Luna 2.1 and 3.0: where to next

It has been 5 months since our last feature update – Luna 2.0 Emerald – and in that time, development has come to a stand-still for a while. Earlier this month, we released Luna 2.0.4 and 2.0.5 to fix a number of issues. However, just to reassure you guys that we’re still working on this project – yay – I would like to tell you guys how it is going in our 3 development branches right now (being 2.0, 2.1 and 3.0).

Luna “Emerald” 2.0 Update 6

We’re currently investigating a number of bugs that have been reported over the month and will provide a new release somewhere later this month to address those issues. Version 2.0.6 will probably be the last pre-2.1 patch for Luna 2.0. 2.0.7 will likely coincide with the 2.1-release. As used to be the case with Luna 1.x, the Luna 2.0.x-series will continue to receive bug fixes until the release after 2.1 is made available.

Luna “Fallow” 2.1

Fallow is our next minor update, it will be mostly some more polish, bug fixes and minor new features. Fallow might turn out to be our smallest feature-update yet. Don’t expect to much from this update. We currently are planning to improve the spoiler-tag and are giving the thread-view in Sunrise a new design. Other new features might join in later as well as development continues.

Luna 3.0

Luna 3.0 is our next major milestone and as always, we want to rewrite most, if not all, of the core of Luna to give ourselves a more modern codebase to build upon. I currently do not have an ETA on when the first alpha release will be made available. There is a “version3.0”-branch available on GitHub, however, I do not recommend you to download that code, let alone use it (in a production environment) as it will remove a lot of features and data from your database. We’ll have more to share later.

Luna 2.0 “Emerald” Now Available

It has been a while since our last stable release (January 1st, version 1.3.1), but today we’re proud to announce the availability of Luna 2.0 “Emerald”. Today’s update is not only a massive feature update, it is also an important patch as it fixes a number of bugs in Luna 1.3. This is basically also a 1.3.2 that we never released.

Hold your horses; Luna 2.0?!
Notable might be that this is Luna 2.0. “Is that huge project of yours already done?” you might ask. The answer to that is: nope, it’s not. The reason this is suddenly Luna 2.0 is because we follow Semantic Versioning and that system doesn’t allow us to use version 1.4 with the changes that are in this update like we planned to do at first.

The project I’ve been working on for a long time now will continue to go on, but it will get released as Luna 3 instead of Luna 2. However, to keep confusion out of the equation, I’ll refer to future updates solely by their name and no longer by their version as that is much less likely to change.

Luna 2.0 is an update that you don’t want to miss. Not only does it come with “some” visual improvements to both Fifteen, Sunrise and the Backstage, but it also comes with its fair share of new features, bug fixes, security improvements, general code improvements and so much more. Certainly worth it.

Fifteen 2.0 and Sunrise 3.0
Last year, with the Denim-update, we included a redesigned Sunrise theme. This time around, we felt it was time to give Fifteen its first substantial update since the Aero-update. Our goal was to make the theme more consistent, better for desktop, but also better for mobile, more accessible, easier on the eyes, simpler and look much more polished. And I think we did a great job.

home

The inspiration for Fifteen 2.0 comes from the Airalin theme I’m currently designing for Luna Glitter. Although this is a prototype of that theme, it looks – if I may say so myself – stunning. Even if you disagree, you must admit that it looks much better than some of the default themes other forum software come with.

sidebar

One of the much requested features we got was to give forums more of a visual identity in the sidebar: show us the color! So we did. The forum’s color is now indicated with a colored stripe on the left hand side.

thread

Another much requested feature was to show some more information about people on the thread view: mainly the comment count and title where missed by many. So both of these are back now too. We also made avatars slightly bigger.

profile

Another major change we made was to the profile. Profile, Inbox, Notifications and Settings got a major redesign to all fit together much better. Especially the Settings-page doesn’t feel disjointed anymore. The profile’s personal details now also have a better look and draw more attention.

At Sunrises side of the fence, major thing have changed. Sunrise is once again no longer a stand-alone theme. Instead, it is a child-theme based on Fifteen like it used to be before the Denim-update. The result is that most of its design is now aligned with that of Fifteen. With the obvious exceptions.

sunrise

As always was the plan with Sunrise, it is forums that have the main spot, not threads. The redesigned index shows you a nice looking overview of all forums, and in the sidebar you can find the most recent activity feed like it used to be since Denim.

