Once upon a time, there was a Backstage

With Luna 2.0 Preview 1 coming along nicely, I found it kinda fitting to go over the history of the Backstage. We’ve done this before, prior to the launch of ModernBB 3.3, but this time around, there is so much more to say about the Backstage. So let’s take a look at how we got from Dashboard 1.6 in ModernBB 1.6 to Backstage 6.0 “Astrid” in Luna 2.0.

Dashboard 1.6/1.7

adminpanel1.6

Framework: None / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 11%

As ModernBB 1.x was more of a maintenance release to continue where FluxBB failed, the Dashboard that could be found in these early ModernBB versions wasn’t anything different from FluxBB. What you see above is an interface that isn’t responsive and not optimized for management at all. It’s actually quiet boring. Moving on…

Dashboard 2.0

dashboard2.0

Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 24%

Similar to Luna 2.0, the first beta of ModernBB 2.0 focused on revamping the Dashboard – and only the Dashboard. This is where the basic structure that is still in use today, is introduced. Not only that, but for the first time in ModernBB’s history (which includes PunBB’s and FluxBB’s) a framework is introduced. In this case, it was Bootstrap 2.3.2. It’s the first time it appears, and also the last. But I’m gonna be honest with myself, the UI was a mess. Let me illustrate:

dashboard2.0bis

That’s the Settings-page. The very same page we’re now getting very positive feedback on. Let me be clear: this version… not that positive. And I can only say that I agree. Somehow, I found it a good look back in the day, now I don’t.

Backstage 2.1

dashboard2.0bis2

Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 27%

In beta 2 of ModernBB 2.0, not that much changed about the design, however, a notable change in functionality was that the index now included features instead of just a list of things you could do. And another obvious change was the introduction of the word “Backstage”.

Backstage 3.0

backstage3.0

Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.0 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 43%

Then ModernBB 2.0 beta 3 happened. Not only did this release revamp the front-end completely – something that’s totally besides the point for this blog post – but it also revamped the Backstage. Big time. We kicked Bootstrap 2 out, and included Bootstrap 3 instead. Thank god, you might say, because for the first time, the Backstage was finally taking shape.

Beyond a visual refresh – as you can see below – not that much changed to the Backstage in ModernBB 2.0’s releases after beta 3. It didn’t change a thing in ModernBB 2.1 either. The only notable difference was that Bootstrap got updated to version 3.0.2, and even that isn’t that notable at all.

backstage3.0bis

Backstage 3.1

backstage3.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.3 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 51%

Little note: so far, non of the versions of Backstage where actually responsive. Backstage 3.1 did bring a responsive design. A poor implementation, but one nonetheless. This puts ModernBB in history as one of the first forum software to have a fully responsive design, thanks to Bootstrap. Version 3.1 also introduced the now much used panel-button (as can be seen in the “New reports” panel). For some reason, we also made the design wider. I don’t know why, but we did.

Backstage 4.0

backstage4.0

Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 59%

ModernBB 3.0 introduced a less colorfull design (though it did introduce the idea of accents). It is however notable for – what I believe to be – the first good implementation of Bootstrap in ModernBB. The result was a properly functioning responsive design and a much cleaner interface overall. Through later versions would still improve on that, it was a major improvement. Also, we started using icons in the Backstage in version 4.0 too. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 also used Backstage 4.0 with some minor adjustments.

Backstage 4.1

backstage4.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 49%

And this is the point where we got into a personality crisis. Backstage was redesigned with a more colorful interface once more. And a bright on. A little to bright (but the worst has yet to come). This version of Backstage did introduce the accent system we use today (that is, setting the accent). ModernBB 3.4.3 would upgrade Bootstrap to version 3.2.0, but did not bring any other visual changes. It was a release I am particulary proud of, the Backstage design? Not so much.

Backstage 4.2

backstage4.2

Framework: Bootstrap 3.2.0 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 56%

As if Backstage 4.1 wasn’t bright enough, version 4.2 made the navbar white. White! It did make the design look more professional and all, but it certainly was a downgrade for people working often in dark spaces with not enough light.

