thanks for that pretty long response. I'll try to answer as best as I can.
I agree that one of the important goals for phpBB3.1 has to be an acceptable amount of backwards compatibility. We have stated before that the regular phpBB automatic updater should be sufficient to upgrade to 3.1, opposed to a conversion process like the 2.0 to 3.0 upgrade. We will not rewrite existing code just for the sake of rewriting it, unless we see really big problems that hinder the addition of new features. We are well aware of the long winded development phases phpBB has gone through so far. Consequently we have come up with measures like the feature freeze date described in my blog post. We want to quickly deliver new features in a backward compatible way. One could argue that we have already done just that to a degree with 3.0.6.
As for user participation, I did not use the term "user comments", I really mean "user participation". The project will not get to the point that you would like to see it at without your help. Part of that is discussion, but a much larger part is reporting bugs, writing patches and getting involved in quality assurance. Trying to involve the community more in this way is a gradual process and has already been started by my predecessor.
I'll try not to be too long winded in my closing remarks, but I think you got most of what I was talking about. As for the above, yeah I figured as much; but it should be noted that not everyone has enough time (or energy) to restart from scratch ... again... Most people (the people you, I, and well.. frankly thousands) are writing this code for are not looking to re-invent the wheel, but rather refine it. Maybe more of us need to say THAT outloud!
phpBB2 has been supported for 7 years and has only ever had bugfix releases. Admittedly due to the way phpBB2 was written these often broke MODs but there was really no way to get more backwards compatability with that version. At some point however you just have to break with backward compatability if you want to come up with something new. That is what phpBB3 did.
True enough, but again... 3.0 was not a short road (I know, I was testing it for years
naderman wrote:We have added the auto updater in phpBB3 and we think a lot more about not breaking MODs in phpBB3 bugfix releases. I would call that a step forward.
Again, true enough; however, in my experience with 3.0 updates, "thinking about"
unfortunately hasn't translated into not breaking
boards. Every automated update has crashed every 3.0 board under my direction. I wish it weren't so; but that hasn't been the case (your mileage may vary)
. I should mention that I am a big fan of annotated updates, but alas those are a thing of the past aren't they?
With phpBB 3.1 we want to look at improving phpBB's interaction with MODs, we want to reduce the amount of required code changes in MODs and have deliver a MOD installer with the standard phpBB package. Obviously this means that we will have to make sure updating works fine even if you use that MOD installer. Another step in the right direction. While annoying for the update process MODs are also what make phpBB so popular, the system itself does not come with too many features and you can add the ones you really need. I for one would not like to move away from that concept. Now phpBB4, which I mention, is a long time away and like phpBB3 will break backwards compatability to truly achieve something new. Keep in mind however, we do not intend to stop supporting phpBB3 anytime soon. We will release 3.1, probably 3.2 and maybe more feature releases.
With that in mind, this was the jist of my original comments regarding evolving 3.0 code to include much wanted features (and integrating good, existing) mods.
Now as for your problems with MODs, I agree that the average MOD quality is rather low. But if you look at http://www.phpbb.com/mods/
and the MOD forums on here, we really try to educate MOD authors. On the other hand the phpBB.com mod database would become entirely irrelevant if we would require MODs to match the standards we expect from core code, since nobody would submit their MODs anymore. You can find the MOD team's exact policies on what minimum standards are required to get into the database here: http://www.phpbb.com/mods/policies/
Maybe a MOD team member can give you some more info about this. I like the idea of having a MODs at multiple levels, one basic compliance (similar to what we have) and one which matches the core code. Maybe you can formulate your ideas for 3.1 in this area and post them in a new topic in this forum to discuss with the rest of the community and the MOD team?
What you ask of MOD support would certainly be great, but you have to keep in mind that a lot of MODs are developed by people who are not professional programmers, a lot of MODs are developed in the author's free time and a lot of MOD authors are not interested in supporting their MODs or working on their MODs for money. If you have ideas how to improve MOD support in general I'd be happy to hear them and I'm sure other people would be interested, too.
I guess that too is exactly what I am talking about. Mods created by people that are NOT "Professional Programmers" should be scrutinized
by people that ARE
"Professional Programmers"; especially in a situation where the vendor
is slapping themselves on the back about how strong security is. The fact that these claims are made in the same breath that endorsed mods
(as a matter or regular business) are being distributed that inject harmful, deprecated, non-compliant code into the baseline immediately brings into question the security practices and coding standards of the entire solution.
I think people have done a decent job trying to "describe" how things work in 3.0; however, frankly, there are not enough examples and the code remains incomplete with an unfinished theme, ZERO compliant 3rd party themes (despite the hundreds of claims to the contrary) and unrefined features which is the reason why people use mods in the first place. Meanwhile, the huge mods databases grow (in forks) as phpBB continues to distribute more of this unrefined, non-compliant to your own standards code which continues the cycles of security breaches and "breaking things" at every turn (every update or inclusion of another flawed mod).
