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  1. Who remembers the earlier days of the internet? Back when you popped your logo at the top left of your site and you were largely done? Invision Community has continually developed to account for all the new services that have been built during our 16 years. We now have social media sharing images, favicons and more to consider. Invision Community 4.4 also adds mobile application icons, Safari mask icons and data for an application manifest. Handling of these logos and icons was a prime candidate for improvement in 4.4. Moving our current options Step one for improving our handling of these images was to move our current options out of themes and to allow them to be managed suite-wide from a single area. You can still upload a logo image per-theme (which shows in the header area), but the rest of the options have now been relocated to a new area: Customization > Appearance > Icons & Logos. Adding new options After giving favicon and share logo management its own dedicated area, we took a look at enhancing the configuration options made available through the interface without requiring theme template edits. Multiple share logos You can now upload multiple share logos. If you elect to upload more than one share logo, Facebook and similar sites will generally either show a carousel to allow you to choose which logo to use when sharing, or simply use the first image referenced. Application icons You can now upload an image to represent your website which will be used to generate the "home screen" icons for iPhones and Androids automatically. Uploading a single image will result in several different copies of the image (in different dimensions) being generated, and mobile devices will automatically choose the best option from the list as needed. Safari mask icon You can also now upload a Safari Mask icon, which is used to represent your website in certain areas on Apple computers (such as on the "touchbar" of certain keyboards). This image must be an SVG image with a transparent background, and all vectors must be 100% black. Additionally, you can specify the mask color which is used to offset your image when necessary (e.g. to represent it as "selected" or "active"). Application manifest In order for devices to support the application icons that you upload, a file known as a web manifest must be generated and delivered to the browser. This now happens automatically, using details and icons specified in the AdminCP. Certain details, however, can be configured explicitly from the Icons & Logos page: Short name This is a short name to represent your site in areas with limited screen space, such as below your application icon on a mobile phone home screen. Site name This is the name of the site. The "Website name" setting is automatically used if you do not explicitly override it when configuring the manifest. Description A short description of your site Theme color You can choose a (single) color to represent the general theme of the site. This color may be used by devices in areas such as the address bar background. Background color You can also choose a (single) color to use as the background color for your site when the application is launched from a shortcut saved to the user's device home screen. Display mode Finally, you can specify the display mode your site should launch in. For our more astute designers and developers, you may have already realized that generating the manifest file lays the groundwork for future PWA (Progressive Web App) development and support. Additionally, some Android devices will automatically prompt users to add your website to their home screen now that a manifest file is generated by the site. Oh, and for the sake of completeness, we also generate the special browserconfig.xml file that Microsoft products (including Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, X-Box, and Microsoft-based mobile devices) look for when pinning sites and generating live tiles. There are no additional configuration options for this file - everything is automatically generated from the aforementioned options. The end result? Your community can now better convey, automatically, certain details to the myriad of devices out there that may be accessing your site, and you now have much better control over those details. You can more easily fine-tune the "little things" that help paint a complete picture of your web presence, and the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the future as standardization and adoption of PWA functionality improves. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4. View the full article
  2. Invision Power

    4.4: Animated GIFs

    Communication has come a long way since those very early humans grunted at each other to determine if they wanted more mammoth for lunch. The course of human history has seen cave paintings, hieroglyphics, the written word, emoji and now GIFs. GIFs have been around since the dawn of the internet. Many websites proudly displayed a 'man at work' animated GIF when they were under construction. Now, GIFs are now mostly used to express complex thoughts and emotions by showing a short animation. Mind Blown Invision Community has allowed GIPHY to be used as an embed for a while now, but we craved something much more straightforward. Behold, the GIF button! Now your members can reply with the majesty of animation. Of course, GIFs won't replace real and meaningful conversation, but they are a fun way to express yourself quickly and encourage more engagement. The GIPHY functionality is enabled via the 'Community Enhancements' page in the Admin CP. GIPHY is enabled from the enhancements page All you need to do is grab a key from GIPHY, and you're all set! Configuration You'll notice a "MPAA style rating" option. This allows you to select a maximum rating for the GIFs as some will have adult themes and language that may not be suitable for your community. For example, you can choose "G" for general audiences, "PG" or "PG-13" to limit what is shown. Yes! Drop your favourite GIF below to show us how you feel about this new feature. This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year. View the full article
  3. Invision Power

