Moving on: our new roadmap

In the past couple of days, I’ve done various changes to the planned future of both ModernBB, Vanellope and the ModernBB Group in general. I’m prety happy to announce those changes today. The involve mostly arround (big) roadmap changes…

ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2
First of all, we’ve added a new release to the ModernBB serie and renamed another one. ModernBB 3.1 is now called 3.2, while we also added ModernBB 3.1. Version 3.1 will be a minor release upon ModernBB 3.0 to fix multiple issues and improve ModernBB on certain points. All (or most) features planned for 3.1 are moved to 3.2.

Vanellope 1.0
For Vanellope 1.0, I’m trilled to announce that alpha 1 is now planned for early May, instead of early June. This means that the public test release will hit you guys 1 month earlier than originaly planned. It’s getting better through: Vanellope 1.0, the final release, is now planned for November 2014, instead of January 2015! We’ve revised our scheme because our plans where changed too!

Also, it will be possible to update from ModernBB 3 to Vanellope! With some minor changes you have to apply manualy to the database, through we will release a small tool for that too!

Vanellop 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3
Vanellope 1.1, the Luna Update, is now planned for winter 2015 (read: January/February). Our Yellow Update now carries version number 1.3 and is still planned for the summer of 2015. We’ve added a release in between, version 1.2, whose name will be revealed soon. 1.2 and 1.3 are supposed to be smaller updates, where 1.1 will be the update that contains everything that isn’t finished when we want to release 1.0.

I hope you guys are happy with those changes, as we now have planned 3 major updates (ModernBB 3.1, 3.2 and Vanellope 1.0) for this year, and 3 or more updates for 2015!

Round-up #7 – Backstage 2.1

oday, I would like to introduce you to the improvements made to the Backstage interface in ModernBB 2.1. Actualy, the improvements we are making. ModernBB 2.1 has a very huge focus on the Backstage, we want to make it more clear and easier to use, and that will happen in 2.1.

First of all, yesterday, I got a HUGE mail from someone who calls himself ‘Fisher’ – note that this is the same name as I use for test accounts – filled with usability and design issues. That mail did impres me, I agreed with most of his/here points. While some of those issues where stuff that I already planned to fix, or that where fixed in ModernBB 2.0.1, some of them where issues I didn’t tought about. Some of those improvements will make it later to the front-end of ModernBB, most of them will be first used in Backstage to see if it does work. Anyway, I will note some of the important ones that also will be fixed in ModernBB 2.1:

Issue 1: “Edit forums” is using to much space – WIP
This is an issue I agree on. Actualy, 2 months ago, I created a ticket for this issue in the bugtracker. It was supposed to be fixed in ModernBB 2.0-beta.3, however, it never made it so far. The problem in the “Edit forums” panel is that the table heading and the titles of the categories the forums are in, are using way to much space and leave a lot of white behind. The fix is very simple: put the category names in the table, give them the class “active” and remove the table heading (which repeats every time again. Result? You safe lots of space, here an example with 2 categories and 3 forums in the new interface:

Issue 2: You have to scroll all the way down to safe settings
This is mostly a problem on the “Global settings” page, which is a very long page. If you want to update your forums discription, you can do that on top of the page, but to save those settings, you have to go to the end of the page. The solution of this issue is already partial visible in the screenshot above. One probably noticed that the “Update positions” button has gone. Well, it is not removed, it is replace. This is a screenshot of the “General Settings” page.

See that “Save changes” button? It’s included in every panel that need it. This button is an easy way to save the changes you made. However, when you change a setting in another panel on the same page, the button from the first panel will also save the changes you made in the second panel.

Other small issues that have been fixed

  • Some panel headers are 1px larger than others
  • Inconsistent use of page titles or not
  • Remove tables wheneither they are not usable
  • Update structure of the Backstage menu
  • And many, many more

Round-up #8 – It’s Odd modernbb22d

It has been a silent time in our tracker, we know. However, that’s soon coming to an end. For the past few days, I’ve been working on a mod for FluxBB: the ne ModernBB profile for FluxBB. This mod might become part of the FluxBB core, however, we’ll have the same feature coming in soon!

