Once upon a time, there was a Backstage

With Luna 2.0 Preview 1 coming along nicely, I found it kinda fitting to go over the history of the Backstage. We’ve done this before, prior to the launch of ModernBB 3.3, but this time around, there is so much more to say about the Backstage. So let’s take a look at how we got from Dashboard 1.6 in ModernBB 1.6 to Backstage 6.0 “Astrid” in Luna 2.0.

Dashboard 1.6/1.7


Framework: None / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 11%

As ModernBB 1.x was more of a maintenance release to continue where FluxBB failed, the Dashboard that could be found in these early ModernBB versions wasn’t anything different from FluxBB. What you see above is an interface that isn’t responsive and not optimized for management at all. It’s actually quiet boring. Moving on…

Dashboard 2.0


Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 24%

Similar to Luna 2.0, the first beta of ModernBB 2.0 focused on revamping the Dashboard – and only the Dashboard. This is where the basic structure that is still in use today, is introduced. Not only that, but for the first time in ModernBB’s history (which includes PunBB’s and FluxBB’s) a framework is introduced. In this case, it was Bootstrap 2.3.2. It’s the first time it appears, and also the last. But I’m gonna be honest with myself, the UI was a mess. Let me illustrate:


That’s the Settings-page. The very same page we’re now getting very positive feedback on. Let me be clear: this version… not that positive. And I can only say that I agree. Somehow, I found it a good look back in the day, now I don’t.

Backstage 2.1


Framework: Bootstrap 2.3.2 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 27%

In beta 2 of ModernBB 2.0, not that much changed about the design, however, a notable change in functionality was that the index now included features instead of just a list of things you could do. And another obvious change was the introduction of the word “Backstage”.

Backstage 3.0


Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.0 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 43%

Then ModernBB 2.0 beta 3 happened. Not only did this release revamp the front-end completely – something that’s totally besides the point for this blog post – but it also revamped the Backstage. Big time. We kicked Bootstrap 2 out, and included Bootstrap 3 instead. Thank god, you might say, because for the first time, the Backstage was finally taking shape.

Beyond a visual refresh – as you can see below – not that much changed to the Backstage in ModernBB 2.0’s releases after beta 3. It didn’t change a thing in ModernBB 2.1 either. The only notable difference was that Bootstrap got updated to version 3.0.2, and even that isn’t that notable at all.


Backstage 3.1


Framework: Bootstrap 3.0.3 / Icon set: None / Awesomeness: 51%

Little note: so far, non of the versions of Backstage where actually responsive. Backstage 3.1 did bring a responsive design. A poor implementation, but one nonetheless. This puts ModernBB in history as one of the first forum software to have a fully responsive design, thanks to Bootstrap. Version 3.1 also introduced the now much used panel-button (as can be seen in the “New reports” panel). For some reason, we also made the design wider. I don’t know why, but we did.

Backstage 4.0


Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 59%

ModernBB 3.0 introduced a less colorfull design (though it did introduce the idea of accents). It is however notable for – what I believe to be – the first good implementation of Bootstrap in ModernBB. The result was a properly functioning responsive design and a much cleaner interface overall. Through later versions would still improve on that, it was a major improvement. Also, we started using icons in the Backstage in version 4.0 too. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 also used Backstage 4.0 with some minor adjustments.

Backstage 4.1


Framework: Bootstrap 3.1.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 49%

And this is the point where we got into a personality crisis. Backstage was redesigned with a more colorful interface once more. And a bright on. A little to bright (but the worst has yet to come). This version of Backstage did introduce the accent system we use today (that is, setting the accent). ModernBB 3.4.3 would upgrade Bootstrap to version 3.2.0, but did not bring any other visual changes. It was a release I am particulary proud of, the Backstage design? Not so much.

Backstage 4.2


Framework: Bootstrap 3.2.0 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 56%

As if Backstage 4.1 wasn’t bright enough, version 4.2 made the navbar white. White! It did make the design look more professional and all, but it certainly was a downgrade for people working often in dark spaces with not enough light.