    4.4: AdminCP Notifications

    Do you recall that scene in Harry Potter where young Harry is sitting in his Uncle’s living room when hundreds of letters from Hogwarts burst through the fireplace, filling the room? Sometimes, when you log into the administrator’s control panel, it can feel a bit like that. As the administration control panel has evolved, there has been more of a need to display notifications, alerts and warnings to the administrators. There are several things which may require an administrator's attention which may show a notice on the AdminCP dashboard, a banner on the community, or send an email. For example: When a new version of Invision Community is released. A new member registers and requires administrator validation. A configuration issue is detected, for example if dangerous PHP functions are enabled on the server. There are items Commerce which require manual action, such as transactions pending manual approval or items to be shipped. Up until now, each such area would manage how these notifications show and are sent independently. In 4.4 we have introduced a new section of the AdminCP which shows all things which require administrator attention in one place, easily accessible from any AdminCP page. AdminCP Notification Menu Clicking on any of these notifications will take you to the relevant area of the AdminCP, or there is also a full-screen Notification Center which allows you to quickly take common actions such as approving members. AdminCP Notification Center While the best approach is to take the appropriate action (which will automatically dismiss the notification) so you always have an empty Notification Center, most notification types can be hidden, either temporarily on a per-notification basis by clicking the cross in the top-right, or administrators can hide all notifications of a certain type from their individual settings. Administrators can also choose which type of notifications to receive an email notification about. Notification Settings Each notification has a severity indicated by the coloured bar on the side and certain notifications can also show banners either across the AdminCP, or also on the front-end (to administrators). Notifications group automatically (so for example, if there are 5 members pending approval, you will see 1 notification rather than 5 separate ones) and where appropriate each administrator can choose if they want to receive a single email, or a separate email with each occurrence. Now you won't miss an invitation to Hogwarts, or anything important again. This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year. View the full article
  4. Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner. Last week to wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community. We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week. Downloading Personal Data Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV. However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable. You can access this feature via the ACP member view The download itself is in a standard XML format. A sample export Pruning IP Addresses While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content. There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold. The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value. This new setting is under Posting Deleting Members Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name. We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses. Deleting a member Privacy Policy We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you. The new setting Finding Settings Easily To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change. These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required. Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week. View the full article
  5. We've recently spoken about how we've brought our Gallery and Blog apps bang up to date with interface overhauls to bring them inline with the high standards our customers expect. Keeping this in mind, we're thrilled to announce that we've taken Commerce right back to 2009. This needs an explanation. Way back in 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Minecraft was put into beta, Slumdog Millionaire was released to critical praise and we had a product called IP.Subscriptions. IP.Subscriptions was a lightweight member subscriptions manager that allowed members to purchase elevated permissions via a user group upgrade. It was a fine little app. However, on the horizon we had a brand new eCommerce app in development. Then called Nexus, now called Commerce (we took months to come up with that). It made sense for us to merge the products into one app given they both had overlapping functionality. They both could create packages to promote members to a new user group. Commerce was much more developed as an invoicing and billing system. Everyone was happy. Almost. Commerce has grown to be an incredibly powerful app. It can sell anything from physical products like t-shirts, to digital products such as license keys and it can even manage your hosting set-up. We use it for our support and billing systems, so we know how robust it is. While it's an incredibly powerful commerce system, setting up basic subscriptions packages became a little more complex. Over the past few years we've received a lot of feedback on this. We've listened. Commerce Member Subscriptions We've built a brand new section into Commerce specifically for membership subscriptions. Let's take a look at this in more detail. On the front end, there's a very clear and easy to understand page for membership subscriptions. The main subscriptions interface Here you can see all the available packages, which one you're currently subscribed to and the upgrade and downgrade options. A simple way to upgrade There's several choices for costing upgrades in the Admin CP, here we have chosen to charge the difference between packages. Get to your subscriptions easily Your subscriptions are easily found in the user menu. If the Admin allows, the package you're subscribed to appears as a badge on your profile. There's also a little widget showing the packages which you can drag and drop to the sidebar for an additional prompt for non-subscribers. This gives Invision Community a very clear and easy to understand interface for subscriptions which lives outside of the Commerce store and its packages. Now, let's dive into the Admin CP The main engine for this feature is the package list. This is in a separate area within Commerce. The list also shows the number of currently active and inactive subscribers. This links to the list of subscribers. Other than Bob having a total nightmare, you can easily view which members are currently active. The buttons link you to the Commerce invoice and purchase. If you wish to add a member to a subscription without charging them (you generous soul, you), then that is easily possible. Creating a new subscription package is very straight forward. We've built a new form which is stripped down to the fundamental items you'll need for a subscription. As you would expect, there are several settings to control the system. A few things worth mentioning here: You can force new members to purchase a subscription on sign-up You can show or hide the profile badge indicating which package they purchased. You can choose to allow upgrades or downgrades. You can choose how you'd like to charge for upgrades or downgrades Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback over the years. We're really pleased to present this new feature and hope that it'll make your daily lives just a little easier. Let us know what you think! View the full article
  6. Invision Power

