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      Orphan Attachments   07/31/2018

      I have been doing some housekeeping lately and I've noticed that I had a lot of orphaned attachments. Attachments get orphaned when the PM or post is deleted without removing the attachment first. Deleting a PM or post does not delete the attachment and the file or image remain on the server. I'd like to ask all members to go through their attachments and delete any attachments you don't need anymore or those that have been orphaned. Where can I get a list of my attachments? Click on your display name in the upper right corner of the forums and pick "My Attachments" from the drop-down list. How can I tell an attachment is orphaned? If the PM has been deleted, you'll see a message like this in your attachment list: Unfortunately there is no message if the post has been deleted, so please check your old posts. We do purge old birthday threads every once in a while. Also some hosted projects have been shut down, so you may have orphaned attachments on one of those locations. Thanks!
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Visceral Moonlight

IPS 4.0

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We have subscribed to the IPS News feeds and the next few posts are excerpts from the feeds that we think you might be interested in. These are all the new features from IPS 4.0.

 


 

Following content is an important aspect of interacting with your community.  It allows you to be notified when there are updates to the content or when other users comment on the content, and it allows you to find content you are interested in at a later date.  We have taken the opportunity with 4.0 to enhance the system where-by users can follow content in the IPS Community Suite to simplify and clarify certain processes, make it easier to follow content you submit, and to be sure you are receiving the notifications you wish to receive.
 
 
Following your own content
 
One area of improvement that was identified during planning meetings for 4.0 was the process of following your own content.  While the forums have a method in place already to follow new topics you create (or to automatically follow topics you reply to), the rest of the suite has no such similar capability in place.  We wanted to make it easier for users to follow the content they are submitting to make it more likely they will be aware of comments posted to their submissions, in turn making it more likely they will return and continue to interact with the community.
 
In all applications in 4.0, when submitting new content you will have the ability to follow that content right away.
 

 
When replying, similarly there is an option to automatically follow the content you are replying to.
 

 
In your Notification preferences panel, you can choose to automatically follow new content submissions by default and you can choose to automatically follow content you reply to by default (in which case the appropriate checkboxes would be checked by default during submissions and commenting).  These options affect your content submissions and comments across the entire suite in 4.0.
 
 
Following other content
 
You can follow other content submitted to the community by clicking on the "Follow" button available in the appropriate area.  As with 3.x, you can follow containers (e.g. follow a forum or an IP.Downloads category), and you can follow content items (e.g. a topic or an IP.Downloads file).
 

 
You can follow content items and containers both publicly, which means others will be able to tell you are following that item, and anonymously, where you will receive notifications of updates to the item but others will not be able to see you are following it.  You can choose to receive an email notification immediately when there is a reply to the content, or you can choose to receive a daily or weekly digest.  Digest notifications have been expanded suite-wide and are now supported in all applications automatically.  As with 3.x, you can choose to receive an email notification or an inline notification on the site (or you can choose to receive neither or both if you prefer).
 
One common issue encountered in IP.Board 3.x was that users would follow something, however their notification preferences were configured in a manner which meant they would never subsequently be notified of updates to the item they are following (because they have chosen not to receive neither email nor inline notifications for that follow method).  The 4.0 suite recognizes this scenario and warns the user in this event.
 

 
 
Summary
 
We have worked to improve and clarify the follow system where possible in the 4.0 suite, while still retaining the same level of functionality and flexibility you have available in 3.x.  The ability to automatically follow new submissions should help users remain engaged on your site when other users comment on their contributions, bringing them back and enticing them to continue contributing to your site.  The improved clarification when users will not receive notifications due to their preference configuration will help reduce staff overhead in answering questions, as well as visitor confusion and frustration.
 
We will talk about notifications themselves in a future blog entry, however we hope these changes help improve usability and interaction with your site by your visitors.

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The submissions process in IP.Downloads has a certain complexity that may not be apparent at first. As well as simple file uploads, we also support adding files from URLs and from the local file system, and screenshots can also be added in these ways. Which category you choose to submit to affects which of these options are available. In addition, via the AdminCP you can bulk-upload files - but not via the front-end.

 

For IP.Downloads 4, we wanted to improve this process with interface and functionality changes.