Backstage 4.3


Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Glyphicons / Awesomeness: 64%

The good news is that that light design didn’t last that long. ModernBB 3.6 started to introduce design aspects that could be found in the Luna Preview 0 builds from that time. This time, the Backstage did gain a functional update: touch-friendly dropdowns for tablet users. Backstage 4.3 is basically the last iteration of the Backstage 2-based series. ModernBB 3.7 used the exact same code for it’s Backstage and after that, it was Luna all the way. But ModernBB had one last update…

Backstage 4.9


Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.4 / Awesomeness: 83%

ModernBB 4 brought Backstage 4.9 along. This version of the Backstage was a back-port of the Backstage that could be found in Luna 1.1. It brought Font Awesome as the icon set to ModernBB and was the final ModernBB release.

Backstage 5.0


Framework: TrentUI 1.0 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 71%

So, now we go backwards. Backstage 5.0 is older then version 4.3 and 4.9. This is the first itteration of Backstage since version 4.2. It introduced a brand new design and 2 noticable framework changes: Bootstrap was set aside for TrentUI (a Bootstrap fork) and Font Awesome took over the Glyphicons usage. Perhaps more important: this update changed the menu and required less navigation within the hamburger menu on small screens. Later revisions did put Bootstrap 3.3.0 back in place.

Backstage 5.1


Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 82%

Luna 1.0 Preview 1 brough along a familiar design if you’re used to todays versions of Luna. The interface was made darker and flatter.

Backstage 5.2


Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.1 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.2 / Awesomeness: 84%

Luna 1.0 Preview 2 made panel headings more distict and stand out and brought minor visual changes. It was basically the last major itteration of the Backstage for the Luna 1.0-branch. 1.0.7 brought the “brand”-update, which included our lighter blue brand color, the one still in use today.

Backstage 5.3


Framework: Bootstrap 3.3.5 / Icon set: Font Awesome 4.3 / Awesomeness: 87%

Which brings us to todays Backstage. While both Bootstrap and Font Awesome have been updated since the original Backstage 5.3 release (as part of Luna 1.1), the design has remained the same and no big changes where applied. It’s our best Backstage yet that’s publicly available. But we have one version that’s even better: Backstage 6 “Astrid” right now in development.

Lessons learned

After a little less then 3 year of iteration changes and 2 major revamps (Backstage 2 and 5), you might think that we’ve learned our lessons on how to make a great administration interface. And yes, we did. And all of that is going to come together in the 6th version of the Backstage, and the third major revamp (though, since it is a rebuild from scratch, you might say it’s the first major revamp). It’s going to be gorgeous. We’ll have a blog post up about Luna 2.0 Preview 1 early next year, so stay tuned!

What’s in a codename?

So today, I discovered that there is a Wikipedia article about ModernBB (which also covers Luna). Awesome! Thumbs up for the guy that’s keeping the information on it up-to-date. Anyway, I decided to read through the whole lemma, and then, I came across this:

Similar to other software, like WordPress, main releases are named with code names. However, the logic used for ModernBB’s code names is unknown. Some releases share the same code name.

It sure knew to steal my attention. Why? Because it’s right. There is no logic in the ModernBB codenames. Will there be any kind of logic in Luna codenames? Probably, but remember, they are what the name says: codenames. Nothing more, nothing less.

ModernBB Codenames
While ModernBB 1.6 is called Blythe, it didn’t had a codename until ModernBB 2.0 was named Zoe. Both codenames came from the same source: Hasbro (that big entertainment company, you know, like Monopoly and stuff). 1.7 just took the 1.6 codename due to it not being such a big release. However, releases being small isn’t the only reason we stick to a codename. 2.1 and 2.2 where both named Zoe, too. There is no reason for that naming convention.

ModernBB 3.0 was named Odd. Because it was version 3, and uneven number, which is also called “odd”. Also, “Odd” is a name in some countries. ModernBB 3.1 and 3.2 where both named Mellow. These 2 releases sharing a name, did have a reason. Both releases putted the focus on revamping the front-end design. Its codename wasn’t ment to be the word “mellow”, through. It actualy comes from “marshmallow”. But we thought that was to long and shortened it to “Mallow” and then we switched the a for an e. I didn’t even realize at the moment it was an actual word.