Night mode, revamped
We’ve also decided to take a second look at the night mode. Night mode is a system we introduced back in the day with the Bittersweet Shimmer-update and allowed users to automatically (or forced) switch to a dark UI for during the night. We’ve redesigned the Night mode theme for both Fifteen, Sunrise and the Backstage to provide more contrast and a cleaner and more unified look.

nightmode

Make it yours
With Luna 2.0, we wanted to provide a more customizable experience. And that’s exactly what we did, with 5 new features. First off, you can now add your customized CSS to themes that support it (and obviously, Sunrise and Fifteen do support it). This will allow you to make minor changes to your theme without the need to edit the themes directly and thus make upgrading harder, or making a child theme which is quiet complex for just 1 (or more) (minor) change(s).

Secondly, because we’re well aware that branding is probably important to you, you can now choose to replace the default placeholder avatar with your own. Third, both Fifteen and Sunrise (as well as the Backstage) support a new feature we call “Header image”, you can now upload an image that is to be used as the background for the header. The result is some beautiful design. Fourth, Luna now comes with a default favicon that you can also replace right from the Backstage. And finally, we’ve added 3 new accent colors for you to choose from: Dark Red, Pink and Beige.

Notification improvements
Further, we’re dropping the capability of marking notifications as read or removing them straight from the fly-out. Instead, when you click on a notification, you’re now not just directed to the notification’s link, but the notification is automatically marked as read. In the notification page on your profile, you can now also mark individual notifications as read or remove the individually. You’ll notice that when you’ve got unread notifications, the notification center icon will fade in and out to draw your attention.

Further, we’ve added a couple of events for when Luna will give you a new notification. First of all, when a new report is filed by an user, every moderator and administrator will now get notified of this through the Notification Center, regardless of the chosen report method. Secondly, you’ll also receive a notification when there is a new thread in a forum you’re subscribed to.

Password security
Ever since ModernBB 1.6, we’ve been using SHA-1 encryption – without salt – to store passwords in the database. Not anymore. We’ve decided to kick out this weak encryption in favor of its much stronger brother SHA-512. Not only that, but we now also use salt. Accounts need to be migrated to this; this happens when the user logs in for the first time after the Emerald-update has been applied. Note that you’re users won’t be able to change their password until they start a new session since the upgrade.

Inbox replies
Another much requested feature was the capability to respond to Inbox messages just like you can respond to threads: right from the message view. And this is now possible as you’ll see that a new Editor field has been added to the bottom of the threads. Talking about the Editor…

Editor improvements
We’ve also taken a look at our editor. The editor has come a long way and the Emerald update is mainly a matter of how we handle its interface on mobile devices. Instead of just dropping buttons, we now hide buttons under a new ellipses menu, making the editor in general more user friendly. You’ll also see the editor pop up in Inbox threads, as we now support quick comments in there too!

editor

Going multilingual: Dutch and more translation improvements
The Emerald-update is the first Luna release that comes with 2 languages. In addition to English, we now officially support Dutch too and thus a Dutch language package is included in the core. Note that this doesn’t mean that we will be providing support in Dutch on our official forums, that is still English-only.

Besides that, we’ve also taken a look at the number of strings that need to be translated and kicked some that where not useful out. Strings that where to similar have also been merged. The final result is much less work for translators to translate Luna! And finally, it is now possible to translate the “About” page.

Right to Left
We’ve talked about it in the past, but this time around it is finally here. Luna now support Right to Left languages like Persian fully (that doesn’t mean we’ve got Persian included in the core).

rtl

Revamped Backstage
We’ve decided to port the new structure for the Backstage from Fallow to Emerald. The result is a more logically structured Backstage. One of the many improvements can be summed up in a simple example: all BBCode settings are now located under “BBCode”. It’s the first time since ModernBB 2 that we’ve reworked the structure of the Backstage as much as we did, and I’m going to be honest: it was long overdue, so here you go.

Additionally, we’ve cleaned up the Backstage interface a lot too. First of all we dropped the title of every page to make more space for the actual settings. Second, the interface now has a more refreshing UI. Third, the night mode got completely revamped to be more accessible. Fourth, the Backstage now has a footer. Fifth, the Index has been revamped to be more useful. Sixth (we keep going!), the user search and ban search forms are now fully responsive and finally we cleaned up much of the Backstage logic.