 

Submitting Files

 

Here's a video demonstration of how creating a single file record in IP.Downloads works in v4:

 

 

We've worked hard to improve the flow for users here - while they are uploading files (which may be large and take some time), they can continue adding the other file information such as screenshots and meta data. While that's happening, the upload progress is always shown at the top of the screen. In the video you'll also see how image uploading is handled, as well as prefixes in the tag system, which are now supported throughout the IPS Community Suite.

 

Bulk Uploading

 

Instead of going to the AdminCP to bulk-submit files, single- and bulk-uploads are now handled through exactly the same process on the front end. This means users can be granted bulk-upload permissions without requiring AdminCP access, a big improvement on the current implementation.

 

To bulk upload, a user clicks the "Submit a file" button as normal, and chooses "I want to submit multiple files at once". They see the same upload area, but this time, the file information step is handled separately after the page is submitted. Each uploaded file has a separate block for file information and its own set of screenshots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'll of course be showing more of the IP.Downloads homepage and file view later, but we hope that gives you a taste of what to expect in IP.Downloads in IPS4.

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Almost all of our applications support commenting or reviewing to some degree.  You can comment on events in IP.Calendar, images in IP.Gallery and blog entries in IP.Blog, and you can review products in IP.Nexus, for instance.  The differences between reviewing and commenting are subtle, yet important.  Commenting allows you to say something about a content item that has been contributed, while reviewing is intended to allow you to give feedback about the item based on your experience.  You should not be able to review something you have not seen or used, for instance, and you should only be able to review it once.

 

We have worked on developing these concepts further for 4.0, and bringing both capabilities easily to all applications in the suite.

 

 

Comments

 

Any application in the 4.0 suite can support commenting easily.  From a development perspective, you need only create a content comment class that extends IPSContentComment (and define a few methods in this class, such as how to generate the URL to the comment), and then in your main content item class you specify this new content comment class in a specific property.  For example, with IP.Downloads we have the following in the content item class

And then there is, as you would expect, a commenting class found at IPSdownloadsFileComment which extends IPSContentComment.  This comment class defines a few properties, and then defines a single url() method (which must return the URL to the comment).  Almost everything else is handled automatically by the suite.

 

Otherwise, comments work largely similar to the way they work in 3.x.  Moderators can edit, hide, approve and delete comments.  You can allow certain users to reply to locked content (e.g. to leave a comment on something that is locked), but otherwise locked content cannot be commented on.  You can use multi-moderation on comments and you can quote and multi-quote comments.  All of the functionality you would expect to see is still present.

 

 

 

 

[*]You may only leave a single review on a content item.  Once you have left a review, you will not be able to leave another.

[*]When leaving a review, you are presented with a 5-star panel from which you should select your star rating.

[*]Some applications may further restrict your ability to leave a review.  For instance, there is an option in IP.Downloads to only allow users who have downloaded a file to leave a review.

 

As of the 4.0 Community Suite, any application can now support reviews just as easy as commenting.  Further, as a developer you can support both simultaneously (and, typically, the administrator can disable one or both systems if they choose).  Reviews work almost the same as comments from an implementation perspective.  You create a review content comment class, and you define a specific property in the content item class.  For IP.Downloads you will see this in the content item class

And then you will find a review class at IPSdownloadsFileReview, which extends IPSContentReview (which in turn actually extends IPSContentComment).  The review class for IP.Downloads, just like the commenting class, only contains a single method to define how to generate the URL, as well as a few required properties.

 

 

When reviews are left and a star rating is applied, this rating is averaged and applied to the content item.  A content item could in theory support both the traditional star rating system (like you might see in IP.Downloads or even in IP.Board in the 3.x product line) and reviews at a technical level, however it is recommended to prevent confusion that you either use the traditional rating system OR reviews, but not both simultaneously.  Most applications in 4.0 that support reviews will not support the traditional rating system as a result.

 

 

 

You will note in this screenshot that because I have not yet downloaded the file (which is an optional reviews-related restriction in IP.Downloads) that I am unable to review the file at present.  When a user does not have permission to do something, the 4.0 community suite makes every effort to clearly indicate why the user is unable to accomplish a given task.

 

Other users reading a review can determine if they found the review helpful or not (although you are unable to specify this on your own reviews of course), and these yes/no votes are subsequently tallied in order to allow users to sort reviews by "most helpful" per the sorting buttons at the top right of the above screenshot.

