Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB development"

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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by igorw » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:30 pm

LordVetinari wrote:Must we all install Symfony and the plug-ins which will be used by phpBB? I mean, it is nice, that CKEditor is as a plug-in available and can then perhaps easily integrated into phpBB, but for me phpBB stands for not much dependencies.
So is phpBB in the end only a plugin of Symfony?
It is most likely for phpBB to ship together with Symfony. So the Symfony part would be included in the package.

Since PHP 5.2 there's lots of new libraries included with PHP making lots of the custom phpBB3 libraries obsolete (for example zip archiving). This allows reduction of "internal dependencies". As for external dependencies, phpBB has used some third party libraries which were slightly modified (PEAR Diff, jabber) and then included with the distribution. But of course it's true that most components are custom coded (dbal, templating, etc). Using existing solutions instead of reinventing the wheel seems like a good idea to me, if they match the requirements.

phpBB would then "only" be a plugin/bundle of Symfony. What does this mean for the end-users? Not much in my opinion. Except differences in quality and development speed of the software.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by dsavi » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:39 pm

In one line, my thoughts: This is insanely good for phpBB.

Community interaction is exactly what makes Blender great. You've got a patch? Just submit it. Feature suggestion? Just ask about it on the forums. The antithesis of this is GIMP, and to a lesser extent, I'm afraid, phpBB. GIMP's community interaction is horrible, if even existent. Their website has not been updated for four months, and it's been six months since even a bugfix release to the unstable version- Which is fine in itself, but to get any news of how the development progresses you are forced to look on other sites. Blender's website is updated nearly every day with news, tutorials and news about features coming to Blender.
The problem is that GIMPs developers do not realize how Blender's community interaction and inclusion in the development process has generated interest in Blender from users and new developers alike. It's something I think phpBB can learn from too.

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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by 3Di » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:35 pm

eviL<3 wrote:It is most likely for phpBB to ship together with Symfony. So the Symfony part would be included in the package.
AFAIK Symfony is not released under the GPL but Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 , I'm not quite sure the phpBB's Devs will use symfony as it is but they will modify it to fit some of their needs (ours), as it happened in the past, in that case the resulting work needs to be released under the same license, I guess.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by igorw » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:01 pm

No.

symfony is released under the MIT License, as found on the symfony website. The Symfony 2 preview also includes this license.

EDIT: There is an interesting inconsistency (at the time of this edit) though. The Symfony 2 preview release includes the MIT license. on the website, however the new bsd license is listed.
Last edited by igorw on Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by 3Di » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:05 pm

eviL<3 wrote:No.

symfony is released under the MIT License, as found on the symfony website. The Symfony 2 preview also includes this license.
Are we talking about the same stuff? http://symfony-reloaded.org/quick-tour-part-4
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by igorw » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:11 pm

That is the license of the "quick guide", not of the software.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by 3Di » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:15 pm

eviL<3 wrote:That is the license of the "quick guide", not of the software.
I stand corrected. Thank you. :)
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by ChriZathens » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:15 am

All these are great news!
But I believe it is time to setup a system for accepting the feature requests. I mean something like I propose something, people can discuss and vote for its use and so on...Although this will eventually lead to a dead end since what I think is crucial, others don't want it...

I feel like going into circles here... :?
Can anyone think of an effective system to propose and discuss about new additions for 3.1 ?
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by Martin Truckenbrodt » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:46 pm

Hello,
I have a dream:
Websites are living from and with their interactive contents and features. So IMO the connection point for the community is the communication. This should be the main important thing.
So e.g. phpBB3 should not be a part of Joomla or other similar distributions. The Joomla PlugIns should be phpBB PlugIns.

BTW: Just make phpBB more flexible to add PlugIns (AddOns). In my experience at least the MCP module system needs to be rewritten to make it usable for PlugIn MCP permissions.

For me it doesn't matter if phpBB4 is using symfony or not. It seems that Symfony is just the next fundamental thing phpBB needs to run like it still needs a OS, network connectivity to the users, a webserver, a database and PHP (and some smaller CGI like things).

