Luna 2.1 Preview 3 now available

Look at all that documentation

Today we are very happy to announce the availability  of Luna 2.1 Preview 3 (no 2.0.10, at least not today). This is our third alpha release for Fallow and we have got some pretty exciting things to talk about. First off, something that isn’t really about the release itself.

Documentation revamp

As mentioned when we released Luna 2.0.9 and 2.1 Preview 2, we made a major change to the way our website handles documentation. Today, we’ve pushed the first major update to our documentation to our website. This gets the documentation up-to-date with Luna 2.1 Preview 3. At least, for as far as we have refreshed these pages. Right now, that is mostly all about the Backstage and our Theme developer documentation. This is just the start of our journey to improve the documentation, and to keep it that way. We’ll have more to share with the next release.

Themes

Today’s update makes some important changes to themes. First of all, themes no longer use the faux “information.php”-file with an XML in to tell Luna what they exactly are. Instead, we now have the “theme.json” file. This is a much simpeler structure, a more polished approach and allows for easier extension if it’s ever required.

Also, themes now have to define which features they support of which Luna is depending on the theme to support it. If a theme does not support a certain feature, a red warning will be shown in the Backstage next to the relevant setting. This way you know why a feature may not change anything on your board. Features need to be defined in “theme.json”.

Accent colors now have to be defined in the “theme.json” file. This way we could make the whole thing much more dynamic for the Backstage. Themes can now show their actual accent colors in the Backstage, heck, if they want, they can even show a gradient now.

For more information about the new theme.json file, I highly recommend you read the brand new documentation on theme development.

With todays update, the “Theme” setting is also moving back to its own page called “Theme”, the current “Theme” page has been renamed “Appearance”. On the new Theme-page, you can install and uninstall themes (yes, they require installation now) and if you want, you can delete a whole theme right from the Backstage now.

Installing a theme adds it to a new “themes”-table in the database, but themes can now define some of their own configurations in the new theme.json file, and by installing the theme, these configurations are put into the database.

Fifteen & Sunrise

In Preview 2, we moved Fifteen and Sunrise’s source over from plain old CSS to SCSS. This makes these themes easier to manage and is one of the many steps we’re taking to improve our theming support. However, you might have noticed that Preview 2 crippled Fifteen and Sunrise in a number of places. Well, get ready for it to get worse.

Fifteen and Sunrise should have “working” accents again in this version, but on numerour places, the styling will be broken. We are not planning on fixing this as we’re working on major updates for both Fifteen and Sunrise, essentially rewriting both themes, to support Bootstrap 4. Fixing these broken things just feels like a waste of times. So yeah… now you’re warned.

Emoji

Preview 1 removed the capability to switch between the emoticons included with Luna or use the emoji font present in the system. This preview also removes the support for changing the size of emoji. Starting with this release, emoji will take the size of their parent element.

Under Backstage > Settings, you’ll find a new page titled “Emoji”. Here you can manage which emoji are available on your board. You will no longer have to dive into the parser to manually add emoji to the list of supported emoji.

Other changes

  • The duality between “e-mail” and “email” has been cleaned up, Luna will now always refer to it as “email”.
  • The Backstage’s page title now contains the name of the page.

We’re very excited with all these changes and we’re not done yet. Luna 2.1 is shaping up to be a nice update, and you, our users, deserve it after more than 1,5 year of silence! Go get it if you’re running Preview 2, but make sure to make a backup first. You never know…

Known issues

  • You have to select an accent color every time you want to save profile settings or the Backstage’s Appearance settings, otherwise, the accent color will be reset to 0 (which isn’t an accent).
  • Fifteen and Sunrise have various visual issues.
  • The category name and position in Board is missing some styling.

Luna 2.0.9 and 2.1 Preview 2

Also… documentation announcement

I know that it hasn’t even been a week, but we’re happy to say that the next update to Luna, version 2.0.9, is now available to download! And to make sure that people the 2.1 Preview are not missing out on all the fixes and enhancements we’re releasing 2.1 Preview 2 as well with the same fixes as 2.0.9 and a number of other improvements.

Luna 2.0.9

Luna 2.0.9 is just a minor update with a bunch of bugfixes and other minor improvements. Here’s what to look out for:

  • More improvements for PHP 7.2 support
  • A number of fixes for localization
  • Site descriptions can now be 300 characters (up from 255)
  • Improved error for invalid search queries
  • Fixes the in 2.0.8 introduced bug where a space was missing between a name and “wrote” in a quoted comment
  • Updates references to GetLuna.org to match our updated website (see below)
  • Updates the “Check for updates” feature
  • A set of bug fixes

Since Luna 2.0.8 we use the by Git (and GitHub) generated zip-files as downloads from our website. However, we didn’t think this one through since Git also includes a number of irrelevant files (like .gitignore) that should not be part of production versions. Today’s update rectifies that and Git will now leave such files out of the download.

Another GitHub-related change is the inclusion of a number of files in our repository for issue templates, pull request templates, etc. But also the GPL v2 license. Except of the license, non of these files actually make a difference to the package you download, but it does make reporting issues and requesting features easier on GitHub.

