bphlpt

Recent problems editing posts.

47 posts in this topic

I don't know if anyone else has experienced issues, (nonno fabio implied he has been having problems as well here), but a few times now I have tried to edit posts only to have either half the post disappear, or the formatting go nuts, or some other problem.  Were there some recent "improvements" that we might should roll back?  I have JUST discovered the button to turn on/off BBCode mode, so that might help a little.  In the meantime, I've started composing/editing my posts in an external editor and pasting the completed post back in order to post.  That way I have a backup in place if the board software screws up.  But the board software used to be very reliable.  Hopefully, something can be done to improve things.
 
Cheers and Regards

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Hi bphlpt.

 

I would be grateful if you can explain this issue in details, step by step with pictures so I can send a support request.

Does this happen in different browsers?

It could be some kind o bug that came with the latest version of the forum software.

 

Thanks!

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I didn't make any pics of the problems, since at the time I was too busy cussing at having to correct or re-enter lost data.  Sorry.  The two worst times were both editing posts in this thread, if I remember correctly.  One of the two was editing this post.  I went in and edited the post and when I posted it about a quarter of it was just gone.  Fortunately, that time I just happened to have that same page of the thread open in another tab and was able to cut and paste to recover the old and my edits, as best as I could remember them.  The other time I had edited a different post and when I posted, not only half of it was gone, but what was left was no longer in either clear text or in BBCode, but was in HTML.  It was a much smaller post so I was able to recreate it.
 
I'm on Win7 x64 and have been using SRWare Iron portable as my almost exclusive browser for almost two years now.
 
I have really found it annoying that when you edit a post with code or quote tags, or any BBCode tags I guess, that the edit box defaults to editing the post in its "pretty" state rather than with the BBCodes showing.  It makes it almost dangerous, at least to your sanity, to try and edit within the code block.  If you happen to be deleting within the code block and backspace just one too many characters, you lose the block outline and its heading ( such as "NIM, on 15 Feb 2013 - 02:12, said:" ), and it is totally unrecoverable with control Z or anything else I've found.  Everything that was inside the code block is now outside it  When it has happened to me, at least a dozen times, I've had to just cancel the edit and start all over as the only way to get what I wanted to say to look right.  Now that I finally found the magic button to be able to toggle between having BBCodes shown or not while editing, I at least won't have that problem any more since everyting in the edit box will be treated as text and control-Z will act correctly.  I haven't looked to see if there is a profile setting to force this a default behavior, but I hope so.  Nope, no way I can find.
 
To see for yourself what happens, pick any post you wish, and hit the "Quote" button.  In the edit box position your cursor inside the quoted text box at the very beginning of the quoted text.  Hit the Backspace key and see what happens.  Try to get the quoted text box back.  You can't do it.  Try the same thing but in the edit mode where all the BBCodes are visible.  Now, anything you delete is recoverable with a simple control-Z.
 
I'm sure that all my problems would never have occurred if I had simply been editing in the mode where BBCodes are visible.  As far as I'm concerned, editing in the "pretty" mode is just plain broken and the more complicated the post is that you are editing the more likely it is that you will have problems.
 
EDIT1: For those who haven't found it, the magic button is the one in the top left corner of the edit box.
 
EDIT2: I figured at least nonno fabio has run into similar problems since he just posted yesterday:
 

updated (sorry for first topic mess but this board version is really unusable...)

 
Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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I have really found it annoying that when you edit a post with code or quote tags, or any BBCode tags I guess, that the edit box defaults to editing the post in its "pretty" state rather than with the BBCodes showing.  It makes it almost dangerous, at least to your sanity, to try and edit within the code block.  If you happen to be deleting within the code block and backspace just one too many characters, you lose the block outline and its heading ( such as "NIM, on 15 Feb 2013 - 02:12, said:" ), and it is totally unrecoverable with control Z or anything else I've found.



I second that,, it can be prtty annoying when editing a long post.

 

 

 

EDIT1: For those who haven't found it, the magic button is the one in the top left corner of the edit box.

 

 

Thanks ! But why this disable the others buttons ?

 

I often use Fass, a BBcode editor, when i want to add some code.

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I have also ran into the strange editing issues when "quoting" or "coding".  Trying to clean up formatting is very difficult due to the losing of the entire "quote" / "code" box.

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Thanks ! But why this disable the others buttons ?

 

True. That is a sloppy implementation. I've used other forum software, such as at Ryans, where you edit while the BBCodes are showing and the similar buttons work just fine, inserting the BBCodes as appropriate.

