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

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Author Paul
Lead Developer
#1 | Posted: 19 Feb 2008 07:56 | Edited by: Paul 
Growing up to the newest release 2.2, miniBB starts its 6th Anniversary with the surprisingly new forums layout. This time it's not only different from the competitors, but also provides more flexibility, usability, still keeping "simple over simple" concept. It continues to develop "the forum software for ages" idea and we hope you will find it exciting.

We have taken into attention all the most important user-friendly opinions which were received during past years of work. During the last 3 months we were working on the new layout schema harder than ever; as a result you you see what you see: step of the perfection inside the simplicity.

Please note that newest version provides an option for switching to traditional forums layout, where forums listing is followed by Recent Discussions, like in previous miniBB releases and like in most traditional forums software. Old-style templates are also distributed amongst newest release; however if you make a switch you will see how "postwhine" the old-genre layout is comparing to the modern...

Core script changes are very minor this time; the most important fix affects the "integer bug" disclosure, which still can't be called critical and which was already fixed in all our add-ons some time ago. There are also small fixes regarding add-ons compatibility, few non-critical bugs fixed and added couple of new BB codes: for quoting the messages (finally we have decided it is useful for most users) and highlighting the block of the message; for example it could be a programming code or other kind of content which needs to be separated from the main posting text. There is a bit of improvement for PHP6 and the valid XHTML - now we are sure all miniBB generated pages come even without Tidy warnings; if you have HTML Validator add-on for Mozilla Firefox installed in the Serial mode, you should always see there is a "green" icon indicating a proper XHTML for each section of miniBB forum. Important change of the core templates, files and in the future add-ons will include replacing !pix.gif justification image to p.gif: as our experience shown many client programs do not like exclamation sign in the filename, that's why we have decided to avoid it despite it brings a lot of work.

Welcome to download, upgrade and test the newest miniBB release and report your comments and suggestions. The upgrading process description is a bit long and I will not post it here (despite the older-version users must only update core files and do not update their templates). Refer to the Updating History package's file !UPDATE.txt for more information.

Newest miniBB PHP core files should fully support older templates and styling, and the package referenced above may be useful only for those who would like quickly to revert to the older layout. For this just download the newest version and replace all files provided in the package. Having this version you will be able to apply older CSS skins and use some of the add-ons until they are not updated to be fully compatible with the newest release only.

We will continue to work on updating the language packs (yes - there is just one word added, but it's mandatory for every default pack), as well as updating the add-ons and the older skins so they are compatible with the new layout.

We will issue an announce about it later.

Author tom322
Registered
#2 | Posted: 19 Feb 2008 13:47 
Congratulations! Very nice look that gives new and fresh ideas.

Author marsbar
Associated Member
#3 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 01:04 
Wow, I do like the new colour scheme--very cool, breezy and fresh! I am not quite used to the new layout yet, but I am sure it will grow on me soon. :-)
Congratulations, miniBB Team: great job as always!
With thanks and best wishes -
marsbar

Author ThyBzi
Registered
#4 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 03:58 
I'll test it and make my comments :)
hope in this version there is NATIVE MySQL support for timezone and codepage (in 2.1 I needed to modify a lot of files to bring such a support to sibinfonet.ru/forum/ - cp1251 and +06:00)
Thanx for lot of great ideas anyway :)

Author Bluesplayer
Registered
#5 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 07:37 | Edited by: Bluesplayer 
Wow! I likes it. Really hits home if you ask me. Nice job.

I notice you have moved the forums to the right and the latest discussions now show on the front page right at the top. That is how I made my last forum. Much better arrangement I think.

Author lozmatic
Registered
#6 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 07:38 
Impressive stuff!

One thing I would put back are the table's headers when viewing a forum's list of topics.

It just make things clear for newbies and from a design perspective it gives the table a nice bold heading. Without it the discussions look too much like a thread.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#7 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 08:31 
lozmatic:
It just make things clear for newbies and from a design perspective it gives the table a nice bold heading. Without it the discussions look too much like a thread.

