When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

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callumacrae
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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by callumacrae » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:09 pm

Pony99CA wrote:
Swanny wrote:You want to see a sexy forum software, check out Xenforo. XF isn't perfect but the use of a lot of whitespace gives it a much cleaner look.
Do you find the $140 price tag "sexy", too? :shock: Maybe you could offer one of the style developers $140 and get a Xenforo-like style, too.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by RMcGirr83 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:12 pm

Yummmm, bacon!
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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by Pony99CA » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:03 pm

callumacrae wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:
Swanny wrote:You want to see a sexy forum software, check out Xenforo. XF isn't perfect but the use of a lot of whitespace gives it a much cleaner look.
Do you find the $140 price tag "sexy", too? :shock: Maybe you could offer one of the style developers $140 and get a Xenforo-like style, too.
$140 is nothing compared to the cost of hiring someone to make a nice phpBB style.
I suppose that depends on what country they're in, doesn't it? Maybe $140 in the U.S. won't get a style, but what about India, Malaysia, China, etc.? There's a reason that companies outsource projects....

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by LokoLobo » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:21 pm

DavidIQ wrote:Also if you want a GREAT visual upgrade then just add bacon!
Yep Bacon makes almost everything better! :lol:

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:00 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:you do realize that the xenforo default style is very blue?

if you want white space just edit the included prosilver style or look at some of the other ones that are in development. many of them and many others will be released soon so you should have a lot to choose from.


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There is a perception issue to all of this though, Robert. Like or not, and be it fair in your opinion or not... but phpBB is perceived as being behind the times. In truth, it is in many respects. Although it is great to see the project moving forward more quickly now.

Styles, however, offer a pretty simple way to counter some of those perceptions. phpBB might be an open source project, but it is still marketing itself. Design, in effect, as much about marketing as it is about pragmatism (imo).

Look at Wordpress; they change their default theme every year, and they make quite a big thing about that, and that is generally perceived as being Good News for Wordpress - and Wordpress continues to grow. Wordpress do not sit around thinking.. "why should we? you can do all of that yourselves." They understand that their role as software developers is to provide ever-increasingly useful and nimble software.

And they do so with their annual styles not just visually, but technically too, in terms of the tools & techniques that are employed / enabled under the bonnet of those themes. It keeps things fresh, and in this fast-moving internet world we inhabit in software nowadays, people want fresh.

This is fairly apparent when you consider the attraction of forum and social media content - forums themselves draw people in precisely because they are fresh (content wise). But they often frustrate because they are not fresh in terms of new ideas or functions, or looks. New software, e.g. apps, draws people in because it brings freshness of ideas, and fresh uses. Forum software competes with this new reality.

Ultimately, people want fresh; else they perceive stale.

It goes for tools and uses and look and feel, as well as it does for content. Not on the same regularity, but people expect these non-content things to change much more regularly than they ever used to do.
Last edited by antonjw2 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by DavidIQ » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:01 am

I would say WordPress has a vested interest to keep their site "fresh" and "new" to take attention away from the various security vulnerabilities they've had over the years. ;)

We are certainly aware that the default style needs a refresh as well as the site style but there's no way you can compare this site, powered by phpBB, to WordPress, which is not nearly as complex. It's easy for them to just change their style (that's how a CMS should be after all) while the same cannot be said about themes used by forum software. Now if you told me that vBulletin or SMF, et. al changed their site theme every year then that's a different story, but that's not the case with them either as they also run a rather complex templating system in most cases with the site being powered by the underlying forum software.
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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:20 am

DavidIQ wrote:there's no way you can compare this site, powered by phpBB, to WordPress, which is not nearly as complex.
Hmm, I'm not convinced about that, David. Forums support one post-type - forum posts (well, and polls). Wordpress supports pages and posts, but multiple post-types within post. It also has a very good structure for building custom post-types, which its default themes support.

Wordpress also has a multi-site capability, allowing multiple websites supporting multiple post-types and a potentially whole variety of custom post-types - which will all natively run on its default themes. So not entirely convinced that a forum is simpler than a modern CMS.
DavidIQ wrote:We are certainly aware that the default style needs a refresh as well as the site style
Well anyway, this is good to hear as a phpBB forum admin. Again, things seem to be moving more positively for the project, these days. And I know that this can be hard and unforgiving work when sometimes the criticism comes over as sniping.
DavidIQ wrote:It's easy for them to just change their style (that's how a CMS should be after all) while the same cannot be said about themes used by forum software.
But where does the expectation come from that you should be able to change a CMS theme very easily, but not a forum one? Again, not something I would personally agree with. For instance, if you run a 'proper' website, with a forum integrated with it, and you change your CMS theme, then naturally you are going to want to change your forum theme also, as part of your custom design. In that situation the two go hand in hand.

I also feel that the 'freshness' and 'perception' aspects of my previous post are real, and that software projects in general should not overlook these factors.
Last edited by antonjw2 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:22 am

DavidIQ wrote:Now if you told me that vBulletin or SMF, et. al changed their site theme every year then that's a different story.
XenForo largely gets around this by having an awesome style themer in the Admin area. You can create a new colour palette with a slider, and apply it to your forum instantly. It's exceptionally user-friendly, and that kind of functionality would do for many admins.

But you could if you went down that route, take it even further. For example, you could have visual controls in the admin area for the CSS box styles - change the rounding / squaring of corners... change the white-space in between boxes...

.. pick from 'palettes' or 'packs' of CSS styles, like you currently can (by coming to this site) with image packs and smilies. A 'palette' of CSS box styles, a palette of CSS button styles... a 'palette' of menu styles... allow the admin to import more of these 'palettes' from the community here...

