(no subject)

February 23, 2013, 08:59:31 AM Posted by emanuele on February 23, 2013, 08:59:31 AM in (no subject) | 11 Comments
Apparently many people are more shy than me and don't like to write more than I don't like it, so it seems I have to be the one, even though I'm not the best person...oh well.

One of the points of open development is to keep the community involved, I know. I also know I don't really like to be a front man (I usually prefer the shadows :P) and write about status and updates (since I'm lazy). Yes, these are not the only way to keep the community involved, though it's one way.

So, let's try to shed some light on the current development status.

2.1 goals and objectives
As originally planned 2.1 was not something revolutionary. "Just" a bunch of new features, with the main goal of be the most possible backward compatibility with 2.0 in order to reduce the amount of hassles for everyone.
There was a set of features planned including the "modernization" of the theme.

Current situation
Most of the things have been worked on and are there on the repo, at the moment there is not much left to do, but something has been sacrificed along the way.

One month ago I proposed to start thinking about the beta. In order to be able to reach that goal I saw no other way than to drop the mobile theme planned for 2.1. No progresses[1] were made in the last few months and nobody was working on it.

The current prerequisites for 2.1 beta 1 are not many, but are...not trivial (at least for me) either:

  • I would like to be sure it works well in all these areas (this was intended to be a first draft for a "QA" plan, but...better have a draft with some informations than nothing and anyway should be more important after the beta. If anyone wants to improve it in any way feel free to propose or simply do the changes you think are appropriate. In case you'd like to discuss it, feel free to open a topic...meh...the less wrong place should be Feature Requests).
  • Reporting bugs it's nice, but fix them is even nicer: at least the serious bugs must be fixed (if confirmed :P), and if possible all the known bugs too (those linked are just the ones reported at github, there are few open in the Mantis bug tracker too, see those tagged "2.1"). Some of those in the Bug Reports board would be nice to have them fixed, but are usually minor so it shouldn't be a big issue to keep them as "known issues" and fix them later, though it is a good starting point for anyone interested in development, but that doesn't have much confidence with SMF code.
  • Bugs or other things worth a special mention:

    • the theme, it still has many "glitches" (...it's a bit more than only glitches since some templates still have to be worked and rtl is quite broken (yeah I know that for someone that knows how to deal with graphics it may be a 5 minutes job, but for me it's not and it's something I'm not really interested in), but let's minimize... :P) and at the moment is still my main concern
    • the tokens failing on profile
    • SCEditor should be updated to 1.4.1, version that introduces features we'd like to have, just a "nice to have" for the beta, though
  • Be able to have 2.1 installed on this site (I'm not sure about the feeling of all the others, but have a product and not showcase it is not exactly good marketing IMHO). To be able to do that there are few things needed:

    • test the upgrade
    • update some of the mods we are using here, namely:

      • SimpleDesk (the basics are already done (e.g. edits in different files), it still need some love, in particular for the editor: even though the new editor is coded to be backward compatible with the old one it's usually better to use the new one directly and fix any glitch).
      • Anti-spam-links (note to the team: since this mod is under the SMF Customization Team, please do the good example: rewrite it (unless the original author (JBlaze apparently) wants to add a license) and push it to github, thanks! ;D)
      • Topic solved (note to the team or anyone interested: this mod is from [SiNaN] and is still licensed under the old SMF license, if [SiNaN] is interested in re-licensing it, it would be nice to have it under a free license so that it could be pushed to an open repo and allow for better maintenance. Also re-write is an option).
      • Wiki-links, same as the previous ([SiNaN] is the owner and the license is the old one).
      • Some other "support tools" (you can see them by joining the "Support helper" group), as far as I know none of them has been released as a mod, if anyone is interested in providing such mods, they are welcome! The only caveat is that they have to be released under an open license, that will allow SMF or anyone else to support those mods in the future if the original author would go lost or would not be interested), in any case feel free to seek for support or review in the Mod Development board.
      I didn't mention on purpose the ads we have because they are integrated with the rest of the site and unfortunately the team has to deal with them. In the future it may be an option to open the site code too, but due to licensing issues the best option would be to write it from scratch (as far as I understood).
    • Test the MediaWiki integration.

Yeah, the list is not so long, we could even just decide what is there is good enough for a beta and throw it out, though to me it would be a bit lame: the things missing are quite important and IMHO should be fixed before be able to call a package "beta", in the current state it looks just another alpha. I also have the feeling the package has not been tested "enough", but that's just my feeling.
If I have to be the 2.1 "release manager"[2], I'd prefer to wait a bit and release a "good" beta with not many known bugs and try to reduce the "testing phase" at a minimum, in order to reduce also the number of people that will use betas and RCs on live sites (and avoid as much as possible all the hassles involved in make a release), but if there isn't much progress in the next...month? I could just decide to rename it and package the beta based on whatever is available at that moment.