Again, I think separation of the 2.0 and 3.0 worlds is important; however, with that said, there needs to be some serious analysis of what people are integrating into 3.0 and again, WHY!
Yes, mods exist.... I know, I've used or built tons of them... but isn't that the issue?
64bitguy wrote:I guess I shouldn't ask for too much given that I can't preview messages here at phpbb.com (without hitting preview twice), and also given that there are 100+ XHTML presentation compliance errors and a couple of thousand (yeah, 2 thousand) CSS Compliance errors on this page alone! But I digress.... or do I?
Not sure what you are refering to here? The w3c validator says this document is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
. And as for the CSS, yes there are some errors
. But if you look a little closer those are mostly from website.css & navigation.css that make use of browser specific experimental CSS3 features for our menu.
The 100+ errors I was referring to are in posting.php
pages, including the bug in the submit function. I noticed some CSS3 in there; however, most of the bugs definitely look like CSS2.1 problems... I only see like 10 CSS3.0 errors; but again.. lol.. easy enough to fix so everyone here doesn't have to be impacted by the 2000+ lines of CSS Compliance errors. I can't imagine having 2000 lines of CSS, nevermind 2000 errors!
(Clean, Compliant and Small CSS = fast load times!)
See http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/vali ... medium=all
for the phpbb.com CSS 3.0 Validation.
naderman wrote:You will not find these errors in a regular phpBB installation. There does indeed seem to be a problem with the color "darkgreen" used by a user in a signature which suggests that we do not correclty validate those colors, you could file a bug report for that if you want to help the project. The last issue is with voice-family used in our stylsheets. I'm not sure why they show up as errors there, but if we can achieve better accessibility with that simple CSS incorrectness that no browser fails to understand, that is ok with me. Again you could file a bug report about that and we could look into alternative solutions.
Again, 7+ years using every version of phpBB (including alpha 3)... I'm aware of most of the base code problems and many (far too MANY to list) mod for 3.x problems.
As a heads-up, I (and others) have been down that road in the past (filing bug reports that acknowledge the lack of compliance; but say it is not worth fixing). Using deprecated code that is not compliant to either your own standards OR
existing W3C Standards that you claim to have achieved by the way
means something is broken in the part where people make statements saying how things like compliance are important, yet the code shipped doesn't reflect either those values OR practices.
Again, I'm referring to the default theme for phpBB 3.0 (and every red-headed sister that has sprung from it). One must ask, if you can't deliver a single fully functional, 100% compliant theme; how can other theme designers know (and see) the ALL of the new features and "new coding rules"? As it is now, 100% W3C Standards Compliance is a claim unachieved. Anyone that says any different is simply wrong and I can demonstrate over 1000 different XHTML compliance errors in the code shipping right now.
Thanks for the super fast reply!
naderman wrote:Thank you again for participating in this discussion, and I look forward to reading some practical proposals on how to improve the problems you mention!
I'd love to have an HTML5/CSS3 solution; but those aren't even standards yet!
In the meantime, I'd really like to see SOMETHING evolve that was true to compliance and the ideals of 3.0. I frankly don't want to write 50 interfaces. XHTML and CSS Compliance means that I can integrate my DATA and Stylesheets with virtually any kind of hardware/software interface. Compliance errors (if nothing else) help us all understand WHY different browsers have different problems (or interpretations) of the same website. As someone that wants all of his users to have THE SAME experience, regardless of the device that is used to browse (and as someone that doesn't want to keep recoding those themes/templates), I rely on W3C compliance to ensure this happens for everyone using an Iphone, Mac, Windoze, Linux, or anything else that utilizes standards compliant browsing technology.
As for Mods, again.. I think enforcing coding standards or moving things through a cue to achieve those ends is getting to be critical (especially when unsecured/unsanitized queries put sites at risk and style/content separation theory differs from actual practices). I validate every line of code to ensure that the highest standards are enforced. The old, "your solution is only as good as your worst line of code" premise. But that's just me.
The Mods for phpBB3 really need some serious attention to address the many vulnerabilities and direct conflicts between stated acceptable coding practices versus what the mods database is offering; which are anything but compliant in any regards, yet are being distributed to end-users nevertheless.
Again, I hope everyone takes this with a grain of salt... not meant as a bash, just a (hopefully helpful) perspective of a phpBB coder, mod writer and multi-domain/multi-version administrator that would like some real evolution of what we have now. I'm just not sure if I (for one) have the strength to go through all of this again (unless I'm migrating to another baseline solution).
May the force be with you!