ModernBB 3.3 was named Vanellope, after the Vanellope project I did in the months prior to it, of which it also got a lot of code. Anyway, that project’s name on its own was from Wreck-it Ralph, a Disney movie. One of the characters was named “Vanellope von Sweetz” (or something). ModernBB 3.4 was named Neon, and at that point, we did plan to introduce a logic in naming our releases: after the elements. Didn’t happen, through. The next version, ModernBB 3.5, was named Kate. ModernBB 3.6 and 3.7 are both named Blue. We just took names, there really is no reason behind these names. 3.6 and 3.7 share the same name because we don’t think it’s worth it to give it new names.

Luna Codenames
Luna continues to use codenames. Aero is an example, the codename for Luna 1.0. “Luna” as a name itself was a codename until it became our final name. We currently call our 1.1 milestone Luna 1.1 Bittersweet Shimmer. Another update, that currently doesn’t have a version number is Luna Denim. There is an updated planned in between Bittersweet Shimmer and Denim, so that’s going to be something with a C. Anyway, for the people that didn’t notice it: Aero, Bittersweet Shimmer and Denim are all colors. In alphabetic order. So there you have our logic. Finally.

ModernBB 3.2 “Mellow” now available


Yesterday, we released the ModernBB 3.2 beta, well… I’m pleased to announce, the availablitiy of ModernBB 3.2!  Between ModernBB 3.2 beta and 3.2.0, we’ve fixed a couple of additional issues. It’s recommended to upgrade, of course. But be sure to have a backup of your data. What’s new in ModernBB 3.2, you ask?

  • Front-end, reimagend: ModernBB 3.2 contains a brand new front-end! The profile? New. The forum view? New. The help page? New. The user list? New. The only thing that didn’t change is the topic view, as it was already revamped in ModernBB 3.1. The new interface is ment to be more content focussed and will give you and your forum users a brand new and awesome experience.
  • First run: First run is a brand new feature in ModernBB 3.2. It will show a nice message on top of your forums index page that welcomes new users and gives links to common first run tasks, like uploading an avatar, user settings, etc. When you upgrade, your current users will get to see this message too. Guests also see this message, for them, it’s permanent, unless you disable this feature for guests in the settings in the Backstage.
  • A Magic and Happy family of Awesome Random styles that are Radical updated to give a Kind look: in other words: we gave Randomness, Awesomeness, Radicalness and Kindness an updated look and renamed them to Random, Awesom, Radical and Kind. Why the rename? Because 2 new styles joined in: Magic and Happy. Through we have a word like Happy with -ness (happieness), we don’t have one for Magic, so here it is. I think you will like our new styles.
  • Posted: When an user post in a topic, and this feature is enabled in the Backstage, a “Posted” label will appear in front of the topic.
  • More help is better help: since the introduction of the WYSIWYG editor in ModernBB 3.0 (which will be updated in 3.3), the help page became kind of useless (more useless then it already was). So, we updated it with shiny new content.
  • Redirections without waiting: When you, or your users, are redirected, no matter where they are (Backstage or front-end), you won’t see any redirect screen anymore.
  • Login: This is important for forums that are very old (PunBB 1.2 and prior), because users that ever since didn’t log in, won’t be able to login anymore. We’ve removed some legacy code that allowed very old accounts to log in. We don’t expect this to be a problem, as those users probably wouldn’t return anyway (unless you’re still running PunBB 1.2, but then again, you can’t update to ModernBB 3.2, you’ll first have to update to something higher then FluxBB 1.5 and lower then ModernBB 3.0).
  • Language files: We’ve checked our language files and removed all lines we didn’t use anymore, or everything that was double (and that’s a lot, we removed 20% of the files content). Translators will get it much easier to translate ModernBB now, and I’m planning to do so. People in Belgium and the Netherlands can look forward to a Dutch translation of ModernBB in the near future. I’ll also start up an account for ModernBB at a service to translate it in more languages. Something else we did with language files is that they now contain default settings for date and time notation.
  • General code base cleanup: the language files where part of our code base cleanup, just like the profile, login and our default styles, did we remove a lot of useless code. Over 1400 lines of code have been removed.
  • Bugfixes, bugfixes and even more bugfixes.