Anyway, you might know that development of ModernBB 2.2 ‘Odd’ has been started. We are now working on the profile for the most time. Of course, we will also work on the installer and responsive design, like we promissed. However, we will take our time for this release. 2.0 was released very fast for what it brought (maybe even to fast), and 2.1 was, with less then a month of development, also a quick, but great, release.

ModernBB 2.2 on the other hand, will be developed a little bit slower. Mainly because we also working in our sqlite3, hook and upgrade branch (it has been quit there, I know, but there is progress). I expect to merge upgrade and sqlite3 into master in this release! SQLite 3 support will also come to ModernBB 1.6. Just that you know it. We also expect Bootstrap 3.0.1 to be released this or next week, which will fix a lot of bugs in Bootstrap, and so in ModernBB, too.

Bootstrap 3.0.1 is coming to ModernBB 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2 if it is released before the week of 2nd December 2013. Otherewise, it will come only to ModernBB 2.1 and 2.2. However, it’s unlikely that it will be that far away from now. If jQuery 1.11 is released, that will also make the cut in ModernBB 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2. Normaly, this would be only for ModernBB 2.2 (because that’s the current development version), however, since 1.11 is realy focused on improving stability and performance of jQuery, and is actualy more a big bugfix release, we’ll bring it to older versions too. However, once again, if it isn’t released before the 2nd December, it won’t make the cut in ModernBB 2.0.

For ModernBB 1.6, we’ve also some great news. It might happen that, with SQLite 3 in the works and a new profile page, we will jump to ModernBB 1.7. For MBB1.6, this will mean that the support ends after the then running quarter ends. However, it could also happen that we just release those features as a 1.6.x release. But since we use semantic versioning, that’s very unlikely.

Round-up #9 – Development in full swing

It has been an exciting week! We’ve done some serious construction for ModernBB 2.2 “Odd”, and it keeps getting better and better. Since last round-up, a lot of tickets have been opened, discussed and closed again. And most all of them have made it to the core of ModernBB 1.6.4 LTS, 2.0.2, 2.1.2 and 2.2-beta. However, we changed some stuff on the way we are working, that’s kind of important to note for you guys.

What has been done in the 2.2-branch?
Well, we’ve done some awesome work on it. We’ve improved the styling of ModernBB, did some clean-up. And most important of all: we’ve done some serious work on a responsive design, which is almost finished. The responsive design is, give or take 1 ticket, completed. Another update we did is the parser, it now supports more font sizes and families, and a horizontal line. However, we’re not sure if the font settings will make it into the final version (they will be there in the beta release). Finaly, we removed the toolbar from all the editors. Don’t worry, it’s coming back. However, a little bit more advanced.

What are we going to do in the 2.2-branch?
While that’s what we have done, we are, of course, planning even more stuff. The next days, we’re going to redesign the profile system! Finaly. We’ll also finish the responsive design. And then, there are still 9 other things that have to be done. We might add more to this counter in the upcoming week. However, we hope to get the beta of ModernBB 2.2 out there at the end of this month. It’s going to be awesome!

The way we work
ModernBB 2.2 is the first milestone where we work wit a shiplist. This shiplist contains all changes that we made, and are planning to make to the ModernBB core. We’ve also decided to not create sepparate milestones for betas, RCs and final versions. So ModernBB 2.2-beta is developed in the ModernBB 2.2.0 milestone. However, in the changelog on our site, it will still be displayed as a sepparate milestone. We might merge the older milestones later on to, to clean up a bit.

The Future Ahead: ModernBB “Cortex” 3.0
You may have noticed that we cleaned up a lot of our branches. “hook”, “sqlite3″, “upgrade”, “mbb.dev”, “1.6/lts”, they’re all gone. However, a new branch has joined the others: “version3.0″. Yes indeed, ModernBB 3.0 is our next big milestone, after ModernBB 2.2. It’s a very ambitious milestone, we’re planning a lot for it. The 3 first branches that where removed, hook, sqlite3 and upgrade, are supposed to be in this branch. But many, many more will join. However, do not expect it to be here any time soon. We want to change a lot, and development will take a while. That why we plan 2 alphas, 3 betas and 2 RCs before the final version is here. Both alphas aren’t feature complet, the first beta will be the feature-freeze, however, beta 2 and beta 3 can still remain changes to features, but no new ones. The first RC is the code-freeze and willl, just like RC2, only contain bugfixes. And with some luck, ModernBB 3 RC 2 will also be the final ModernBB 3.0.0.

