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Social Groups 2.0 Dev Update II: Forums and Ranks

Posted by rsyvarth , 19 March 2012 · 1,903 views

Since the release of Social Groups 1.0 one obvious limitation has been the restriction of group discussions to a single forum. This constraint prevented both small and large communities alike from creating restricted access forums afforded to only certain group members such as staff forums. In more elaborate communities the lack of multiple forums prevented widespread use of the Social Groups application.

Another issue that restricted larger and more complex communities from thriving in the Social Group environment was the limited number of user ranks. In Social Groups 1.0 there were only four ranks which could be defined and used within a group: guest, member, moderator, and admin. These ranks worked well enough for simple groups that did not need to differentiate their member base but for clans or other groups which tended to have complex hierarchies it was a crippling restriction.

With the release of Social Groups 2.0, I have addressed both of these issues so that groups can have more freedom to develop.

Forums

In Social Groups 2.0, I wanted to make group forums a much more versatile solution that allowed for multiple discussion areas with varied permissions. The simplest solution to the issue was the creation of subforums within a group.

Now subforums can be added to a group directly through the group management page. This means that group owners, admins, or any rank which has permission to manage the group will be able to add or remove forums quickly and easily.

The process of adding a subforum is extremely straight forward. On the group management page, you select the “Forums” tab where you will see a list of all of the forums and subforums. The main forum for the group is marked with the “Parent” tag since it is the parent for all of the other forums in the group.

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Example group forum page with a single subforum for staff discussion.

From this page you can press the add forum button to create a new subforum in your group discussion. On the forum creation page you get options to set the forum name as well as permissions for who can view, read, interact, and moderate the forum.

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This is an example of the creation of a staff subforum for a group. It is important to note that the ranks which are displayed in these permission settings are not the “User Groups” which are created in IPB but rather “Ranks” which are specific to this particular Social Group. The rank feature will be covered later in this post.

After the forum is created it will show up on the group discussion page as a subforum. It behaves just like any other forum in IPB except that it gets special permissions applied to it based on how it was configured within the Social Groups forum system. So in the example of the Staff Forum, only members who have the rank of Admin or Moderator within this group will be able to see that forum; all other members will be completely unaware that the forum even exists.

With this system you can create as many subforums for your group as you need and configure the permissions in whichever way you want.

Ranks

The second issue with running complex group hierarchies within the Social Groups application is the need to accommodate expanded user ranks in a group. With the release of Social Groups 2.0 every group will have the ability to create an unlimited number of member ranks. Each defined member rank has its own unique set of permissions to allow for fine grain control over what each group’s members’ can see and do.

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All of the ranks for the group are displayed on a single page in an interface that is very similar to the group forum listing.

You see that there are two additional options on the bottom of the group manage page which let you define a default rank and a guest rank. These settings allow for the group admin to define which rank is assigned to members who have not joined this group as well as which rank is assigned to members when they first join the group.

I have also added an ACP interface to the rank system which lets the site admin define which ranks are created by default in when a group is established. The only major difference between the ACP user rank interface and the inidividual manage group user rank page is the setting to assign an owner rank. This setting will define a rank that is assigned to the group owner when they create a group.

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The group rank management page in the ACP allows for default ranks to be defined so that they are automatically added upon group creation.


That’s it for the second update. Keep on the lookout for the next blog entry which should be out later this week! Also note that I am only covering the major new feature additions in these blog entries. There are many small changes, tweaks, and new features which have been added to Social Groups 2.0. You will be able to see those when Social Groups 2.0 is released in beta.

[I really think that these new features will help make Social Groups a more usable and overall a more enjoyable product. Please leave any thoughts and feedback you have in the comments below.

  • stoo2000, AndyF, Rüdy and 8 others like this



Multiple forums per group, finally :-P It's all looking good so far. Lots of functionality, without looking too complicated. If you could add a powerful WYSIWYG I can't think of any reason to need IP.Blog over this.

If you could add a powerful WYSIWYG I can't think of any reason to need IP.Blog over this.


