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  • Invision Community - building a blog from scratch | jimiwikman.se
    Jimi Wikman

    Jimi has worked with Invision Community for almost 20 years, and he is well experienced in how the template system works for the products. Over the years he has built dozens of communities, both small and big. He was once a well known theme designer with several themes available for purchase, but now he builds themes only occasionally on request. This website is built on Invision Community and it is being built continuously by him.

    Invision Community - building a blog from scratch

    Posted , 90 views, 0 comments

    This is a guide series that will go through everything you need to know to set up and customize your own blog using Invision Community from Invision Power Services. This guide will be updated with new articles or new information when new releases are made that affect the guides.

    This guide contains the following articles:

    1. Introduction (this page)
    2. Databases & Custom fields
    3. Adding Databases to Pages
    4. Adding CSS and JS to Pages
    5. Article View Template design
    6. Article Listing Template Design
    7. Article Category Listing Template Design
    8. Article Form Design
    9. Article Block Design
    10. Database Relationships

    This guide should give you all the information you need to get a good start with creating your own designs with Invision Community and its Pages application. If you want a quick start however and get a great looking design up and running in 10 minutes, then you can purchase a license for Invision Community and buy the plugin Pages SuperGrid by opentype.

    For this guide you will need a license for Pages, which is the application that allow you to work with Pages and Databases. I will make references to the Forum application as well, but you do not need that if you do not want to. The information in the articles will not go deep into how to make your blog compatible by using standard classes as that is a pretty big topic and I usually just build for myself, so I do not have to worry too much about that.

    If you have any questions or see a topic not yet added here, please drop by the forum and let me know.

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    • By ©Jimi Wikman
      Adding content using tabs in Invision Community Pages is one of the most common questions I get about this website. It is something that is really not that complicated, but it is a bit tricky to find the information. In this article I will show you how I created my tabbed blocks so you can use it on your own page.
      While you can add this directly into a template if you want, I prefer to build this using blocks. This way I can control the content in more detail and it makes my life easier since I have different blocks for each content. So I first start with creating a block that will hold the tabs themselves. In this block I will reference in other blocks to display the content for each tabbed content.
      To create a new block you go to Pages -> Page Management -> Blocks. There we create a custom block with manual HTML as the content editor.

      Give the block a name and a template key. I also have organized my templates so that my Tabs are in a separate category, which help making things a little easier to find when you have a lot of blocks like I do.

      In the content section you can now add the HTML and template logic to create the tabs section.  The information on how tabs work can be found in the documentation here: https://invisioncommunity.com/4guides/themes-and-customizations/javascript-framework/using-ui-widgets/ipsuitabbar-r66/
       
      <div class="ipsTabs ipsTabs_contained ipsTabs_withIcons ipsTabs_large ipsTabs_stretch ipsClearfix" id="elTabBar" data-ipstabbar="" data-ipstabbar-defaulttab="1" data-ipstabbar-contentarea="#" data-ipstabbar-updateurl="false"> <a href="" data-action="expandTabs"><i class="fa fa-caret-down"></i></a> <ul role="tablist"> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="1" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item ipsTabs_activeItem" aria-selected="true"> <i class="far fa-newspaper"></i> Management Articles </a> </li> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="2" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item"> <i class="fas fa-comment-alt"></i> Management Discussions </a> </li> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="3" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item"> <i class="fas fa-id-card"></i>Management People </a> </li> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="4" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item"> <i class="fas fa-cloud-download-alt"></i>Management Downloads </a> </li> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="5" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item"> <i class="fas fa-play-circle"></i>Management Videos </a> </li> <li> <a href="" role="tab" id="6" class="ipsType_center ipsTabs_item"> <i class="fas fa-link"></i>Management Links </a> </li> </ul> </div> <section class="ipsTabs_panels ipsTabs_contained"> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_1_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="latest_management_articles"} <a href="https://jimiwikman.se/blog-articles/blog/professional/management/">Read All Articles</a> </div> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_2_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="management_forum_topics"} </div> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_3_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="awesome_management"} </div> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_4_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="latest_management_downloads"} </div> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_5_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="latest_management_videos"} </div> <div id="ipsTabs_elTabBar_6_panel" class='ipsTabs_panel'> {block="latest_management_links"} </div> </section> In this code we have the top section defining the tabs themselves. Each tab has an ID that we use in the bottom section to determine what content we show in each tab. This is done in the bottom section by adding the ID to the div ID "ipsTabs_elTabBar_HERE_panel". So for example we can add the ID of 1 to show the content for the first tab by adding the number 1 to that ID: "ipsTabs_elTabBar_1_panel".
      What I have done for my setup is to add blocks rather than content directly into the bottom section. For me that make things easier to manage, but you can add it directly to your block if you prefer that. In my code here I am using FontAwesome to create the icons for the tabs. You can just take those out if you prefer not to have icons in your tabs.
      Once this has been done, then you have a block that you can add to any page, just like other blocks. You can see this example live here: https://jimiwikman.se/management/

      I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions on how this works or how to modify it, feel free to add a comment. I will do my best to answer as always. If you have other questions on Invision Community, please use the discussion forum.

