Invision Community iOS & Android Apps: Open Beta!

tony45

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iOS & Android Apps: Open Beta

Since we announced native Invision Community apps for iOS and Android, the response has been incredible.
Hundreds of customers registered interest in joining the testing process, and for the initial round we selected around thirty users, roughly split between iOS and Android. Thank you to those testers for their work in reporting issues and providing feedback over the past couple of months.

Open Beta

I'm pleased to report that we are now ready to begin an open beta of the app, allowing everyone to install it and test it. See below for information on installing the apps.
As this is still a testing process, we'd welcome any bug reports or feedback you have. Instructions on doing that can also be found below.
The app going into open beta today is essentially a 'white label' version for our own community here. This enables us to test the basic community functionality more widely before we release the free 'multi-community' app that customers will be able to use with their own communities.
Already signed up for beta testing via our survey? Thank you! Once we begin testing the multi-community app we will select a new group of testers from those that signed up, and invite them to offer the app to their own users on their own communities. This stage will come once Invision Community 4.5 is released later this year.

Installing the app

iOS

iOS users will need to install TestFlight from the App Store. This is an app provided by Apple that allows developers (such as ourselves) to issue test versions of applications.
Once installed, sign up for the beta test by going HERE on your iPhone.

Android

Android users should go HERE on their device to sign up for the beta.

Reporting issues/providing feedback

If you would like to report an issue with the app, we are managing issues via a special GitHub repository. You will need a free GitHub account to report new issues, if you don't already have one. Click the Issues tab, then the New Issue button and follow the steps. Please provide as much information as you can.
If you'd like to provide feedback via a private channel, or if you have a sensitive bug to report, please email us at a dedicated email address: mobilesupport@invisionpower.com

Disclaimers

The app you will be installing is a beta version and we offer no guarantees with it. If you are not comfortable using beta software and the inherent risks in doing so, please don't install the app yet. We reserve the right to suspend testing or exclude individual testers at any time if necessary.

 

haqzore

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This alone is the single reason I just could not justify starting a forum with any other script.

I have a successful, active XF site.
And I know not every niche skews as heavily towards mobile.

But I just can't see any reason to use any other script for most forum-relevant niche's at this point.

It doesn't matter if you like mobile users.
It doesn't matter if you personally are a mobile user.

Not having mobile as a primary focus of ANY type of web property in 2020 is foolish...



IMO
 

Ingenious

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Totally agree haqzore - I'm sure a lot of XF owners will be watching this one with interest. It's certainly a feature that would likely wrestle me away from XF.
 

Russ

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So with this setup, is it a single "Invision App" that users of my forum would download then browse and find my forum but also find other forums?
 

mysiteguy

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I was very excited about this announcement until this post.

Giving my users an app dedicated to focusing on each of my forums is something I'd like to have as an option. However, a global app reminds me of another app I ditched years ago. Hopefully, with the foundation this app puts in place they'll make site-specific apps available in the future.
 

haqzore

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I was very excited about this announcement until this post.

Giving my users an app dedicated to focusing on each of my forums is something I'd like to have as an option. However, a global app reminds me of another app I ditched years ago. Hopefully, with the foundation this app puts in place they'll make site-specific apps available in the future.
One step at a time :)
This is the first step in the direction, & I'm super glad they're taking it.

Rikki @ IPS
Can I get a white-label version for my community?
We aim to offer a white-label option in the future.
 

haqzore

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Lots of good info in the original announcement & comments from September:

 

R0binHood

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Yeah, seems like all forums will be able to get listed in optionally in the single catch all app, or you can buy a white label private version just for yourself. Which makes sense.

Matt M & co.

Will admins have to pay to get listed in the global app? Or will it be free and will there be monetised tiers? Or will you only charge for white label?

How do you expect admins to be able to monetise their communities through the app seeing how lucrative mobile web ads can be compared to desktop due to the lack of ad blocking on mobile?

Will they be able to serve in app ads with their own code?

Will this be an option in the catch all app so that admins can monetize content users are viewing on just their own site seperate for other sites in the app?

Or will that only be an option in the white label version?
 

haqzore

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Will admins have to pay to get listed in the global app? Or will it be free and will there be monetised tiers? Or will you only charge for white label?
IPS Said:
Pricing

Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores.

The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities.


How do you expect admins to be able to monetise their communities through the app seeing how lucrative mobile web ads can be compared to desktop due to the lack of ad blocking on mobile?

Will they be able to serve in app ads with their own code?

Will this be an option in the catch all app so that admins can monetize content users are viewing on just their own site seperate for other sites in the app?

Or will that only be an option in the white label version?
IPS Said:
Is the app ad-supported?

There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future.

Will they be able to serve in app ads with their own code?
IPS Said:
Rikki mentioned monetisation in the blog. Honestly, it's early days so we have no firm plans. We're keen to make sure it's free to the end-user though. Monetisation will most likely come from optional things like promotion in the directory and possibly more theme options for the admin. Nothing is set in stone, but I wanted to be transparent about the direction we've talked about internally.

As said, we want to ensure your users have a great experience with the app and there is no pay barrier for them.


Will this be an option in the catch all app so that admins can monetize content users are viewing on just their own site seperate for other sites in the app?

Or will that only be an option in the white label version?
All the available Qs and As at this time are for the "catch all" app.








And related to the Tapatalk thoughts:

On 9/18/2019 at 4:44 PM:
Philosophically, I think I’ve probably said enough times that from where I sit as an admin, part of the long term success of Invision Community seems to me will rest on maintaining the decentralized and ad hoc nature of communities (as compared to Facebook, Reddit, etc.) That is, as more people realize that the “platform communities” have significant downsides from a privacy and control perspective, we can operate our boutique communities to fill that niche and promote our decentralized nature as a reason to join a community.
Yes, that's a fair comment. When I use TapaTalk I get much more of a 'platform' vibe from it, as if I'm using TapaTalk first and foremost, and the actual community is secondary to that. We've tried hard to do the reverse and make sure each community feels like it's separate from the others.