ModernBB 3.2 is the result of 3 weeks of hard work, with a total of 142 commits and some great help from other people. That “great help from other people” will become even more clear with ModernBB 3.3. Because Oldhobbyist, our newest addition to the develop team, is working to separate the logic from the content in the ModernBB Core. Style creators can expect an aweful lot of nice new things in ModernBB 3.3. For plugin creators, some new stuff is coming to with those changes. For fans of the Backstage: this is our main next focus point of ModernBB 3.3, you will get to see a brand new design. And we will do some serious improvements to the UX. Stay tuned!

ModernBB 3.2 beta now available


I’m glad to announce the availablitiry of ModernBB 3.2 beta. This is the first and last beta release of ModernBB 3.2 that will be available! Next up is ModernBB 3.2.0, so no Release Candidate either. ModernBB 3.2 comes with a lot of improvements to the front-end. If you’re running ModernBB 3.2 Alpha, we recommend you to update right away, don’t use this version as a replacement for a stable ModernBB 3.1.3 installation, since this is software in development.

ModernBB 3.2 brings an enhanced front-end experience. Most of our focus went to redesigning pages like the user list, index, forum view and help page, but most important of all: the profile. If you upgrade to ModernBB 3.2, you will find yourself in a brand new designed ModernBB. We’ve Improved the breadcrumbs and general page navigation. We’ve also spend a lot of time on our default styles Randomness, Radicalness, Awesomeness and Kindness, making them use less space and load faster. Note that we renamed those styles to Random, Radical, Awesome and Kind respectivly. Why? Because they better match with the 2 new default styles Magic and Happy.

The profile interface has been updated significantly, we suggest you go look for yourself (our read our blog post from a couple of days ago). The user list has been Improved with a new design, so are a lot of other pages. The help page has also been updated with a new design and is probably a lot more useful then back in the old days (which is today and counting). I suggest, download the beta and try it out!

A word on browser support

Next month, to be exact, the 1st of May, we will release the next update to ModernBB. Version 3.2 will introduce a revamped front-end interface. With much improvements, getting rid of the mess our old interface was. Finaly, and actual great looking profile! And more. Or course. Through, I would like to talk about browsers.

In ModernBB 3.2, some stuff will change. We will cut support for some browsers, add support for others, etc. Let’s kick off!

First of all, in ModernBB 3.2, we will drop support for Opera 12, and all Opera versions based on Chromium 32 and earlier. Starting with MBB 3.2, Chromium 33 will be required. We will also drop support for Firefox 24 and 25. Through you are probably able to use ModernBB in those browsers, we won’t fix anything that goes wrong on those browsers.

For Windows RT, we will only support Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1 Update 1. Support for Windows RT 8.1 will end, through again, you won’t notice to much diffference. We just don’t fix issues for Windows RT 8.1’s IE version if you’re not running the latest update. For Windows Phone, we will start supporting Windows Phone 8.1! Support for Windows Phone 8.0 Update 2 and lower will end. So, Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is required.

For Android, we will stop supporting Android 4.1. Through, we add support for Android 4.3 and 4.4. Android 4.2 will be supported too. For iOS, nothing changes. Through, expect support for iOS 6.1 to end with ModernBB 3.3 (idem dito for Android 4.2, Firefox 26 and 27 and Chromium 33 and 34).

Evolving MonderBB: The profile

Today, I’m going to talk with all of you about the design choises we made in ModernBB, and how bad some of them where. In fact this is a serie of blog posts, and we’re starting with something I’m everything but proad about: the ModernBB Profile.

In forum software, it’s important for all of your users to have a profile. It’s the hub that contains all information about that user. And ever since ModernBB 1.6, the profile page has been a mess. An unuseful mess. In fact, this is what an user would see when he visited his own profile:


At least, in ModernBB 2.0 beta 1, not that there is any difference between 1.6 and 2.0 beta 1 at this point anyway. Well, in fact, they can’t see their profile. It basicaly brings you to a page to change your settings, 7 pages in total, and that again is a mess. And it wasn’t like a lot was going to change either.


