vNext 5.0 Android Upload Fixed

Some users reported the new mobile upload feature didn't work with Android phones after the initial release of vNext 5.0. After working with the users and a 3rd party dev tools provider, I'm happy to report the problem with Android native browser upload has been fixed.
 
The problem was caused by a limitation and a browser bug in Android:
  1. Limitation: Android browsers cannot fire click event on a hidden element (CSS; display:none)
  2. Bug: Android browsers reported size = 0 for files uploaded via the HTML 5.0 FileAPI
I released a hotfix yesterday that works around this limitation and bug, and Android phone users can now upload without any issue. It's just that they can only upload one file at a time, instead of multiple at once as they can with iOS based devices.
 
The hotfixes are available for download in the private download forum.
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APG vNext 5.0 - mobile phone upload, IE11 compatibility, and more...

APG vNext version 5.0 is around the corner. There are many important enhancements over v4:

Mobile Device File Upload

You'll be able to attach photos from your iPhone or iPad directly within the Mobile Web App. While in version 4.x, iPad users can upload files from the desktop theme, there was no way to attach files directly in the mobile web app. Files can be read, but not uploaded or modified in version 4.x.
 
In this upcoming release, you can easily attach photos from your phones when you create / reply to a post, send private message, or manage your photo albums.
 
 
In addition, we overhauled the file upload feature on the desktop version, too. We feel that there are too many steps involved in the current file attachment process, so we removed the popup window that loads an iframe in version 5.0. You will be able to either click on the attachment buttons to select files, or drag and drop files directly into the editor to upload.
 

 
We model what GMail does for the browser and believe this to be the way HTML5 upload was meant to be.

IE 11 Compatibility (and other browsers, too)

IE 11 is radically different from any of the previous IE versions, and is a very capable browser providing good support for HTML5 and CSS3 standards. The problem is many of the web technologies created before have hacks built-in to workaround the idiosyncrasies of earlier versions of IE. And therefore they all need updating to support IE11's standard compliant behaviour.
 
It's no different for our forum software, especially the WYSIWYG editor. The current editor used in v4.x was built over a year ago and doesn't work very well with IE 11, so we replaced it. On top of the editor update, we also updated the core jQuery library and many 3rd party components to support IE 11, and worked out the kinks with other browsers, too.

Updated PM conversation interface

One of the notable feature in our v4 forum was the then new PM conversation interface. We grouped PMs in the same conversation on the same page and display them chronologically, making it very easy to refer to earlier messages.
 
However, conversation can get lengthy and showing them all on the same page can make the page too long and hard to scroll. So we modelled GMail again by showing no more than 6 messages by default, and making the earlier messages accessible with a single click.
 

Other enhancements and fixes

There are other enhancements to make the forum more configurable in 5.0: we now separate the "freeze threads" and the "freeze posts" features so you can apply auto lock to posts and threads separately. You will also be able to hide reward points and related threads when viewing a thread, without making code modification.
 
JS/CSS combining handler is also updated to better detect corrupt cache, and has a new ability to cache files to the disk.
 
And like the ability to use signature, you'll be able to limit the use of Avatar based on user group privilege.

Release date: 1st week of March

The update will be available in a week. I've updated both the demo and the support forum here. In the mean time, you can test the mobile upload capability on the demo forum if you want to.
 
v4 users with an active support subscription will be able to download the software when it's released. Anyone without an active subscription can click here to renew the subscription.
 
Thanks for reading and have a nice week
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Changing Community Homepage

Beginning v4.4, you can switch between 3 different presentation styles for your home page right from the AdminCP.
 
It is possible with earlier versions, but it requires you to edit a configuration file with Notepad, upload it to the server, and manually restart the AppDomain.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Modify the Routing Configuration File

This step tells ASP.NET's routing engine which file to serve when people browse to ~/ or ~/default.aspx
 
First, go to AdminCP -> System Related Options -> Config Editor
 

 
To change the route, you need to edit the <File></File> in the 2 red rectangles. Do not change the content in the <URL> tags.
 
Make sure you set the file permission for ~/config/Route.config to "Write" so that you can edit the file from this interface.

 
If you want to use...
  • The News style home page: put ~/home.aspx inside both <File> tags (this is the default)
  • The Forum List: put ~/forums.aspx inside both <File> tags
  • The Blog: put ~/blogs.aspx inside both <File> tags
Save the edit, and the software will restart the AppDomain automatically.
 
