Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

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MohamedAG
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Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by MohamedAG » Mon May 15, 2017 10:16 pm

Christian 2.0 wrote:
Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:15 pm
For 3.1.x to 3.2.x I recommend a full re-write from ground up. It's much faster :)
The Quote above is from a PbpBB Style expert...

Regarding Styles.

Does it have to be this way?

Do we have to reinvent the wheel every time there is a release?
Sajaki wrote:
Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:53 am
looking over these changes, it seems alot of CSS class names were totally replaced by others. That really complicates things.
If someone Creates a style for 3.2 and few extensions ... all the time and effort she/he wasted will be worthless once phpbb3.3 is out (for example)? and people who runs sites with those MUST remove them before updating !!

Plus are those updates that requires a rewrite of styles an absolute necessity .. or just a play ground for developers to test their ideas and improve their coding skills and not place style developers in their concern.

I might be wrong ... But I feel that updates that does not require a WHOLE rewrite is possible but for some reason it is not achieved.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by 3Di » Tue May 16, 2017 2:19 am

Is the story of the life at the end of all, new technologies arise every day and stay burried in the past not looking to the future has been always a no no. I trashed my Car last month, after 15 years of honoured and loyal life, not worthy to spend $$ again on it , I've got a new one and I made happy myself for my own BD.
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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by _Vinny_ » Tue May 16, 2017 5:10 am

What amazing styles do you mean?

MohamedAG wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 10:16 pm
If someone Creates a style for 3.2 and few extensions ... all the time and effort she/he wasted will be worthless once phpbb3.3 is out (for example)? and people who runs sites with those MUST remove them before updating !!
Styles always change. You may not like it but it will always happen. Some extensions are compatible with 3.1 and 3.2, and if you look for some are already compatible with 3.3.

MohamedAG wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 10:16 pm
Plus are those updates that requires a rewrite of styles an absolute necessity .. or just a play ground for developers to test their ideas and improve their coding skills and not place style developers in their concern.
Of course they are necessary. Each major release there are significant changes that improve the style.
- 3.1: reponsive, ajax, notifications, gravatar, oauth, extensions, ...
- 3.2: css3 gradient, fontawesome, ...
Do you really think that phpBB is a playground for developers?

MohamedAG wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 10:16 pm
I might be wrong ... But I feel that updates that does not require a WHOLE rewrite is possible but for some reason it is not achieved.
Rewriting can be both easy and difficult. You can see Absolution style for example, it's a great style, very different from prosilver that needed to be rewritten. But prosilver_se took me 10 minutes to recreate in 3.2.


In short, major releases can have their pros and cons.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by eeji » Tue May 16, 2017 6:59 pm

Pretty much every free open source project that people contribute their spare time for no reward is a developers playground. The devs improve their coding skills, implement new technologies and techniques, and as a result the end user gets an ever improving product, gratis.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by MohamedAG » Tue May 16, 2017 9:54 pm

3Di wrote:
Tue May 16, 2017 2:19 am
Is the story of the life at the end of all, new technologies arise every day and stay burried in the past not looking to the future has been always a no no. I trashed my Car last month, after 15 years of honoured and loyal life, not worthy to spend $$ again on it , I've got a new one and I made happy myself for my own BD.
HTML and CSS are still the same, and the changes could've been done in a matter that does not force style creator to rewrite the whole thing (which looks exactly the same !)
_Vinny_ wrote:
Tue May 16, 2017 5:10 am
What amazing styles do you mean?
Styles that go beyond the standard editing of colors and icons. Take PBTech for example
viewtopic.php?f=476&t=2251941

_Vinny_ wrote:
Tue May 16, 2017 5:10 am
Styles always change. You may not like it but it will always happen. Some extensions are compatible with 3.1 and 3.2, and if you look for some are already compatible with 3.3.

Of course they are necessary. Each major release there are significant changes that improve the style.
- 3.1: reponsive, ajax
- 3.2: css3 gradient, fontawesome
Do you really think that phpBB is a playground for developers?
If the Look is exactly the same and all that was added was Ajax, fontawesom, gradient...etc
Why .. at least ... at least ...leave the current css class names as is
Why go and make the whole thing complicated for style developers .. specially when the look is the same...

If no attention is paid to make life easier for "Serious" Style Developers.
If no attention is paid to make life easier for Extension developers.
and no steps are taken to ensure that ... and it is as if the message is "Who Cares let them rewrite, even it it looks the same has the same HTML ... as long as I try that new php code .. it's OK"

Than yes it is a play ground to test, learn, improve and showoff...

