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Albert

Get Ready - Forum Upgrade Imminent! Pictures included..

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I'm about to move the forum over to a new version of the software, 3.0.2 (as of this writing--it may be 3.0.3 by the time I get it moved over). This is a fairly significant upgrade of the forum software. It was rewritten from the ground up, with an eye towards extensibility and future enhancements. It's now much easier for developers (both Invision as well as third-party) to write add-ons in a less-disruptive way. This means forum administrators can install these add-ons while still easily upgrading to future versions of the software.

 

Visually and functionally there are many differences. I've just about finished "skinning" the software and while the skin is similar to what we have here now, there are also many changes. But don't be too alarmed, you should not have any problems adjusting to the new software. And for the first week or two I will address any issues that crop up, as well as move over some modifications from the current software (such as the ability for selective post editing, which was something I added), and add some interesting modifications that have already been written.

 

Here's the main forum index:

 

forum_index.png

 

Here's the 2600 forum:

 

forum_2600.png

 

And here's part of a thread:

 

topic.png

 

Here are some of the changes you will notice:

 

- New Personal Messenger system. Instead of just individual messages, when you send a personal message to one or more individuals you are instead starting (basically) a private thread. Replies to the initial post are shown underneath it. Individuals can be added or removed from a conversation while it runs its course.

 

Personal Messenger System:

 

pm_system.png

 

Conversation containing three messages:

 

pm_system_2.png

 

Popup when you get a new message while using the forum:

 

pm_popup.png

 

- You can now search the personal messenger system (you can see the search box in the above screenshots).

 

- Pretty much anywhere a username appears in the forum, there is a little icon next to the username that you can click on for the "User Popup". This popup contains some basic information about the user (name, number of posts, last active time, whether the user is online/offline, and handy links to see the user's last posts, topics, add the user as a friend, send a PM, view their blog, etc.)

 

user_popup.png

 

- The user profile page has been updated quite a bit. You can easily see a user's friends and comments (if they have them visible), quickly look at a user's latest topics, posts, blog entries, gallery images, and much more.

 

user_profile_page.png

 

- All users now have a "Status" that they can easily update from their profile page. This status is shown on your profile, user popup panel, and the "Recent Status Updates" panel on the main forum index page. You can see the status (in the orange box) in the above profile screenshot. Here's a panel showing recent user status updates on the main index page:

 

status_hook.png

 

- The main forum index page now has a "Sidebar" that contains a collection of boxes showing various information. At present these include "Recently Added Topics", "Recent Blog Entries", "Recent Status Updates", "Today's Top Posters", "Watched Content", and "Latest Links". These can be hidden if you don't want to see them.

 

sidebar.png

 

- The search system now allows you to easily search the forums, members, help files, calendar, gallery, blogs and links all in one place.

 

Forum Search for "Quadrun":

 

search_results_forum.png

 

Blog Search for "Quadrun":

 

search_results_blog.png

 

Gallery Search for "Quadrun":

 

search_results_gallery.png

 

- The user control panel has been completely revamped and is (in my opinion) much easier to navigate.

 

User Settings - General:

 

user_settings_general.png

 

User Settings - Forums:

 

user_settings_forums.png

 

User Settings - Profile:

 

user_settings_profile.png

 

- There is now a new Flash-based attachment uploader, which allows you to quickly upload multiple files simultaneously and should work much better than the previous Javascript-based uploader.

 

attachments.png

 

- It is now easier to see which forums and topics you are subscribed to. For instance, while you're in a topic you're subscribed to, the "Watch this topic" button changes to "Stop watching topic". Also, while you're viewing a forum, any topics you are subscribed to will have a small icon next to them to show you are subscribed.

 

Icons showing threads you are subscribed to:

 

watch_topics_1.png

 

Button changes in topic to show you're subscribed:

 

watch_topics_2.png

 

- You can now positively vote up individual posts. These points are added to a user's reputation, which is displayed on their profile as well as their user popup panel. At this time you can only positively vote posts up. I have disabled negative voting after watching what a mess that was on the Invision test forums. At the bottom of a given thread you can set a threshold to filter out posts below a certain point value.

 

Interface in topics to up-vote an individual post:

 

rep_1.png

 

User reputation inside profile:

 

rep_2.png

 

- The blog module has significant improvements over the current version on the site. For instance, the name of the blog and description are now displayed prominently at the top of the page. You can now easily share blog entries on Digg, Facebook, Reddit, and other sites.

