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Official New Upcoming Features List and Discussion



  • edited December 2006
    y2kbg, if you don't think I should request features, fine, some forum owners are just idiots, being so secret about their feature products and updates. Lets hope Mark isn't one like that. That he listens on every member of the community, their suggestion, but it doesn't mean he will exactly do as they say.

    And, what will Vanilla be in the future then? You guys says that Mark shouldn't add any features. What should he do then? Change the theme, make the code better (which is almost as good as he can code)? Or what?
  • Mark is actually looking to remove features from future versions. Seriously. In the future i suspect he'll probably work vanilla to a point that it's a stable, secure, and efficient as possible, with the best possible extension capabilities, then hibernate it while he works on new products - such as swell (blogging software), lemonade (mailing list software), and whatever tricks he has up his sleeve for profitable software.
  • Features like quote and a built in comment formatter (like BBCode) would be nice, but the rest of those features I, personally, have no use for. One of the reasons I am evaluating Vanilla as a discussion solution for my website is because it is a lot lighter than other forums. I've been running phpBB for almost 4 years and would like to strip out the unnecessary clutter that ruins all other website forums. Simplicity is what the web could use. Look at MySpace vs. Facebook. People can customize the appearance of MySpace to no end and most of them look like junk because they are cluttered with tacky images and a horde of garbage. Facebook is stripped down and cleaner looking, therefore easier to use. Birthdays, karma, signatures and a lot of those other suggestions just clutter up the screen. I've understood the philosophy here was to enable people to do what forums should do...have discussions. None of that other junk is really necessary to have a discussion. What I do think Vanilla might want to move to is a standard way of writing add-ons and someone to validate them. Some add-ons conflict with each other or don't talk to each other very well.
  • I'll check one more for the minimalistic crowd. While a lot of those would be awesome for some of the installations I do, they would be literally detrimental to others. You might answer, simply provide an option to turn that feature off. However, that not only adds one more option to vanilla configuration, it increases the lines of code needed by 2-3 each time that feature is accessed (if statement to check the preference). The extension model makes it much easier to have a pared-down forum with minimal configuration, and then the administrator can install the extensions he deems beneficial. I do like a lot of these ideas, but they should be in extensions. Contrary to your previous statement, every feature there will bloat the code. There's simply something very nice about giving a 100-200k zip file to a client instead of a 5.6MB ultra huge forum package. If every feature were in the core, Vanilla would be no different than any other forum software out there. It has a great extension model, that just isn't used nearly enough.
  • Personally I can't see what the problem is here Polo. Just grab your addons, fix the conflicts (giving back to the community) and package it up if you want. It *is* open source after all ;) Considering that most people don't want all the extra clutter, they simply learn to live with it, shouldn't all forums be the way round Vanilla is? ie. turn the clutter on if you want it, not turn it off if you don't!

    Give the extensions time, they will come. Vanilla's still pretty young, V1's been out how long? 6 months or something like that?
  • It should be opt-in, not opt-out. Just like it is.
  • Yeah. Whatever. If you don't wanna implant it, sure. I guess you guys have some ideas for add-ons now.
  • Polo, why don't you start work on a bundle of Vanilla and some essential extensions? If you do that and others like it, perhaps Mark could create an area where Vanilla bundles could be uploaded, kinda like the addons directory?
  • yea and make sure that they go well with one another or modify it so they do. As in: looks/errors
  • Polo, you've suggested some great ideas for future extensions. But as most have said in here, it's much better to opt-in to such scripts, rather than opt-out of them. The extensions system at present is excellent. The regular vanilla script is lean and mean. I wouldn't want it to come bloated and full of stuff that I may never use or need. One area that I would like to see though is guidance to newbies, as to the most used extensions (eg the ten most popular extensions)......and maybe even offered as a bundled download.
  • i'm working on the Sub-Categories extension at the moment if anyone was wondering...
  • spellchecker? just use firefox 2.0 discussion filters? use search
  • Well Polo, here's something you may not have considered. If all these "features" were added into the core, there has to be checks upon checks run every time the codebase is executed to see what's turned on and what's not. Generating more db calls, and adding more overhead. So yes, it's going to bloat the code. This isn't what Vanilla is, or is destined to be. It's been that way from its inception. I'm thinking that your skills/knowledge aren't quite up to the level on this. No offense intended, but if they were you would realize this. As many have already said, maybe is hasn't sunk in though, a "feature" in Vanilla is simply called an add-on or extension. It provides someone the ability to "turn on" such a feature by dropping in the extension. This method provides the cleanest codebase possible, but also allows for additional features to be added in with as minimal bloat as possible. IMHO, this is actually a far superior implementation of features as compared to other forum options. Look at some of the other options out there. Sure they may be popular. But why? Momentum. Also there's the "wow, this site uses X so I want to use it too", factor. Additional "features" also brings in more than just that feature. It brings features to features, and so on. It also brings additional security into play as well. Anyone a member of a forum using SMF, or runnning a forum with SMF? Enjoy those little PM spammers sometime this past year? Point proved. Although SMF isn't the only one that experienced this problem, but you get the drift. All that being said, there are a couple of items which would be more like an "improvement" than a new feature. For example, the +/- sign, whisper links, or selecting the interval at which Vanilla checks for updates. Not that you didn't put a lot into the list, but as has already been said multiple times... they're add-on/extension requests/ideas, not something for the core in most instances.
  • The one advantage about having things integrated into the core of the system is that sometimes they're a little less 'kludgey' (eg. whispers extension in 0.9.2), but besides that I find modules to be, the vast majority of the time, a much more elegant solution. The more you put in the core, the more specialized you make your code, and the harder it will be to modify it (ever try keeping a patched phpbb system up to date?); seperating functionality into modules allows you to make a general framework that is simple to work with and easy to port to different needs (drupal is probably the best/most well-known example of such a mentality).

