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Social Groups 2.0 Dev Update III: Navigation and Themes

Posted by rsyvarth , 16 April 2012 · 3,133 views

So far I have covered 4 new exciting features that will be shipped in the upcoming release of Social Groups 2.0 over the span of two blog entries. If you have not yet seen these I would suggest that you go read up on Addons and Pages and Forums and Ranks. Today I am going to cover the last two large feature addition as well as some other smaller features that I have deemed noteworthy.


Navigation
With all of the new pages and subforums that you will now be able to create with Social Groups 2.0 you will probably need some sort of super awesome way to navigate between them right? I thought so, that is why I have created this new navigation system which will let you quickly and easily control the navigation of your group! One of the cool features of the new navigation system is the autolink creation in the navigation panel when you add a subforum and or when you add a page.

This feature is another one of those interactive ones, so I have another video for you! (Yay)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MryWG8JdGn8


Themes
Among communities of extreme specialization it is very possible that a single group or a category of groups may want their page to have a different style than your standard forum theme. This is especially common among gamers. To tackle this issue I have come up with Themes for Social Groups. This feature will allow for group owners to select their own theme that will be used for styling all pages within their group.

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Here is a group running an example theme. This is based off of the “Overlay” skin from ipbforumskins. I take no credit for the design.

As you can see above almost any element on the page can be changed with a theme since all it does on a basic level is include a block of CSS into the page. You can make anything from a simple background image edit to an entirely new style for your site with a single theme.

Applying a theme to your group is simple. All you have to do is go to the Look and Feel page in the Group Control Panel and select the theme you wish to use. Each theme has both a thumbnail and a full sized preview associated with it so that you can provide your users with an idea of what the theme will look like before they apply it to their group.
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You can view a larger preview of the theme by pressing the magnifying glass in the corner of the theme selector.

It is important to note that the theme system doesn’t currently allow you to edit the html output of the page like the template system in IPB. All it does on the backend is include HTML into the page, whether that is CSS, JS, HTML, or a combination of these is up to the theme author. This also means that to create a theme you will at least need to have some basic HTML and CSS skills (sorry, no Visual Skin Editor here).


Other Changes
Of course along with this release there have been tons of other smaller changes. Here are just a few of the more notable ones in brief.

Group Categories
With the addition of addons and themes super admins can now designate the addons and themes that are available to group in that category. Also, if a group is moved from one category to another, the group categorization will check for addons that are not allowed and remove them from the page(s).

Require Group Approval
Some communities may require for groups to go through a moderator review process before they become publicly accessible. There is now a setting that will require groups to be approved by a moderator before anyone other than the group owner and other moderators are able to view it.

Group Creation Process
The group creation page has been reworked so that it is now split into 2 steps. First is the group creation page as it is in currently but a second step has been added for customizing the group so that you can choose a theme, upload a logo, banner, and background directly after creating the group.

Group Privacy Settings
The group privacy settings have been reworked slightly in order to have more clear and consistent results. Privacy is now split into 2 settings, the first is group visibility which can either be 'public' or 'hidden'. Setting it to hidden will require a direct link to the group in order to access it. The second setting allows you to control membership approval and has 4 options: Open, Admin Approval, Invite Only, and Invite with Admin Approval.

Select News Forum
In the News addon block there is now a setting to control where the group news is posted. This will allow you to set up a news forum within your group using the new sub forum system and then automatically post all of your news to that forum.

Custom Text Block
A stock addon with the application is included called 'Text Block' which rather simply lets a block of text be included on a group page. The block can contain any BBCode that you want to include in the page as well: from youtube videos to images.

Search / VNC
There is now a search plugin included so that you can search for groups through IPB's built in search plugin. This also allows for you to use VNC for new groups.


That is all I have for now. Please leave any thoughts and feedback you have in the comments below. Social Groups 2.0 Beta is currently in testing in a few different locations. Expect a public release to come around soon!

  • stoo2000, Noni, Forsaken75 and 12 others like this



most important question is - when?
Because we are just moving to Your old version
    • IPB Bob and Ask21 like this

most important question is - when?
Because we are just moving to Your old version

When it is ready*

*I promise it won't be long, I have all of the reported bugs fixed so I just need to test installing on some different environments.
    • IPB Bob, Timberwolf1771 and Tigratrus like this
Great job... :) I will buy this??? But promise to get upgrade when IPB changes the version?????
    • Timberwolf1771 likes this

Great job... :smile: I will buy this??? But promise to get upgrade when IPB changes the version?????


I have upgraded through 3 different versions of IPB so far and I don't intend on stopping that trend any time soon. :smile:
    • IPB Bob and Timberwolf1771 like this
Looking very polished, with many great new features I'm looking forward to.

With the Mass PM, will there be any templates to choose from?

This could offer group admins a very easy way to send nice newsletters to their group if they could have some nice HTML templates to choose from (or edit).


Will there be support for group calendars? I read it was on your to-do list months ago but never read anything more about it since. Not much use to me, just curious.