Backstage 4.3

backstage4.3

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 64%

The good news is that that light design didn’t last that long. ModernBB 3.6 started to introduce design aspects that could be found in the Luna Preview 0 builds from that time. This time, the Backstage did gain a functional update: touch-friendly dropdowns for tablet users. Backstage 4.3 is basically the last iteration of the Backstage 2-based series. ModernBB 3.7 used the exact same code for it’s Backstage and after that, it was Luna all the way. But ModernBB had one last update…

Backstage 4.9

backstage4.9

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.4 / Awesomeness: 83%

ModernBB 4 brought Backstage 4.9 along. This version of the Backstage was a back-port of the Backstage that could be found in Luna 1.1. It brought Font Awesome as the icon set to ModernBB and was the final ModernBB release.

Backstage 5.0

backstage5.0

Framework: TrentUI 1.0 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 71%

So, now we go backwards. Backstage 5.0 is older then version 4.3 and 4.9. This is the first itteration of Backstage since version 4.2. It introduced a brand new design and 2 noticable framework changes: Bootstrap was set aside for TrentUI (a Bootstrap fork) and Font Awesome took over the Glyphicons usage. Perhaps more important: this update changed the menu and required less navigation within the hamburger menu on small screens. Later revisions did put Bootstrap 3.3.0 back in place.

Backstage 5.1

backstage5.1

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 82%

Luna 1.0 Preview 1 brough along a familiar design if you’re used to todays versions of Luna. The interface was made darker and flatter.

Backstage 5.2

backstage5.2

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 84%

Luna 1.0 Preview 2 made panel headings more distict and stand out and brought minor visual changes. It was basically the last major itteration of the Backstage for the Luna 1.0-branch. 1.0.7 brought the “brand”-update, which included our lighter blue brand color, the one still in use today.

Backstage 5.3

backstage5.3

Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.3 / Awesomeness: 87%

Which brings us to todays Backstage. While both Bootstrap and Font Awesome have been updated since the original Backstage 5.3 release (as part of Luna 1.1), the design has remained the same and no big changes where applied. It’s our best Backstage yet that’s publicly available. But we have one version that’s even better: Backstage 6 “Astrid” right now in development.

Lessons learned

After a little less then 3 year of iteration changes and 2 major revamps (Backstage 2 and 5), you might think that we’ve learned our lessons on how to make a great administration interface. And yes, we did. And all of that is going to come together in the 6th version of the Backstage, and the third major revamp (though, since it is a rebuild from scratch, you might say it’s the first major revamp). It’s going to be gorgeous. We’ll have a blog post up about Luna 2.0 Preview 1 early next year, so stay tuned!

What’s in a codename?

So today, I discovered that there is a Wikipedia article about ModernBB (which also covers Luna). Awesome! Thumbs up for the guy that’s keeping the information on it up-to-date. Anyway, I decided to read through the whole lemma, and then, I came across this:

Similar to other software, like WordPress, main releases are named with code names. However, the logic used for ModernBB’s code names is unknown. Some releases share the same code name.

It sure knew to steal my attention. Why? Because it’s right. There is no logic in the ModernBB codenames. Will there be any kind of logic in Luna codenames? Probably, but remember, they are what the name says: codenames. Nothing more, nothing less.

ModernBB Codenames
While ModernBB 1.6 is called Blythe, it didn’t had a codename until ModernBB 2.0 was named Zoe. Both codenames came from the same source: Hasbro (that big entertainment company, you know, like Monopoly and stuff). 1.7 just took the 1.6 codename due to it not being such a big release. However, releases being small isn’t the only reason we stick to a codename. 2.1 and 2.2 where both named Zoe, too. There is no reason for that naming convention.

ModernBB 3.0 was named Odd. Because it was version 3, and uneven number, which is also called “odd”. Also, “Odd” is a name in some countries. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 where both named Mellow. These 2 releases sharing a name, did have a reason. Both releases putted the focus on revamping the front-end design. Its codename wasn’t ment to be the word “mellow”, through. It actualy comes from “marshmallow”. But we thought that was to long and shortened it to “Mallow” and then we switched the a for an e. I didn’t even realize at the moment it was an actual word.