What do you mean by this? I am not sure how this app is a possible replacement for IP.Blog...
when we can expect new release?
Whenever I am satisfied with the stability of the app. It is currently in Alpha testing in a few different locations. I will probably release a public beta version within a few weeks, after I clear out all of the major bugs.
    • 4joys, Marcher Technologies, MarcusH and 1 other like this
DUDE!!! This Gets Better and Better :D
Im just waiting on some money then im buying this.
we are just considering to implement previous version of one of my sites, so we would like to get it asap, even in beta stage to think more about possibilities.
thanks in advance
br

What do you mean by this? I am not sure how this app is a possible replacement for IP.Blog...


IP.Blog key features:
  • Group Blogs - Multiple users run one blog
  • Customization - Custom headers, CSS themes
  • Flexible Content Blocks - Ready-made & custom blocks
  • RSS Entry ImportImport entries from external blogs
Sound familiar? Read the rest for a refresher :
http://www.invisionp...og/features.php

I run both on my site, and I really can't find any compelling reasons to recommend my members use IP.Blog over Social Groups. There is just nothing I can really think of that IP.Blogs can do that Social Groups 2.0 won't do (and most of it, MUCH better).

Your Social Groups 2.0 will offer better drag-and-drop design, more powerful access control, and generally much more functionality (add/manage your own sub-forums, mass PMs, etc). While IP.Blogs is still useful for writing long blogs, the Social Groups 'News' page offers very similar functionality. I could easily see a "Blog" module made for SG2.0 to make IP.Blog obsolete.



One thing I would REALLY like to see (because I'm very picky about this) is VERY clean fURL structure! Can we get rid of the ID numbers in the URL, or put them at the end (like XenForo)?
I would love to see
domain.com/groups/programmers
domain.com/groups/designers
etc, etc.
Instead of the current structure:
domain.com/groups/show/2-programmers

One thing I would REALLY like to see (because I'm very picky about this) is VERY clean fURL structure! Can we get rid of the ID numbers in the URL, or put them at the end (like XenForo)?
I would love to see
domain.com/groups/programmers
domain.com/groups/designers
etc, etc.
Instead of the current structure:
domain.com/groups/show/2-programmers


The reason why this isn't possible currently is because I would like to maintain the ability to have multiple groups that have the same name / just not deal with the possibility of name collisions. I have changed the FURL structure in 2.0 to the following:
domain.com/groups/2-programmers
And if you are viewing a specific page in a group it will be like this.
domain.com/groups/2-programmers/page-name

If you have a suggestion for a preferred structure feel free to let me know but I feel like this is pretty standard for IPB urls.
http://xenforo.com/community/

You'll see some forums use an ID at the end of the URL, and some don't. I don't have a copy of xF, but it looks like they give you the option to remove the ID in the URL if you want to (unless you have duplicate names).

We can choose the fURL for Articles starting in IP.C 3.2.3, so it would be good to have this option too with Social Groups 2.0 (using similar method to check for any name conflicts).

So, some kind of IF statement so that when I visit:
www.mydomain.com/groups/programmers
It will check and look for any Social Group name that matches "programmers" and redirect to that fURL.

So, the old structure AFAIK is still standard with IP.B, but things are changing with IP.C and I can only guess this is the future direction fURL's will head across all IPS apps (where applicable).
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Saurabh Jain
Mar 31 2012 05:21 AM
I have a request - can you also create a conversion script say from ning groups to this application
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Timberwolf1771
Apr 18 2012 10:36 PM
Will the sub-forums be by group? Or is it set to once you set up your group, you have have sub-forums?

Example:

This member group can have sub-forum in their group and this member group can't have sub-forums in their group.

Will the sub-forums be by group? Or is it set to once you set up your group, you have have sub-forums?

Example:

This member group can have sub-forum in their group and this member group can't have sub-forums in their group.


This is not currently a feature but it could potentially be added in future versions.
    • Timberwolf1771 likes this
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Timberwolf1771
Apr 19 2012 07:42 AM
Thank you for the quick answer rsyvarth.

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