Also, with all the big buttons for editing the group, perhaps they don't need to be visible all the time. A "manage group" toggle button might be more appropriate, because you don't need to modify a group EVERY time you view the page, and these buttons just get in in the way of a nice clean look.
    • IPB Bob likes this

Looking very polished, with many great new features I'm looking forward to.

With the Mass PM, will there be any templates to choose from?

This could offer group admins a very easy way to send nice newsletters to their group if they could have some nice HTML templates to choose from (or edit).

I do not think this is possible unfortunately since it would require you to enable HTML in your private message system which I doubt you want to allow. The closest alternative would be having BBCode templates, but I doubt you really could do much that is very interesting with that.

Will there be support for group calendars? I read it was on your to-do list months ago but never read anything more about it since. Not much use to me, just curious.

It is still on the todo list. Hopefully with the addons system it will be easy for me or some other developer to create a group calendar addon.

Also, with all the big buttons for editing the group, perhaps they don't need to be visible all the time. A "manage group" toggle button might be more appropriate, because you don't need to modify a group EVERY time you view the page, and these buttons just get in in the way of a nice clean look.

Well most members will not see all of those buttons. For a normal member in a group without permission to moderate the group will look more like this: http://puu.sh/q8Px
    • IPB Bob likes this
Great project, i like it, and will buy it once it is released!!!

One feature i would like to see on future versions is a way to upload audio/video files to group section. This is a must for my site where i have DJs streaming Radio music and live events that i record and later upload to the site for people to hear/view later.
Looking forward to this!

I have already purchased your current version but right now the button says "renew"... I am trying to renew but keep getting redirect all over the place.

Anyway, how much will the price be for this or is this free for previous customers?

Great project, i like it, and will buy it once it is released!!!

One feature i would like to see on future versions is a way to upload audio/video files to group section. This is a must for my site where i have DJs streaming Radio music and live events that i record and later upload to the site for people to hear/view later.


Some sort of method for attaching files to a group has been requested before and is definitely on my "todo" list, along with lots of other things.


Looking forward to this!

I have already purchased your current version but right now the button says "renew"... I am trying to renew but keep getting redirect all over the place.

Anyway, how much will the price be for this or is this free for previous customers?


This will be a free update for existing customers assuming you have renewed. As for not being able to renew, I would contact IPS about that. It seems to be a rather common issue unfortunately.
Hello I would welcome some attractive hooks which would represent the Groups application on the board index such as:

- latest Groups list with a thumb image of the group - for the sidebar
- latest groups hook under or above the forums similar to the one for Downloads - with possibly number of members
- hook of featured groups for the side bar etc..

Hello I would welcome some attractive hooks which would represent the Groups application on the board index such as:

- latest Groups list with a thumb image of the group - for the sidebar
- latest groups hook under or above the forums similar to the one for Downloads - with possibly number of members
- hook of featured groups for the side bar etc..


The first request has already been added in 2.0. It looks like this:
Posted Image

I will submit your other two suggestions to the tracker. They shouldn't be too terribly difficult to create.
    • svit likes this
Thanks for the replies, rsyvath.

If I get this to renew, would the current version work on 3.3.X? Also, if it does, and then I update with this new version, would it effect the current version or would the upgrade be smooth and not mess everything up as far as the groups info, structure, etc.?

Thanks for the replies, rsyvath.

If I get this to renew, would the current version work on 3.3.X? Also, if it does, and then I update with this new version, would it effect the current version or would the upgrade be smooth and not mess everything up as far as the groups info, structure, etc.?


There is a patch for the current version in the support topic and 2.0 already had this patch included so it should work both with 3.2 and 3.3. The upgrades between version should be smooth with all groups being upgraded just fine.
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Timberwolf1771
Apr 18 2012 11:19 AM
rsyvarth, everything is looking great! I'm very excited to add these updates to my forum! I see so many different way this can be used on my forum! Keep up the amazing work!
I have the current version and most of my members don't want to have to go to another part of the site regularly. They have just been conditioned to go read things on the forum. The problem with that in the current version is that all group forums are placed into the same category/parent forum. It would be very helpful for me to have each group category have the option to use a unique category/parent forum so that things can be better organized on the forum page for people that are members of multiple groups.

I have the current version and most of my members don't want to have to go to another part of the site regularly. They have just been conditioned to go read things on the forum. The problem with that in the current version is that all group forums are placed into the same category/parent forum. It would be very helpful for me to have each group category have the option to use a unique category/parent forum so that things can be better organized on the forum page for people that are members of multiple groups.


This is already a feature in 1.2.5. You can define a forum parent for each category.
Awesome. Thanks for being way, way ahead of me. ;)
Is there any sort of control over the new sub-forum option? Can someone create an infinite number of sub-forums or is there a way of limiting the number?

Is there any sort of control over the new sub-forum option? Can someone create an infinite number of sub-forums or is there a way of limiting the number?


Not currently, but I will probably add some control settings before the beta is released.
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jasperjames
Apr 20 2012 06:07 AM
This is looking fantastic, can't wait to try it.

Will social groups be accessible via the mobile skin at all?

Also, is possible to close invites to groups? For example, for groups that require paid membership via Nexus?

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