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An interface for making the layout changes of the forum, for ignorant admins?..

Author gare
#1 | Posted: 18 Aug 2008 12:06 
yes, this is a fitting introduction to ME, not most of you.

Might there ever be an interface prompting us for the most typical changes site owners would like to make, and then make the changes for us? Such as:

What would you like to modify?
If I select logo, it could ask me where it is, what size to display it, and its preferred location.

Do you want a hyperlink associated with it?

Anyway, I know there are many php, xml, html, xhtml....users out there, then there are a bunch of MEs. I like minibb and the developer team, so I will continue to try and learn how to use it better. I apologize for my ignorance.

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#2 | Posted: 19 Aug 2008 02:11 
I have searched our forums and was surprised something like this didn't answered before. So it's the right time to post a loooong message ;-)

Why we (still) can't take your suggestion into acceptance? It will increase miniBB's code and decrease its performance, but because of the function which doesn't deserve it at all. We are promoting small and clean miniBB's code, and it can't be claimed if something exceeds 300 Kb. Right now it's the approximate size of the basic miniBB package.

With your function, I mean the logo uploading through the web form and adjusting it, there will be needed additional code to implement, and it will consist of:

a) Link from admin panel to the upload form
b) The uploading form itself
c) The part of the script under admin panel which will handle the file uploading, verify it for errors, valid file type, extension, size etc.
d) The extra table in database which will store information about such image as its dimensions and file name, also as another field which will store your URL if available.
e) There will be an additional core script which will make an extra request to the database and look if there is any uploaded logo available; there will be some conditions on how to load up this logo, and this means another piece of code again.

So now we have 6 tables in DB, with this addition we will have 7 tables and about 7-8 Kb of the extra code (i.e. the total code size will increase up to 1,7%); and each time the board's page is loaded, there will be an additional database request, which is specially unwanted because in case of large crowd of visitors, each request means a lot in the terms of the speed and efficiency. Of course it would be possible to store such kind of optional information in the plain file, but this would make the code even more complicated. So there would be no extra table, but the code would grow up to 10 Kb.

Now imagine, this huge heap of code will be created to allow you to operate on a function which is used 1-2 times per life of your forum at all. Or how often are you planning to change the logo?..

And instead of bulky code, why not to just put a straight HTML which takes few bytes, and still it offers much more possibilities to customize it as even you would have a standard web upload form? The code is:

<a href="http://here_goes_your_url"><img src="http://here_goes_your_picture_url" style="width:PICTURE_WIDTHpx;height:PICTURE_HEIGHTpx;" alt="Alternative Title to Image" title="Alternative Title to Image" /></a>
Such small piece of code fits in 255 Bytes! And there is no additional mySQL request... no additional table... no extra programming code... And it works much more efficient way else it would be done through a visual interface. Because it's just a plain straight HTML, which performs always much quicker else if it would be generated with PHP.

It is perfect we think.

Why we have called this thing "miniBB" is exactly because we were experienced enough to put a basic HTML manually instead of tormenting ourselves with visual tools which can't be ideal anyway. We simply decided to cut off everything unnecessary, and only following this tactic, we can claim miniBB's small and clean code. In other case it would be just a regular forum script with no competition in mind. There is a lot of "visually perfect" software which allows you to do almost everything by a mouse click, but on the other hand they lose in resources a lot. We needed the thing which can be hardly tweaked, and that what we have with miniBB: it allows much more possibilities in customizing else other boards software exactly because it is not fulfilled with visual tools.

Anyway, as always I can suggest you that everything custom you have in mind we can program for a fee if you don't know how to do it yourself. If you don't know how to fix the broken car, you don't try to study online manuals, do you? ;-) You go to the service and hire the professionals to handle it for you quickly and in the near time. The same we provide. After all you can even share your thing with others to improve, that is the main sense of the premium side of miniBB: at the time other forums are boasting their lot of add-ons lamely programmed by pupils and students, we are providing the qualified professional programming. You can only earn on what you have supported initially. That way many additional features of miniBB were implemented in the past and are supported by now.

So that what you have in mind we are forced to call a "custom" function and of course it could be embedded in miniBB even without touching the core code, on the add-on level. But I doubt we will implement it embedding in the default version. You are right, we have 50/50 coders and newbies audience, but we can't care about newbies, lowering our own level. We are coders ourselves, and this is a project which grown from our hobbies and professional interests. If we are pretending to be different from others, we should follow our own course.

I hope that all made your question clear...

Author gare
#3 | Posted: 27 Sep 2008 13:29 
Yes, very clear. I am sorry I have not been in here in awhile, so I missed htis post. I have since taken some classes, so I know a LITTLE bit more (but think of all the stuff it had to push out of my brain).

So, I understand the small package. I believe though, that if you would like to reach a greater bandwidth of user, the OPTION of using a package taking one out of the bare necessary coding might be nice. Then, over time, one could migrate to the lean version in place now.

Also, as you are well aware, I typically have you do everything anyway. Well, almost, I did change the header myself now :-)

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 An interface for making the layout changes of the forum, for ignorant admins?..
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