2015: A year in review and a year in preview

So… I wrote this post at the end of 2016, but forgot to post it. So here we go…


2015 was a big year for us. We release Luna 1.0, a major update to our software. And we also released the final ModernBB release. Let’s take a look at what we did this year:

We released 19 development versions (alphas), 13 pre-release versions (betas and RCs), 4 final versions (Aero, Bittersweet Shimmer, Cornflower Blue and Denim) and 19 updates (x.x.1-releases). In total, we released 55 versions of Luna. We also had 2 ModernBB-releases (version 3.7 and 4.0). This brings us on a total of 57 releases in 1 year. That’s up 17 from last year’s 40 releases and quiet a bit up from 2013’s 23 releases.

I’m also very happy with our download count. Compared to last year, we had a 60% year over year growth for the counted downloads. The bad news is, in the period of June to early November, we – sadly – didn’t count all downloads, so this could have been more.

But what will 2016 bring? Well…

First of all, I hope we’ll be releasing less updates. Sure, updates are fine, but some of the past year’s updates shouldn’t have happened. I hope that Luna 2.0 will bring along a more stable platform then 1.0.0, 1.1.0 and 1.2.0 have been so far (Luna 1.3.0 is doing just fine, though). I’ve also noticed that well, I should be a little bit more critical about contributions made by the community. Don’t get me wrong: I love that people help out with Luna and that’s more then welcome. But some commits shouldn’t have happened either and I’m not to happy about some of the directions Luna has been going into the past year (and Luna 2 will revert these directions).

What I do hope is that 2016 will bring Luna 2.0. This won’t be for the coming months, I can tell that already. The first preview might, though. Luna 2.0 is probably going to be the final major update. Future updates will probably be more focused like the x.1-updates. Don’t worry, we’ll eventually get to Luna 3.0, but I’m hoping to adapt a more rolling-release-ish scheme for updates after the Luna 2.0-update is done. More on that later. I hope we’ll have a great 2016. I’m actually certain of it.


So now that I failed to put this one up on January 1st, 2016, I actually can reflect on what I said back than already. Where we’ve released 57 builds in 2015 in total, this year, we’ve only released 3 versions so far (1.3.1, 1.4-alpha.1 and 1.4-alpha.2). So to that matter, we’re on the right track. I hope 1.4 to be a very stable update from the get-go, despite it having some changes that are potentially dangerous.

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!

Ending support for ModernBB

Luna has been around for a couple of months now, and we like to move on. That’s why we’re officialy ending support for ModernBB later this summer. This will happen somewhere in the last week of August. Before then, we hope to release our final ModernBB update before then, as promised.

But what is this update? We’ve talked about ModernBB 3.7.1 for a while and we have mentioned ModernBB 3.8 a couple of times too. However, our plan is to release neither of the twoo. Instead, you should get ready for ModernBB’s final branch: ModernBB 4.0.

Yep, we’re doing another release of ModernBB. However, the jump to 4.0 is more to get something to close off, rather then an actual 4.0. Then again, 4.0 is going to contain a couple of nice changes. For starters, we’re working on bringing the Luna 1.2 Backstage to ModernBB 4.0, of course not with all the new settings in it and neither with Night mode.

Another change that we will bring along is the return the Random 3.x design. In ModernBB 3.6, we introduced Random 4.0 which was flattened out. We regret that design desicion, so we’re undoing it. ModernBB 4.0 will ship with Random 4.3, reintroducing the gradient design, of course, all other changes stay. We’ll also apply some other small changes.

We don’t have a date for this right now, and while we do target the end of August, this can always run out as it isn’t much of a priority right now with Luna 1.2, 1.3 and 2.0 in development.

But what about support? Well, we’ll provide no support for ModernBB 4.0. In case 4.0 gets released with a major bug, we’ll fix it, but a month after release, we’ll consider ModernBB obsolete.

For the website, you’ve probably noticed that if you visit the ModernBB.be website, you get redirected to GetLuna.org quiet a lot. With the launch of ModernBB 4.0, we’ll be taking down the ModernBB website for good. However, it will be more obvious to download older versions of ModernBB on the Luna website.

Luna 1.0.6 and 1.1 Preview 1.1 now available

Today, we’re releasing 2 new updates for Luna, for both Aero and Bittersweet Shimmer. We release these updates as important security updates due to a bug brought to our attention by Kaaleth (for which thank you).

Luna 1.0.6 and Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 1
Luna 1.0.6 and Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 1 consist out of the same fix. Moderators where able to change settings they where not authorized to change in the Backstage due to a bug in the navigation in the Backstage. This issue has been resolved.

However, both updates also come with another change: our May 2015 brand update. This brand update has also been applied to our website and blog, and now we’re adding it to our software. New installations will find themselves in a lighter environment as we changed the default accent color from dark to normal blue. Further, some images have been updated to reflect our new color pallet.

Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 1 only
For Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 1, there is another minor update to the language files. These now contain a series of reported strings that where missing from the file in an earlier update. So there you go, this also has been fixed. More strings might be missing, so please report them.

One-click update for Luna 1.1
Now we’re talking about Luna 1.1 Prevoew 1 anyway, like said yesterday, Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 1 would contain the fixed one-click updater. That isn’t the case in this release. The fix didn’t make it and we considered this security update to important to postpone until that was fixed. So now, the fix will be part of Luna 1.1 Preview 1 Update 2. However, Luna 1.1 Preview 1 users can upgrade to Preview 1.1 through the update system!

ModernBB: Luna’s about to replace it for good
Further, I also want to inform you guys that starting with the final release of Luna 1.1 Bittersweet Shimmer, we will officially start to push Luna as a replacement for ModernBB. I know that it is quiet obvious already, but we think that, with Luna 1.1, we are getting to a point where Luna is a very good replacement. Why aren’t we pushing Luna already? Well, I think the fact that we just released the sixth update to Luna 1.0 in 1,5 months is a very good statement. That isn’t much of a problem, through. I mean, Luna 1.0 is after all a “1.0” release. And while we concider it stable, bugs are to be expected. Luna 1.1 will be an even further polished version of Luna 1.0.6.

What does this mean in the big lines? Not much for you guys. The ModernBB.be site will send you to GetLuna.org on more locations (some pages already do so) and the “Download ModernBB 3.7” button will be removed from the front page. Of course, ModernBB downloads will continue to be available and we’ll continue to support ModernBB. Updates to fix bugs and security issues will be released until December 8th, 2015.

However, third-party downloads will be removed from the websites content too (themes, translations and plugins). With other words, the websites content will be limited to the minimum. The documentation will also start to redirect to Luna in the future. And well, we’re starting to draw the line for ModernBB.

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.

ModernBB 3.7 now available

I’m happy to announce the availability of ModernBB 3.7! Todays release if made out of some minor improvements, but they are worth updating for. It comes with an improved editor, “Back to top”, improved style code bases, bugfixes, updated components, a new security feature and security fixes!

First off, we’ve ported a part of the new Luna editor to ModernBB. When you include a list, you used to get a list-tag and it’s closing companion. Now, ModernBB will include a *-tag by default too and use multiple lines. Code-tags also have some improved behavior. We’ve also added a “Back to top” link to the footer, handy for mobile devices.

Further, the Luna style has received a couple of bugfixes for itself, you’ll also see a slightly different color scheme. All styles also have received some love: we’ve changed some lines so the only difference between them is their color, this should make fixing bugs easier in the future. The files in the Core-folder also got some love with improved spacing.

Further, we’ve updated Bootstrap to version 3.3.2, jQuery to version 2.1.3 and Font Awesome to version 4.3.0. You can now use the improvements within these packages. Especially Safari should benefit from the updated jQuery component, and as usual, Font Awesome comes with nice new icons. We fixed a couple of bugs too. One of these bugs is a low-risk security issue. So updating is recommended. You can find the new package on the download page, as per usual.

ModernBB 3: What will come next

Last year, we released the 6th big update to ModernBB 3, with Luna in development however, what will be next for ModernBB? Will there be a ModernBB 3.7?

Well, to kick off. We plan to put the final release of ModernBB into a LTS release, similar to ModernBB 1.6, which got 6 updates (1.6.1, 1.6.2, 1.6.3, 1.6.4, 1.6.5 and 1.7.0), it will be supported for over a year. Especialy for security fixes, we will continue to support ModernBB into the future. However, only the last one, the big question is: which ModernBB release will be the last one?

I didn’t plan a ModernBB 3.6 release at first, but due to 3.5.3 becoming to big, I decided to do it anyway. With this new scheme, I do hope that ModernBB 3.6 won’t be the last major update to ModernBB. A ModernBB 3.7 is already in the planning. I’ve decided to not continue the idea I had with ModernBB 3.4 and 3.5 to release new features in the smaller patches, instead, these will be part of ModernBB 3.7 instead.

ModernBB 3.7 won’t be a big update. In fact, it might be just bug fixes, I’ll try to get some small features in there. I hope you guys understand that ModernBB isn’t my focus point anymore, Luna is. Anyway, ModernBB 3.7 will come, and unless we release it before Luna, it will be our final minor version jump. Otherwise, ModernBB 3.8 will be released. Why do we need a minor version bump after Luna? Because that would be our LTS release. So, if ModernBB 3.7 will be released after Luna 1.0, it will be ModernBB 3.7 LTS. If before, it will be ModernBB 3.7, and we’ll release a ModernBB 3.8 LTS after Luna (or perhaps the same day). In such a case, 3.8 will be bug fixes only.