      View full blog article
    • By ©Jimi Wikman
      Database relations in Pages is a very powerful way to bring content from different databases into entries of ther databases. In this example I will show you how I added the People in project area in My Projects.

      Creating the Database
      I started by creating a new database called "People Profiles". It will be a database just to hold the data as it will not be publicly presented anywhere outside of the My Projects area. just to make it easier to work with I created a page and added the database to it. I also made the page available only to me so I can use it, but it will not be visible to anyone else.
      Then I decided on the fields that I wanted to use. I want to use an image, so I activated the record image. Then I went through the data I wanted to add:
      Name Title Awesome URL Linkedin URL Instagram URL Twitter URL Homepage URL Working area These are the basic fields. I realized thad I will probably have multiple versions of the profiles depending on when in time I worked with them. To search for the correct profile I would need more information, so I also added a Long Title that i se as the title field. I also added a Notes field to act as the Content field in case I wanted to scribble something down for myself.

       
      Setting up a Database Relationship
      After I added a few profiles it was time to bring them from the People Profiles database into the My Projects database. The first step was to add a new field into the My Projects database of the type "Database Relationship". When creating that I have to choose what database I want to create the relationship to, so I selected People Profiles. In the settings for display options I set a template key so I can reference it later and I unchecked the show in listing template and show in display tempate.

       
      Adding the database relationship in the template
      As I have selected not to display anything in the listing or display templates nothing will happen yet. So new we have to add this to our template for My Projects so we can show the data where we want it. So we head over to Templates in Pages where I have created my own template set for My Projects.
       

       
      Adding custom fields are done by adding a code line. There are some variations on this, but I will not into it in this post. This is the code:
      {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'display')|raw} As you only want to show this field if it is actually not blank, then we wrap that in a condition to only show if it is not blank:
       
      {{if $record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key')}} {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'display')|raw} {{endif}} In my case I also wanted to add some styling and a header. So my code looks like this:
       
      <!- People in Footer --> {{if $record->customFieldDisplayByKey('project_people')}} <div class="project_people_footer"> <h3>People in the Project</h3> <div class='ipsGrid ipsGrid_collapseTablet'> {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('project_people', 'display')|raw} </div> </div> {{endif}}  
      Defining the output in basicRelationship
      Now that we have included the data from the People Profiles database you will see that it is just a link. We want to have more data than that so now we must define what data we want to pull from that database and how we want that to be displayed. We have to do that be editing a theme file called basicRelationship. So we head over to our Theme folder and click the "Edit HTML and CSS" icon to get into the templates. Then under CMS->Global you will find the basicRelationship file.
       

       
      This file is a bit tricky because it defines all database relations. In order for us to target specifically the data coming from People Profiles we need to figure out what ID that database has. We can do that from Pages under Content->Databases which will list all database. If you hover over the edit button over your selected database, then you can see the URL at the bottom of your screen with the ID of the database at the very end.
       

       
      With the ID defined we can add a bit of code to make sure we only target specific databases with our changes:
      {{foreach $items as $id => $item}} {{if $item::$customDatabaseId == 19}} <!-- People database --> {template="BasicRelationship_PeopleProfiles" app="cms" group="basic_relationship_templates" params="$item"} {{elseif $item::$customDatabaseId == 16}} <!-- Author database --> {template="BasicRelationship_author" app="cms" group="basic_relationship_templates" params="$item"} {{else}} <!-- all other databases --> <a class="ipsPages_csv" href="{$item->url()}">{$item->_title}</a> {{endif}} {{endforeach}}  
      Creating Theme Templates instead of just using basicRelationship
      In this code I have added 2 databases (19 and 16) and then I have a fallback for all others at the end that will show the default link. While it is very possible to add the code directly into this template I have used a different approach and instead created separate templates outside and then referenced them in the basicRelationship. This way I can work on the content for each database in a more focused way and the basicRelationship becomes a bit easier to overlook.
      In order to create a new template you go to Create New at the bottom of the template listings. Select HTML template and then fill out the form accordingly.
      Name - the name of the template. Variables - We add $items here since that is what is defined in the foreach loop in basicRelations. Location - Here we select front to place the template in the correct section. Group - I suggest you create your own group here so it is easier for you to find later. Application - Here we select Pages
      If you have done this as I have then you will have your new template located under CMS->Front->basic_relationship_templates. If you have selcted another group, then that is where you will find it instead.
       

