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.

Round-up #15 – Development and roadmap update

In the past couple of days, we’ve changed some stuff around the ModernBB and Luna project. Let me list them for you… Also, I want to say some stuff about development that goes on.

ModernBB 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6
First of, ModernBB. As you know, we’re working on ModernBB 3.5 (a rather minor release). We’re almost finished with this version, since the beta, we’ve made some little changes, including updating Font Awesome to version 4.2 (from 4.1). Further more, we’ve fixed 1 bug. Before 3.5 goes to stable next week, we have only 1 feature and 1 bug left to fix. Anyway, due to this timeline, we’ve decided to cancel ModernBB 3.4 Update 4 (version 3.4.4). We also have canceled ModernBB 3.6, instead, small enhancements will be added in future updates to ModernBB 3.5. For example, in ModernBB 3.5 Update 1 (we have a bi-monthly update cycle for 3.5).

Luna
For Luna, we’re making great progress, new features start getting  into the software, while most changes have been made to the Backstage for now, the user list is also worth taking a look at, as it too has been updated. We expect to ship our first preview, Luna 0.1, this fall. It will include some new features, and most notable of all, the new theme engine. There won’t be a plugin system, we leave that for Luna 0.2. We first want to get the current core extended and moved to the next level! Anyway, currenlty, we target Summer 2015 for the Luna 1.0 release. However, we do concider a marge up to Fall 2015.

People that have been testing the nightly builds from GitHub, are now using version 0.0.40.2979. Compared to version 0.0.35.2491. For that, by the way, does those version numbers make sense? Well, of course, you will know version 0.0.35.2491 better as ModernBB 3.5-beta, “0.0.35.xxxx” is the Core version, not the actual software version. In Luna, we made a jump to 0.0.40.2900. Why skip all those builds from 2491-2900? Well, those are for 3.5-updates reserved. The build number does make sense. Anyway, somewhere close before we finish Luna 0.1, the core version will be changed from “0.0.40.3xxx” to “0.1.3xxx”. Just for your information…

GitHub branches
For those keeping an eye on our GitHub repository, you might have noticed that the amount of branches dropped from 10 to 3. Which branches are gone? Well, first of all, we removed the old version1.6, version2.2 and version3.4 branches, as those do not belong to the current versions of ModernBB. However, we also decided to kill of version3.6. Further more, we killed of stable, as this branch is basicaly the same thing as master. Finaly, we also removed modernbb.be as a branch from the public eye. This leaves version3.5, luna1.0 and master as the only branches that are left.

ModernBB 3.4 “Neon” now available

3.4-branch

A month ago, we where releasing ModernBB 3.3 to you. And guess what, we’ve got a new update ready for you! This time, it’s ModernBB 3.4, which brings you some nice improvements, better security, a new editor and more. As always, the download is available at our home- and download-page. Make a backup before updating! So… what’s new?

  • A new editor: because the TinyMCE editor didn’t work very well, we’re replacing it with CKEditor. The result is a revised interface, improved abbilities and a much better working editor!
  • Parser: the parser has been given an update, we dropped support for heading levels, only leaving 1 intact, we removed inline code and inline quotes and alignment options. We hope this will using ModernBB easier and better, you’re users can’t make a mess of their posts anymore.
  • Cookie bar: disabled by default, the cookie bar warns users that ModernBB creates cookies on their PC. The cookie bar is only visible for guests and only when this feature is enabled.
  • More Backstage colors: last update, we redesigned the Backstage and improved our Accent function, adding 4 colors for you to choose from, red, yellow, green and the default ModernBB blue. In this update, we’ve improved the interface of this option and also added 8 new colors to the mix for you to personalise your Backstage.
  • Avatars in navbar: the current user’s avatar is now displayed in the navigation bar.
  • Embedding videos: embedding videos now behaves different, first of all, the default dimensions for an embedded video are changed to match modern standards, users will not be able to set their own size. In the Backstage, we’ve added 2 new options for you to change the default size of embedded videos.
  • Less code: we’ve reduced the amount of code in the ModernBB package, one major step in this was the removal of Magic, Happy, Luna, Pinkie and Shy as build-in themes, no worries, you can download them from our style page in the “Random styles” pack! The ModernBB 3.4 package is 65% smaller then the ModernBB 3.3 package! We still provide a CDN-less version on our download page, under the new CDN-less-release table. Only ModernBB 3.4 and 3.5 will have CDN-less versions, starting from ModernBB 3.6, we will no longer provide CDN-less versions.
  • And more…
  • Bugfixes: and of course, there are the usual bugfixes in this release.