For more details I would like to refer to the release notes.

Luna 2.1 Preview 2

Luna 2.1 Preview 2 contains the same set of fixes and improvements as Luna 2.0.9, but of course it also bring a number of other features and enhancements to the table. The most notable changes since Preview 1 are:

  • Forum icons can now be set to be either Solid, Regular or Brand icons from Font Awesome Free, if you enabled Font Awesome Pro, you can also choose the Light icons
  • Improved night mode with better contrast and a darker design for the mainstage
  • Fifteen and Sunrise have been rewritten in SCSS and the CSS file included in the download is now compressed resulting in smaller stylesheets and thus faster loading times, this also makes these themes easier to maintain
  • Fifteen has an updated sidebar design in threads to take less vertical space on small devices
  • Spoilers now use the Bootstrap collapse plugin instead of a custom implementation
  • General enhancements to the Backstage design update, including the start of using bolder fonts
  • Fixes an issue in Preview 1 where the Backstage accent color selector in profile was broken
  • Fixes a number of icons that didn’t exist in Font Awesome 5
  • Branding update, because Luna’s logo got a little bit bolder
  • MySQL 5.5 is now the minimum required version if you are using a MySQL database
  • We updated the Backstage logo to use our new, bolder typeface
  • Like with Luna 2.0.9, irrelevant files are now excluded from the generated download, for Luna 2.1 this includes the LESS and SCSS files used to generate the CSS for the Backstage and Mainstage

For Luna 2.1 Preview 2 I would also like to redirect you to the release notes for more information. We still have some more things to come for Luna 2.1. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • User avatar as profile menu icon (instead of the generic user-icon)
  • Font Awesome Pro system icon set selection
  • Converting the Backstage stylesheets from LESS to SCSS
  • Typography
  • Backstage night mode improvements
  • A big update to our documentation (see below)

As always it is recommended to update, but make a backup!

Website and documentation updates

Now, there is one more thing I’d like to talk about. And that is the documentation. Our documentation has always lagged behind, in true FluxBB-fashion. However, I’m making moves now to change that. And step one was dropping the whole HTML-mess that was the documentation and rewrite it in Markdown. “Rewrite” as in “I changed all html-tags to Markdown”, not “The whole thing has new content”. The documentation is available on GitHub for everyone to collaborate on!

Additionally, the website got updated to dynamically show the sidebar menu and the page content depending on what page you visit. As a result, the documentation can fully be managed from the GitHub repository’s content. This should make maintaining the documentation a lot easier for 2 reasons: Markdown is much better fit for writing documents than HTML and much less prone to markup errors, and updating the documentation no longer requires directly messing with the sites code.

Everyone is free to help out with the documentation now. If you want, of course. And “helping out” doesn’t mean you have to write it, if you see an error or would like to see some documentation about something in Luna, you can also create a new ticket on GitHub.

Before Luna 2.1 goes out the door, I really want to spend some serious time on the documentation and start maintaining it properly from there on out. This has lacked for years, and it is really time to change that.

And to close it all of: we made a number of improvements to our website’s design, mainly for small screens. We also fixed the broken download buttons for the Luna 1.0 preview releases.

Don’t you forget about us

Luna 2.0.8 and 2.1 Preview 1 are here!

It has been silent around Luna’s development for a long time. A way too long time. I’m sorry that I’ve let this slip as much as I have. However, for those wondering when, if ever, I would return to developing Luna, here is the answer.

Development of Luna restarts today

Yes. Today.

And that starts today with a new website (with working download buttons!) and with the release of Luna 2.0.8 and 2.1 Preview 1. Version 2.0.8 is a maintenance update and mainly focusses on improving support for PHP 7.2 and updating vendor packages. Prism (the syntax highlighter) has been updated to version 14 (up from 11) and Font Awesome has been updated to version 4.7 (up from 4.6.3). It also has a small set of bugfixes.

I was not sure how to proceed beyond 2.0, though. Although the obvious answer would be: “from where you left off”, I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do. While I had a lot of fun building ModernBB 2.x and 3.x and Luna 1.x and 2.0, I feel like it has diverged from what it should have been and the codebase has suffered from that.

So here is the plan for Fallow:

Most of the changes we’ve made so far to Luna 2.1 have been reversed. Instead, we’re working on an update mostly targetted at getting Luna up-to-date from the past 2 years of lack of development. This means we’re mainly focused on the following:

  • The Backstage will have an updated design for its navigation.
  • Improved navigation for small screens in both the Mainstage and Backstage.
  • Font Awesome Free 5.0, with support to replace it with Font Awesome Pro 5.0 if you have a license.
  • Support to use vendor packages from CDN rather than loading them from the site.
  • General Quality of Code improvements.
  • General bugfixes.

I don’t want Luna 2.1 to be too much of a change, which is why Bootstrap 4 isn’t coming to Luna 2.x. Nontheless, an update is finally coming. I hope to release it somewhere in July. Also, when Luna 2.1 launches, support for Luna 2.0 will stop entirely.

