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.

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.

Luna 1.0 Preview 3 now available

It is that time again. Yesterday, we signed off our third preview: Preview 3. This update contains a couple of nice new features. It’s also the first preview following our new update scheme. Either way, it isn’t as big as an update as Preview 1 and 2. More changes come to Preview 3 in future updates.

Update scheme
First off – and this is not a feature – you’ll see us release updates on a more regular base. We’ve planned 2 more updates for Preview 3 this month alone. Perhaps a third one will come in early March. After that, we hope to have reached a point where we can say: yes, this can be Preview 4. And ya’ll know what comes after Preview 4, right? Beta 1.

Theme Engine 6 Preview 3
We made major improvements to our Theme Engine 6 once again. We now support parent themes. This means that one theme can inherit everything from another team unless it overwrites this within itself. We’ve included a very nice example in Preview 3. Further, we now also support more customization, especially Inbox has been improved. Again: more changes to the engine are coming, don’t start developing your themes yet. Another change this update brings is that users can no longer select a style for their own.

Sunset and Sunrise
Sunset is a new theme in Preview 3. It uses Sunrise as its parent. Sunset is a more classic way of doing things, with forums and categories only on the index. Subforum support is included, through. On its turn, Sunrise got some changes to support child themes. We’ve made some major improvements to the responsive design of Sunrise, too. Keep in mind that both Sunset and Sunrise are still a work in progress.

Login for Backstage and update
We’ve added a login interface for the Backstage. In case your theme might break the Mainstage login form, you can always fall back on this Backstage replacement for it. We’ve also used the same design for our new update dialogue.

Security improvements
Further, the Backstage will now ask you to remove install.php for security reasons. We’ve also fixed another security bug.

Inbox
We’ve also made some major work on Inbox. We’ve decided to take a distance from Contacts and Lists and only provide the PM feature. However, not just thing that got removed: we’ve merged the Inbox page with the profile. In the next preview, you’ll find even more improvements to the interface of Inbox.

Soft delete
Preview 3 comes with support for soft delete. With this feature, you can remove posts from sight without removing them from the board. The current implementation only changes the post’s design to a yellow variation on reported posts. Preview 3 Update 1 will improve the implementation and actually hide the post from members. A new permission will be added to groups, and moderators will be able to soft delete posts by default. It will also be possible to re-enable these posts.

Components
Further, we’ve updated Bootstrap from version 3.3.1 to 3.3.2. Font Awesome also got updated from version 4.2.0 to 4.3.0. However, we do not include all Font Awesome styles anymore. We’ve removed a couple of font formats to reduce the size of the Font Awesome package. Bootstrap got trimmed too. We’ve removed support for Glyphicons as we didn’t include them anyway. No worries, the final release of Luna 1.0 Aero will load Bootstrap, jQuery and Font Awesome from a CDN and include all support you might need.

More changes
Futher, we no longer show the Moved-entries from topics on the index. The editor got some minor interface improvements. The user list got a facelift and the Theme settings page has been improved. Emojis now have a default size of 16px instead of 14px and we made major improvements to the database. We’ve also added the first notifications for users (if you’re subscribed on a thread and someone comments on it, you’ll get a notification), decreased the size of our package and made improvements to the performance of Luna. Further, you can expect the usual bug fixes.

You can find the Preview at the usual location: on our websites download page. Continue to note that this is still a Preview release and bugs are to be expected. We’ll continue to make improvements and add new features to Luna in the coming months until we hit beta 1. After that, the fun can really begin. Expect Preview 3 Update 1 later this month and Preview 3 Update 2 around the end of this month or early March. Enjoy!

Luna 1.0 Preview 3 Update 1 now available

It’s that time again, a new release of Luna is available. We call it Luna 1.0 Preview 3 Update 1, for short Luna Preview 3.1. Or even shorter: Luna 0.3.3802. It’s what you prefer, we take all 3 of them. Either way, todays update is a small one, through it brings some nice things to the table.

Inbox improvements
We’re currently working hard on making the Inbox interface better, todays update contains a couple of these changes already, but more are to come. Either way, you’ll find yourself in a much improved interface, and a major fix to an interface that was still based on old markup.

