How about that Admin CP menu? When you create a new database in Pages, it is shown in the ACP menu under 'Content'. This is fine, but when you get a lot of databases, it starts looking a little cluttered, and it can be hard to find the correct one. We've reworked the menu so items have their own section, and can be re-ordered using the ACP menu re-ordering system. Member fields are now filterable. Pages allows specific field types to be filterable. This means you can sort by them with the table's advanced search box, and you can drag and drop a filters widget next to the table to refine the rows shown. Now a member custom field is filterable, which is handy if you use them in your databases. Other areas of the suite. Messenger search A while back, we made a change that removed the ability to search messenger by the sender or recipient name. We also limited the reach of the search system to one year and newer. Unsurprisingly, this wasn't very popular. We've restored sender, and recipient name searching removed the one year limit and re-engineered the internals of search, so it's more efficient and returns results much faster. How many members do you have? You can see quite quickly if you have the member stats widget on the front end, but finding out via the Admin CP is a little more tricky. Until now! We've added a dashboard widget that not only shows the number of members you have registered, but also a break down of their email opt-in status. A happier autocomplete. Apple has this cool feature where if you receive a text message for a two-factor authentication login, it offers to auto-fill the code box for you. We've had a sweep throughout the suite to ensure two-factor authentication fields allow this autocomplete to happen. While we were at it, we made sure that other fields are more easily autocompleted. That wraps up the new features in Invision Community 4.4.5. How many have you spotted after upgrading? Let us know your favourite below. View the full article
  7. We want to ensure that converting from your existing community platform to ours is as seamless as possible. While we do have a migration service available where we take care of everything for you, we do also offer a DIY option. We took some time to overhaul the conversion process for those opting to convert using our free tools. Ready to convert? So you've just purchased your first copy of Invision Community, and you're ready to convert your existing site over from another software package. Great! We're glad you've made the decision to take your community to the next level! You've already checked out our Migrations page, confirmed the software you wish to convert from is supported, and you're confident in your ability to work through the process. You install the Converters package and you're ready to go. Lets get started! We have overhauled the converters to simplify the process. Beginning with 4.4, you will take the following steps to convert from another software package: Rather than choose the application you wish to convert first, you will now choose what software you are converting from, which is a much more logical start to a conversion. Next, you will supply the database details for your source database (the database you wish to convert into your new Invision Community). Then, you will see a list of all applications that can be converted for the software package you are converting from. If any applications cannot be converted (perhaps because you were not previously using the corresponding application in your source software), a message will be shown indicating there is nothing to convert. If any steps require additional configuration, you will be able to specify those details here. And finally, when you submit that form - that's it! You're done, and you can sit back and let the conversion process on its own. Each step for each application will be completed automatically, and the conversion will be finalized automatically at the end. A progress bar will be shown, along with a textual indicator that outlines exactly what is being converted. What does it look like? conversion.mp4 Here's a quick video to illustrate the new conversion process. The system even remembers where you were at and automatically picks back up where you left off. Closing your browser, losing internet connectivity, or some other unforeseen issue won't stop you dead in your tracks and force you to start all over again. We hope that these updates make it even easier to switch from another community platform. View the full article
  8. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.4 is available to download now. After months of development, over 1650 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of questionable coffee you can now get your hands on the beta release from the client centre. Not our office Invision Community 4.4 brings numerous new features, over 450 bug fixes and a lot of refinement. We've been talking about the highlights since September on our blog. Here's a recap of all that we've added. We'd love to know which is your favourite feature so far! Drop a line below and let us know! View the full article
