Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

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Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 1st, 2013, 5:51 pm

Hi guys, Happy New Year to you all!

It's early in the evening on January 1st, 2013 for me here in South Australia, but I know a lot of you are still just getting into your New Years Eve celebrations. I hope they're going well and that everyone's having a good time. :)

I'm taking this opportunity to finally refresh/update our forum software, and bring its efficiency, security and feature set up to date. Apart from little updates I've made here and there, this will essentially be the first proper update of our actual core forum software (phpBB) since the forum was launched in 2008! So yes, this is around five years overdue.

Everything will be available in two places while I perform the synchronisation and rearrangement, so rather than there being any downtime, there will actually be an uptime overlap between the two installs — better than what we had last time, that's for sure!

I'll announce the progress here as it happens...
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 1st, 2013, 8:48 pm

Well, a few things are being a bit tricky on the admin/authentication side of things, so I mightn't be able to keep the two installs running smoothly in parallel.

At this stage I think it's best if I just go through and do what I can to get everything changed over as swiftly as possible. There shouldn't be any downtime, but there might be a brief window of time where your account won't stay logged in. I'll be working to ensure that's as brief as possible, if it indeed does happen.

There will also be a gradual migration of file attachments from this installation to the new one, so don't be too worried if some things don't show up immediately.

Finally, there will likely be some features that I've implemented over the past few months (and years) that will need to be reconfigured, so please bear with me while I get them all humming along nicely again.

This is a very important maintenance job — I'm not doing it for fun. ;)


Remember; you can always reach me via social media — Twitter (Qyzbud/DKC Atlas), Facebook (DKC Atlas), YouTube (Qyzbud/DKC Atlas), deviantART (Qyzbud), etc. — if there's a break in communications here on the forum.
Last edited by Qyzbud on January 1st, 2013, 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added social media contact info
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 1st, 2013, 10:24 pm

Well, things seem to be going fairly smoothly. Hopefully the process hasn't been any trouble for you guys so far...

At this stage, apart from a few minor aesthetic adjustments left to do, I'm just left with the task of re-enabling the user tagging feature and the user-configurable 'number of posts per page' feature. and — inexplicably — the standard phpBB word censorship feature, which seems to have become disabled during the migration process.

I'll get these matters sorted as soon as possible — please let me know if you notice any other issues. :)


Edit: I've done a final update of the forum software and database, which appears to have fixed the word censor issue. 8-)
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 3rd, 2013, 11:33 am

Spoiler formatting is wrong: viewtopic.php?p=25232#p25232
--The text that wraps is below the spoiler but should be before it.

Also, several quotes are missing the newline they once had, screwing up the formatting of every post since before the new quotes were put in here. :rant:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 3rd, 2013, 2:33 pm

Thanks for the report — I shall work expeditiously. :geek:

Edit:
I've adjusted the Spoiler formatting to address the issue you linked to, and will hopefully be able to refine it further, as I personally prefer the way our spoilers in general looked before this recent fix... but I can certainly see that it wasn't suitably formatted in the post you linked to.

Regarding the quote formatting; do you mean like the way they appear in this post — with an 'inline' appearance? This was an intentional formatting choice, as it allows users to place quotes inline if they so desire. All you have to do is put the quote on a new line if that's where you want it to be. ;)

Feel free to link me to any posts (via PM) that need to be edited in light of this formatting adjustment.

Also, do let me know if I've missed the point you were trying to make with any of this.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 3rd, 2013, 4:11 pm

I'm saying that this (via current editor)...

stuff
after


...used to automatically become...

stuff
(newline)
after


...when a quote was inserted, and all of my old quotes on the forum followed the assumption that there was an automatic newline. Now, they are all screwed up because you took out a newline from all quotes.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 3rd, 2013, 4:32 pm

Personally I think this allows more control and more flexibility, while maintaining cleaner markup. This is a "WYSIWYG" approach, so it's more intuitive for the average user, too.

If it's a big deal to you, I can change it back, but I prefer it this way. I would always prefer to embrace positive change rather than fear it due to old methods not looking quite the way they used to. Why not just do a quick edit on any posts you notice — or link me to them, as I offered before — so that we can have the best of both worlds? :)

Just for your information; the formatting has been this way for quite some time now — have you only just noticed?
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 3rd, 2013, 7:45 pm

Yeah, basically I just *noticed* as you were doing the forum update. I thought at first when you added the ability to have it without the newline, that it was something you had to explicitly specify (or something along those lines).

Oh well. Blasted confusion... :roll:

It'd probably be too much trouble to go back and edit things - I alone have over two thousand posts (as do you!). :lol:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 12:07 am

True, there would be a lot of posts to go through and edit; I say we just let it be. We can always just fix any that we notice... and odds are it's not going to be a big deal 95% of the time, anyway. I mean, all of the info is still there, and it'll still make sense... it just mightn't look exactly as intended. There's still a chance I'll work out a way to format things so that the old quotes look as they should, and the new ones stay as flexible and logical as they are currently, so don't fuss about it too much... but in the meantime, let's fix the old ones that stand out like a sore thumb as we notice them. ;)

On the topic of styling, and recent upgrades...
I'm working on a new default forum style based very closely (so far) on our current one. I'll announce/launch it very soon, but anyone interested in checking out the imminent future face of the Atlas forum, feel free to select atlas2 as your 'board style' in your forum settings. It's subject to changes and improvements, but it's good to go as is.

Our current atlas1 style will be retired in the next week or so, as it is dated and 'messy' in terms of security, features and structure — atlas2 is an up-to-date, semantically constructed replacement style which will receive my attention from now on with regards to styling and feature improvements, security updates, etc. It already has a handy 'quick reply' function which is perfect for leaving — you guessed it — a quick reply!