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by 3Di » Wed May 17, 2017 3:21 am

MohamedAG wrote:
Tue May 16, 2017 9:54 pm
If no attention is paid to make life easier for "Serious" Style Developers.
If no attention is paid to make life easier for Extension developers.
and no steps are taken to ensure that ... and it is as if the message is "Who Cares let them rewrite, even it it looks the same has the same HTML ... as long as I try that new php code .. it's OK"

Than yes it is a play ground to test, learn, improve and showoff...
Being myself an Extension developer I have to chime on this.
Documentation is provided by phpBB to us in order to take care of changes, both for styles and extensions.
I don't know when/where your issue (if any) began. Is this a rant about a style developer "not able" to port his own Style to the major upgrade release? Care to expand? :)

Before to upgrading to a major version the end user needs to check if the extensions/styles are already available for the new version, if not ask the developers to upgrade those or post a request/ask someone to port them. Or avoid to use them or use the new major version till the wishes have been got satisfied.

And yes, having a play ground to test, learn, improve and show-off has been always the right motivation to continue learning and share, be it for free or not. Nothing is due, just a thank you from the end user, if any.

As an example, I do some custom (and not) phpBB works. I release the stuff that works but being myself continuosly learning and improving my skills I am bound to improve and release new versions of the same stuff (for free), just for my pleasure and show-off.

That's the spirit, take what you get for free and don't blaim anyone.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by Hanakin » Wed May 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Also would like to chime in here to provide some assurance/insight/recomendations. We try to take great care for making changes to phpbb's theme, there are different limits between the different release types that we put on our selves to achieve this.

We have three types of releases version/major/minor

3 - version release, no restrictions this is a full change in no way meant to be compatible with the previous version and rarely happens
3.2 - major release this has some restrictions placed on it to maintain backwards compatibility, but can be broken if a strong case can be made for it as is the case with the icons you referred to previously. happens every 1-2 years or 10 as is the case with 3.1
3.2.1 - minor version restrictions are hard set and cannot/should not be broken but we are only human and occasionally something that we did not catch makes it through which is where the style authors are usful so that we can try to fix it. happens frequently to combat bugs and what not.

given this lets look at a specific exp:

The icons were not implemented in a way that was recommended by industry standards or font-awsome themselves, did not allow for complete compatibility with screen readers, were not easy to use/ customize/edit on your part as a style developer or a board admin. There is a very lengthy discussion that took place on area51 where anyone can raise concerns: https://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopi ... 7c#p284641. The discussion then can continue on the tracker when the ticket is created: https://tracker.phpbb.com/browse/PHPBB3-12769 it did not in this case but anyone can also weigh in there. Lastly the discussion finally continues on the specific pull request on github: https://github.com/phpbb/phpbb/pull/3851 also where anyone can continue to raise concerns about the specific code changes themselves. Also the icons are going to change again in 3.3 because technology has shifted away from font based icons go figure we adopted a technology on its way out :(. However we are looking at this to try and make it as easy a transition as possible. fontAwsome 5 will have a framework for converting the existing code to svg versions that may be a solution to avoid changing the code too much if at all which may be an option, but its too soon to tell.

As for your specific concern about quality styles and the specific style that you are referring to PBTech...This is a great style, but not related to anything that you pointed out. PBTechs original author left the project prior to the release of 3.2 and the project was picked up by another individual. This is why its not a 3.2 style, futher complicating its update is the fact that its 1 of several themes in a line of themes that was based on the same framework. The new author chose to completely re-write the themes to make it easier on him to manage them which happens when you switch authors as its hard to understand someone else's code, however in doing so the framework was removed making it somewhat slower to rapidly update the styles all at once requiring individual releases which is why it has not been ported yet. However he is working on it just give him time.

As for the original quote that started this discussion...you missed the point and some of the recommendations that was also in the same post I believe.

The issues is not just with us making changes but also the way in which the styles are made/used/updated/tweaked and they way the template inheritance system currently works which in my opinion is flawed somewhat.

You should not be using the default theme...ever!...even if you only intend to use prosilver or whatever the default theme is in the future. Never use the default theme. Always duplicate the theme and give it a custom name. Then create a new css file with the custom name and include it as the last file in stylesheets.css and place any and all changes/tweaks/new css in this file(you can use preprocessors if you like but have them all render to this file. This way when a release happens the only thing that needs to be looked at for making fixes is this one file that you control and organize(or your scss/less files) and any changes to the html files which are usually very minor unless a theme has a complete re-write of a prosilver component which will require a little more work but not much, 1-2 hours most likely.

This i how you future proof a theme. This way you only have to update specifically what we fixed and you can easily keep an updated version as changes to the next release get merged by following the repo on github. ;)

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by paulie » Wed May 17, 2017 10:45 pm

_Vinny_ wrote:
Tue May 16, 2017 5:10 am
Each major release there are significant changes that improve the style.

- 3.2: css3 gradient
I tend to agree with MohamedAG to a large degree.