  9. Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which provides some great additional features for PayPal transactions including a significantly improved recurring payments model. We are delighted to be bringing full support for Braintree for Commerce in Invision Community 4.4. What is Braintree? Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which supports taking payments by credit cards (including Apple Pay and Google Pay) and Venmo as well as PayPal, providing a good option for communities wanting to use a single payment gateway, and also brings improved functionality for recurring PayPal transactions. For PayPal transactions, there are no additional fees and the checkout experience uses the normal PayPal experience your customers are used to. Recurring PayPal Improvements Recurring payments / Billing Agreements in PayPal have up until now been initiated by PayPal. Invision Community tells PayPal what the renewal terms of a purchase are, but then it's up to PayPal to take that payment and notify your community when it succeeds (or fails). This comes with a number of limitations and problems. It makes it difficult for you as an admin to modify an existing purchase or for the customer to upgrade/downgrade. It also means the customer has to create separate Billing Agreements for each purchase. Most significantly though, it means if there is a delay in receiving the payment (such as an expired card) it is sometimes unclear what should happen on your community's end, and how it can be resolved if/when the payment is received. Other payment gateways work the other way around. When a customer pays by card, for example, they have the option of storing their card details. Later, if they make another purchase or a renewal invoice is generated, Invision Community can tell the gateway to recharge the same card - and if it fails, allow the customer to provide an alternative payment method. This allow both you and your customers to have much greater control, and is much more reliable. Braintree resolves this by allowing customers when paying with PayPal to save their PayPal account in the same way they would save a credit card on file. When paying with PayPal, users will see a simple checkbox which, if checked, will allow future payments to be taken with PayPal automatically. Storing PayPal Accounts for Recurring Payments Other Features In addition to an improved checkout experience, our integration with Braintree supports: Taking payments by Credit Card, including 3DSecure checking and the ability for customer to store card details on file. Braintree uses a fully PCI-compliant method of taking card details in a way that ensures the card information never reaches your server. Apple Pay and Google Pay Venmo, which also allows storing accounts in the same way as PayPal accounts. Offering PayPal Credit Handling chargebacks/disputes Support for Braintree's Advanced Fraud Tools A Disputed PayPal Transaction Existing Setups and Upgrading The existing PayPal gateway will continue to be available for basic PayPal integration, and your existing set up will continue to work exactly as it does now after upgrading. If you are using PayPal, especially if you are using Billing Agreements, we strongly recommend switching to Braintree after upgrading. While it isn't possible to convert existing Billing Agreements, you can allow existing ones to continue to work and use Braintree for new purchases. Please note that while existing setups will work fine, from 4.4 it will no longer be possible to set up a new PayPal method with either Billing Agreements, or to take payments by card, as PayPal has deprecated the API this was using in favour of Braintree and it can no longer be enabled on new accounts. As mentioned though, this does not affect any existing setups, which, if you do not switch to Braintree, will continue to work as they do now. This blog is about our upcoming release Invision Community 4.4. View the full article
  10. I really enjoy writing about the new features the development team have been slaving over for weeks (and sometimes months.) It's a real joy to be able to share the finished product after we've seen it through inception, discussion, planning, assigning to a developer, coding, peer reviewing and final group testing. Although sometimes, the features can be explained in a few screenshots, which makes for a pretty thin blog entry. With that in mind, I've grouped together 6 of the best new micro-features for Invision Community 4.4. Browser notifications We introduced browser notifications in a previous version of Invision Community. Once you've opted in to receive them, you'll get a fancy browser notification when new content is posted while you're off browsing other sites. However, the browser prompt to ask for permission to push notifications isn't subtle, and it attacks you the second you log in for the first time. In Invision Community 4.4, we've made it, so you're only asked to opt-in once you open the notification drop down. No more being attacked by a permission dialog Widget display settings One of the most popular features we've added to the front end in recent times is the drag and drop widgets. We see these used on almost every site we visit. A popular request, though, was to be able to hide them from specific devices. By default, the sidebars appear under the main content when viewed on a smaller device such as a phone. There may be times where you wish to show a block for those on tablets and desktops, but remove it for phones, so it doesn't take up precious retail space. Happily, you can now do this on each block with 4.4. Desktop only? Club Navigation Clubs are relatively new to Invision Community but they incredibly popular as they allow you to run micro-communities within your main community. You're not limited to just forums either; you can add gallery albums and more to each club. We've added the ability to re-arrange the club tabs allowing you to prioritise what you members see first. Rearranging club tabs Announcement URLS Announcements have been a core feature for a long time now. We use them whenever we have a holiday so we can notify our customers about reduced support on those days. We've made it so you can now link to an item, rather than have to provide new copy for each announcement. We may have overdone it a bit Time Frame selector We noticed that in numerous areas around the Admin CP we had time input boxes. These would sometimes be used for seconds, minutes, hours and even days. We've seen customers forced to enter things like 86400 seconds when they want the time frame to last a day. The lack of consistency wasn't great either. In Invision Community 4.4, we've added a new Time Frame selector which is used as standard on all areas we ask for a time frame to be entered. No more taking your socks off to work out how many seconds in a month. Time is no longer relative Group Name Styling For about as long as I can remember (and as I get older, this is not an impressive amount of time), we've allowed group names to be stylized when shown in the online user list. A very popular request is to extend that same group highlighting throughout the suite. Finally, Invision Community 4.4 brings this to the suite. If the group name is visible, that gets the styling, otherwise the name does These features may be micro in nature, but we hope they make a significant improvement to your community. Which are you most looking forward to? Drop a comment below and let us know. View the full article
