Forums

We are aware that the forums have suffered with the CPU fix a few weeks ago. Fortunately, we were already working on new forums that will address the majority of the concerns raised. This includes speed, enhanced searches and display. We are also integrating the forum searches into infoseek. There will also be more advanced searches available to infoseek. The forum database has also been re-structured from the ground-up and appears to perform 300% quicker.

Testing is going well, but we don't anticipate the new forums going live before March this year as the new forums are integrated into new WoS (this expands possibilities for WoS to allow user comments on titles, etc). However when we do switch to the new forums, it will be the end of the old site no matter what stage we are at with the data.

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  • Looks a lot closer to the old WoS forums, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Trying to make it more user friendly whilst keeping the mobile first rule. At the same time, reducing page load times. One sneaky feature I've added (which may or may not work!) is - if you have logged in on various devices, the forums become synchronized whether you stay logged in or not - so marking discussions as read will be the same across devices. I'm also adding an option to mark categories read as well as the entire forums, moving the add post button so you have to be in a category before you post (so reducing mis-posted discussions), etc, etc... loads of new stuff.
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  • I really like the look of that. Like Arjun said, looks somewhat reminiscent of the old forums, a sort of mix of old and new. Very nice indeed. :)
  • I've still got a few weeks work to do on it - am doing the "unread posts" page at the moment so can see at a glance what you haven't read, and the option to mark them all read.

    On the test, I have also amended the infoseek search - and will add to the advanced forum search - extra options, so you can search for specific phrases, ignore words etc - it's a lot more powerful. At the moment (with one user!) it works fantastically well, and lightening quick.

    Now is the time to think about features you've seen elsewhere that you'd like adding. I've been asked for a "follow user" link, which is quick to add, and the ability for users to create groups - which will have to wait as it's a bit longer to code.

    Oh yeah - notifications will be site-wide so you'll get those notices when you are generally browsing the site.
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  • if you have logged in on various devices, the forums become synchronized whether you stay logged in or not - so marking discussions as read will be the same across devices.
    That would be wonderful!
    Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a ZX Spectrum game.

    Author of A Yankee in Iraq, a 50 fps shoot-’em-up—the first game to utilize the floating bus on the +2A/+3,
    and zasm Z80 Assembler syntax highlighter.
    Member of the team that discovered, analyzed, and detailed the floating bus behavior on the ZX Spectrum +2A/+3.

    A few Spectrum game fixes.
  • Trying to make it more user friendly whilst keeping the mobile first rule.

    Mobile/schmobile pfft :p
    So far, so meh :)
  • edited January 2018
    Hmm, little things that I would fine useful:-
    • Either a reminder / read later or bookmark flag, with a easy to get to screen that lists them. The list being able to be set to ordering them by date marked or date posted, or by subject.
    • A button to mark a thread as "unread". That is, the opposite of the "mark as read" control.
    • A specific page/screen to manage saved draft posts.
    • A button in the edit box to delete a saved draft post.
    • Sometimes, when posting, another member posts to a thread. The current forum software does not highlight this, so it's easy to miss these posts. And, because you are unaware of the new post, you may be posting the same answer/ reply as the person who has just posted. Some other forum software will inform you if another member has posted. Then allow you to review the recent post and give you the opportunity to edit or delete your unpublished post.
    • Can we please have a larger gap between the quote button and the edit button. With a touch screen, it's far too easy to accidentally activate the wrong function >:P
    • Can the position of selected and inserted emoji be put where the text cursor is, instead of ending on the bottom line of the edit box.
    • The preview does not correctly show all of the BBCode effects :-(
    Mark
    Post edited by 1024MAK on
  • Oh, and a "up to top" (arrow) button at the bottom of the thread/page (or maybe next to each post) would be useful, especially when using mobile devices ;-)

    Mark

  • 1024MAK wrote: »
    Hmm, little things that I would fine useful:-
    • Either a reminder / read later or bookmark flag, with a easy to get to screen that lists them. The list being able to be set to ordering them by date marked or date posted, or by subject.
    • A button to mark a thread as "unread". That is, the opposite of the "mark as read" control.
    • A specific page/screen to manage saved draft posts.
    • A button in the edit box to delete a saved draft post.
    • Sometimes, when posting, another member posts to a thread. The current forum software does not highlight this, so it's easy to miss these posts. And, because you are unaware of the new post, you may be posting the same answer/ reply as the person who has just posted. Some other forum software will inform you if another member has posted. Then allow you to review the recent post and give you the opportunity to edit or delete your unpublished post.
    • Can we please have a larger gap between the quote button and the edit button. With a touch screen, it's far too easy to accidentally activate the wrong function >:P
    • Can the position of selected and inserted emoji be put where the text cursor is, instead of ending on the bottom line of the edit box.
    • The preview does not correctly show all of the BBCode effects :-(
    Mark

    Not much then? hehe.

