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This is the first in a series of monthly blogs IPS will be posting to keep you up to date on what is happening. Just in case you missed it!

New Web Site

We launched our new web site featuring IPS Community Suite 4! Featuring our newest technology has been great for new and old clients alike. Our demo system is now using IPS Community Suite 4 as well so feel free to sign up and give it a try.

Release Announcements

In the past we would post an announcement for every release we did. With IPS Community Suite 4 that is not really necessary as the new upgrade system notifies you in your AdminCP when an update is available. Not only that but you can easily download a list of only changed files to quickly upgrade your Suite. It is really nice for us to be able to push updates out to you much more quickly and for you to not have to uploads a lot of unnecessary files for a quicker upgrade.

Release Notes

Be sure to check out our new Release Notes section. Theses notes are also fed into your AdminCP on release time but you can also check here for previews on the next release in production. Even more interesting is our Coming Soon section that shows things coming up in the next month or so. It's a great way to keep track of what is in the immediate future so you can plan your community development.

Development Progress

Since we released version 4.0.0 we have made 13 releases to add features requested by our clients, fix bugs, and improve performance. It has been a busy and exciting time. We are so happy that the vast majority of our clients are really happy with IPS Community Suite 4.0. It's also great to see clients provide so much feedback so we can continue to improve. One of our key goals is to communicate what is coming up next and our Release Notes section has been a really great way to do this and clients are enjoying the constant updates.

For those of you interested in such things: we finally switched from SVN to Git. We started using SVN many years ago when it was the cool thing and have been wanting to switch to Git for our repository for some time. Obviously this is not something that impacts our clients but it's really exciting to the group of nerds that is IPS development staff so they felt I should highlight this!

In addition to lots of bug fixes and performance improvements, here are some new additions to IPS Community Suite 4 in the last month:

  • Guest caching feature can now be used with MySQL (previously required a caching engine like memcached)
  • New mobile pagination
  • Max width option for video embeds
  • Legacy PayPal gateway to allow for older PayPal Subscriptions to still be recognised.
  • Attachment Type Restrictions: You can now choose from three options for file attachments in any post content: No files, Images only (this will actually check to make sure an uploaded file is a valid image) or All files (this is default) - If you choose "All files" you have the option to provide a list of allowed file extensions.
  • Merge Concurrent Posts: If a user makes a post or comment and then makes another post or comment on the same item before any other user, the posts will be merged. There is a setting to disable or set the time limit for this to happen. There is a clear, visual indication when a merge happens to avoid confusion to the end user.
  • Moderators can click and hold on topic and other item titles to quickly edit.
  • New setting to optionally set products in Commerce to have a grace period to remain active for a period of time after expiration.
  • New setting to specify domains to exclude from having rel='nofollow' added to links.
  • The "+ Create" menu at the top of the page now has an option to create an announcement.
  • New button to post a status within the status updates widget
  • You can now embed Pages database entries by pasting their link.
  • New widgets for blog entry, gallery images and downloads files feeds.
  • Widgets displaying content feeds can now be given a custom title.
  • The subject lines for emails sent about new content have been changed slightly so email clients can group them better.
  • Announcements now show on every page by default (but can still be removed).
  • New ability to disable but not uninstall an app.

In case you missed it: version 4.0.8.1 contained a security update. You would have been alerted both in your AdminCP and on our Release Notes page. Be sure to always stay up to date.

What's Next

Version 4.0.10 is already in development and our Coming Soon list is well under way:

We will be announcing those exciting changes in the next few weeks!