ModernBB 3.3 was named Vanellope, after the Vanellope project I did in the months prior to it, of which it also got a lot of code. Anyway, that project’s name on its own was from Wreck-it Ralph, a Disney movie. One of the characters was named “Vanellope von Sweetz” (or something). ModernBB 3.4 was named Neon, and at that point, we did plan to introduce a logic in naming our releases: after the elements. Didn’t happen, through. The next version, ModernBB 3.5, was named Kate. ModernBB 3.6 and 3.7 are both named Blue. We just took names, there really is no reason behind these names. 3.6 and 3.7 share the same name because we don’t think it’s worth it to give it new names.

Luna Codenames
Luna continues to use codenames. Aero is an example, the codename for Luna 1.0. “Luna” as a name itself was a codename until it became our final name. We currently call our 1.1 milestone Luna 1.1 Bittersweet Shimmer. Another update, that currently doesn’t have a version number is Luna Denim. There is an updated planned in between Bittersweet Shimmer and Denim, so that’s going to be something with a C. Anyway, for the people that didn’t notice it: Aero, Bittersweet Shimmer and Denim are all colors. In alphabetic order. So there you have our logic. Finally.

Announcing ModernBB 3.4 and what to expect

3.4-branch

Well, it has been a great time. We released ModernBB 3.3 “Vanellope” recently, I’ve spend some time on developing ModernBB Luna and ModernBB 3.3.1. And I also have done some work on ModernBB 3.4. While today’s post will also talk about ModernBB 3.3.1, our main focus is on ModernBB 3.4, and what you can expect from us.

Unlike the planning, ModernBB 3.4 is going to be another (and final) rapid release. 3.4 will put its focus on the WYSIWYG editor in the front-end of ModernBB. As most of you might know, we never got the integration with TinyMCE right on the BBCode front, simply because, well… TinyMCE isn’t made for this kind of work, it’s basicaly handled by an old plugin we had to update to function with ModernBB. And guess what it didn’t?

That’s why we’re kicking out TinyMCE, at least, for the front-end. TinyMCE will still be the editor in the Backstage, as we need an HTML editor over there, but the front-end will start using WysiBB. An editor focused on supporting BBCode. Perfect for us. We will also update the parser. You’ll mainly see some features being removed, as we want to move to a more BBCode-standard based parser. I can’t tell what features will be gone, that’s for us to find out later.

ModernBB 3.4 will focus on refining the stuff we did in ModernBB 3.3. You can expect new Backstage colors in your profile. We will also add the users avatar to the navbar.  The “Moderated by” list will become optional to display, updates to TinyMCE, and finaly, we hope to be able to update Bootstrap to version 3.2. You can expect a first beta later this month already. The final is planned to be released at the end of this month or begin July. Afther that, development of ModernBB 3.5 will kick off, and this time, it will take longer then a month.

ModernBB 3.3 “Vanellope” now available

modernbb33d

I’m pleased to announce the release of ModernBB 3.3. Today, you can download this new version of ModernBB and use it! ModernBB 3.3 comes with a brand new Backstage and style system and other improvements. As always, you can find the download in the download section in our menu.

  • Improved style system: ModernBB 3.3 comes with a brand new styling system, not only the way styles are saved has been improved, but styles are now able to change much more then before. For example: you can change the whole view of the user list if you want, simply with a style, and still be able to upgrade to ModernBB 3.4 later on, without loosing anything.
  • New Backstage: We’ve redesigned our Backstage, not only does it have a nice new color, but it contains also some usability improvements, when searching for users, the result you’re hovering above with the cursor will light up. Text fields that support HTML now also have a WYSIWYG editor. Plugin creators now can use all available Bootstrap features. In your profile, we added an option to change the color of the Backstage to red, green, yellow or ModernBB blue.
  • New styles: We also extended the amount of default styles with 3 new styles: Luna, Pinkie and Shy. Those 3 new styles are available in the download. The other 6 styles have been updated to support this version of ModernBB too.
  • Language improvements: Translating ModernBB is now easier too. We’ve removed all mail templates and replaced them with the already existing language file. A lot of sentence in the language file also have been shortened.
  • And more: There is a lot more too ModernBB 3.3 then this, through those are the large improvements, everything else is basicaly small changes that makes your experience much better. Idem dito for the 27 bugfixes.

