With only a few days left in Spring, it's time to announce our Spring 2013 Release.
These are new features added to our SaaS product offered on VanillaForums.com. To see what's new in our open source product, head over to the open source community.
- Advanced Search
- LinkedIn Login
- MailChimp Integration
- Improved Applicant SPAM Filtering
- Category Image
- Category CSS
- New Permissions
- Password Strength Meter
- Improved Password Reset
This feature, available to Enterprise level customers, is a result of over a year of feedback and research to provide a powerful yet simple search. Advanced search allows the following:
- Autocomplete when the user starts typing in the search bar. This is especially useful if you are running a support community where the user's question may have already been asked and answered.
- Search on discussion title, author, category, tags, polls, discussions, and filter by date.
- Search results grouped by discussion (thread).
- Simplified search output that shows a summary of the post as well as a nicely sized image or video that appears in the post.
- Support for "+", "-" to include exclude terms and double quotes for exact matches.
- One word searches return results sorted by most recent date, instead of relevance.
See this post for more on Advanced Search.
When the Groups plugin is enabled, members can create private or public groups where they can start discussions, schedule events and post announcements. Users in roles that have have the right permission can create a new group from the groups page which is accessed from the main navigation menu.
The Groups pages will take on the appearance of your theme. If you have a custom theme, make sure to check that everything looks right when you turn on the feature.
Along with Facebook, Google and Twitter, users can now register using their LinkedIn login ID and password. This is a great option for forums that have a business audience.
Mail Chimp Integration
Vanilla does not support mass emailing your members. Now you can email your members using MailChimp. By enabling and configuring the MailChimp addon, you can push member email addresses and keep them synced as new members join and as existing members update their email address.
See this post for setup instructions.
Improved Applicant SPAM Filtering
If you've got your registration set to 'Approval' you might get SPAM registrations from automated bots. If the StopForumSPAM and Akismet addons are enabled, SPAM registrations will be filtered out. SPAM elimination is a constant battle and we highly recommend enabling these two anti-spam plugins.
Category Image & Category CSS
It's now possible to display an image next to categories. The recommended size of the image will depend on your theme and category page layout. In the screenshot below, the category image is 50px by 50px.
It's also now possible to set a CSS class for a category. This allows you to give your categories and sub-categories a distinct theme.
Two new permissions have been added: Tagging lets you restrict who can add tags to posts and PersonalInfo restricts who can see email and IP addresses on profile pages.
Password Strength Meter
Weak passwords are probably the biggest threat to online security and one of the easiest to fix. The password strength meter encourages users to use a stronger password when registering or updating their password.
Improved Password Reset
When a members requests a password reset, it's now possible to send a password reset link to the member by email instead of including their new password directly in the email.