I'm just hoping that some basic and core features will be added and optimized. I think phpBB should be a complete and perfect core package including all usefull and needed things about all usefull SPAM prevention technics, account registration and user and group management, permissions, forums and posting, PMs, multi language support and database maintenance. Then a lot of existing phpBB3 MODs will not be needed in future. IMO this would be the most effective change for existing and future phpBB using webmasters and administrators. All other things may be PlugIns. Here I mean AddOns and not small MODs which better should be called code snipsets. I can't believe that all things realized by phpBB3 MODs at the moment could be realized as phpBB4 PlugIns in future.

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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by 64bitguy » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:30 pm

Inviting User Participation.... Please allow me to add my two cents to what collectively, will probably surpass a dollar or two from the community; especially as discussions fork in new directions.

First, I have been using, modifying and integrating phpBB code for myself and others for about 7 years now. I know, a relatively short period of time in the scheme of things. My past adjustments have included successfully converting my versions of phpBB2 and phpBB3 to 100% UTF-8/HTML 4.01 Transitional, XHTML Transitional 1.0 and XHTML 1.1 Strict Compliance while also building both solutions into a couple of different CMS/Portal solutions (including my own compilations). I have read (literally) every line of code in phpBB and on my primary development phpBB3 dev site, have recoded 90% of the baseline theme files and a fair amount of non-theme related files. With that in mind, here are my thoughts.

I would begin by saying up front that I've heard this "invite user comments" stuff before from the lead developers at phpBB (I dunno, at least 3 times in recent memory); however, inviting input and altering development directions, policies, concepts and developer perspectives are entirely different matters.

For all that it is, (again, IMHO) phpBB seems to lose itself from version to version in terms of how plans for the future impact the existing user (administrator) base. Grandiose ideas and conceptualized seamless migration at the commencement of development cycles are instead followed by dramatic shifts in methodologies creating not only an excessively long (and literally unpredictable) development cycle (Go to area51 and look at the time-line between when phpBB3 was announced and the last of the "Is it soup yet?" posts!) When something new (in the old days, as well as recent ones) is actually released the standard processes to "upgrade" have resulted in dramatic impacts to the Web masters utilizing the "older" solutions. Please don't flame me, we all know this to be true, especially in the case of "heavily modded boards".

Statements like "We want clean, secure, standards compliant, base-code"; has thus far resulted in new solutions that all too often fail to deliver adequate baseline "features". This isn't to say that phpBB hasn't evolved with a better core (I'm talking about revising PHP coding methodologies to catch up with PHP itself, fixing vulnerabilities and separating presentation code from function code); rather, I'm speaking to the fact that for many Web masters, "upgrading" literally equates to losing something or many things. In terms of robust phpBB2 sites, phpBB3 literally meant, "Starting Over".

What's more, the new theme solutions have completely and utterly failed to provide a CLEAR, FULLY-FUNCTIONAL, W3C COMPLIANT migration path from one platform to the next (as has been the case with every installment of phpBB). Adding insult to injury, official phpBB3 Theme Designers themselves have failed to properly grasp the requirements of the current version by actually implementing (and demonstrating by example) a single FULLY COMPLIANT baseline theme for the latest release (one that actually takes advantage of ALL of the EXISTING phpBB3 baseline features!) Sure, some new features may be in there, but no, there are no themes actually coded to include them all!

There in fact is not a single XHTML 1.0 Transitional or XHTML 1.1 Strict Standards compliant theme for phpBB3 in existence (beyond my own and a 1 or two others that are hand built). It bothers me that phpBB3 continues to promote the default theme (and many others) as W3C XHTML and CSS Compliant, when in truth, that is anything but the case. 1 Error = Non-Compliant; but more importantly, deprecated functionality that is non-compliant is just that; non-compliant, regardless of how "unimportant" other developers deem the errors.