 

 

I often use Fass, a BBcode editor, when i want to add some code.

 

Thanks for this I'll have to check it out.

New discovery. The "magic button" remembers its last position! So whatever way you left it when you last edited a post, it will be that way the next time you edit a post. That helps a little bit. You can also use toggling the "magic button" like a "Preview this post" even when using the "quick edit" box to make a new post.

A couple of problems I just discovered while in the mode where the BBCodes are showing (I wish I new a better name to call the two modes - "pretty" vs "BBCode" ? ). One is that I sometimes have to toggle back and forth between the two modes and enter line feeds in the "pretty" mode to get the line spacing right between text I was entering when it was surrounded by quote blocks since otherwise if I just stayed in "BBCode" mode,  it sometimes tended to delete line breaks I tried to insert between the block and my reply text when I posted the post. It wasn't consistent though. (Sorry Nik, I hope you understand what I mean.) The other minor thing is that when in "BBCode" mode, line wrap does not break at word boundaries, but will just wrap in the middle of a word. It can be a little confusing.

By the way, the official name for the "magic button" is BBCode Mode, for those looking for it.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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New discovery. The "magic button" remembers its last position! So whatever way you left it when you last edited a post, it will be that way the next time you edit a post.

Discovered as well ;)

 

 

Thanks for this I'll have to check it out.

Fass is really great to add BBcode, (especially links and images, but it's also very handy for quotes and code for this forum, before the discovering of the "magic-BBCode Mode-button").

It is very fast (no lags) and IMO better to use than any forum reply boxes  when you're editing/creating a long post with many code, and It have Ctrl+Z and preview ability ! (but it doesn't have all the BBcode functions, only the most used)

The version I have linked is more recent than the one on the official site (0.8 vs 0.9beta), but it has disappeared from the site :( so I have saved it preciously.

Edited by mooms

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The version I have linked is more recent than the one on the official site (0.8 vs 0.9beta), but it has disappeared from the site :( so I have saved it preciously.

 

Thanks for the clarification.  I was just going to ask about that after visiting the official site.

For those wondering, Fass apparently stands for Forum assistant.

 

Hopefully, the Community Forum Software will be fixed/improved so that separate tools are not needed.  But at least now we have a couple of ways around the current problems.

 

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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It is always good to have it. BTW, even if it comes with an installer, FASS is portable.

 

edit: I have found the changelog for 0.9 beta:

 

What's New

Key: NEW = new feature, CNG = change, FIX = bug fix.

Version 0.9 Beta
NEW: Autosave draft at regular intervals (optional, in preferences)
NEW: Minimise to system tray (optional, in preferences)
NEW: Import/export of post from/to text files
CNG: Common smilies added to default insert menu
CNG: BBcodes changed to lowercase for improved bb software compatibility
CNG: Configuration file and folder names changed for clarity
CNG: Some menu names, button names and captions changed for clarity
FIX: Post editor drop-down menus not reverting to original state
FIX: Strange taborder of controls on all windows
FIX: Impossible to deselect text after text selection
FIX: Focus lost from text entry area after various operations
FIX: Error messages when some operations are attempted during preview

Edited by mooms

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So that mooms doesn't have to worry about continuing to host this file if he doesn't want to, here is where the original developer announced Fass v0.9 - http://community.invisionpower.com/blog/478/entry-1387-Fass-0-9-released/

 

It's been over a year and a half since the last release of Fass but I'm pleased to report that I've just released a new version and it's better than ever.

Never heard of Fass? Here's the blurb...

QUOTE

Fass is a (f)orum (ass)istant, providing an enhanced, offline alternative to the post editor in forum software and an automated, template-based post generator. Features include: saving/loading drafts, post preview, 100 level undo/redo, menu and colour customisation, branding options for webmasters and much more. Originally designed for use with Invision Power Board, Fass uses standard bbcode that is compatible with most forum software.

The version I've just released is 0.9 beta and as one would expect includes some new features and many improvements.

You can download it from the announcement here. I'll add it to the actual Fass website once it's out of beta.

 

As mooms mentioned, the referenced page is no longer on the thepawgroup site, but thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine you can still find it here:

 

Paul

Administrator

93.gif

Registered: 2002-11-14

Posts: 180

Website

Fass 0.9 Beta Released

With one hour until Christmas day, I'm proud to present a special Christmas gift for all Fass fans!