You may need to restart the AppDomain manually, if you aren't running the software under Full Trust. The easiest way to do so is to slightly modify the web.config file (e.g. adding a space to the end), which triggers the AppDomain restart automatically.

 

Step 2. Change the Breadcrumb Link URLs

This step lets you set the breadcrumb URLs for a few key pages. It's important we make the changes to reflect our choice for home page.
 
Go to AdminCP -> Home, Forums, Menu & Breadcrumbs -> Homepage Selection & Breadcrumb
 

 
Use the dropdown to set your home page (reflect what you decided to use in Step 1), and modify the text boxes below. The software will give you suggestions on what to put in the text boxes once the dropdown selection is changed.
  • URL for Home can be either "~/" or "~/default.aspx"
  • URL for All Forums can be either "~/Forums" or "~/forums.aspx"
  • URL for Blog can be either "~/Blog" or "~/blog.aspx"
 
That's it.
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Landing Page Examples

The new Landing Pages feature available in the announcement section of the AdminCP allows you to create special pages outside the forum / blog system. It's useful when you want to create pages not usually found in a forum, such as:
  1. special lead capture page
  2. private content page
  3. About Us page
  4. Custom 404 page
  5. Special Thank you page after registration confirmation
  6. ... and many more
Basically you create a landing page just like an announcement, but in addition to deciding the place the announcement shows up (forum, gallery, registration form, etc.), you can specify a permalink for it so that it can show up on its own URL.
 
Landing pages also allow you to optimize for search engine. You can specify Page Title, Meta tags, and additional content in the <head> tag (like adding Google+ Authorship markup). In addition, you can use raw HTML and JavaScript, making it very versatile when you want to create pages with rich UI.

Show me some examples

The following are a few pages we created:
  1. Thank you page (after email confirmation) (rich JavaScript interaction)
  2. Upgrade Special & FAQ (content heavy; an About Us page can be created like this one)
  3. Sign-up page for free e-course (use of iframe)
  4. Gmail New Tab Instruction (screenshots)

Let's create a 404 error page

A custom 404 page is useful when user enters a non-existent URL. Instead of showing a default server error message, we should provide a list of threads that user may be interested in. The best candidates would be the latest posts as well as the hottest discussions.
 
Example: Here is the 404 page (this is a non-existing URL, and you'll be redirected to the 404 page)
 
Here is how you can create this page:
 
Content body is pure HTML (use the HTML button to add this in the editor):
 
<h1>The following are the most recent topics you may be interested in</h1>
<p>I can't locate what you're looking for, but the following may be helpful.</p>
<div class="wideDivider">&nbsp;</div>
<div class="left overflowHidden" style="width: 49%; padding-right: 1%;">
<h3>Most Recent Discussions</h3>
<div id="new">&nbsp;</div>
</div>
<div class="left overflowHidden" style="width: 49%;">
<h3>Active / Hot Discussions</h3>
<div id="active">&nbsp;</div>
</div>
<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
$doc.ready(function() {
            $('#new').load('/community/ws/TopNav.aspx?t=RecentPosts .newActiveList');    
            $('#active').load('/community/ws/TopNav.aspx?t=Active .newActiveList');
        });
// ]]></script>

 
Make sure you check the "Save HTML without PGDCode Transformation (useful when creating Landing Page from custom HTML templates)" box
 
Add the following to the HTML header box:
<style>
.msg a {
    color: inherit;
    text-decoration: none;
}
.messagelink {text-shadow:none;}
</style>

 
And then specify an URL (404-info, for example) and a page title as you wish. I also chose "Simple Frame" as the master page.
 
Finally, make sure you set the URL as the default 404 custom page inside AdminCP -> System Related -> Error Log:
 

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Enable Google Authorship step by step

In order to enable Google Authorship for your forum, you need perform the tasks below:
  1. Sign up a Google+ account using an email on your domain (in my case, aspplayground.net)
  2. Sign up to participate in Google Authorship and verify your email you use in step 1
  3. Add a special header link in your page's HTML source
Once you have done the above, whenever Google shows your pages on its SERP (search engine result page), it will present your pages like this:
 

Incorporating Google Authorship

Google now focuses more on the Authority aspects of websites when they determine rankings. Google wants to recognize sites that publish real useful info and rank them higher.
 
In short, the more useful a site is, the more authority it has in Google's eye.
 
In a recent video (May 2013), Matt Cutts of Google talked about new algorithms being able to detect medical and travel authority sites (beginning 4:36)
 

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