    There is a bookmark flag on one of the screenshots. This adds to your bookmarks (on the current forums it's a star). One of the screenshots shows a tabbed display with Forums/Latest Activity. There will be two more - Unread Posts & Bookmarks. I can set the columns on these to be ordered by clicking the headers, but nothing to show *when* it was bookmarked - it's something I can look at a later date or as part of a forum update.

    I can add something to show a thread as unread - I will have to work out where to put the button! At the moment, I haven't considered anyone wanting to mark an individual thread as read because its automatic when you read it, or most people would want to do a batch. I'll add an icon for read/unread.

    I haven't started looking at drafts yet and wondered how useful they were. I'll add to the list of things to do. I know the current forums use them and they are buggy, but at least the page to list them lets you delete them :)

    I believe the current forum (and the way I would do it) is supposed to delete a draft when you've posted. Our version will work when it's done :)

    I hadn't considered the times another user posts before you do. I guess on busier forums it would be a nightmare because you'd never get to post! It should be a quick addition before we go live. Testing will be a bitch though lol.

    Icons should be mobile friendly - it will be trial & error at the time but dead easy to space them.

    Emojis are part of the editor which will likely be SCEditor (still playing with options). It's not something I can change without editing the source which makes it a nightmare when we need to do updates.

    I'll try to make sure the preview works as expected. Some items can take a while to render though (youtube videos, the galleries when I do them, etc)

    As an aside, I was going to have all columns sortable but decided against it as the nature of forums is everything is in date order! There is another issue where the column has the discussion title, person that started it and the date all in one column - what are we sorting by? If I split these columns so they can be sorted, it looks very messy and terrible on mobile devices.

    Oh - and one more thing.... at some point (probably before going live) users will be able to edit certain aspects of the display when they are logged in, so colours, fonts, sizes, spaces, etc will be editable. This will be across the whole site so if you don't like how it looks, at least most of it can be changed! I've set the colour scheme specifically to use 3 main colours without clashing, and you won't be able to move items around so it will still be mobile responsive.

    This has mostly been a part-time project between writing the admin pages whilst others sort the data, so it's not going to be top priority to complete, but it will be done before we switch over as it will be integral to the new site. At the moment it looks like mid-end March. I have no idea which March....
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  • 1024MAK wrote: »
    Oh, and a "up to top" (arrow) button at the bottom of the thread/page (or maybe next to each post) would be useful, especially when using mobile devices ;-)

    Mark

    You replied whilst I was posting!

    Every page on the new site has a scroll to top button. The new forums also scroll to the top of the comments list when you go to next page (it uses ajax to fetch the itmes). I've also set it so the initial comment is always at the top of the discussion, but when you go to next page you'd have to manually scroll up to see it.

    For PC users, when you are in the discussion list, you can hover over the title to see the first 160 characters of the post too - make sure its something you're interested in before clicking lol
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  • I'm also adding an option to mark categories read as well as the entire forums

    Was it ever determined why the page takes absurdly long to reload after clicking Mark All Viewed on the current forum? It'll be nice if that's finally solved in the rewrite :)
    My rubbish website including the redrawn Amstrad schematics and the new home of the Sinclair FAQ wiki.
  • edited January 2018
    I don't like the mix of colours I have to say. 'Blue & Green should never be seen' (dress advice from mum!)
    Seriously though, any way to maybe let the user alter the skin colours to suit themselves?

    Why the hell should mobiles get prime consideration? Arent the majority of users accessing the site via PC most of the time?
    Post edited by mik3d3nch on
  • mik3d3nch wrote: »
    I don't like the mix of colours I have to say. 'Blue & Green should never be seen' (dress advice from mum!)
    Seriously though, any way to maybe let the user alter the skin colours to suit themselves?

    Why the hell should mobiles get prime consideration? Arent the majority of users accessing the site via PC most of the time?

    Yes you will be able to pick your own colours.

