CodeWalrus

CodeWalrus Website => Site Discussion => Site News & Announcements => Topic started by: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 12:30:12 am

Title: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 12:30:12 am
Some rushed mockups of what CW could look like in a few years (2018-20? assuming web standards don't change by then): (https://codewalr.us/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.codewalr.us%2Fcwflarum.jpg&hash=bfa4421582d544d910a2b59116b0064d)

(https://codewalr.us/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.codewalr.us%2Fcwnodebb.jpg&hash=a3af0aff8b98334026176fc3ea2c4816)

(https://codewalr.us/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.codewalr.us%2Fcwdiscourse.jpg&hash=069e392538675946d0f9463e0fc0c271)


This is nothing official, but switching to a different forum software is something that I have considered in long terms so I was curious about what CW could look like in Flarum, NodeBB and Discourse format. NodeBB is not likely as it's too close to the dying traditional forum format, but I threw in a mockup anyway. This would obviously require one of the staff or member to write a converter, though (preferably one that takes into account cloned topic if we ever switch to a tag-based topic sorting system). All content would be preserved.

I particularly like Flarum, because it has a similar system as Lexaloffle forums.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: aeTIos on April 30, 2016, 12:32:24 am
My thoughts:
Too white
Too white
Too white.

It looks nice, but too white. Needs more of our current background. :P
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 12:37:08 am
^This. But of course it would need to be possible to integrate. I think we would need to ditch the double line border. Also perhaps a way to make the background show up even on mobile, while still not reducing page content?

I'M also curious about if making a SMF theme that looks like one of the above is feasible in the meantime (it would obviously lack any Flarum/Discourse functionality).
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: c4ooo on April 30, 2016, 12:57:36 am
What is wrong with our current format? The above mockups dont make sense as forum layouts >_>
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 01:04:05 am
Traditional forums are dying. Just look at SMF support forum stats. They went from 1500 posts a day to 150 (barely three times what we get). We need to adapt against the competition that is Reddit and to a lesser extent Facebook, Twitter and Github.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Ivoah on April 30, 2016, 01:07:39 am
Quote from: c4ooo on April 30, 2016, 12:57:36 am
What is wrong with our current format? The above mockups dont make sense as forum layouts >_>

I agree. I've used NodeBB and other forums, but it always felt like they were trying to be something more than the were. Our current software suits our needs just fine, and feels comfortable to use.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 01:28:09 am
While it feels comfortable to use for us, it seems that many Internet users are no longer attracted to forums unless they focus primarily on content than features, and they seem to prefer ones that looks closer to social networks or much more simple sites. They don't want to have to use Tapatalk if they use mobile. In fact, I noticed we get more complaints about how our site doesn't focus enough on content or that it's hard to find anything.

Also Flarum and Discourse would probably fit with our topic cloning abilities. Browsing forum categories would be similar to PICO-8 forums, except perhaps we could also have a traditional view.

Of course all of this depends of people's opinion. But I feel that if we stick to statu quo forever then we will regret it.


The other problem is that SMF code is becoming more and more messy and installing mods is chaotic. Not to mention in order to make CW more social-friendly we had to use 40+ different mods.



At the very least, though, we really need to switch to a backend that is more real-time, as in, when you browse the site you immediately get notified that new posts have been made, or that you got private messages and stuff, so you don't need to refresh constantly. Of course WalrusIRC can do that too, but not everyone stay at the top of the page. On the other hand, it needs to be lightweight, so that we don't need to upgrade our VPS too much.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Ivoah on April 30, 2016, 02:23:56 am
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on April 30, 2016, 01:28:09 am
At the very least, though, we really need to switch to a backend that is more real-time, as in, when you browse the site you immediately get notified that new posts have been made, or that you got private messages and stuff, so you don't need to refresh constantly. Of course WalrusIRC can do that too, but not everyone stay at the top of the page. On the other hand, it needs to be lightweight, so that we don't need to upgrade our VPS too much.

