Luna 1.0 Preview 2 DEVED now available!

I’m very happy to announce that today, we are releasing Luna 1.0 Preview 2 DEVED. But first: no, this is not Preview 2. This is a DEVED. DEVED stands for DEVeloper EDition. This is to show some of the work that has been done since Preview 1, and we have some very decent reasons to release this build:

First: in a more recent commit to the Luna core, we revamped the installer with major changes. This is prety much the reason we’re releasing this version today: we need you guys to test out the new installer and warn us for any bugs. With other words: don’t upgrade your current Preview 1 installation, but do a fresh install with Preview 2 DEVED. Of course, you can also update your Preview 1 (or parhaps you’re on Preview 0) to this update. But it’s mostly about the installer now.

But that’s not the only thing that changed in Preview 2. If you are known with earlier version of Luna, you’ll find yourself in a brand new interface in the Mainstage. It has been redesgined from the ground up (and it’s a work in progress), be sure to check out your profile settings and play around with the new colorsettings for Sunrise.

For the people that are upgrading from any earlier version of Luna to Preview 2 DEVED, you guys will get the first ever notification (fresh installs won’t trigger a notification)! Note that the notification system contains a lot of test features, including dummy notification buttons in the notification center on your profile. Go crazy with them, they will be gone by the time we hit Preview 2.

You’ll also find a new page in the Backstage: About. It has been added to the main section of the Backstage and is actualy a copy of the Release Notes that you can find on this website. When you visit the Backstage, you’ll also see a “Welcome to Luna” screen, this is the Backstage’s counterpart of First Run. It has a “Got it” button, but it won’t do anything. We removed the “Welcome to the Luna Preview” screen, it is now part of About.

Another change you’ll notice is that we have removed emoticons. They are no longer images, but fonts, colored fonts (only on supported operating systems: Windows Phone, Windows, iOS, OS X and Android). This makes them lighter to load, and fully scalable! You can zoom in on them as much as you want, they will continue to be awesome! Anyway, these are some of the changes, we’ve done some under-the-hood work too and are continue to work up to the Preview 2 release for next year. Enjoy this preview as much as you can, and look forward to Preview 2, because it is going to be awesome!

Fancy Luna Features #2 – Notifications

It has been a while since we did a “Fancy Luna Features” post. So here we are again. Today, I would like to talk about a feature that is currently in full swing. What brings me to a first note: this is in development, nothing you’re about to see is final. In fact, the feature exists now, but isn’t integrated with Luna that much yet.

A lot of people have asked me to include a notification center in the next update to ModernBB. I liked to idea but never came to it. With Luna, that’s changing. The first signs of the notification center already showed up in Preview 0. If you had found out how to enable zFeatures, you could enable a mock-up of the “notidown” (the notification dropdown) function. However, there wasn’t that much more to it.

A couple of builds ago, through, we started to do some serious work on the notification center. First off, you couldn’t disable the mock-up anymore. Soon after, the mock-up notifications where removed and replaced with “No new notifications”. And very recently, we started to make this thing actualy work.

And yesterday, it happened, we got an actualy working notification center. I posted a tweet about it, so behold, the first ever notification in a Luna board:

It was a milestone. This is, by the way, the first notification all of you’ll get to see live when you update from Luna 0.1.3361 to the next preview (Luna 0.2.35xx, don’t know the full number yet). As you can see, behind the notification, there is a “0”. That’s the time. I added this notification through the database itself (the function to let Luna do it on its own didn’t exist back then), and for time, I simply filled in a “0”. Neither was that number converted to a time either way.

This, of course, was later fixed and the timestamp is now converted to an actual time. Since that build, we also made some design changes. The time is now displayed in grey, and next to the notification icon in the navbar, the amount of new notifications will also show up. Like this:

noti3

The screenshot shown above is from the currently most recent build. The notification that is shown is a dummy notification, by the way. You won’t see this kind of notifications in the real deal. However, what happens when you click on “More”? Well, that will bring you to a brand new part of Me. The notification area:

Knipsel

The Windows, comment, check, moon and cogs button you see in the toolbar are buttons to add new dummy notifications. They won’t be there in Preview 2. Anyway, this is where you can see all of your notifications, mark them as seen or remove all of them. We’re still adding new options to this as we speak.

We’re currently going with dummy notifications for as long as we do not concider the system finished. As soon as it is, we will start to add the code that will allow Luna to add its own notifications (like “UserX has commented on your post”). Of course, extensions can also tab into the notification system. We will put the documentation on this feature online later on. Do you want to test this system already? Download then the latest nightly from GitHub.com/ModernBB/Luna in the luna0.2 branch. Or you can wait and see the final system in Preview 2.