  11. It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps. And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email? Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention. In 2017, over 269 billion emails were sent and received per day. Of those, 3,360,250,000 are opened, read, and a link clicked. Email is still very much a critical tool in your quest for retention. Invision Community knows this. We have options to notify members of replies by email, weekly or monthly digests by email and members can opt-in for bulk emails sent from your community team. Given how important email is, it was only fair that we invested in some love for our email system for 4.4. Email Statistics Just above, I mention that 269 billion emails are sent, and 3.4 billion are opened, read and clicked. How many emails are sent from your Invision Community daily? (No cheating and checking with SendGrid) You probably have no idea as we didn't record email statistics. As of Invision Community 4.4 we do! Chart showing the number of emails sent daily We now track emails sent, and the number of link clicks inside those emails. Email Advertisements Email notifications are a powerful way to get your members to revisit your community. The member welcomes these emails as it means they have new replies to topics they are interested in reading. While you have your member's attention, you have an opportunity to show them a banner-style advertisement. The new email advertisement form When creating a new email advert, you can choose to limit the advert to specific areas such as topics, blogs, etc. - and even which forums to limit by. Subliminal messages This is a new way to reach your audience with your promotions. Unfollow without logging in Despite spending most of this blog entry shouting the virtues of email, it's inevitable that one or two members may wish to stop receiving notification emails. In previous versions, the unfollow link would have taken you to a login page if you were signed out. For members that haven't been back in a while, this may cause some annoyance if they do not recall their login details. Invision Community 4.4 allows non-logged in members to unfollow the item they received an email about or all followed items without the need to log in. You no longer need to log in to unfollow items Respecting your member's inbox is vital to keep on good terms with them and to keep them engaged in your community. We'd love to know which of these features you're most keen to try in 4.4. Please drop a comment below and let us know! View the full article
  12. It's been said that the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google. While we can't promise to get you to page 1 for a generic search term, we have taken some time for Invision Community 4.4 to do an SEO sweep. Moz.com defines SEO as "a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines." We have the technical skills and were fortunate enough to have Jono Alderson of Yoast lend his time, knowledge and vast experience to improve our SEO. This blog article gets a little technical. It's completely fine to leave at this point with the comfort of knowing that Google will be a little happier on your site with Invision Community 4.4. The majority of the changes are designed to send stronger signals to Google and friends over which content to slurp and which to look at a bit later. Still here? Good. Let us roll up our sleeves and open the hood. Pagination The most visible change is that we've taken pagination out of query strings and placed it in the path. For example, the current pagination system looks a little like: yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?page=3 Which is fine but it gets a little confusing when you add in a bunch of sort filters like so: yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?sort=asc&field=topic&page=3 A better approach would be to make a clear signal to both Google and humans that pagination is a separate thing. Invision Community 4.4 does this: yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/page/3/?sort=asc&field=topic Not only is this good for search engines, but it's also good for the humans too as it is more readable and no longer confused with filter parameters. Of course, we ensure that the old style pagination is redirected (via a 301 header) to the new pagination URL automatically so nothing breaks. Canonical Tags These tags are a way of telling search engines that a specific URL is the 'master copy' of a page. This helps prevent duplicate content from being indexed. Without it, you are leaving it up to the search engine to choose which is the master copy of the page. For example: yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ and yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?sort=desc&field=time may show the same content but have different URLs. By setting the canonical tag to point to yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ regardless of filters sends a strong signal to the search engines that this is the page you want to be spidered. Invision Community sets these tags in many places, but we audited these in 4.4 and found a few areas where they were missing. For example, viewing a member's profile doesn't always set a canonical tag which may confuse search engines when you