 

Past Updates

As this is our first update entry we didn't provide previous updates so here is the list of things added since 4.0.0 original release that were prior to the last month:

  • Pages can now be run under your install directory
  • Support Tools enhancements: You can optionally create an admin account and send that as a hidden field to our support staff. A reminder is set in the AdminCP dashboard for you to remove this account once your support request is done. You can optionally send the last PHP and MySQL error logs (if any are recent) as part of your support request.
  • When a new version of IPS Community Suite 4 is available you will now see release notes. This feature is added in 4.0.2 but will not show until 4.0.3 is available.
  • You can now set a maximum image dimension size. If a user uploads an image larger than that setting it will be resized down and the smaller size saved.
  • Setting to limit the length of content item titles Suite-wide
  • Added new notification setting for Members you Follow. On install and upgrade, this setting is off by default to prevent your users from getting bombarded with notifications for members they follow until they are able to decide their preference.
  • If you enable the "use SSL for logins" setting then this will apply to the entire AdminCP: not just the login form. Setting was renamed to reflect this.
  • You can now specify the default view option for the Commerce store front: grid or list.
  • When you upload files for a new version, the AdminCP login box will now prompt you to run the upgrade system before showing login form.
  • Queue tasks should run faster
  • You can now select multiple locations for an advertisement rather than just one in Advertisement settings.
  • We now support multiple version management. This means that we will no longer release "patch files" for major bugs or security issues but will instead simply release a new version even if that new version may only contain one changed file. No more losing track if you have or have not patched as you will simply make sure you're on latest version.
  • Emoticon sets can now be reordered. You can also now delete entire sets.
  • Bulk email system can now filter based on Commerce packages and information.
  • The support tool in the AdminCP will now do MD5 checksum on all PHP files on the system. This allows the system to detect any modified PHP files which is useful both for support and for security. The master checksum values are fetched remotely from IPS to ensure the list is not tampered with locally.
  • Interface improvements to Gallery
  • Theme comparison tools

 

You can now purchase IPS Community Suite 4 or, if you are an existing license holder of IP.Board, you can download the upgrade as part of your license! Be sure to read this important information if you are upgrading from IP.Board 3.

IPS Community in the Cloud clients can simply submit a support request when you are ready to upgrade and we will take care of it for you.

IPS Community Suite 4 - Now Available

You can now purchase IPS Community Suite 4 or, if you are an existing license holder of IP.Board, you can download the upgrade as part of your license! Be sure to read this important information if you are upgrading from IP.Board 3.

IPS Community in the Cloud clients can simply submit a support request when you are ready to upgrade and we will take care of it for you.

Background

Online communities are a huge part of the Internet. Millions of people around the world use online communities to connect with each other about the things that matter to them. At IPS, we've been facilitating this for over 13 years, working with some of the most amazing and interesting sites. Fan communities such as those provided by Warner Music Group and Live Nation for their artists, sports leagues such as the NHL for their fan communities or Bethesda Softworks for their games all use communities to bring fans together. Business like Evernote use communities to reach their customers on a more personal level. And specialist sites like FindLaw use communities to help people find the information they need. Every day new communities are born and we're thrilled at IPS to be involved with this amazing part of the Internet, a part that we feel makes the Internet great.

Two years ago we started on an ambitious project. We wanted to make our platform even better. We wanted to bring all of our applications together in a tightly-integrated suite with a modern codebase, gorgeous interface and unrivaled experience for users.

Philosophy

Being a web developer for a distributed application like the IPS Community Suite is an interesting position. The Internet moves very quickly: what looks good, works well and users will enjoy today might not tomorrow. Web development always needs to be modern, fresh and cutting edge to stay relevant. At the same time, a web developer needs to have understanding and respect for everything that has come before, and know what users expect. It’s no good creating a website that most people won’t understand how to use, or might not even work on some platforms. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of projects rise and fall in popularity, and the ones that don’t do so well tend to fall into one of these two categories - either they fall behind and start to feel clunky, or overexcited developers get too carried away and create something that nobody wants.

At IPS, we don’t do either. We make a platform that is modern and both easy and fun to use and customize. In short, we make the best community platform available. This is the philosophy which underlies IPS Community Suite 4.

forums@2x.jpg

Features / Technology

IPS Community Suite 4 is designed for the modern web. The default theme is designed to be clean and simple both so it’s easy to use and simple for designers to expand upon. The design is also responsive meaning it looks great whether you’re on a desktop or a mobile phone, or anything in between (and we do that the right way: we don’t just remove things on smaller screens) and this is true not only for the front-end but even the administration control panel too.