Round-up #10 – Planning ModernBB “Odd” 3.0

ModernBB 2.2 has been released! And, of course, we’re already planning the next version, for a while, to be exact. I mentioned ModernBB 3.0 a time ago in round-up #9, but now, it’s going to be serious. ModernBB 3.0 is the next big milestone for ModernBB. Let’s talk about ModernBB “Odd” 3.0.

Ambition: 100%
ModernBB 3 will be a very important release. Seriously. We’ve got a lot of thing planned. It won’t be a visual big release compared to ModernBB 2 (which turned out to be buggy, lots of issues have been fixed in ModernBB 2.2.1 and onwards). However, we do plan a visual rework of the Backstage, but not that much is planned to change on the other side of the software, our front-end. However, we’re planning to do a lot of work with ModernBB 3, that’s for sure.

ModernBB goes Modern
With our responsive design, we’re one of the first bulletin boards to have this by default. Compared to a lot of other forum software, we also have a prety good construction for our Backstage, where other forum software might be complicated (phpBB refference). However, there is still a lot to do that makes us even more modern. What about SQLite 3 support? We planned this already for ModernBB 2.0 and 2.1. This since support for it ended before the feature was finished, that didn’t turn out well. For now, it seems that this feature will only find it’s way to ModernBB 1.6, 2.2 and 3.0.

But that’s (of course) not everything. We’re planning to create a hook system, so no core changes need to be done. The editor will also be replaced with a more feature-rich WYSIWYG editor. Meanwhile, updating should be very WordPress-like: one click, and go! The parser will be updated once again, for example, support for syntax highlighting. And the login form will disappear and be replaced with a modal (in most of the cases, at least). The template system is also supposed to get a major reform.

Further, ModernBB 3.0 will use jQuery 1.11 and Bootstrap 3.1.0 (at least). Since development of ModernBB 3 will take a while, this might change to even newer releases, like jQuery 1.12 and Bootstrap 3.2 (or something like that). We’re also not yet sure if we stay in the 1.xx branch for jQuery, so we might upgrade to jQuery 2. That also means that support for Internet Explorer 8 will be dropped, however, that’s still a major browser. With Windows XP getting close to EOL, that might change before ModernBB 3 is released, but probably, this will be something for ModernBB 4.

Round-up #11 – Interfaces and databases

It has been a beautiful week. This week, we released 4 new versions of ModernBB (1.6.4, 2.0.2, 2.1.2 and 2.2.02), and of course, we continue development of what’s next. And what IS next? Well, that ModernBB 1.6.5, 2.2.05 and 3.0.0. And it’s that last one we’ve worked on a lot. Let’s talk about that.

Database and DB Layers
Well, we’ve made some changes for the database layers. The first one is, we dropped support for PostgreSQL. Why? Because we think that this database type isn’t used enough to support. Another big changes that has happened, and where we’re still working on, in the support for SQLite 3. Finaly, FluxBB and so ModernBB (we where planning this earlier than them, but they took our idea!) will do the same (support for SQLite 3 comes also to ModernBB 1.6 and 2.2). However, we’re also thinking about removing support for MariaDB, which is supported since ModernBB 2.0. For the same reason as we stop supporting PostgreSQL, it’s still in considering, but it could happen.

The Backstage Interface
Something else we spend a lot of time on, is the Backstage interface. We’ve improved a lot! First (and most notable), the color scheme has changed. We’re now on a black-blue color scheme, instead of a blue one. The Backstage also uses more of the elements that are available in Bootstrap (like tables in this case). We’ve also worked on the consistency of the interface. All pages now have a title. Buttons are a lot more consistent, everything is.

We’re not done yet. The interface is still to change. We want the blue color to be more of an accent. This will be used to create a new option to change the color of the backstage. Awesome, isn’t it? However, for the once that liked the color scheme from the ModernBB 2.x series, we might concider adding a color scheme that sets back those things.

Other stuff
We didn’t stop there, not even close. The Bacstages “Forums” and “Categories” page has been removed. What? But that’s the place where we could manage our forums and categories!? Indeed, however, we’ve added a new page, “Board structure”, that contains both pages, to give you a better overview. The update message on the front page of Backstage also has been revamped, it doesn’t show buttons anymore, instead, there is a new button on the index that brings you to a special update page.