Curious? Switch your style to atlas2 today.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 11:20 am

I already have a complaint with this, but just one. The right pane is too large and needs to be sized like atlas1 has it. There is no sense in the user info taking up 256+ pixels in width.

If it's the joined date that made you do this, isn't there a way you can make it multi-lined? For people with poor screen real-estate, compact is better. ;)

I don't have a widescreen to waste extra horizontal space on so yeah... :lol:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 11:39 am

Nice to know it's only one complaint so far! :lol:

Actually, that 'post profile' sizing issue is a prosilver (phpBB3's default style) standard design choice that I had previously adapted for atlas1. I agree with you that it takes up more space than is necessary, and I'll likely reduce it again. The layout is designed to 'scale', so that it looks good on widescreens without wasting space on smaller monitors... but I guess you still feel as though it takes up too much space? I tend to agree, somewhat — content should take priority. I value the concept of catering to all resolutions, so I'll be sure to work on this.

Oh, and I don't think the 'joined' info will stay — at most, I'll have it show the year. That way we can feel like veterans. B/
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 11:43 am

After some perusal, one more thing cropped up.

extreme_pitpick.png
extreme_pitpick.png (2.01 KiB) Viewed 14168 times


The username text here needs to be vertically centered in the "font space". The alignment of the text right now looks weird.

EDIT: The grey lines around the images have to go. Not present in old layout at all. Was removed at some point in atlas1.

EDIT2: In fact the text and buttons should all be vertically centered inside of the top "bar" area of a post.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 11:46 am

Ah yes, thanks for the nitpicks — I'm on the case. :)
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 11:49 am

More Nitpicking: Too much vertical space at bottom of posts. Needs to be like atlas1.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 12:05 pm

*tries to do the user info thing*

my_suggestion_userinfolayout.png
my_suggestion_userinfolayout.png (19.08 KiB) Viewed 14165 times


Given my GUI escapades, you should know how much of a stickler for pixel exactness I am... :lol:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 12:17 pm

Very true. :lol:

Nice job on the post profile mock-up, by the way — I may well use a similar approach. :D
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 12:59 pm

This is a bigger one: The special post and topic orderings for the Delta Project (Release, Bug Reporting, etc...) subforums has disappeared.

You may want to ensure the user posting rules for them haven't gone missing, as well.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 1:19 pm

I realised that the DELTA post/topic ordering modifications would be lost, and I'll get around to fixing that as soon as possible... trying to work out a 'non-destructive' way to implement the technique, as my reckless modding techniques were the main reason this essential upgrade was such a trial. :roll:

The user posting rules ought to have remained intact, as that's all saved in the database itself, which was cloned exactly during the upgrade... that said, I'll be checking over everything in the coming days/weeks, as I know there will be lots of little things to fix/improve. :geek:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 4th, 2013, 4:08 pm

Ah. I'm really liking the current avatar photo border. The layout is quite snazzy too. :)

EDIT: How about moving that "top" button flush with the rest of the square buttons (PM, Globe, etc...)? That's what I was meaning by too much vertical space. ;)
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 4th, 2013, 4:15 pm

Ohh... that's what you meant! I'd been trying to work out what to fix. :lol:

Anyhow, glad you like my progress so far — I got a little inspired. ;)

edit: It's a wonder I managed to come up with any halfway-decent ideas in today's 44°c (111.11+°f) heat! :lol:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 6th, 2013, 10:01 am

Problem - when the username is larger than the avatar, the text goes outside the white photo box instead of the box fitting the username text.

EvangeliKong is a good example of the layout bug: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1336&start=700#p32772
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 6th, 2013, 10:34 am

I've considered fixing this (and have trialled a few simple solutions), but so far it's only a problem for avatars that stray from our sizing guidelines, so I might just remind users to stick to the suggested dimensions. Of course, the issue would exist for extra long user names, too — not just extra small avatars...

So yes; it looks like I have an issue to solve. :geek:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 7th, 2013, 9:27 am

Regarding the recently added thumbs up system:

I believe the word "Thanked" becomes a bit dull when repeated all over the page. Perhaps "Upvoted" is a better choice.

UpVotes:
Has Upvoted:

EDIT: Nah, that still gets too dull. There has to be a better way without making it seem repetitive. :roll:

Also, I don't want this to become a YouTube-like upvote/downvote/user-rating war. ;)

EDIT2: I know! You should put a little thumbs up image next to the number of user "thanks", and for the ones they have given out maybe a thumbs up with an arrow.

EDIT3/4: Green plz. ;)
thankposts_2.gif
thankposts_2.gif (1.22 KiB) Viewed 14068 times


EDIT5: Maybe we can call these things bananas! The more bananas the more you were upvoted. B/
EDIT6: Like this...

Image 1234
Image 777 Times

...but with the smaller PHPBB font used in the user info, with the vertical spacing a little tighter, and the images still vertically centered on the line of text.
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 7th, 2013, 10:34 am

Yeah, I'll definitely be changing this concept almost entirely. Bananas it is. ;)

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Simion32 » January 7th, 2013, 10:37 am

The "These users thanked the author x for the post:" thing is annoying. My solution? Just add a post upvote count next to the date in the top area. I don't know how you'd show who the users were, though, as that should still be accessible. But it shouldn't eat up a block of text at the bottom of posts like that.

At least, that's how I feel about it. ;)

EDIT: If that's a moderation-only thing (it allows me to clear them?), I see no reason to moderate upvotes... :roll:
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Re: Forum software update; a fresh start for the new year!

Postby Qyzbud » January 7th, 2013, 10:50 am

I agree with the above — it's like you're reading my mind! :P

I'll see if I can get this all taken care of today.
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