Developing Luna #8 – The road to Preview 2

As the development of Luna continues, we’re getting closer to Preview 2. It’s still a long way to go, a lot has to be done before we’re ready to ship Preview 2 (just to move on to Preview 3), but I think it’s worth the wait. I would like to talk a bit about Preview 2, and the things you can expect from it.

New design
We’ve pointed this out earlier. Compared to Preview 1, Preview 2 will ship with a brand new design. I added a screenshot of the new design in that post, however, here is another one from a more recent build (build 0.2.3407):

design

Confused by the screenshot? You might be. What is it that we see here? It’s the First Run panel, statistics and forum list, yet we also see a list of topics, with pagination. Is this the index, or forum view? Well. The answer is “both”. Luna’s default theme won’t make a difference between the index and the forum view (if you build your own themes, you don’t have to do the same, the whole forum view system is still there). For the people that are now wondering: “so we always end up looking at the first forum when going to the board”? No, when you go to the board, you’ll see a list of 30 topics that have been active recently.

The new design, however, also brings some new features. We’ll start in the top left corner. The first thing you see, is the new search bar, you can search through the board from everywhere now. On the right hand side of the same bar, you see a dot next to the Backstage-icon. That’s the notification area, this isn’t a feature of Sunrise itself, but it is new (but not functional yet). The forum description is now always displayed when viewing a forum. The board statistics are also visible everywhere. Finaly, there footer now displays a copyright notice.

Notification area
Preview 2 will introduce a notification area. While some of the work to this has already been done in Preview 0 and Preview 1, Preview 2 will bring the first functional itteration of this feature. It will have basic functionality through. That’s something we will work on during the beta fase of Luna 1.0 Aero, and also further on when we kick off the development of Luna 1.1 Twilight.

Me
Me will be Improved further, adding new functionality and improving the things we already have. Our goal is to finish Me with Preview 2, through we might continue the works in Preview 3 (but it should realy be finished then). This includes the Reading List, by the way.

Subforum support
Preview 2 will ship with subforum support. This is currently something we’re working on in ticket #1000 (yay!). So for that, you should stay tuned as we continue development of this much requested feature, that actualy has been in the ModernBB core for a while during the early days of ModernBB 2.0. ModernBB 2.0 beta 1, beta 2 and beta 3 did support subforums. However, now this feature is about to make a return!

Beta SQLite 3 support
Preview 2 will also come with SQLite 3 support, through we have to point out that that is an early version of this, and since this is database-stuff, it might be critical and unfunctional functionality.

Backstage First Run and Mainstage First Run
For everyone new to Luna (this includes ModernBB upgrades), we will include a First Run panel in the Backstage too. This panel will help you with the first basic settings, like design, categories and forums, permissions, ranks, etc. Similar to that, the Mainstage’s First Run will also be Improved with new capabilities. For example, we want to include a color picker so you can change the boards color from the get-go (through we might not). Note that the Mainstage First Run might be a Preview 3 feature.

Plugins
We earlier announced that Preview 2 will mainly focus on plugin support. As you might have readed so far, you might have noticed that that isn’t the case. That is due to the fact that we changed plans. Preview 2 will kick off the development of the plugin system, through it’s Preview 3 that will put the main focus on this.

And of course the usual bugfixes…

And beyond Preview 2
After Preview 2, the logical next thing will follow: Preview 3. While we do keep a Preview 4 in mind, it no longer is part of our planning and we hope Preview 3 (Luna 0.3) to be the final alpha release before moving to beta (Luna 0.5). Luna Beta 1 will be all about polishing everything we have. As a result, before Beta 1 is released, we will throw it online on our forums to test it out. That’s prety much the beginning of the end for ModernBB.

After Beta 1, it can go rather fast, Beta 2 is planned for the same month. Followed by Beta 3 and 4, however, both betas might be skipped (Beta 4 is likely to be skipped, Beta 3 not). So after either Beta 2, 3 or 4, RC1 will follow. Luna 0.9. That’s prety much the point where we are going serious about it. RC1 will be followed by at least another RC2 release, before going to Final: Luna 1.0 (we do keep an RC3 in mind too). And then comes that awesome moment that a new ticket is beeing made in the tracker, named “Luna 1.1 “Twilight” Shiplist”, and we start off all over again.

Welcome to Luna 1.0 Preview 1

It took a while, we’ve been working on it for 4 months now (and a whole time will follow) but we can be proud to announce that we’ve finished Luna 1.0 Preview 1! We’ve talked about it quiet a lot, and a “Preview 0” has been available to all of you for some time, but today, it’s time for the real deal: the real first preview! Let’s take a look at what we’ve got!