I want to say thanks to everyone who worked on this ModernBB release, and I hope I see all of you next time too! Yesterday, we kicked of development of ModernBB 3.4… and 4.0 (well, we where working on that version since mid May, through development started officialy yesterday)! More news on both releases will follow in the future. However, we’re planning to release ModernBB 3.4 very soon as we are planning to tackle a serious issue with ModernBB in this release, we might even cancel ModernBB 3.3.1 and merge it with 3.4 instead (just like what we did with ModernBB 3.0 and 3.1). Also, I want to thank everyone who download our software, as we hitted the 5.000 download mark today.

ModernBB 3.3 beta now available

In the past 39 days, we’ve been hard at work to bring you a better forum experience, and today, we think it’s beta-ready. The ModernBB 3.3 beta has arrived and it comes with some nice new and improved features, new styles, bugfixes and a lot more. We’ve also finished a nice little update for our website.

First of all: the ModernBB 3.3 beta can be downloaded from the index and download section on our website, like always. We recommend you to use this version for development and testing purpose only as this isn’t a stable release. ModernBB 3.3 Final will be available begin next month. A Release Candidate can be expected early next week.

Anyway, what does the new beta bring? Well, compared to the alpha release, I’m proud to announce the availability of Shy, Pinkie and Luna, 3 new styles that join the group of Random-styles. We’ve also finished our redesign of the Backstage style Aurora 5, which is now final. The Backstage has also been improved with some little features here and there: search results for users now have a hover effect and are striped to make it more clear what user you’re working with. The color of the Backstage can also be changed in your profile, where the “Backstage Style” feature was, we’ve replaced it with “Backstage Color”. Also, the editors that can use it, have been enhanced with the TinyMCE editor.

Futher on, names are now clickable in the board index and category view. Topics are styles better, idem dito for previews of new posts. We’ve improved the integration with TinyMCE, and so on. We’ve updated all of the included packages: Bootstrap, jQuery and TinyMCE all have been updated to their latest version, Bootstrap is currently the only unstable package in ModernBB, being version 3.2-dev. The most important change of all, might be the fact that the style engine has been redesigned completely. This includes the settings page (which is now a separate page) in the Backstage as well as the template and style system itselfs. This allows much more customization.

More information about the new features can be found at our changelog or the ModernBB 3.3 Shiplist.

Known issues in ModernBB 3.3 beta

  • When reporting posts, they do not appear in the Backstage making it impossible to manage
  • Videos can’t be added
  • The TinyMCE editor adds multiple spaces under headings, through they are gone when posting the post
  • Guests can’t post topics

Website update
We’ve also taken our time to update the website. Let me list them, note that some of the updates where already available, those are marked with a *.

  • More colorfull headers through accents in the background*
  • The footer now contains some stats about ModernBB*
  • The documentation has been updated to miror ModernBB 3.3
  • The documentation has been completed
  • Changelog pages now contain a navigation bar to navigate between versions
  • The FAQ has been updated
  • Small style improvements

The future of ModernBB

So yes, we’re here, we made it. 1 year, 1 month. And counting. Except for Studio 384, this is my longest running project. I’m prety proud on it. And let me tell you something: I’m about to get prouder. What does that mean to you guys? Well, y’all are about to get a forum experience that is more modern, lighter, simpler then you’ve ever seen before. A whole range of updates is coming! ModernBB 3.3 is a promissing release, ModernBB 3.4 will be the from-everything-something release, 3.5 and beyond. Up to 3.8 (if we ever hit that milestone).

