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Invision Power

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  1. One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data. There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood. However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views. Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics. This new 'overview' view not only shows you a snapshot of your community but also allows you to compare time periods. In the video, you can see that I select different date ranges, such as "three months". This shows you the data of that time period, and also compares it against the previous three months. In this example, you can clearly see that we have 50% more registrations and 33% more contributors compared to the previous three month period. Likewise, in this example, you can clearly see that we have a 1200% increase in reactions given with a clear breakdown of the type of reaction given to help understand community sentiment. These interactive displays automatically update, so if you are so inclined, you could leave the statistic pages open and watch as the data changes live. We hope that you find these new views useful in identifying trends and help to inform strategic decisions within your community. View the full article
  2. Invision Community has certainly changed a lot over the years as we've moved through major updates and large user interface changes. While large scale changes offer a dramatic difference, it is sometimes the smaller changes that bring the most satisfaction when using your community daily. This blog entry rounds up some of the UI improvements Invision Community 4.5 brings. Content View Behavior What do you want to happen when you click a topic link? Are you taken to the first comment, the last comment or the first comment you've not read? If you speak to 100 people, I'm pretty sure you'll get a good spread of votes for each. Invision Community has always offered subtle ways to get right to the first unread comment. Our infamous dot or star allows you to do this, but it is so subtle almost no one knows this. Invision Community 4.5 now allows each member to choose (with the AdminCP offering a default). Now everyone wins! Who Reacted? Invision Community has had reactions for a long while now. Although finding out who exactly reacted without clicking the counts has proved irksome. We've fixed that in Invision Community so simply mousing over the reaction icon reveals who reacted. Sign In Anonymously For as long as I can remember, Invision Community has offered an option to sign in anonymously via a checkbox on the login form. However, as we've added faster ways to log in via Facebook, Twitter, Google and more it's become less straight forward to ensure your anonymity. Invision Community 4.5 removes this login preference and moves it to your members' settings. Now your members can resume hiding as they move around your community across multiple logins. Resize Before Uploading One of the most popular requests we've had in recent times is to resize large images before uploading. It's quite likely that your giant full resolution image will be denied when attempting to upload, and it's a bit of a faff to resize it in a photo editor. Invision Community leverages the uploader's ability to resize before uploading, which makes it a much happier experience. Switch Off Automatic Language Detection Invision Community attempts to map your browser's user-agent to a specific language pack. When you visit a site, your browser lets the site know which language our browser is set to (often dictated by your operating system) and we use that to show you the correct language if the community you're visiting has multiple languages installed. However, it might be that you don't want this to happen because although your computer's OS is set to a specific language, it doesn't always follow that is the one you wish to use on a website. Invision Community 4.5 allows this automatic detection to be switched off. Quote Collapse We will finish with another popular feature request; the ability for long quotes to be collapsed, reducing the amount of scrolling one has to do. Quite simply, Invision Community collapses long quotes with an option to expand them to read the entire quote. Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to leave feedback. As you can see, we do listen and action your feedback. Which change are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below! View the full article
  3. Statistics can help you manage and monitor the direction of your community, giving you valuable insight into how your visitors are interacting with your site and what areas of your community deserve the most of your attention. With the popularity of Clubs in Invision Community, we determined that some statistics aimed at helping administrators review how this feature is being received by their end users were warranted. Club activity statistics overview When accessing the "Club Activity" statistics page in the AdminCP, you will be able to quickly see at a glance which club types are the most popular, see which clubs are gaining the most traction with new signups, and see trends in club creations over time. With the signups chart, you can further filter by one or more specific clubs, and save these filter preferences as new tabs on the chart. See activity across all clubs The "All Club Activity" tab on this page shows you which types of content (topics, images, files, etc.) are most popular across all clubs as an aggregate. If you find that Calendar or Downloads is especially popular throughout clubs then you may wish to promote these features further. Conversely if you find that a certain type of content is not being leveraged, you may wish to promote it, or retire its functionality on your community. Activity by club shows you which clubs are most active You can also view activity per-club, allowing you to identify which of your clubs are the most popular and have the most activity. As with the "Club signups" chart, you can use filters to view just the clubs you are interested in comparing, and save these filters for easy review later on. We hope you find value in these new statistics pages, and that they help you manage the Clubs feature on your site more effectively. View the full article