 

Viewing an individual blog entry:

 

blog_1.png

 

Sharing a blog entry:

 

blog_sharing.png

 

That's all for now--I am hoping to do the upgrade within the next few days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

 

..Al

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Will we lose any PM attachments? I remember you weren't sure about that before.

They should be converted fine--I just checked my ginormous inbox on the test forum and it does know which messages have attachments, although it's not showing them to me. This is possibly caused by not having copied all the files over from the live server. I'll nuke the PMs on that test setup and run the (newer) conversion script again to see what happens. I absolutely will not move the forum over if the PM attachments are not properly converted.

 

..Al

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What version of Flash will be required for the new software? I run an older version (older than the latest even for my OS) due to some compatibility issues.

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What version of Flash will be required for the new software? I run an older version (older than the latest even for my OS) due to some compatibility issues.

I think the only thing that Flash is needed for is the enhanced attachments uploader. You don't need to use that, though, and the forum defaults to the non-Flash uploader anyway. I don't know what version of Flash is required for it, but I doubt it needs anything bleeding edge.

 

..Al

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Al, is there a "My Posts" button? It seems I could never find it in the test forum.

Nope, no "My Posts" link. That's something I added to the current forum. It's on my list to add to the new forum software if someone else hasn't already created such a mod.

 

..Al

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Wow Albert, that sure looks spiffy. I like the automatic PM update.

 

I personally dont like the rating thing. I'm a dick pretty much 24/7, so I guess I'll have to change that. Oh well.

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As long as the basics are essentially still the basics and posting is no more complicated than it is now, I will be just fine.

 

I too dislike the quality rating thing either, it's very high school and functionally ambiguous in terms of actual value, but thankfully the negative feature will be disabled so that will take care of half the problems right there.

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As long as the basics are essentially still the basics and posting is no more complicated than it is now, I will be just fine.

Yes, the basics are the same.

 

I too dislike the quality rating thing either, it's very high school and functionally ambiguous in terms of actual value, but thankfully the negative feature will be disabled so that will take care of half the problems right there.

We'll see how it goes, there will be limits on how many rep points users can give in a given day and you can't vote your own posts up. It's easy enough to turn off if it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth.

 

..Al

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Wow it seems like a very significant upgrade. The new personal messenger system reminds me of Gmail while other areas seem similar to Facebook. Looks like it adds lots of interesting and useful features. I'm can't wait to give it a spin.

 

tjb

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The new system looks terrific. I'm looking forward to surfing on Atari Age v.2009.

 

Chris

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Will the archiving of PMs allow attached images to be saved as well? It doesn't do that in the current version and its a real pain.

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I am looking forward to the new version.

 

Can you finally find new entries in blogs easier? Currently you only see that someone has posted somewhere to the blog, but not in which thread.

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Will the archiving of PMs allow attached images to be saved as well? It doesn't do that in the current version and its a real pain.

The new PM system at present does not have an archive feature. I expect version 3.1 of the forum will have an archive feature of some type, or that someone will create a modification before then. Things have become a bit more complicated due to the threaded nature of the new conversation system.

 

..Al

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I am looking forward to the new version.

 

Can you finally find new entries in blogs easier? Currently you only see that someone has posted somewhere to the blog, but not in which thread.

Are you talking about new comments? Not sure if anything was changed there. I do agree that this is an area that can use improvement.

 

..Al

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Looks good. I look forward to having the "My Posts" back and the ability to ignore threads at some point. ;) (I'm really surprised that "My Posts" is not part of the default system though.)

Edited by Gregory DG

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Are you talking about new comments?

Yup.

 

Very often I see a blog marked with new comments. But if it is more than one, you have to manually click through the threads to find the other ones.

 

And being able to subscribeto a blog or thread (like with ordinary posts) would be nice too.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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Will the archiving of PMs allow attached images to be saved as well? It doesn't do that in the current version and its a real pain.

The new PM system at present does not have an archive feature. I expect version 3.1 of the forum will have an archive feature of some type, or that someone will create a modification before then. Things have become a bit more complicated due to the threaded nature of the new conversation system.

Growl! I'm nearly always at the end of my message limit because archiving images and attachments doesn't happen without me manually stitching it back together on my hard drive. The joys of working in teams homebrewing :lol:. Any chance developers can have bigger PM boxes? ;) :D :ponder:

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