Board management
The “Board”-page has received a major revamp of itself. We’ve merged the forum and category positioning settings so that you can now update the whole structure of your board all at once. Not only that, but we’ve also added name, icon and color settings to this interface for you to edit all at once as well. We’ve also addressed the issues with sub forums. In the management interface, sub forums can no longer appear in another category as their parent and sub forums will always be shown below their parent. Further more, to make sub forums more obvious, they now have a small margin on the right.

board

Reports and comments
Another page that got a massive update is the Reports-page. This is mainly a visual overhaul, although it comes with its own fair share of improvements. First of all, when a comment is reported, it’s content is now also shown in the report. Second, we provide direct links to delete and edit a comment right from the report UI.

Another new management feature we’ve added is “Admin note” for comments, this allows you to add a note that is visible to anyone reading the comment to, for example, warn for a certain praktisch in that comment. For example, if someone shares a link to illegal or shocking content you can edit the comment to remove it and put in a warning that you don’t accept the content from the comment as a reminder to everyone.

Other changes

  • Revamped search results to give you more info and context about the result.
  • Advanced search has a cleaner UI in Fifteen.
  • Emoji’s are now enabled by default.
  • The emoji set has been updated.
  • SQLite 3 support has been improved and we’ve taken away the “Experimental” label from the adapter.
  • Support for PHP 5.2 and lower has been gone for long, but now we’ve also dropped the code that made it possible in the first place.
  • You can no longer manage your database from Luna’s Backstage.
  • You can no longer add new users through the Backstage.
  • Notifications can now take more than 1 line in the fly-out.
  • We’ve done some cleanups in the database.
  • Themes can no longer include their own options (because the lack of use of it) and no longer need to include a logo and screenshot.
  • Also, themes now have a new folder structure.
  • Enabling debug mode now also whos the query table in the Backstage.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs.
  • And a whole lot of other things!

How to upgrade
As usually, we strongly recommend you to create a back-up of your board’s database and files. We test Lune extensively but some issues that could do harm to your database can always go unnoticed.

As an additional note, due to the nature of Luna 2.0 (with many files being move around) we strongly recommend you to remove all folders and files that are part of the Luna core except for the avatar directory and its contents and your config.php file (and your database-file if you are using SQLite). Obviously, you do this AFTER you have backed-up and before you upgrade your board. After the files are removed, you just put the Luna 2.0 files in your root and visit your board to trigger the upgrade.

What follows
Now that Emerald has become the Luna 2.0 update, the question might rise: “Is there going to be a Luna 2.1?”. The answer is yes. I don’t want to waste a major version number to just one feature release. Luna 2.1 is now the Fallow-update. We’ll also start development of what we’re currently calling the Glitter-update, which will be a major revision of the forum software.

Luna 2.0 beta 1 now available

After kicking off a series of 7 alpha releases, we’re now ready to show you guys the first beta of Luna 2.0. Despite not being the big update we announced originally as Luna 2.0 (which is now moved to what will probably become Luna 3.0), this update comes with a ton of new features and enhancements.

However, unlike previous releases, I’m not going to list every single update since Preview 7 or Luna 1.3 for that matter. Instead, I would like to direct you guys to the Luna Preview page and scroll down to get an overview of what’s new in this upgrade for Luna.

As always, be aware that you’re dealing with pre-release software. Despite this being a beta, it can still contain critical bugs. We would like for you guys to test out this new release, for translators, now would probably be the time you start preparing for Luna 2.0. As we’re now in beta stage, we’ll only fix bugs and improve accessibility so usually, no updated language strings will get included. Or at least not more than a few.

2015: A year in review and a year in preview

So… I wrote this post at the end of 2016, but forgot to post it. So here we go…


2015 was a big year for us. We release Luna 1.0, a major update to our software. And we also released the final ModernBB release. Let’s take a look at what we did this year:

We released 19 development versions (alphas), 13 pre-release versions (betas and RCs), 4 final versions (Aero, Bittersweet Shimmer, Cornflower Blue and Denim) and 19 updates (x.x.1-releases). In total, we released 55 versions of Luna. We also had 2 ModernBB-releases (version 3.7 and 4.0). This brings us on a total of 57 releases in 1 year. That’s up 17 from last year’s 40 releases and quiet a bit up from 2013’s 23 releases.

I’m also very happy with our download count. Compared to last year, we had a 60% year over year growth for the counted downloads. The bad news is, in the period of June to early November, we – sadly – didn’t count all downloads, so this could have been more.