click on "View Activity" and get a list of content items. Soft 404s When an application or website wants to tell the visitor that the page they are looking for doesn't exist, it sends a 404 header code along with a page that says something "We could not find that item" or "No rows available". If a search engine spiders a page that looks like a 404 page, but it doesn't have the 404 header code, it logs it as a "soft 404". Given the short amount of time Google has on your site to discover new content, you don't want it to hit many soft 404s. Invision Community 4.4 omits containers (such as forums, blogs, etc.) that have no content (such as a new forum without any topics yet) from the sitemap, and also adds a 'noindex, follow' meta tag into the HTML source. Google will periodically check to see if the status of the page has changed and happily slurp away when content has been added. Other changes Although the changes listed here don't deserve their own section in this article, they are no less important. We have audited the new JSON-LD markup added to Invision Community 4.3 to help search engines better understand the relationship between pages. The "truncate" method that is used to display a snippet of text in areas such as the activity stream now only sends the first 500 characters to the javascript method to reduce page loads and page 'noise'. The profile view in Invision Community contains a mix of information pertinent to the member and content they've authored. We've ensured that the content areas are using a specific URL, with appropriate canonical tags. This will help reduce confusion for search engines. If you made it this far, then well done. It's time to slam the hood closed and mop our collective brows. These changes will certainly help Google and friends spider your site a little more efficiently and have a clearer idea about what pages and data you want to be indexed which can only improve your ranking. View the full article
  13. Ever since its first release, the REST API built into the Invision Community software has proven to be a very powerful and well-received feature. We love seeing what our clients and modification authors are able to do with the level of integration afforded to them through this capability, and so it is only natural that we have looked to expand the functionality in our upcoming 4.4 release. Poll Support Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to create and update polls for both topics and blog entries through the REST API. Of course, modification authors can use this new endpoint. Warn Reasons You will also now be able to manage warn reasons through the REST API. This includes fetching a list of reasons, as well as fetching an individual reason, creating warn reasons, updating existing warn reasons, and deleting warn reasons. Event Venues Event venues can now be listed and individual venues fetched through the REST API, and you can now add, update and delete event venues through the REST API. Member Notifications You can now retrieve a list of notifications for a specific member through the REST API, useful if you were to attempt to recreate the notifications menu on a third party website (for example). Warning Users The REST API will now expose the warnings a user has received through a new endpoint. Additionally, you can fetch individual warnings, issue new warnings, undo and/or delete issued warnings, and acknowledge warnings through the REST API. If you are building a site wrapper around your community, you can leverage this functionality to ensure that users are unable to post elsewhere on your site if they have unacknowledged warnings within the community (and also to provide them with a way to acknowledge those warnings right on your site). The REST API Reference Node permissions Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to set the permissions for a node when adding or updating it through the REST API (for example, you can now adjust the permissions for a forum or a downloads category through the REST API). Many clients noticed that while they could create new nodes through the API, the nodes would be unusable until an administrator manually went in and specified the permissions, so this change can eliminate this extra step in many situations. Event filtering You will now also be able to filter the events you pull through the Calendar REST API endpoints by start and end date (e.g. so you can show events within a specific time frame, such as the current week), and you can now also specify to sort the events returned by the event start date or the event end date. Clubs And finally, for those who leverage clubs on their communities, we have built in full REST API support for clubs. You can list all clubs, return a specific club, create new clubs, update existing clubs, and delete clubs through the REST API. Further, you can list all members in a club, add a specific member to a specific club, remove a member from a club, fetch the content types available for use within a club (i.e. so you can determine which applications are installed and have club support on a given site), fetch the nodes (displayed as tabs/sections within a club) created within a club, and delete nodes from a club. Important behind the scenes steps, such as generating invoices for members requesting to join paid clubs, are all handled automatically for you when using the REST API. We believe these changes will help clients better integrate with our software and open up new possibilities with their websites. Would you like us to add any other endpoints? Let us know in the comments below! View the full article