ModernBB 3 now also requires at least FluxBB 1.5 or higher to be able to upgrade. Other work has been done on the action bar in the topic view, however, this isn’t finished yet. ModernBB 3.0 is also using a development version of Bootstrap 3.1, and we are planning to update jQuery to version 1.11 beta 2 too. Now, we’ve done a lot of work already, but we are far from finished! The template system needs work, the Backstage needs work, the front-end needs work, everything needs work! Check our shiplist to see what’s coming!

Luna: A reference guide for planning

So, I’ve got this fancy bundle of paper here next to me. It’s a information guide about our Luna project, perhaps better known as ModernBB 4. ou might would like to read it. Now, I’m still working on it (refinments), and will publish it tomorrow. Also, stay tuned for the 2nd alpha release of ModernBB 3 tomorrow.

 

Round-up #12 – Taking advance of the 384 Group design and code guidelines

The 384 Group, which we are part of, today announced that all websites and software that are part of this group, have to follow new guidelines for both design and coding (coding in case it’s a software product). This affects us prety hard, as the ModernBB Group is the only group inside the 384 Group that actualy provices software (simply because all software that is made by other groups, except for FluxSmile – who doesn’t has to aply to the new rules). What does this mean for us?

ModernCount
ModernCount is a piece of software, less known than ModernBB, that is developed by us. Through it’s available as download at the Studio 384 website. Anyway, it has been a while since the latest update (version 3.1) and this piece of software realy can use a big update. That’s why ModernCount 4 will be released soon. This version will follow the new design guidelines, through it’s the only piece of software that doesn’t has to follow the code conventions, for now.

ModernBB
ModernBB on the other hand, has to aply to the new design conventions starting 15 May 2014, this means that the next feature release after this date has to be designed according those rules. One month later, on 15 June 2014, the code has also to be conform the coding conventions. This means that ModernBB 3.3 will have the full design, and ModernBB 3.4 will have the refactored code. Through, of course, we are allowed to get things ready before then, so it’s highly possible that ModernBB 3.2 will already start following some of those new conventions.

Note that, since the front-end of ModernBB is clasified as a “public section”, it doesn’t have to follow the design conventions. Only the Backstage has too. The front-end has to follow the code conventions, through.

ModernBB.be and ModernBB Group Blog
The good news on this part is, that the new design and code conventions are based on the design en code conventions that are used to design and code ModernBB.be (and Studio384.be), thus both websites are already ready. Our blog, however, has to be redesigned so it fits better in (and this was planned for a while, but now we just have too). This should be done by 1 July. That same day, Studio 384 will also refactor their own blog.

Why do we have to do this?
For developing reasons, it’s important that the 384 Group delivers a great experience around all of it’s products and software. This is why we have to do this. We will later publish those conventions online.

Round-up #13 – Redesigned experiences – UPDATE

4th blogpost in 3 days, we’re going hard in April! Anyway, I would like to talk about something you might have noticed in ModernBB 3.1 and in our announcement for ModernBB 3.2 and 3.3: we’re revamping some serious stuff in our forum software. Is this a coincidence or…

Well, no. It isn’t. As you know, we were planning a rebuilded forum software, named Vanellope. But we stopped development of it when we started working on ModernBB 3.1, which backported the new topic view. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen now everywhere else. Version by version, you will see ModernBB switch to a new design. Page by page. What version of ModernBB is going to redesign what? Here’s a list:

ModernBB 3.1 – Topic view (part 1)
ModernBB 3.2 – Profile
– Help
– User list (part 1)
– Topic view (part 2)
ModernBB 3.3 – Backstage
ModernBB 3.4 – Index
– Forum view
– Login
– Register
ModernBB 3.5 – Installation
– User list (part 2)

Why are we doing this? Because it’s time to reimagen the way forums are designed. Why not all at once? Because we simply don’t want to create one big redesign release. We want you guys to be able to play around with the new stuff whenever it’s finished. Are you guys going to be able to follow the above scheme? If you ask that, you don’t know us. Of course we wont. Through this is the planning now. Tomorrow it could be different.

In other news, expect ModernBB 3.1.1 to be released somewhere in the next 7 days.

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.

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