Wait, what? There might be no ModernBB 3.8? Well, I hope there won’t. As all of you know, ModernBB 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 followed up on each other very fast. Yust a little over a month. ModernBB 3.3 will be the last fast release, after that, we’re slowing down a bit on release speed. 3.5, 3.6, maybe 3.7. And maybe maybe 3.8. But there, it stops, if we hit that version, version 3.8, it’s over. Done. No 3.9, just done. Why done? Because I’ve got better things to do. Stuff that’s cooler then this ModernBB 3 stuff. Yeah, much cooler, at least, if I get it ever out there. No worries through, I’m planning to do so.

What am I talking about? Well, I’m talking about the next generation. Not the next generation of ModernBB… The next generation of board software. It has been fun with all those categories, forums, topics, post. But come on! We’ve been doing this for ages! What technologie did stand still for that long? I’ll tell you: none. At least, no technology that isn’t replaced. The good news: the next generation of board software, does bring the next generation of ModernBB. Because we’ve got to adapt, you know. And how are we doing that? Well, we’re doing that with ModernBB “Luna”.

Ow, this again. ModernBB Luna. Luna has been the codename of ModernBB 4. And Vanellope 1.0. And Vanellope 1.1. And ModernBB 3.4. And ModernBB 3.5. What’s it going to be this time? Well, we’re back where we started. ModernBB Luna is our name for ModernBB 4. Well, does that mean we’re heading for a rewrite? Again? Well, yes, we are. And this time, we’re going to do it. With ModernBB 4. Because you can do anything. However, what does the next generation of board software bring to us? Well, it will bring a whole new vision on moderating, a whole new vision on the general structure of a board. A whole new vision on everything. A simple vision. Because that is our vision: making a modern, light and simple board. “Modern. Light. Simple.” might not be our slogan anymore, it’s still the rule we follow.

So, what will hapen when we hit 3.8? Why no 3.9? For the later one: 3.9 will come, however, everything it will do is change your database, rendering it useless for the normal ModernBB 3 Core. It will kind of brick your forum for as long as the ModernBB 3 Core is on top of it. Until you replace that core with the Luna Core. What happens then? Well, a whole new world will open. And why exactly not just update from 3.8 to 4.0? Well, we figured out that it is easier to make the old core update the database, to prevent issues from happening. Then replacing all the files with Luna allows us to start with a real clean slate. No migration, no fancy update process. Just replace the files, and go. When we hit 3.8, I’ll only focus on developing patches for ModernBB 3.8, no new features, no big code changes. After that, my attention goes to ModernBB Luna. Through again, I hope we won’t hit the 3.8 milestone.

When will this be done? Well, I’m currently still working on ModernBB 3.3, and if that’s done, development of ModernBB 3.4 and Luna kick off. For now, there are only some concepts. When will you get to see the work that is being done? Well, I suggest you go keep an eye on the Luna repository on our GitHub account. It’s empty. For now. As soon as we think we’ve got a working basic board, the fun will begin. Prepare yourself for ModernBB 4.0 Preview 1. Through, that’s a while from now. Like I said, we only have concepts now. And a database.

ModernBB 3.3 Preview now available

modernbb33d

Today, the ModernBB 3.3 Preview has been released to the public (or at least, developers)! We release this preview to you to try out the brand new style system, it’s recommended to take a serious look at the new system. We will put the required documentation online in the next few days. As usual, you can download this alpha release in our download section. We recommend you to keep working with ModernBB 3.2.1 if your forum is in a productive environment.

Ahead, we will release the first and final beta of the ModerrnBB 3.3 update later this month, bringing new features and 3 new default themes (and updates to the current themes). Through it might be ModernBB 3.3, this is a prety big update to the way ModernBB works, your current styles WILL break! The good news is, ModernBB 3.4 and onwards in the ModernBB 3.x branch should be much better at keeping compatible with ModernBB 3.3 styles. Most of the upcoming changes to the ModernBB 3.3 core will be things you won’t see of to much. 😉

Moving onwards, after the release of the ModernBB 3.3 Release Candidate (also only 1 RC), we will start working on ModernBB 3.4 Vanellope… and ModernBB 4 (through more info on that later, I don’t have to much to share). And no, ModernBB 4.0 won’t be the next version after ModernBB 3.4, that will be for 3.5 and onwards, we’re not planning to release ModernBB 4 any time soon (though that’s what we said about ModernBB 2 and 3 too, which where supposed to be released in januari 2014 and august 2014 respectivly).