This would = more 'nimble' software, where the power is handed over to the administrator, however technical or not, and requires less to zero css / html / template hacking to achieve a pretty decently customised look and feel.

You would get everybody off your back about styling if the project could build this kind of tool, and allow admins to change the default pro-silver to something totally different-looking in about 5 or 6 clicks of their mouse.

And then - add the ability to move the main 'boxes' around... :o And you would have pretty much everything, styling-wise, that 99% of forum admins would ever want.
Last edited by antonjw2 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:31 am

I can't really take issue with your opinion. however, my point was about the styles and about how people come along and talk about having a more modern style and then point out examples that are just like phpbb2 subsilver based styles from years ago.

you are correct about it being a matter of perception. newbies think that square corners and white space is new and modern. they are used to seeing it on FB etc. well, I don't know much about FB history but I would not be surprised if it looks basically the same today as it did in the beginning. and all they did was style it after the prevailing things like phpbb/ vb etc. at the time.

I also dont really agree that phpbb is so far behind the times.
maybe in the backend with the types of software etc. that is being used, ( I think they have caught up a lot with 3.1 ) but 99% of the users of bulletin boards do not have a clue what is going on in the background. many if not most of the admins don't have a clue about what or how it is doing as long as it works.

a bulletin board is about having discussions, sharing ideas etc. it is not a blog, it is not FB ( thank you) etc.

I certainly don't care what other bulletin board software does or doesn't do but I have always agreed with the basic idea behind phpbb about being as lean as possible and leaving it up to the user to add on extras as they wish.

as you said, it is perception. it is your perception and others, that phpbb is behind the times. remember, it is all just opinions, yours, mine, joe blow's etc. etc.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by DavidIQ » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:34 am

I know it's sort of a cop-out but we could have something like that as well or better if we had developers full time, which would mean we would have to pay them, which would mean phpBB would no longer be free. In any case I think that kind of control on the XenForo side probably means that for that to work the available styles would all have to be structured the same, which probably means most of their styles are very similar (I'm just guessing...I don't use XenForo nor have I ever been on a site using XenForo...vB seems more popular than XF). Deviate from that and the admin probably loses that control over the colors.

At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what other software has or doesn't. That has little to no effect on the decisions we make with phpBB. The style will indeed be updated and then everyone will focus on something else to say we are light years behind on...
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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:37 am

Perception is opinion, I agree, Robert. And we all have those.

But when you're making software, that perception is part of the game.. and you have to manage them. See my last reply to David as to how I think this issue can be completely & neatly resolved to the satisfaction of all, by a new admin functionality.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:38 am

antonjw2
well, the new 3.1 with extensions will allow a lot of what you just posted. it will get pretty close to the way things like wp work. you will be able to simply click a button in the admin panel to upload and install a style, a new function, etc.

depending on new stuff coming along , being able to move around boxes etc. might be possible in the future.


I do believe there is a limit to what you can do and still maintain the idea behind phpbb of being a basic bulletin board. If you want a blog, install a blog etc. If you want a portal, install a portal, etc.
being able to integrate phpbb with other types of software is coming along and will get easier as time goes on.

as for xenforo, its styes are mostly just different color variations of a very basic style that looks like old subsilver2 type styles. they are not a very good platform to use for a comparison in my opinion. ( there's that word again )

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:56 am

DavidIQ wrote:I know it's sort of a cop-out but we could have something like that as well or better if we had developers full time, which would mean we would have to pay them, which would mean phpBB would no longer be free. In any case I think that kind of control on the XenForo side probably means that for that to work the available styles would all have to be structured the same, which probably means most of their styles are very similar (I'm just guessing...I don't use XenForo nor have I ever been on a site using XenForo...vB seems more popular than XF). Deviate from that and the admin probably loses that control over the colors.

At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what other software has or doesn't. That has little to no effect on the decisions we make with phpBB. The style will indeed be updated and then everyone will focus on something else to say we are light years behind on...
David.... this is a very defensive response, which is a shame.

I gave a few ideas for free, in the open source spirit :) It wasn't a criticism to dream up something which could benefit a lot of phpBB Administrators and simultaneously remove every criticism aimed at you in this thread. It was a win-win idea.

Achievable? Maybe, maybe not - but how do you know until you break it down such that any developer with a GitHub account could go away and work on it and submit a pull request?

Unless you tell me how, I don't know how to get it on the table somewhere for discussion, although I have to say your response ("don't care what other forum systems do", "we don't have the resource" etc.), appear designed to put a decent idea down.

I would have preferred it if you were going to give me a standard response, that it had been one advising me how / where I could log the idea and present it to the team.
Last edited by antonjw2 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by antonjw2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:59 am

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I do believe there is a limit to what you can do and still maintain the idea behind phpbb of being a basic bulletin board. If you want a blog, install a blog etc. If you want a portal, install a portal, etc.
being able to integrate phpbb with other types of software is coming along and will get easier as time goes on.
I agree with much of what you have said, Robert - but I never mentioned about phpBB becoming a blog or a portal; I was describing how it would be possible to have a visual style customiser in the Admin Panel, which would allow the complete tailoring of all the major aspects of what a style looks like.

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Re: When will phpBB have a Great Visual Upgrade?

Post by Pony99CA » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:07 am

antonjw2 wrote:I would have preferred it if you were going to give me a standard line, that it had been one advising me how / where I could log the idea and present it to the team.
Go to phpBB Ideas (when it's back up) or write an RFC at Area 51 (if you're more technical).

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