The most serious problem (again, take it with a grain of salt) with the entire solution is exasperated through "MODS" that somehow (don't ask me how) are both "Accepted and Approved" (by God only knows who, for Goodness knows what reasons given, that they were also) concurrently, "non-compliant to phpBB or W3C coding standards and practices". In other words, it is incorrectly coded, has bugs, is insecure, but we're "approving" it!

Okay, so let's say you (Joe Web Master) go ahead and install the solution, spend a couple of hundred hours modifying it to eliminate the existing compliance errors and get your theme looking the way you want... you've added some basic features like comment controls, quick reply functionality, attachments and the normal things that EVERYONE adds (because those aren't included as a baseline feature) and then the first time you click "Update" in administration, it all goes away. Then how do you feel? In two words, "Let Down".

I'm all for evolution, I'm all for 100% W3C Compliant themes/template systems and class integration (I've been doing those things for the past 7 years already!); but more than ANYTHING, I would really like to see functionality of mod features that are commonly accepted as "must haves" integrated into baseline code, even if it means having to rewrite the MOD to make it (also) 100% secure and compliant to all standards and yes, even it if involves an expense!

I realize that community solutions will probably begin by having issues; however, no "mod" should be "Approved", "Endorsed", or even "Recommended" if it cannot be seamlessly integrated into the baseline, be compliant to PHP and phpBB coding standards as well as W3C Coding/Presentation standards while at the same time, potentially "dead-ending" the entire solution because of having no update/upgrade path.

At the same time, I do not believe that baseline (security) updates should trash a board that has already implemented mods. In other words, there must be a better way to perform updates! All too often, great modifications (implemented by thousands of Web Masters) are simply ignored by the baseline code writers (as if those mods simply do not exist, even though downloaded from phpBB's site itself). Much can be learned by looking at what people are doing to phpBB, and WHY!

I can give a quick example of two quick reply mods that I found. Both were approved; however, neither worked properly (or fully) and neither was coded to current PHP/MySQL or phpBB standards, nor were they W3C compliant; however, I was able to see what each author was attempting to do and from that, I was able to write an entirely new mod using some of the code from each of the first two mods that I had found in phpBB's mods sections. The Bottom line? There are some good (what should be "baseline") ideas out there, why not simply integrate some of them? Even having them there (integrated into baseline) and turned off (in administration) would be better than simply ignoring the fact that yes, people actually do want additional features and yes, they are going to look for them HERE first (at phpBB!!...) and wow.. yes, people have actually installed them, so yes... when they click "update" they don't want to lose them (or their whole website)!

I should (in fairness) mention that I am more than happy to help (as is probably the entire community); but I think a really good idea would be to evolve FEATURES (and administrative control mechanisms), to fix theme coding and standardization issues, eliminate all non-compliant code (and provide COMPLETE and compliant examples for others to work from). Finally, (to mimic the comments around about Ubuntu) I would start a repository that classified modifications into groups based on Compliance to Coding Standards and Production readiness for integration with each phpBB version.

If a bug in a modification opens a security hole (that shouldn't be there in the first place) because the mod wasn't coded in compliance to PHP, phpBB or W3C standards, it shouldn't have a title saying that it is approved by anyone, for anyone. Instead, the necessity (or desire) that it serves and the solution that is implemented should be judged on what it does, how it does it and if it satisfies the aforementioned coding standards while being the most effective "method" to satisfy the requirement. If the solution fails these tests, there should be a path to help make any modification compliant by way of some official (or commercial arm of the group). For example, you pay $xyz and we can make your modification 100% Compliant to these standards! (A Path!). Included of course, an official acceptance testing, review and certification process! While someone (or a group of someones) is paying for the modification(s); the resulting code would of course remain open-source (as part of the official certification process) and potentially further modified and/or integrated into baseline later.

In my mind, valuable solutions/modifications/features (that already exist, but that need updating) may then be implemented into future revision baseline code more rapidly, with more confidence and of course while the process itself is eased by way of already satisfying the review and certification processes and probably a great deal of revision by way of user feedback and the time passed during evolution of the modification itself.

