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

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Author marsbar
Associated Member
#31 | Posted: 26 Feb 2008 16:12 
We are not afraid.

That you are not afraid to experiment and test new ideas is quite obvious - your work says it all; but I hope your statement also implies that you are not afraid to change your mind if/when some changes do not turn out as well as others.

That's the same we're trying to achieve with miniBB - to be different from others.

I am always happy to embrace changes that add value to the product, not changes that are introduced for the sake of change. What I find very valuable in the latest release of miniBB (v2.2) is that it provides flexibility: the forum will work irrespective of the style of design the user chooses to adopt - and the user is given a choice to either adopt the new design or stick to the conventional one. (Of course, from the start, miniBB has always stood out, for me, for its separation of design from programming.)

Just my two cents worth.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#32 | Posted: 27 Feb 2008 04:29 
I hope your statement also implies that you are not afraid to change your mind if/when some changes do not turn out as well as others...

Right :-) What I meant is that I can't be sure until I try something out; but I am sure it was not the best idea, I can change my mind of course.

Let's see how it goes.

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#33 | Posted: 4 Mar 2008 04:22 
Hi Paul! :)

A month ago I only intended to reinstall my Windows but collected a new machine instead :) and needed to try the newest OS, so I just now see this beautiful thing! Congratulations! :)

I like it much, the colors too. Only the authors at the right side are a little uncomfortable to me, because I have the habit to read and write from left to right, but I'll live it :)

Presuming that the plugins are updated, too (?), already, in the nearest days I'll write you about updating my forum(s) as well.

Please pass my regards to Team and Sergei.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#34 | Posted: 4 Mar 2008 04:33 | Edited by: Paul 
Cheers :-)

Only the authors at the right side are a little uncomfortable to me, because I have the habit to read and write from left to right

That's exactly about it... you read the message text, right? I pay attention to the poster's name in rare cases... and if I reply clicking on a nickname, I am doing it with the right hand, so when username is on the right, it must be more comfortable. Anyway as mentioned above, it's a question of few seconds - you just need to modify main_posts_cell.html a bit swapping those columns...

The plugins are gradually updated these days. We have done with the upgrade of the half free add-ons and this week I am planning to update most of the premium add-ons, too. I will put a feed here about when all is finished.

Author tom322
#35 | Posted: 6 Mar 2008 12:18 
I was also sceptical at first regarding the right-hand layout. But after a while I think it's even better solution than the previous one, so I'll most likely do the change myself on my forum.

It seems some ideas need time to ripe and this is one of them ;).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#36 | Posted: 12 Mar 2008 13:33 
After long thinking / discussing / testing out we have decided to try other kind of layout for placing messages in the thread. Like you see it now.


This model still follows the idea of easily recognizable content, but placing username on the left. In the nearest time we plan to work on the avatars add-on which will allow to upload fixed size avatars only. That model will make it possible to place little avatar on the left side as well, and provide couple of strings of additional information from user's profile (like gender, age, registration date etc.) By this there will be not a lot of "empty space" in userinfo row.

I like this model because it follows "mini" concept and it limits placing A LOT of profile info in post, which we always were trying to avoid.

However I must agree if you have a lot of info placed around nickname, there can't be other way than placing userinfo column on the left side. In that case you will need manually edit main_posts_cell template to achieve the better result.

So what we have for now:

1) Username column on the right side is compatible with the current version of miniBB, it brings the content on the first place, however those users who like to recognize post by author first, are not able to do it easily (in that case they will really read from right to left). If such column has avatar, it may make the reading uncomfortable.

2) Username column on top of post is compatible with the current version of miniBB, it still allows to recognize post's content amongst usernames, and it is suitable for the users who pay attention at username before reading; that way they are reading from top to left to right. With this model also there is a big opportunity: each message takes its own table, and that's why the page loads up gradually. On slow connections you don't need to wait until the whole HTML will be loaded up. However this layout limits the using of additional info near user's nickname; to avoid a lot of empty space and unpleasant look of the page, you must care about small size avatars and limit the user's information provided in post.

3) Username column on the left makes the reading of content more difficult and not really natural; however it brings the delight to users who care about usernames and userinfo before reading the post. Such layout also allows to place a lot of userinfo near a nickname. In result it allows to create a shitty look for those boards where near user's nickname there is provided avatar, gender, registration date, custom rank, location, web site, number of posts done etc.