Our editor supports drag-and-drop uploading, automatic media embedding, auto-saving and mentions. Every email the suite sends looks great no matter what client you’re using. These are just a few of the countless features that make IPS Community Suite 4 great.

Check out the full feature tour

The platform is built on modern, but solid, technology. We use PHP and MySQL because they run on pretty much every web server, but we use modern coding techniques within them like the namespacing, late static binding and closures provided by PHP 5.4, and we use HTML5 features like local storage and geolocation. And it’s coded well with meticulous care; things like valid HTML markup which doesn’t really matter to the average user, matters deeply to us.

Finally, it’s ready for communities of any size. You can use Amazon S3 for file storage. You can leverage caching technology, including memcached to page output caching for guests which can even mean most requests never even establish a connection to your database.

And that’s without mentioning all of the features which have always made IPS stand out, like the spam monitoring service, monetization, Sphinx integration and so on.

Expansion Potential

But not only is IPS Community Suite great out of the box, its potential for expansion is huge, and there’s a great community of third party designers and developers working with us.

Tools for developers

The framework that IPS Community Suite runs on is powerful, but flexible and developers can get started with ease. It is possible to override any class anywhere in the entire framework using a technique called monkey patching, allowing customization of any aspect of the suite. Whole new applications can be created easily, using central classes for common concepts like content handling. And the framework is designed to be safe at low levels: output escaping for XSS protection (note, not input escaping, which is the wrong way round to do it) and prepared statements for SQL injection protection are handled at a low level, global basis, and customizations are sandboxed so an error in a customization cannot bring down the community.

Tools for designers

Designers also benefit from a powerful designer mode that allows customization of HTML, CSS and other theme resources using local files so they can use their own code editors and tools. Designers can even create theme settings allowing end-users to customize even further. We also provide tools to allow designers to see the changes made to templates between versions so themes can be updated for new versions. Of course, for the less technically inclined, there is a powerful “easy mode” for creating themes allowing anyone to customize the look easily.

Tools for translators

Translators too can translate the IPS Community Suite easily. A “quick translation” tool allows any word or phrase to be translated just by clicking and holding to bring up a textbox, or an extensive list of all words and phrases can be browsed. Furthermore, we have been meticulously careful to use phrases throughout the entire suite that can be translated into any language with understanding of the differences many languages have with English such as grammar structure and pluralization.

All of these customizations can be exported with one click and distributed as a single file. To install an application, plugin, theme or language, users only need to upload a single file in the administrator control panel. No more uploading dozens of files with FTP.

Rapid Development

Perhaps though, the most significant thing about IPS Community Suite 4 is what comes next. We now have a solid platform for future development. With the new modern framework, new features and improvements can be written much quicker than ever before. In addition, we have been using new tools and techniques within our development team for faster development, testing and deployment of new releases.

For when a new release is ready, IPS Community Suite 4 includes a powerful delta upgrade system: no matter what version you are on, you can download an upgrade package for the latest version - this includes only the files you need, so upgrading is quick and painless.

With these three significant improvements (to the framework, to our development processes and to the upgrade process for users) we have been able to adopt a much more rapid release cycle. A more streamlined process also allows us to be much more open about our future plans. The benefits of this have already been seen: since releasing IPS Community Suite 4, we have already added several new features. And this is just the beginning.

Conclusion

IPS Community Suite 4 has been a huge project. It’s an amazing experience to see the communities that have already upgraded - the countless hours of planning, discussions, whiteboard drawings and thousands of lines of code come that have come together in this incredible platform already spawning online communities of all genres. We’re hugely excited to see the many more to come.

IP.Board 3.4.8 is now available in the client area

This is a maintenance release to consolidate security updates released since 3.4.7, release additional security updates, and fix some minor bugs impacting many clients. We recommend you upgrade to ensure you have all security updates in place.

You can download in the client area and upgrade as normal.

