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IP.Board 3.2.0 Dev Update: Applications Improvements

Posted by tera▀yte , in 3.2.x 11 March 2011 · 6,187 views

development update 3.2 development applications
Parts of this entry may only apply to those who create applications for IP.Board. Feel free to skip the sections that may not interest you.

In my last blog entry I mentioned the improvements we have made for the hooks system, in this new entry I'll talk about the changes we have made for applications.


Disabling an Application

When an application is disabled from the ACP a check is performed on all the enabled hooks that have it listed in their requirements and a warning will appear at the top of the page to warn the admin about disabling them.

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Application Tab Permissions

We have received several requests from our customers in both the feedback forum and tickets and we decided to include it in IP.Board 3.2, you will now be able to specify for which groups the application tab will appear on the public side! The setting to control this is an easy multi-dropdown menu, furthermore we have renamed the setting "Hide Tab" to "Hide for all current and future groups?" and we have moved it under a new permissions tab.

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Global Caches

As we have already mentioned for the hooks (see previous blog entry) we have added support for the "Global Caches" system in the applications too, this will allow modification developers to also specify for applications which additional caches should be loaded on each page together with the default ones. For example we will use this in our IP.Nexus application and specify the "nexus_ads" cache which is currently loaded separately on each page when the application is enabled.

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Updates Checker

Unlike hooks the applications had no way to check for updates, we have now added 2 new settings "Website" and "Update URL" which are used in the same exact way as the one for the hooks (see the previous blog entry).
The updates available will show as a purple badge similar to the ones for the hooks and a counter of the updates available will show up at the top of the page as well.

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Sphinx Cronjobs

When Sphinx is enabled we often have customers confused on how to setup properly the cronjobs based on the applications installed. To solve this issue we have added a menu for the old Sphinx button which contains the new "Build Cronjobs" tool. This tool will ask you to input the path to your sphinx.conf file and will then provide the proper cronjobs based on the applications installed. Furthermore, the tool will also warn you about a possible wrong path as you can see in the screenshot below.

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Export Tool for Developers

Currently the information.xml file included in the xml folder of each application needs to be written manually, we have now included a tool that allows developers to easily create such file from the ACP without having to write it manually.

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This is an example of the file that will be exported from the Members application:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<information>
	<data>
		<name>Members</name>
		<public_name>Members</public_name>
		<author>Invision Power Services, Inc.</author>
		<description>Manage members and groups</description>
		<disabledatinstall>0</disabledatinstall>
		<global_caches/>
		<website/>
		<update_check/>
		<templategroups>
			<template match="exact">skin_messaging</template>
			<template match="exact">skin_mlist</template>
			<template match="exact">skin_online</template>
			<template match="exact">skin_profile</template>
			<template match="exact">skin_ucp</template>
		</templategroups>
	</data>
</information>

Please note that the option "disabledatinstall" will always be 0 by default unless a previous information.xml file is available and it contains a different value which will be retained. The same goes for the templates, you need to add them manually but as long as you have them in a previous xml file the export function will keep them in the new one as well.


Conclusions

As you can see from the previous screenshots we have not only added new features but also the layout of the pages has been updated as well for better usability, for example you'll notice that the applications not installed are now listed on a column on the right instead of at the bottom where it was harder to see them.



Feel free to comment on this blog entry below or, if you have feedback unrelated to this blog entry, start a new topic in our feedback forum. Be sure to check the What's New in IP.Board 3.2 topic for a running list of announced changes!

  • Matt, zbahadir, Amy T and 8 others like this



Interesting :) Thanks
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Adriano Faria
Mar 11 2011 01:35 PM
Happy to see my idea accepted by IPS!

Nice improvement.
I love the tab permissions.
Would be great to be able to add more tabs... a way to customize the menus.
The admin cp is looking much more user friendly.

I just hope the main forum changes will be equally as user friendly, since they'll be used by everyone else.
Regarding the 'Application Tab Permissions' section, a lot of apps already have a group setting coded into them indicating which groups can access the application. It would be nice if we could select a group setting (just give us a list of columns from the groups table) that indicates whether a member has application permission and show/hide the tab based on that.

It would save us from having to code something into our upgrade scripts to convert the group setting to this new tab permission system.
    • VioAdmin, Adriano Faria and AlexJ like this
Thank you so much for simplifying the method for exporting applications, I always hate compiling my applications.

Regarding the 'Application Tab Permissions&' section, a lot of apps already have a group setting coded into them indicating which groups can access the application. It would be nice if we could select a group setting (just give us a list of columns from the groups table) that indicates whether a member has application permission and show/hide the tab based on that.It would save us from having to code something into our upgrade scripts to convert the group setting to this new tab permission system.


You got it wrong Mike, the setting is only for the TAB visibility and peoples will still be able to access it even with the tab hidden, applications will still need a setting to limit which groups can use it.
Now will we be abile to move tabs on the public view so we can order our tabs the way we want them?

You got it wrong Mike, the setting is only for the TAB visibility and peoples will still be able to access it even with the tab hidden, applications will still need a setting to limit which groups can use it.

I don't understand, surely I would want to hide the tab for groups who can't access the app. I mean, I guess one could set it up so that the tab is visible for people who can't access the app, then they get an error message when they do so, but that seems like a bad user experience to me.

IP.Board doesn't show things like the Report Center link to people who can't access the Report Center, so why show a tab to people who can't access the tab's application?

I don't understand, surely I would want to hide the tab for groups who can't access the app. I mean, I guess one could set it up so that the tab is visible for people who can't access the app, then they get an error message when they do so, but that seems like a bad user experience to me.

IP.Board doesn't show things like the Report Center link to people who can't access the Report Center, so why show a tab to people who can't access the tab's application?


I'd tend to agree with you if that was a new function added but that's how it works right now, I merely expanded the "hide tab" option to support groups. If I suddenly change how it works (so that members can't access the application anymore) everyone would need to update their setup causing even more confusion.

I'd tend to agree with you if that was a new function added but that's how it works right now, I merely expanded the "hide tab" option to support groups. If I suddenly change how it works (so that members can't access the application anymore) everyone would need to update their setup causing even more confusion.

What you're adding is a new function, what I'm suggesting just adds on to the same concept. Before, it was a global on/off whether to show the tab. You're now adding an option that lets you show the tab for selected groups. What I would like to see in addition to that is a dropdown of all columns in the groups table that is also checked against, optionally, to see if the user has access to the application, to determine whether to show the tab.

I understand that you probably have the coding for this wrapping up now, but seeing as how this is the first we're all getting to see that this is being changed, this is the first time anyone has the opportunity to give you feedback on it. You have to expect that someone is going to give you some more ideas based on what's being discussed here, especially since most of this seems to be things that weren't exactly requested by the community very often.
We'll take the feedback into account for the next release. For now, the change discussed is a minor enhancement to existing functionality (instead of a global on/off, you can now turn on/off per group). Your suggestion has merit, but I don't think we have time to implement it for 3.2 at present. We will re-evaluate as we move along our timelines.
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Ohio Riders
Mar 15 2011 03:58 PM

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Holy crap it's been a long time since I've seen BASIC. LOL

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