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Release Candidate of IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 now Available
This means we have left the beta stage where things are unsupported and known to be broken and enter the period between that and final. The Release Candidate phase allows us to partially support the Suite without committing our full resources to it. This step also means that there will still be some bugs in the system but they should not be major issues any longer.
You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 RC in your client area. IPS Community in the Cloud clients can request upgrades through support. If you are using our Chat product please note that it is not yet available for version 4.0.0 so please do not upgrade if Chat is required.
Important Support Note
Release Candidates are partially supported only.
There will be bugs in the Release Candidates. Do not use Release Candidates if any sort of issues will impact your ability to enjoy your site.
We will assist you in support with any major problems in installing or upgrading from 3.4.7 to make sure your install is online. However, once the site is online and functional, other less critical bugs may be deferred until the next release to fix those issues. We do plan on a fast update schedule but it does mean you may not get fixes for several days.
To reiterate: we will assist with major problems that make your Suite not function (install issues, upgrade issues, major problems) but you may have to wait for update releases for other issues. Please keep these support limitations in mind when choosing to use a Release Candidate.
Release Candidate Schedule
We plan on having several RCs that will be released every few days over the next couple weeks. By doing a rapid release schedule it will allow us to get fixes out to you very quickly and ensure things are as stable as possible for the final, fully supported release.
Everyone at IPS greatly appreciates those of you who participated in the beta testing phase. If you did you use beta releases you can upgrade from Beta 8 to RC1 however you may wish to consider a fresh upgrade from 3.4.7 just to ensure you are not carrying over any beta quirks through to RC and final.
IPS Community Suite 4.0 took at lot longer than we thought it would as we changed the focus of the Suite and were forced to extend our workload and therefore timeline. We are sorry for these delays and we do hope that you see it will be worth it in the end. IPS4 is a great platform and we are very excited to start adding lots of fun features throughout this year.
Upgrading IP.Content to Pages
When upgrading from IP.Content to Pages, it is worth noting that because the underlying code has changed, custom templates and custom blocks are not upgradable. Custom templates are removed from the system after the upgrade, and any custom blocks are retained, but left disabled as a reference point for recreating manually.
This release of Pages does not have external blocks (this feature allows you use IP.Content blocks on another website or page) and neither does it have relational database field functionality. Both these features will be available in a near-future release.
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I wanted to take a couple of minutes to highlight my small contributions to the community although I hope they prove useful.
These are two simple 'blank' images I made expanded out to the correct sizes for the logo (358x64) and meta image (208x70)
The main reason was for anyone who did not have any software capable of dealing with .psd's as these are just simple .png images that any image editor should be able to cope with. The official GDK .psd will obviously provide a 'nicer' result however I wanted something that was very simple for everyone to be able to use too even if its just for a temporary logo while a 'nicer' one is being created.
This is a simple package of nine different coloured 'highlight' bbcodes: Black, Blue, Cyan, Green, Magenta, Orange, Red, White, Yellow , these can be very useful for highlighting or drawing attention to a specific area of a post.
This script allows you to import an InvisionFree database to then be upgraded to the latest IP.Board version. The reason this is required is the database dump usually provided when requested from IF does not include any 'CREATE' statements, it expects an already existent 1.3 database to be there and empty. This file circumvents this 'catch22' by providing the appropriate empty tables for you.
I've taken a lot of time with the readme with a very detailed 'hand holding' slow step by step approach to ensure that new admins are capable of using it. I should point out official support will be able to assist with an IF 'import' but I wanted this for those who would like to "do it themselves"
This I created after a support topic I noted quite a while back now, if by some reason all the IDM mime types have been lost you can simply use this to 'restore' them back to default which would be a lot quicker than manually entering them one by one. It does not restore the permissions for them ie "file" or "screenshot" however these are easily and quickly manually edited in as required.
This is a quick way to restore the default emoticons. You can use the xml provided to replace them back to normal. Note you may have to adjust the /style_emoticon/default directory too. This is provided as the installer on a new installation does not use a normal xml for them, they are inserted via the installer usually hence the need for this file to restore them if required.
Please note that this entry may be a little technical, if you do have any questions, please post them in the comments below.
A little history
IP.Board was first released over ten years ago when the web landscape was very different. A lot of emerging technologies were still trying to define new standards. Very early versions of IP.Board allowed one to specify the document character set and had a default of "ISO-8559-1" which is useful for languages that use latin based characters. This meant, for example, that if you needed Chinese characters you would need to change the character set to something more suitable. This disparity between character sets creates many challenges when working with a single code base.
Even though IP.Board 3 introduced UTF-8 as the default character set for new installations, we're aware that we still have many clients that are not using UTF-8 currently. IPS 4.0 is going to be strictly UTF-8 only which means we need to convert the data before or as part of the upgrade process.
Converting to UTF-8 isn't as simple as changing the database encoding. Merely doing this will simply corrupt the data you have in your database. We need to be a little smarter and use a script to do this work for us.
The great news is that even if you choose to convert your data to UTF-8 today, your IP.Board 3.x will run just fine and you may even find it more efficient as it doesn't have to convert lots of data on the fly.
The IPS UTF-8 Database Converter
We've written a script that can safely convert your database to UTF-8. The script does not overwrite your data until you manually confirm that the conversion process has been successful. This means that there is no risk of corrupting your existing data.
Of course, it is good practice to perform a full MySQL back-up before making any changes to the database as a precaution and we recommend that you do this.
You can download the converter and its instructions here.
How can I tell if I need to convert my database?
When you first run the converter, it'll check your database and let you know if you need to convert or not. Even if you are running UTF-8, you may not be using the correct collation (utf8_unicode_ci) so you have the option of changing your collation which is a very fast procedure and does not need a full conversion to complete.
If you first used IP.Board with IP.Board 3.0 then you may only need to change your database table collation. This isn't a required step and the IPS 4 upgrade process will perform this task if you'd prefer to wait until IPS 4.0 is released.
Please note that while we're happy to provide some pointers within the client forums, this release is not officially supported by our technical support department.
As this is a beta release, please be aware that there may be bugs. If you do spot one, please post it to the IPS Extras bug tracker.