This is a screenshot of ModernBB 2.0.2, it basicaly brings you to the same page, this time, designed with Bootstrap. We’re talking about the home page of the profile here. As you can see, there is a “View profile” option in the menu, through it’s not the default view.


This is how that profile looks like in ModernBB 2.1 beta, through it had the same design since ModernBB 2.0 beta 3, the only difference is that the header had changed meanwhile. As you can see, the profile page displays multiple times “Unknown”, and yet again, “View profile” isn’t the default view. Except for the username on the first page and this one, there isn’t anyway to find out who’s profile you’re actualy looking at either.


At least, ModernBB 2.2 beta addressed some issues there, all “Unknown” fields where gone. More importantly: there aren’t 7 pages anymore, now, only 3 remained (by the way, I do not count the Administration section as a page, as only the admin and mods see this one). And the profile view was now the actual default! Still one thing to address from the former issues, through… It’s important to know that ModernBB 2.2 focussed on improving the profile interface, and to say the truth, I wasn’t too happy about the result:


But that issue wasn’t going to be addressed in ModernBB 2.2, here, have a screenshot of ModernBB 2.2.3 (who’s visual identical to 2.2.0), the only difference you will notice is that the design looks a lot cleaner now, through the profile is still a ugly mess. The good news however:


ModernBB 3.0 alpha 1, as you can see, the profile has been updated visualy, the username is now also showed in the title. And for improvements to this view, that’s it. The horrible profile would be alive, even through ModernBB 3.1, up until ModernBB 3.1.3, which happens to be the last ModernBB release with this horrible profile.


Atleast, not completely, ModernBB 3.1 is now forced to display an avatar by default. So that field was also used in ModernBB 3.1’s profile. Anyway…


Here we are! In ModernBB 3.2, which once again focussed on the profile interface (through, the interface in general would have a serious clean-up) got a brand new design for the profile interface. This, above, was the default look of a profile with a newly created account (note: the avatar isn’t the default one, the one from ModernBB 3.1 is still in use in 3.2, through it seems I accidenticaly added my avatar to the download of ModernBB 3.2 alpha build 1903). The new profile has a much cleaner look and is more focussed arround the user. Note that the design as it is showed above already has been changed in ModernBB 3.2 build 1914, the current build on our GitHub page.

This is the profile as you will get it with the update to ModernBB 3.2! Look forward to it! It isn’t the only update you will get in ModernBB 3.2, as we have improved the whole front-end interface, based on the design we made in the new topic view in ModernBB 3.1 and Vanellope 0.5.

Thanks for an awesome year, another one’s ahead!


Can you believe it? Today, 13 April 2014, it’s 1 year ago that the initial commit to ModernBB was made! Back then, on 13 April 2013, we uploaded the FluxBB 1.4.9 core. And development started, first with ModernBB 1.6, then we had a little break, and then it started: ModernBB 2.0 started development. Soon to be followed by ModernBB 2.1 and 2.2, and later by 3.0 and 3.1.

I can’t describe how happy I am that ModernBB has come so far. I truly believe that ModernBB 3.1 is the best experience you have ever had in the PunBB/FluxBB/ModernBB forum software, and we’re still making it better in de ModernBB 3.x branch. I mean, our next update, ModernBB 3.2, bring an awesome new profile and other small improvements. And then we’ve got the currenlty planned 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6 release! A great year has passed with almost 2000 commits made to the ModernBB Core (in the master branch, because of support, we are far over all those commits). And I think that our second year will be even better.

Like I said, we’ve got some nice releases ahead of us. 3.2 being the most close. Will we hit version 4 in the coming year? I don’t know, we might, but we might not too. It’s going to be close, through you can expect ModernBB 4.0 in 2015 for sure, if development keeps going like now. Anyway, I want to thank you, all of you! Our community (wich is growing) and everyone out there using ModernBB. We’ve hitted the 3700 downloads mark today, and downloads are going faster and faster. Especialy if you know that I only expected to hav 1450 downloads of ModernBB since the launch of the project. Also, our first release was on 24 April 2013, not today.

