A while ago, I posted a tweet on Twitter, showing you guys my desktop wallpaper. I announced that something was “coming soon”. That was, perhaps, a little bit too optimistic. Anyway, I think regular visitors are familiar with the name “Luna”. It has been a codename for a while here, first planned for ModernBB 2.5, then for 3.0, then a complete rewrite and start from scratch, then back to 4.0 and then to 3.5. Anyway, it didn’t stay at 3.5, as it is now, again, the codename for version 4.0. Or 5.0, it depends how long development will take. Through we are also considering to go back to 1.0. That’s why Luna is currently developed in the 0.x-branch.
And today, I’m happy to announce that we are working on the next generation of ModernBB, named Luna. Before we get started about this – you’re about to read an awful long text about this project – I want to say that we will keep working on ModernBB 3.x. Our recent release, ModernBB 3.4 is prove of that , through most of our attention will start going to Luna from today on. We’ve still planned some updates for ModernBB 3.x, so stay tuned on that, more information will follow.
So, lets kick of the future! Luna will be a major update. This means that the whole codebase will be changed, so will the interface, both Mainstage as Backstage. We will not use the current Random-styles and Aurore 5 for those 2 components respectively. The good news, however, is that Luna will be able to understand your ModernBB 3.x database. Or much of it. Luna will require some serious changes to the database., and because of this, we will only support upgrading to Luna from the latest version of ModernBB 3. This is currently ModernBB 3.4.1, but can Always change, of course.
Luna will provide you and your forum’s users a brand new experience, focused on communication and social interaction. And this is kind of the reason I post this here today. On the following part, we want some feedback. Luna will not use the concept of “categories, forums, topics, posts” anymore. Instead, the index will provide you and your users an overview of threads from all sections (threads are the replacement for topics, sections for forums). Threads will be labeled with a nice colorful label to show from what section they come. Clicking on a thread’s name, will bring you into this thread.
Of course, you can filter easily on a per-section base by clicking the sections name. The section and index view allow you to see which topics are closed, solved, pinned, followed by you, how many comments they have and who started the thread. The main page, will in fact contain more of a log of what’s going on on the forum. Who logged in, what’s the newest topic, what’s the newest post, etc. Sections will function close to this (but this is a feature that isn’t planned for the first Preview).
Threads will have a horizontal design by default (means: profile information above posts instead of left or right). This gives us more space to show more content, like the sections list, which will be always visible inside the index, section and thread views. The new thread view allows us to build in a new feature, “threaded subjects”, which means that posts can be nested into each other. It’s another way to quote someone without having to copy the actual text. A “threaded” view is optional, and we will allow to use the traditional view like it is today, with only one level of posts.
Luna will provide a completely redesigned profile. For starters, we will put more focus on the content the user has created on the forum, both threads and posts in threads made by others. We will also add a nice view to follow up on the topics and posts you have starred. Luna will also provide updated personality settings, like new social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and more. We do consider the ability for other users to comment on peoples profiles.
The settings, both personality as board settings, will get a separate file in the structure of Luna. It will have an updated design, through mostly work in the same way as ModernBB 3.4 does today. The administration for the users will happen here to, and contains some new useful features.
Once again, the Backstage will be present in Luna. Through redesigned and build from the ground up as well. We’re planning to make the Backstage a more modular setting page, allowing developers to add new abilities to it without the need to modify the actual Luna Core. This redesign will be familiar to you, as it will be based on our website’s design (ModernBB 3.5 also has a design similar to ModernBB.be). The function of the Backstage, will not change – there isn’t much to change, it’s meant to manage, nothing more, nothing less – through we will provide new possibilities, of course.
Installation and upgrade path
The installation of Luna will be similar to that of ModernBB, through I’m now planning to make it a 3-step installation (making the database connection, making user, basic settings). If you want to upgrade from ModernBB to Luna, you’ll have to update the the latest version of ModernBB. For now, the preview supports updating from ModernBB 3.4.0, 3.4.1, 3.4.2 and 3.5-dev. This will change in the future. As soon as 3.5 is released, support for upgrading from 3.4 will be dropped. So you’ll have to be on the final version of ModernBB to upgrade to Luna.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a lie, I’ve not been asked anything about Luna, especially not “frequently”, but I can imagine some of you wanting answers on this anyway:
Where can I download Luna?
Nowhere, you can’t. I’m currently developing Luna on my PC, away from GitHub, away from Git, for the matter.
When will you put this on Git? When can we try it out?
I’ll put it on Git (and thus GitHub) as soon as I think I’ve got something worth looking at. That will probably be the same day I release Luna Preview 1. Preview 1 is planned for late Summer 2014.
When will we get a final release?
I can’t tell you. There is a lot of work to do. Preview 1 will contain just basic features, nothing to fancy. Starting from that point, we will have to build up most of ModernBBs current abilities. When I think we’re there, I’ll release the final build.
How many development releases will there be?
I don’t know yet, through for now, I want 3 alphas out (Preview), 3 betas, 2 RCs and the final build. This can take a while, I can’t tell how much time will be put between those releases.
What about future updates for ModernBB 3 & ModernBB 1.6?
We’re planning to support ModernBB 3 after the release of Luna for another 6 months. Of course, you shouldn’t expect any feature updates anymore. As soon as Luna hits RC, we will round up our feature development in ModernBB 3. As you also know, we are currently developing an update to ModernBB 1.6, our very old – and very first – release. Version 1.6.6 is supposed to be the final release (which wasn’t planned in the first place). So don’t expect any updates at all after 1.6.6.
For Luna, we will add more frequently new features, we’re not out of how we’re going to do this, because the current X.Y.Z versioning would make our numbers go crazy. We’re looking into using X.YY version numbers for the future, but that will be decided later on.
Stop with that “Luna” thing, just call it “ModernBB 4″, why would we need a codename?
First of all, this isn’t ModernBB 4. Also, I like codenames for stuff. Like we had Blythe, Zoe, Odd, Mellow, Vanellope, Neon and Kate in the past, Luna is one of them too. What do I mean with “this isn’t ModernBB 4″? Well, I’m not sure if I want to keep hanging on ModernBB as a brand. Sure, the software is now known under that name, but it sounds like I had a moment of non-inspiration when I thought of that name. And heck, that’s exactly the case. With other words, this major rewrite might bring a rebrand too.
Is Luna this final name, you ask? No, it isn’t. Through it has potential to become the final thing. As you know, there has been a time I wanted to rename the project to “Vanellope”, this name is now out of order for my project. Luna is for now the only candidate, so it might end up being the final name. But then again, “ModernBB 4″ is also in the running to become the final name. I guess time will tell. So will the first Preview. By then, the decision should be made.