 

 

 

 

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    IP.Calendar has a few primary important views: the monthly grid view (i.e. a typical calendar table), the weekly view which lists a calendar week and any events occurring during that week, a daily view which lists all events occurring on a given day, and the actual event views where you view details about a specific event.  All of these views have their usefulness, however we felt that there was a missing piece to the puzzle.  During planning meetings we discussed adding a popular feature request known as an agenda view, which basically lists all events between a given time period (or from a given date forward) and while we liked the idea, we felt we could accomplish the end goal while taking the interface a step further.

     

     

    The calendar stream

     

    The new "stream" view is what it sounds like - a stream of calendar events listed in order of date, from oldest to newest.  This calendar view is based upon a given month and will show all events occurring within that month (including recurring events).  You can view the calendar stream for each month individually if you wish, just like you would view the calendar "month" view.

     

    The events are displayed as small blocks of event data.

     

     

     

    This is a general idea of what the stream looks like

     

     

    As you can see, events are listed from oldest to newest in a "stream", i.e. a grid of blocks showing event details.  The stream is an option for end users to choose from, and the admin can set it as the default viewing method for Calendar if they wish.

     

     

    Conclusion

     

    We believe this new stream will accomplish the same end goal an agenda view is designed to accomplish, but in a more robust and stylish manner.  We look forward to your feedback on this new enhancement to the calendar product.

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    IP.Calendar allows your users to schedule and share events through a centralized community calendar and supports many features that allow your community to coordinate, organize and interact with each other through the calendar.  For instance, event organizers can request RSVP for events in order to note who will be attending before hand, and you can allow commenting on events submitted through IP.Calendar to allow users to share their thoughts about an event.

     

    The latest version of IP.Calendar will see some minor yet useful enhancements that will allow you and your community to make better use of IP.Calendar in a more social manner than ever before.

     

     

    Location support

     

    Users will be able to specify a physical location (i.e. an address) when submitting an event to the calendar in the 4.0 Community Suite calendar application.  When an address is specified and Google Maps integration is enabled in the admin control panel, a map will be presented when viewing the event that allows users to see where the event will be taking place.

     

     

     

    Clicking on the map will take you to Google maps, allowing you to get directions to the event or otherwise find out more information about the location.

     

    The event location, when available, will also be included in iCalendar exports using the GEO property supported by the specification.  This means when sharing your calendar events with another application that supports iCalendar imports (and supports the "GEO" property), your event location will be available in those applications as well.

     

     

    Downloading individual events

     

    In previous versions of the calendar, you were able to download an iCalendar export of an entire calendar on the site, but you were unable to download an individual event as an iCalendar export.  The 4.0 Community Suite calendar application will now allow you to download individual events, as seen by the "Download Event" button in the previous screenshot.  Users can download individual events and import them into supported calendar applications if they desire.  Events are downloaded with an ".ics" extension, which is supported by Windows Calendar, Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook, Mozilla Lightning and pretty much every other calendar application available.

     

     

    Cover photo

     

    Another small yet useful enhancement in the next version of Calendar is the ability to upload a cover photo with your events.  You may now, optionally, upload a cover photo image with your events which will be displayed as a background image in the event header.

     

     

     

    Please keep in mind that these are early screenshots and the interface is very much subject to change, however you can get an idea from this screenshot how you might end up specifying a cover photo for an event to give it some unique visual differentiation to stand out.

     

     

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    One of the goals for IPS Community Suite 4.0 was improving content discovery. In other words, making sure content still receives exposure even if it is posted in less used areas of the suite.

     

    The sidebar that shows on the IP.Board index page in 3.x helps with this goal to some extent, however people who visit the forums app infrequently may miss out on valuable content. This became an even more important issue when the decision was made to decouple IP.Board as a standalone application. What if the focus of your site is Gallery or what if IP.Board is not even enabled for example?

     

    Our solution was to extend the sidebar across all applications as shown below in IP.Downloads. 

     

     

     

    You may notice from the screenshot that the announcements block is not specific to the downloads application. Any block can show in any application and they are configurable using moderator permissions. This immediately addresses the issue of content discovery.