ModernBB 3.2
You don’t know us if you didn’t see this one coming: change of plans. Again. What? No! Not again! Yes. Again. Someone remembers round-up #13? We talked about how we where going to improve the general user experience in MonderBB for ModernBB 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5. Well, that’s not going to happen. In fact, you won’t have to wait for all those releases to be released. Most of the changes we planned for those 4 releases (3.2 – 3.5) will be part of 3.2. The new index? 3.2. The new forum view? 3.2. The new login and register screens? 3.2. The improved installation? 3.2. Some changes will have to wait until 3.3 and 3.4 through (some).

Why? Because we want to give all those things to you guys right away. Some of this stuff is already in our version3.2 branch. More will come. ModernBB 3.2 is going to turn out to be a big release, and we are pretty proud of it. It will deliver a much improved experience for all of your users and yourself. The only thing we won’t take care of, is the Backstage. That’s still planned to happen in ModernBB 3.3. Anyway, expect some modernization! So stay tuned, as we’re working on ModernBB 3.2, which will hit beta at the end of this month, or early next month.

ModernBB 3.2: what are we doing anyway?

So, development of ModernBB 3.2 has taken of. We’ve started typing code yesterday for the ModernBB 3.2 release, which is suposed to be released late next month. What are our plans for this release? I’ll talk you into it. We’ve got some nice stuff in the works.

Reducing the ModernBB Core footprint
With version 3.2, we want to reduce the footprint of the ModernBB Core, making it smaller. You’ll see this in multiple files: we’re checking the language files for unused lines, this should recude its size with some kilobytes. With the new profile, we’re also reducing its codebase, we already where able to reduce it with 14%. Remember that the profile.php file is by far the largest file in the ModernBB Core that is page-related (language file is, currenlty, larger).

Another piece of the code we want to reduce is are the styles, Randomness, Awesomeness, Radicalness and Kindness have to become smaller. We’re doing this by simply reducing the amount of costume designs and use more Bootstrap-ish designs for interface elements. Buttons will have a flatter look, etc. We will also drop some of the less useful parser elements, like the del, em, user, topic, post and forum tag. As the 2 first one are actualy related the b and s tag, and the 4 later once are actualy just URL tags. We will also remove some legacy code from the login script, this will make it impossible for old accounts to login (old as in “accounts created with PunBB 1.0 – 1.2”), shouldn’t be a problem.

Improving the profile
ModernBB 2.2 also focused on improving the profile interface, we’re doing it again in 3.2. This time, it’s serious through. The profile will be redesigned completely, it’s going to be awesome! The new profile will also contain new fields for Skype, Facebook and Twitter, while we will remove some of the older social stuff. The admins will be happy to, as we’re going to improve some of the user tools, like admin notes, etc.

Help & User list
Both the Help page and User list will also get some nice improvements, where the User list will get a new, more social-faced design (show avatars, etc.). The Help page will be reworked from the ground up, and stop focusing on BBCode, as we will add more information about the software in general.

Improving the topic view and additional elements
The topic view already got a nice redesign in ModernBB 3.1, through that was only for posts. In ModernBB 3.2, we’re improving everything else in this view, like the pagination and breadcrumbs (which are completely redesigned). The moderation controls are also improved.

Randomness is making friends again
As we like to give our users more choise, here we’ve got another one: Magic. Hu? Magic? Yes, Magic. Magic is a new default style that will ship with ModernBB 3.2, it’s a purple variantion on Randomness and thus, will join Randomness, Awesomeness, Radicalness and Kindness in making you Happyness, which is also a new style, this time orange, also based on Randomness.

Other experience improvements
Through that’s not all. We’re improving the general experience too, of course. Those are more the small changes that make ModernBB better. To start, we’re getting rid of redirection messages. Those we’re part of PunBB 1.0 because 11 years ago, you probably had a slow internet connection and the page might load without the new post you just posted. That’s not the case these days, so bye bye redirect. This, again, will also reduce the core. Other stuff we’re working on is the abbility for the Backstage to launch the update script. We’ve still got more to come. So keep an eye on the shiplist, this will grow in the future. And we’re more then happy no here your ideas.