We are on the way of choosing between 1 and 2 :-)

Author tom322
#37 | Posted: 12 Mar 2008 16:13 
Since it's the new age, I would also be for either 1 or 2 indeed ;). Which exactly - it may depend on the particular tastes and needs, as always, so I hold my vote for the moment ;). It seems broadband connection is more and more popular around the world, even though loading speed is very important indeed..

Author albert
#38 | Posted: 27 Mar 2008 08:28 | Edited by: albert 
Love the new look, changed it a bit to my liking.
Great job.
Use my own captcha

Author Tihon
#39 | Posted: 27 Mar 2008 15:24 
Hello guys!
I have installed a new version of minibb today and now I am in a restore process of my forum to the previous version :( I don't like a new look.
It is a revolution design but as for me - it is more hard to read the thread. Because in the past I just read the right column and didn't look at the left column with nicknames.
So I think that version 2.2 is the situation when we try to construct a bicycle. But it has been already constructed :)
I would like that in the next versions of minibb developers insert parameters for common and for modern view not only the "forum main page" but and for discussions thread too.


Author Paul
Lead Developer
#40 | Posted: 28 Mar 2008 04:31 | Edited by: Paul 
in the past I just read the right column and didn't look at the left column with nicknames

You will wonder but in this world there are also the people who read the nicknames, and you are not the one who is living here.

I personally don't see the difference in usability because the current version provides different color for the message text and the author row. I personally don't read the nicknames at first too, but this color difference makes it easy just to concentrate on comments.

As it was previously discussed, you are free to modify just one template and change your thread look to whatever you want. Just mentioning a thread look is not the reason not to upgrade the core files which are completely independent from the core PHP scripts. You can still have the current version and modify the template up to your own taste. This template is used is many add-ons so it would be a total mess to provide various templates and so mention all of them in add-ons, and I think providing such layout by default is our final decision...

Author Team
#41 | Posted: 28 Mar 2008 05:24 | Edited by: Team 
Tihon: how the whole design could be bad because of reading a thread? Just free your mind and watch the things in aspect... you are ready to be insecure just because you are too lazy to copy/paste two HTML strings??

Author Tihon
#42 | Posted: 28 Mar 2008 07:48 
But why didn't you do additional HTML templates for old desing and for new design? It will be more easy for all minibb users just to install and set parameters. But not to develop its own forum.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#43 | Posted: 28 Mar 2008 08:49 | Edited by: Paul 
Developing your own forum is the main goal of miniBB. How would you imagine to run commercially successful forums if they will be in all cases similar to others? ;-)

I already explained... Front page layout really is tied up to different templates, and these templates are provided separately. So changing front page's layout is possible just changing one option.

However with main_posts_cell.html template there is a different case. This template is used for many add-ons so you will edit it anyway if you install the add-ons. Why not to edit it just swapping two <TD>s? Imagine that you install "Left-column-username" add-on modifying this template.

BTW it's a good idea and maybe I will just write a short article later.

As it was widely discussed above in this thread (have you read it?), there are 3 possible variations of placing the nickname - in the left column, in the right column (as it was initially developed for the newest release) and at the top of a message (as it meets most people's abilities to easy recognize the text - and as you might see it is applied in many boards software incl. vBulletin so it must have its sense).

You may have your individual opinion and edit this template, is it so difficult? I don't understand your individual claims at the time we are trying to meet the crowd's wishes.

If we provide three different templates which will be called main_posts_cell_top.html, main_posts_cell_left.html, main_posts_cell_right.html - don't you think it would be too difficult for the users to determine which template to edit for installing the add-on? Right now miniBB's add-ons are pain to install for newbies. Do you want to complicate this process even more? Do you think we have share our very limited time to the small thing like this rewriting all README's and a lot of core scripts? I don't.

Additionally, it all increases the size of the package, and when it happens, it is difficult to keep the "mini" concept.

Author Tihon
#44 | Posted: 31 Mar 2008 02:09 
Everyone will stay with it's own opinion...
So tell me please - will you post updated skin styles for new forum? I use websmart style :)

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#45 | Posted: 31 Mar 2008 03:57 
We will probably update skins, but the exact term is not known. Currently for us this is lowest priority task... In general, as again, new miniBB version is more oriented on new users. Old users do not need to update templates and/or CSS if they are happy with the layout. You can try to do it yourself if you still need it... Update history file contains information about new CSS classes which were introduced for the new templates. You can add those classes from the new CSS to your older version and then modify some of them to meet the compatibility.

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