InstantForum 2016-1 BETA Online

Hi All,

I hope everyone is well. We've been busy over the holidays and I'm pleased to announce the first beta of our forthcoming InstantForum 2016-1 release has been deployed to our demo area today. We would love your feedback. You can access the demo here...

What's New?

This is quite a significant update and whilst things still look very familiar under the covers we've completely overhauled our CSS framework. Our new CSS framework uses a unique naming convention to avoid naming conflicts with other frameworks like bootstrap or even your own web sites CSS. We've also reduced our already compressed core.css from 142 KB down to 126 KB. 

You can see examples of the updated uncompressed CSS used by InstantForum 2016-1 at the links below...


Of course to accommodate for the new CSS we've had to go through every control used by InstantForum and ensure these uses the new CSS. 

You will hopefully notice things are much cleaner and will look more familiar if you've used existing CSS frameworks like Bootstrap.  This will hopefully make it easier for everyone to customize InstantForum. 

We've also addressed a number of other issues and made further improvements elsewhere in this update. I've included a brief list of improvements below. I'll be posting a blog post in the coming days to explain these improvements and update in further detail. 

- Complete CSS Overhaul (cleaner, smaller, consistent naming conversion)
- Added ability to unsubscribe from subscription emails by clicking a unique link within subscription emails. Users no longer need to login to opt-out of forum or topic subscription emails. Having to login only caused frustration when you wanted to unsubscribe. 
- Significant performance improvements for larger communities to main paging stored procedures used throughout InstantForum (if_sp_SelectTopicPaged, if_sp_SelectTopicsPaged etc etc) moved away from temporary tables in favor of table variables. 
- Added first basic set of RESTful WebAPI services with basic auth support
- Added icons back into forum. topic & PM lists (these can now also be customized via the theme roller)
- Added nice big "Prev" & "Next" buttons to all pagers & improvements to reduce paging buttons moving around as you page through results
- Dozens of improvements to HTML to make mark up much more symantic. Run our HTML through the W3C validator to see the results. 
- Fixed issues with birthday count on calendar not showing correctly for days in the previous and next month
- Fixed path issue with uploaded attachment links within editor within the quick post view
- Improved method that determines relative paths for CSS & JS includes (now uses native .NET methods)
- Fixed Receive Email options not saving selection on registration page
- Improved method that encodes strings for inclusion within URLs (moved to more strict whitelist of characters as opposed to blacklist)
- Resolved client side brush errors with syntax highlighter / code embeds and moved to prettify.js for syntax highlighting within posts
- Introduction of micro format support for forums, topics, events
- Many improvements to flatten the DOM, reduce nesting & generally simplify the DOM for performance
- New cleaner insert image, link & attachment dialog's within rich text editor
- Removed all images within the /Images folder that are no longer used
- Several changes to current web services to align with naming conventions within forthcoming WebAPI migration
- Several Theme Roller Improvements
- Fixed several small layout issues with smaller <= 480px responsive design
- Removed dependency on RadAsyncFileUpload for user photo & banner uploads. Implemented our own approach we have much more control over. You should see a better experience when trying to upload a profile photo or profile banner image. 
- We now use the same color picker throughout to reduce duplicate CSS & dependency on 3rd party controls (post event & add / edit topic type pages use the same color picker as our theme roller)

Stay Tuned

Whilst we are still in beta with our 2016-1 release (we are still aware of some issues) we are expecting to have these resolved very soon so the final release should be within the next week possibly two. 

As always thank you to those in advance that provide feedback during this beta. I look forward to posting further updates either here or within our blog. 

For now I'd like to also wish everyone a very happy new year :)
Kindest Regards,

Ryan Healey
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