ModernBB 3.3: it’s all about styles

modernbb33d

Hey everyone, our latest release – ModernBB 3.2 – has been available for a little over 2 weeks, and we can’t be more happy with the result. Through after that, development of ModernBB continoud, of course. ModernBB 3.3 is the thing that’s coming next, and especialy for style developers and customization, it will be an awesome release. No, no plugin system, through that’s something we Always concider. What we do bring you is a brand new style system!

Already a while ago, it was announced that ModernBB 3.3 had to folow design conventions that where given to us by the 384 Group, and so, we’re doing that with our brand new Backstage. We will also take this change to further improve your experience in the Backstage, for both desktop and mobile usage. One of those improvements is the availability of the TinyMCE editor in the Backstage to write rules and more.

Another focus for ModernBB 3.3 is the style and template system, which will be drasticaly changed. We’ll rewrite the documentation on styles to match the changes in ModernBB 3.3 very soon. However, I can asure you, that your current styles won’t work anymore with ModernBB 3.3, the good news is, compatiblity for ModernBB 3.4 and onwards will be much better than it has been since ModernBB 2.0.

The new styling system will allow styles to customize the ModernBB software extremly well. First of all, styles will be able to change what is displayed by including their own views. For example, if they want the user lists name + group collum to be displayed as 2 separate collums, or not even as a table, but as cards, they can do so. Display the profile cards on the right hand side of the topic view instead of left? Why not? Or no profile cards at all. The whole front-end will be broken up in pieces to do so! Emoticons will be style-depended too. No worries for the people that want to just change the style, just like templates, you’re not required to add your own views and emoticons. If they aren’t there, ModernBB will use the Core’s views and emoticons.

On the Backstage side, styles will be able to display much more information then just their name. Now, they can display their logo, a screenshot (both are required), information about the style and developer and more. The new style system will also allow you to force a style for all your users (so the styles are actualy reset to the style you want them to).

Like announced before too, we will also add 3 new styles to the ModernBB Core (Vanellope, Pinkie and Luna). Later this month (we hope the 15th May), we will release the ModernBB 3.3 Preview, this is an alpha release for developers so they can have fun with their and improve their styles to work with the new system. Like said before, current styles aren’t forward compatible, neither will ModernBB 3.3 styles be backwards compatible.

I Heard You Like Color

iheardyoulikecolor

We’ve been expanding our default styles in some releases. We kicked off with Randomness, Awesomeness, Kindness and Radicalness in ModernBB 2.0. In ModernBB 2.1, Kindness disappeared, while Randomness, Awesomeness and Radicalness where redesigned. ModernBB 2.2 once again brought a (small) design update to the styles. Kindness returned in ModernBB 3.0. In ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2, we Improved our styles and renamed them to Random, Awesome, Radical and Kind. And also in ModernBB 3.2, Magic and Happy joined the group. And ModernBB 3.3?

Well… I heard you like color. We’re expanding the amount of default designes in ModernBB 3.3 with 3 new styles. Pinkie, Luna and Vanellope are joining the fun. Respectivily a pink, dark blue and appleblueseagreen colored design, based on Random. The above displayed images shows you the color pallets of our default styles. From left to right, you see Pinkie, Magic, Luna, Random, Vanellope, Awesome, Kind, Happy and Radical. It’s likely that this is the last time we will expand the default theme set as the styles start to take a huge part of the ModernBB Core itself.

Just like all of their brothers and sisters, Pinkie, Luna and Vanellope will be top-of-the-art styles that are perfectly made for ModernBB. This is prety much the final expansion of the Random family of styles, through we might release even more colors, through you’ll have to download those styles from ModernBB.be, as they won’t be part of the core if they would ever appear.