So, no big NEW features?
As you can see, we’re mostly revamping a lot of the already existing pages and cutting down on our code base. So… ModernBB 3.2? Isn’t going to contain new features? No, you won’t see our features page (see About) grow. ModernBB 3.2 will focus on improving what we arleady have. And for the matter, so will 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5. Through, with 3.5, you can expect some new stuff to show up. ModernBB 3.3 will add some new posibilities to the Backstage. But for 3.2? I’m sorry, no. In fact, 3.2 is losing some settings (the redirection settings, since that will be removed). But hey, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5 are for now planned to launch all before 2015 starts. I’m sure you guys can wait for the big new things until 2015 and the 3.6 release. Right?

Round-up #13 – Redesigned experiences – UPDATE

4th blogpost in 3 days, we’re going hard in April! Anyway, I would like to talk about something you might have noticed in ModernBB 3.1 and in our announcement for ModernBB 3.2 and 3.3: we’re revamping some serious stuff in our forum software. Is this a coincidence or…

Well, no. It isn’t. As you know, we were planning a rebuilded forum software, named Vanellope. But we stopped development of it when we started working on ModernBB 3.1, which backported the new topic view. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen now everywhere else. Version by version, you will see ModernBB switch to a new design. Page by page. What version of ModernBB is going to redesign what? Here’s a list:

ModernBB 3.1 – Topic view (part 1)
ModernBB 3.2 – Profile
– Help
– User list (part 1)
– Topic view (part 2)
ModernBB 3.3 – Backstage
ModernBB 3.4 – Index
– Forum view
– Login
– Register
ModernBB 3.5 – Installation
– User list (part 2)

Why are we doing this? Because it’s time to reimagen the way forums are designed. Why not all at once? Because we simply don’t want to create one big redesign release. We want you guys to be able to play around with the new stuff whenever it’s finished. Are you guys going to be able to follow the above scheme? If you ask that, you don’t know us. Of course we wont. Through this is the planning now. Tomorrow it could be different.

In other news, expect ModernBB 3.1.1 to be released somewhere in the next 7 days.

Round-up #12 – Taking advance of the 384 Group design and code guidelines

The 384 Group, which we are part of, today announced that all websites and software that are part of this group, have to follow new guidelines for both design and coding (coding in case it’s a software product). This affects us prety hard, as the ModernBB Group is the only group inside the 384 Group that actualy provices software (simply because all software that is made by other groups, except for FluxSmile – who doesn’t has to aply to the new rules). What does this mean for us?

ModernCount is a piece of software, less known than ModernBB, that is developed by us. Through it’s available as download at the Studio 384 website. Anyway, it has been a while since the latest update (version 3.1) and this piece of software realy can use a big update. That’s why ModernCount 4 will be released soon. This version will follow the new design guidelines, through it’s the only piece of software that doesn’t has to follow the code conventions, for now.

ModernBB on the other hand, has to aply to the new design conventions starting 15 May 2014, this means that the next feature release after this date has to be designed according those rules. One month later, on 15 June 2014, the code has also to be conform the coding conventions. This means that ModernBB 3.3 will have the full design, and ModernBB 3.4 will have the refactored code. Through, of course, we are allowed to get things ready before then, so it’s highly possible that ModernBB 3.2 will already start following some of those new conventions.

Note that, since the front-end of ModernBB is clasified as a “public section”, it doesn’t have to follow the design conventions. Only the Backstage has too. The front-end has to follow the code conventions, through.

ModernBB.be and ModernBB Group Blog
The good news on this part is, that the new design and code conventions are based on the design en code conventions that are used to design and code ModernBB.be (and Studio384.be), thus both websites are already ready. Our blog, however, has to be redesigned so it fits better in (and this was planned for a while, but now we just have too). This should be done by 1 July. That same day, Studio 384 will also refactor their own blog.

Why do we have to do this?
For developing reasons, it’s important that the 384 Group delivers a great experience around all of it’s products and software. This is why we have to do this. We will later publish those conventions online.