 

Support Notes

IPS will no longer provide upgrade services for self-hosted licenses on the 3.x series. You can do the upgrade yourself (it's very easy) but our support will only do upgrades for you to IPS Community Suite 4. If you are a IPS Cloud client we will still do the upgrades for you.

IP.Board 3.3.x and related apps will no longer receive any support or security updates after 1 January 2016. IP.Board 3.4.x and related apps will no longer receive support or security updates after 1 April 2017.

04-30-2015

We are releasing a patch for IP.Board 3.3.x and 3.4.x to address three cross-site scripting (XSS) issues.

It has been brought to our attention that specifically crafted URLs may allow an attacker to adjust another user's ignored user preferences and private message options.


To apply the patch
Simply download the attached zip for your IP.Board version and upload the files to your forum server.

 

IP.Board 3.4.x:

patch_34x_04272015.zip 

 

IP.Board 3.3.x:

patch_33x_04272015.zip


If you are an IPS Community in the Cloud client running IP.Board 3.3 or above, no further action is necessary as we have already automatically patched your account. If you are using a version older than IP.Board 3.3, you should contact support to upgrade.

If you install or upgrade to IP.Board 3.4.7 after the date and time of this post, no further action is necessary as we have already updated the main download zips.

 

We would like to thank rack911labs.com for bringing the private message to our attention.

 

03-20-2015

We are releasing a patch for IP.Board 3.3.x and 3.4.x to address an SQL injection issue.

It has been brought to our attention that specifically crafted URLs may allow an attacker to trigger an SQL error with specific configurations.


To apply the patch
Simply download the attached zip for your IP.Board version and upload the files to your forum server.

 

IP.Board 3.4.x:

  patch3122015.zip

 

IP.Board 3.3.x:

  patch3122015_33.zip


If you are an IPS Community in the Cloud client running IP.Board 3.4 or above, no further action is necessary as we have already automatically patched your account. If you are using a version older than IP.Board 3.4, you should contact support to upgrade.

If you install or upgrade to IP.Board 3.4.7 after the date and time of this post, no further action is necessary as we have already updated the main download zips.

 

We are releasing a patch for IP.Board 3.3.x and 3.4.x to address two CSRF issues and one XSS issue.

It has been brought to our attention that a cross site request forgery issue exists with gravatar images that can allow a potential attacker to cause a user to store a gravatar profile photo that was not desired.  Further, during internal reviews of the issue we discovered another CSRF issue that can allow an attacker to mark all private messages as read. Finally, a minor "self XSS" issue has also been patched with this update.


To apply the patch
Simply download the attached zip for your IP.Board version and upload the files to your forum server.

IP.Board 3.3.x:

 patch_33x_Feb2015.zip

IP.Board 3.4.x:

 patch_34x_Feb2015.zip

If you are an IPS Community in the Cloud client running IP.Board 3.4 or above, no further action is necessary as we have already automatically patched your account. If you are using a version older than IP.Board 3.4, you should contact support to upgrade.

If you install or upgrade to IP.Board 3.4.7 after the date and time of this post, no further action is necessary as we have already updated the main download zips.

We extend our thanks to Daniel Price, A.K.A ShadeSpeed of the GameMaker Community for notifying us of the gravatar issue privately and promptly.

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.

Beta Testers

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.

 

Our Thanks

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.

We are happy to release the sixth beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!
 
IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.
 
This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar
  • Commerce
  • Pages

 
The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes. More information on license keys...
 
Downloading
 
You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 6 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta.
 
You will be able to upgrade from Beta 6 to the first supported release of IPS Community Suite 4.0 when it is released. Unless major issues present themselves, we anticipate that Beta 6 is the final beta and next release will be supported. Please do help us test and report bugs. Thank you!
  
Note: If you are already running Beta 5 you can upgrade in your AdminCP. You will see a notice on your Dashboard. If you do not see it: go to Applications and click check for update.

We are happy to release the fifth beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!
 
IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.
 