As far as 2.2 is concerned...well, at the moment there isn't much on the table, I hope someone sooner or later will take the decision to stand up and take the role of "release manager" like Spuds did for 2.1.

I'm sure I missed (and also messed :P) something, but for the moment that should be enough.
If you are interested in helping make 2.1 beta 1 become something real, feel free to do so.

Well, that's all, I told you I don't like speeches, neither spoon-feed people (I like the "serve yourself" philosophy O:)), so feel free to ask questions, I'll try to answer if I can, others will as well.

[1] Of course if anyone is interested in contribute one, there is still "a bit" of time and any contribution is welcome! Warning: at that point, don't waste time proposing mock-ups and hope someone else will code it, just do the actual coding, it's the only way to get something done for sure. Of course no one can guarantee it will be integrated into the final product, but even if it is not, the theme will be available to the community. So it won't be a waste of time.

[2] A "release manager" is nothing else than a person that organizes the release and dirts his hands with the code to make something happen. Spuds has been the release manager for 2.1 until he left. I could consider myself release manager now.


PhuriousGeorge on February 23, 2013, 04:18:19 PM said
Awesome, thank you for the update! Think I'll hold off severely customizing my new 2.0.4 install until 2.1 is released or stable beta.

Actually, on that note, how different is 2.1 compared to 2.0.4 as far as customizations/mods? Don't really need details, but are the changes significant, or will it require minor hook updates etc?

Irisado on February 23, 2013, 04:41:38 PM said
Thanks for the updates.  It's good to see that all that bug reporting and testing is paying off ;).

I take it that once it's applied to this site, we'll have to put up with the horrible 'hover over user name' feature to be able to know anything about users any more :P?

Antechinus on February 23, 2013, 04:47:34 PM said
Well look on the bright side. At least it'll be a change from some of the horrible stuff you have to put up with now. A change is as good as a holiday, they reckon. ;)

Irisado on February 24, 2013, 06:38:26 PM said
Quote from: Antechinus on February 23, 2013, 04:47:34 PM
Well look on the bright side. At least it'll be a change from some of the horrible stuff you have to put up with now. A change is as good as a holiday, they reckon. ;)

Having played around with 2.1, there is a lot that I like about it, it's just the hover feature which really bugs me.  I like to see information without having to hover to get it.  Emmanuele's the opposite though, and, as I know from personal experience, trying to change an Italian's mind isn't possible :D.

Antechinus on February 24, 2013, 08:17:08 PM said
That idea came about because a lot of people don't like having all sort of crud in their face if they aren't going to use it. I'm keen on having stuff I use all the time visible all the time, and stuff I rarely care about hidden but easily accessible. Saves a lot of clutter.

I've gone off the hover idea though. I ditched hover drops and wrote my own click drops. They're touchscreen friendly by default. They are better behaved on desktop (because they never open when you don't want them to) and they require far less code to run them.

Arantor on February 24, 2013, 08:22:20 PM said
It's one of the things that irked me about 2.1 too, that and the fact Core Features still hasn't died :( At least it is AJAXified now, that's an improvement.

I know that a lot of people don't like stuff all up in their face, but I find it interesting how many people want to add MOAR to it and make it enormous.

Antechinus on February 24, 2013, 09:35:22 PM said
Yeah and the more crap they want to add to it, the more reason there is to hide it. :D

Irisado on February 25, 2013, 11:32:55 AM said
Quote from: Antechinus on February 24, 2013, 08:17:08 PM
That idea came about because a lot of people don't like having all sort of crud in their face if they aren't going to use it. I'm keen on having stuff I use all the time visible all the time, and stuff I rarely care about hidden but easily accessible. Saves a lot of clutter.

That was Emmanuele's position as well.  My counter to that was why not make mods to hide all the so called clutter, such as post counts, user groups etc (all of which I find to be very useful, and not clutter), rather than make it the default position.

Anyway, what's done is done, and just about everything else was coming together nicely when I last tested some of the Alpha changes.

Antechinus on February 25, 2013, 03:52:39 PM said
Well, you can always make a mod to not hide it if you want to, rather than making massive clutter the default. ;) In fact, it doesn't even really need a mod as such, because it can be done with a bit of css tweaking.

maxg on March 04, 2013, 07:30:36 PM said
Thank you for the no subject important content!

great to see updates on info..


Road Rash Jr. on April 16, 2013, 08:17:47 PM said
Yes thanks for the update. It is now mid April, what has been accomplished to fix the problems you pointed out? Any NEW announcements from whom ever is responsible now for keeping the community appraised?