This has been brought up a few times already, and there's an immediate "jump to the defense of IPS/IPC" attitude, rather than looking at the product they've created and instead of working on a roadmap to release to the customer base (that has by the way, supported them throughout, and continue to), that addresses the concerns of poor usability, poor documentation, terrible end-user usability, and not enough "out of the box" functionality to showcase its functionality well... they just defend, defend defend.
My old thread is here: '?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>> (it was closed).
Honestly at this point I'm not really a fan of the excuses, or the defenses. The product is horrible, plain and simple. The fact that people can get it to work because it integrates very well with IPB (which conversely, is an exceptional product), does not make it good. The idea of a CMS, especially in a socially integrated platform is that it has to EMPOWER the users to create content and push forward the community. Forums are one aspect of this, and a social platform such at IPC is another. IPC has been relegated to the users who have the time to devote to it, and the rest of us well... we wonder where the power of IPC lies because there are no good tutorials to explain in detail and simplicity what a database does, or a block, etc. How does it tie together? How can you re-use content from the forums, or from your users? None of this is really addressed, though the suggest of "open a post to get that information!" is often pointed out, it's realistically a huge turnoff for most people. I have gotten IPC to work in a reasonable fashion but I am not devoting any time to it because the users that are on my site have NO ability to use it in an "editor" type fashion, because the complexity and usability are so poor.
I have managed a large Sharepoint integration project (26k users worldwide) and the thing I loved about it was that the whole GUI was drag and drop for EVERY user; they could curate and submit content and watch their own content, as well as re-arrange the 'blocks', add new ones (through a very good *DEFAULT* library), with no code and a high ease of use. As a result, it was a whiz-bang success, the users empowered the system, the system did the heavy lifting without showing the users what was going on, and all was well. Wordpress has a similar benefit in that it can be re-arranged through drag and drop, there are a huge list of default 'blocks' for your sidebar, the sidebar is something easily defined and to manage the whole collection of comments, data, submissions, etc... is simple even for non-technical users.
I am waiting for 4.0 but given the attitude towards the product thus far it's clear that the effort will be spent on marketing a terrible piece of software to "do it all" without really addressing usability and MANY other concerns than simply my own. 90% of the posts on this forum are "how do you do <insert simple task here>?", and if that's the general consensus then it's quite clear the product is horrible.
But I am patient and hoping for change... we'll see when 4.0 is released but the fact there is no roadmap to address ANY concerns at this point well.... leaves a lot of doubt in my mind.
Quite the contrary -- I am going by the thread of "show off your IPC site". 99% of those are cookie cutter template sites that offer little in the ways to "show off" what IPC can do. I haven't been calling names, or making personal insults so I'm unsure whether your comments are directed at me or elsewhere.
While I'm glad that some "music artists" are able to use the product, is that your core market? Is that who you're going after? People with a lot of money and dedicated web dev teams to create their portfolio sites for them? Or do you want your product to be pushed the same way IPB was -- by having average users enjoy using it, recommending it to their friends, and then building the product's utility to a broader market?
It's not the point of making it user friendly to "entry level" folks who are neophytes at web development. I'm not a neophyte though admittedly, not a programmer either, and I'd like to think I am pretty technical. I'd be happy to share my resume, because your attitude reeks of a bit of condescension, and it would help settle the ego that seems to be permeating through here and through many.
The issue with IPC is that first, there is almost no good documentation. The tutorials on "how to do xyz" are created largely by users and while I understand from a product point of view that you can pass along this cost to members that either will benefit from it in a third party sense by creating addons/hooks/modules/etc, or just out of the goodness of their heart. But realistically it doesn't help people that just want a good whitepaper to read and understand the technology.
Secondly and this touches on your point, but users who contribute CONTENT ONLY have a hard time using the system because the definitions are set up in a very IPB centric way, that nobody else understands. I had alluded to this earlier, but the "Embrace extend" techniques that Microsoft uses are actually essential to make the learning transition a simple one. Use the same definitions that Wordpress uses and wow -- people understand what's going on. Make some of the workflows the same (because they can be), and wow, people can navigate this thing like nobody's business.
