A year with Random and what’s ahead for it

Whoho! Today, we’re celebrating the first aniversary of Random. Random has been our default style through the existence of the second generation of ModernBB (that includes, but isn’t limited to ModernBB 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5). Through the current design language was introduced in ModerrnBB 2.2, which was released November 30th, 2013. So yes, we’re also celebrating 1 year ModernBB 2.2.

A brief history
Random, introduced as Randomness 1.0, together with Kindness, Awesomeness and Radicalness, was the default theme of ModernBB 2.0. It was a major redesign and completely different from ModernBB 1.6’s Air design. However, we weren’t to happy with the design and thus, ModernBB 2.1 focused on doing it all over again. This release, Randomness 2.0, introduced the general structure of the design as you still get it today.

Randomness 2.1 however, the version of Randomness that contains the currently used design guidelines, was released with ModernBB 2.2, while originaly made for ModernBB 3.0, and made improvements to performance, brought a brighter design and made other major improvements. Randomness 2.2 was the ModernBB 3.0 release and mainly focussed on making Randomness compatible with the new ModernBB 3 features.

Randomness 2.3 was part of ModernBB 3.1 and introduced some ideas from Vanellope (the project, not the ModernBB version), resulting in a major design enhancement to the topic view (and we got good comments on that one). Due to the good comments, the rest of ModernBB couldn’t stay behind, and thus, Randomness 2.5, part of ModernBB 3.2, redesigned all other pages, still staying true to the Original guidelines from Randomness 2.1.

Random 3.0 was released with ModernBB 3.3, it wasn’t a major difference for the eye, through Random 3.0 introduced support for ModernBB’s new style engine. Random 3.1 would improve further upon with ModernBB 3.4, including support for the new editor and other features. Finaly, the current Random 3.2 also brought support for the new ModernBB 3.5 features, but no major changes where applied.

Random 4.0
With the upcoming update to ModernBB, we will celebrate Random’s 1st anniversary with a redesign of the styles. This includes the default styles Random, Kind, Awesome and Radical, but also Luna, Pinkie, Shy, Happy and Magic, which you can download from ModernBB.be. These styles will (for now) support ModernBB 3.4.1 and up (so if you’re running an older version but want to use these new styles, your in luck, through you should update).

These new versions of the default styles will also include Improved information about them (updated screenshot, new logo, etc.).

Anouncing Milestone

For the people that visited our board yesterday or ealier today, they might have noticed an odd thing. The structure changed, but not only that, 2 new forums joined the fun. One of them was ModernCount, I guess some of you might know about that piece of software. It’s as old as ModernBB. But that’s not the only one that appeared, you can now also post in a forum named “Milestone”. Well people, I’m happy to announce our newest project: Milestone.

1.0-branch

Milestone is a tracking system for your projects. It’s like all the others: creat a project, add milestones to those projects, and fill those milestones with tickets on which people can comment. It’s the very basic thing (at least, that’s how we will start). Milestone, however, isn’t a stand-alone web app. It will require Luna 0.1.3326 or higher to run. Note that it isn’t an extension or plugin to Luna either. It simply needs Luna’s database.

Just like Luna, Milestone will be build with Bootstrap and uses the Font Awesome iconfont. We’re currently hard at work to make this thing a reality. Milestone will, as soon as the basics of the system are ready, replace our GitHub issue tracker. Instead of separate issue trackers, we will also move all our projects (Luna, ModernBB, ModernCount and Milestone) into 1 single tracker.

It’s to early to show you guys the first previews, screenshots or to even release an early build to the public, however, know that it is in the works and if it ever gets done, we will release it! Stay tuned, because I can promise you, that early 2015 is going to be very intresting. 🙂

Announcing ModernBB 3.5 Update 3: An update for your eyes

3.5-branchIn ModernBB 3.3, we revamped the black-blue Backstage interface into a brighter and white-color (because you’re free to choose a color) design. This made the interface quiet bright. ModernBB 3.5 once again revamped the design, making the navbar white too. Making the interface even brighter. And well, we got some comment on that, so our next update, ModernBB 3.5 Update 3 is about to revamp the Backstage interface once again.

