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What forum software do you think devnetwork.net should use?
Stay with phpBB 36%  36%  [ 5 ]
Change to MyBB 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Change to SMF 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Change to VBulletin 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Change to some other forum software... (specify in a post maybe?) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
We should all pool in and build our own!! 50%  50%  [ 7 ]
Total votes : 14
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:19 am 
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I think that if several of us (especially mods) can take ownership of specific parts of the project that they are interested in (for example, UI, security, permissions, administration etc.), and lead the direction of those areas with a small team than it could definitely work.

Other projects around here might be more ambitious (skeleton?) which is why they drag around longer, but some of those are seeing progress in spurts. Personally I don't think building a forum with several good developers should take very long.

If there is enough interest we can start talking about how to divide the project into pieces and who takes control of what piece.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:42 am 
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I'd be interested in contributing to the project though there are some things I don't think I could touch at my skill level (programming the styling for code)...whoa that would be some scary stuff! :lol: Though naturally that would be the benefit of a community based effort...we could each contribute in the ways we're strong. :)

I think the most important part would be...what would we all want it to look like? I know with major projects it's typically best to design something from the database up though the design is going to be subjective to the tastes of active community members.

For example one feature I'm eventually going to implement in to my own site is user CSS and JavaScript. Technically you can already import your own CSS to my site though it's saved to a cookie. The clientside code would be have to be pretty solid...but the look and feel should be something we all agree upon. One thing I find annoying is if a row doesn't highlight when the mouse rolls over. I'm trying to work towards implementing a theme sharing feature on my site so members can on their own merit create, edit, and share themes. One thing I could offer is to implement my site's visual theme editor which is insanely standards compliant and easy to maintain as the CSS selectors are only stored in the first select menu thus being dynamically passed down to the generated CSS.

I haven't really looked at phpBB's code though if it's anything like WordPress's code then I have to agree with the comments about the poor quality.

I wouldn't really be interested in working on the serverside bit if it involved any frameworks...I like the idea of our own platform without mesh code.

There is the issue of how various people approach code of course. For example my blog and forums are pretty lightweight right now with minimal features so I have an index.php and a functions.php file for both while I handle the general CMS in my core themes directory. It's exceptionally organized though I received a lot of negative reactions when I originally posted a directory listing earlier this year...so to me it would make no sense to dig through fifty different folders and to other programmers it would make no sense to not have fifty different folders...for whatever reason.

Also would we just generate a forum or would we also work with an independent CMS that we could for example generate our own tutorials similar to something like W3Schools or php.net?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:56 am 
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In my opinion a framework is a must, both for providing a strong initial structure and for enforcing a uniform coding style. Without a framework this project would probably take much longer and be of lesser quality than otherwise.

Not sure how a CMS is related to this discussion.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:26 am 
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Well I'll pass on framework related stuff if anything gets started though I'm still interested in contributing in other ways of course.

I suppose in my own way I have a couple different applications of the term CMS. Obviously managing content (like adding new pages in WordPress) is along the lines of what most people think. The other application I use the word is organizing the site modules in general.

First you have a major module such as a blog.

Then the major module calls the page template (handles the header and footer).

The page template calls individual files that construct the header and footer.

Basically a major module does it's own thing and calls the CMS for the header and footer. It's exceptionally clean, minimalistic, and efficient.

In example my redirect page/template only has the prompt layer (same thing as site options on my site) though it doesn't include other modules (e.g. menu, content/body (#body), sidebar, etc) where as another page template may call everything.

Naturally the core CMS code (headers, sessions, classes), page templates, and specific modules (menu, sidebar, etc) are all in the same folder (currently 92 items) though they are named to order by type (in a GUI program that lists file such as Windows Explorer) so when they are ordered by type/name they appear in the vertical order of client output (or logical server processing). So when I need to edit something I just have to remember where on the page it appears (which comes natural since semantics and SEO practices make the general order of HTML output easy to order) and scroll down.

