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|Developer(s)||Invision Power Services|
4.3.3 / May 16, 2018
4.2.6 / November 14, 2017
|Platform||PHP / MySQL|
Invision Community (previously known as IPS Community Suite) is primarily an Internet community software produced by Invision Power Services, Inc. It is written in PHP and uses MySQL as a database management system. Invision Power Services sell applications that each can be bought and installed separately in addition to the Suite, the most widely known being the Internet forum software Invision Power Board. Invision Community refers to the combined collection of applications provided by Invision Power Services and is the core of the framework.
Invision Community originated from Invision Power Board, one of the applications that can now be bought separately and requires IP.Suite. Up until version 3.4 of Invision Power Board the staff at Invision Power Services had gradually expanded their product line with additional community-centered applications like IP.Blog, IP.Gallery and IP.Content. However, IP.Board was always required as many aspects of the core and other applications relied on it. Starting with IP.Suite 4 they decided to abandon IP.Board as their "flagship"-product and unify the version numbering and release schedule for all their applications.
The software also provides tools and documentation to let the community create their own applications, themes and other things that can also be shared for free or sold to other customers through Invision Power Services own community.
Invision Power Services (IPS) was created in 2002 by Charles Warner and Matt Mecham after they left Jarvis Entertainment Group, which had bought the forum software Ikonboard from Mecham. Their first product as IPS was the forum software Invision Power Board, which quickly gathered a community of former Ikonboard users.
The first releases of Invision Power Board were available as a download free of charge under a proprietary license. The last version released under these conditions was Invision Power Board 1.3. A minor update to 1.3 was released under a new license which allowed free of charge use for evaluation purposes only. Because of this, version 1.3 is commonly used on free forum hosts such as InvisionFree. Since its release, many exploits have been found, but many patches have been produced by the community that fix most of these issues.
2.0.0 was released under the same license as 1.3.1. Although the software developers originally maintained that it would remain a free package, in 2004 Invision Power Board ended its free releases for non-commercial uses. After the 2.0.1 update, the free downloads were replaced with a free demo with restrictions of 5000 posts, 1000 threads, 200 members and other restrictions, thus ending its claims that Invision Power Board would be free forever.
Many users were upset with this, and some attacked Mecham, making allegations of copyright infringement. On July 1, 2005, IPS changed the demo time frame from 15 days to 5 days, and a few months later, it was again reduced to 24 hours, and again to 8 hours for private use. Later, it was increased to 48 hours, and recently it was increased again to 5 days.
Invision Power Board 2.1 was released on September 13, 2005. The administrator's control panel was completely redesigned, and the posting options were renovated to feature viewable text properties (Rich Text Editor), such as bold, italics, underline, etc. The viewing styles were also redone, and a number of various other changes were made including the use of Ajax in many new features.
Invision Power Board 2.2 included many improvements, new features, and security fixes. It was the first version to undergo a security audit by a company named Gulftech to find any security holes missed by the IPS development team as part of their ongoing effort to keep IPB as secure as possible. The new version also includes minor changes to the Administration Control Panel, and also an entirely redesigned profile system. The Invision's team also continues to employ Ajax in its software.
In version 2.3, the product shipped with 2 skins, the classic light blue skin and a new default darker skin. The release is mainly to assist in forums that have larger traffic and include advanced integration with other IPS product lines. IPS also implemented a new ACP Help System which has made it easier to navigate around the Administrator's Control Panel, along with an ACP "Dashboard" page, showing an overview of the system. This page replaced the "Admin" tab as the default page in the Admin Panel.
Version 3.0 was initially released on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The official announcement of the new release was on June 25, 2009. This version is the next major release milestone of the Forum Software. It includes many promised features such as a new overall design and optimization of the software, a reputation type feature where users can rate individual posts, the PM (Personal Message) system becoming a conversation styled feature (as Google has done with Gmail), friendly URLs, and many more enhancements.
Version 3.1.0 was released on June 1, 2010, just under a year after the release of 3.0.0. This was followed by the releases of 3.1.1 and 3.1.2, each bringing a number of bug fixes and feature enhancements to the table. A major part of the 3.1.x series is Search Engine Optimization, with a lot of the changes focusing in this area. Other new features include a brand new Mobile skin, integration to many social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and even more developer tools to create software modifications. Version 3.1.3 was released with bugfixes and a number of code changes for imminent updates to the official add-on applications. Version 3.1.4 was another maintenance release.
Version 3.2.0 was released on July 25, 2011. Available at the IPS Community Forums or as a download for active license holders. 3.2.0 includes a new default, streamlined skin design, a content tagging system and a brand new "Visual Skin Editor". Versions 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 were maintenance releases.
Version 3.3.0 was released on March 20, 2012. Available at the IPS Community Forums or as a download for active license holders. Updates include security patches, improved moderation, and performance improvements.
Version 3.4.0 was released on November 27, 2012. Version 3.4.1, a maintenance release to address minor bugs, was released on December 12, 2012. Version 3.4.2, a maintenance release to address more bugs and to improve the text editor, was released on January 23, 2013. Version 3.4.3, a maintenance release, was released on February 26, 2013. Version 3.4.4, a maintenance release, was released on April 9, 2013. Version 3.4.5, a maintenance release, was released on May 30, 2013. Version 3.4.6, a maintenance release, was released on October 29, 2013. Version 3.4.7, yet another maintenance release was released on October 16, 2014. This is the final release of the 3.x.x product line.
IP.Suite 4.0 was announced in this blog entry on May 23, 2012. Version 4.0 is a complete ground-up rewrite of Invision Power Board and the collection of applications that Invision Power Services sell. 4.0 contains a large number of new features that have been suggested by users and aims to completely overhaul how IP.Suite functions on both the user-side and administrator-side. It was originally to be released in 2014 but was pushed back a number of times as it went through several pre-release and beta versions.
On November 12, 2014, the InvisionPower community began an update of their main site to IP.Board 4.0. The conversion took longer than expected and the site was offline overnight. The InvisionPower community site returned November 13, 2014 running the most recent beta version of IP.Board 4.0. Although running beta software on a live site is not advised by the IP company, they are often violating this guideline for their own community in order to test the community in an active community environment where more errors can be identified and performance more accurately reviewed.
With the release of IP.Suite 4.0, IPS has decided to no longer honor the perpetual lifetime licenses they have sold earlier. As a compensation for legacy customers, they offered a free transition period to the standard license type before legacy customers would be required to pay their first renewal if they wanted to continue to receive support and future updates.
- "License Changes, IP.Board 3.4, and the Future".
- Bes Zain (Oct 29, 2002). "Interview -- Matt Mecham of Ibforums". SitePoint. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
- "CEO Invision Power Board, Matt Mecham Is a Liar, Thief!". Webhostingtalk.com. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- IPB License Explanation 1.3, 1.3.1, 2.0, and 2.1 Archived 2008-10-10 at the Wayback Machine.
- Security Fixes, Updates And Enhancements For IPB 1.3.1 Archived January 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "New Demo Accounts - Invision Power Services". Forums.invisionpower.com. 2009-10-12. Archived from the original on 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "New Default Skin". Forums.invisionpower.com. 2007-06-05. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "Invision Power Board 3.0.0 and Applications Released". Forums.invisionpower.com. Archived from the original on 2009-08-29. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
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- "Perpetual licenses being done away with". Forums.invisionpower.com. 2014-11-15. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
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- "Introducing: IPS Community Suite 4!".