    4.3: Announcements

    We have a very important announcement to make! There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition. Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved. Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier. The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations; Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar The three new announcement locations Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed. Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement. New customisable options The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details. Modal showing announcement content We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)! View the full article
  7. Social media promotion should be a part of any marketing strategy. Curating interesting content from your community and sharing to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Invision Community 4.2 introduced Social Media Promotions to allow this. You hit the promote button, fill out the text to share with each service, click which photos to include and schedule the promotion or send it immediately. We use this feature almost every single day to share highlights to our Invision Community Facebook page and Twitter. This feature has had a significant impact in attracting visitors to our blog. This is now a core part of our marketing strategy. So what's new in Invision Community 4.3? Facebook Groups and Pages A popular feature request was to allow sharing to Facebook groups that you are an administrator of, as well as Pages you own. Not only that, but we now allow you to share to many places at once. When setting up Facebook, you can choose which Facebook properties to be used when promoting. When sharing content, you can choose where to share it to right on the dialog. Here you can see that we're sharing to two of three possible places. "It's a secret" is a Facebook Group (which makes it a pretty poor secret). The "Lindy Throgmartin Fan Club" is my favourite page on all of Facebook. What it lacks in members, it makes up for in enthusiasm. You may also notice that the Facebook box is empty. Facebook have very strict guidelines on sharing content. They prefer that you do not auto-populate the content. You can always access the item's original content on the promote dialog, so you can refer to it. Setting a custom page title When you share to social media channels, you also have the opportunity to add to the 'Our Picks' page. We've made it possible to add a custom title for the Our Picks page so you don't have to use the content item title, although this is still the default. Editing an Our Pick When editing an item shared to 'Our Picks', you now have the option of editing all the data, including the title and the images attached. The Our Picks page showing the custom title Thanks to your feedback, we saw several places that we can improve this already popular feature. We hope you enjoy these changes which makes your social promotion strategy even easier to execute. I know we'll be making good use of them! View the full article
  8. Invision Power

