An update on support

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I’ve toughts about it for a while now. But we are going to change the support we always planned to give. We change our support cycle because of some issues we have with ModernBB 2.0, and because it’s pointless how it was ment to work.

Let’s write down how the support cyclus should work if we followed our old cycle. Well, ModernBB 1.6 would be supported for an unknown time, even after the release of multiple ModernBB releases. ModernBB 2.0 would be supported until we would release ModernBB 2.2 and ModernBB 2.1, which now is still in development, would be supported until version 2.3 is released. Well…

That’s not how we are going to do it. The most important change will be for ModernBB 2.0. Anyway, we’ve put an end date on the support for ModernBB 1.6, support for this version will end in March 2015. That’s a while from now, so that should not give problems. ModernBB 2.0 will be supported until 2 weeks after the ModernBB 2.1 stable has been released. Here is the most important change: we’ve decided to not support it until the release of 2.3.

This has been done because we faced to much bugs in ModernBB 2.0, we could fix them in the 2.0 branch, but they already have been fixed in ModernBB 2.1. We know that this is not what we promised and we are very sorry, but it’s pointless to fix all the bugs (by the way, they are most of the time just visual bugs and won’t make ModernBB impossible to use) if they already have been fixed in 2.1. Another reason why we end support for ModernBB 2.0 that fast, is the fact that the styles API has been seriously updated and styles for ModernBB 2.0 won’t work on ModernBB 2.1. We don’t want to make it difficult for developers to support the current versions.

ModernBB 2.1 will take a similar scheme, the support for it will end together with the release of the next feature updates, the patch that’s then in the works will be finished and released as soon as it is ready, then it’s done for that branch. With this, we hope to give you more reasons to keep yourself up-to-date, this is very important to us and your own safety and fun.

Talking about updates, we will release updates on a more regular base. We want to start a 3-month release cyclus for patches. This cyclus starts with the release of ModernBB 1.6.4 and 2.0.2 in December 2013. The next update for 1.6 will be 1.6.5 in March 2014, and so on. The only exceptions we make on this rull are security updates, hotfixes and x.x.1 patches. Those last ones is, for example 2.1.1, this might be released ealier than this.

Also: feature updates will also follow the same dates. If we release ModernBB 2.1 in January 2013, the first update won’t be released in April 2013, but in March 2013, we will Always release updates in March, June, September and December of ever year. No matters when a version has been released (except if we didn’t change anything in the meantime).

Round-up #7 – Backstage 2.1

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Today, I would like to introduce you to the improvements made to the Backstage interface in ModernBB 2.1. Actualy, the improvements we are making. ModernBB 2.1 has a very huge focus on the Backstage, we want to make it more clear and easier to use, and that will happen in 2.1.

First of all, yesterday, I got a HUGE mail from someone who calls himself ‘Fisher’ – note that this is the same name as I use for test accounts – filled with usability and design issues. That mail did impres me, I agreed with most of his/here points. While some of those issues where stuff that I already planned to fix, or that where fixed in ModernBB 2.0.1, some of them where issues I didn’t tought about. Some of those improvements will make it later to the front-end of ModernBB, most of them will be first used in Backstage to see if it does work. Anyway, I will note some of the important ones that also will be fixed in ModernBB 2.1:

Issue 1: “Edit forums” is using to much space – WIP
This is an issue I agree on. Actualy, 2 months ago, I created a ticket for this issue in the bugtracker. It was supposed to be fixed in ModernBB 2.0-beta.3, however, it never made it so far. The problem in the “Edit forums” panel is that the table heading and the titles of the categories the forums are in, are using way to much space and leave a lot of white behind. The fix is very simple: put the category names in the table, give them the class “active” and remove the table heading (which repeats every time again. Result? You safe lots of space, here an example with 2 categories and 3 forums in the new interface:

edit forums

Issue 2: You have to scroll all the way down to safe settings
This is mostly a problem on the “Global settings” page, which is a very long page. If you want to update your forums discription, you can do that on top of the page, but to save those settings, you have to go to the end of the page. The solution of this issue is already partial visible in the screenshot above. One probably noticed that the “Update positions” button has gone. Well, it is not removed, it is replace. This is a screenshot of the “General Settings” page.

save changes

See that “Save changes” button? It’s included in every panel that need it. This button is an easy way to save the changes you made. However, when you change a setting in another panel on the same page, the button from the first panel will also save the changes you made in the second panel.

Other small issues that have been fixed

  • Some panel headers are 1px larger than others
  • Inconsistent use of page titles or not
  • Remove tables wheneither they are not usable
  • Update structure of the Backstage menu
  • And many, many more

SQLite 3, build in upgrade and hooks

You may have noticed that yesterday and today, we created 3 new branches in the ModernBB repository out of our current state with ModernBB 2.1. They are called “upgrade”, “hook” and “sqlite3”. It might be useful for us to tell where this is all about.

Well, we know that there is lots of work to do, and while we are called ModernBB, our current core is stable, but not realy modern, but that’s going to change with those 3 branches, they are experminental  and might not make it to the core. However, they all have their own milestone. Anyway, what are we going to do in those branches? Well, they are ment to develop those features.

The upgrade branch is ment to develop a feature that makes it easier for you to update ModernBB: with one single click. We are realy looking at WordPress for this feature to be made. This feature will add a WordPress-like update mechanisme that gives you the ability to update your forum with 1 single click. The changes this will bring to the core are a separate Update page. You can expect this feature in any point release (like 2.4, 2.5). However, this is not something we will add in 2.1, 2.2 and probably 2.3.

The sqlite3 branch will focus on making ModernBB compatible with SQLite 3. This will be based on our current SLite 2 driver. This is in addition to SQLite 2, so don’t freak out if your using SQLite 2. Anyway, this won’t bring any front-end feature to ModernBB. You can expect this feature in any patch release and as addition to ModernBB 1.6 (the guys over at FluxBB are planning to add this feature to FluxBB 1.5 too). SQLite 3 support will be pushed to all our maintained branch on the moment it hits final.

And finaly, the hook branch. This branch will focus on adding a solid hook system to ModernBB. For this feature, we will take a look at the way it’s implementated in PunBB (you know, we forked a fork of that project). This should bring us to a brand new area! The extension system will be a huge addition to ModernBB, so this will include visible changes, most in the Backstage (the extensions section (this section is visible if you have installed an extension)). You can expect this feature in any major release (like 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, etc.).

Note that we are talking about a very long future here. Those features might make it before the end of this year (or the end of next year), but maybe they don’t. We’re not sure. However, if you want to check out what we’ve been working out, you’re free to download the ModernBB versions in those branches. However, for now, that would be pointless because they are almost exactly the same as the version2.1 branch.

I realy hope that those features will become part of the core of this project, especialy the upgrade and hook features are very important. This will make updating for you all easier and that’s a big step forward for us developers too! The ModernBB.be team can than start with pushing out updates more frequently, because it’s easier for all of you to update a ModernBB installation that uses extensions, because they do not change the core files anymore.

Round-up #6 – MBB 2.1: New designs, new features

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Another week has ended, another round-up has come! In the past week, we brought ModernBB 2.0.1 to all of you, which fixes some issues in ModernBB 2.0.0. We also fixed multiple issues in the ModernBB 2.1-beta milestone and did lots and lots of work on unfinished tickets. Anyway, this is the last time we do a weekly round-up, starting today, we will do a new round-up when we think it’s time for one.

New styles, and new ways to make them
We noted mutliple times that the styles included in ModernBB 2.0 will be redone in ModernBB 2.1, and well, we are making progress. Some days ago, we already posted a preview of this on Twitter and this blog.

Well, Randomness is finished, right now, I’m working on Awesomeness, and soon, Radicalness will folow. Kindness won’t be part of ModernBB 2.1 anymore. Instead, it will be released as an additional theme in a package, together with a white, black, purple, pink and orange version of Randomness.

For developers, it will be way more easy to create new styles. We’ve removed some of the tables, only posts and userlists are still tables. We’ve added new classes and ids to the core (this is still a work in progress) and we’ve updated our default templates. Those and other small improvements, will be the reason that creating styles for ModernBB 2.1 will be (even) more fun than for ModernBB 2.0.

Other improvements we made in 2.1-beta
However, style improvements aren’t the only things we did in ModernBB 2.1-beta for now, we did update the header, it’s now cleaner and contains less stuff that’s not needed. The menu now contains a dropdown menu that puts important things for the user together, leaving more space for additional menu items. Or.. Another new feature is that you can display the title of your forum in the navbar or the header itselfs. Or both. This feature is added in Backstage under “Appearance”, which was the previous “Display” page.

About that: we made multiple improvements to the Backstage. We cleaned up the interface, restructured it and more. This is also a work in progress. The new Backstage will make it even easier for you to manage your forum. The help page is also updated, it now contains a header and footer and uses the default main.tpl template instead of help.tpl. More improvements are to come.

ModernBB 1.6.4, 2.0.1, 2.0.2
Meanwhile in stable-land, we’ve released ModernBB 2.0.1, this fixes multiple issues, most of them bugs in the interface, in ModernBB 2.0.0. However, with that done, we move on to develop ModernBB 1.6.4 and 2.0.2, those versions are supposed to be released allongside eash other. And will fix the same bugs with some other bugs that are version-specific. ModernBB 1.6.4 and 2.0.2 are now planned for December 2013.

ModernBB 2.0.1 now available

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Earlier today, you might have started reciving messages from ModernBB that we’ve released a new version. And yes we have, ModernBB 2.0.1 is now available for download and fixes 8 bugs in ModernBB 2. You can find this download on our download page.

This release fixes several bugs, updating is recommended. Most of the improvements are fixes for missing interfaces, like the search interface, the “ModernBB is succesfully installed” interface, announcements, etc. We also refind the Profile interface, it looks just a bit better now. We also fixed the Board Statistics panel at the index and finaly cleaned up the about page, that contained old content.

As always, you can find the downloads on our download page. If you are already using ModernBB 2.0-beta.x, 2.0-rc.x or 2.0.0, you can take a look at the update check, where you can easly download it. Make a backup before updating of both your database and files. And ofcourse: enjoy ModernBB 2.0.1.

A word on branches

It might be a little confusing, we’ve got now 7 branches in the ModernBB development repository and we would like to introduce those branches to you. Why they are there and more. It’s kinda important to know.

master is our primary branch and always hosts the newest stable release for our latest branch. Commits will be pushed to it as soon as the development of a new version of ModernBB is finished in another branch. This branch is used by the update check for checking on new versions when not set to “Check in current branch”.

version1.6 is the main development branch for ModernBB 1.6, this is where we developed ModernBB 1.6-beta, 1.6.0, 1.6.1, 1.6.2 and 1.6.3 LTS, this is also where we will continue development for our LTS releases in the 1.6-branch.

1.6/lts is the old branch that was used to develop ModernBB 1.6.0 LTS, 1.6.1 LTS and 1.6.2 LTS. With the release of ModernBB 1.6.3, we stoped development of LTS releases in this branch, and moved them to version1.6.

version2.0 contains the latest dev releases for ModernBB 2.0 and is our main development branch for this version. This is where we developed the unstable MBB2 versions and the future patch releases.

version2.1 contains the latest dev releases for ModernBB 2.1 and is our main development branch for this version. This is where we develope the unstable MBB 2.1 versions and the future patch releases.

version2.5 is a branch we made a while ago. It was supposed to contain the development versions of ModernBB 2.5, that would kick of after ModernBB 2.0 beta 2, however, it was decided to include all planned changes for ModernBB 2.5 in ModernBB 2.0, beta 3 was the first version to do so. This branch is behind all others and contains a dev release over ModernBB 2.0 right now, as soon as development over ModernBB 2.5 kicks of, we will start using this branch again.

mbb.dev is a custom version of ModernBB, which you can find on http://modernbb.be/dev, it’s actualy more a test center, and multiple features are disabled in this release.

Round-up #5 – ModernBB 1.6.3/2.0.1/2.1-beta

modernbb21d Less than a week, and we launched ModernBB 2.0 RC2, RC3 and Final. It was an awesome week. But now the even more serious work will start again. We’ve got a hotfix ModernBB 1.6.3 and 1.6.3 LTS in the works, since 1.6.2 just doesn’t work. ModernBB 2.0.1 will have to be here very soon too. Meanwhile, we kick of the development of ModernBB 2.1.

Yes, it’s going to be bussy. Since we do not have anything in development right now. I’m going to do this round-up a little different. Split in versions…

ModernBB 1.6.3
We discovered today that ModernBB 1.6.2 has a serious flaw: during development, on one point, it merged with the ModernBB 2.0 development version of that time. Due to not being noticed, this update made it to the 1.6.2 Final, bugging up the whole system. This is why we have to start with the codebase of ModernBB 1.6.1, and fix all issues from 1.6.2 again (this is the third time (ModernBB 2.0 RC1, 1.6.2, 1.6.3). However, while it won’t be different from what ModernBB 1.6.2 was supposed to be, we’ll have to release it as ModernBB 1.6.3. Now, ModernBB 1.6.3 is from the previous branch. What would mean that we would release it as a normal version, and an LTS version. Well, that won’t happen. ModernBB 1.6.3 and onwards will only be available as LTS releases. However, if ModernBB 2.1 is released, ModernBB 2.0 will just keep receving patches. It’s just because ModernBB 1.6 is an LTS branch.

ModernBB 2.0.1
This is another release we hope to have out there very soon. We’ve already find some bugs in the code. The most obvious one is probably the broken “Board statistics” panel on the index. We hope to have a fix for this, and a couple of other issues out there at the end of this month (ModernBB 1.6.3 will be developed first). Other fixes will be announced later. Anyway, expect an update very soon! The updates will warn you.

ModernBB 2.1 Beta
The next feature release. ModernBB 2.1-beta, or ModernBB 2.1 Beta by its name, will improve on the features we have made in ModernBB 2.0. The most important one will be a restructure (not a redesign) of the Backstage. It will also be about optimalization of the code. Version 2.1 will replace the current ugly default styles with brand new ones. We will improve the structure of ModernBB by dropping as much tables as possible. De menu bar will be Improved (front-end one), new customization options. We’re even planning to create a plugin that gives the default styles some extra options. Which will be awesome, don’t you think? Other improvements will be made on the updater. Actualy, we will improve everything a little bit. Let’s say it like that.

Note: This round-up was written on 14 September 2013 and may talk about versions that are already released.

ModernBB 1.6.3 “Blythe” now available

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Today, we launch ModernBB 1.6.3. This version is a hotfix, it’s recommended to update if your using ModernBB 1.6.2 and want to stay in the ModernBB 1.6-branch. This update fixes an issue that disables the dashboard in ModernBB. Always make a backup before updating. We also want to say sorry, this issue should never had make it to the core.

ModernBB 2.0.0 “Zoe” now available

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Finaly, we are proud to announce the availability of ModernBB 2.0.0! With version 2.0.0, we’ve finished 6 months of work on ModernBB, 63% of the ModernBB 1.6 core is modified, resulting in ModernBB 2.0! As always, you can download this version on our download page. Anyway, let’s introduce ModernBB 2 to you.

What’s new?

  • Backstage: we’ve redesigned the back end of ModernBB, the old Dashboard, in something we call “Backstage”, from here, you can manage your forum in a clean way, having everything only one click away, thanks the the always-on-top and hover menu.
  • Stay up-to-date, the easy way: While you had to check on updates for yourself in ModernBB 1.6, ModernBB 2.0 will check on his own! We understand how important it is to stay up-to-date, and well, here you go, an easier way to do so.
  • Redesigned front-end: Not only the Backstage, but the front-end, too, has been redesigned. With it’s new structure, it’s less complicated to create awesome styles. Just like the Backstage, the front-end is based on Bootstrap 3.0.
  • Simple login: The login form contained a menu, footer and so on. But when you are loging in, you only want the important things: the login form, a password request link, a registration link, and that’s it. With ModernBB 2.0, that’s what you get, a clean login.
  • Manage your database: It’s important for you to create back-ups of your database, not only when updating. So why is something so important, so hard to do? Not anymore, ModernBB 2.0 contains a build in back-up system. One click on a button, and go. The backup system is also able to backup custom tables.
  • StopForumSpam: StopForumSpam is integrated in ModernBB 2.0, the only thing you have to do is request an API key and then you can say goodby the known forum spammers.
  • New parser features: ModernBB 2.0’s parser contains lot’s of new features, it support video embedding from DailyMotion, Vimeo and YouTube, we support super- and subscript, acronyms, inline quotes, etc.
  • Toolbar: When you want to post something, BBCodes are a great way to give your posts some style, however, it’s hard learn them all, so we added a new toolbar you can customize on your own.
  • And many more!

With ModernBB 2.0 finished, we will move on with the development of the upcoming hotfix release ModernBB 1.6.3, and the normal releases ModernBB 1.6.4, ModernBB 2.0.1 and the next big milestone, ModernBB 2.1-beta. When you’re updating, please create a backup. Enjoy this brand new ModernBB! If you want to stay in the ModernBB 1.6 branch, we highly recommend you to use ModernBB 1.6.1, since version 1.6.2 contains some serious bugs.

ModernBB.be 2.2
With ModernBB 2.0, we also launch, once again, a big update for our website. Most of the improvements are done in the core, but we are also proud to announce that the documentation is finaly available for ModernBB 2.0.