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6 years of miniBB: version 2.2 opens the new age!

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Author Bluesplayer
Registered
#16 | Posted: 21 Feb 2008 08:25 | Edited by: Moderator 
"I don't want to discourage you in making new design, but this right-side orientation of the forums list and user names in topics list seems very strange and uncomfortable."

Funny enough it took a while for me to work this out. Wasn't hard to do really. I wanted something along these lines because the Shopping and Software forums that I am setting up are for 'hot offers' that are sent to me - a great deal of them. By showing the latest discussions at the top of the forum instead of below the forums there is much more emphasis given to the offers themselves. As soon as a person views the forum they are instantly aware of any new offer without having to scroll down the page.

On this new minibb forum, which is set for full screen width by the looks of it, I am going to experiment with a min/max width setting and the forums also showing when you click any latest discussion. That way a user will be able to move around the forum a lot easier and faster. Also maybe a collapsable side could be introduced giving a user the option of viewing the latest discussions in full screen or with the forum menu showing.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#17 | Posted: 21 Feb 2008 11:11 | Edited by: Paul 
Bluesplayer:
By showing the latest discussions at the top of the forum instead of below the forums there is much more emphasis given to the offers themselves.

I agree and it gives much feeling this is kind of "board". Specially when both forums listing and recent discussions are brought at the top of page. This is also fitting "mini" concept when you have let's say just 3-4 forums and 15 discussions, then the board will take just 1 screen and all the important information will be brought straight.

Author lozmatic
Registered
#18 | Posted: 22 Feb 2008 07:22 
Moony:
I don't want to discourage you in making new design, but this right-side orientation of the forums list and user names in topics list seems very strange and uncomfortable.


I agree.

It's a good idea to experiment and to offer a different product. But it's good practice to offer products that people recognise and use easily. People have been used to using forums in a certain format for years. They are used to certain elements being where they are and certain layouts.

The reason why most forums look the same is a simple one: they work best like that. To call a tried and tested format old-fashioned is a fair comment. But Zippo is an old fashioned product too. It hasn't changed in decades because it works.

So my question to miniBB developers would be... are you sure that your new unconventional layout will get more people to use your software? Or do you risk the opposite? Stats will tell....

In any event for my next project I'll have to integrate miniBB into a layout where the main side navigation area can switch between right and left so I think I'll need to take a more 'central' approach for the miniBB elements.

Author tom322
Registered
#19 | Posted: 22 Feb 2008 08:42 | Edited by: tom322 
I think the current layout for thread pages is custom for miniBB - except for the index page which can be set up differently in setup_options. Layout in the thread pages won't be changed (from what I could assume). So everyone is free to make layout changes without destructing the core..

I would personally like to experiment on the index page (and will), even though I will leave the thread pages the conventional way. I already got used to the new layout here so it's the matter of time, but I recognize other users or new users may not be adaptive (at the beginning at least).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#20 | Posted: 22 Feb 2008 09:21 | Edited by: Paul 
As I already wrote, by default we're offering what comes by default. If you would like to get poster name displayed on the left side, edit templates/main_posts_cell.html and swap <td> rows within couple of seconds. If you would like to get a traditional layout for the first page (btw it is set that way by default in the package), edit setup_options.php and disable just one setting.

It's a question of taste of your own. I am liking more the current layout, and I am offering it at my forums because I think it is better than previous. On minibbtest we will still keep the old 'blue' layout with small letters, with the username column oriented to the left, to show what it means to use miniBB. Because it can be then used for very different tasks.

We are offering more flexibility with this issue and just covering more audience, I can't understand your claims regarding this, because it all doesn't affect the generic version of the software which can still be used for thin-layout sites. But with this release it is also more oriented on big and wide communities which carry about the content a lot, not just the layout (which would be stupid for the current content-is-a-king days).

Some time ago I urgently understood small amount of customers choosing miniBB because they all were thinking "this board is thin, it uses small font size, blue colors and it will not fit my site, because it is wider, uses larger font size and the orange color". They weren't able to go deeper and get the idea that miniBB could be any font size, any color, any layout, and these changes can be applied just in CSS and templates without affecting the PHP core. Current version should show that miniBB is a chameleon. Because when you see something here, and it is completely different from what you see there, at the time it is the same, it could give an impression it also could fit your wishes.

That's the main idea and it it won't work... there is no way back anyway.

