I hope everyone is very well. I’m just a little excited today to announce the official release of our InstantForum 2013 update.This is a significant update for us and contains hundreds of great improvements.
Introducing InstantForum 2013
The best way to get a feel for the improvements in this release is to view our What's New page linked below...
In this post I’m also going to share some of the highlights.This will be a quick overview, and if you’d like to dig a little deeper into all the improvements introduced in this update please be sure to check out What’s New page or our fully functional online demo.You can read more in our upgrade documentation.
You can of course respond here within our community with any questions or comments you may have.
So what’s new in InstantForum 2013
While there are lots of great new features &improvements within our 2013 release I’d like to talk about some of my favorites. Let’s start with a quick look at our brand new mobile experience.
Incredibly Mobile, Super Touch Friendly
Changes in technology lead to new challenges and opportunities all the time. It’s what we love about our industr. Probably the most important shift recently is of course the move to mobile.
For InstantForum 2013 we really wanted to raise the bar with our mobile support and offer the best possible experience for your mobile community. To achieve this we've developed a completely new skin based on the popular jQuery mobile framework from the ground up for our 2013 update.
To support the broadest range of devices & form factors we opted to build the new mobile skin upon the latest jQuery mobile framework. This also allows us to leverage all the great super touch friendly user interface controls jQuery mobile provides.
When developing the new mobile skin we took a mobile first approach and we hope this shows in the simplicity we've achieved within the new user interface and the performance you see when using InstantForum on your mobile or tablet devices.
We've also improved our mobile device detection to ensure newer devices are detected and the mobile skin is automatically served to those devices.
Create, Share & Download Themes
We really wanted to make it easier for you to customize the look and feel of your community. With our 2013 release we have delivered – and some. We've introduced a new theme roller allowing you to customize over 160 visual properties to create a completely unique visual theme that perfectly suites your community.
Our new theme roller is completely real-time meaning you will see your changes reflected immediately on the page below the theme roller.Once you are happy with your changes you can save the theme locally to use throughout your community or choose to share your theme with others via the new theme marketplace. We already have a number of themes on the marketplace and will be working to grow these over the coming months / years.
If you’re not the creative type you can browse through our growing collection of themes others have created through the new marketplace embedded right into the theme roller. You can preview themes (again in real-time) from the marketplace and once you find the perfect theme to suite your community you can install or further refine the theme with a few clicks.
Modern Responsive Design
Whilst we've invested a lot of time in our dedicated mobile theme we also want to ensure our traditional desktop skin works great on all form factors. To achieve this we mow use CSS3 media queries throughout our desktop skin to ensure content flows correctly and images re-size correctly for smaller screen sizes.
We provide a slightly different experience for smaller screen sizes with the desktop skin by moving the main navigation links typically displayed horizontally within the navigation bar along the top of all pages into a touch friendly menu button that expands a vertical menu with the navigation links.
As you re-size to a typical tablet or mobile screen size you’ll also notice many of our common controls become mobile friendly. Buttons switch in our desktop skin to become more finger friendly and text is replaced with icons to save screen space. Our paging control will provide fewer navigation options ensuring this does not take up to much screen space and everything fits well on small screens.
Complete C# Migration
It’s been clear to us for some time that C# is the prominent.NET language of choice and we wanted to ensure developers can quickly get to grips with our code base. This will become even more important as we develop and grow our planned 3rd party marketplace.
I’m pleased to announce InstantForum 2013 is now written 100% in C#. No VB.NET.
This migration was no small task and involved migrating hundreds of thousands of lines of code but we hope you'll agree it was worth the effort. During the transition to C# we also took the opportunity to refactor, abstract and modernize many areas of under lying code.
We've introduced a new inversion of control container to help reduce dependencies and manage object life cycle. We've added a new provider model for many of our core services making these services open to extension without the need to modify our core code. We've added a new data access layer supporting LINQ expressions and the popular unit of work data access design pattern.
New Provider Model
Many of the core services within InstantForum 2013 now implement the provider model design pattern introduced by Microsoft in .NET 2.0.The goal here is to make our software more extensible without the need for modification to our core code. This will ease with upgrades and will allow us to introduce additional functionality separately from the main releases.
As our new marketplace matures we hope to offer additional providers via the marketplace that will allow you to tweak how our software works to suite your specific requirements. The following services now using the new provider model by default “Caching, Logging, Localization, Authentication, ViewState Management, Mark-up Minification”. Over the next few releases we will be extending this new provider model throughout our entire code base to make our software very composable.