     

    While the sidebar is now global in 4.0, it is important to note that individual areas can enable and disable the sidebar if necessary.  Some areas of the suite simply require more room in order to display ideally, so the sidebar is disabled in these cases (e.g. the calendar "monthly" view needs a full page table grid to display in its ideal format). Further, you can configure sidebars differently for different areas of the suite in context-sensitive manner.  You may show a recent topics block in the IP.Board application, for instance, while showing a recent files block in IP.Downloads.  Or you can show both blocks in both areas - the choice is yours.

     

    Many areas of the suite have specific things they wish to automatically show in the sidebar and will do so.  This is determined at a programmatic level and is not something that can be shut off.  For instance, in IP.Downloads the primary screenshot and the download button show in the sidebar, while in IP.Calendar a map and a button to download an event show.  Each application has the ability to output arbitrary content to the top of the sidebar where-ever necessary.

     

    It is also worth noting that advertisements have the inherent ability to display in the sidebar site-wide as well.

     

    Editing

     

    Editing is carried out inline from the front-end, rather than the ACP, and can be customized based on the application, module or individual view. The technicalities of this are beyond the scope of this blog entry but what this means in practice is that you can vary what is shown in the sidebar for each individual area of your site. Ordering of the blocks is of course fully supported using a simple drag and drop interface, and some sidebars additionally have configuration options available to them as needed.

     

    Here is a video demonstration of how editing the sidebar works in IPS Community Suite 4.0.

     

     

    Caching

     

    With this approach it was important that performance was not compromised and for that reason sidebar blocks support varying degrees of output caching. The active users block which must always be kept up to date utilizes no caching, a more general block showing overall statistics is cached for all users at once and other blocks that rely on permissions are cached for each user group combination. The level of caching used is determined by the developer when writing the block so, while it is important to mention that this performance aspect has been considered, it is something that is transparent to end users and admins in day to day use.

     

    Summary

     

    Community integration is a key strength of the IPS platform and the new sidebar in version 4 expands on this even further allowing you to share content across all areas effectively.

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    Copying Settings

     

    Sometimes you need to change the same setting across multiple categories. For example, let's say up until now I've not allowed comments on files and now I want to enable it for most categories. In IP.Downloads for 3.x, I'd have to go into each category one by one and toggle the setting on.

     

    In 4.x, when editing a category, each setting has a "Copy" button next to it, when opens a window asking which categories to copy that setting value to, so I can make the change to one category and then copy it to others (or all) quickly.

     

     

     

     

     

    This feature is also available when editing things in other applications, such as forums in IP.Board or products in IP.Nexus.

     

     

    New Settings

    We've moved some settings which were previously global settings into per-category settings to give you even greater control over your community:

      [*]"Require approval of comments"

      [*]"Log all downloads" and "Prune download logs" - we also added a new per-category setting: "Allow file submitter to view log?"

      [*]"Allowed file extensions" (this used to be managed using complicated "Mime Type Masks" - now you can just provide the extensions which are allowed in that category, or allow any file type).

      [*]"Enable versioning control" and "Number of revisions to keep"

     

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    Some sites make use of multiple calendars to help differentiate what type of events are being contributed to the community. You might have a staff calendar that allows staff members to add events and a community calendar for the rest of your users.  Or you may have a holidays calendar as well as a gaming "raids" calendar on your community.  Individual calendars are a form of categorization in IP.Calendar, and we wanted to bring some enhancements to them in the 4.0 Community Suite.

     

     

    Colors

     

    You will now be able to specify colors for each calendar you create.  The software will automatically suggest a new unique color each time you create a new calendar with several pre-determined colors to start with (and then falling over to randomly chosen colors if you happen to create enough calendars to use these defaults up), but you are able to specify any color you wish for any calendar you create.

     

     

     

    (As an aside for developers - you can easily implement similar "color" fields in your own forms using the form helper class IPSHelpersFormColor)

     

     

    Merged view

     

    If you are familiar with the current iteration of IP.Calendar, you might be wondering what good implementing calendar colors actually does.  After all, the software does not show events from different calendars mixed together right?

     

    As of 4.0, IP.Calendar does indeed support a merged-calendar view.  In fact, it is the default in IP.Calendar.  Your users will see all events from all calendars (that they have permission to view) merged into one view, but can click a menu at the top of the page to filter by calendar if they so desire.

     

     

     

    They will see events from all calendars merged together

     

     

     

    When viewing an event the calendar it has been saved to is of course indicated here as well.

