Platform Updates
Major Platform Updates Completed

Today we have completed the last round of a series of end of the year updates to the platform, we hope you are as excited as we are about this latest update!

Over the last few months, our focus has been on adding consistency to the features and capabilities of the platform; before we develop new features that will be released next year. Consistency improves the experience for you and your members. This update process started with our changes to the Member Administration, moving most member management functions to the front end where you spend most of your time.

In our latest round of development we have improved 5 key areas:

With groups we wanted to deliver more functional, yet versatile features. Thus we have made two exciting new improvements:

  1. Group Events - Enabling group events from your Manage Settings > Group and Profile Settings page. Your Groups can create their own events. This should come in real handy for better organizing local or regional events.
  2. Group Topics Element has been replaced with our new Discussion System. The discussion system (More Details Below) delivers the same features to groups as with the main discussions feature. Plus, when members of a group post topics or replies all members of that group will get an email. To get instructions on the transition to this system, check your Administration Announcements page in your website management bar.

Discussions (Brand New Discussion Feature!)
The new discussions feature will phase out using the Topics Element in groups and eventually replace the forums system. The goal with the new discussion feature is to provide an easy to use, yet versatile discussion platform. Some of the features this new system includes:

  1. Deep category support. This expands upon the existing forums that only allowed for 2 levels of sub categories, by delivering the ability to add an infinite number of sub categories. If you prefer something more simple you can create topics without worrying about or creating categories.
  2. Nested replies, shows the reply directly under the members post with up to 4 reply sub-levels. We find this method will allow users to follow topics more carefully and allow for sub conversations within a topic.
  3. Subscribe to topics - When a member posts, the member has the option to be emailed anytime another member replies to the same topic or when using Discussions within a group, group members are automatically notified.
  4. Lock and Feature Topics - As a moderator or group administrator you can optionally lock or feature topics. This makes it easy to post discussion category rules.
  5. Approval options, allows you to get a notice when a new topic is posted and approve it before appearing.
  6. Set the viewing level by category so that only users with the correct access can view and enter a category of discussions.

Downloads (File Sharing)
We have completely re-written the file sharing system to make it easier to understand and more flexible. Some features include:

  1. Category support! You can now arrange your downloads by category, and you can set if you want your default page view to be a full file list or by category.
  2. File Type Icons, your files will have an attractive icon telling what type of file is uploaded.
  3. New options to control if you want comments and ratings enabled for files.
  4. Uploading is much easier then before with on page file uploading and editing.
  5. Approval options to approve new additions before the file displays on the website.
  6. Ability to feature files.

Member Subscriptions
We have enhanced some of the management features to make it easier to update subscription date and cancel subscribers.

  1. Editing and deleting of subscribers has been added so you can manually change the due date of a subscriber account.
  2. We have made some minor changes to the subscription signup page to make it a little more customizable.

We have really made some cool changes here, by giving categories more uses for more systems. Some of the improvements include;

  1. Most systems now offer a category view option (Wiki, Videos, File Sharing, Groups, Chat, Discussions). The category view changes the listing to show categories first rather then the list of items. This will help deliver more organization to your website.
  2. Categories now include a description box and will soon offer a who can view this category selection similar to the discussion categories. 

In the near future we also plan to allow control over approving content by category. Thus you can have some categories where content is published right away and other categories that require approval of the topic before it is published.

Other improvements:

Email notification option on comment boxes! To improve the conversation on this feature, member can subscribe to all comment boxes, thus when someone replies an email will be dispatched.

We have also preformed a list of bug fixes and other improvements that should increase overall page load time.


We want to thank you for being a part of Spruz! If you have problems or issues related to this update please go to our support request page and open a ticket, this will help us track the issue better and allows us to collect more information about the problem from you.

New Platform Update - Changes to Member Management

Today we released a new update to the platform that moves all member management features to the front end of the site. The solves issues where administrators wanted to give access for more control over member accounts without having to give full site admin permissions away. This update is part of a larger platform update that is currently in development.

Here is a brief list of improvements and changes;

  1. Profile Moderators can now edit all profile information on an account. This includes moderating the Profile Questions entered.
  2. Profile Moderators can also change Privacy and Notification Settings for members.
  3. Banning of IP and Email Addresses has been added. You can customize this by going to Manage Site > Settings > Manage Settings > Login and Registration. On this page you would list IP's and Emails of accounts you no longer want to access your login or registration pages.
  4. Self Deactivation of accounts has been removed. If a member wants to remove their account you must do it for them or tell them to turn off the notification settings if you want to keep the member in the database.
  5. Member Accounts will be regularly purged for inactivate accounts that have not logged into your website for over a year.
  6. When using the search members box, the search will also search in emails. Thus you can enter a users email address to quickly find a user account.

We understand this change will be an adjustment for some. However we are open to your feedback if we have left out a feature you might have been used to on the platform.