    4.3: AdminCP Member Profiles

    Viewing and editing a member is probably one of the most frequently used features of the AdminCP. With the design unchanged for many years, and the tabbed interface starting to grow unwieldy, it was due for some love. We have not only dramatically improved the design but added many new features. New AdminCP Member Page Let's look at some of the improvements: Easy Toggle between Member and Customer View If you have Commerce installed, you can now toggle between "Member View" (which shows the screen above) and "Customer View" (which shows the current customer page in Commerce with the user's purchases, invoices, etc.). This makes it much easier to view all of a member's information in one place. If you don't have Commerce installed, the top tab bar will not show. Basic Information The pane in the top-left shows the member's basic information like name, email address and photos. You can now reposition a member's cover photo and crop the profile photo (functions previously not available in the AdminCP). To change the display name or email address, you just click and hold on the information and a textbox appears. The buttons below allow you to merge, delete, sign in as, and edit the preferences or password for the member. Basic Member Information Pane In addition, this pane lists any social networks the user is logged in with. It shows you the member's profile photo and profile name on that network (for example in this screenshot, it is showing my Facebook profile's photo and name) and for many networks you can click on this to be taken directly to their Facebook/Twitter/etc profile. You can also edit the syncing options for the method and unlink the accounts, features which weren't available previously. If you have Commerce installed, there is also an indicator if the user has an active subscription. A member with an active subscription Alerts If a member is validating, banned, flagged as a spammer, or locked, a large banner will display drawing your attention to this. For validating and banned, it will explain exactly what the status is (for example, if they haven't responded to the validation email yet versus they are awaiting admin approval, or if they have been banned manually versus are in a group without permission to access anything). A member that has been locked Other possible alerts Locations & Devices This pane shows you, on a map, all of the locations the user has been when using the community (based on their IP address) as well as the IP address they used to register and most recently. IP Address Locations While the devices tab shows the most recently used devices. Recently Used Devices Content Statistics Right in the middle of the profile you can see some statistics about the member's activity. This includes: A sparkline graph of their recent content. Their content count and reputation count (with tools to manually change or rebuild). A breakdown of the amount of content they have made across all applications. A visual indication of how much of their messenger and attachment storage they have used. If Gallery and Downloads are installed, the existing statistics overview provided by these apps are also available here. Content Statistics Warnings & Restrictions This block shows recent warnings on the account, and also highlights if any restrictions (i.e. content moderation, restricted from posting, or application-level restrictions) are being applied, which previously was difficult to see at a glance. Warnings & Restrictions Block for an account which has content moderation in effect Account Activity On the right is a pane which shows all of the latest account activity. While this was available in previous versions (called "Member History") we have made some significant improvements: The number of things that get logged has been significantly expanded. We now log photo changes, group changes, when a new device is used to login, if an account is locked (by failed logins or failed two factor authentication attempts) or unlocked, password/email/display name changes, when a user links or unlinks a social network login method, initial registration and validation, merges, being flagged/unflagged as a spammer, receiving/acknowledging/revoking a warning, restrictions being applied, two factor authentication being enabled/disabled/changed, an OAuth token being issued if Invision Community is being used as an OAuth Server, enabling/disabling receiving bulk mails, and accepting the privacy policy / terms and conditions, as well as all of the Commerce-related information that is already logged. Much more information is now shown such as who made the change (i.e. an admin, the user themselves, or if it was changed by the REST API or syncing with a social network) and how the change was made (for example, for a password change - if the user used the "Forgot Password" tool or changed it in their Account Settings) and what the data was before and after. This includes being aware of if the change was made by an admin after using the "Sign in as User" tool. You can now filter what information you are seeing to quickly find what you are looking for. Recent Account Activity Extensibility The new profile has been designed with extensibility in mind. Third party developers can easily add new blocks our even entire new tabs. Any apps/plugins which are currently adding a tab to the "Edit Member" form will retain backwards compatibility with their tab continuing to appear when clicking the "Edit Preferences" button in the basic account information pane. View the full article
  9. Invision Power

    4.3: Engagement Improvements

    As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community. Email Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website. It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests. Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task. With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content. Highlight the best content from throughout your community In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest. Capture return visits with interesting content Social media links in email footers If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails. Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel. Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more. Respond to Reviews We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase. New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme. Matt is talking to himself again One more thing... Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list. We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community. View the full article
  10. Invision Power

    4.3: Videos

    Videos are everywhere. We shoot them on our smart phones, share them to social media, messengers and more. Up until now, the only way to share a video to Invision Community was to use a service like YouTube or Vimeo. If you uploaded a video file it would be treated like an attachment, and if the user clicked the link it would download it to their computer. In Invision Community 4.3 we've improved this. Now if you upload a video file (mp4/3gp/mov/ogg/ogv/mpg/mpeg/flv/webm/wmv/avi/m4v), it will embed similarly to an image. Uploading a video When viewing an uploaded video, if it is in a format that the user's browser and platform natively supports, it will show an embedded player. This will have all of the features supported by the operating system - for example, almost all browsers support fullscreen, and Safari supports Airplay and picture in picture. An uploaded video If the video is in a format not supported, it displays exactly as it does now - as a download link. An uploaded video in a browser without playback support for that format View the full article
  11. Invision Power