     

     

     

     

    The merged calendars model is supported for all of the major views in IP.Calendar: the monthly view, the weekly view, the daily view...and the new "event stream" view which we will talk about in a future blog entry (shhh).

     

     

    Conclusion

     

    We feel these minor changes makes Calendar more intuitive, and especially makes handling multiple calendars within your IP.Calendar installation more practical and useful.  We hope you find working with multiple calendars to be easier and clearer with these changes, and we hope you find new ways to make use of the multiple calendar support present in IP.Calendar as a result of the merged views and better calendar differentiation.

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    I can distinctly remember 5 years ago reading a blog entry on this site about the "personal conversations" feature in IP.Board 3.0, which we were working on at the time. Up until then, the messenger system in community software and other websites was much like email - you sent one message at a time, with little continuity between messages. We were one of the first, on the entire of the web, to introduce what we called "personal conversations" - a sort of "private topic" between invited members - it was a really exciting idea back then.

     

    For 4.0, we wanted to really focus on the experience of using the messenger - making it super fast and easy to compose, navigate and participate in conversations.

     

    Starting a conversation

     

    When browsing the site, you'll see a messenger icon at the top of every screen just like you do now. When hitting the "Compose Now" button inside though, the form to send your message will appear as a modal window, and when you send, it will disappear again with no page reload. This makes it incredibly fast and easy to send a message from wherever you are, without interrupting your flow. You can also send a message to a specific member by hovering over their name wherever you see it on the site and clicking the "Send Message" button in the hover card that shows.

     

     

    Browsing conversations

     

    We've completely redesigned the main messenger pages. You now see a (infinitely scrolling) list of all your messages on the left-side. Clicking on any message opens it up in the main pane. All the common actions are enhanced with AJAX so you can open a conversation, add a user and reply all really quickly.

     

     

     

    Mobile

     

    We've not forgotten about mobile devices! The new responsive design in IPS 4.0 means the whole messenger works and looks great whether you're on a desktop or on your phone.

     

     

    Summary

     

    We recognise that when members send a new message, it is often as a response to content read in all areas of the suite. You can now send messages in place without disrupting your flow. We have improved all aspects of sending, receiving and managing messages and are confident these changes will make communicating with other members in private simpler and faster. 

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    Bulk Uploading

     

    Instead of going to the AdminCP to bulk-submit files, single- and bulk-uploads are now handled through exactly the same process on the front end. This means users can be granted bulk-upload permissions without requiring AdminCP access, a big improvement on the current implementation.

     

    To bulk upload, a user clicks the "Submit a file" button as normal, and chooses "I want to submit multiple files at once". They see the same upload area, but this time, the file information step is handled separately after the page is submitted. Each uploaded file has a separate block for file information and its own set of screenshots.

    I think most people will appreciate this a lot for such a feature I mean especially modders who is updating their mod(s), which could have a couple of patches for one mod then updating the mod itself at the same time. :D

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    The file upload part, yes. It sounds like they've separated the file description part. So you upload the files, then set up the descriptions and I'm guessing you then pick from your uploaded files to link the two. This has the potential to be better than Nexus' file upload facilities.

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    Interesting stuff, thanks for posting that.

     

    I'm a bit concerned about the files module. The few screens that were grabbed seem to indicate the file system is taking some steps backward in terms of what we have available to us now. Is it just that they're redesigning the UI for it (needlessly) or that they're really cutting out some of the fields we have now?

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    One of IPS Community Suite 4's main goals was to overhaul the user interface. We wanted to go further than just a few cosmetic changes to the theme, we wanted to examine each part of the user interface and see what could be improved. The community suite has a lot of functionality and there's a lot of tools that we all use regularly so we felt that any improvements on these common areas would be very welcomed.

     

    I'd like to focus on such a change in IP.Downloads.

     

    IP.Downloads has always had version control. Essentially, this allows you to upload new versions and keep a historical record of the older versions. You can read change logs and even download older versions where allowed.

     

    Let's take a look at how IP.Board 3 does it currently:

     

     

     

    Although there's nothing particularly wrong with this form, we can see that it mixes up the ability to upload a new version with the general file settings such as title and description. The end result is a bit confusing and a little intimidating the first few times you use it. The section to add your change log is a little lost in the file information block.

     

    Now lets take a look at how IPS Community Suite 4 handles this:

     

    The first step is to enable download revisions for this category inside the Admin CP.

