What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

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Mulsiphix
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What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Mulsiphix » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:38 am

I've spent three weeks customizing a non-prosilver style that was released in 2017; itself an update of a 2015 creation. Just a ton of CSS work and template editing. It occurred to me today that eventually, because phpBB continually upgrades, that this style will no longer work. I will either need to pay someone to update it to the latest phpBB version, or go with a new style altogether. This really bothers me and I am now trying to decide what to do.

My ultimate goal is to have a style that I can customize once and rarely be required to adjust again. The only style this is truly possible with is prosilver, since it is the officially supported style. I know a lot of folks out there prefer non-prosilver styles though, so I'm curious, how do you approach this problem?

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Gumboots » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am

Just curious: which style is it? I'm thinking the easier way might be to just start with Prosilver and do the minimum to make it look how you want it. That way it's already "converted" and you just throw some eye candy at it.

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by david63 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:41 am

But isn't that the whole point of "child styles"? You take a basic style (i.e. prosilver) and then create a child style from it with the changes that you want. That way whenever there is an update prosilver gets updated and you only have minimal changes (if any at all) to make to your child style.
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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Gumboots » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:57 am

Exactly. Most styles are pretty simple things, and can probably be duplicated on top of Prosilver without too much bother.

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:42 pm

and, keep in mind that even prosilver will go away . maybe not soon but probably not to far off.

they are already working on a completelly new style.


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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by warmweer » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:45 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:42 pm
they are already working on a completelly new style.
I was under the impression that that was planned for phpBB 4 and not for phpBB 3.3
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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Dan Stylez » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:33 pm

This is one of the reasons that there are a fair few phpBB 2 forums that haven't updated due to needing all their styles and mods converted.

phpBB 4 will is having a new style, Chameleon, which I guess will most likely be the end for Prosilver.

I've been working on forum styles for over 10 years and phpBB's Prosilver hasn't really changed greatly since I first remember it, becoming responsive was probably the one major change that stands out.

When phpBB 4 is released I suspect that Chameleon will also be around for as long as Prosilver so my plan will be to start experimenting with it as soon as the phpBB 4 beta is release.

I remember when one of the hosted forum platforms updated and forced everyone into using a new modern style - I bagged a lot of customers by offering CSS codes to make that new style look like their old styles (they only allowed CSS edits) but when phpBB 4 is released I wouldn't be surprised to see style authors offering styles that resemble some of the popular old styles for free.

When Subsilver and it's tables were dropped there were probably a lot of people who had the exact same question but thanks to Allan Style Subsilver authors and admins have been able to bring some of the old Subsilver styles back to life.
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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by david63 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:11 pm

Dan Stylez wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:33 pm
will most likely be the end for Prosilver.
And if the whole process is not handled correctly it could be the end for phpBB - just my opinion.
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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Christian 2.0 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:17 pm

Mulsiphix wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:38 am
My ultimate goal is to have a style that I can customize once and rarely be required to adjust again.
Unfortunately that's not going to happen with any style, whether free, premium, prosilver-based, prosilver-child, or built from the ground up.

The phpBB updates you see every few months fix bugs, add security and pave the way for new features / better extensions by adding template events to the front-end. There are occasionally some cosmetic changes, which of course you're welcome to ignore. But there is no such thing as a maintenance-free style for phpBB

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by eeji » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:20 pm

Currently the beauty of prosilver child styles is the ease of updating minor versions. My most complicated style is a conversion of an old subsilver based style, but now based on (and a child of) prosilver and takes only around 10 to 15 minutes to update using the code changes published over on Area 51 as a guide.
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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Mulsiphix » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:46 pm

Gumboots wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am
Just curious: which style is it?
Basic. Originally created by Arty for 3.1.x, updated by _Vinny_ for 3.2, and updated again by MrGaby for 3.2.7. While there has been an author supporting it for the last five years, I don't imagine this will last forever.

Gumboots wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am
I'm thinking the easier way might be to just start with Prosilver and do the minimum to make it look how you want it. That way it's already "converted" and you just throw some eye candy at it.
This is what I've been thinking. Your idea is my leading plan. I'm still so new to this though, that I have no idea how much of Basic I need to recreate the look of Basic. I truly love this style. Though I'm hacking it to pieces, going for a minimalist approach to forum elements. For that reason, I know a lot of the code in Basic is useless to me. I'm probably better off just copying and pasting what I want and leaving the rest.

david63 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:41 am
But isn't that the whole point of "child styles"? You take a basic style (i.e. prosilver) and then create a child style from it with the changes that you want. That way whenever there is an update prosilver gets updated and you only have minimal changes (if any at all) to make to your child style.
That is genius. Despite realizing that styles inherited things from one another, I hadn't figured out that this made them future proof, in the sense that you don't have to start over. This brings me a great deal of relief :oops:.