This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar
  • Commerce
  • Pages

 
The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes. More information on license keys...
 
Downloading
 
You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 5 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta.
 
You will be able to upgrade from Beta 5 to Beta 6 when it is released and to all future betas through final release. Depending on how this Beta 5 goes we may not actually have a Beta 6 so please do help us test and report bugs. Thank you!
  
Note: If you are already running Beta 4 you can upgrade in your AdminCP. You will see a notice on your Dashboard. If you do not see it: go to Applications and click check for update.

We are releasing patches for IP.Board 3.3.x and IP.Board 3.4.x to address a security issue recently reported to us.
 
It has been brought to our attention that a cross-site scripting issue exists within the messenger in IP.Board.  We are releasing a patch today that addresses this issue.
 

3.4.7:   patch12_5_2014.zip

 

3.3.4:  patch12_5_2014 - 3.3.x.zip

 

We would like to thank Matthias Ungethüm (http://www.unnex.de) for reporting this issue to us.     

We are happy to release the fourth beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!
 
IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.
 
This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar
  • Commerce (formerly IP.Nexus)
  • Pages (formerly IP.Content)

 
The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes. More information on license keys...
 
Downloading
 
You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 4 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta.
 
You will be able to upgrade from Beta 4 to Beta 5 when it is released and to all future betas through final release.
  
Note: If you are already running Beta 3 you can upgrade in your AdminCP. You will see a notice on your Dashboard. If you do not see it go to Applications and click check for update.

We are happy to release the third beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!
 
IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.
 
This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar

This release does not contain Commerce (formerly IP.Nexus), Pages (formerly IP.content), or Chat. These three apps will be released soon as a separate download in a pre-release state. Both are nearly ready to go to full beta.
 
The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes. More information on license keys...
 
Downloading
 
You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 3 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta.
 
You will be able to upgrade from Beta 3 to Beta 4 when it is released and to all future betas through final release.
  
Note: If you are already running Beta 2 you can upgrade in your AdminCP. You will see a notice on your Dashboard. If you do not see it go to Applications and click check for update.

IPS is pleased to offer 15% off starting now through Monday on all new purchases for both new and existing clients! This includes all self-hosted software licenses as well as Community in the Cloud packages. Whether you've been wanting to add a new component to your current IPS Community Suite license or are considering IPS for the first time, simply use the coupon code HOLIDAY2014 at checkout to take advantage of this offer.

Get started now!
 

 

We are releasing patches for IP.Board 3.3.x and IP.Board 3.4.x to address two issues recently reported to us.

It has been brought to our attention that certain PHP configurations allow for a potential SQL injection vulnerability. Although this exploit requires some knowledge of your configuration and for certain files to be web-readable, we felt it important to release an update.

Additionally, it has been brought to our attention that it may be possible to send attachments via the email classes which would ordinarily be removed.

To apply the patch
Simply download the attached zip for your IP.Board version and upload the files to your forum server. You do not need to run any scripts or the upgrade system.

IP.Board 3.3.x
 3_3_x_patch_nov_14.zip

IP.Board 3.4.x
 3_4_x_patch_nov_14.zip

If you are an IPS Community in the Cloud client running IP.Board 3.3 or above, no further action is necessary as we have already automatically patched your account. If you are using a version older than IP.Board 3.3, you should contact support to upgrade.

If you install or upgrade to IP.Board 3.4.7 after the date and time of this post, no further action is necessary as we have already updated the main download zips.

We extend our thanks to Andrew Erb for notifying us of the email issue privately and promptly.

patch12_5_2014 - 3.3.x.zip

patch12_5_2014.zip

IPS is investigating a possible security exploit reported to us a few hours ago.

We are developing a fix for this issue now and anticipate its release tomorrow. Until the fix is released, clients are advised to delete the following file from their community:

interface/ipsconnect/ipsconnect.php


This will disable the IPS Connect service which is our system to allow for multiple sites to share one login. Most clients will not need this service but if you do use it then we still suggest you temporarily disable until a fix is released tomorrow.

