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The CodeWalrus of the Future (mockups and ideas if we ever switch from SMF)

Started by DJ Omnimaga, April 30, 2016, 12:30:12 am

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aeTIos

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
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Streetwalrus

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.

DJ Omnimaga

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:



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.

Streetwalrus

We don't really need an existing script to convert the database though.

DJ Omnimaga

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?

Hayleia

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.

DJ Omnimaga

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.

Jkolade936

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.
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DJ Omnimaga

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.

DJ Omnimaga

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.

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alexgt

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 ;)

DJ Omnimaga

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.

DJ Omnimaga

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.

Jkolade936

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