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Feedback and Questions: From Web Designer

edited June 2011 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8
I'm quite impressed with Vanilla Forums and will be using over bbPress without a doubt.

A few problem areas as I dive in:

- The way canonicalization and titles are handled is not very desirable, I simply removed canonicalization. Perhaps you can give me a hint as to where the file most like a normal header.php is so I might have more control.

- SEO-friendly URLs are quite good, but how would I go about removing numbers from discussions?

- There are no page ID classes, so for example say that I wanted to give the category "cats" a different background image than "dogs". This isn't currently possible.

- The drop arrows next to sub-categories threw alignment off so that when hovering over one category the link was really to the category below.

I'm sure I'll find other cons along the way, but in comparison to bbPress, phpBB and vBulletin Vanilla takes the prize. Very clean, good work.

Thanks, Bryan

Comments

  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    - I'm not sure what you mean by canonicalization is. Our master views are most like a header.php, but better. Check out our theming guide.

    - You can't remove the numbers from discussions in the urls. If you look at most any site with user-generated content they all use that format for urls or something like that.

    - Adding a class per category is a good idea. We'll look into this.

    - We'll have to look into this arrow issue. Are you talking about the side-panel?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  • edited June 2011
    - I'm not sure what you mean by canonicalization is. Our master views are most like a header.php, but better. Check out our theming guide. I have. Hopefully you can give me an exact breakdown location of that file, that would be very helpful. You know:

    /kittens/don't/like/dogs/masterviews.php :)

    The canonicalization problem is a serious issue even on your own homepage; your homepage is http://vanillaforums.org/ - but is canonicalizing as http://vanillaforums.org/vforg/home - that's definitely not good and can't be desired. I feel it's just been overlooked a bit.

    The software with us users is being handled the same way. http://website.com/ is canonicalized as http://website.com/discussions/p1 - not good. I've written a canonical script and WordPress plugin: http://bryanhadaway.com/super-simple-dynamic-canonical-link-code/ that you're absolutely welcome to use or adapt into a plugin for Vanilla. If you'd like me to make a Vanilla plugin with it please email me: bhadaway@gmail.com


    - You can't remove the numbers from discussions in the urls. If you look at most any site with user-generated content they all use that format for urls or something like that. I'm sure it could be done, but I understand the reasoning for it, to avoid dupe content. The way WordPress handles this is to append a number ONLY if a dupe is found. So instead of:

    http://website.com/discussion/5/welcome-and-guidelines

    we could have cleaner URLs like:

    http://website.com/discussion/cats-and-dogs

    and then if someone happened to add a topic of the same name it would append a 2:

    http://website.com/discussion/cats-and-dogs-2


    - Adding a class per category is a good idea. We'll look into this. Yeah, this one is a must and we'll be really easy to implement.

    - We'll have to look into this arrow issue. Are you talking about the side-panel? Yes, and in category dropdowns. The symbol is a carriage return like ↵ - a little different and facing the other way. Anyways, perhaps it's an encoding issue or a font issue, but it's glitchy.

    Keep up the good work guys.

    Thanks, Bryan
  • Also, where can I edit the "Howdy, Stranger!" text?

    Thanks, Bryan
  • Here's the problematic symbol: ↳ - it's line-height seems out of whack. XP / Firefox 4.

    Thanks, Bryan
  • I've written an article on Vanilla here:

    http://bryanhadaway.com/vbulletin-vs-phpbb-vs-bbpress-vs-vanilla/

    Thanks, Bryan
  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    edited June 2011
    Thanks for the clarification on the canonical urls. I wasn't sure if you meant that since it was in the same paragraph as a header.php. I've added an issue here: https://github.com/vanillaforums/Garden/issues/953. We have plans to do another SEO cleanup in our next version too.

    The themeing guide tells you where you find the default.master, but here is the short of it.
    1. Create a theme in your /themes folder.
    2. Add the master in /themes/YourTheme/views/default.master.tpl
    3. The .tpl masters use smarty. You can also give them a .php extension to use php. Look at /applications/dashboard/views/default.master.php for a php example. Look at the EmbedFriendly theme for a tpl example.
    I had wanted to get rid of the rarr symbol. We'll put that on the list.

    To change the text you need to add a localization file. There is a help topic on that here. The string you want is:
    $Definition['Howdy, Stranger!'] = 'Howdy, Stranger!';
    $Definition['GuestModule.Message'] = 'It looks like you\'re new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!';
  • It's nice to get this much direct communication. Appreciate it. Definitely nice while it lasts, but your company is growing and eventually that will change as all companies do as they grow.

    Thanks, Bryan
  • Excellent, I'm loving Vanilla more and more. Once I'm finished learning the ropes I'll be sure to contribute.

    Also, I'd love to see Vanilla become a be all to end all website/blog/forum/chat everything kind of software :).

    Thanks, Bryan
  • edited June 2011
    So in default.master.php I'm looking at:

    <head> <?php $this->RenderAsset('Head'); ?> </head>

    What file is <?php $this->RenderAsset('Head'); ?> calling to so I can get in there and fuss with stuff?

    Thanks, Bryan
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