But what will 2016 bring? Well…

First of all, I hope we’ll be releasing less updates. Sure, updates are fine, but some of the past year’s updates shouldn’t have happened. I hope that Luna 2.0 will bring along a more stable platform then 1.0.0, 1.1.0 and 1.2.0 have been so far (Luna 1.3.0 is doing just fine, though). I’ve also noticed that well, I should be a little bit more critical about contributions made by the community. Don’t get me wrong: I love that people help out with Luna and that’s more then welcome. But some commits shouldn’t have happened either and I’m not to happy about some of the directions Luna has been going into the past year (and Luna 2 will revert these directions).

What I do hope is that 2016 will bring Luna 2.0. This won’t be for the coming months, I can tell that already. The first preview might, though. Luna 2.0 is probably going to be the final major update. Future updates will probably be more focused like the x.1-updates. Don’t worry, we’ll eventually get to Luna 3.0, but I’m hoping to adapt a more rolling-release-ish scheme for updates after the Luna 2.0-update is done. More on that later. I hope we’ll have a great 2016. I’m actually certain of it.


So now that I failed to put this one up on January 1st, 2016, I actually can reflect on what I said back than already. Where we’ve released 57 builds in 2015 in total, this year, we’ve only released 3 versions so far (1.3.1, 1.4-alpha.1 and 1.4-alpha.2). So to that matter, we’re on the right track. I hope 1.4 to be a very stable update from the get-go, despite it having some changes that are potentially dangerous.

Luna 1.4 Preview 1 now available

It has been a while since our latest update: Luna 1.3 was released last year on Christmas day and the last patch followed on New Year. Now, we’re ready for the next step as we approach the launch of Luna 1.4 “Emerald”. Today we’re releasing the first of a series of Previews to show you what’s new.

Fifteen 2.0
As promised, we’re bringing the Luna 2 design (or at least an early concept of it) to Luna 1.x. Luna 1.4 Preview contains a reimagined Fifteen theme based on this concept. We’re still working on it and the light grey accent color is currently a little broken, but it is a first step towards this new UI.

Password security
Todays Preview also brings much better secured passwords, as they now use salts and SHA-512 instead of SHA-1 like Luna 1.3 and prior used to. Just like the new design, this is a feature backported from Luna 2.

New night-mode
Together with Fifteen 2.0, we also introduce a much improved and much cleaner looking night mode for the Fifteen theme. Minor adjustments to this mode are coming in later builds.

New editor
The editor has been revamped to have a more mobile-friendly toolbar. The mobile editor no longer just removes buttons, but instead hides them under the new ellipses menu.


And well, that’s it. For now. We have put our main focus on Fifteen and the password update, both being features we backported from Luna 2.0. Later previews will also come with some new features. We’re planning a couple of other stuff:

Improved Backstage night mode
The Backstage will receive an updated night mode, mainly focused om some serious consistency fixes compared to the current version.

Sunrise 2.1
Sunrise will also receive an update, mainly focused on bug fixes but also bring along some minor design improvements.

Revamped search results
Search results will be more informative, the goal is to make search results look more like the threads do today.

All by all, most of the changes are visual updates and some minor feature improvements. The reason should be obvious: we’re focusing feature development on Luna 2 and I’ll reiterate: it’s coming along nicely. The work on Backstage is progressing very well and I’m hoping to have a first preview ready soon. Anyway, before updating to Luna 1.4, I’ve got a few words to say:

Make. A. Back-up. Luna 1.4 Preview 1 messes with the users-table in your database, more specifically, the password and salt fields. These are 2 fields that you really don’t want any damage too, so make sure you can always go back to Luna 1.3.1 and can restore at least the users table. Damage might not be reparable!

Round-up #18 – Backstage 6: managing categories and forums

When building forum software, one of the most important pages in an admin panel – or Backstage in our case – is the page that actually contains the settings to manage the forums and categories you make available to your users. Today’s Backstage doesn’t do a really good job at that, so with the next major revamp coming up as part of Luna 2.0, I would like to take a look with you guys to how the new management page will work.

luna13

Above, you see a screenshot of how the state is today. The above screenshot comes from our official board. And while it is in theory fine to work with, there are in fact more than just one usability issue.

First off: you can’t edit categories and forums at once. If you would change the position of your forums and the position and name of your categories and hit either “Save” in “Edit forums” or “Edit categories”, only the changes in the panel you would click “Save” on would be saved. And that’s bad.