Since ModernBB 3.3 contains a completely new style system, the new styles are not compatible with ModernBB 3.2 and lower (through it might be easy to backport). As you might know too, Magic and Happy are available to download from the ModernBB website, the other 7 default styles will join them when ModernBB 3.3 is released, later this spring (we’re expecting a June release). Also: those styles currently aren’t part of the ModernBB 3.3 Dev Core, so you won’t get them yet, they will be pushed out later in May. Stay tuned!

Evolving ModernBB: The Backstage

As al of you might know – or not – ModernBB 3.3 will contain a new fresh design for the Backstage, because the head of Studio 384 told us so. Well not entirely, I made up some design guidlines and tought “I should add those to ModernBB and ModernCount too…”. Anyway, a couple of days ago, we showed you how the profile interface evolved, let’s do that again, but now for the Backstage (also the index page). Later on, I’m planning to talk about our default design in general too.

backstage20b1

I didn’t make a screenshot of the ModernBB 1.6 Control Panel design (no Backstage back in those days, neither at this level of development). But I can tell you: it looked prety stuped, the same content as above, but with another layout. Anyway, as you can see, the Control Panel/Dashboard (as it was called during ModernBB 2 beta 1) only contained a list of stuff you could do, and it gave you the ModernBB version and a link to the server statistics. Kind of useless (and one of the reasons that ModernBB exist, the same page and content is used in FluxBB). Anyway, I am proud of the navbar design, Aurora was born (the name of the style).

backstage20b2

ModernBB 2 beta 2 added a lot of functionality to this page. We added a link to the back-up page, show new reports and the forums default statistics. On top of the page, we also added a “Welcome to ModernBB” alert. And the automatic update check was introduced on this page too. The “Extensions” link is now also disabled when no extensions are available. Also, beta 2 introduced the “Backstage” name. Note the silly introduction under “Welcome to your Backstage”. We updated Aurore to version 1.1! Yay!

backstage20b3

While functional an improvement, I wasn’t too happy with the ModernBB 2 beta 2 Backstage. Beta 3, the unexpected extra beta, that also throw the old front-end over board, redesigned the Backstage completely. We started using Bootstrap panels and introduced Aurora 2.0. A huge improvement. As you can see, it’s a very flat design. And the navbar is very similar to the ModernBB 3.0/3.1/3.2 design.

backstage20rc1

But neither was I happy with Aurore 2.0, and thus, the Aurore 1 design was reïntroduced in Aurore 3. Aurore 3 was a serious clean-up from the previous versions of Aurore. And another good indication that I’m very bad at versioning, we’re now at ModernBB 2 RC 1, and are already running arround with Aurore 3…

backstage21b

Aurore 3.1 was part of ModernBB 2.1 (we didn’t change to much anymore after RC1, of course). As you can see, titles where now blue (the statics panels content are titles).

backstage22b

ModernBB 2.2 introduced Aurore 3.2, which included a feature that, starting from that release, is used everywhere in ModernBB: panel title buttons. Take a look at the report panel, the “View all” link has been replaced with a nice button on the right hand side of the panels titlebar. We also updated the alert styles.

backstage30a1

While only been seen in 1 development release, Aurore 2 was the inspiration for the Aurore 4 design. This time, we went with some nice gradients. We started using icons in the navbar, added titles to all Backstage pages that didn’t had one yet, and kicked out the full “Time to update” warning. Intresting about this design is, while introduced in ModernBB 3, it was supposed to come to ModernBB 2 in an unreleased ModernBB 2.3. Version 2.3 of ModernBB has been in development, but never made it, due to the works on ModernBB 3. Aurore 4 supported accent colors, through only “ModernBB Blue” and “Blue” are available. After Aurore 4, not to much has changed about the Backstage. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 are still using the exact same design, it hasn’t been touched ever since.

ModernBB 3.3 will introduce Aurore 5, in contrast with Aurore 1, 2, 3 and 4, it has been build from the ground up. It will support a brand new design. Accent colors will be used more intensive, as you will get support for ModernBB Blue, Yellow, Red and Lime. I think a lot of people are going to like it. With Aurore 5, we’re going back to flat design, like Aurore 2, but flatter. I don’t have a screenshot now, if you want to see it, you should try out the version3.3 branch.