This.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Juju on April 30, 2016, 04:51:21 pm
Personally, I probably wouldn't stay too much away from the usual forum paradigm, but we do need something that isn't a bitch to admin, looks quite modern and doesn't have the cruft of everything added since 1996.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: c4ooo on April 30, 2016, 08:13:43 pm
I would not like a social media- style forum. The simplicity of many social media websites makes it harder to view more information at once. Also what aeTIos said, its too white :P
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 01, 2016, 09:22:57 pm
What about just more real timeness? Eg someone makes a post mentioning you and it shows alert in the navbar (eg [1])?
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Hayleia on May 02, 2016, 05:45:02 am
I don't think forums are dying that much. I'm on gbatemp and a lot of threads get created and get to 5 pages in one day. Some other threads can get to 70 pages in one day, such as "Wii U hacked free pirating for everyone on all firmware versions", then you can popcorn watch people hopping on the hype train and people saying this is dumb :trollface:

I agree with the real-timeness though. On gbatemp (and probably other Xenforo based forums), there is an alert system that can tell in real time (well, probably with a delay of 1 or 2 seconds) when someone answered to a thread you're following, and you have settings to automatically subscribe to threads you answer to or not, and you can watch threads without answering, etc. And then these alerts are gathered in an "alerts" menu, which allows you to go away for a day, come back, see "8 alerts" and check what's new about what's interesting (and cry when you notice that one day was enough to be 20 pages late on the Luma3DS thread :P).
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Flippanteer on May 02, 2016, 05:47:08 am
Quote from: Hayleia on May 02, 2016, 05:45:02 am
I don't think forums are dying that much. I'm on gbatemp and a lot of threads get created and get to 5 pages in one day. Some other threads can get to 70 pages in one day, such as "Wii U hacked free pirating for everyone on all firmware versions", then you can popcorn watch people hopping on the hype train and people saying this is dumb :trollface:

I agree with the real-timeness though. On gbatemp (and probably other Xenforo based forums), there is an alert system that can tell in real time (well, probably with a delay of 1 or 2 seconds) when someone answered to a thread you're following, and you have settings to automatically subscribe to threads you answer to or not, and you can watch threads without answering, etc. And then these alerts are gathered in an "alerts" menu, which allows you to go away for a day, come back, see "8 alerts" and check what's new about what's interesting (and cry when you notice that one day was enough to be 20 pages late on the Luma3DS thread :P).


(On a bit of a sidenote... WOAH gbatemp still exists?!)
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Hayleia on May 02, 2016, 05:49:55 am
Quote from: Flippanteer on May 02, 2016, 05:47:08 am
(On a bit of a sidenote... WOAH gbatemp still exists?!)
Lol yeah, and well alive. Not necessarily on the same topics than some years ago though (I mean, it has "GBA" in the name but the active portion of the site isn't about GBA. Plus, it used to be a rom site I think, but now roms and links to roms are forbidden).
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Juju on May 02, 2016, 06:04:49 am
Yeah, most forums are still alive and well. Look at the Android scene for instance, or the countless roleplay forums that seems to pop up a new one all the time, in France at least.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: aeTIos on May 02, 2016, 06:06:04 am
I very much agree with everything being said. Current software is nice, but we could need a bit more real timeness :)I think I'll leave the execution of that to @Juju and @Streetwalrus, though, as I don't really know that much about the forum softwares :P
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Streetwalrus on May 02, 2016, 12:22:24 pm
I think one good idea for the forum software would be fluxbb if we decide to change. It's a lot more lightweight than SMF, and although it lacks some features out of the box, there are plenty of mods available for it. In the event that we decide to move, we will need to make sure that what we choose fits our use case and test it extensively before we finally move. And be well prepared for it too.

For real-timeness we could use in-browser notifications, the simplest way to do this would be to use walrusirc for it I suppose, since it already has everything in place for it.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 02, 2016, 10:42:47 pm
Fluxbb could be an alternative if the main issue is that the amount of features is too high to make the site easy enough to navigate for certain people. However, they still use a traditional forum layout, which is what is dying. Also, does Fluxbb even have a topic cloning mod or something that makes topics filtered by category selection instead of being split by category?