    4.3: REST API Enhancements

    "No man is an island" wrote John Donne. He wrote that a good 200 years before computers were invented, but it rings true for any well written framework like Invision Community. The included REST API allows developers to fetch data from Invision Community and also allows data to be added. This data can be used to power widgets on your website, or to be used within other applications you are already using in a very simple way. Several enhancements have been made to the REST API for Invision Community 4.3 that we wanted to let you know about. These changes are developer-oriented, so if you do not use the REST API with your community please feel free to skip this update. If you would like to learn more about the REST API available with Invision Community, please see our REST documentation. Search capabilities As previously noted, you can now perform searches through the REST API. You can perform searches based on keywords, tags, or both, and you can limit and filter results with parameters similar to when you perform a regular search on the site (e.g. to specific containers, returning only results over a set number of comments, or searching within clubs). Permission awareness Several REST API endpoints are now permission-aware when combined with Oauth functionality built into Invision Community 4.3. This means that many REST API endpoints can be called using a specific user's access token, and only results that the specific user would normally be able to see will be returned (and/or they will only be able to submit to areas they normally have permission to). Ability to search members While an endpoint has always been available to retrieve (and add/edit/delete) members, the ability to search for members has now been implemented. You can search by name, email address, and (one or more) group(s), and a paginated response will be returned. Private conversations You can now start a new private conversation, reply to an existing private conversation, and delete a private conversation through the REST API. Other REST API changes You can now specify member's secondary groups when adding or updating a member through the REST API. You can specify the member's registration IP address through the REST API when adding or updating a member. You can now specify other member properties not directly exposed through the REST API when adding or updating a member by setting the rawProperties input field. You can now specify other member properties to retrieve through the REST API through the otherFields request parameter. The REST API now better logs changes to member accounts (so you will be able to more easily identify how a user's name, email address, password, etc. has changed when looking at the member history). You can now retrieve all content a member is following through the REST API, as well as follow a new container/content item, and delete an existing follow. You can now validate an account through the REST API You can now specify a 'perPage' parameter for paginated responses to control how many items are returned per page. Most of these changes were directly culled from client feedback and implemented per specific requests. If there are other REST API changes you would like to see implemented please don't hesitate to leave your feedback! View the full article
  12. Invision Power