Brand
First of all, this is our first official release with the new brand. Instead of “ModernBB”, the software is now called “Luna”. We also decided to not go with Luna 4.0 (continuing the ModernBB versioning), but instead, jump back to Luna 1.0 (well, 0.1 for the preview). We want to make it clear that Luna is a break from ModernBB. This includes our new logo (see above). The ModernBB.be website will continue to feature Luna as a page, however, we intend to release a new website later this year.

Inbox
A build-in private messaging system has been requested for a long time. Not just for ModernBB, but also for is preseccors FluxBB and PunBB. And while we’re not adding it to ModernBB, we do add it to Luna. Inbox is Luna’s PM system and it brings along some nice features, like Lists, where you can create lists of multiple users to send a message all at once. While we’re mostly “done” with Inbox for Luna 1.0, it’s feature set will be extended in the future (of course).

Themes
Ever since ModernBB 1.6, and up to ModernBB 3.5, we’ve been using styles. With Luna, we’re pushing it beyond with Themes. Unlike ModernBB, developers now have full freedom to do whatever they want with the Mainstage (that’s the front-end, visible for users and guests). This also makes that you can modify your board without breaking the ability to easly upgrade (you just need to make sure the theme is compatible). Themes bring more freedom to your board, but can also add some nice features if they want to.

Editor and syntax highlighting
We’ve trown in some major improvements to the Editor. Not only is its design altered drasticaly, but it will also put BBCode into your post with more intelligence. For example, when you create a list, the chance that your next action is to put in a list item is REALY high. So, instead of the need of clicking 2 buttons, Luna will include a first list item when clicking the list button. Not just that, but the editor also trows in support for the parser’s new syntax highlight ability. We support markup, CSS, Javascript and PHP for this release, based on PrismJS.

Backstage
One of the major changes compared to ModernBB 3.5 is the Backstage and its general design. We’ve made huge changes to it. The interface is darker and we’ve done away with dropdowns for option pages. We also use icons much more to give a nice touch to it.  The major changes have been done in the index, this page now features a “Admin note” field where you can write down things you need to do and the “About” panel has been replaced to “System info” (previously “Server statistics”). You’ll also find “Welcome to the Luna Preview” message, but of course, this is temporarly. Further more, some features have been removed because we might consider them out dated (like the Redirect sections, disabling emoticons). You’ll also find some pages to have been rearanged.

In the Backstage, you’ll also find some new options. Under “Settings” for example, you’ll find the new menu items “Menu” and “Inbox”, the later one to manage the feature we’ve mentioned above. “Menu” is a new feature that replaces the “Additional menu items” option, it gives your much more power with a much simpeler interface. Other pages have been redesigned to follow guidelines, bringing a more consistent interface. Finaly, we made some major usability improvements, an example being the fact that you can now edit multiple ranks at once, and save them at once too.

Sunrise: A brand new interface
Also, Random (and Awesome, Radical and Kind) had to make space for a brand new design, named Sunrise. Sunrise makes full use of the Theme engines new capabilities. It comes with a much improved interface for all pages and major personalisation features for all your users alike. Sunrise is a joyful and colorful theme, reflecting the user’s settings, as they are able to select their own color, the interface will adapt to it.

Profile + Me
You might also notice that the the user menu has been altered and contains a “Profile” and “Me” button. The “Profile” is where you can find your profile. “Me” is your new home, it will contain your settings, but it will also keep track of everything you do and keep up with the board so you don’t have to do that yourself. However, note that these 2 pages are still in full development, we hope to bring a more polished version of these pages in a future update to Luna 1.0 Preview 1 or to bring it to you in Luna 1.0 Preview 2.

And more
But these aren’t the only changes. Be sure to check out Luna 1.0’s release notes. Together with this release, comes also a couple of bugfixes too. If you are running Luna 1.0 Preview 0, or any update on top of that, be sure to upgrade to Luna 1.0 Preview 1 right away for a more polished and stable experience (for as far as you can call it “polished”). If you are on ModernBB 3.5 and like stable environments, get the upgrade to ModernBB 3.6. Remember that PHP 5.2 is required, instead of ModernBB’s PHP 5.1 requirement, to run Luna. Further requirements are the same.

Preview 1 updates and Preview 2
Meanwhile, we’ve already started development of Preview 2. A couple of the upcoming features from Preview 2 are subforum support, a major design update, extending the abilities of Me, the start of the plugin system, and a lot more. Unlike Preview 0, Preview 1 won’t get feature updates, we’ll only fix major bugs (the minor bugs will have to wait until Preview 2 or any later version). Anyway, you can expect Preview 2 to arrive in January 2015!

