XF 2.2 Search forums, SEO improvements and dev team news

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 10.47.31.pngA new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

forum-search-list.png


Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

forum-search-view.png
The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

forum-search-add.pngAdd-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.




tl;dr

 
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beerForo

Well-known member
If the new Search Forums node was "Search Content" and was able to pull from Resources and Media Gallery, that would be a game changer imo.

I'd even make a homepage out of it and leave the criteria blank just to get an integrated list of content.
 
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Alpha1

Well-known member
Welcome @Jeremy P I had my suspicions and am glad you are on board.
Now that the staff is expanded, is any developer focusing specifically on official addons?
There was some consideration to hire one more developer some months ago. Is XenForo planning to further expand the development team?
 

TickTackk

Well-known member
Welcome @Jeremy P I had my suspicions and am glad you are on board.
Now that the staff is expanded, is any developer focusing specifically on official addons?
There was some consideration to hire one more developer some months ago. Is XenForo planning to further expand the development team?
but also introduce you to some new members of the XenForo team
Think they have already decided.
 

ALMUSA

Well-known member
Great improvement, can we have the nofollow tag also applicable to admins and moderators as well because Google sometimes regard websites as spam based on the amount of do dofollow links.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Whether a link is nofollow'd is controlled by a permission now, so you can specifically apply it to your admins and moderators if you want. (Or more correctly, not disable it.) It's up to how you want to set it up. Some people may want "trusted" users to have their links dofollowed.
 

sbj

Well-known member
I am very happy about that XF hired @Jeremy P. He is around for years now and is one of the last helping devs in the dev section. He knows his stuff from what I can tell and was always very helpful towards many people. Good choice!

About the new search forums:

Can we base the criteria on prefixes? What about custom thread fields?
Can we display the threads not on a node but within a page/thread?

For example, let's say I have 1000 threads with the custom thread field city "New York". Now it would be great if I could list all these threads (titles) on a single page node or on the first post of a thread.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Can we base the criteria on prefixes? What about custom thread fields?
Can we display the threads not on a node but within a page/thread?
It's powered by the same system that powers batch update threads, so you can look at that on your forum to understand the general criteria options there, though there are a couple tweaks in 2.2. It does support both prefix and custom field components.

As it stands, you wouldn't be able to display it within a page without custom development. There was a question earlier about a widget that would make that more viable.
 

Russ

Well-known member
I just realized the filter bar is gone in the search node screenshot. Is that intentional that you can't sort further once viewing the search node?
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
As it stands, yes and this is something we debated about. Given that there are limits to the number of results, filtering/re-sorting will potentially give incorrect/misleading results.
 

sbj

Well-known member
Can we declare an existing node as a search forum? So we can create threads in it just like usually but it also grabs threads from other nodes based on our criteria?
 

DragonByte Tech

Well-known member
Can we declare an existing node as a search forum? So we can create threads in it just like usually but it also grabs threads from other nodes based on our criteria?
I don't believe you can change the node type for an existing node, and as such I strongly doubt you'd be able to do so here.

Nodes have entirely different templates (hence why you can't change node on the "Add Node" screen) and entirely different handling, and converting would cause problems from what I can tell.
 

NicolasZN

Well-known member
I don't believe you can change the node type for an existing node, and as such I strongly doubt you'd be able to do so here.
Indeed, you cannot - which is one of my chief annoyances with having a forum that was imported from another software.
I have a whole bunch of empty forum nodes that on XF would better be "category" nodes, but on my previous software categories were only on the index and for additional category-like nodes you made a forum node and just changed a toggle for "allow posts" to "no". Now I can't make them categories and it'd be a lot of work to replace them all. :(

I know it's a niche enough complaint not to warrant a suggestion, though. xD
 

sbj

Well-known member
I don't believe you can change the node type for an existing node, and as such I strongly doubt you'd be able to do so here.

Nodes have entirely different templates (hence why you can't change node on the "Add Node" screen) and entirely different handling, and converting would cause problems from what I can tell.
So, let's say I have this setup and I want to mirror the children nodes in the parent forum.

Category 1
---Node 1
------ Sub 1
------ Sub 2
------ Sub 3

From what I understand I need to create another node where the type is "search forum", and then mirror Node 1 and Sub 1-3 in it? I can't mirror Sub 1-3 in the parent forum, I have to create an arbirtary node to be able to do that.

Perhaps as a workaround, one shouldn't create category nodes anymore and replace them with "search forums". That would kill 1 arbitrary node but it is not ideal...

Search Forum 1
---Node 1
------ Sub 1
------ Sub 2
------ Sub 3
 
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