And please drop the act of presumption on your part. I've been a paying customer for Invision products longer than you've been an employee. And it's taken me years to put together this post because I always give the benefit of the doubt for a long, long time, before I can pass a judgment. And the judgment has been made -- IPC is a tool developed by a developer, for developers. Usability wasn't even a small consideration otherwise there would be documentation to support and enhance it. There would be a multitude of templates available by IPS to give an idea of "what can be done" so that people can start hacking away and making things for themselves. But none of that was there. I know you think that I might have a "basic understanding" of web technologies but at the same time, I run cloud and infrastructure strategy for one of the largest financial firms in the world. And I'm pretty good at my job. And if somebody like me thinks that IPC is a colossal waste of time and wouldn't recommend it over Wordpress because the documentation is total garbage and the time to delivery for a client or end user is atrociously longer due to the lack of available resources, then instead of presuming their level of technical prowess, I would take heed rather than lash back at the users.
It's amazing to have such a cavalier attitude towards the customers that have supported you the longest, and throw their concerns into a bin of "personal insults and inane ranting". People are frustrated because they PAID for a product that they hoped would meet the needs they asked for -- FOR YEARS. It doesn't meet those needs in the slightest, and only for a small percentage of users who have devoted the time to figure it out and others who have graciously devoted their time to help others use the system does IPC become a good fit. To support my viewpoint I can simply look at the IPC support forum, where 90%+ of the inquiries are "how do I do some simple thing" that if I needed to do in Wordpress, would take seconds and not even need a search. To support your point of view you insult long standing customers, insinuate their level of knowledge about "web technologies", and as a use case represent "music artists" to illustrate your point.
While I appreciate the upcoming changes in 4.0, I think something more concrete should be given to the users in terms of what to expect as a service to your customers, because many of us have paid for IPC while waiting patiently for years for the product to come to some level of utility for us all, and literally paying you as it sits underutilized to hope that the development is spurred on.
I liken it to paying for a beta game in the hopes that you subsidize it to be a triple A title because "you like the idea".
What's your site? Love to see the example of a 'non' coder. Also I am speaking from experience of time here -- I've been a member with IPS (and a paying customer) for more than ten years. Longer than Lindy has been here, or bfarber for that matter. I have been here over time while people have asked for a CMS of sorts to pair with their forum, and I know what people over time have asked for. The reason it's an abysmal product, is because the product isn't catered to the customers that asked for specific feature sets, but rather a tool for IPS to use and then release half baked. It's actually a great reason why the documentation and work all has to be done by fellow community members, rather than IPS themselves. It pays for them not to have to bother with it, when community members are doing it for free.
Personally I don't think that tutorials will fix the issue of it being a horrible tool for non technical people to use for content creation. And that is a huge part of the problem. You can use IPC to get a page running, but to hand it over? Not so much.
Thanks for the update, as well. Is this something we are looking forward to in v4? And also, I don't think anybody expects it to be completely "drag and drop", but more to the point of "flexible and simple", ESPECIALLY for non-admins who are just looking to add/edit/modify content, and not manage the IPC installation.
This is the biggest failure and problem I have with IPC currently. I can make it work fine if it was only for me, and I was the only user using it for content generation. But I'm not -- the users I hand this off to are familiar with Wordpress and as such, the concept of "embrace, extend" from Microsoft would be well heeded. Making things simple like page templates (the creation of them) for users is extremely important. Things like "featured images" for articles, or "media" for articles would also be extremely helpful in allowing some flexibility for the creation and display of content.
When you think about the target audience of who is actually going to be using this thing, I think we have to get PAST the idea that an admin is going to be doing it. It's many times, and especially in my case where I'd LOVE to recommend IPC instead of Wordpress, people that are *completely* non-technical. They are secretaries, they are administrative staffers, etc. They want to be able to keep up a website with simple navigation and no real understanding of what's going on. And if we solve that issue of letting a completely computer illiterate person be able to use it, then I believe IPC will be well on its way to some real fundamental benefit.
And I should add -- there should be several index, page, block, etc templates with a LOT of documentation so people can try to make their site better by understanding what you did. All you need to do is look at Wordpress' top plugins/themes to get ideas of what people WANT to see in terms of functionality. Then offer that stuff in a demo form OUT OF THE BOX, and you'll get a lot more adoption and unique looking IPC installs than ever before.