We are not orienting on what users have used for years because on the market there are new users coming each day, and they are choosing usability instead. I don't know who invented 'the law' of placing the username column on the left, if most european and english language readers are reading from the left to right side. When I read your message here, I read the text first, not your username, because I am carrying about your opinion and answering the opinion, not you personally, because I don't know who you are at all. So the opinion is brought first.

I know WordPress team have chosen placing username column on the right as well in their BBpress project some time ago, because I feel they are finding such placement more logical too. Now as we can see this placement is denied again and BBpress looks very regular.

What for? Just because of the opinions like these. It seems WP guys are afraid that people will not recognize it and they are afraid to try something new which seems definitely better, because they were told by couple of people. We are not afraid. I was born in USSR era and I know what it means to live in Totalitarianism when you are supposed to do the same thing to survive as your neighbor does. You know guys, I would say "the USSR is over and I want to be different from my stupid idiotic neighbor which I hate". Are we living in the free world or not?..

If you are supporting Communism era in forum software, you're welcome, I will better to close this project then make just another copy of the interface which I hate and which I am finding not suitable.

However the new things doesn't mean we have thrown out the old. They all are still available. Later we will work on the old skins and you will see they all are compatible with the older version of the layout. It is just more freedom to everybody which thinks free.

It appears to be the same story like with those "unread message icons" by the way. I don't know who invented this horrible algorithm and why it is so much appreciated by users, at the time it is resources-greedy and not useful at all. Imagine that you arrive on forums after some 10-days break and start to analyze what icon indicated new messages and what not. If there was a blind designer who've made this icons, you will miss part of the messages anyway. If there are 20 forums on board, you need to go though each and every forum and after 10 or 20 minutes you will be tired to do so. Nobody have thought about such easy-to-use thing as we offer in Checker tool, when you have all unread messages straight in one list and study only new messages arrived straight away. Still, many customers are wanting new troubles in their life, asking me about "unread message icons", instead of choosing the simple, the best, the most affordable method just because their habits are too bad to open their eyes for something more deliberately better.

Quit smoking, guys, I already did.

Author tom322
Registered
#21 | Posted: 22 Feb 2008 09:38 
Paul:
I am liking more the current layout, and I am offering it at my forums because I think it is better than previous.

Amen ;)

Paul:
We are not afraid. I was born in USSR era and I know what it means to live in Totalitarianism when you are supposed to do the same thing to survive as your neighbor does.

Poles remember that too ;).

Paul:
It appears to be the same story like with those "unread message icons" by the way.

I never used it myself (didn't even bother to find out what the graphic meant) even though I saw it on many forums.

Author Bluesplayer
Registered
#22 | Posted: 24 Feb 2008 01:05 
How do you get this new design to kick in? I have altered a few things in the setup.php file but can't get the new look to show?

Update
The answer was oh so simple. Instead of altering the line where it says $startPageModern=FALSE; to TRUE I only had to alter it to $startPageModern=1; and the design is now working.

Looks great!

Author ThyBzi
Registered
#23 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 01:11 | Edited by: ThyBzi 
Paul:
It seems I didn't understand completely what do you mean by "native mySQL" support and which exactly files you've edited, most important - what for. So far I know miniBB runs perfectly with Russian language without custom modifications at all, and timezone setting could be modified in setup_options. So the answer to your question is "no" because new version contains only minor changes in the core which absolutely do not affect mySQL.

I meant native mysql support for timezone and codepage setting.

Under that I mean setting something like:
SET 'time_zone' = +06:00
SET NAMES 'cp1251'
(for the case of our forum)

As for timezone:
Now I see that I've missed a variable $timeDiff in config, but anyway it's more preferable to write all dates for the same timezone, native for the main forum's auditory location (e.g. +06:00 as our forum is for Novosibirsk). By that we can see Novosibirsk time in database, and also that helps to avoid some.. emm... "time confusing" when transferring forum's database from one server to another.

As for codepage:
Of course, the forum is writable/readable in Russian, but when observing the database via phpMyAdmin, you see only "abracadabra", 'cause all the data by default is stored in latin1 codepage (as far as I remember)

In addition to the aforesaid, I need to announce last posts on the main page of the site (in a way I need it :), so +06:00 and cp1251 become even more important for me.