It is definitely very different from what I've seen other people do though it's exceptionally modular and thus very powerful to call what I need when I need it. I also don't have to deal with hordes of unnecessary folders to go searching for stuff...especially folders within folders within folders for a single includes file...why?! 8O I think the 'I need fifty folders for three files' mentality is a major reason why major projects end up junking over time. Strict coding practices really pay off in the long term and I've felt absolutely no constraints even with the criticisms I've had in the past. Also I think less experienced members could benefit by seeing the vertical execution presented by the files. In general the file names have the following prefixes: _0_header_, _1_functions_, _2_includes_, _3_template_, _4_patch_. So the main CMS system is very easy to navigate from a developer's perspective and it's not dumped in with other unrelated modules (blog, forums, etc) as they have their own respective setup. So they integrate exceptionally well without creating code clash of excessive and unrelated directories. ...and the thing is the moment you introduce a framework you've already introduced directory anarchy and third party dependencies which in my opinion clashes with the idea of doing our own software. I'm sure I'll get a retort or two though I'm just trying to share my ideas, not argue or dictate anything. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:58 am 
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I agree...but with a large amount of people working on the same code, it's probably quite hard to maintain a common standard.

And with the framework - I personally dislike them, and have never had any reason to use one. I think that using a framework would cut off all contributors that aren't familiar with it...


Yeah, this probably would be quite a hard task. But surely there are at least 50 programmers that could be "recruited". With small teams handling specific parts of the project, I think this is completely possible.

But yeah...we'd need some "team leaders"...
:)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:11 am 
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Quote:
I agree...but with a large amount of people working on the same code, it's probably quite hard to maintain a common standard.

And with the framework - I personally dislike them, and have never had any reason to use one. I think that using a framework would cut off all contributors that aren't familiar with it...


It's not hard to maintain standard when everybody agrees on one and are thoroughly familiar with it. A framework built with the same standard only makes this easier as it provides common tools and idioms instead of disparate developers concocting their own.

You say you dislike frameworks yet you say you've never used one. To me that sounds like bias stemming from inexperience. There have been many debates on this forum for and against certain frameworks (whether open-source or homebrewed) but the general consensus is that having a framework is of great help. Having a proven, tested stack of reusable code instead of developing everything from scratch each time is a major productivity boost.

I am sure you both employ some form of homebrewed code repository that you reuse from project to project (functions and what not). That is in fact your homebrewed framework. Any developer trying to contribute to one of your projects would have to first understand your 'framework' and get used to it. The same as you guys would to a major framework, should one be chosen as a base for this project.

The main difference is that those frameworks are much more mature, stable, tested and usually offer a plethora of commonly accepted good-practices (implementation of design patterns). They are also generally well-documented and are much more likely to be familiar to at least some of us. In fact, most of those frameworks offer similar structure as they implement the same design patterns, so the choice of a particular framework is not a big problem to anyone who is used to any of those.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:14 pm 
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Meh I guess this died. I see what you mean about losing enthusiasm after a while!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:16 pm 
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it didn't generate enough interest, i guess. well, better luck next time..


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:17 pm 
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Yeah...tbh I don't mind phpBB anyway.

Had a play with MyBB some more and figured out you can turn off someone of the annoying settings...but I still don't think it's as good.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:12 pm 
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I don't think it is necessarily a bad idea. I think the problem is the combination of 1) the real challenge of keeping a project together and moving forward, and 2) the honest question of whether it would actually produce a better solution than any of the existing BBs around.

Perhaps a little goals/design discussion of the core feature list, Domain Model, user account system, management functionality, plugin architecture, themes, etc. might spur interest.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:24 pm 
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I'm trying to send you two a PM but the site is being completely uncooperative. :|


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:28 am 
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arborint wrote:
the honest question of whether it would actually produce a better solution than any of the existing BBs around.

There aren't any forum apps around that do ajax (or more specifically, hijax) well. We could try that.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:32 am 
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It doesn't even have to add new features to be useful. As long as it's: maintainable and extendable, in a way that many developers can relate to (ie, using standards) it will be a massive improvement over what's available. I'm won't even mention the many architectural problems phpBB has regrading performance and data structure. There is a lot of room for improvement


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:53 am 
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I use quite a bit of ajax on my forum. You see the post link at the bottom of threads, it uses ajax :D

However, I can't get it to work for IE, because apparently it can't reload the page dynamically when headers are sent...which makes no sense. I have to send the request normally for IE.

But obviously, when creating a project like this, it has to be compliant with all browsers...something I've never really worried too much about before.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:34 pm 
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pytrin wrote:
It doesn't even have to add new features to be useful. As long as it's: maintainable and extendable, in a way that many developers can relate to (ie, using standards) it will be a massive improvement over what's available. I'm won't even mention the many architectural problems phpBB has regrading performance and data structure. There is a lot of room for improvement

I agree that it's not about features and that there is a lot of room for improvement. But that does not address the real issues I mentioned. The potential feature set and code quality are not the problem ...

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