    4.3: Modernizing our Gallery

    A picture says a thousand words, they say. If getting those pictures online is troublesome, some of those words might be a little choice. Gallery has been an integral part of our community suite for just about as long as T1 Tech Mark Higgins can remember (and he has many years of memories). It has seen many interfaces changes as the years have rolled by. The most recent version received a fair amount to feedback on usability. We've listened. We've re-engineered most of Gallery's key interfaces to make uploading new images to your community frictionless. Lets take a look through the major changes. Improved submission process Submitting images has to be simple or else users will give up and your gallery will be underutilized. We have spent a lot of time simplifying and speeding up the submissions process for your users. The first thing that will be noticed is that the submission process is not presented as a wizard anymore, and the choice to submit to a category or album has been significantly cleaned up and simplified. Choosing a container Here, I have chosen the category I wish to submit to, so now I am asked if I want to submit directly to the category, if I want to create a new album, or if I want to submit to an existing album. Choosing one of those last two options will load the appropriate forms to create an album or select an existing album, respectively. Afterwards, the modal expands to full screen and you will naturally select your images next, and there's a lot to talk about here. Overhauled submission interface First and foremost, the interface has changed significantly to both simplify the UI and to make actually using the interface easier. When you click on an image, the form is loaded to the right immediately without an AJAX request needed to fetch the form. In addition to quickly setting the credit and copyright information for all images at once, you can now set the tags for all images quickly and easily without having to edit each image individually. Images support drag n drop reordering in the uploader here, which means that you can drag n drop images to different positions to control their order. Many users previously would name images "Image 1", "Image 2", and so on, and then set their albums to order images by name in order to control the order the images were displayed in. This is no longer necessary now that you can manually reposition the images. The default description editor is a pared down textarea box, but you can still use the rich text editor if you wish. The ability to enable maps for geo-encoded images and to upload thumbnails for videos is still supported as well, and those options will show up when appropriate in the right hand panel. The 100 image per submission limit has also been lifted. You can now upload many more images in one go with no hard limit imposed. Upon clicking submit images, you will see the typical multiredirector to store all of your images, however you will notice that it processes much faster than it did in 4.2 and below. Better submission control Administrators can now configure categories such that can accept only images, only albums, or both. This means you can now create categories that cannot be submitted to directly, and you can create categories that albums cannot be used with. This is a feature that has been oft-requested since the release of 4.0, and we are happy to report that it will be available in our next release. Additionally, album creators (if permitted) can also now create shared albums. When you create a new album, you can now specify (under the Privacy menu) who can submit to the album, with your available options being: Only me Anyone Only the users I specify Only the groups I specify Prior to 4.3, albums have always been owned by one user and only that user could submit to them. Invision Community 4.3 will open up albums so that anyone can submit to them, dependent upon the album creator's preferences and needs. The choice is yours as to who can submit to your albums New image navigation Another major change with Gallery 4.3 is that clicking an image now launches that image in a lightbox to view it and interact with it. This lightbox is context-aware, allowing you to visit the next and previous images in the listing, whether that is a category or album listing, or the featured images or new images listings on the Gallery homepage, for example. The new image lightbox Firstly, I will note that you are seeing the image here with my mouse cursor over the image area, exposing the title, tags, and some various buttons. When you mouse away from the image those overlays fade away to highlight the image itself better. As you can see, you can navigate left and right here to view the next and previous image in this context, and you can otherwise interact with the image as you would have if you had visited the older-style image view page (including the ability to rate, review and comment). The new Gallery release will introduce a new advertisement location in the right hand column to allow you to show advertisements, even in the lightbox. If you follow a link to a full image view page, the lightbox will automatically launch when the page loads, still allowing you to interact in a familiar manner. Additionally, if you move through enough images in the lightbox to reach a new page (for example, if you click on the last image in the album listing and then click on the next image button), the listing itself behind the lightbox will update for easier usability if the user closes the lightbox. One final thing to note is that the interface has been made more mobile friendly, particularly through the introduction of swiping support. You can swipe left and right in the lightbox, and in image carousels, to see the next and previous images. Notable performance improvements As we mentioned at the beginning, we recognize there is a balance between performance, usability, and attractiveness, particularly with regards to an image Gallery. For that reason, we have made Gallery's performance a major focus in 4.3, and have implemented some changes that bring with them a noticeable performance improvement. Firstly, we have adjusted the software to only store two copies of an image (in addition to the original), instead of four. In previous versions, we stored a thumbnail, a small copy, a medium copy and a large copy of an image, all of which arbitrarily sized and designed to best meet our layout needs without showing an image too large or too small in a given space. We have simplified this vastly by storing a slightly larger "small" image, and storing a large copy. Diskspace usage is reduced dramatically as a result, and bandwidth usage is actually lowered as well since only two copies of an image need to be delivered to the browser instead of four. Next, we have implemented prefetching of the 'next' and 'previous' pages when you launch the lightbox image view. This means that when a user navigates to the next image in the lightbox, it loads immediately instead of waiting for the content to be fetched from the server. From a UX perspective, this provides a much snappier and responsive interface, making users more apt to interact with the site. We have additionally sped up the submission process as previously mentioned. The order of execution for certain events that must happen during submission has been moved around a bit, resulting in a faster experience for the end user actually submitting the images. Because we know the details matter, we have implemented other smaller improvements as well. For example, the link to rebuild images in the AdminCP previously resulted in a redirect process that rebuilt the images while you waited, but now a background task is launched so that you can continue with what you were doing while the images get rebuilt in the background. From start to finish, the Gallery UI and UX has been touched on and improved, and we hope you enjoy these improvements when you start using the new version. View the full article