I would disagree on that because we already tried it. From the design perspective a bold heading looks heavy. With this version it gives more clear and clean look, so we are not supposed to change it. Anyway whoever wants it available, it's not a problem just to edit one template ;-)

Even from the newbies point of view there is nothing special to study, because newbies are seeing topic's title and clicking on it. If somebody of them would like to get more info what the columns mean, it is easy to understand studying legend on the first page or just asking the admin (though I doubt there will be a lot of requests like this).

ThyBzi:
hope in this version there is NATIVE MySQL support for timezone and codepage (in 2.1 I needed to modify a lot of files to bring such a support to sibinfonet.ru/forum/ - cp1251 and +06:00)

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.

Author lozmatic
Registered
#8 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 11:01 
Paul:
I would disagree on that because we already tried it. From the design perspective a bold heading looks heavy. With this version it gives more clear and clean look, so we are not supposed to change it. Anyway whoever wants it available, it's not a problem just to edit one template ;-)

Even from the newbies point of view there is nothing special to study, because newbies are seeing topic's title and clicking on it. If somebody of them would like to get more info what the columns mean, it is easy to understand studying legend on the first page or just asking the admin (though I doubt there will be a lot of requests like this).


You over estimate the abilities of many internet users!

And what if a user lands on a page directly from a search engine? Headings (that can be designed to be not as bold as I suggested, of course) would make it much more clear where they are.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#9 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 11:34 
lozmatic:
And what if a user lands on a page directly from a search engine? Headings (that can be designed to be not as bold as I suggested, of course) would make it much more clear where they are.

Specially if user comes from a search engine, he's looking for information and rather would not be interested to read the legend at all. What we've done as you see - the hyperlinks are very visible and that's what the most users are interested. This is about the topic listings pages - but I think, users coming from the search engines are mostly falling straight into the threads themselves, and there the legend is quite intuitive... the message text and the poster name...

Anyway this is what we have done - kind of experiment and will see how it goes. As I mentioned, you are welcome to modify couple of templates and add these headings with no problem at all if you think they are necessary.

However I would like to hear other users opinions on that topic as well.

Author tom322
Registered
#10 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 11:59 
I'd provide comments if I knew exactly which headers are discussed :).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#11 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 12:34 
These are legend headers which were available in the previous version and I think they are available mostly everything (but it's a big question if they are really useful).

On minibbtest you can still see them:

Topics listing - where it says "Topic / Replies / Views / Author / Latest reply". The same for the thread page ("Author / Message"). We have such legend now only on the first page and it has a different look.

Author tom322
Registered
#12 | Posted: 20 Feb 2008 13:50 
Oh, OK. Being on a conservative side, I would personally leave them on forum topic pages as they may give a sense on which part of the site the user is at the moment. Otherwise, it might make sense to remove the heading from the Checker or File bank etc. too (to keep consistency), which wouldn't be too useful. So personally to me they are more useful than useless (especially that they don't take too much space etc.).

But as always with design, which color is nicer - "blue" or "red" -- it depends on subjective tastes so I understand other opinions are as valid as mine ;).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#13 | Posted: 21 Feb 2008 03:27 
I think this heading legend would be useful in Checker or File Bank still because they are specific add-ons and naturally it wouldn't be clear what this or that column means... But that's ok; for the thread pages I think it's still not necessary to display the header because it is clear what the text means and the poster column, too. Without header it gives more better feeling than this is a bulletin board. However for the topic listings I brought these headers back and now you can see the difference. Not a big deal ;-)

Author Moony
Registered
#14 | Posted: 21 Feb 2008 06:43 
Hi!

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.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#15 | Posted: 21 Feb 2008 07:41 | Edited by: Paul 
Question of taste... miniBB was always different from others and we're not going to change it.

BTW old-fashioned layout can be brought back changing only one setting under setup_options.php so this opens even more freedom for the customizing the board.

We were never afraid of experiments and this new layout, on our opinion, brings more orientation on the forums content. It definitely hits other BB software by this.

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