  4. Since we announced native Invision Community apps for iOS and Android, the response has been incredible. Hundreds of customers registered interest in joining the testing process, and for the initial round we selected around thirty users, roughly split between iOS and Android. Thank you to those testers for their work in reporting issues and providing feedback over the past couple of months. Open Beta I'm pleased to report that we are now ready to begin an open beta of the app, allowing everyone to install it and test it. See below for information on installing the apps. As this is still a testing process, we'd welcome any bug reports or feedback you have. Instructions on doing that can also be found below. The app going into open beta today is essentially a 'white label' version for our own community here. This enables us to test the basic community functionality more widely before we release the free 'multi-community' app that customers will be able to use with their own communities. Already signed up for beta testing via our survey? Thank you! Once we begin testing the multi-community app we will select a new group of testers from those that signed up, and invite them to offer the app to their own users on their own communities. This stage will come once Invision Community 4.5 is released later this year. Installing the app iOS iOS users will need to install TestFlight from the App Store. This is an app provided by Apple that allows developers (such as ourselves) to issue test versions of applications. Once installed, sign up for the beta test by going HERE on your iPhone. Android Android users should go HERE on their device to sign up for the beta. Reporting issues/providing feedback If you would like to report an issue with the app, we are managing issues via a special GitHub repository. You will need a free GitHub account to report new issues, if you don't already have one. Click the Issues tab, then the New Issue button and follow the steps. Please provide as much information as you can. If you'd like to provide feedback via a private channel, or if you have a sensitive bug to report, please email us at a dedicated email address: mobilesupport@invisionpower.com Disclaimers The app you will be installing is a beta version and we offer no guarantees with it. If you are not comfortable using beta software and the inherent risks in doing so, please don't install the app yet. We reserve the right to suspend testing or exclude individual testers at any time if necessary. View the full article
  5. Although we continuously review security within Invision Community, a major release such as 4.5 allows us to be especially proactive when it comes to keeping your community safe. This blog entry outlines several enhancements to improve security in Invision Community 4.5. Password Handling Keeping your member's passwords secure is the simplest way to keep accounts safe and out of the wrong hands, so it makes sense to look at ways to ensure this doesn't happen. Invision Community already uses strong one-way hashing when storing passwords, which means that once the password is stored in the database, there is no way to know the plain text version. However, when creating a new member account via the AdminCP, a random password was created, and this was sent in the welcome email to the new member's email address. As of Invision Community 4.5, this no longer happens, and the new member is invited to create a new password when visiting the community for the first time. Part of your internal security procedures might be to force a reset of all passwords periodically. Invision Community 4.5 allows this on a per-member basis, or via a selection of filters to enforce a reset for many members at once. This clears out any stored password hashes and emails the affected members to remind them to set up a new password. AdminCP Security The Admin Control Panel contains the most powerful tools available to Invision Community. This is already a very secure area with a separate login with an option to add two-factor authentication to the login flow. Part of the session authentication has been a special key in the URL. While we have protection in place to prevent this special key being discoverable by a malicious user, there remains an incredibly remote theoretical chance that this could happen with a series of complicated steps. There was an additional annoyance that you are unable to share links within the AdminCP to members of your team due to the increased protection to keep URLs safe. As of Invision Community 4.5, we have removed the special key from the URL and moved it elsewhere in the session authentication flow. This means that it's impossible to fetch the special key via the URL and links can now be shared and will survive a login action. Text Encryption There are a few areas within Invision Community that we use text encryption to allow us to save data in the database in a format that is encrypted when saved and decrypted when read. This protects you in the incredibly remote event of your own hosting being compromised and your database downloaded (of course, our Community in the Cloud customers do not need to worry about this!) Invision Community 4.5 improves on this encryption by using PHP's built-in methods which give "bank-level" security to our encryption. Security is critical to the success of your community, and we are always proactive in improving security throughout Invision Community. Do you have any comments on this entry? Let us know below! View the full article