  13. "The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data", the Economist wrote recently. Invision Community software stores a lot of important data that can be leveraged to analyze and improve upon the traffic and interactions with your site. While there are some various statistics tools in the AdminCP already, we spent some time with 4.3 enhancing and improving upon our existing reporting tools, as well as adding some new analytics tools you may find useful. Chart Filters Beginning with 4.3, any dynamically-generated charts in the AdminCP that support filtering will allow you to save those filter combinations for easier access in the future. When you open the Filters menu and toggle any individual filters, the chart will no longer immediately reload until you click out of the menu, and 'All' and 'None' quick links have been added to the filters menu to allow you to quickly toggle all filters on or off. Here is the 'Sales' chart for Commerce, for example. You will see that the interface is now tabbed. Commerce's Sales chart After opening the 'Filters' menu, selecting all of my products named 'test', and saving this filter combination as a new chart, I can quickly come back to this chart in the future. Specific filter configurations allow you to run reports easily Note that each user can save their own chart filter configurations independent of other users. Top income by customer Speaking of Commerce, we have also added a new chart to the 'Income' page, allowing you to view reports of your top customers. As with other dynamic charts, you can save filter configurations here for easy future access, and you can view the results as a table to get a raw list of your top customers' purchases. Further, we have tidied up the table views for the other existing tabs on this page. Looks like brandon is my top customer Reaction statistics We have introduced several statistic pages to expose information about the Reactions/Reputation system and how your users are interacting with it. For instance, you can now view information about usage of each of the reactions set up on your site. Yes, I'm definitely confused a lot You can also see which users give and receive the most reputation (which is the sum of their reaction points, keeping in mind that negative reactions can reduce a user's total reputation score), you can see which content on your community has the most reputation (which might prompt you to promote it to the 'Our Picks' page, promote it to social media, or otherwise continue to encourage interaction with the content), and you can see which applications reactions are given in the most. This could allow you, for instance, to focus more efforts in areas of your site to drive more activity, or to foster activity in areas you did not realize were as active as they are. Some areas of the community aren't as active as they could be Additionally, when viewing user profiles on the front end you can now see a breakdown of which reactions each user has given and received when you click the "See reputation activity" link in the left hand column. Apparently I'm not so much confused, as I am confusing Tag Usage Another useful statistic introduced with 4.3 is the ability to review tag usage on your community. As with other dynamic charts, you can filter however you like and save those filter configurations for easy future access. Not all tags are equal Trend charts for topics and posts When viewing the New Topics and New Posts charts, there are now tabs for "New Topics by Forum" and "New Posts by Forum", allowing you to see which of your forums are the most active. Additionally, you will see a trend line drawn on the chart to show you the trend (e.g. whether activity is increasing or decreasing). You can also filter which forums you wish to review, so you can compare your most active forums, the forums that are most important to your site, or the forums that need the most attention/may not be relevant, for instance. Viewing new topics by forum New posts by forum, but viewing only a subset of my most important forums Other Improvements Some other miscellaneous improvements have been introduced as well, which you may be interested in: When viewing Member Activity reports, you can now filter by group. We have also added the content count column to the table so you can quickly sort by top posters if this is relevant to the report you are running. Device usage is now also tracked (mobile, desktop, etc.) and can be viewed on a new Device Usage page. Developers: Dynamic charts now support database joins View the full article
  14. We released news of Clubs just under a year ago for Invision Community 4.2 and it has been the best received feature to date. Clubs opens up new ways to run your community by allowing members to create sub-communities away from the central forum area. Since the feature was released, we've collated an immense amount of feedback on the feature. Here's what we're improving for Invision Community 4.3. Paid Club Memberships If you have Commerce installed on your community, 4.3 adds the ability for members to create paid clubs. Users wishing to join the club will be required to pay a membership fee (which can be one off or recurring) which will be paid to the club owner, minus any commission you want to keep for the site. You can choose which groups can create paid clubs. Paid Club Settings If enabled, the club directory will show the price for membership in each club. Club directory with paid clubs The process for joining works a little differently depending on the type of club... For open clubs, the user will immediately be prompted to pay the joining fee. Once they have paid, they are added to the club as normal. For closed clubs, the user will need to request to join as normal. Once they have been accepted to join the club, they will then be able to pay the membership fee, after which they'll be added to the club. For private and read-only (a new type in 4.3, which we'll talk about below) users have to be invited to join the club Public clubs have no membership, and so cannot