       
      Adding data to the theme template
      Now that we have a template for our connection between the databases, then we can start adding the data to it that we want to show in My Projects. This is done in a very similar way as when we add the data to the entry templates. Instead of using $record however we use $item:
      {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'raw')} {{endif}} As I added the default record image that is called a bit differently:
      {file="$item->_record_image_thumb" extension="cms_Records"} You can also reference the title field and the content field with a shorter tag:
      {$item->_title} {$item->_content|raw} In my current code I have nested the fields a bit and I have used the field for working area pretty sloppy, but I think you get the general idea.
      <div class='ipsGrid_span2 people-profiles_card'> <div class="people-profiles_image {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}_image"> <img class="ipsImage {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}" src="{file="$item->_record_image_thumb" extension="cms_Records"}" class=" {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')} {{endif}} " /> </div> <div class="people-profiles_Name"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Name')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Name', 'raw')} {{endif}} </div> <div class="people-profiles_Title"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Title')}} <span class="{{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}">{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Title', 'raw')}</span> {{endif}} </div> <div class="people-profiles_links"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Awesome')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Awesome', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Awesome"><i class="fas fa-id-card"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fas fa-id-card"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Linkedin')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Linkedin', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Linkedin"><i class="fab fa-linkedin"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-linkedin"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Instagram')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Instagram', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Instagram"><i class="fab fa-instagram-square"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-instagram-square"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Twitter')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Twitter', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Twitter"><i class="fab fa-twitter-square"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-twitter-square"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Homepage')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Homepage', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Homepage"><i class="fas fa-home"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fas fa-home"></i> {{endif}} </div> </div>  
      This guide should help you to bring in the data from any database into another database with the styling of your choice. I know this is a pretty short and not very detailed guide, but I hope it was useful anyway. Please add questions and I will improve upon the guide where I am jumping a bit to fast.
      Happy coding!

      View full blog article
    • By ©Jimi Wikman
      Database relations in Pages is a very powerful way to bring content from different databases into entries of ther databases. In this example I will show you how I added the People in project area in My Projects.

      Creating the Database
      I started by creating a new database called "People Profiles". It will be a database just to hold the data as it will not be publicly presented anywhere outside of the My Projects area. just to make it easier to work with I created a page and added the database to it. I also made the page available only to me so I can use it, but it will not be visible to anyone else.
      Then I decided on the fields that I wanted to use. I want to use an image, so I activated the record image. Then I went through the data I wanted to add:
      Name Title Awesome URL Linkedin URL Instagram URL Twitter URL Homepage URL Working area These are the basic fields. I realized thad I will probably have multiple versions of the profiles depending on when in time I worked with them. To search for the correct profile I would need more information, so I also added a Long Title that i se as the title field. I also added a Notes field to act as the Content field in case I wanted to scribble something down for myself.

       
      Setting up a Database Relationship
      After I added a few profiles it was time to bring them from the People Profiles database into the My Projects database. The first step was to add a new field into the My Projects database of the type "Database Relationship". When creating that I have to choose what database I want to create the relationship to, so I selected People Profiles. In the settings for display options I set a template key so I can reference it later and I unchecked the show in listing template and show in display tempate.

       
      Adding the database relationship in the template
      As I have selected not to display anything in the listing or display templates nothing will happen yet. So new we have to add this to our template for My Projects so we can show the data where we want it. So we head over to Templates in Pages where I have created my own template set for My Projects.
       

       
      Adding custom fields are done by adding a code line. There are some variations on this, but I will not into it in this post. This is the code:
      {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'display')|raw} As you only want to show this field if it is actually not blank, then we wrap that in a condition to only show if it is not blank:
       
      {{if $record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key')}} {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'display')|raw} {{endif}} In my case I also wanted to add some styling and a header. So my code looks like this:
       
      <!- People in Footer --> {{if $record->customFieldDisplayByKey('project_people')}} <div class="project_people_footer"> <h3>People in the Project</h3> <div class='ipsGrid ipsGrid_collapseTablet'> {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('project_people', 'display')|raw} </div> </div> {{endif}}  
      Defining the output in basicRelationship
      Now that we have included the data from the People Profiles database you will see that it is just a link. We want to have more data than that so now we must define what data we want to pull from that database and how we want that to be displayed. We have to do that be editing a theme file called basicRelationship. So we head over to our Theme folder and click the "Edit HTML and CSS" icon to get into the templates. Then under CMS->Global you will find the basicRelationship file.
       

       
      This file is a bit tricky because it defines all database relations. In order for us to target specifically the data coming from People Profiles we need to figure out what ID that database has. We can do that from Pages under Content->Databases which will list all database. If you hover over the edit button over your selected database, then you can see the URL at the bottom of your screen with the ID of the database at the very end.
       