IPS Community in the Cloud clients: we have already disabled this feature for you so you are not impacted by this exploit.


Update: Patches are now available.

We are happy to release the second beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!

IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.

This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar

This release does not contain Commerce (formerly IP.Nexus), Pages (formerly IP.content), or Chat. These three apps will be released soon as a separate download.

The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes.

Downloading

You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 2 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta. That will be coming soon.

You will be able to upgrade from Beta 2 to Beta 3 when it is released and to all future betas through final release.

If you are not interested in downloading our beta releases you can still check out our IPS Community Suite 4.0 preview site to see the new version in action.

Note: If you are already running Beta 1 you can upgrade in your AdminCP. You will see a notice on your Dashboard.

Discussion

Please post in our special Beta Releases forum on the preview site for anything about Beta 2. Enjoy!



We will be upgrading our own site next week. Stay tuned!

Update: Pages pre-release now available.

We are happy to release the first beta of IPS Community Suite 4.0!

IPS welcomes any clients who enjoy testing beta software to participate and post bugs in our bug tracker. These beta releases help us to provide a more stable final release and the more people who participate in testing the better it is for all.

This release makes available:

  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Downloads
  • Calendar

This release does not contain Commerce (formerly IP.Nexus), Pages (formerly IP.content), or Chat. These three apps will be released soon as a separate download.

The upgrade system is now available and you can upgrade from IP.Board 3.4.7 to test this system However: do not upgrade your live community! IPS does not provide technical support or services for beta releases. You can append "-TESTINSTALL" on to the end of your license key to allow to a separate install for test purposes.

Downloading

You can download IPS Community Suite 4.0.0 Beta 1 in the client area. Go to your Purchases section, select your license, and click the download link. IPS Community in the Cloud clients do not yet have access to the beta. That will be coming soon.

You will be able to upgrade from Beta 1 to Beta 2 when it is released and to all future betas through final release.

If you are not interested in downloading our beta releases you can still check out our IPS Community Suite 4.0 preview site to see the new version in action.

Discussion

Please post in our special Beta Releases forum on the preview site for anything about Beta 1. Enjoy!

4.0 - Delta Updates

By Mark,

IPS Community Suite 4.0 is nearly here, and we'll be distributing betas very soon. But 4.0 is really just the beginning; with the new tightly integrated, one-version suite of applications, we're already starting to think about all of the features we'd like to add in the future. This brings us nicely to the final 4.0 feature we'd like to talk about: the upgrade system.

In 4.0, when a new version is released, you'll see a message like this pop up in the Admin CP:


Clicking the "Download" button will allow you download, right from the Admin CP, a zip file with the new version. This zip file will contain just the changed the files from the version you're using (in technical terms, this is called a delta update) to save time and bandwidth when uploading the new version to your server. The system automatically knows what apps you have installed (so you don't have to download a separate zip for each application) and even knows if you've renamed your AdminCP directory and accommodates for that.

Here's a video of the process in action:

If you like living on the edge and testing new products we would love your help in testing IPS Community Suite 4.0!

We now have pre-release versions available for download if you are an active Community Suite license holder.

Pre-Release vs. Beta

This is a pre-release which means we are not quite done adding/changing some areas of the Suite. It also means that you cannot upgrade between each pre-release. Once we reach Beta stage you will be able to upgrade from Beta 1 to Beta 2 and so on.

Important Information

  • This is a preview of unfinished software. Do not install this on a live server or attempt to upgrade your current community. Please.
  • You cannot upgrade between pre-release builds so you will have do a clean install each time we update this package. This will change when we reach proper beta stage.
  • Only download this preview if you are comfortable testing software with known issues and want to provide bug reports and feedback.
  • We provide no support for these pre-release builds.

Please post any bugs you find in the bug tracker and feedback/questions on the preview site. We are getting close to a public beta and the final, supported release of IPS Community Suite 4.0 and appreciate your help getting there!