    There may be a slight loss in efficiency when keeping the software more general, but if it's well made and well thought out the benifits will far outweigh the small loss in performance. Eg. a prime factorization algorithm implemented at the hardware level will probably be a good deal faster than a software one, but it'd obviously be much harder and more cumbersome to make changes to hardware than it is software.
  • I'm on the opposite side: a minimal rock solid core and a powerful extension model.
    I released a couple of extensions , and I have some custom one to fit my use. I agree that there are, currently, limitations to the delegate paradigm that should be worked on, in order to give extensions the same efficiency than core code.

    Anyway, IMO, Vanilla design paradigm is the right choice, definitely.
  • Yeah I might do an "Unofficial Bundle". Thanks for the tips.
  • err polo a script you could make is have a selection of different extensions or the top extensions or something and then have checkboxes so they will be included in the download. The extension file will be created and all. You could even think about extending the installer to allow it to install extensions that come included by default. Ie database tables will be made that the extensions require. Then the extensions.php file or settings file could be generated by the download script aswell.

    This would mean that they did not have to install all the extensions seperately yet can still download additional extensions if new ones get released etc.
  • Polo, great stuff (as always)... I have several items I'd like to comment on. Would it perhaps be an idea to start a wiki page for people to add comments to your list, but in-line to avoid duplicate comments? FWIW, I also think LITTLE OR NONE needs to be added to the core, unless not adding it to the core makes the feature impossible or impossibly slow. Most of all, Vanilla needs a solid plugin-upgrade system (or at least plugin-update notification system). I'm amazed at how few packages get this part right. A previous post I made on a possible notification system implementation (via 'version graphics', one in the latest uploaded plugin, and one local) for a quick visual inspection by the admin may not be so bad after all. I'll read the rest of this later... (got 'real' work to do, i.e. the kind that pays the bills, I hate 'real' work!)
  • TomTesterTomTester New
    edited January 2007
    PS Now that I've been on this board a while I realize that there are MANY repeat questions for the same features, usually to make vanilla resemble other board software. The more I've used vanilla, the more I'm convinced that Mark's "keep it simple" mantra is actually the way to go. So hear hear if he wants to strip it to the core. I've tested vanilla with some prospective users, and they still found it to be too confusing. They told me they'd be happy with FEWER features, so I'm even exploring ways now to strip things down to the core for Vanilla, and/or find simpler (& speedier) alternatives to Vanilla. I recall someone posting a link to their ideal board in a thread about sub-threads (cannot locate it now) At first I thought they were wrong, but that text-only, very simple board, is all my group would need, and little organization actually PROMOTES use (this board is an example of that too). Most of all... features should be LOGICAL, ie included WHERE they expected and HIDDEN FROM view elsewhere. Google Reader comes to mind.
  • edited January 2007
    Extension authors need to think of a way in which to display the options for their extensions separately in the panel, rather than lumping them in with Vanilla's core options. That way, we can easily locate them to configure, without having to remember where they are in the regular option choices. I realise, from my limited experience, that not all extensions require specific options to be chnaged from the admin. But still, it would make sense to have the options for these extensions grouped in the pane outside the core options.
This discussion has been closed.