And we’ll do that with a couple of small changes. First of, the navbar will use the color accent you choose once again. This already breaks the majorly white design of the Backstage. However, that still makes up for a rather bright interface. And that’s not easy for the eye, and is power consuming for both you and your device. That’s why we change the white background into a dark grey. This matches the color we use in Luna a bit, but it fixes the problems we have with it.

But improvements for colors isn’t the only change that ModernBB 3.5 Update 3 will bring. We will make it more easy for large touchscreens, that do not get the hamburger-menu, to navigate the navbar thanks to improvements to the dropdown lists for touch. Another (major) change is that we’re now using Bootstrap 3.3.1 instead of ModernBB 3.5 Update 2 and earliers Bootstrap 3.2.0.

Further, ModernBB 3.5 Update 3 will bring small improvements to security. Unlike Update 1 and Update 2, Update 3 will not patch a security hole, but improve generated passwords. What brings us to the next point: this update will also bring the ability of ModernBB to check the strength of passwords. Finaly, ModernBB 3.5.3 will be able to recognize a FluxBB 1.4 and 1.5 and a ModernBB 1.6 and 1.7 database, so you can update from these systems again. This is due to we won’t support updating from these releases to Luna 1.0, and thus, ModernBB 3.5.x is a required stop if you want to update from ModernBB to Luna. And last but not least: we’re also fixing a couple of bugs (3 for now).

Stay tuned for this update, which will be released on 9 December 2014! Is it the final update for ModernBB 3.5? No, after this, we will simply move on to ModernBB 3.5 Update 4, which is planned for February. If you’re now using ModernBB 3.5 Update 1 or lower, and especialy ModernBB 3.5 and lower, remember to upgrade as soon as possible to ModernBB 3.5 Update 2. Update 1 and 2 fix important security issues! So do not wait for ModernBB 3.5 Update 3 to be released.

Taking a look at the new installer

One of the major points we want to address in Luna is the installer and updater. Both will be rewritten completely and be more modular from Luna. While we’ve made some work on the installer in realy early version of Luna, we now have restarted this work in a new branch and will later add it to Luna “Aero” 1.0 as soon as it is finished, however, we might concider holding it back for Luna “Twilight” 1.1 (we’re going through the parts of day for codenames :)).

Anyway, we made some serious work on developing a new interface and I started to make commits based on it on 18 January 2014. It only contains the interface for now, but I would like to walk you guys through it anyway, just to see how Luna will be installed (wheter it is 1.0 or 1.1). For now, we continue to use the old ModernBB installer.

error

I posted a screenshot of this page a day before. This is the screen you’ll get when you visit the /install/ folder (it’s now a folder, not a single file anymore) – note the play on our slogan – and something is wrong. This is new to the installer. It will be able to check on the system requirements (PHP and chmod settings). If they aren’t alright, you get this. You can click the “Show errors” button to find out what’s actualy wrong.

errorsAnd that will put you into this screen. We will show you a small list of requirements and mark the problem in red. Here, you see that I’m not running the required PHP version (no worries, the real required version of PHP is 5.2, not 5.6). If you have all that, you can “Check again”.

ready

And if everything is alright, you’re ready to start. Instead of the red screen, it will become green, and you can continue on your trip through the installer – note the slogan again – to start using Luna.

termsThe first thing you’ll get to see are our terms and licenses (they are mostly licenses). This screen might disappear in the future, through. But I wanted to include it anyway. If you agree, you can go on…

initialization

…and end up in a rather familiar form. The Initialization will kick off, creating the required config.php-file. Unlike the old installer, the new installer will create the database and default data at this point already. Your user details and board title come later.

essentialNow that is. After the database has been made, you can create your account and set up the first important things about your board (Board URL might be replaced to the previous screen in future versions). This is the final step. When you click next…

sucess…you’ll end up here. And it is what it says “ready to go”. This is the finishline for the installer. However, you’ll also get this creen when you’re done with updating your community. Talking about updating, this will be the new update message:

updateIt has a similar design to the installer, as you can see. The updater will no longer warn you for updating to a preview release with a red message, but rather use it in the title.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is in short the update procedure. Now, we only have raw HTML here, except for the system requirements, these are realy checked already. But let’s hope that these changes can make it into Luna 1.0, otherwise, it’s 1.1. Anyway, let me be clear: this is also a sneakpeak to a future redesign for the Backstage.

