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Beginning with IP.Content 2.0, you can now promote forum posts to your articles section in IP.Content.
The administrator can configure the specifics of this feature in the ACP under My Apps -> IP.Content -> Promote Article Settings. You can turn the system on and off, control which groups can copy and move posts to the articles section, and specify a few other details for the feature. A new hook is included with IP.Content which adds a button to each post labeled "Promote to Article". This button only shows up if you have permission to use the feature based on the ACP configuration.
When clicked, the button will take you to a new form where you can formalize the details of the new article. You can tweak the text and title, upload an image, and specify other pertinent details. If you are able to both move and copy posts to the articles section, you will also be asked which type of promotion you wish to use. Upon submitting the form, IP.Content handles the rest.
This new feature can be used to showcase important content otherwise hidden in your forums by pushing this content to your frontpage. It is then up to you whether you want a copy made in the articles section (leaving the original post in tact), whether you want to actually move the post to the articles section, and whether you want any cross-linking left in place. With such powerful options, we are sure you will find many uses for this new promotion tool in IP.Content 2.0.
IP.Content 2.0 uses the term "frontpage" to refer to both the homepage of the Articles module, and the landing page of each individual category. We have introduced this new navigational structure to better allow you to showcase content, while presenting it in a standardized format that your users will be able to understand and jump into without assistance.
Firstly, you will now be able to define "frontpage" templates in the ACP for the Articles module. IP.Content 2.0 will ship with 3 defaults:
- 1x2x2 Layout
This layout will display articles in a traditional "news" style layout.
- Blog format
This format will display articles in a blog-style format.
- Single column
This layout will force articles to display in a single column, one per row.
You can use one or more of these frontpage layouts, or you can create your own. Experiment with displaying articles in different formats on your homepage to determine which layout your users like best.
Articles must be set to "Show on front page" in order for them to display on the homepage frontpage.
In addition to the homepage frontpage, each category has it's own frontpage. The category frontpage functions identically to the homepage frontpage, except for two important factors:
- Only records from within that category (and it's subcategories) will be displayed
- The "Show on front page" setting is not honored for the category frontpage
You will be able to easily review and manage the articles set to display on the frontpage from a new section of the ACP labeled "Frontpage Manager". We feel that this new area of the articles section will help showcase important articles and increase user interaction with your articles section.
The media module in the IP.Content 2.0 ACP section allows you to quickly and easily manage multimedia files you may need to use with IP.Content. While you can certainly upload your files through FTP, or link to offsite files, you may find it easier to upload the files using the media section of the ACP, and then copy the links for use within pages, templates, and blocks.
From within the media module, you can create folders, upload files, move files and folders, rename files and folders, and delete files and folders. Files can be listed and you can click on a file to view it (or right click on the file to copy the link).
This simple tool can be a timesaver when you simply need to upload an image quickly for use within a page template. The media folder is defined in the media_path.php file in your forum root directory, giving you the freedom to move and organize your paths as needed.
The page management module interface has been overhauled for IP.Content 2.0 to make it easier to manage your pages in the ACP.
Firstly, the folder navigation utilizes AJAX to load the folder contents inline without requiring you to visit a new page to view the contents of the folder. We found that folder navigation was a slow process, especially when working with many files and folders, so we wanted to speed up the interaction with the software in this particular area.
We have also updated some common management features to utilize AJAX to help facilitate management of your pages. Actions like clearing folders and deleting folders, for instance, will now occur without page refreshes, making your managerial activities flow smoother and quicker.
Additionally, the interface as a whole has been updated to provide a nicer, smoother feel for the page management areas. In practice, we found that many administrators spend the majority of their time setting up and utilizing IP.Content in the page management areas, so we wanted to update the user interface to make this experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Minor details like confirmation dialogs have been updated to bring everything together for a more consistent feel.
A new filter bar, utilizing AJAX to retrieve the results without the need for a page refresh, has also been added to the page management area. You can begin typing in the name of a page and a live-search action will occur in the background, showing you the results of your search as you type. If you have many pages and many folders (and many pages within those many folders), you will find that using the filter bar to locate your pages can dramatically speed up your navigation of IP.Content within the page management areas of the ACP.
Overall, we've modernized the IP.Content page management area of the ACP, polishing up the little details, in an effort to make your experience all the more pleasant.