Some of these mods have been around for years (and are still plagued by little bugs and compliance errors because nobody is "officially" supporting them, nobody is requiring that they ensure compliance to ANY standards, and because in most cases nobody beyond the original author has been working on them. That isn't to say the code sucks, contrary... in many (if not most cases), phpBB MODS code is simply dated or someone stopped working on it and moved on to something else (note to self, stop doing that).

In closing... thanks for the feedback about what is going on here. It sounds better than what has happened over the last 6 months at Vbulletin; though I guess with everything changing again here, only time will tell.... I've been wrong before. Classes are definitely the way to go (as many of us have already done, years ago); but I've got to wonder what will be the cost to everyone else that wants to follow a predictable upgrade path?

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?

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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by naderman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:47 pm

Hey,

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.

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. 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. 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.

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.
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. 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.

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!
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by Dog Cow » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:53 pm

64bitguy wrote:(and provide COMPLETE and compliant examples for others to work from).
That's a good point, because I have seen far too many phpBB2 MODs which could only described as "monkey see, monkey do." That is, the MOD authors were merely copying the work of their own peers and just changing some variable names or strings. The problem was, the original code itself wasn't up to standard, so any derivatives were therefore not up to standard either.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by updown » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:05 am

64bitguy wrote: [...]
Statements like "We want clean, secure, standards compliant, base-code"; has thus far resulted in new solutions that all too often fail to deliver adequate baseline "features". This isn't to say that phpBB hasn't evolved with a better core (I'm talking about revising PHP coding methodologies to catch up with PHP itself, fixing vulnerabilities and separating presentation code from function code); rather, I'm speaking to the fact that for many Web masters, "upgrading" literally equates to losing something or many things. In terms of robust phpBB2 sites, phpBB3 literally meant, "Starting Over".
[...]
I totally agree to nearly all of the statements of 64bitguy (except for the W3C-stuff, I've no opinion about this). What I care about are my feeling that there is no real "masterplan", no really scalable future-save concept, no competitive feature-solutions - except architecture-strategies. When I read stuff from the devs like "phpbb is a board, not a calendar", while until now (over 2 years after Olympus 3.0.0) not even one validated calendar-MOD exists, but many many many users want that, and other competitive boards deliver that functionality, that's poor. No competitive future-oriented concept concerning features. The same with QR: Oh god, how many discussions by the devs "we do not want that", "no that will never be implemented in the basecode", "no no no" - at least until 3.0.6.! Now you can throw most of the QR-Mods away that have emerged in the meanwhile. No competitive future-oriented concept concerning features. Or feeds, it took a while until 3.0.6 - better say until 3.0.7 due to a lot of bugs - for a standard-feature! This is a must-have feature for boards since a few years! Or take modern themes with AJAX-Optimization - all missing (OK, Ascraeus will do it, maybe in a few years)! phpBB is great! But phpBB is too plain concerning features - and with features I either mean innovative features that no other board-software has or at least features that paid-boards like vBulletin have.

So what do most admins do to be competitive with other boards in their matter: Modding as much additional features and tools for their users (besides content). OK, with next version of phpBB you have the choice: Update to the New Version and leave most additional features completely behind (not good for most board-users), or keep using the outdated (and soon unsupported) board-version. Look how many MODs for phpbb2 are still not available for phpbb3 - over more than 2 years after the official release. That's a real problem besides architecture-strategies, and I hope that the "new strategy" will also "move on to that".

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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by naderman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:23 am

To counter this argument about phpBB being supposed to have all the features, MODs provide, built in, I have met quite a lot of people who believe phpBB3 (vanilla) has too many features that do not truly add to the board's real purpose.

How can we best meet both concepts? In my eyes the solution are plugins. Customisability is key. Of course MODs have a lot of issues because they are not just "plugins", and we will have to gradually improve on that.
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Re: Discuss: Blog "Moving on - the future of phpBB developme

Post by 64bitguy » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:46 am

naderman wrote:Hey,

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!
naderman wrote: 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?
naderman wrote: 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.
naderman wrote: 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?
naderman wrote: 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.
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!
Thanks for the super fast reply! 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!
Steph

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