Secondly, and this is more important to touch-enabled devices, the “Edit” and “Remove” buttons are next to each other, without any space in between. While hitting the “Remove” button will trigger a confirmation, this is once again bad design.

Then there is the inconsistency of what you can edit in the overview: why can you only change the position of the forums within their own categories, yet you can change the name and position of categories? Why can’t you change the name of a forum too? Why can’t you change even more than that?

Another issue we’ve heard complains about is that child forums aren’t indicated at all. In fact, in Luna 1.3 it is possible to assign a parent to a forum and put that same child into another category and this overview would actually display it as such. Finally, the current design isn’t responsive either, which brings problems on small screens.

And all of that is actually kinda bad news. So we set out to do better with Luna 2.0 and the result was us redesigning the whole thing. The result is this:

luna20

And above you can see the result (as it stands now). First things first, these category titels “General” and “Browsers” are editable. They are text fields designed to not look like text fields. Below these category titles, you see an actual text field with numbers in. These are the position fields. As you can see, individual forums have them too. These fields will be present in the first couple of Previews of Luna 2.0 but we hope to kick them out of the software before the final release gets out, replacing it with a drag and drop system.

Anyway, to the forum settings, as you can see, the forums are now listed as colored bars (these colors are the colors you assign to them) and we’ve included their icons in the names if set. The edit button now appears in the bar too. If you want to edit just basic settings, you can click on the titles of the boards and their card will open, showing you settings for the name, position, icon and color. You’ll also see an option to remove a board and one that shows the forum is enabled. That later one is a new settings that allows you to temporary hide forums without the need of changing all permissions. You will be able to change it in Preview 1, but it won’t do anything just yet (because we’ll wait with that until the Mainstage gets its revamp).

As you can see, the “Bootstrap” and “Font Awesome” forums aren’t aligned to the left as all the others. This is because they are children of “Announcements”. There is now a visual hint! Additionally, even if you would put these forums before “Announcements” or in another category, they will still appear under “Announcements”.

And finally, you can now save both category and forum settings at once. It sounds like a small changes, but it is big and a serious leap ahead in managing your board. It’s all these enhancements that make Luna 2.0 already a better place to be. Menu management has actually a similar interface (only there aren’t categories and sub forums, of course).

We’re really looking forward to ship the first version of Luna 2.0 somewhere later this winter. We don’t have an ETA at this point, but the progress is promising and it would be awesome if we could get out our first preview somewhere in February. Stay tuned for more details and more looks into the next version of Luna!

Luna 1.3.1 now available

We’ve come a long way. A really long one. Exactly one year ago, today, we released Luna 0.2.1 back then known as the Luna Preview 2 NEWED-update. ‘t Was to celebrate the New Year. This time around, we’ve got Luna 1.3.1 ready for you. It’s a much smaller update than 0.2.1 was, but still a nice improvement nonetheless. So, lets go over what changes:

We’ve solved some issues, these include a missing leading zero in timestamps displayed in the notification fly-out, an issue that caused threads that where moved and close to only display one of the 2 labels, new installations assigning an unexisting value to the announcement type and the “solved” and “important” labels not showing up in search results. We’ve also fixed an issue where the updater would attempt to add the same column twice, while that doesn’t cause issues, it is an unnecessary action either way.

However, todays update also comes with other minor changes, including a more consistent order in which we display the thread labels. We’ve also included Sunrise 2.0.1 (and Fifteen 1.3.1), which comes with minor visual improvements. Another change is that Luna will now hide search fields and options based on the permissions of the user, in earlier version, these where still usable but would give a “No permissions”-error. We’ve also included a couple of minor language improvements. Finally, todays update comes with a serious cleanup: we dropped all instances of lines that ended with empty characters (tabs, spaces, etc.). And we updated the year to 2016 (for the copyright notice). Yay!

For a full overview, you can always read our changelog.

With todays update, we’re rolling out Luna 1.3 to the master branch. This means that, if you are still running Luna 1.2, you’ll start to see update notifications in the Backstage alerting you of the availability of Luna 1.3(.1).

So, all I’ve left to say is

Have a happy 2016

Once upon a time, there was a Backstage

With Luna 2.0 Preview 1 coming along nicely, I found it kinda fitting to go over the history of the Backstage. We’ve done this before, prior to the launch of ModernBB 3.3, but this time around, there is so much more to say about the Backstage. So let’s take a look at how we got from Dashboard 1.6 in ModernBB 1.6 to Backstage 6.0 “Astrid” in Luna 2.0.

