Don't mean to sound nitpicky, but perhaps your it would be more appropriate to post your concerns here
Oh yes, anyone can probably set up a basic forum but making it their own or making it unique seems (from everything I've read and seen..in the demo, forinstance) terribly difficult.
Well, the official FAQ does indicate that phpBB is supposed to be 'easy to install' (phpBB has a reputation for being easy to install, that reputation is we believe well deserved.
), although this need not imply that it is easy to customize. Making it unique need not be "terribly difficult", but if you're saying that it is more non-trivial than doing a vanilla install, I suppose I'd agree with you there. Having said that, though, it is still not rocket science - if I can do it, most people out there should be able to
As an example...most folks new to this software (or less involved than serious php programmers) seem to rely on styles and mods. Yet a recent post indicates that as version 3 comes available all those mods and styles will have to be updated by the authors and reinstalled by the user. Will hair be lost or pulled? Will harsh words be heard?
Isn't that only natural? The code is undergoing a change from ground up, a change, that we are sure, is for the better (I'd at least credit the developers for knowing what they're doing, even if I am not sure about the technical details of what's happening). The MOD/style authors are used to updating their code to comply with the latest release of phpBB, it's just that this time, the changes required will be a little more tedious - and having looked at some of Olympus Beta 2, I can't help feeling tempted into believing that all the trouble is almost certainly worth it...
Why is it so hard to change the layout and look of this forum (besides just changing the background colour) without resorting to styles that have been programmed by a third party who has a degree of expertise not shared by the general user?
You could tweak the files in the subSilver folder and make fairly drastic changes to the final look of your forum. Even making a new style from scratch isn't that hard - phpBB has been designed so that the design and code are separated as much and possible, so all you really need is some HTML gyan and common sense. Knowing what the template variables stand for is a help too, and there are some handy references
. A lot depends on who you're talking about when you refer to the general user - I'm not saying everyone can make phpBB styles in a couple of hours, but no one can make a website in a couple of hours either, PHP or no PHP.
Why is a mod required for nested forums and/or sub-forums?
Why do you need firefox extensions for enabling a FTP client? Because not everyone wants their browser to be a browser, mail client, ssh client, ftp client and a coffee maker at the same time. Any software is bound to have "core" requirements without which the software cannot function (like you can't have a forum without an user management system), and there are "add-on" requirements which change from user to user. You want sub forums, I want a shoutbox, someone else wants an integrated image gallery. If the basic install of phpBB included everything that a forum could possibly want (even if this were possible), then it would be very bulky, and then users would spend time removing
features they don't need, and for most people that'd be more time consuming than adding
features that they want.
You should be aware that fully modded phpBB forums are available at other places on the web, but these are usually not official, and frequently fail to credit original authors. Use them with your own discretion.
I'm trying to learn php but in my sixth decade...while it may be a great intellectual challenge...and with a career outside of computer programming, it seems an overly steep learning curve, if only because I may never use the knowledge I gain of php again...or even at all.
PHP is a fun language to learn, and not very difficult either - but painting is fun too - so I completely agree that you should learn only that which you are certain you will need for good measure. Life is finite
Unless you want to join the phpBB core team, you should be able to take good advantage of phpBB without being a PHP expert. Maybe you could post exact descriptions of what you want and you'll find directions as to what to do. It's unlikely that it'll take knowing any PHP.
Is there a reason that interface changes--structure as well as colour, layout and composition, can't be incorporated into admin options. For instance...why can't a sidebar be created with just a click of the mouse?
Contrary to popular opinion, there are very few things that _really_ happen at the click of a mouse... yeah, life is a lot simpler in general (or so we're made toe believe), but I guess if someone came up with a drag-and-drop layout editor for phpBB, I'm not sure how excited I'd be. First off, something like that is bound to have it's limitations - and there's a certain sense of control when you open the files in notepad (or vi) and edit them by hand till you have achieved exactly what you want. Like they say, no pain, no gain, and conversly