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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.