Further, we’ve improved our conversation management in Inbox, you’ll find yourself with new tools and other improvements, like an improved interface (it was a mess in earlier Previews).

Notification Center improvements
Another interface we improved in todays update is the Notification Center. The buttons have been given a new place, an icon and a color for accessibility. Also, we fixed these buttons, as they where broken in Preview 3.

Language improvements
While language isn’t our focus until we get to Preview 4, we’ve already started with some cleaning. Todays build comes with less strings (the unused strings are removed, partially) and language fixes. More on this in the future.

Soft delete
As promised, Update 1 comes with improvements to Soft delete. You can now undo a soft deleted post, so that it will appear again for all users. We’ve also added new permissions for soft deleted posts, they don’t have any effect yet, but that’s for later.

Backstage
The Backstage has been improved in the Settings-area. Maintenance is no longer part of that category. It now has its own category in the main menu. The old “Maintenance” page also has been split up into Maintenance and Prune. You can also find our Database Management under this new category.

Theme Engine
Once again, we’ve added more freedom to our Theme Engine 6. This time around, you’ll be able to change more in Inbox and help. Also related to themes: Sunrise and Sunset have got a couple of updates too.

Search
Finally, we’ve made some improvements to Search, too. The result page now has a look that closer resembles the general forum lists when your results are displayed as topics.

And the usual bugfixes…

Either way, expect us to release Luna 1.0 Preview 3 Update 2, or Luna Preview 3.2 for short, later this month or early next month. Update 2 will be the final Preview 3-release, before moving to Preview 4, which will be our final alpha release (through it will get some updates, too).

Luna 1.0 Preview 3 Update 2 now available

It has been a couple of days again, and here we are, ready to release our next version of Luna. Luna 1.0 Preview 3 Update 2, or Luna Preview 3.2 for short. Or even shorter: Luna 0.3.3827. Today’s update brings once again some small improvements. And a new website.

Inbox improvements
Once again, we’ve improved Inbox further, this is probably it’s final major update for Luna 1.0. New in this version is that you can now alter the design of Inbox within your themes. Further, we made some small improvements to the system itself, too.

Check for updates
Starting with this version, the Update check feature is back for work and will warn you of new stable releases as soon as we hit Luna 1.0. For now, it will warn you when a new preview version is released.

Notification prune
You can also prune notifications with this update. You can choose to remove all seen, all unseen or all notifications at once. This is a very basic and rather drastic feature, but we have no plans to extend its capabilities for Luna 1.0. Stay tuned for Luna 1.1 for that.

Moderation tools
We’ve also finished off the move of the moderation tools from the Mainstage to the Backstage. They now have an improved design and some new capabilities that where missing in the previous preview.

Emojis and Emoticons
Starting with Luna Preview 0, we replaced the emoticons with emojis. This font-driven replacement for smilies had some issues through: not all platforms supported it correctly, especially Windows Vista-based computers (and Windows XP too, for the matter, but we simply don’t care for it as we do not support it anymore), through Windows 7 had some issues with them too. We didn’t remove emojis, instead, we’re providing a choice to use either emoticons or emojis, emoticons being the default. This build includes the old ModernBB emoticonset, through expect them to change design in a Preview 4 build.

Backstage interface
We’ve also made some improvements to the Backstage interface, once again. First off all, and most noticeable: we’re now indicating all options with icons, no more inconsistency with icon usage: everything uses and icon. We’ve also fixed some inconsistency in button naming (for example, some buttons where named “Delete” and others “Remove”). Secondly, we’ve changed some pages to have a more similar design to other pages (the Group page is a good example of that).

Other improvements
Finally, we made some code optimalizations, improvements on our coding conventions and of course the usual bugfixes.

And a new website
With today’s update, we’re also introducing a new website. For starters: we’ve added a first draft for the documentation. The documentation is mainly based upon the old ModernBB documentation with new additions, expect us to improve that during the coming weeks. Further, you’ll find yourself on a brand new index, we made changes to our About page, added a features-list, updated our roadmap (more on that in another blog post) and made minor style changes.