  14. It might seem a little odd starting a blog on increasing Invision Community's speed with the word "lazy", but I'll explain why this is a good word for performance shortly. Earlier this year, Google announced that page speed is a ranking factor. Simply put, if your site is slow, it will be ranked lower in Google's search results. It is always a challenge making a large application like Invision Community as efficient as possible per page load. A single Invision Community page can pull in widgets from multiple applications as well as a lot of user-generated content with attachments, movies and images used heavily. This is where being lazy helps. Lazy loading is a method by which attachments, embeds and images are not loaded by default. They are only loaded when the viewer scrolls down enough to make them visible. This allows the page to load a good deal faster now it doesn't have to load megabytes of images before the page is shown as completely rendered. I was going to take a fancy video showing it in action, but it's hard to capture as the system loads the media just before you get to it, so it looks fairly seamless, even with sluggish connections. Not the most dynamic image, but this shows the placeholder retains the size of the image We have added this lazy loading to maps and Twitter emoji images. Improving non-image attachments Once we had implemented the lazy loading framework, an area we wanted to improve was non-image attachments. We have listened to a lot of the feedback we had on this area, and have now made it very clear when you add an attachment into a post. We've even returned the download count now it's being loaded on demand. Using attachments when posting All the letters When we first implemented the letter avatars in 4.3, we discussed whether to use CSS styling or use an image. We decided to go with an image as it was more stable over lots of different devices, including email. We've revisited this in 4.4, and switched the letter avatars to SVG, which are much faster to render now that the browser doesn't have to load the image files. Other performance improvements We've taken a pass at most areas with an eye for performance, here is a list of the most significant items we've improved. Several converter background tasks have been improved, so they work on less data Duplicate query for fetching clubs was removed in streams Notifications / follower management has been improved Member searches have been sped up (API, ACP live search, member list in ACP, mentions, etc.). Stream performance has been improved UTF8 conversions have been sped up Elasticsearch has been sped up by using pre-compiled queries and parameterisation, as well as the removal of view filtering (and tracking) HTTP/2 support with prefetch/preload has been added Several PHP-level performance improvements have been made Implemented rel=noopener when links open a new window (which improves browser memory management) Several other performance improvements for conversions were implemented that drastically reduce conversion time IP address lookups now fetch IP address details from us en-masse instead of one request per address Cache/data store management has been streamlined and centralised for efficiency Many background tasks and the profile sync functionality have all been improved for performance Brotli compression is now supported automatically if the server supports it Redis encryption can now be disabled if desired, which improves performance Phew, as you can see, we've spent a while tinkering under the hood too. We'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know below! This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4. View the full article
  15. Allowing your customers to find exactly what they need as fast as possible will no doubt increase sales. A good number of our customers use Commerce to sell physical items. Until now, it's always been a little tricky to set up the store to allow customers to drill down into specific items within the store. In Invision Community 4.4, the sidebar in the store now includes filter options to help customers find the product they're looking for. Screen Recording 2018-11-06 at 11.45.49.mov Using the filter sidebar Administrators can set up whatever filters they like for each product. In this video above, you can see we have set up filters for color and price. You can set these filters up in the AdminCP by simply specifying each possible option: Creating a custom filter Once the filters have been set up, you can then add each filter to the categories it applies to (so you can have different filters for different categories) and when editing any product you can specify as many values for each filter as is appropriate (for example, if you have a color filter, you can choose multiple colors if the product allows the customer to choose a color, or if the product has multiple colors). Choosing the filter values when creating/editing a product In addition to these custom filters, you will also see filters for price (you can set appropriate bands for each category), rating, and stock level. Other Commerce Improvements In addition, we also have a few more features new to Commerce in 4.4: There are new sidebar blocks for best selling products, latest products, product reviews and a featured product. When sending a bulk mail, you can target recipients by the total amount they have spent. Categories with no products in them are hidden automatically in the store. Notification emails sent to customers to let them know their purchase will expire soon (including if they will be automatically charged) have been improved to show more clearly what will happen. When viewing a customer page in the AdminCP, active purchases are separated from expired and cancelled purchases to make it easier to discern which are active. Custom field values are now included on printed invoices. When filtering support requests in the AdminCP, you can now choose "more than" or "less than" for all time-based filter options. When using stock actions to reply to support requests, the stock reply can be incorporated into the staff member's default reply content rather than overwriting it. Invoices in the AdminCP can now be filtered by status. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4. View the full article
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