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:42 pm
and, keep in mind that even prosilver will go away . maybe not soon but probably not to far off.
Christian 2.0 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:17 pm
Unfortunately that's not going to happen with any style, whether free, premium, prosilver-based, prosilver-child, or built from the ground up.
Dan Stylez wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:33 pm
I've been working on forum styles for over 10 years and phpBB's Prosilver hasn't really changed greatly since I first remember it, becoming responsive was probably the one major change that stands out.
And I'm back to feeling like there is no point to even messing with Basic at this point. Starting over at this point is probably rather pointless, considering nothing is future proof and Basic is working just fine. When I posted this question I had the idea in my head that each new revision (3.2.5 to 3.2.8) had the potential to break the style.

But from what I'm hearing here, that shouldn't be much of a concern. And in the next 2 to 5 years (I'm guessing here, but it seems reasonable) I'll have to restyle my forum no matter what. So... why rock the boat? Thank you all very much for your help. At least I know where things stand moving forward. This information has taken a lot of the worry about of this situation for me :lol:

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Hanakin » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:58 pm

This is something that we are looking to make easier going forward with 4.0 and chameleon which will break the style up into smaller more maintainable pieces. Also by adding a library of vast customizations that can be swapped in/out to provide curated adjustments maintained by the dev team/community.

I can say that we take any and all modifications to the front-end(prosilver) vary seriously and have made the decision to only make changes that fix major bugs but not affecting the backwards compatibility. What that means is in an A.B.C release there should be no changes affecting your theme. In an A.B.0 release there may be some changes. In a A.0.0 release assume everything changes.

With that said we have made the decision to work more on 4.0 than to pushing changes in 3 related to the front-end. So you should not see a lot of them and if you do it will not affect your theme/style.

From a timeline standpoint 4.0/Chameleon is not coming soon not even relatively soon. There is a lot of front-end code to work out and even more back-end code to be accomplished.

On the side of non-prosilver child themes... This is not something we have control over. I can say that in 4.0 it will be somewhat easier for them as well based on the approach we are envisioning for inheritance in the new style template system. However Basic a child theme so not sure what the issue is there.

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Christian 2.0 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:03 pm

Mulsiphix wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:46 pm
When I posted this question I had the idea in my head that each new revision (3.2.5 to 3.2.8) had the potential to break the style.

But from what I'm hearing here, that shouldn't be much of a concern.

Well, the update from 3.2.6 -> 3.2.7 contained a security update that addressed a vulnerability. Due to the nature of the fix, template changes were needed to add additional form data to the front-end.

Incompatibility between 3.2.7 core and pre-3.2.7 themes would cause an error on login.

And so it's pretty important to assess the nature of the update before determining whether (or not) to apply it to your style.

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by EA117 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:17 pm

Christian 2.0 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:03 pm
Incompatibility between 3.2.7 core and pre-3.2.7 themes would cause an error on login.
Agreed. Also, further affirming the "they're not really intended to break styles", the security issue that was fixed between phpBB 3.2.5 and phpBB 3.2.6 didn't need to break all the styles, but was initially implemented that way. After the scope of the impact was realized, this was quickly remedied in phpBB 3.2.7 to "forgive" styles which hadn't been updated yet, and allow them to still successfully login.

When I think of "expected issues for a style which hasn't been updated", it's not "the style will be completely borked", but rather that the style will not have support for events which had been introduced, or minor fixes to things like link targets or parameter quoting, etc. Things your users might never notice until in a very specific situation, or when running a particular new extension which required the latest phpBB version.

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Re: What Is Your Attitude Towards Styles And Future phpBB Upgrades?

Post by Gumboots » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:24 pm

Mulsiphix wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:46 pm
Gumboots wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am
Just curious: which style is it?
Basic. Originally created by Arty for 3.1.x, updated by _Vinny_ for 3.2, and updated again by MrGaby for 3.2.7. While there has been an author supporting it for the last five years, I don't imagine this will last forever.
Gumboots wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am
I'm thinking the easier way might be to just start with Prosilver and do the minimum to make it look how you want it. That way it's already "converted" and you just throw some eye candy at it.
This is what I've been thinking. Your idea is my leading plan. I'm still so new to this though, that I have no idea how much of Basic I need to recreate the look of Basic. I truly love this style. Though I'm hacking it to pieces, going for a minimalist approach to forum elements. For that reason, I know a lot of the code in Basic is useless to me. I'm probably better off just copying and pasting what I want and leaving the rest.
I took a look at it. As far as I can tell at the moment (from a quick look at the demo) you could do that on top of Prosilver. It would need some template editing, but not much. I have been contemplating revising some markup myself and really, it's just HTML. The other thing is you'd need CSS changes, including responsive these days, but that is just a case of "See what looks like crap and fix it".

If you have already been hacking it to pieces then you probably already know enough to handle whatever needs doing, including updating the thing for patches when necessary. But if you already have a version that is compatible with 3.2.7 then I don't think keeping it updated yourself would be beyond you. At this stage that is probably the easiest option, if the current maintainer bows out.

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