Fass 0.9 Beta contains lots of new features, changes and bug fixes. Almost all are the direct result of feedback received in the Fass forum, proving just how important such user feedback is to a project like Fass. View this topic for the what's new list.

Download Fass 0.9 Beta [100KB]

I hope you enjoy the new version!

 

Note to upgraders: It is recommended that you uninstall older versions of Fass before installing 0.9. This is because the new version uses different folder and file names for settings.

 

and the download link still functions to get the same file that mooms posted.

EDIT: -- And as yet another, a little more recent and more fully featured option, it seems that the good folks at SevenForums have their own BBCode editor available here that looks quite good.

 

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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Thanks! Let me know what you think about the SevenForums bbce.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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Thanks bphlpt, I will test it.

At first glance it seems more complete, but I'm afraid most of the bbcode will only works on sevenforums.

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Ah - hadn't noticed that. Thanks Oh well, was worth a shot.

Cheers and Regards

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I have reported these issues. We'll see what answer will we get.

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I just can't believe that no one is replying me on Invision forums.

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No replies at all. It appears that no one cares for this issues.

Guys, can anyone try to login here and test on Invision live board.

http://community.invisionpower.com/forum/15-test-posting-messages/

 

Please use the above forum as it is used for testing purposes.

Try to do exact steps as here.

 

Are you positive that these issues were not present prior to the latest version update?

 

Thanks!

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Are you positive that these issues were not present prior to the latest version update?

Unfortunately, no, I'm not completely positive. I noticed the editing issues mentioned in the OP over the last few months, and only decided to mention it after noticing the post by OnePiece, but whether the problems only came after the last update or if it might have begun with the update before I'm not sure. When exactly have the last few board updates occurred? I know you've been keeping the board updated frequently whenever updates are available, so I quit taking major notice over when exactly they happened. I noticed the deal mentioned above about messed up [ url ] links for the first time just before I posted about it. Until this week I didn't know that the "magic button" even existed, so I couldn't say whether behavior in "pretty" vs "BBCode" mode is different and if so when that difference began.

I know you will keep on top of this, and I'll just keep posting things I notice.

Cheers and Regards my friend,

John

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As you requested, I signed up and posted this at the link you provided:
 

This is a test and let you see the results. I'm going to try to post a link to MSFN like this:

(1) -- http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189

without the extra spaces of course, then I'll try this:

(2) -- [ url ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]

(3) -- [ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]

Here goes:

(1) -- http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/156730-unattended-installation/page__p__1030189#entry1030189

(2) -- http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/156730-unattended-installation/page__p__1030189#entry1030189

(3) -- http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/156730-unattended-installation/page__p__1030189#entry1030189

Now let's see what happens. ... Well, it became this:

(1) -- http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189

(2) -- [ url = undefined ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]

(3) -- [ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]


Actually, it's more messed up than that.

Back at Wincert, where I first discovered this issue, what started out as a post to our admin:

When I tried to enter a link to a post over at MSFN by surrounding it with [ url ] tags like this:[ url ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]without the extra spaces of course, it turned into this when it was posted:[ url = undefined ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]The only way the post was able to be posted correctly was if I entered it like this:[ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ]That's perfectly fine, but it shouldn't be required.
Apparently I didn't have enough embedded spaces in my original post so the "smart" board software got too smart for it's own good and turned it into:
When I tried to enter a link to a post over at MSFN by surrounding it with [ url ] tags like this:[ url ][ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [[ /url ] /url ]without the extra spaces of course, it turned into this when it was posted:[ url = undefined ][ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ [ /url ] /url ]The only way the post was able to be posted correctly was if I entered it like this:[ url = [ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 ] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ /url ] ][ url = http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [] http :// www .msfn .org /board /topic /156730-unattended-installation /page__p__1030189#entry1030189 [ [ /url ] /url ]
Sorry if all the extra spaces make the above hard to read, but I don't know how to turn the board's "intelligence" off so it won't mess up what I'm trying to post.

Also, I have really found it annoying that when you edit a post with code or quote tags, or any BBCode tags I guess, that the edit box defaults to editing the post in its "pretty" state rather than with the BBCodes showing.  It makes it almost dangerous, at least to your sanity, to try and edit within the code block.  If you happen to be deleting within the code block and backspace just one too many characters, you lose the block outline and its heading ( such as "NIM, on 15 Feb 2013 - 02:12, said:" ), and it is totally unrecoverable with control Z or anything else I've found.  Everything that was inside the code block is now outside it  When it has happened to me, at least a dozen times, I've had to just cancel the edit and start all over as the only way to get what I wanted to say to look right.  Now that I finally found the magic button to be able to toggle between having BBCodes shown or not while editing, I at least won't have that problem any more since everyting in the edit box will be treated as text and control-Z will act correctly.
 