Dashboard 1.6/1.7

adminpanel1.6

Framework: None / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 11%

As ModernBB 1.x was more of a maintenance release to continue where FluxBB failed, the Dashboard that could be found in these early ModernBB versions wasn’t anything different from FluxBB. What you see above is an interface that isn’t responsive and not optimized for management at all. It’s actually quiet boring. Moving on…

Dashboard 2.0

dashboard2.0

Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 24%

Similar to Luna 2.0, the first beta of ModernBB 2.0 focused on revamping the Dashboard – and only the Dashboard. This is where the basic structure that is still in use today, is introduced. Not only that, but for the first time in ModernBB’s history (which includes PunBB’s and FluxBB’s) a framework is introduced. In this case, it was Bootstrap 2.3.2. It’s the first time it appears, and also the last. But I’m gonna be honest with myself, the UI was a mess. Let me illustrate:

dashboard2.0bis

That’s the Settings-page. The very same page we’re now getting very positive feedback on. Let me be clear: this version… not that positive. And I can only say that I agree. Somehow, I found it a good look back in the day, now I don’t.

Backstage 2.1

dashboard2.0bis2

Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 27%

In beta 2 of ModernBB 2.0, not that much changed about the design, however, a notable change in functionality was that the index now included features instead of just a list of things you could do. And another obvious change was the introduction of the word “Backstage”.

Backstage 3.0

backstage3.0

Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.0 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 43%

Then ModernBB 2.0 beta 3 happened. Not only did this release revamp the front-end completely – something that’s totally besides the point for this blog post – but it also revamped the Backstage. Big time. We kicked Bootstrap 2 out, and included Bootstrap 3 instead. Thank god, you might say, because for the first time, the Backstage was finally taking shape.

Beyond a visual refresh – as you can see below – not that much changed to the Backstage in ModernBB 2.0’s releases after beta 3. It didn’t change a thing in ModernBB 2.1 either. The only notable difference was that Bootstrap got updated to version 3.0.2, and even that isn’t that notable at all.

backstage3.0bis

Backstage 3.1

backstage3.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.3 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 51%

Little note: so far, non of the versions of Backstage where actually responsive. Backstage 3.1 did bring a responsive design. A poor implementation, but one nonetheless. This puts ModernBB in history as one of the first forum software to have a fully responsive design, thanks to Bootstrap. Version 3.1 also introduced the now much used panel-button (as can be seen in the “New reports” panel). For some reason, we also made the design wider. I don’t know why, but we did.

Backstage 4.0

backstage4.0

Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 59%

ModernBB 3.0 introduced a less colorfull design (though it did introduce the idea of accents). It is however notable for – what I believe to be – the first good implementation of Bootstrap in ModernBB. The result was a properly functioning responsive design and a much cleaner interface overall. Through later versions would still improve on that, it was a major improvement. Also, we started using icons in the Backstage in version 4.0 too. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 also used Backstage 4.0 with some minor adjustments.

Backstage 4.1

backstage4.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 49%

And this is the point where we got into a personality crisis. Backstage was redesigned with a more colorful interface once more. And a bright on. A little to bright (but the worst has yet to come). This version of Backstage did introduce the accent system we use today (that is, setting the accent). ModernBB 3.4.3 would upgrade Bootstrap to version 3.2.0, but did not bring any other visual changes. It was a release I am particulary proud of, the Backstage design? Not so much.

Backstage 4.2

backstage4.2

Framework: Bootstrap 3.2.0 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 56%

As if Backstage 4.1 wasn’t bright enough, version 4.2 made the navbar white. White! It did make the design look more professional and all, but it certainly was a downgrade for people working often in dark spaces with not enough light.

Backstage 4.3

backstage4.3

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 64%

The good news is that that light design didn’t last that long. ModernBB 3.6 started to introduce design aspects that could be found in the Luna Preview 0 builds from that time. This time, the Backstage did gain a functional update: touch-friendly dropdowns for tablet users. Backstage 4.3 is basically the last iteration of the Backstage 2-based series. ModernBB 3.7 used the exact same code for it’s Backstage and after that, it was Luna all the way. But ModernBB had one last update…

Backstage 4.9

backstage4.9

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.4 / Awesomeness: 83%

ModernBB 4 brought Backstage 4.9 along. This version of the Backstage was a back-port of the Backstage that could be found in Luna 1.1. It brought Font Awesome as the icon set to ModernBB and was the final ModernBB release.