       
      With the ID defined we can add a bit of code to make sure we only target specific databases with our changes:
      {{foreach $items as $id => $item}} {{if $item::$customDatabaseId == 19}} <!-- People database --> {template="BasicRelationship_PeopleProfiles" app="cms" group="basic_relationship_templates" params="$item"} {{elseif $item::$customDatabaseId == 16}} <!-- Author database --> {template="BasicRelationship_author" app="cms" group="basic_relationship_templates" params="$item"} {{else}} <!-- all other databases --> <a class="ipsPages_csv" href="{$item->url()}">{$item->_title}</a> {{endif}} {{endforeach}}  
      Creating Theme Templates instead of just using basicRelationship
      In this code I have added 2 databases (19 and 16) and then I have a fallback for all others at the end that will show the default link. While it is very possible to add the code directly into this template I have used a different approach and instead created separate templates outside and then referenced them in the basicRelationship. This way I can work on the content for each database in a more focused way and the basicRelationship becomes a bit easier to overlook.
      In order to create a new template you go to Create New at the bottom of the template listings. Select HTML template and then fill out the form accordingly.
      Name - the name of the template. Variables - We add $items here since that is what is defined in the foreach loop in basicRelations. Location - Here we select front to place the template in the correct section. Group - I suggest you create your own group here so it is easier for you to find later. Application - Here we select Pages
      If you have done this as I have then you will have your new template located under CMS->Front->basic_relationship_templates. If you have selcted another group, then that is where you will find it instead.
       

       
      Adding data to the theme template
      Now that we have a template for our connection between the databases, then we can start adding the data to it that we want to show in My Projects. This is done in a very similar way as when we add the data to the entry templates. Instead of using $record however we use $item:
      {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('your custom field key', 'raw')} {{endif}} As I added the default record image that is called a bit differently:
      {file="$item->_record_image_thumb" extension="cms_Records"} You can also reference the title field and the content field with a shorter tag:
      {$item->_title} {$item->_content|raw} In my current code I have nested the fields a bit and I have used the field for working area pretty sloppy, but I think you get the general idea.
      <div class='ipsGrid_span2 people-profiles_card'> <div class="people-profiles_image {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}_image"> <img class="ipsImage {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}" src="{file="$item->_record_image_thumb" extension="cms_Records"}" class=" {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')} {{endif}} " /> </div> <div class="people-profiles_Name"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Name')}} {$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Name', 'raw')} {{endif}} </div> <div class="people-profiles_Title"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Title')}} <span class="{{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area')}}{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('working-area', 'raw')}{{endif}}">{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Title', 'raw')}</span> {{endif}} </div> <div class="people-profiles_links"> {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Awesome')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Awesome', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Awesome"><i class="fas fa-id-card"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fas fa-id-card"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Linkedin')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Linkedin', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Linkedin"><i class="fab fa-linkedin"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-linkedin"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Instagram')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Instagram', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Instagram"><i class="fab fa-instagram-square"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-instagram-square"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Twitter')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Twitter', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Twitter"><i class="fab fa-twitter-square"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fab fa-twitter-square"></i> {{endif}} {{if $item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Homepage')}} <a href="{$item->customFieldDisplayByKey('people-profiles_Homepage', 'raw')}" class="people-profiles_Homepage"><i class="fas fa-home"></i></a> {{else}} <i class="fas fa-home"></i> {{endif}} </div> </div>  
      This guide should help you to bring in the data from any database into another database with the styling of your choice. I know this is a pretty short and not very detailed guide, but I hope it was useful anyway. Please add questions and I will improve upon the guide where I am jumping a bit to fast.
      Happy coding!
    • By ©Jimi Wikman
      My assignment was to create a new design for a political community called TheLeft. The design would then be implemented using HTML and CSS. The community also needed custom content blocks using Invision Communities Pages module. I created a new structure for that and added blocks for hero banners and other blocks need to create the desired design. I also configured Invision Community and built the structure of information to make it a complete community experience.
    • By ©Jimi Wikman
      In the last few days I have felt a bit creative again after a few weeks of not feeling to good. Most of my cold seem to be gone and I have more energy again. As I work on adding all my raw data into the new software used at work for CV's I feel energized about making changes here as well.
      It is strange how adding data about projects, skills and things like that can inspire, but it does. In a spur of creation I have added some new design aspects of the site. This is directly related to the work I do to add my data into the system at work, or at least it is what inspired me.
      So I have added some new banners for the different sections to be used in various ways. While doing that I also added a value definition for each area and I also broke down each area a bit into smaller portions. This is nothing that will happen soon for content, but it help me define to myself what each section is all about.
      Based on these I also played around a bit with the design for my Portfolio and I think I have something interesting to work with. One side effect of this creative burst is that I think I will update some colors. I realized that the colors for Operations and Security was quite similar. It turned out it was because I had not updated the colors properly in my Sketch file, but I think I will keep them because they felt pretty good.
      So, some interesting new things have seen the light of day and we'll see what comes out of it!
       
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