  6. Every single day, your members are searching your community for answers or interesting conversations to join. Wouldn't it be great if you could learn what is being searched for to identify hot issues, commonly asked questions and discover trends? We thought so too, which is why Invision Community 4.5 comes with search statistics. For the first time, Invision Community gathers anonymized information on what your members are searching for so you can use this to highlight more relevant content and shape strategic decisions with your community's structure. Search statistics help you track searches performed on your community When a member searches, their identity is converted into a unique key that cannot be reversed to identify the member. This allows us to track a single member's search usage over many search sessions without being able to link it to a specific member account. The AdminCP now features a dashboard to review the most popular search terms as well as a raw log of recent searches along with the results they returned. We have a lot of ideas in mind for additional changes down the road with the tracking of popular search terms, but for now, we hope you like the new statistics page and find the information presented useful for your future site plans. View the full article
  7. We have come a long way since the late 90s when someone had the genius idea of using a small yellow smiling face image instead of the more common colon-bracket representation of a smiling face. In Invision Community, there are various places that photography can be used to create visual interest. From uploads in topics, to cover photos for blogs and members. The humble upload field has served these areas well, but sourcing images to use can be a pain; especially when you have to walk the minefield that is copyright and attribution. Fortunately, there are a few "CC0" online stock photo libraries that offer quality photography that requires no attribution and are not hampered by copyrights. One such library is the ever-popular Pixabay, which was established in 2012 and features a very powerful API. Pixabay has over a million images ready to use from llamas to sausages and everything in-between. Invision Community 4.5 now includes support for Pixabay which brings those images to your fingertips (or mouse pointer if you're on a desktop.) This video shows the feature in use. As you can see, not only can you upload into posts from the stock photo library, but you can also use it to add a cover image to your profile and blog entries. Finding quality photography has never been so easy! For those that love technical details, the stock photo picker is a programmatic option on the upload form field type making it very easy to add to your own code and apps. How will you use this new feature? Let me know! View the full article
  8. Ever since Invision Community 4.x was launched you have been asking for the ability to categorize blogs in your community. We heard you load and clear, but sometimes when a feature sounds straightforward, it requires some re-engineering of the framework. Because users in your community can create both blog entries and their own blogs to hold these entries, this was one of those areas. Starting with Invision Community 4.5 I’m pleased to announce that it is now possible for blog authors to categorize their blog entries and it's now possible for administrators to categories blogs. Blog Entry Categories When creating a new blog entry, your members will now be able to create a new category for the entry or choose an existing one that had been created previously. Choosing your category when creating a new blog entry When a reader then visits the blog they can choose to display only those categories that interest them. Filtering by category Blog Categories Running a community where users can create their own blogs, you don’t only need to make sure individual pieces of content are categorized correctly, you also need to make sure the blogs themselves have a logical place. Well guess what? Now you can! As an admin you can now set up predefined categories in the control panel and Blog authors can then choose which one to create their new blog in. Managing blog categories We realize some of you have been waiting a long time to see these changes so we hope you enjoy this and everything else to come in Invision Community 4.5! View the full article
  9. Almost every single day, we receive feedback on our popular clubs feature. Some of the requests are big in scope, and some a little smaller. Following on from our previous blog entry for Club Pages, we’re pleased to announce a collection of smaller, but no less useful improvements. Improved Map Display The Clubs location map better shows where local clubs are A small but useful change to the clubs map means the view is now centered and zoomed around available clubs. Previously the map would show a world view even if all of the clubs were located in a concentrated geographical area. Member Tab A commitment to privacy always influences our development decisions, and this is true in clubs as well as other areas. It is now possible to set who can view the club member list on a per club basis. Clubs can be set to show the member list to everyone, only to club members or only to club leaders and moderators. You can now decide who can see your club Club Widgets A common request for clubs is that widgets should be able to display content from within clubs. With 4.5, this is now possible and allows you to better bring attention to your club content from anywhere in your community. Content widgets can now show club specific content Some people wanted to control where widgets would show more finely. This wasn’t previously possible, but now it is. When adding widgets to a page, you can now set whether you want it to appear everywhere, everywhere except clubs, or only in clubs. Join Requests Club leaders can invite members who they believe will enjoy their content to join. Likewise, members can request to join a club that is not open for all to join instantly. For a site with a lot of clubs, this could mean that you are invited to many clubs or find that your pending request goes unnoticed. Your member can quickly manage their pending invites Members can now cancel pending requests themselves quickly and easily from the Club homepage. Clubs are becoming an increasingly popular part of Invision Community and really helps foster a sense of involvement. We are always interested and surprised by the variety of ways this feature is being used. Let us know how you’re using clubs in the comments and keep the great suggestions coming! View the full article
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
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