Backstage 5.0

backstage5.0

Framework: TrentUI 1.0 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 71%

So, now we go backwards. Backstage 5.0 is older then version 4.3 and 4.9. This is the first itteration of Backstage since version 4.2. It introduced a brand new design and 2 noticable framework changes: Bootstrap was set aside for TrentUI (a Bootstrap fork) and Font Awesome took over the Glyphicons usage. Perhaps more important: this update changed the menu and required less navigation within the hamburger menu on small screens. Later revisions did put Bootstrap 3.3.0 back in place.

Backstage 5.1

backstage5.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 82%

Luna 1.0 Preview 1 brough along a familiar design if you’re used to todays versions of Luna. The interface was made darker and flatter.

Backstage 5.2

backstage5.2

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 84%

Luna 1.0 Preview 2 made panel headings more distict and stand out and brought minor visual changes. It was basically the last major itteration of the Backstage for the Luna 1.0-branch. 1.0.7 brought the “brand”-update, which included our lighter blue brand color, the one still in use today.

Backstage 5.3

backstage5.3

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.3 / Awesomeness: 87%

Which brings us to todays Backstage. While both Bootstrap and Font Awesome have been updated since the original Backstage 5.3 release (as part of Luna 1.1), the design has remained the same and no big changes where applied. It’s our best Backstage yet that’s publicly available. But we have one version that’s even better: Backstage 6 “Astrid” right now in development.

Lessons learned

After a little less then 3 year of iteration changes and 2 major revamps (Backstage 2 and 5), you might think that we’ve learned our lessons on how to make a great administration interface. And yes, we did. And all of that is going to come together in the 6th version of the Backstage, and the third major revamp (though, since it is a rebuild from scratch, you might say it’s the first major revamp). It’s going to be gorgeous. We’ll have a blog post up about Luna 2.0 Preview 1 early next year, so stay tuned!

Luna 1.3 “Denim” now available

Little less then 2,5 month ago we brought you guys Luna 1.2 “Cornflower Blue”, and today, here we are again. This time, we’ve got the Luna 1.3 “Denim” update ready for you. This is our 4th full release of Luna 1.x, and probably also our final.

So, what’s in it:

  • We reimagined Sunrise completely, its design is now based on Random from the early days.
  • Threads can now be marked as important.
  • You can now, optionally, allow the usage of a center and size tag.
  • You have now access to all globally recognized timezones and no longer as subset selected by Luna.
  • You can no longer enabled Daylight Saving Time, Luna will now take care of this itself.
  • Fifteen has an updated sidebar with categories and quick access links.
  • The behavior of some markup tags has been changed.
  • You can no longer change the size of embedded videos, instead, they are now responsive.
  • CSS files have been rewritten to be easier to read and manage.
  • PHP coding contentions have been updated and this includes major changes to our naming schemes.
  • Improved support for High-DPI screens.
  • Bootstrap and Font Awesome have been updated to version 3.3.6 and 4.5.0 respectively.
  • 23 bug fixes

As said before, this means we’re dropping support for Luna 1.1 (as by our policy of only supporting the current, and current – 1 release). However, we also announced that Luna 1.2 would be left without support, and that’s still the case. Luna 1.3 is now the current and only version we still support.

With Luna 2.0 now being the next version, we expect Luna 1.3 to be the current version for a while. We’re planning to provide bug fixes like we’ve always done, but we might also include minor new features and changes, after all, we can’t stand still to long, and Luna 2.0 won’t be for this winter (or perhaps even spring).

This means that we’re considering Luna 1.3 and LTS release. We’ll provide support for it longer then usual. As how it stands now, not only is Luna 1.3 the final PunBB-based Luna release, but it is also the final release that provides support for PostgreSQL and MySQL. Luna 2 will require MySQLi or SQLite. Additionally, we’re considering dropping PHP 5.3 support too, so for these people, it might also be the end of the line (but maybe not).

Anyway, we’ll have a lot more to tell about Luna 2.0 Emerald in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned about that. And…

…have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Luna 1.3 RC2 now available

Today, we’re happy to release the second – and final – Release Candidate for Luna 1.3 Denim. This update includes 7 bug fixes and one language update. We’re hoping that this is the final pre-release version of Luna 1.3 so we can push the update out on December 25th as a nice little Christmas present. Have fun.