     

     

     

    Now that this has been enabled, lets navigate to the "File Actions" menu to upload a new version.

     

     

     

    This loads the "Upload a new version form". As you can see, it's very clean, very easy to follow and isn't cluttered with settings and text fields that you aren't interested in editing.

     

     

     

    Once you've uploaded your new version, you can see what's new on the file listing page.

     

     

     

    You can even view previous change logs and the download link without leaving the page.

     

     

     

    Conclusion

    As this blog entry shows, IPS Community Suite 4 is really focused on making real improvements to everyday interfaces. We believe that these changes are very important to modernise the suite and to make it as easy to use as possible.

     

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    One of the most distinctive uses for a forum is that of a 'knowledge community', where users visit in order to get help with a problem or question. Our own Pre-sales forum uses this model, but we also have many customers who run forums that are almost exclusively knowledge-based (such as Roxio and Evernote).

     

    IP.Board 3.x introduced the concept of a "Best Answer" flag, allowing topic creators and staff the ability to highlight the reply to a topic that they deem best answers the question. This shows a snippet of the post in green at the top of the topic. Many sites now use this feature, but for IPS4 we wanted to expand the functionality offered for these types of forums.

     

    Question & Answer Forums

     

    Forums in IPS4 will enable you to set a forum as a "Q&A Forum". This adjusts the forum to be specifically designed for knowledge sharing. Instead of topics and posts, it has questions and answers.

     

    On the forum index, the forum will be shown as a Q&A forum with its forum icon (unless you've set a custom forum icon for that forum):

     

     

     

    Forum View

     

    When you enter the forum, instead of the normal topic listing, you see a list of questions:

     

     

     

    You'll see here that questions that have a best answer are indicated with a green checkbox. You'll also notice that one of the stats on the right hand side is 'votes'. In Q&A forums, questions can be voted up or down by users, in order to give them more visibility. More popular questions will bubble to the top (depending on the age of the question). You can of course still order by more traditional methods, if you wish.

     

    Popular questions from the past 30 days are also highlighted at the top of the forum, providing an up-to-date 'knowledgebase' that other users can see. Using our own presales forum as an example, if someone asked a question about an important feature and it was voted highly, other users visiting the forum would see it right at the top, which is great for content visibility and helping users get the answers they're looking for with minimal fuss.

     

    Question View

     

    Clicking into a question shows an adjusted topic view:

     

     

     

    The question (i.e. the first post) is shown at the top of the page on all pages, with answers listed below. You'll see that replies can also be voted up and down - in fact, this determines the order in which answers are shown inside the question. Popular answers, as determined by the community, will appear at the top, with worse or incorrect answers being pushed down. This is great for quickly finding the best information for the question at hand; in IP.Board 3.x, all too often a high-quality answer will appear in the middle of a topic and unfortunately go unnoticed by the topic creator or others looking for an answer. You can still sort answers by date, if you prefer.

     

    In the screenshot above you can also see the first post is marked as the best answer. "Best Answer" always appears at the top, regardless of its vote count.

     

    Question/answer ratings are separate from reputation, so you can of course still "Like" posts even if you don't think they're a good answer to the question.

     

    Conclusion

     

    So that's the new Q&A feature for IP.Board. We think it'll a big step forward for knowledge-driven communities using IP.Board, or even individual forums in other communities (like our pre-sales forum), helping users find answers to their questions more efficiently, and ultimately making your communities more useful.

     

     

    As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release.

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    IP.Board 3.x supports "My Media", which enables you to share other content from within the community by using the "My Media" button on the editor. This results in: 

     

     

    While this works, it has a few shortcomings:

     

      [*]The styling of the block isn't really designed for each type of content it might show

      [*]Users have to click the My Media button, then browse for the item, when they probably already know the URL they want to link to

      [*]Not all content types are supported; e.g. you can't use My Media to link to a topic.

      [*]For developers, implementing support for My Media in other applications was a process involving extension files and multiple methods 

     

    We wanted to make sharing existing content much easier in IPS4, both for users and developers. "Embeddable content" is our solution.