P.S. As you guys have mentioned USSR and Totalitarism, I just need to say that our site sibinfonet.ru (and it's miniBB forum :) doesn't support them in any way :)) Don't be fooled by "Soviet" symbolics used in design, it's just a kind of "wordplay" for the site's slogan "STRANA SOVETOV", that equally means "The land of advices" (which is the actual translation for this slogan) and "Soviet country" :)

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#24 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 03:38 
Bluesplayer
When you install the board it appears in the classic forums layout. So later when you have some few or many topics posted, then only you may switch the layout schema. If there are no topics, how it would be possible to have 70% of the left side of the page filled? It will be blank.

Glad you figured this out (I hope other users will do as well).

ThyBzi
Your problem is in mySQL configuration's encoding and miniBB doesn't matter here. If you refer to the post I have provided in this thread you can check your mySQL for valid encoding set at all levels.

As for timezone, if you move the files to the hosting which has another setting of it, there will be anyway no way to restore "old" time saved in database, it will differ anyway. However I am not sure the timing problem really matters on forums. I personally never pay attention to the date at all. The server where we host miniBB is located in Texas, I am on another side of the ocean now and the users are posting from all worldwide points. As you see, this doesn't affect the discussion at all. I think timing is kind of another problem which only Russians are worrying of :-) It would matter if you have some stuff like organizers or calendars, but for forums this stuff is more informative than useful.

Author ThyBzi
Registered
#25 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 04:50 
Paul:
Your problem is in mySQL configuration's encoding and miniBB doesn't matter here.

Hmm. I'll study this question :) As I see, no codepage is specified in CREATE TABLE queries... May it happen due of that my MySQL server works in utf8 mode, but despite this I need data to be fetched in cp1251?

Paul:
As for timezone, if you move the files to the hosting which has another setting of it, there will be anyway no way to restore "old" time saved in database, it will differ anyway.

Why do you think so? Here is a simple example:

1. Residing on Server 1. Server time is now 00:15:00, and server timezone setting is +03:00
(connecting, selecting DB, etc.)
SET 'time_zone' = +06:00
INSERT INTO `posts` (..., `time`, ...) VALUES (..., NOW(), ...)
That will write value '03:15:00' into `time` field (not server's 'native' 00:15:00!)

2. Making an dump and mirgating to another server, with -02:00 timezone setting
(connecting, selecting DB, etc.)
SET 'time_zone' = +06:00
SELECT `time` FROM `posts` WHERE `id` = 123
And what shall we get? Right, '03:15:00'. Not 00:15:00, and not 22:15:00, etc...

Note:
It is not necessary to use MySQL's function NOW(), it can be a similar value calculated by PHP - but within PHP (especially PHP4) it's much more complicated process to calculate time for a specified timezone :) But, because I do not want to dig (and possibly break :) miniBB DB query functions, I just replace all time functions calls (all forum wide) with a call to my function, which does that calculation via PHP (PHP4 compatible).

Paul:
I think timing is kind of another problem which only Russians are worrying of :-)

:)))) I really like this! :))) Oh yeah, that's because of tooooo large country! (and too much timezones ;)
Actually, sometimes it's just good to know WHEN some action took place. Also, when I announce forum on the main page of my site (where some other announces, dates and times could be located), it is strange to see such a time mismatch, especially if you've just added a post, and see it as added 3 hours ago... :)
So I think time is important (as I am Russian, of course :), and if we use and display this field, why not use it decently?

Of course, the problem is less topical for world-wide sites (where, by the way, per-user time and language setting should exist... :). But it IS topical for "local" sites, where all or nearly all users live in same timezone :)

P.S. Sorry for such an extensive explanation :)

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#26 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 05:18 | Edited by: Paul 
As for mySQL, you should carry about all encoding variables in configuration. If on the client side there is latin1 and on the server side there is utf8 there most commonly will be problems. However it is a very custom question and I can't precisely discuss it without knowing what's going on.

Timezone: when you announce some thing it still important you mention the precise time and zone in the message itself. Saying "the time is MSK" for example you're meaning this is Moscow's time like it all is measured in Russia. Then everybody will know when it happens, and still it is not really important which date is stored in database. And specially it's becoming not important when you transfer older records to some new server... if it was happened months ago, I don't think I would care about the posting time a lot.

However if the solutions you provided work for you that's ok :-) I am still not sure this is the right way because if I would work on such problems myself I would tracked up hosting guys to let it all work correctly like it's supposed to work, but not that regular Russian way when you create a problem first, then find a solution which works, then discover a new problem in the solution, fix that problem other way, and there's some bug in other way again which is already related both to the first and the second problem. It would be much suitable to not make the first mistake to avoid others ;-)

Author ThyBzi
Registered
#27 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 05:41 
Paul:
However it is a very custom question and I can't precisely discuss it without knowing what's going on.