And as mentioned earlier, Luna 2.1 Preview 1 is also available starting today. When you update, look out for the following changes:

  • Reverts all changes made in Luna 2.1 before we restarted development
  • Support for getting Bootstrap and jQuery from a CDN
  • Revamped Backstage design (not finished yet)
  • Font Awesome Free 5.0.13 replaces version 4.7.0, this might break some of your forum icons, so check them (also not finished yet)
  • Support for Font Awesome Pro
  • A lot of coding convention updates
  • Native font stack for both Fifteen, Sunrise and Backstage
  • Improved mobile navigation and tables
  • Removes support for smilies, emojis are now the only option
  • Removes support for switching update rings
  • jQuery 3.3.1 (up from 2.2.4)

For all the other changes that will be coming in later previews and eventually in Luna 2.1, please check out the ship list over at GitHub.

From Luna 2.1 on, I’m planning to do some incremental stuff. Of course we will update Luna with more recent versions off the vendor packages that are included with it as well as updating the CDNs that will get introduced in 2.1, but no big changes will be added to Luna 2 from there on out.

So what about Luna 3? Well… I honestly feel like Luna has drifted to far from its original vision and with Luna 3 I’m planning to restore that. Don’t expect much new in Luna 3, it will mainly be an overhaul of the current features, as well as dropping some of them. So here’s what you should expect from Luna 3:

  • Serious updates to the codebase. Seriously.
  • Bootstrap 4.x as front-end framework, which will include a redesign of Luna to give it a modern look and feel.
  • Notifications, Inbox, and a number of other features will be dropped.
  • A bunch of small features, nothing to fancy.

Luna 3 is supposed to become a big change. But it won’t be a big change from a functionality-perspective. Nontheless, I’m looking forward to starting development of this version. In the past year that I’ve been inactive with developing Luna, I’ve learned a lot, and I honestly hope that Luna will now benefit from all of that.

Hello everyone.

I’M BACK.

The art of going beyond the Edge

While we’re still in the Preview 3 stage for Aero, when it comes to features, the development of our very first release is drawing to a close, with the expected final release in May, which makes up for 10 months of development and already over 800 commits to the core since the start. Either way, we’ve talked about it in our last blog post: we’ve planned more stuff. Let’s talk about that.

Aero – 1.0
Aero is, as you know our first stable release. We’re currently hard at work on it, and our weekly releases prove that. We’ll continue this schedual until we reach our first stable release. Either way, it’s a major improvement over ModernBB.

Bittersweet Shimmer – 1.1
Bittersweet Shimmer is going to be our first minor feature update to Luna. It will go by the number of version 1.1. Our main focus will be on improving upon the changes made in Luna 1.0, and we expect it rather quick after Aero is released. Do not expect much new features in version 1.1. You, however, can expect the kick-off of some major changes for later versions. This will also be the first Luna release to be developed with our new Git-structure. We’ll also be more specific in ticket items.

Cornflower Blue – 1.2
A couple of days ago, we’ve given our C-update a name: “Cornflower Blue”. Cornflower Blue will introduce a major revamp to the installer and update mechanics of Luna. These 2 systems are set to become completely rewritten and modular from the Luna core. The new components (as they will become components) will be released under their own license, the MIT license, that is. They will be completely separate from the original Luna core, and are our first steps towards a brand new core, which we like to call Edge. Further Cornflower Blue will introduce other small changes, but more on that later. As we follow semantic versioning, this will be Luna 1.2 and this update is planned for fall 2015.

Denim – 2.0
Next up is Denim. This will continue the work we did in Cornflower. But not for the installer and updater. No. You’ll see our Backstage being rebuild from scratch. A thing we’ve already started working on. Just like the installer from 1.2, the Backstage will become a separate component, as modular as possible, and released under a new license – again MIT. This will leave only the Mainstage behind on GPLv3, something we will fix later. Denim is supposed to introduce support for plugins in the Backstage (not the Mainstage). This major revamp of the Backstage will bring us to Luna 2.0 (as semantic versioning requires us to do so).

Emerald – 2.1
Our final planned update for now is Emerald. This update will have the same function to Denim as Bittersweet Shimmer had to Aero: it’s a minor all around improvement update. And thus we’ll probably go with version 2.1 for it. This update will focus on improving Edge (the name of our core for the installer, updater and Backstage by then). It’s currently planned to be the first update for 2016.

Early communication is good communication
So now you know what we’ve up to our sleaves. With Aero, Bittersweet Shimmer, Cornflower Blue, Denim and Emerald, we hope to keep ourselves buzzy for a while, and we hope to keep you guys happy for a while, until we’re ready to go to Luna “F” and beyond. And I guess that after reading this post, you guys might know what our plans are for the next major update after Aero (Luna 1.0) and Denim (Luna 2.0). On the other hand, note that codenames are not related to their respective version, and only in order of the releases.

We’re talking this early about our plans – which are subject to change – because we think that it is important to include our community in the development process as early as possible, so that’s what we do. And now, back to the development table for Aero.