This update is part of a larger platform update in the works. This update will be rolled out in phases and should be completed by Christmas.

 Here is a sneak peak:

  1. We are working on changing the permission systems in the platform for the old access level method, to using roles. Roles will add more flexibility in how you can structure your website moderation hierarchy, by allowing you to create your own roles for members and administrators
  2. New Discussions system that will be far easier to use and navigate. This will also replace the current topics systems used for groups by giving groups their own Discussion categories.
  3. Groups are being re-worked to better tie into the other features of the site. Including Events, Photos, Videos and Blogs. Allowing these systems to be categorized by the group member posting to them.

Like with any update, if you encounter problems or issues please report them to us via a support ticket!

UPDATE 11/11/11

Thank you for your feedback, we understand sometimes changes are released that do not agree well with some. Keep in mind that we release and make changes based on user feedback. While sometimes updates don't seem like an improvement, we must make changes to advance the platform.

In this latest change we see we under estimated the value of sorting members in the list. We have elected to return the backend member list. While keeping the management of members on the profile page.

This update has already been applied.


Membership Registration System Changes

Today we will release a new update that greatly changes how site membership is handled. In the past when a member registered on your site they registered with the Spruz Platform as a whole. The reason behind this was to make it easy for users to join other websites in the Spruz network, along with a list of other advantages (Spam Prevention, Platform Administration, Support, Etc). However this has proven to have some disadvantages. The main problem with this method was a member remembering they registered on another Spruz website. Thus when a user registered in some cases they would get the "You Already have an account" message. This has caused confusion for users of websites in the past and at this stage we would rather eliminate this problem. To do this we had to rewrite the membership core of the platform so that when members join your site, they are truly your members!

In our goal of improving Spruz we have removed Spruz Single Signin. Now when members register, they are only registered on your website and no where else.

By rolling this update we have added some new features that improve your administration over members.

  1. Manually Adding of Member Accounts - Now from your member page administrators can manually add members. This should make things much easier for admins on private or invite only websites.
  2. Manually Confirm Emails - In the past the only methods of confirming an email account where for the member to get the email and click the link. However we are aware sometimes spam filters stand in the way. Now the site administrator can manually confirm the email for the end user.
  3. Reset Member Passwords - When viewing the member details of a member from your member management page you can now click the Reset Password link to reset the users password to an auto generated password.

Also included with this update are a range of other bug fixes and performance enhancements.

If you encounter issues, problems, errors with this update please report them via support ticket at

We will not troubleshoot issues via comments!!! Comments related to problems or issues will be removed.


Chat Room, Member Photo and Other Improvements

We have released a major platform publish today that addresses a number of areas including Member Photos, Chat, and Activity Feeds.

Member Photo Improvements and Changes
We have changed how member photos are handled to make the system easier for your members to use and for you to moderate. If you want to offer photo uploading and collections for your members you will need to have the Photos page added to your site.

  • You can now turn on the option to Approve Photos Uploaded by members.
  • Members no longer have to create a photo collection before uploading photos. We have added a default un-assigned collection for photos freshly uploaded.
  • You can separately set who can moderate photos uploaded by members.

Chat Room Improvements and New Features
With the Chat Room you will see as the most dramatic change and was a big focus in this update. We have replaced the service we use for the chat room, added multi-room support and more. The chat room has also been changed to a pay feature and comes with any of our plans. Free users will have a 30 day trial of this feature.

  • Now you and your users can create more then one chat room. Now Spruz is the only social website platform that supports user created chat rooms!
  • The Chat Software is now powered by Skysa rather than Tinychat. Plus Spruz has been given the chance to use Skysa's new integrated video chat (which is currently in beta) before it is publicly released to Skysa users next month.
  • Configurable chat moderation control allows you to set the access level required to moderate rooms created.
  • Set the access for who can create new rooms. Room Creators are automatically moderator over the room they created.
  • Setting to Allow Non Registered site members to join rooms. This will allow people to join a chat room without being a registered member of your site.
  • Friends only setting that will create a room where only friends of the room creator can join it.
  • Options to disable video chat on all chat rooms or by the room.
  • Room Description Field for setting more details about a room, rules, etc.
  • Customize your own bad word filters so make the language used in chat as clean as you want.
  • Sharing Tools that make it easy for users to share a room.