    And no - the majority of users have used mobile devices for around 6yrs :D
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  • edited January 2018
    I can't see it from the screenshots above (and there's no demo for me to test, assuming its Vanilla still) but currently "here" its very very easy to accidentally click a fraction too far right when wanting to view the notification list and end up viewing your profile too, hopefully that concern is fixed. :)

    I do like what I see from the screenshots above. :D

    Regarding the 'similar to old' well (imo at least) the older VB based one is still a solid platform but that version at least does not support mobile devices very well without a lot of work, nor friendly URL's either and the newer version of the same leave "something wanting" (for want of a better phrase) , Lee will know what I mean here. I'm not being cryptic just how I write it that's all. No point boring anyone to death about forum software itself as I see it, unless someone wanted me to ? :D

    Can't wait to test the 'new new' forums.

    EDIT... And "thank you!" for the work so far, I do know how time consuming it can be to do these updates and the like.
    Post edited by spider on
  • Ok so the spacing will need fixing. It's not vanilla which is why you won't see a demo :)
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  • guesser wrote: »
    I'm also adding an option to mark categories read as well as the entire forums

    Was it ever determined why the page takes absurdly long to reload after clicking Mark All Viewed on the current forum? It'll be nice if that's finally solved in the rewrite :)

    It looks like a badly written script that hits the database thousands of times to do that action. Fingers crossed I can work it in the new version to be much quicker.
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  • All good ideas.

    Currently, the desktop version is more useable on modern smartphone browsers (being responsive), than the mobile version (which I guess is targeted at older mobile browsers).

    It would be very cool if you can do some browser detection, and serve up the responsive version for smartphones by default.
    Robin Verhagen-Guest
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  • Its designed alongside new WoS to be mobile first :) no detection needed...
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  • To show how design can change quickly depending on requirement, I am scrapping the tabbed view and putting a "my menu" list on the right - this will aid when clicking the back button and clean up the display. It also means it will look cleaner if we end up adding more items to the menu.
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  • Ok so the spacing will need fixing.
    Thank you. A few px does save a lot of grief. :D
    It's not vanilla which is why you won't see a demo :)
    Can't really tell from those pics, it looks *vaguely* like XF2 but I can't be sure. No matter it will be fine anyway regardless. :D
  • Don't know what XF2 is, but it's actually this:-

    live.worldofspectrum.org/
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  • Don't know what XF2 is, but it's actually this:-

    live.worldofspectrum.org/
    That explains it, the framework I was interested in. :) Thanks.
    XF = Xenforo that's all.

  • It's just Bootstrap. I've written a drag/drop page builder for WoS so it's easy to create a page template. Add some colours and specific styling and it's done. This is the best part of the project because almost everything we do now is visual because the back-end is practically done.
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  • Oh, and hardware people need the [o]text overline[/o] decoration enabled. ;P Them active low signals won’t enable themselves.
    Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a ZX Spectrum game.

    Author of A Yankee in Iraq, a 50 fps shoot-’em-up—the first game to utilize the floating bus on the +2A/+3,
    and zasm Z80 Assembler syntax highlighter.
    Member of the team that discovered, analyzed, and detailed the floating bus behavior on the ZX Spectrum +2A/+3.

    A few Spectrum game fixes.
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  • Oh, and hardware people need the [o]text overline[/o] decoration enabled. ;P Them active low signals won’t enable themselves.

    Will do!

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  • edited January 2018
    Can't remember if subscript, superscript and strike through work, so just testing:-
    sub normal super strike
    [sub]sub[/sub] normal [sup]super[/sup] [s]strike[/s]
    

    Mark
    Post edited by 1024MAK on
  • ^^^ Along those lines, either I have forgotten how it works, or it's not implemented yet. Could we, please, get a BB code that ignores other BBcode. Like in 1024mak's example he's "forced" to use the [ code ] [ /code ] brackets to show us what codes he used for his preceding sentence but in so doing, he gets the grey code box with the outline. The old BB code I recall caused BB code to be ignored in a sentence. Could we get that back, please, oh, please?

    What now?
  • I've added a side menu. Have I missed anything?

    forum4.png
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  • Yes I have lol! Drafts!
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  • I'll be adding new features today for marking stuff read/unread.

    Each red/green folder icon will be clickable to toggle between read/unread. There is a menu item to list unread items so you can quickly go through and decide whether to read them or not.

    On the categories page, there will be a button at the bottom of each list to mark the category read.

    And finally the infamous mark all items read button! That will be everything in the "my menu" done apart from drafts!
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