My current set up uses 3.0.12 and Prosilver. I'm due to upgrade to 3.2 next week. After tweaking the colours here and there, I just know that my Members aren't going to notice that much difference in 'look' from the 3.0.12 version of Prosilver to the 3.2 version of Prosilver.

'Gradients'? Who cares? I've binned most of them off in my 3.2! Nobody on my Forum will notice anyway, it's something bloated that really doesn't need to be included. My Members couldn't care less about whether the Forum list starts off light blue at the top and darkens towards the bottom or vice-versa. They just want a place where they can express their views.

I'm sorry to say it, but using a phpBB Forum - as I have for the last 12 years - really is starting to become a chore and to see (above) that font based icons are going to be binned in the next version merely highlights that point. We face yet more messing about and for what? They say that 'you get what you pay for'. That is becoming more and more true with every version of phpBB that is released.

Keeping things simple works. Every single time. I think that has been forgotten somewhere.
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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by _Vinny_ » Thu May 18, 2017 4:45 am

paulie wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 10:45 pm
'Gradients'? Who cares?
by using CSS3 gradients you can reduce download time and bandwidth usage. In addition, elements with gradients look better when zoomed, because the gradient is generated by the browser.
https://www.w3schools.com/css/css3_gradients.asp

;)


The improvement is not only visually. We have improvements in several ways.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by david63 » Thu May 18, 2017 8:34 am

Can I add another perspective to this?

I am not a style developer but I am an extension developer and some changes to the core style do impact on extensions which need then need to be updated. Whilst this is not as onerous task as updating a style it is still something that we can do without.

As a user I find it particularly frustrating that I have to wait several weeks for the style that I use to be upgraded to the latest version of phpBB - OK there is a possible argument that style developers could work with pre-releases of phpBB to have their styles ready for the release, but that is up to the individual developer.

What I am noticing though is that several style developers appear to have abandoned their phpBB styles and I fear that there may well be no further updates/fixes done to some styles (actually the same can possibly be said about some extensions) which may in turn lead to some style/extension developers moving away from phpBB (as has already happened) and into only providing "paid for" styles/extensions, which incidentally will have not passed phpBB validation.

To further complicate matters there are many members who believe that the time is right for a complete overhaul of the default phpBB style which if/when it happens will mean that probably all styles will need to be rewritten due to changes in the whole template/css frameworks - both of which will also impact on extensions.

At the end of the day I cannot see any easy answer, either phpBB stays "stagnant" and then makes major changes every 10 years or so or it progresses making smaller changes at more frequent intervals - I doubt that there is no middle ground and I do not know which is the better option.
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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by paulie » Thu May 18, 2017 9:31 am

_Vinny_ wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 4:45 am
paulie wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 10:45 pm
'Gradients'? Who cares?
by using CSS3 gradients you can reduce download time and bandwidth usage. In addition, elements with gradients look better when zoomed, because the gradient is generated by the browser.
https://www.w3schools.com/css/css3_gradients.asp

;)


The improvement is not only visually. We have improvements in several ways.
That's all fine and dandy and I'm sure it's all very impressive to those in programming and development circles, but as I suggested earlier, over here in the real world, none of my Forum Members could care less about 'Gradients'. It means nothing. Zip. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that on the link you provided, some of those Gradients look completely tacky and nasty, I don't see any of those as "improvements" at all and I really wouldn't want any of those on my Forum :?

Sometimes, just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Less is sometimes more.
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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by Hanakin » Fri May 19, 2017 1:22 pm

you are missing the point a lot of the changes have noticeable impact on your users, you or them may not realize it; but they do...a lot of improvements you highlight were made to increase the render speed. moreover a lot of changes were made to make the theme work on other devices. The problems here are larger than you realize david hinted at a lot of it. Code stops working overtime so maintenance is required, however the current default theme of prosilver is extremely difficult to maintain or make changes to which is the biggest driving factor over anything as to why themes become abandoned.

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Re: Why should we trash Amazing Styles for every releases ?

Post by paulie » Fri May 19, 2017 6:52 pm

Hanakin wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 1:22 pm
... a lot of improvements you highlight were made to increase the render speed.
Like the use of Font Awesome Icons? Yeah, that went well didn't it.

As regards to the Gradients and "render speed", just exactly how much load time is this reckoned to save because since I dropped them, none of my Members even noticed they've been removed either. Pointless. I haven't noticed any slow loading issues at all since removal either. Bang! Loaded. Are we talking barely measurable fractions of a second here?

As I stated above and it pains me to say it again, but phpBB is now becoming a chore to run and maintain. It never used to be. I know of one person with an absolutely huge board who has dropped phpBB in favour of XenForo and another with a fairly large board who migrated to vBulletin. I'll decide what I'm going to do when 3.3 appears but at the moment - as you can probably gather, I'm seriously considering moving away to a paid option. I don't think I'm the only one. Enough is becoming enough.
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