Thanks again for your comment and hope to hear that some of this in small part is coming for v4.
No, not stock at all -- and I don't make any such claim. But if I was to do that in IPC, the amount of time I'd have to spend to recreate it would be multitudes longer than if I did it with Wordpress. And to boot, my biggest gripe -- it's not user friendly for a non-technical person to update it. See my previous post for those details.
And again -- the person who sings the praises of IPC is yet again -- a developer themselves. Find me a person that's a non-developer to sing the praises of this software but wait -- you won't. Because there aren't any.
EDIT: Neo, take a look at your content slider hook, and look at the first comment made on it. It's mine. And that's the direction I'd love to see IPC embrace, with added simplicity and header/footer/sidebar control which is non-existent right now.
Then tell me, WHO is the target market? Clearly almost everybody here wants a Wordpress-esque, simple to use, drag and drop, little to no code required, CMS solution for their site. This has been true for YEARS, and people have been asking for it since version 1.0. What IPS provided is basically a nerd trying to make something really nerdy and powerful, but lacks the complete idea of being user friendly to not only an admin, but a USER.
And the latter point is most important -- I can set up IP.Content (hell, I did... http://www.sinnersamongsaints.com), get it to display a few things and then try to hand it off to a friend to "update". And people whom I've given access to are reasonably technically inclined -- not programmers, but they know their way around most software, and I NEVER had so many "why the hell are we using this POS" (we needed forums), or "How the hell do I do this?", or any other litany of questions in that realm.
IP.Content is meant for (wait for it) -- nobody except the person that wrote it. As part of my real life career, I actually manage projects like this and the requirements phase is so important to carve the niche for a product, it's ridiculous. After waiting for several revisions of this software yea -- I'm at my wit's end and a bit impatient, considering the vast majority of users have been asking for what I am saying for YEARS. The fact that IPS has missed this point, delivered a product that is for the vast majority of us useless, is great for the handful of folks who can make a few bucks on the side because it's totally garbage, is well -- a bit unnerving.
Patience is a virtue and I have spent years holding my tongue in the hopes that OH -- NEXT RELEASE we might get what we want. It's been a lot of the "NEXT RELEASE" syndrome for me, and I assume many, many others. And if the feature set of IP.Content isn't something attune to what we need or want in v4, then I'll pull my sub and likely pay Marcher to integrate Wordpress instead.
BTW Marcher, don't think I am picking on you -- I appreciate the mods and insight you've given to this community and the failing here is IPS', and it's also the source of my irritation being a paying customer (and probably giving IPS thousands of dollars in client revenue). I am glad to start recommending vBulletin to many of them though, if customer feedback doesn't help shape the product into what most of us would like it to be. Because as it stands -- it's a total piece of garbage.
You don't need to defend it -- looking at your modifications you've sold a $60 integration piece (pretty steep, considering the price point of IP.Content to begin with) for WORDPRESS to the tune of over $10,000 in sales. Then you sold a media modification for another $7,000.
Your motivations are simple and I can understand -- there's a market in a product being so terrible that people are forced to turn to you, a third party developer, in order to make their product be useful. And the fact that people are buying your Wordpress plugin to get IPB to interact properly with their Wordpress installs, at a PREMIUM price *OVER* the cost of IP.Content (which is only $50), speaks VOLUMES about the horrible product that IP.Content is.
While I am sure you'd want there to be a market for your addons due to the fact IP.Content is missing the mark by a huge margin (and you being one of only a handful of voices actually perpetuating the myth that it's a decent product by any means), the reality is that the rest of us want a product that is something very different. I'm sure there will still be a market for plugins into it, but they won't be because of horrible design, but rather because of niche needs.
Honestly I'd prefer to have powered the site I linked above totally in IPC, because Nexus is a great product and I could really use it; but the effort involved in getting IPC to look anywhere near what I have, and PLUS, getting average non-technical people to actually edit content and pages on their own is basically a horrible idea, so I'm relegated to using Wordpress.