Download Pre-Release Now



Note that Nexus, Content, and Chat are not yet available for download but will show up on our preview site soon.

The IPS Community Suite 4.0 preview site is open and ready for you to start browsing our new software!

We have had the site quietly open for a few weeks now getting feedback and addressing issues. We want to make sure everyone is aware so you get a chance to look at what's new.

Register and have a look around at what's new. Read our updates forum to check out videos demoing the system. Get involved in feedback and bug testing. Everyone at IPS is very proud of 4.0 and really hope you enjoy it. Public beta releases of 4.0 are not yet available but are just around the corner so take this opportunity to become familiar with IPS 4.0 so your community is ready when it's released.

See you on the preview site!


Please keep all feedback about 4.0 on the preview site so we can keep things organized. Thanks!

IPS Community Suite 4.0, the most significant update to IP.Board and the rest of our apps we've ever made, is fast approaching a state where we'll be ready for a public preview and, soon after that, public beta testing!

We know most of you are just as excited as we are about this and can't wait to try it out.

With 4.0, we've made some significant leaps in terms of modernization, and it's possible that you might need to do some preparation before you're ready to install it. Notably, our minimum PHP and MySQL versions have gone up. It's the first time we've needed you to do this in 6 years, and the versions we need you to have have been around for a long time, we're not requiring the latest versions.

In addition, 4.0 is UTF-8 only (if you don't know what that is, it's a way text can be stored in your database which you may or may not be using at the moment) and while the 4.0 upgrade process will ask you to convert your database if you're not already using it, this is a moderately time-consuming process, so if you convert your database now, it's one less thing to worry about on upgrade day.


To make this process as easy as possible, we have created a little script which you can upload to your server to test if you're ready.

Download Now

I want to briefly show our new cover photo support. Cover photos allow users to upload an image to represent something in the community; we currently support them in profiles and calendar events and may roll out support to other areas later.

Here's a video of it in action for a calendar event.



It's really simple to use, and of course still works responsively like the rest of our default theme. We hope it adds a new element of customization for content in your community.

Developers

For developers, supporting cover photos in your own addons is as easy as you'd expect. A helper is available which handles the nitty-gritty for you; you simply add $item->coverPhoto() to your template, override a couple of methods in your controller, and optionally build your own menu to control the user interaction (or you can let the helper output them for you, as in the video above). That's it!

As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release.

We've previously shown how responsiveness works in the AdminCP, but I'd like to briefly introduce responsiveness on the front end, and pick a few views to show you as examples (this will be a screenshot-heavy entry!)

What is responsiveness?

Before we get to that, allow me to recap what responsiveness is. Responsive design is a method by which you design one page in such a way that it adapts for the available screen space on the device the user is using. This means that one theme handles both the full desktop view and the condensed mobile view with some clever CSS, in contrast to 3.x where we had a separate mobile skin.

When we took the decision to use responsive design for IPS4, one key aim was to ensure that the mobile view isn't feature reduced. We want all functionality and all areas of the suite to be available regardless of device, and with only a couple of exceptions we're on track to deliver this.


Primary navigation

In mobile view, the primary navigation collapses and moves to a menu accessible with the icon in the top-right. The breadcrumb becomes a 'Back' control, taking you up a level from the current page:



The primary navigation, when opened, looks like this:



Moderation

Given that the responsive theme supports all functionality, this naturally includes moderation. IPS4 support full moderation capabilities regardless of the device you're using. Here's an example of moderating images in Gallery. Notice the menu to quickly select types of content to moderate, as well as the floating toolbar at the bottom of the screen to choose actions.



Settings page

Taking the settings area as an example, here's the same screen at the three supported breakpoints - desktop, tablet and mobile.








Profile view

Here's profile view (which we covered in more detail here) as seen on a phone:




Calendar

Calendar views on mobile:






Gallery

Viewing albums & images in a category:




Blog

The blog homepage:



And viewing a blog:




Forums

Submitting a topic on mobile:




Conclusion

So that wraps up this round-up of responsive views. Naturally, there's many more views than this in the suite and we can't show screenshots of every single one, but hopefully this entry has given you a taste of a variety of views, and a better idea of how we're approaching mobile users in IPS4.