TEN awesome THOUSAND

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So I decided to take a look at ModernBB’s ModernCount control panel (we’ve got other software besides ModernBB you know), where we track the downloads. And today I saw the counter standing on 9.984 downloads. Which is a very impressive thing, because that means that 10.000 downloads is a very close milestone.

And thus we hit that milestone. Today, 18 November 2014. 19 months after ModernBB was founded, 14 months after the first real release (ModernBB 2.0). And let’s make it clear: I couldn’t be more happy! 10.000 is quiet the archivement. It’s nothing compared to others, for instance, if WordPress would have an avarage of 10.000 downloads every day, it’s a bad day for them. We got it in 14 months together.

And I’ve got a lot to thank Coder’s Guid and Neil for this. After they started using ModernBB and made an installation tutorial about ModernBB 3.1, our donwloads made a hole in the roof. Mutliple times a week. Now, a bunch of months later, I’m still feeling the consequences of that. So for this, thanks! However, it’s not only because of CG that we got to the 10.000 of course. No, I also have to thank all the 9.998 other people (the first download was by myself, later downloads I made aren’t counted by ModernCount) that downloaded ModernBB.

I hope all of you enjoyed it so far, and I hope all of you are helping me out with the next 10.000, and let’s hope they come faster than the previous 10.000 (let’s try to do it in less then a year)! I’ll be fine if it takes as much time, but let’s hope that it doesn’t take more time. Anyway, I’m sure that the downloads will continue to grow as we are on the edge of releasing the first real Luna Preview. And in just 3 weeks, we also have our third update to ModernBB 3.5. Stay tuned!

Developing Luna #6 – The road to Preview 1

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A week ago, we released Luna 1.0 Preview 0 Update 3 (version 0.0.3231) and it was quiet the update. However, we’ve had another week of fun and earlier today, we have hit build 0.1.3280. Today, we got around the 20 new commits to the Luna Core. We even made the jump from 0.0 to 0.1 (through it doesn’t mean anything that big). However, I would like to go through the changes that have made it the past week and thus, will be part of Luna 1.0 Preview 1 (version 0.1.33xx, might be 0.1.34xx).

Me, Activity Feed and Reading List
The past week, we’ve spend some time on Me. Me is the location where you’ll be able to manage your account. One of the changes include a color selection option for each user. Users can select a color here for their profile (if the theme supports it, and of course, Sunrise will support all of these fancy features) or throughout the board. The Activity Feed has also started to take form, as it now shows the 10 most recent posts (topics and subscriptions to come later). Another feature that is taking shape is Reading List. It’s far from finished and currently unusable, but it is getting there! Also, some bugs have been fixed to enable all Me-panels.

Note: Reading List is being developed as a zFeature and thus will not show up without the required files. This feature will be enabled in Preview 1.

Smarter Editor
We’ve added some intelligence to the editor. For example, if you want to add a list, you would click the list button. ModernBB would then include a [list][/list] in your post. However, it’s realy unlikely that the next button you would click isn’t the *-button, which will add a list item. Thus, Luna now takes care of that too. A first list item is added when clicking on a list, and we have added a couple of line breaks for it too. Code boxes now also have a line break when clicked on it’s button, as it is the most likely markup you would do.

Backstage
The Backstage too got some care. A notable changes is that all pages have now their own icon in the heading. This is visually more attractive and well, the eye deserves some fun too. Some pages also got a serious redesign, following some of our new design guidelines for  the Backstage (the Board structure page is the most notable one). Further more, you can now save all Ranks at once instead of having to edit them one by one. We also cleaned up some obsolete features, because, well, you know, they are obsolete. And finally, the dark Backstage interface has been improved with some small changes.

Note: the dark Backstage interface is being developed as a zFeature and thus will not show up without the required files. This feature will most likely not be enable in Preview 1.

Moderation tools
The moderation tools are, together with Profile and Me, the only pages that haven’t been replaced with Theme pages. While that still hasn’t been done (it will be done in the near future), we did redesign them. Their new interface is in line with the new forum interface.

Index redesign
The index also has been redesigned (work in progress) and now features a list of forums. It’s more back to the traditional style, yet unique.

Note: the index redesign is being developed as a zFeature and thus will not show up without the required files. This feature will most likely not be enable in Preview 1.