Okay, let's leave it for now :)

Paul:
when you announce some thing it still important you mention the precise time and zone in the message itself. Saying "the time is MSK" for example you're meaning this is Moscow's time like it all is measured in Russia.

Of course, that is the best way for multi-timezone sites. But actually is not necessary if all expected visitors reside in the same city - just displaying time is a quite good way.

Paul:
However if the solutions you provided work for you that's ok :-)

Certanly, it is :) I just raised that point to find out developers' opinion on it (and probably some better way to solve the problem)

Paul:
that regular Russian way when you create a problem first, then find the solution which works, then discover new problem in the solution,

:)) All Russians do so? :)
However, there is no other problem in my found solution, except that I need to rewrite some function calls within miniBB to use it :)
Being more exact, I commonly use such a way of timing within my own site engine, and I find this way very comfortable, so I try to "extend" it on all other used PHP scripts on site (if it is possible). Is it that common Russian way? :)

Author lozmatic
Registered
#28 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 06:09 
Paul:
What for? Just because of the opinions like these. It seems WP guys are afraid that people will not recognize it and they are afraid to try something new which seems definitely better, because they were told by couple of people. We are not afraid. I was born in USSR era and I know what it means to live in Totalitarianism when you are supposed to do the same thing to survive as your neighbor does. You know guys, I would say "the USSR is over and I want to be different from my stupid idiotic neighbor which I hate". Are we living in the free world or not?..

If you are supporting Communism era in forum software, you're welcome, I will better to close this project then make just another copy of the interface which I hate and which I am finding not suitable.


I didn't mean to cause a diplomatic incident ;) At the end of the day... you offer 2 versions which is as flexible as it can be (until there will be a third version, of course).

All I was saying is that in certain cases moving away from a familiar model is not a good idea. Take Google, for example. How many times have they radically changed their homepage? And behind that decision there is a guy who was born inthe soviet era too.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#29 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 07:53 | Edited by: Paul 
ThyBzi
Well I am still can't say anything as a developer regarding your methods because I've never met such problems. As I wrote - if it works that's the most important thing. Everything I could mention that saving a PHP time is better and it is done in miniBB because of the major compatibility we've had in the past,when you have the webserver and mySQL server in two different places and timezones. Even if your mySQL time differs from that PHP provides by couple of secs, you can run into common problems with anti-flood issues when the time is not correctly calculated etc.

As about codepage for mySQL - I suppose it was introduced only in latest mySQL releases and not available in previous, but miniBB is designed to work with all major versions of mySQL. It's a generic software, and if you have a custom way to go you are free to do that :-) But we are not free, unfortunately. I don't know if there is a problem in your solution(s), but I would definitely improve everything configuring mySQL instead of providing sets of additional requests which definitely do not make execution of the software better.

That's the final opinion. Please create a separate thread if you would like to discuss it deeply, the subject of this topic is not the subject of your own project.

ThyBzi:
Being more exact, I commonly use such a way of timing within my own site engine, and I find this way very comfortable, so I try to "extend" it on all other used PHP scripts on site (if it is possible). Is it that common Russian way?


It appears to be. Because... why would you need to modify them if they all just WORK already? :-) It seems you are not really busy if you have a time for it... wouldn't it be better to share the time on something else... something more which should give you more profit instead of polishing your ego?..

We just have to draw the line somewhere.

lozmatic:
All I was saying is that in certain cases moving away from a familiar model is not a good idea. Take Google, for example. How many times have they radically changed their homepage? And behind that decision there is a guy who was born in the soviet era too.

Don't know if placing a nickname column on the right is a radical idea, but it appears so :-) I wouldn't say Google's interfaces are supposed to change often because there is nothing to change, but here in forum software there is a lot of ways. We are just trying little one of them.

And honestly I don't understand why moving from a familiar model is not a good idea. Have you seen the new MacOS? It's a big move from the standard and it doesn't mean being bad. It's just different. That's the same we're trying to achieve with miniBB - to be different from others.

Else there is no sense to work on it at all!

Author ThyBzi
Registered
#30 | Posted: 25 Feb 2008 08:11 | Edited by: ThyBzi 
Paul:
We just have to draw the line somewhere.

*drawing a <hr />* :)
Okay, I also think this discussion should now be closed (at least within this topic :)
Thank you for your attention and patience.

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