As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release.

4.0 - Profiles

By Rikki,

Profiles are one of the key sections of a community, as everyone knows. They are what represent your users; where their information is shown and their content is gathered. When users contribute quality content to your community, their profile is where other users go to find it in one place. In short, it's an important area.

In IPS4, profiles have had a complete makeover. There's a lot to cover, so I'll start with a numbered screenshot, and address each section individually (please note this is a large image; if you're on mobile, you may wish to wait to view it full-size).



1 - Header images

In 3.x, users could customize their profiles by uploading a background image. In practice, this didn't work well when the software was integrated into an existing website design, and the options presented often ended up with a garish profile. In addition, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have adjusted user expectations on how profiles are customized.

In IPS4, instead of page backgrounds, users instead get to customize their profile header image. This provides the best of both worlds - ample space to choose something creative, but it's contained and won't mess up a website design.

2 - Reputation

The user's current reputation count is shown prominently in the info column, letting other users know if this member is an asset to the community.

3 - Warnings

For moderators/staff, the profile now provides quick access to warning tools. By expanding the panel, they can see a brief history of recent warnings:



And clicking one of these pops up the warning details:



New warnings can also be issued inline, of course.

4 - Followers

Followers replace friends in IPS4, and the user's followers are shown in this block. Instead of requiring mutual acknowledgement as with the traditional friends system (an approach that isn't entirely useful in a community of anonymous users), in IPS4 you follow users whom you find interesting in order to be updated when they contribute to the community. Users can of course prevent others from following them, if that is a concern to them. We'll have more details on how followers works in a later entry.

5 - About the user

Traditional information about the user is shown in the next block, including custom profile fields.

6 - Recent visitors

Recent visitors to this user's profile are shown next. As with 3.x, this can be toggled on and off by the profile owner. In 4.x, this is done by clicking the X in the corner of the block.

7 - Follow/Message member

These primary buttons enable others to follow the user (if enabled), and send a new message inline, without leaving the page.

8 - User's content

In 3.x, browsing a user's content was handled by the search area of the community (though links were available in the user's profile and hovercard). We felt this wasn't the best place for it, though. After all, a user's content should be available in their profile.

That's what this button does. It switches the profile view to 'content browsing' mode, where you can see everything the user has done. It's smooth and buttery, and because it all loads dynamically, it feels like a true part of the profile. Here's a video of it in action (14MB)



9 - Long-form custom profile fields

IPS4 supports various kinds of custom profile fields, including rich-text editors for long, styled content. Those custom profile fields will be shown in the main section of the profile where they get the space they need to be effective. About Me is a default field, but you can of course add your own too for your users to fill in.

10 - User's 'Nodes'

A node is a fancy developer term for content containers that a user creates themselves, like gallery albums and blogs (as opposed to forum categories, which are created by the admin). In IPS4, a user's 'nodes' are shown right on their profile page, making it easy to find more interesting content from the user. In this screenshot, you can see my profile is showing my albums, my blogs, and other blogs to which I contribute.

For developers, supporting your application in this section is easy too.

11 - Status feed

The status feed from 3.x is of course still present, and the interaction is all inline without leaving the page.


Conclusion

That's profiles in 4.0. We hope the new focus on content and streamlined design provides a better experience for your users!


As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release.

A while ago I blogged about some of the internationalization and localization changes in 4.0. One of the things I mentioned is a "Visual Language Editor" which allows you to quickly change any of the verbiage used throughout the suite just by clicking on a word of phrase.

Not only is the really useful for those who want to translate the IPS Community Suite into another language, it can also be used to easily change words and phrases as you like (for example if you want a link to say "Register" rather than "Sign up") - it can even be used to rename forums, categories, etc.

Before I couldn't show you it in action as we weren't quite ready to show the front-end interface but now here's a video of the feature in action: