Roadmap changes: 3, Luna and Vanellope

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Earlier today, we’ve made some big changes to our roadmap and website in general which you might want to check out. What’s going on? Well, we’re changing plans, like we do so much, for ModernBB 3 and Luna. Also, meet Vanellope. Let me introduce you to our updatet roadmap.

ModernBB 3
First things first, ModernBB 3. Today, we’ve decided to launch only 1 beta and 1 release candidate of ModerBB 3 before the final will be released, instead of 3 betas and 2 RCs. We don’t feel like we needed all the time we had planned in first. Of course, this could be the result of features I’m not going to develop for ModernBB 3 anymore. So, you can expect ModernBB 3 to launch this 9th March 2014, if not even earlier. In the upcoming days, we might put it on 2nd March 2014.

From there on, we will start developing ModernBB 3.05, the first minor feature release for ModernBB 3, however, do not expect to much from it. The reason behind the change of release dates is that I don’t want to spend much time anymore on the ModernBB project, in fact, I’m pulling the plug. ModernBB 3 will be supported until the next release, when that happens, it’s goodbye ModernBB.

Meanwhile…
By now, you might start to get confused. We’re pulling the plug? It’s over for ModernBB? What…? Well, yes, and I’ve announced this a while ago already, but not with those words. I’m not planning to go anything further with ModernBB. So, what about Luna then? Well… you might want to read the updated paper (link comes later in this post). Because…:

Luna
It’s no longer ModernBB “Luna” 4.00, no, just Luna. We’re seriously concidering to drop the ModernBB brand in the future and replace it by a better brand that better fits (not sure what yet). Anyway, as we announced already, Luna will be build up from the ground. Not only will it have a brand new core, we will also start back at version 1. We’ve already started with the development of Luna. The repository is ready, we’re collecting all packages we need for the development to begin and will soon (if not today, then tomorrow) enter the design stage.

Well, Luna will be an awesome project I think. But since the brand might get ditched, where will you be able to download it? Well, just here, at modernbb.be. But we should, of course, move to another address as soon as our brand change and redirect people to that address. Our goal with Luna stays the same: get a modern and basic forum system on its feets. However, we’re not going with the classic forum concept. But mix it a bit more to make it a social experience too. How this will work out will be reveiled later on (I don’t know either how I’m going to do this anyway). Anyway, read our updated paper for more about Luna.

Vanellope
Vanellope will be what comes after Luna. It will be our first feature update, version 1.1 (we will go with semantic versioning again). This release will be a polishing release. It’s supposed to improve upon everything we have by then and make it more feature complete. Since this release is prety far away, I don’t have much to talk about for now. Anyway, for the people that might wonder: where does that codename come from? Well, it’s from Wreck-It Ralph (that 2012 Disney movie). The full name is actualy Vanellope von Sweetz, but who cares.

ModernBB 3.00 alpha 2 now available

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I’m glad to announce that ModernBB 3.00 alpha 2 (version 3.00-dev.1644) is available from now on. This is our second ModernBB 3 release, and like the name says, it’s an alpha release. So we do recommend to not update your installation in a productive environment. Anyway, let’s talk about what’s new and when alpha 3 will be released.

New in ModernBB 3.00 Alpha 2
The update check has been Improved and now uses caching to save results, instead of loading it again and again. We also cleaned up the statistics page in the Backstage. You will also find a new page called “ModernBB software updates” where you will be able to update in later versions. It also includes 4 new maintenance options, 2 of which now work. Those are Soft reset and Hard reset.

On the front-end side of things, we’ve added an option to disable your forums description without leaving the  description field blanc. Topics now also use a h2-title to make it more clear what topic you are reading. On the index page, the last active topics title has been added. When moderating a topic, you will now be able to select an “All” option to show everything. We’ve also closed the ticket regarding the login and update screen design. When editing a post, you will now see an updated design. Further on, the error() function now trows a nicer error design. Finaly, Randomness has been updated with some small fixes.

This release also includes a new WYSIWYG editor to replace the normal editor from ModernBB 2.x. It uses TinyMCE 4.0.12. Regarding this, the feature is not finished yet, so the tickets are still open. Anyway, the parser now supports al title tags, from H1 to H6. We also fixed some integration issues. We’ve got also some improvements for security for this release, as the confirm_refferer() function has returned (it was removed in 2.0). We also updated the maintenance page.

Other smaller improvements are some updates to breadcrumbs, the inclusion of TinyMCE 4.0.12 as a package. You can no longer resize textareas verticaly. It’s now also possible again to save te Antispam API. Finaly, we dropped support for Internet Explorer 8.

Roadmap changes
We’ve got still a lot of work to do. For the planning we had, we had still more than 3 months to settle everything right. Well, I’m gonna reduce that time. While you would have to wait until 24 April 2014 before you could get your hands on our final ModernBB 3.00 release, you will now be able to get it 1 month earlier, on 29 March 2014. This happened because we won’t release an Alpha 4, nor a Beta 3. Meanwhile, the next alpha release should be here the 1st February, and improve the editor, and should enable updating with 1 single click, let’s hope the best for it!

Luna: A reference guide for planning

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So, I’ve got this fancy bundle of paper here next to me. It’s a information guide about our Luna project, perhaps better known as ModernBB 4. ou might would like to read it. Now, I’m still working on it (refinments), and will publish it tomorrow. Also, stay tuned for the 2nd alpha release of ModernBB 3 tomorrow.
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Luna: The quest to a modern web

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Do you ever have those moments that you are outside at night and realize that you have a shadow, then look up into the deep darkness we call “sky”, and see the moon? Well, I have, on a regular base. Perhaps, Luna is one of the most beautiful stones around here. Seriously. Sometimes I use my telescope to look at it. The best moment is a couple of days before full moon (otherwise it’s just a white moon, no shadows).

Ow, I guess you are here for an explenation about the updates website, containing references to ModernBB 4, perhaps you also saw it in our bug tracker, that we have a 4.00 milestone. Or just because of the image above. Well yes, it’s true, planning on ModernBB 4 has begun. Wait! Why now? We are still in early ModernBB 3 development!? Well yes, indeed we are. However, planning for ModernBB 3 started during development of ModernBB 2.2. However, we’ve got a special reason for ModernBB 4 to start planning already.

ModernBB 1.6, 1.7, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 and 3.00 are based on FluxBB 1.4/1.5, however, FluxBB is based on PunBB, and that piece of software was released over 10 years ago. Since then, there was highly no change in the way it worked nor during PunBB, nor FluxBB, nor ModernBB. We are going to change that. We will build ModernBB 4 from the ground up, with brand new technology, brand new ways to use HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. And it will be better, faster and more modern.

We will start developing ModernBB 4 right after we ship ModernBB 3 (we changed the release schedule a little bit, 5 days) that will be released on 24 April 2014, 1 year after the introduction of ModernBB. From there on, we will start developing, and that’s going to take a while. We’re planning to get a first beta ready somewhere around the end of 2014. Between 24 April and then, there are some development releases like we have with ModernBB 3, however, they won’t be so close after each other. The final release of ModernBB 4 should be somewhere in 2015 (perhaps 24 April 2015, if we could pull that of).

Now, ModernBB 4 will be build from scratch, and that rises a question: will it be compatible with ModernBB 3.99 and lower? Well… no. Plugins and modification won’t work for sure. Styles might need updates (we will still use Bootstrap, however, Bootstrap does change too). Updating ModernBB to ModernBB 4 will require at least ModernBB 3, and settings won’t be migrated, only posts, topics and some user data (not all either). If you want to update from ModernBB 2.2.x or lower, a clean install will be required (of course, you can first update 2.2 to 3.xx and then update).

Also, some features from ModernBB 3 will be missing. ModernBB 4.00 will contain the basic set of features for forums: categories, posting, profiles, basic settings, rules, maintenance, etc. Other features that should be available are: 1-click updates, plugin system, style system, etc. Any release after ModernBB 4.00 will be to add features from ModernBB 3 to ModernBB 4. We will move on to ModernBB 5 as soon as all features are available again. We are talking about 2015/2016 here.

So, while ModernBB 4.00 will be a downgrade feature wise, it will be a serious and needed upgrade core wise. This is going to be a huge step for us. Development is now planned to take 1 year. That’s very long. I remember I once tried to create my own fork of FluxBB and ended after the second maintenance release, and look where I’ve come with ModernBB. I’m realy exicted about ModernBB 4. Of course, you can count on updates for ModernBB 3 during development of ModernBB 4.

ModernBB 1.6.5 LTS now available

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A month ago, we released our latest LTS release: 1.6.4. Well, here we are, with another minor update for ModernBB 1.6. Version 1.6.5 fixes a very important security vulnerability. It’s recommended to update your forums right away! Other improvements this update will add is Improved support for HTML5, better textarea resizing, topic title in preview mode and more. Before updating, it’s recommended to make a back-up of your forum.

ModernBB 3.00 alpha 1 now available

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I’m glad to announce the availablility of ModernBB 3.00 alpha 1 (version 3.00-dev.1534). This is our very first ModernBB 3 release, and like the name says, it’s an alpha release. So we do recommend to not update your installation in a productive environment. Anyway, let’s talk about what’s new and when alpha 2 will be released.

The first alpha contains more then 2 months of hard work and fixed 39 tickets. That’s aren’t a lot of tickets, however, they are prety big. Alpha 1 also contains some half-finished work, like the SQLite 3 adapter and editor interface. However, there are, of course, also features that have been finished! When you install ModernBB 3, you will find yourself in a darker interface. The update screen has also been revised and only requires a push on the button. When you log in onto the Backstage, you will see a darker interface. We’ve also added some icons to the navbar. Further, we’ve added a lot of interface improvements.

You might find out that the Forums, Categories and Toolbar pages are gone. The first 2 have been combined into the new Board-page. The third one has been completely removed since we’re going to add a brand new system. A new page is the Registration page, whose features have been cut out of the Global Settings. When you want to activate maintenance mode, you’ll also have to go to the Maintenance page. The Backstage now supports multiple color schemes, which you can change for yourself in your profile. More color schemes might be added soon.

On the front-end, you will find less changes (our focus has been on the Backstage for now). What you will find is that the Quickpost panel has been Improved with a new interface, and so is the New Post and New Topic page. We’ve also Improved the topic view a lot, the action bar has been removed so its features take less space. We’ve updated the Registration interface too. There have been some improvements to the pagination. And the Userlist page also features a cleaner design. Finaly, we’ve added Kindness, a yellow design based on Randomness, to the mix. Another design that has been added is Bootstrap, our development design, this will be removed in the first RC.

Further on, the editor interface has been removed from the core, it will soon be replaced by a new interface. The parser on the other hand does now support inline code. We also removed support for acronyms. The profile now also uses the username is page title. When you want to update to ModernBB 3, you’ll have to use FluxBB 1.5, ModernBB 1.6 or ModernBB 2.x. Finaly, we’ve updated Bootstrap to version 3.1-dev and jQuery to 2.1-beta3. Bootstraps icon font has also been added to the core.

This is also our first release with the MIT license. Which is also an important change. Anyway, with alpha 1 released (which you can download on our download page), we’ve started working on alpha 2, this update should be released somewhere between 17 and 21 January 2014. Stay tuned!

Happy New Year

2014 has started! It’s just a matter of time now before ModernBB turns 1 year old. 2013 has been an awesome year. ModernBB was launched the 24th of April with ModernBB 1.6-beta. It was the first of the 23 releases that would be launched that year. That’s an avarage of more then 2 version per month. Highlights of the past year where the release of ModernBB 1.6 and 2.0. ModernBB 2 made the big jump to a brand new design and added a lot of new features. ModernBB 2.1 and 2.2 refined those changes. The last 2 releases (ModernBB 2.2.1 and 2.2.2) fixed also over 100 issues in less then 2 weeks. ModernBB has been downloaded 2562 times since it’s launch. That isn’t much, but the speed rises every month. For 2013 Q2 we had an avarage of 89 downloads per month (excluding April). 2013 Q4 had an avarage 578 downloads per month. 2013 Q3 had 218 downloads per month.

That’s a healty growth. We can only be proud and say “thank you” to everyone downloading our software. Now, 2014 is going to be an even better year. We’ve huge plans for ModernBB 3, whose development started back in November 2013 (some features even in September 2013). A very first alpha release is also scheduled to be released somewhere this week. Might even happen today or tomorrow. We can promis a lot of improvements in this alpha release. But, of course, there is more to come. When the first alpha has been released, we will launch a new alpha each 2-2.5 weeks. The first beta should be available in the begin of March. Stay tuned!