To see for yourself what happens, pick any post you wish, and hit the "Quote" button.  In the edit box position your cursor inside the quoted text box at the very beginning of the quoted text.  Hit the Backspace key and see what happens.  Try to get the quoted text box back.  You can't do it.  Try the same thing but in the edit mode where all the BBCodes are visible.  Now, anything you delete is recoverable with a simple control-Z.
 
I'm sure that all my problems would never have occurred if I had simply been editing in the mode where BBCodes are visible.  As far as I'm concerned, editing in the "pretty" mode is just plain broken and the more complicated the post is that you are editing the more likely it is that you will have problems.
 
For those who haven't found it, the magic button is the one in the top left corner of the edit box.
 
I figured at least nonno fabio has run into similar problems since he just posted yesterday:
 

updated (sorry for first topic mess but this board version is really unusable...)

 
A couple of problems I discovered while in the mode where the BBCodes are showing (I wish I knew a better name to call the two modes - "pretty" vs "BBCode" ? ). One is that I sometimes have to toggle back and forth between the two modes and enter line feeds in the "pretty" mode to get the line spacing right between text I was entering when it was surrounded by quote blocks since otherwise if I just stayed in "BBCode" mode, it sometimes tended to delete line breaks I tried to insert between the block and my reply text when I posted the post. It wasn't consistent though. (Sorry for the poor explanation, I hope you understand what I mean.) The other minor thing is that when in "BBCode" mode, line wrap does not break at word boundaries, but will just wrap in the middle of a word. It can be a little confusing.

By the way, the official name for the "magic button" is BBCode Mode, for those looking for it.

If it makes any difference, I'm on Win7 x64 and have been using SRWare Iron portable as my almost exclusive browser for almost two years now.
 
Cheers and Regards

 
Of course, since it was my first post:
 

This post will need approval from a moderator before it is shown. This restriction will be lifted when you have 2 more approved posts

 
And even then, apparently it will only be visible to me:
 

This forum is not read or monitored by our administrators or moderators.
...
You can only see your own topics in this forum. Other member topics will not be visible to you.

 
So I really don't know what good that post did besides proving that the problems I've found exist over there and not just here.

How do I know the problems exist there even if I can't see my post yet? All you have to do to see the results of any experiments are either to toggle the "BBCode" mode on and off and/or Preview the post. The text will be changed in the edit box.

Let me know what else I can do to help.
Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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if I'm not mistaken there are problems for more than a month before, maybe 2 months, maybe 3 months before, I do not know and the problem was really serious (once it took me more than 50 minutes to fix the first post of the topic of the Update Pack, and in the end I still can not do it properly), I use always Firefox, after or tried Google Chrome, the problems were still present but strangely with Google Chrome was better

never reported because N1K and always in constant update, so thought maybe were resolved after

problem started when clicked edit post after you lost all links hmmmmm, and the post as if it
formatted, lost all customizations, and made ​​a mess between spoiler & quote ect ect, Now (last weeks) it seems better than before, but still does not seem all 100% Ok

 

Ciao.

Edited by OnePiece

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Here's yet some more examples of screw-ups.

 

1) I tried to quote the above post so I could edit it to show you what happened, but it won't include my quotes, which is where the problem is located I wanted to edit!  A quote of the above post only got me this, which doesn't help me at all:

 

As you requested, I signed up and posted this at the link you provided:

 

Of course, since it was my first post:

 

And even then, apparently it will only be visible to me:

 

So I really don't know what good that post did besides proving that the problems I've found exist over there and not just here.

How do I know the problems exist there even if I can't see my post yet? All you have to do to see the results of any experiments are either to toggle the "BBCode" mode on and off and/or Preview the post. The text will be changed in the edit box.

Let me know what else I can do to help.

Cheers and Regards

 

2) To emphasize, I think the inability to quote a post and preserve the existing quote blocks in the post is a major, major problem.

 

3)  OK  let me see if I can force this.

I tried to edit the above post to add a line feed inside the quote block right after the quote I included from nonno fabio.  I couldn't do it.  If I added the line feed while in "BBCode" mode, when it switched to "pretty" mode, or when I made the post, the extra line feed just kept being deleted no matter what I tried.  If I added the line feed while in "pretty" mode, I ended up with a much bigger mess.