be paid. Joining a paid club (a closed club in this screenshot) Paid club after request to join has been accepted Paying for club membership Club leaders can also waive the membership fee, allowing certain users to join the club for free. Waiving fee when approving request to join Waiving fee when inviting members Waiving renewal fees on an existing member If a member fails to pay their renewal charge, they are moved into an "expired" state. The club leaders can see the status and renewal date for all members, and use the filter tools to just see active or expired members. Club members management Paying out membership fees works just as it does with paid files in Downloads. Users receive the amount as account credit. If enabled, they can then request a payout of this via PayPal or a manual payout method you want to use. Viewing an invoice in the AdminCP where some payment has been given to a member Viewing account credit with options to withdraw funds Club content throughout the community Currently content in clubs is only visible within the club itself. In 4.3 a new setting allows you to show the content from clubs throughout the community - for example, if a club contains a forum, that forum can show in the main forum list. Club forums showing on main forum list This is a single toggle: if enabled, all content from clubs that each user has joined will show throughout the community, appearing below the normal categories/etc in that application. New Club Type: Read Only In addition to Open, Closed, Private and Public, we have added a new club type in 4.3: read only. In a read only club, everyone can (without joining) view everything in the club, but cannot participate unless they are invited by a club leader. Following Users can now follow a club, and will then receive notifications about all new content in the club - the same as if they followed every content area in the club. List View In addition to the current grid layout of clubs, there is a new list-style. Clubs List View The admin can choose which views are available and what the default should be. AdminCP Approval You can now filter the list of clubs in the AdminCP to clubs requiring approval and approve clubs from within the AdminCP. Approving clubs in AdminCP Deleting Content Areas Club leaders can now delete content areas within their clubs. This can be useful if, for example, the leader added a club feature by mistake. Content areas can only be removed if there is no content within it, or if you have granted club leaders the ability to delete content in their clubs (since they would be able to empty it). Ability to remove features from clubs Other Minor Tweaks You can now set per-group the maximum number of clubs a member in that group can create. A member invited to join a club can now delete the invitation if they do not want to accept it (rather than just ignoring it). View the full article
  15. Often it's the smaller changes that can make a big improvement in the day to day use of your community. We have made quite a few updates that will make your community flow better for you and your members. Update files in Pages Media Manager Previously when you wanted to update a file in the Pages Media Manager you actually had to upload a new file and then change the references to that file to the new one. This was obviously not so great. When you select a file there is now a replace option. We're not sure why we didn't do this earlier but as they say: better late than never! Tag Input when Optional On communities with tagging enabled, we have often noticed that people tend to feel the need to tag everything even when it's not really necessary. If your site is about cars you don't really need everything people post to be tagged "car" as that's sort of obvious. So to make it a bit clearer that tags are not required we have hidden the input field behind a Choose link so people have to actively choose to tag if they really think it's necessary. We hope this cuts down on tag noise. If tagging is required then the normal input box will always show. Google Invisible reCAPTCHA The new Google Invisible reCAPTCHA allows you to prevent bot registrations without the need for all users to fill out the normal captcha process. As often as possible your members will never notice there is even a captcha happening on the page. It's another way to make the flow from guest to member easier. Whitelist for Spam Service The spam defense service Invision Community provides works very well at combatting spam signups automatically. The issue is sometimes it works too well! Let's say you are at work and all your colleagues share the same public IP. You are excited about your new community (of course you are) and your whole office tries to register at once. Our spam service would probably see your office IP as suspicious with that sudden influx of traffic and may even block it. The new whitelist tool allows you to specify IPs and email addresses to always allow on your community regardless of what score our spam defense gives it. Reply as Hidden Sometimes it would be nice if your moderators could reply to an item with a hidden reply. You might want to leave a note for other moderators or perhaps you have a database and want some replies public and some private. If you have permission you will now see a hide toggle when replying. This works in all apps anywhere you can reply to a content item and have hide permission. Exclude Groups in Leaderboard You can now exclude certain groups from being ranked in the Leaderboard. This is very useful if your staff or RSS bot tend to get all the reputation points. By excluding those groups you can focus on your actual member participation which is a better reward to encourage engagement. On a personal note this will make me very sad as I usually win reputation counts on our site. But, being such a great person, I am willing to make this sacrifice for you. Complete Your Profile Order The Complete Your Profile feature introduced in version 4.2 has been a great success for clients. We have heard many reports of increased engagement as the system can walk people through the sign up process. Not having a big, scary registration form is always a huge plus. For 4.3 we added the new ability to change the order of completion for your members. This will allow you to stress the items you really want them to complete first and move your less important profile options later in the steps. Mapbox Support Mapping has been a feature of Invision Community for quite some time but up until now has been limited to Google Maps integration. For 4.3 we have added support for Mapbox which is based on OpenStreetMap data. The maps are beautifully designed and bring greater flexibility with an alternative look. The groundwork is now laid for some exciting new features still to come! Some of our existing customers also found Google policies and pricing structure incompatible with their own internal policies which this addition addresses. View the full article
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