Notifications
We’ve also spend some time on notifications. It has been a while since we did, and what we’ve done is still static code and text, however, the design of the notification center has been improved a lot. Not a lot to share futher on this, but it’s coming.

Note: Notifications are being developed as a zFeature and thus will not show up without the required files. This feature will not be enable in Preview 1.

Inbox
And then there is Inbox, a rather major feature that has been requested quiet a lot. Inbox is Lunas private messaging system. It started to be part of the core just today (or well, the major parts of it). This, by the way, is not a reference to Googles Inbox, we already planned on using the name before Googles plans where announced ;). However, Inbox is a private messaging system with some nice features. One of them is Send lists. This allows you to make custom lists of multiple users to which you want to send a message.

Inbox has been developed as a zFeature in the start, but some it its components are not “protected” by the zFeature settings for the simple reason that we want everyone to get to it. Some features of Inbox still require zFeatures and zPrivateMessaging to be enabled, but this will be removed in later builds. Inbox is based on work by Adaur for the “Another Private Messaging System” plugin.

Note: Inbox is being developed as a zFeature and thus will not show up without the required files. This feature will be enable in Preview 1.

Bugfixes, bugfixes, bugfixes
And futher, there have been, of course, an aweful lot of bugfixes all around the place. I’m not going to list theme here, but expect Preview 1 to be much more stable then Preview 0.

The road ahead
This is quiet the list for just one week of work. Most of these things have been done in the weekend, and since I’ve got a day off tomorrow… 🙂 Anyway, while a lot of work has been done, there is still a lot to come. Some major features haven’t even started developing yet. The hook system is a good example of that (not the target for Preview 1 either). But we’ll get there. Preview 1 is currently planned for Fall 2014, target month is November (this month!), but  I’m not sure if I’m going to meet that deadline. Preview 1 will be with all of us before the end of the year, through, but November isn’t very likely. This also means that Preview 2 will be pushed into next year.

For Preview 2, the only major feature is the plugin system and one-click upgrades. When that is done, it is polishing what we’ve got into Preview 3, then, move on to beta 1 (we do plan a Preview 4 on the meantime, but it will be more of a “we’re doing stuff so here is something inbetween”). From that point on, we have a hard time scheme. After beta 1, we will release beta 2 4 weeks later. If needed, beta 3 will follow 3 weeks later. And if needed again, beta 4 will follow 2 weeks later. Then, the Release Candidate phase begins (a week after the last beta release). Followed by a new RC every week. Until we end with Luna 1.0! And then it begins all over again, with Luna 1.1. 🙂

Luna 1.0 Preview 0 Update 3 now available

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Less then 2 weeks ago, we released Luna 1.0 Preview 0 Update 1, soon to be followed by the security update “Luna 1.0 Preview 0 Update 2”. Anyway, Update 1 added some small enhancements to Luna, including an improved index design (mainly an improved index design). But today, the time has come for Luna 1.0 Preview 0 Update 3 (also known as Luna 0.0.2). And this time, it is a rather major update to the Preview.

We’ve talked about some of the updates bits already in a previous post. This update includes the new design we presented to you guys a while ago. Important to note is that the design hasn’t been finished yet (of course). Another update we already talked about is the jump to Bootstrap 3.3. Anyway, the new previous has more to offer than just those 2 changes.

For starters, the header and footer can now be costumized by Themes completely. This is a major change because more freedom is now given and this also makes the usage of Bootstrap on the Mainstage no longer required. As we are running up to the first real preview, Luna 1.0 Preview 1 (Luna v0.1), we’ve spend a lot of time on improving the general design of the software. The Mainstage has been given quiet the update, but we aren’t done yet. A lot more changes and improvements will follow, probably before Preview 1.

Update 3 also kicks of the start of the real development of the new Profile and Me pages. While not much has been done for the public, we are working on putting the foundation in place to make those 2 pages the best they can be. Further more, Advanced Search is now easier to use and First Run will get a new purpose. Todays release also contains some Reading List code, through it is not available to you. Another thing that has been improved is the database.

Update 3 contains, however, some code that is not visible to the public eye. Those that have kept an eye on some of the more recent commits might be able to figure out how to enable those features, however, when these features are enabled, the warning on the Backstages Index isn’t there for no reason. Further more, we’ve fixed a couple of the more anoying bugs. Anyway, get hyped! Luna 0.1 is coming!