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Hot off the Press: Vanilla’s Summer 2021 Release

5 minute read

July 16, 2021

Summer is finally here and we have a bunch of new enhancements to the Vanilla platform that we want to share. Keep reading for details on the new analytics, machine translation, integrations, theming and more…! 

 

Analytics 

We’re well on our way to finishing up work on our updated analytics. Although it’s not released quite yet, you can see a demo of our custom dashboard builder, new visualization options and more in the Summer 2021 Product Update webinar

 

Theming 

Adding new widgets to Vanilla’s Foundation theme is an ongoing initiative that we’re happy to have made a lot of progress on in the past few months. You’ll see a ton of new widgets and customization options that will help you style your community the way you want it, without requiring any HTML/CSS. Building your theme with foundation ensures that it’s mobile friendly, accessible and that you have access to the latest and greatest features.

The latest widgets we’ve built are:

  • Discussion Lists 

  • Ideas 

  • Announcements 

  • Q&A

You’ll now also be able to customize these widgets at a more granular level, with the ability to control the look & feel of lists and the metadata associated with them (author, number of views, last user that commented, category, etc.). 

theming_options-2

 

And there’s more… 

The layout settings page is also updated with new ways to visualize the foundation discussion list and tiled categories! Customizations are now driven by toggles and selections versus HTML/CSS, which in the past was error prone. 

Just one more thing… 

Your featured category tiles can now be a carousel! Users can click through the row to view additional categories. This is just another way to display your tiles if you have several that you want to highlight, but don’t want to sacrifice screen real estate. To top it off, it’s mobile and accessibility friendly! 

carousel-1

 

Machine Translation

Since Vanilla’s Knowledge Base rolled out we’ve been excited to add an easy way to translate all your help documentation. Once machine translation is enabled you can auto-magically translate your KB articles and support the most popular languages of your user base without having to do any manual work.

We’ve broken this feature down into it’s own blog post, so check that out if you want to learn more. 

 

Zapier Integration

Have you ever wanted to connect your community to one of your most commonly used software tools such as Slack but don’t have a developer on hand to do this for you? This is a super common problem and one that we’ve tackled with the help of Zapier

We have rolled out even more Zapier actions and triggers to get you rolling with more integration options: 

  • Award a badge based on a trigger, e.g. if a member completes a course in Skilljar, give ‘em a community reward! 

  • Trigger an action based on a community event, e.g. if a new community event is created, add an event to a Google calendar 

zapier

Are you interested in using Zapier but have some questions? Or are you using Zapier in a really neat way? Start a conversation in the Success Community, or reach out to your CSM. 

All of the Zapier actions and triggers are powered by Vanilla’s webhooks, so for the developers out there, there are a bunch of new options for creating workflows with Vanilla beyond Zapier. 

 

Integrations

We’ve added new endpoints that help your development team build deeper integrations between Vanilla and your existing workflows. 


APIs

  • Get a list of users badges

  • Get a users reaction counts

  • Get a users discussions filtered by reactions received

  • Filter discussions by status (Q&A, resolved, etc.)

 

Other Nuggets

  • Event search: As a follow-on to the new search service we released in Spring 2021, relevant events will now surface in a users search results.

  • Private Profiles: Users can now opt for their user profile to be private, which means it cannot be seen by any users except for community moderators and administrators. 

 

Behind the Scenes 

There’s a whole bunch that goes on during the quarter that ensures your Vanilla community runs smoothly - here are a couple highlights 

  • Bug Hackathon: Although it’s not a shiny new flashy feature, it's the reality of every software platform... We have bugs! To alleviate the infestation, the dev team dedicated a two week sprint to address a backlog of high priority bugs and support requests. Over the two weeks we closed nearly 300 tickets, so if you are one of those customers that did submit a bug, you may notice things are working more smoothly than they were before.

  • Page Speed Improvements: Google updated their SEO algorithms in May to factor in page experience statistics. This could have potentially had an impact on the page load experience of your community so we made some backend changes to help mitigate the impact. 

Those are our latest highlights! Want to learn more about the Summer 2021 updates? Or see a sneak peek of Fall 2021? Here are a few more ways you can engage with the latest release:

  1. Watch the Summer 2021 Product Update webinar for an overview of what’s been released and what’s coming in Fall 2021

  2. Go more in depth on every feature by reading the Release Notes

  3. Drop a comment in the Product Update Discussion telling us what you’re most excited about in Spring 2021 / Summer 2021! 

Do you have ideas on how to improve Vanilla? Post them in the Success Community, or vote on existing ideas that you like. All ideas submitted are reviewed and will receive feedback from the Product Team.

 

Product

Victoria Burt

Written by Victoria Burt

Victoria is the Product Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums. Having held roles in Product Marketing and Product Management at tech companies over the last 10 years, Victoria lives and breathes bringing SaaS products & features to market

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