NOTE: The way I was able to get the full post here to allow me to edit it was to right click the post's edit button and open it in another tab, switch to "BBCode" mode, because you can't copy from one post to another and preserve the quote boxes with their headings any other way that I have found, then copy the contents of the edit block here and manually enter the quote block with the proper heading. Nik, this REALLY shouldn't be this difficult. If I had wanted to quote someone else's post that had embedded quote blocks I don't know how the heck I would have been able to do that since I wouldn't have had edit rights to the post.

 

As you requested, I signed up and posted this at the link you provided:

...

I figured at least nonno fabio has run into similar problems since he just posted yesterday:

updated (sorry for first topic mess but this board version is really unusable...)

A

couple of problems I discovered while in the mode where the BBCodes are showing (I wish I knew a better name to call the two modes - "pretty" vs "BBCode" ? ). One is that I sometimes have to toggle back and forth between the two modes and enter line feeds in the "pretty" mode to get the line spacing right between text I was entering when it was surrounded by quote blocks since otherwise if I just stayed in "BBCode" mode, it sometimes tended to delete line breaks I tried to insert between the block and my reply text when I posted the post. It wasn't consistent though. (Sorry for the poor explanation, I hope you understand what I

mean.)

...
...
 

To emphasize the ridiculousness of the error above, while in "pretty" mode, I placed my cursor after the "A" in "A couple" and hit enter.  That's all I did.  As you can see, it then added an extra quote block, (originally it was labeled as being from nonno fabio but that designation disappeared by itself after toggling the "BBCode mode" off and on), around the rest of MY text for some unfathomable reason.  Very confusing.

 

[EDIT: I've also now discovered that the preview and actual post do not always match what is shown in the edit box in either "pretty" or "BBCode" mode. That's now even more annoying!  This forum software seems more and more broken the more I mess with it.]

I thought I could then take advantage of the "quote block delete" error the forum software has and purposefully backspace until the "extra" quote block gets deleted.  But it wasn't straightforward or easy,  It kept adding extra quote blocks seemingly randomly.  Here is an example of the crap it kept producing:

 

As you requested, I signed up and posted this at the link you provided:

...

I figured at least nonno fabio has run into similar problems since he just posted yesterday:

updated (sorry for first topic mess but this board version is really unusable...)

A couple of problems I discovered while in the mode where the BBCodes are showing (I wish I knew a better name to call the two modes - "pretty" vs "BBCode" ? ). One is that I sometimes have to toggle back and forth between the two modes and enter line feeds in the "pretty" mode to get the line spacing right between text I was entering when it was surrounded by quote blocks since otherwise if I just stayed in "BBCode" mode, it sometimes tended to delete line breaks I tried to insert between the block and my reply text when I posted the post. It wasn't consistent though. (Sorry for the poor explanation, I hope you understand what I mean.)

...
...
 

It got MUCH crazier. At one time I think this entire post was nested in 14 levels of quotes, and occasionally entire paragraphs were randomly deleted. Fortunately I kept a plain text copy in an external editor I could just reload otherwise I would have had to start all over many, many times.

 

Below is the way I really wanted it, (but the effort to make it this way, with the risks of it getting screwed up, just didn't make it worthwhile to try an edit the original post for the simple change I wanted to make.

 

As you requested, I signed up and posted this at the link you provided:

...

I figured at least nonno fabio has run into similar problems since he just posted yesterday:

updated (sorry for first topic mess but this board version is really unusable...)

 

A couple of problems I discovered while in the mode where the BBCodes are showing (I wish I knew a better name to call the two modes - "pretty" vs "BBCode" ? ). One is that I sometimes have to toggle back and forth between the two modes and enter line feeds in the "pretty" mode to get the line spacing right between text I was entering when it was surrounded by quote blocks since otherwise if I just stayed in "BBCode" mode, it sometimes tended to delete line breaks I tried to insert between the block and my reply text when I posted the post. It wasn't consistent though. (Sorry for the poor explanation, I hope you understand what I mean.)

 

...

...
 

What a lot of effort to do a simple edit!

 

4)  I have since found that if you want to force a blank line between your text and an adjoining quote or code block while you are in "BBCode" mode,  that if you make sure that blank line has at least one "space" in it then that will sometimes work.  At least it worked for me enough for me to edit the original post successfully.  FINALLY!