Some of the other features of the new chat room include;

  • User Customization Styling - A user can change their style of text and background of their messages in chat. Their style changes are remembered from across different chat rooms and sessions.
  • Smilies - 25 fun smilies to use in chat.
  • User Message Highlight - Hover over a user in the right column and all their messages in the conversation will be highlighted.
  • Auto Linking - Paste in any URL into your chat message and it will auto link allowing other people to click and visit the location in a new window.
  • Image URL Support - Paste in a URL of an image and the image will show up in your conversation and in the Media tab of the right column.
  • YouTube Video URL Support - Paste in a URL of a YouTube video and the video will show in your conversation fully playable. Videos shared in chat also show in the Media tab of the right column.
  • Out of View Message Notification - If you are scrolled up (perhaps viewing a photo or video) in the chat room and a new message comes in, the message and sender info will show at the bottom of the conversation area allowing you to keep track of what is going on.
  • Audio/Video Chat - Use your webcam to chat with others in the room.
  • Shared White Board - Start a shared whiteboard and allow other users in the chat room to join you for a fun and useful shared drawing experience.
  • Shared Document Editing - Start a shared document editing session and you and other users can collaborate on documents in real time.
  • Welcome Message - Set a friendly welcome message which everyone will see at the top of the conversation when they join the room.
  • Go to Profile - Click on a user in the right column and have the option to go to their profile in a new window.
  • Ignore - Click on a user in the right column and you have the option to ignore them. When a person is ignored all their previous conversation messages are hidden and no new ones are displayed. You can always un-ignore them too.
  • @ User - Send a conversation message flagged for a particular user by clicking the @ button on a previous message of theirs. Your @ message shows up in the conversation with a label showing it is directed at that user.

Other improvements

  • Activity Feeds now record all activity items. Example: If a user posted 3 discussions over a 60 minute period the activity feed used to only display the most recently posted discussion. This was done to prevent very active users from drowning out the activity feeds. However thanks to user feedback the feeds now record all activity as it happens with the exception of a 60 second delay filter.
  • New Manage Features Admin Section. Under the Your Site manage menu we have added a new Manage Features option. This quickly lists the installed features of your site, show how many items are in each and if you have any items to approve if require approval is turned on. You can also quickly edit the options of each feature from this area. The goal of this addition was to add another more easy way to customize and control the features of your site.
  • We have expanded the year selection when a user registers to leave it up to the site owners what to do with users under 14 years of age.

Like any update the introduces new features there is the chance of having bugs, issues or things that might be off. So please do not post issues in comments, open a support request to report a problem.

Word Filter and other improvements

We have a small list of recent changes to inform you about today. Over the last few platform publishes we have rolled out some cool tweaks to various areas of the platform.

Word Filter Improvements!
We have completely overhauled this feature to make it more powerful. This change required us to start over from scratch, thus you will need to resave your customized word filters by simply going to your Word filter page and clicking the save button.

Some new features you will enjoy include ability to set case matching, and if you want to replace only whole words or not. You will also notice that the area to customize your sites word filters has moved to the Manage Settings pages.

New Advanced Options for Email and Default site domain!
We have new settings in the advanced options section of your website settings to give you more control:

Set a Default Domain: This feature is very handy in case you upgrade and add your own domain name but don't want to lose the traffic from your domain. You can select a domain name to use by default and our system will forward all your traffic onto the domain default. This is really useful to improve your site's SEO as well.

Customize your SMTP Service: While we offer basic email sending with all websites, in some cases you need more then that. You can now customize these settings to allow you to set your own SMTP service. Using an SMTP service can give you more options like email tracking, increase message deliverability, open/click rates and more with your email. One solution we recommend for this is Socket Labs.

File Manager Improvements!
Uploading in the file manager has been improved and simplified. Now, instead of having a "Finish Uploading" button, the current directory automatically updates to show the newly uploaded files after all of them have completed.

New Design Option!
A new design option has been added to allow additional CSS files to be linked to. The option is at Appearance > Advanced > External CSS on your site manage bar. One of the biggest things this option allows is a wider selection of fonts that are viewable to all your visitors. Find out how to use this feature to add custom fonts to your site here:

Rich Text Area Improvements!
We have added support for copied image codes in the insert image tool in the editor. Now the insert image tool is able to detect an image html code that a user pasts into the URL field. If it detects this HTML code it will automatically extract the image URL without the user needing to do anything different.

We have added a loading preview placeholder for the editor. This way people with slower connections/computers will see the editor preview while the editor is loading instead of a blank space. Additionally, the editor now has live spell-checking turned on by default

Theme Library Improvement!
We have improved the styling and streamlined the theme selection process. As part of this change, the theme you select will now show in a live preview of your site behind the theme selection dialog. This allows a much better look at what your site will look like with that theme before you apply it without having to preview the theme in a popup window.

Bug Fixes!
As always we have corrected a number of bugs and issues reported by our Spruz website creators, like an issue with staying logged in when using a domain, and corrected a problem where some RSS feeds were not loading correctly to name a few.

We have a number of different areas on the platform we are working on, features that we hope to see released by the end of June include new improved photo systems to make uploading and managing all image content on your site much easier, and more API Features.

As always if you encounter bugs or issues please do not post about it in the comments. Open a support request please!



This website is powered by Spruz