As for in-browser notifications, the issue is that not all browsers support that. What I meant is when you are visiting a topic, someone sends you a PM, mentions you and then 4 new posts are made on CW, then this happens without refreshing the page:

(https://codewalr.us/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.codewalr.us%2Fcwnotifications.png&hash=4911cab8f7ca047222bff872dc51e881)

Even better would be to have the blue bar appear below the topic post listing, like I saw happen on Flarum or something.


EDIT: Also as proof of SMF becoming less and less popular:  http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?action=stats
Quote
2003: 8567 posts per month
2004: 11515
2005: 21113
2006: 37113
2007: 39923
2008: 41317
2009: 47497
2010: 38804
2011: 28434 (in comparison, Omnimaga averaged at 9600 posts that year, which is 33% of SMF's activity)
2012: 18566
2013: 15812
2014: 10457
2015: 6334
2016: 4666 (in comparison, CW averages at 2122 so far this year)



EDIT: @Streetwalrus note that if we ever switch to FluxBB, all private messages will be lost because FluxBB lacks a PM system. There's a mod to add a PM system, but no SMF>FluxBB PM converter.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Streetwalrus on May 03, 2016, 06:42:40 am
We don't really need an existing script to convert the database though.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 03, 2016, 06:46:52 am
True. But wouldn't a new one be hard to write? :P Also, it would need to take into account mods we install and stuff. Either way, before making a choice we would need to wait first, since many of the newer, more modern forum softwares are still in beta (although fully functional apparently) and we would need to test them all on our VPS to ensure we can run them or that they suit our needs.

Also, switching to the most mobile-friendly possible forum software would allow us to ditch Tapatalk completely. :P (I still use Tapatalk sometimes when my bandwidth cap is running low)


Also I have another idea, but it would still require a lot of work: What about just doing a major edit to our WAP2 template so that users can enable img tags and vice-versa, looks more modern and has a few more options via menus or something?
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Hayleia on May 03, 2016, 08:56:29 am
Quote from: Hayleia on May 02, 2016, 05:45:02 am
I don't think forums are dying that much. I'm on gbatemp and a lot of threads get created and get to 5 pages in one day. Some other threads can get to 70 pages in one day, such as "Wii U hacked free pirating for everyone on all firmware versions", then you can popcorn watch people hopping on the hype train and people saying this is dumb :trollface:

Lol, just days after I write this, actual hacks for Wii U come out, threads get created, and they get to 5 pages in hours.
Obviously, giving console hacks to pirate kids calls more attention than calculator software but still, forums are not dead.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 03, 2016, 09:06:03 am
Well, to be fair, very big gaming forums don't count if for example they're an official site about a very popular game, or the #1 site about a big scene. Often that's the first place people find to discuss about a game. But as soon as you're not the #1 site that's another story. For more niche topics people tend to go more on generic discussion social networks.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Dudeman313 on May 04, 2016, 01:31:26 am
Well, I was on CW at school, and a fellow student asked me what site I was on, and of course, my answer was, "It's this really awesome forum."

But then he said, "What's a forum?"

So apparently, forum existence is no longer common knowledge.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 04, 2016, 04:36:48 am
Yeah, back then it was the most common discussion medium, but now there are so many things.


Also there is another idea I have that we could do as an alternative to switching forum softwares, but would probably take a while too: What if we simply replaced the current CW template entirely? If we wanted, we could rewrite the site theme PHP code so that it looks different and has different features. The backend is better left untouched or with minimal modifications, though.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 12, 2016, 06:53:49 am
So yeah, given how Lexaloffle and other new softwares work, I think we would definitively be able to mimic this just with SMF custom templates or pages. Basically, to mimic a tagged topic sorting system, what we would need to do is make the Recent post list so we can filter topics by category, but more importantly, make it so that it's not capped anymore. We would need a custom recent post list that lists all forum topics from the start to the end, with the main category tags at the top.

In other words, that section of the site would be centered around the recent posts list. But it would be better IMHO if we allowed members to choose if they want the classic board index or the tagged recent posts list to show up by default. Most new forum softwares supports that, but the recent posts list is shown by default. I think this would be a great way to improve the site in long terms without being forced to switch to another software. It would require heavy coding, though.

