XenForo Features Explained

Discussion in 'Forum Business & Announcements' started by Rudy, Mar 9, 2011.

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  1. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    This topic will feature details of various features of the forum system, some of which are not very obvious, and others which may be new. For clarity's sake, only staff will post about the features in this thread. If you have questions or wish to discuss these further, feel free to ask in the companion topic I've just started here. Also use that topic to request new additions to this one. We'll eventually publish these into a "page" here on the site for future reference.
     
  2. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    Sharing

    XenForo has numerous ways to share some of the content of the forum. On the forum home page, you will find a Share This Page sidebar. Standard XenForo installations have a Facebook "Like" button as well as a button where you can "tweet" the page over your own Twitter account.

    At the bottom of each topic (or thread) here in the forum, you will also find the same set of sharing buttons. If you find the topic interesting and want to share it, feel free! Just remember that any private member-only area is not visible to the public, and anyone wanting to view that thread will need to register first to view it.

    I have added an additional block of sharing buttons which use the AddThis service. What this service does is aggregate hundreds of different sharing methods into one place, making it far easier for you to share content with others. The button set I've chosen is small, unobtrusive...and different for every forum user. The last button in the row is an orange "+", which pops open a small window to let you choose which service to share with; this is your portal to all of the services that AddThis links to.

    How is the row of buttons different for each user? AddThis adapts these buttons to your sharing habits. If you habitually use Facebook and Reddit, for example, those two will begin to appear as your preferred sharing buttons, and will always appear there. (I believe it is powered by cookies, so you would want to allow addthis.com cookies in your browser if you find it doesn't work.) The more you use it, the more it will tailor itself to your sharing habits.

    What is nice is that AddThis also gives you options to share links via email, or even print the current page on your own printer.

    AddThis does collect statistics anonymously, but I am the only one who views them. It just gives me an analysis of where our content is being shared, which can help with future content and features in the forum.
     
  3. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    Browser Search

    I have written and added a custom plugin that enables forum searches right in your browser.

    In Google Chrome, you are able to search from the address (URL) bar, where you don't need to have a separate area to type in searches. If you simply type in text, the browser will use your default search provider (usually Google, although you can change it). If you visit a site that has an "open search" provider code, like I just installed, you can type in the base URL (such as www.audiospeakeasy.com), and Chrome will give you the ability to search the site in two ways: 1) you can go down through your auto-fill choices and select the one with the magnifying glass to search the forum, or 2) click the tab key (which the browser prompts you for, then type in your search string.

    I use the latter on many sites, and it is very similar to searching on Google's main page. At Amazon, for example, I type in "amazon.com". As soon as I type the final "m", I press tab, and search Amazon right from the address bar. Illustration of how both methods work at the Speakeasy below (and keep in mind, you have to be at the base URL to do it, as I demonstrated above).

    spkez_search_chrome1.jpg


    In Internet Explorer and, I assume, other browsers, you have a separate search bar. When you visit a site with the "open search" code available, you can add that site as a search provider to your drop-down list. I was not able to get a screen capture with the drop-down menu shown, but you can see two things here: 1) I've chosen the Speakeasy as the search provider, and 2) the arrow next to the search bar is orange, rather than the default color. When you are visiting a site with the open search code, that button will appear orange, meaning that the search provider is available for you to choose, and to make as a default if you wish.

    spkez_search_ie8_1.jpg


    Tomorrow, I'll go over some of the social features here on the forum.
     
  4. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    Status Updates

    Like other "social" sites, XF lets you post status updates. They can be found if you go to your main profile page, and can be up to 140 characters (same as Twitter). It's neat to let everyone know what the mood is for the day, what you're listening to, what's going on in your life, etc. To view others' status updates, you can click on their username in any forum post. When you go to a member profile, you can also comment on those status updates if you'd like.

    Temporarily, I am showing status updates underneath member avatars in the forum posts. I have not decided if I want to leave them there, or put them in the signature. Or, I may turn them off completely. I do not like signatures in posts all that much, but I would rather have status updates visible somewhere other than in user profiles.

    I also temporarily have them on the forum home page, but may modify or remove that block. It is nice, however, to be able to post your status update right from the main forum page (even though it looks awful in IE). There will be more changes coming.
     
  5. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    Like A Post?

    One thing that may cut down on the number of "me too," "thank you" and "I like this" posts is the ability to "like" a post in the forum. It's a quick way of giving a "thumbs up" to a post without having to write anything. And, your "like" is shown under the user's post, along with all the others who have "liked" it as well.

    These also count toward your trophy points. We are not making much use of those here other than for the default user titles, but trophy points are a combination of post counts, return visits, the "likes" you have given, and the "likes" you've received. It is more an indicator of your participation in the forum, as opposed to basing it purely on post counts.
     
    John B likes this.
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