Developing Luna #7 – Refreshed design

luna-previewLWe’re currently working on Luna 1.0 Preview 2. “But where is Preview 1?” you might wonder. Well, we’re also working on that, we just want to fix some issues before we release this preview, but be prepared, because it is coming soon. Meanwhile, we spend most of our time working on Luna 1.0 Preview 2. One of the first things I started working on, is the design. So let’s talk, again, about design.

When you’ll install Luna Preview 1, from here on, I’ll call them by their version number “Luna 0.1”, you’ll get to see this interface:

luna0.1

Small note already: the default interface is dark blue, better known as “Luna Blue”, to see the color from this screenshot. You’ll have to go to Me > Personalisation. However, why would we want to get rid of this design? First things first: it’s a little bit too flat. 1 color to go by is not the way to go. Sunrise 0.1 is also screen consuming for no good reason (the statistics panel is twice the height of that from ModernBB 3.6).

Therefor, after siging off the “ready to be stable” Luna 0.1 release (we’re still fixing bugs there), we didn’t continue with features, but instead, we worked on the design. Because design is the most important part of the UX. Thus, we decided to change a couple of things. First off, we won’t use a color accent anymore, but a whole color pallet.

If that’s done, the interface can’t take as much space as it used to take. And finaly, the design should be awesome, whatever it takes, this includes the users ability to change the colors, without changing the actual style. And thus, we did. Sunrise 0.2, as it is now available in Luna 0.2, has support for the blue, green, yellow, red, Luna blue, grey and purple color option in Me.

Sunrise 0.2 also included some other, more functional changes. First off, the navigation bar is split of from the main navigation. There are now 2 navigationbars on top of the page (unless in responsive mode, then only one is available, the 2 bars are both merged in that case). The upper navigation bar also includes a search bar, allowing your users to search for posts from everywhere. Finaly, the index statistics are now the footer statistics, and thus visible everywhere. The footer now also contains a copyright notice for the board. Have a look:

luna0.2

We’re planning to include a couple of additional options to configure some of these settings (like the availablity of a search bar, the copyright notice, etc). The screenshot you see here is still a work in progress. This is what you get when you select the blue color in Me (we’ll extend these color options later, by the way).

The actual index will also get a redesign again. But except for a redesign, it will actualy get a major feature overhaul too, as we want to get rid of the idea of categories. But that’s for another post. If you want to try out this new design, you can do so by downloading Luna from GitHub.com ModernBB/Luna repository from the lunadev branch.

ModernBB 3.6 now available

3.6-branchRemember when we announced ModernBB 3.5 Update 3? Well, we did release that version, however, unlike what our blog told you, it only contained a security fix. Meanwhile, we renamed the original planned update to ModernBB 3.6 “Blue”. And we’re happy to announce that this release of ModernBB is now available!

ModernBB 3.6 (core 0.0.36.2559) comes with a couple of nice improvements. Most of them are to polish your experience with ModernBB. First of, we Improved the Backstage design to be darker and thus better to use in the dark. It also brings back the ModernBB 3.3/3.4 navbar in the Backstage, through it does contain some changes.

The front-end has also received some updates. Random, Awesome, Kind and Radical have been redesigned. And back from the past; Luna, Pinkie, Shy, Happy and Magic join the core again. Due to all optimalisations these themes have got, they no longer put much in for the package size. Further, touch support has been improved for larger touchscreens, especialy dropdowns. We also fixed the interface of the “Change email” interface, which was still using an old design.

For security, ModernBB now shows the strength of your password when you are joining a board or changeing your password. Passwords that are generated by ModernBB itself will also be stronger starting from this release. And, of course, the bug from 3.5.3 has also been solved in this release.

Finaly, we’ve removed the heading from the statistics panel on the index. Bootstrap has been updated from 3.2.0 to 3.3.1. You can now upgrade to ModernBB 3.6 from PunBB 1.2, PunBB 1.3, FluxBB 1.2, FluxBB 1.3, FluxBB 1.4, FluxBB1.5, ModernBB 1.6 and ModernBB 1.7, in addition to ModernBB 2.x and 3.x. And lastly, we’ve fixed the usual bugs.

You can get ModernBB 3.6 at the usual place: the download page. Be sure to update if you’re on ModernBB 3.5.0 or lower. If you’re using ModernBB 3.5.1 and 3.5.2, it’s smart to upgrade to (in fact, it’s important to update whatever version you’re on) due to security issues that got fixed in 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.3 and now in 3.6.0. Now, look forward to Luna Preview 1 while we kick off the development of ModernBB 3.7 “Cotton candy” and Luna Preview 2!