Up next
And now the big question everyone has: what’s next? Obsious, isn’t it? 3.4.1, 3.5 and 4.0 of course! Well… not exactly. While development of 3.4.1 will kick off starting today. I will wait a little bit with ModernBB 3.5. In fact, I’m moving it to a 3-weekly release scheme for ModernBB 3.4. So in 3 weeks, you can find yourself with ModernBB 3.4.1. Whatever we have ready for you by then, will be shipped. Since I’m going on a break for 10 days during that time, don’t expect to much from 3.4.1. Future updates like 3.4.2 and 3.4.3 will have some nice improvements, through. What kind of stuff can you expect from us in those small updates?

  • Optimalizations: just like the main release, we will be improving our code!
  • Social media in profile: we are planning to give the list of social media in the profile an update, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, etc. aren’t used that much anymore, instead, Facebook and Twitter will join the fun.
  • Other small feature updates
  • Bugfixes, as usual…

Except for ModernBB 3.4.1, I’ll also continue my work on Luna. It’s a very buggy thing right now, and you can’t even post a post. So yeah, there is a lot of work to be done… But we’re making progress, and that’s a good thing. I’ll post an announcement about Luna later the summer.

As you might know, the ModernBB.be forums where damaged and down during the 26-27 June periode due to a bug in ModernBB 3.4 RC1, the result isn’t that dramatical: our forums are back online, no data was lost. Except that we did lose our style. We will update the ModernBB Forums to be integrated with our main website in the near future (within 3 days).

Well, I hope all of you will enjoy this ModernBB update! I want to say thank you for everyone who worked with me on this release, it was awesome, I hope all of you contribute to the next ModernBB milestones too! ModernBB 3.4.1 will be a small feature release with the required bug fixes and small improvements (kind of like ModernBB 3.3.1). Anyway, I’m off! Enjoy this new ModernBB, enjoy our new website and see you next time!

ModernBB 3.4 Release Candidate now available

3.4-branch

I am happy to announce the availability of ModernBB 3.4 Release Candidate. Todays version contains some major changes in both Backstage as Mainstage. As always, we recommend you to not use this version in a productive environment as it is still an unstable release (through we call it an RC). This is a great version to start testing with through.

ModernBB 3.4 contains some major changes to the code base. In fact, we have been able to reduce the package with a nice 65% in size when zipped.

Knipsel

And for the matter, that is nothing to be to proud off. As you can see in the graphic above, the size of the ModernBB package has been growing with every major release, except for 2.2, which was smaller due to it’s redesigned styles. And with ModernBB 3.3, we perhaps got a little bit to wild. But as you can see, ModernBB 3.4 RC will use a lot less space, in fact, it’s almost an MB smaller. For the final release, we want to go under 500 kB. Sizes are displayed when zipped.

Anyway, we haven’t made just some optimalisations to the code to reduce size. We’ve also changed some stuff in the Mainstage. For example, your profile avatar will now be displayed in the navigation bar. You will also see a completely new, and less weighting editor. It’s not a WYSIWYG editor anymore, through at least, it does work properly. It is also possible to disable the “Moderated by” list on the index of your board, in case you don’t like it there.

For the Backstage, we’ve redesigned the Backstage Accent feature and added 8 new colors (and updated 2 of the existing 4 colors). You can now also change size of an embedded video. Further more, ModernBB 3.4 also comes with an important security improvement. We have changed the way ModernBB creates and saves passwords, improving security drasticaly. Further on, we have the usual bugfixes and other small improvements.

Remember that not all default styles from ModernBB 3.3 are present in 3.4. We recommend you to download the Random 3.1 package from our official download page as soon as ModernBB 3.4.0 is released and upload this package in case you want to keep giving your users the option to select these styles. Otherwise, we recommend removing them from the style folder, as using them will break the design of your forum.

Improving ModernBB.be

200614

In the past couple of weeks, you’ve seen us do some changes to the ModernBB website. We redesigned and rewrote our changelogs, updated the style, reverted that update again… Updated our documentation. Changed our footer, etc. We did some nice small improvement. But all this where just minor enhandements and part of the update that rolles out today too ModernBB.be. Let me show you what’s new (this includes changes from the past weeks)!

Updated design
After the rollout of the design conventions we had to follow from the 384 Group, some changes where made to allow us to be more ourselves. And well, we’ve used that opportunity. The ModernBB website has got a little redesign. The navbar is part of that. We also updated the page headers, buttons, etc. When you’re visiting the changelog, the color of the design will change into that release’s color (every major update gets a color from us). The navbar now also includes a link to GitHub and Twitter, which are removed from the sidebar in the About section. And perhaps most important: our brand is now always visible in the navbar, no matter what page you’re on, no matter what devices you’re using.

New changelog
The changelogs have been enhanced a while back already, through we haven’t stopped there. Patch releases are now included in the major releases. The changelogs are now also more friendly. Starting from the changelog for ModernBB 3.3, we also take another style of logging our changes. We’ve also added an easier way to navigate the changelog by adding a link to every version on top of the page.