Right now for example, there's no central login system, central activity feed or central notifications, no cross-promotion of communities and so on (though I can't say those things will never appear - I do think there's justification for some of them). Each community is entirely standalone once you tap into it from the directory.
 

R0binHood

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Lots of good info in the original announcement & comments from September:

Just read through a load of the comments on that thread, many admins worrying about monetisation and one even fairly saying that if they can't monetise, they want to block access to their site in any catch all app so users are forced to use the web.

That could be sidestepped though if your forum was listed in the app so users could register their account in the catch all, and receive push notifications. But instead of opening the thread in the app, when you tap the notification it redirects and loads the phones browser, which is a toggle option in Pushover, which is very handy and admin friendly (and user friendly as they get the full responsive site, any potential plugins and all). Maybe this could be a site specific option.
 

haqzore

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That could be sidestepped though if your forum was listed in the app so users could register their account in the catch all, and receive push notifications. But instead of opening the thread in the app, when you tap the notification it redirects and loads the phones browser, which is a toggle option in Pushover, which is very handy and admin friendly. Maybe this could be an site specific option.
Possibly. But if they truly want to avoid the app, they can.
The admin has to enable it:

IPS said:
How will I add my community to the app?

The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options.
 

R0binHood

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Just thinking about this a bit more. You could have a Pushover style system where the notifications would redirect you to the web, so you get the full web experience when browsing, with the benefit of the notifications (which I assume will have to be hugely customisable and easy to alter to prevent overload).

I wonder though, if you could then potentially even have an option on the mobile web based version of your site to create a post in the app, so essentially you have a reply button / compose / upload button which would redirect you to the app when tapped and give you a native post creation screen, and full low level access to the phone's hardware to crunch any media data that you want to add to your post (image and video), and compress that natively before submission and upload. Then to top it off maybe they could kick you back into the browse afterwards (to load the thread and view another ad).

You could probably just charge people by push notification volume (akin to the Pushover model), or perhaps post submissions through the app.

:unsure:
 

Joel R

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There's going to be two versions:
- white label
- Invision app for everyone

It's announced that there will be a white label app coming later. The current beta on Invision Community is essentially the white label app for their own community. Even though I think a lot of clients would - of course - want a white label app, I doubt it'll be targeted to the clients who complain about a $25 renewal when they'll need to pay for the developer registration fees for the Apple and Android store. The Invision app will be more than appropriate for most hobbyist and retail sites at no to nominal cost.
 

Joel R

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Just read through a load of the comments on that thread, many admins worrying about monetisation and one even fairly saying that if they can't monetise, they want to block access to their site in any catch all app so users are forced to use the web.

That could be sidestepped though if your forum was listed in the app so users could register their account in the catch all, and receive push notifications. But instead of opening the thread in the app, when you tap the notification it redirects and loads the phones browser, which is a toggle option in Pushover, which is very handy and admin friendly (and user friendly as they get the full responsive site, any potential plugins and all). Maybe this could be a site specific option.
You're overthinking it.

If they don't want to be listed in the Invision app, they won't be listed. They can continue to offer their own web based responsive design.
 

R0binHood

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I don't think I am, it's a really important inflexion point for forums to have a leading industry brand (growing in a positive direction and not dying a death) release their own first party solution, and I want to to work. I'm all for a full true cross platform experience for independent forums. It's a decade in the making.

Some admins will be cautious because of monetistion reasons, some won't, some will just want it to work so they get the activity.

In the end it will all come down to the user experience (is it a great way to interact and engage with their favourite community?), and whether it's financially viable for IPS themselves, and the admins and of sites that will use it.

I've used Pushover for years, Chris D coded a fantastic addon for XF1 that enabled push for forums in a time when it was highly desired. Was it a perfect solution? No, it was costly if you needed a huge amount of notifiction traffic, but it worked really well when you made it redirect to your native mobile browser site in a time where there was no decent native apps. You could get one of the main benefits of a native app, plus all the benefit of every feature of the site from the browser.

This entire cross platform / mobile / push / content type management / shift to image and video management generational shift has been choking small independent community forums for a decade. They're no longer about just discussion. They're about sharing content and that content can be text, audio, images or video.

Sure forums haven't died. Yes other platforms have thrived in that time, and many forums have too even though sites like facebook groups have exploded. But forums are being stifled and their users are using other services until these issues are sorted. This situation needs to be solved. Admins do want cross platform solutions, but if they're monetised communities they need to ensure the solution to getting more activity doesn't in turn affect their bottom line and put them out of business even faster.
 

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
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Will admins have to pay to get listed in the global app? Or will it be free and will there be monetised tiers? Or will you only charge for white label?
The app will be free at the point of use (your users) and free to list your site.

The reality is that we are going to hire a few more developers solely to look after the app to ensure it's treated like a first party project that drives Invision Community and not a side project that gathers dust for 9 months between releases.

That means we need it to generate some income to make it viable.

As of the time of writing we have not created firm plans but have some loose ideas such as priority listing and extra customisation. It's still very early though so nothing is in concrete.

How do you expect admins to be able to monetise their communities through the app seeing how lucrative mobile web ads can be compared to desktop due to the lack of ad blocking on mobile?
This may make a good "VIP" feature; the ability to add your own mobile ads.
 

Joel R

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This is huge news actually. Interested to see how this goes.
This is actually their second announcement! Their first one was back in September 2019 when they launched their technology preview.

This announcement is for an open beta, so they're progressing along well.
 
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