In IP.Content 2.0, you will notice that there are 3 separate template sections of the ACP:
- Page Templates
- Database Templates
- Article Templates
In IP.Content 1.x, database and page templates were combined into a single "Templates" section, which worked fine for our original intentions. However, with the introduction of a separate Articles module, and additional template types related to the articles module, we decided to separate the templates so that each template type is displayed separately. This should help finding and editing your templates easier in practice, as you will be able to filter the template types and work with fewer at a time.
Within each templates section, you can create containers to group your templates into logical groupings. For instance, you may wish to create a grouping for each database you create, and then place the database templates appropriately into the container representing the database itself. Or you may wish to create multiple front page templates, and group them all together in the article templates area. You can use containers for whatever purposes you may have, or not at all: it's up to you!
Templates can be reordered by dragging and dropping the rows up and down, and they can be moved from one container to another via drag n drop as well.
Certain meta data about the templates are stored when you create new database or article templates, allowing IP.Content to tailor other areas of the ACP to help you out. For example, in IP.Content 1.x the software did not "remember" what kind of database template you were creating, so all database templates were presented in each of the dropdowns when creating or editing a database. Beginning with IP.Content 2.x, the software stores the template type when you create a new template. This allows us to show only "category listing" templates in the "category listing template" selection dropdowns. Similarly, the template tag help popup can automatically know which template type you are editing without you having to specify.
Properly making use of templates can help you push out pages on your site in a uniform manner quickly and easily, and without having to "reinvent the wheel" each time a new page is ready to be published.
With IP.Content 2.0, articles and custom databases can now mirror a topic to the forums when a new article or database record is submitted. In doing so, IP.Content can also utilize that automatically-generated topic as the comment "storage" for the article or record. When a comment is submitted to the article, the comment is actually stored as a reply to the topic. Similarly, replies made directly to the topic in the forum also show up as comments for the record.
This new functionality can be enabled at a per-database and per-category level. You can specify separate forums for each category in your article section, for instance, or you can turn off forum commenting for a specific category, while enabling it for all others.
A few additional configuration options, such as allowing you to automatically remove the topic when the record is removed, and specifying a prefix and/or suffix for the topic title so that your users can more easily identify that such topics were stemmed from the articles section help round out the feature, giving you better control over how these automatically posted topics are handled.
These new forum cross-posting capabilities allow the administrator to better tie in articles with the forums, giving you better opportunities to expose your content to a wider audience. Additionally, forum management of comments provides for easier maintenance and stronger managerial options of the comments, utilizing IP.Board's powerful, proven feature set.
IP.Board 3.1 introduces a new feature that is available for any application to make use of: sharing links. IP.Content 2.0 makes use of this new feature in the custom databases (and articles) modules to allow you to more easily expose your content to a wider audience.
Along with supporting sharing of your content with third party services such as Facebook and Twitter, you can now also send an article via email, print the article, and download the article easily by clicking the appropriate icon under the article body. The additional printing and downloading features allow the content to be shared, online as well as offline.
Within the articles module specifically, the article image that you upload when posting the article (optionally) will automatically be flagged for use with Facebook when someone uses Facebook to share the link. This ensures that the correct image is the one Facebook displays to other users. Similarly, we pull out an appropriate extract of textual content for Facebook to use as well. If the user is logged in to Twitter or Facebook, sharing the content becomes even easier, not requiring you to even leave the site.
We hope that by providing tools to make it easier to share content on your site, your content will be exposed to a wider audience, bringing you more traffic and making your content more easily and readily available to the world.
All templates are capable of using template tags, and as such when you edit any type of template, there will be a "template tag help" link. Clicking this produces a sidebar (there is then a link in the sidebar to open a separate popup) that details all of the template tags you can insert to include IP.Content data within your template.
However, with database and article templates, there are additional variables that are passed into the template to allow it to manipulate and display the HTML that represents the content. For instance, different data is retrieved and available when you are looking at a list of articles compared to when you are viewing a single article. You need to know what these variables are in order to be able to properly modify the template to display data in the manner you want, and as such, a template variable help popup is available that will detail the variables available for each template type.
When you are editing a template, click on "template variable help" and a new window opens displaying the variables you can expect to be available to the template with a short description of each variable. If you get stuck, this help window can help shed some light on the variables that are available, what values they should contain, and how you can use these variables to your advantage to build a more dynamic and useful interface for your database.