@Streetwalrus was supposed to edit the recent posts list to filter topics by categories of my choice, but it was gonna be JS-based. The idea above would probably need to save user's settings to not be annoying, but his solution could work as a temporary measure. I think tags would need to be on two lines: The parent tags (categories) above, which filters multiple categories at once, and the secondary tags (sub-forums) below, selectable individisually.


So yeah, in conclusion we would keep the classic SMF board index, but give users the option to switch to the bulletin board v3.0 style layout if they want, or vice-versa.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Unicorn on May 18, 2016, 04:15:58 am
Sounds good to me, and then I could create a new Userstyle... :P
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: alexgt on May 18, 2016, 04:19:56 am
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on May 12, 2016, 06:53:49 am
So yeah, given how Lexaloffle and other new softwares work, I think we would definitively be able to mimic this just with SMF custom templates or pages. Basically, to mimic a tagged topic sorting system, what we would need to do is make the Recent post list so we can filter topics by category, but more importantly, make it so that it's not capped anymore. We would need a custom recent post list that lists all forum topics from the start to the end, with the main category tags at the top.

In other words, that section of the site would be centered around the recent posts list. But it would be better IMHO if we allowed members to choose if they want the classic board index or the tagged recent posts list to show up by default. Most new forum softwares supports that, but the recent posts list is shown by default. I think this would be a great way to improve the site in long terms without being forced to switch to another software. It would require heavy coding, though.

@Streetwalrus was supposed to edit the recent posts list to filter topics by categories of my choice, but it was gonna be JS-based. The idea above would probably need to save user's settings to not be annoying, but his solution could work as a temporary measure. I think tags would need to be on two lines: The parent tags (categories) above, which filters multiple categories at once, and the secondary tags (sub-forums) below, selectable individisually.


So yeah, in conclusion we would keep the classic SMF board index, but give users the option to switch to the bulletin board v3.0 style layout if they want, or vice-versa.

Sounds good, and a sorting system would really be helpful ;)
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on May 18, 2016, 04:20:36 am
I'm thinking a new userstyle would have to come after the template redesign.

Also, the template redesign would probably also involve heavy changes to the current default templates, because the way we implemented the navigation bar with the search was done in a particularly hackish fashion. The initial plan was to have the Welcome Username thing inside the navigation bar, to the left, with the navigation itself in the middle. It didn't work out, but I'm sure it could be done much easier with our own template code.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on September 18, 2016, 07:35:00 pm
So responsive, modern SMF 2.0 themes are now rolling in and they look similar to some modern stuff like Bootstrap, Flarum and Nodebb. Aside from the fact all of this lacks meta-based forum browsing (filter topics by category, Pico-8 forum style, rather than browsing by category), if those themes are ported to SMF 2.1 we could stick to SMF and use those themes.

That's if SMF 2.1 happens, though.
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: Dudeman313 on October 14, 2016, 12:07:46 am
Stop double posting! :P
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: p2 on October 14, 2016, 11:27:15 am
I think as a calculator and retro gaming community it wouldn't be fit to use a super modern theme. In my opinion we should still make it look like a (modernized) retro site, with some pixelart and fancy oldscool stuff all over the page. Like stuff that was conidered super cool years ago (for example on the very old omnimaga baner there was this grid-model of a human head&shoulders - I really loved that, it was perfect). In general I think we should stick to older designs.
What I'd hate to see would be a white background with nicely arranged text on it. I really love how everything on the ucrrent site is put inside a separeted box aith its own background color. We shouldnt change that.

I'm not saying "never update". What I'd love to ee is the newerst stuff but made to look retro :)
use the new themes, but rewrite the entire css ^^  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on October 14, 2016, 04:27:45 pm
Dudeman double-posting is fine if it has been over 24 hours. <_<

Also p2 yeah my idea would be to stick to a forum-like layout that is simple but not overly simple either, and as banner there would be a strip of screenshots behind the logo.