     

    How to use it

     

    To embed content from elsewhere in the community, here's a step by step guide:

     

      [*]Paste a link to it

     

    That's it! When you paste a link to almost any kind of content, whether it's a forum topic, calendar event, gallery album or more, IPS4 will automatically embed a small preview of the content, designed specifically for that content. In order to not disrupt an existing paragraph of text however, the embedded block won't be used if the link is surrounded by text. Embedded content only shows if the link is pasted on its own line, giving users more control over their post.

     

    Here's what a post looks like with a few embedded types shown:

     

     

     

    Embedded content can be used anywhere as you'd expect, including posts and comments, but also status updates, IP.Content articles, and so on.

     

    For developers

     

    Supporting embedded content in your apps is very easy; your content model simply has to implement IPSContentEmbeddable:

     

     

    Conclusion

     

    Our hope is that this easier method of embedding content encourages more cross-posting and highlighting of good content in IPS4. The process is almost wholly automatic, meaning users don't have to think in order to share great content with others.

     

    As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release. 

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    Profiles are one of the key sections of a community, as everyone knows. They are what represent your users; where their information is shown and their content is gathered. When users contribute quality content to your community, their profile is where other users go to find it in one place. In short, it's an important area.

     

    In IPS4, profiles have had a complete makeover. There's a lot to cover, so I'll start with a numbered screenshot, and address each section individually (please note this is a large image; if you're on mobile, you may wish to wait to view it full-size).

     

     

     

    1 - Header images

     

    In 3.x, users could customize their profiles by uploading a background image. In practice, this didn't work well when the software was integrated into an existing website design, and the options presented often ended up with a garish profile. In addition, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have adjusted user expectations on how profiles are customized.

     

    In IPS4, instead of page backgrounds, users instead get to customize their profile header image. This provides the best of both worlds - ample space to choose something creative, but it's contained and won't mess up a website design.

     

    2 - Reputation

     

    The user's current reputation count is shown prominently in the info column, letting other users know if this member is an asset to the community.

     

    3 - Warnings

     

    For moderators/staff, the profile now provides quick access to warning tools. By expanding the panel, they can see a brief history of recent warnings:

     

     

     

    And clicking one of these pops up the warning details:

     

     

     

    New warnings can also be issued inline, of course.

     

    4 - Followers

     

    Followers replace friends in IPS4, and the user's followers are shown in this block. Instead of requiring mutual acknowledgement as with the traditional friends system (an approach that isn't entirely useful in a community of anonymous users), in IPS4 you follow users whom you find interesting in order to be updated when they contribute to the community. Users can of course prevent others from following them, if that is a concern to them. We'll have more details on how followers works in a later entry.

     

    5 - About the user

     

    Traditional information about the user is shown in the next block, including custom profile fields.

     

    6 - Recent visitors

     

    Recent visitors to this user's profile are shown next. As with 3.x, this can be toggled on and off by the profile owner. In 4.x, this is done by clicking the X in the corner of the block.

     

    7 - Follow/Message member

     

    These primary buttons enable others to follow the user (if enabled), and send a new message inline, without leaving the page.

     

    8 - User's content

     

    In 3.x, browsing a user's content was handled by the search area of the community (though links were available in the user's profile and hovercard). We felt this wasn't the best place for it, though. After all, a user's content should be available in their profile.

     

    That's what this button does. It switches the profile view to 'content browsing' mode, where you can see everything the user has done. It's smooth and buttery, and because it all loads dynamically, it feels like a true part of the profile. Here's a video of it in action (14MB)

     

     

    9 - Long-form custom profile fields

     

    IPS4 supports various kinds of custom profile fields, including rich-text editors for long, styled content. Those custom profile fields will be shown in the main section of the profile where they get the space they need to be effective. About Me is a default field, but you can of course add your own too for your users to fill in.

     

    10 - User's 'Nodes'

     

    A node is a fancy developer term for content containers that a user creates themselves, like gallery albums and blogs (as opposed to forum categories, which are created by the admin). In IPS4, a user's 'nodes' are shown right on their profile page, making it easy to find more interesting content from the user. In this screenshot, you can see my profile is showing my albums, my blogs, and other blogs to which I contribute.

     

    For developers, supporting your application in this section is easy too.

     

    11 - Status feed

     

    The status feed from 3.x is of course still present, and the interaction is all inline without leaving the page.

     

     

    Conclusion

     

    That's profiles in 4.0. We hope the new focus on content and streamlined design provides a better experience for your users!

     

     

    As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release. 

     

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