 

5) I have spent over two hours trying to force this "simple" post to do my bidding so you could see the problems we are having to deal with.  There has got to be a better way, or it just won't be worth it to edit or quote anything.

 

Sorry to be such a complainer lately.

 

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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I perfectly understand you, but my hands are tied here as I can't solve this without IPS community help where I haven't received any answer.

Thanks for your clarification and thorough explanation of this issues.

 

I have just seen this post where IPS announced 4.0 plans that should be major overhaul of the board software. Applications will be practically rewritten from the ground up (for better I hope).

 

Please check the official announcement..

 

While we introduced some of our basic plans for 4.0 many months ago, we wanted to touch base again on some of these plans and expand upon some of our motivations behind decisions we have or will make for our upcoming 4.0 software release.
 
Before we get too far, let me just state now that there is no expected (or even estimated) release date for 4.0 yet.  While we always have internal guidelines, timeframes and milestones, we do not communicate these publicly until we are absolutely sure they are as accurate as possible.  The 4.0 Suite will be a major overhaul, effectively a rewrite of most areas from the ground up, and there are many factors that can affect delivering within expected due dates.
 
You may also have noticed the title of this blog entry uses a term for the suite you may not have seen used previously.  We have decided to name the 4.0 Suite (which we will often refer to as "4.0 Suite" or "Social Suite", informally), officially as the IPS Social Suite.  We feel that as we expand our line up and remove community-related dependencies, it is important that our main product release reflect the fact that our software can power more than just traditional communities.
 
Formalities out of the way now, here are a few of our driving motivations behind 4.0...
 
Modernize the interface
The skin delivered for 3.0 and again for 3.2 was great, but several years have since passed.  It is time we modernize the user interface in our software lineup once again.  Features have been added, trends on the web have shifted, and technologies have advanced.  Some specific points you may be interested to know:
  • All areas of the suite will support the mobile interface.
  • We are heavily investigating using a "response design" for 4.0.
  • We will be switching to jQuery
  • We will be embracing HTML 5 fully
 
Modernize the underlying codebase
While 4.0 will not technically be a "complete rewrite", most of the underlying codebase will be rewritten in some manner, and all of the code will at least be updated to work within the new framework we are developing.  There is a lot to go over for those of you who may be interested in the developer side of things, and I'll point you to the right place later in this entry, but as a general outline here are some things you can expect to see:
  • PHP 5.3 will be the minimum supported version of PHP
  • MySQL 5.0.3 will be the minimum supported version of MySQL
  • IP.Board will fully utilize namespaces in PHP
  • The entire directory structure, class naming structure and more will be completely overhauled
  • Applications will truly be self-contained within their own folders (currently javascript, skin and language files, for instance, are scattered throughout miscellaneous directories)
  • The entire code base will be modernized.  More use of formal design patterns will be employed, where appropriate.  Dumping ground classes (such as IPSLib) will be avoided at all costs.  More consistency between how applications implement functionality will be seen.  Naming conventions will be more consistent.
  • The way hooks work will be completely rewritten, making things simpler for us and for developers, and making hook usage behind the scenes more reliable (no more loadLibrary calls - everything is handled automatically by the framework instead).
 
Make things more consistent
We are also working towards making all of our applications more consistent.  The approach to this actually has much more to do with planning and how we approach new functionality than it does any specific technical aspect of software development.  In a nutshell, we will have one "suite" release moving forward starting at 4.0.  Every application will be on the same versioning system and share the same version number, and every release will include every application (although you will only have access to the applications you have purchased, of course).  What we will do as we implement new features is implement new functionality suite-wide from the start.  If we were to add a new feature to 4.0, we would not add the functionality to the forums and then roll this change out to other applications as they see updates.  Instead, we will be implementing changes suite-wide from the start, which has several benefits:
  • From a user standpoint, the software will be more consistent.  You won't have situations where a feature is available in Application X but not in Application Y.
  • From a technological standpoint, we will be forced to implement functionality in an optimal manner where it can be utilized by all areas of the suite.  There will be less application-dependencies for features that are intended to be suite-wide.  There will be much, much less duplicated code as features will be designed from the start to work in multiple areas.
  • Point #2 above will also benefit modders - APIs will be much more robust, yet more generic and reusable, for features implemented suite-wide rather than features implemented for one application and then shared across others.
 
Beyond changing our approach to functional changes in the software itself, we will also be focusing on consistency while redesigning the interface, and throughout every facet of development of 4.0.

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