Removing the dev center
The dev center has also been removed. The pages in this section, however, are still there. The Changelog has been replaced to the About section, the style and modification page has been removed as they where already copies of the documentation, and the contributing to ModernBB and Tickets pages are moved to the documentation.

Features list
It’s time to end an area. We’ve officialy removed all information about ModernBB 1.6, most visible change is its removal from the features-page. Instead, we’ve added Luna to this list, as that is our next major point in development. We’ll update the feature list for Luna soon. We’re planning to remove ModernBB 2.2 from that list in the near future too, at the same time as the first alpha release of Luna will be released.

Documentation update
We’ve also updated our documentation, not only did we add new pages, we’re back to the per-version documentation. The documentation for both 3.3 and dev are now available in our documentation section. We also cleaned up a bit, improved the navigation, etc. We’ll keep providing information on older versions of ModernBB, however, that doesn’t mean those versions are still supported. We’ll keep the documentation for the at least the 2 latest stable releases up, starting from version 3.3, and the development release.

Forum
We’ve also, finaly, started working on integrating the design of our forum with the website (which I haven’t much time for, but it has to be done…). This integration, however, will end with some nice new integration abbilities in ModernBB, which could be part of ModernBB 3.4 or 3.5. Anyway, expect a global design for our whole site somewhere in the future!

Update – Our forums are now using the updated design! Enjoy!

ModernBB 3.4
Meanwhille, we’ve, of course, worked on our ModernBB 3.4 release. Some of you might be following this on GitHub. And it has to be said: we’re making very nice improvements. The new and enhanced editor is a blast! The updated parser works nicely, the improved integration of YouTube, DailyMotion and Vimeo works great. We’ve got some awesome new settings. The Cookie bar will get your site EU-ready, we reduced the size of the package, we’ve been fixing bugs… Yep, it’s a beautiful time. Anyway, expect a ModernBB 3.4 beta to be released soon, followed by the ModernBB 3.4.0 release 1ste July!

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.

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.

Round-up #14 – Let’s do a round-up about round-ups & more useful stuff

Well, it’s a very active month, I guess. It has been quite in the round-up category for a couple of weeks, and now, we’ve posted 3 posts in less then a week in it. This time, I want to spend some time to round-up all round-ups and talk about some more recent changes.

ModernBB.be blog
First of all, you probably noticed our completely redesigned blog. This is done as part of the 384 Group design and code conventions. The style blends in way better then our previous one. That’s clear. Anyway, you can’t access all posts very easy now, and comments aren’t available either (so is a sidebar and pagination). Those are things we will add later on. For now, you’ll have to deal with the stuff we got. At least, it’s now responsive and faster.

ModernBB is a growing platform
Perhaps you noticed on the ModernBB Twitter feed, but the first tutorial about ModernBB that isn’t from the 384 Group was posted yesterday on YouTube. A nice “thank you” to the people over at Coder’s Guide. What does this mean to ModernBB, you ask? Well, since yesterday, the amount of downloads is growing faster then before, and I’m prety sure we can thank this video for that. The fact that ModernBB has now a third-party tutorial, is great. On the other hand, the people at Wikipedia think we are also worth to have a page there. So, if that thing is running behind, update it! All of this is proof that we are actualy getting somewhere, we’re growing, and that’s great and prety important for a community.

For the mather, as part of the 384 Group coding and design conventions, ModernBB is going to get some official brand assets. This means that, very soon, an updated to our website will add a new “Brand Assets” page to the “About” section, here, you can find all of our logos (which means, all color schemes). You will be able to use those logos wherever you think you want to mention us. As much as possible, ofcourse. 🙂

ModernBB 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5
In the 4 upcoming feature releases, we will spend a lot of time on modernizing the interface of ModernBB. 3.2, 3.4 and 3.5 will focus on the front-end. While 3.3 will focus on the Backstage. The 3.2 updated is planned for late May. 3.3 should be here early this summer. We hope to get 3.5 out before the end of the year. 3.6 and onwards will focus on making ModernBB a platform with modern features, as we will put some work in a better template system and a plugin system (again). Another feature that is being worked on right now, is a fancy new update system that allows you to update ModernBB right from the Backstage with a click on a button.

That doesn’t mean that 3.2 until 3.5 will only focus on design, we’re also adding new features and improving others, just no big feature updates, unless realy required, or if I finish the new styling system and plugin system before the time it was planned. The development of both those features will start shortly and have their own branch and milestone on our GitHub project.

Looking for developers
If anyone is intrested in developing ModernBB: good news. Since I’m the only developer, I’m looking for people that can join me in creating a better piece of forum software. How can you get started? Join our forum, create a GitHub account (if you don’t have one yet), push some nice improvements to our repository, etc. If you’re good at that, I’ll add you to our team so you can claim some tickets for yourself.