Yes, because that's the complaint of millions of programmers around the world :lol:
The strength in the IPC platform should be its ease of use, because it fosters adoption. There's no reason you can't have simple for most users, and then powerful on the backend. The fact that IPC was written as a tool for developers rather than designers and end-users is a testament to how badly they've missed the mark in terms of WHO wants to use the product. It may be well suited for developers, and especially those who make money on the side selling extensions for the product because it simply doesn't fill the gap that people really need, and it's so poorly documented/designed that you NEED to buy extensions to make it usable.
And I say this as lightheartedly as I can. I'm not trying to be offensive, but I'm trying to illustrate a point.
Let's start off with a little background -- I've been active with IPB and IPS for a long time -- before there was IPS, and when Matt was hacking other forums rather than working on his own. Yea, that long.
I have looked forward to the release of a CMS system from IPS because I'd grown to love the forums so much that having a complement to build my community in a way that builds on top of the successes I had with my forums.
And when IP.Content was announced, I was one of the first people to buy it and thus far, I've kept my license active in the hopes that it will mature into something usable. But that time still has not yet come.
What are the problems? Well let's look at it simply; every "customized" IP.Content installation looks *exactly* the same. Oh some color changes, and the skin you use on your forums affects it, but for the vast majority, IP.Content isn't a CMS -- it's an engine to add a few articles on top of your forums in a fashion that is limited for the vast majority of users. If you look at the installations of IP.Content that are like "wow, that's pretty impressive! Didn't know you could do that with IPC!" -- the people that run those installations as a day job, are programmers.
And this is the disconnect that I feel needs to be addressed. I am not a non-technical person; I know how to code and likely, could spend the time to modify IPC to be usable, but then the folks who I pass along some admin rights to be 'editors' have really no idea what they are doing.
The first rule is one that Microsoft has taught most companies -- Embrace and extend. Wordpress is what most people are coming FROM, and using IPC because they want to extend the use of their forums with a customized homepage that integrates cleanly with their existing userbase. For the vast majority of people, they want an IPS version of Wordpress. They don't want a highly customizable or powerful CMS that they can use programmers to make their site amazing, they want to take their existing site and use the same definitions (pages, plugins, etc), the same simplicity, and give them the ability to get IPC skins (like Wordpress). This allows not only the administrators to work with familiar terms, layouts, definitions and structure, but also gives NON-TECHNICAL users of the site the same ability to edit articles, create content, and change page design with the use of drag-and-drop sidebars and things like that.
Comon folks -- tell me I'm wrong. From the years I've been following IP.Content, the years I've been following IPS as a company, and IPB as it's matured from not even a 1.0 release, the comments have been unified in that people want the basic functionality of Wordpress for their forums with a tight integration. Sure, you can use wordpress -- but then you miss out on integrating forum discussions, search, users, and a lot more that we actually LOVE about IPB.
For the small minority of people who might want something that IP.Content is now, I'd say release a separate product. Release a "Pro" version that gets you some huge customization or whatever (though I'd argue Wordpress itself is hugely powerful as it is). Release DOCUMENTATION -- this is one of the biggest failures of IP.Content as a product. Almost the entire content of this forum's discussion is "how do I do some simple thing in IP.Content?"
And please, don't base the sales you might have from IPC as a translation to think that "this is what people want". People, like myself, bought IP.Content because they wanted the ability to integrate a customized homepage for their forums. They didn't know what they were buying, but sadly this is the only terrible option that has been provided. And I can assure you if you released a product that was simple in its use, familiar in its definition and structure, easy to a non-technical person to edit and modify, and provided a lot of documentation including videos and other things, then you'd have a product when you posted a thread showing "Show off your IP.Content" -- you'd get some really neat results.
Case in point is here: http://www.lanphierdayspa.com/
This is a site I did for a client -- not a single line of code, done entirely in Wordpress. Given the IP.Nexus addons and other things, I would have preferred to go the route of using IPS products for this because it would be a great integration point; but I can't, because IP.Content requires far too much time.
And before you accuse me of whining (and yea, I am a little), I've held back for years to make this comment in the hopes that you'd recognize the folly of what IPC has become and where it might be going. I am sure it's a well-engineered product with lots of great technology, but realistically, nobody cares. And I'd love to have IPS get more business from clients I might do side work for, rather than rely on Wordpress that doesn't extend well to other things.
So you guys let us know... but I am rather sure I'm not alone.