More secure password encryption
We've added a number of new industry standard password hashing options in InstantForum 2013 to ensure your user’s data always remains absolutely secure. Supported hashing algorhythms now include SHA1, SHA256, SHA384 & SHA512. Passwords are also salted now with a cryptographically safe salt before the hash is created from the password.
We've also improved our password retrieval process to accommodate for the hashing options. Users must now go through a simple “Reset Password” process as the password can no longer we sent via email. We never send any password via email now.
Move to Font Awesome(Bootstrap) Icon Library
InstantForum 2013 now uses the Font Awesome icon library throughout. This significantly reduces the number of requests on each page and provides a nice set of consistent, retina friendly vector based icons. This also means you can now customize the color of icons via the new theme roller also introduced in this release. No need to fire up Photoshop to edit icons.
We've improved several areas of our rich text editor used to compose and post messages within InstantForum. The main improvements include new color pickers, an improved spell checker which should now offer better suggestions, for incorrect words; we've also improved our cross-browser support when adding links, images or wrapping IFCode around text. The editor is also completely customizable through the new theme roller introduced in 2013. This includes the toolbars, toolbar icons, menus & model pop-ups within the editor.
Social Sign In
We've added the option now to convert 3rd party oAuth accounts to local InstantForum accounts. Users who are logged in via a oAuth provider can now optionally provide a local email address and password to create a local account. You can continue to login using your 3rd party oAuth account or if you stop using the provider at any time (for example you delete your Facebook, Google or Twitter profile) you can continue to sign in to InstantForum using the local credentials you provided.
Further more if we are not able to automatically obtain a username from a 3rd party oAuth provider we will no longer simply show “Unknown (Google)” or “Unknown (AOL)” as the username. Users are now required to provide a unique username when logging in via oAuth if we can’t automatically obtain the username from the oAuth provider.
We've made lots of great performance improvements with this release. Probably the most exciting from our perspective is the new compile time script bundling and minification built right into InstantForum.
We've also made lots of smaller performance improvements that lead to some nice overall gain. For a complete list of improvements please see our What’s New page.
Now targeting ASP.NET 4.0
We continue to embrace the latest .NET technologies to offer a rock solid, modern code-base. Our InstantForum 2013 release now moves exclusively to .NET 4.0. We feel this is a necessary change , as Microsoft work towards the one ASP.NET paradigm we want to ensure we move with the times and believe it’s now the right time to target .NET 4.0 by default
This will allow us going forward to take advantage of newer .NET features such Web API, MVC views, extension methods and of course all the great performance & security benefits introduced in .NET 4.0.
This is just a brief list of some of the improvements you will find in our latest InstantForum 2013 release. I just wanted to give you a taste of the improvements. To learn more about all the improvements please see our What’s New
You can try InstantForum 2013 right now via our online demos below. Use the links to launch our online demos. You can also login as an administrator using the default demo account also listed below. It's worth remembering both these demos use the same database and core code. They simply provide a different experience based on the device you areusing to access your community.
Desktop / Web Community
Mobile / Tablet Community
Try InstantForum 2013
We've covered quite a few features here but there is so much more. I encourage you to try our full product completely free for 30 days. To get started please use the link below to register.
Try InstantForum 2013 free for 30 days
Buy or Upgrade to InstantForum 2013
New customers or existing customers who purchased InstantForum 2010 or an earlier license will need to purchase a full InstantForum 2013 license from the link below.
Buy InstantForum 2013 & download immediately
Existing customers with a InstantForum 2012 license can upgrade to our InstantForum 2013 release from our Upgrade page below linked below.
Upgrade to InstantForum 2013 from InstantForum 2012
It’s still early days so please allow us a little time to prepare further documentation to help you get the most out of the new featured introduced in our 2013 update. We will be posting much more information in the coming days & weeks. If you do have any questions in the meantime of course please don’t hesitate to start a topic here within our community or contact us anytime.
A quick thank you to Michele, Eddy. Eve and Simon for your feedback during the alpha and beta phase. A special big thank you to David M.You have all helped enormously providing great feedback and we are sincerely grateful for your time & support.
We sincerely hope you enjoy all the improvements added in our 2013 release and as always would welcome your feedback or suggestions for future releases. Please never hesitate to start a topic here within our community asking for a feature or reporting a problem. It's with your feedback we can continue to deliver the features you ask for and ensure a stable code code. It may take us a while to reach your issues or requests but please be assured we are listening and always value your feedback.
Now go ahead. Download and start enjoying InstantForum 2013 :)
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