How to become somewhat adept at modifying vanilla to meet your needs for free

peregrineperegrine MVP
edited September 2013 in Tutorials
How to become somewhat adept at modifying vanilla to your needs for free

1) create your own webserver on a used machine at home.
    a) obtain an old computer
    b) download ubuntu
    c) install apache or nginx or ..
    d) install mysql
    e) install vanilla

2) get some skills
    a) run through some tutorials on the web for:
           -php
           -css
           -oop basics
           -read the documentation on site about mvc
    b) learn some debugging skills with your browser
            - obtain firefox and firebug
            - or chrome or some other web browser where you can inspect elements
            - watch some videos on how to debug with firebug or whatever
    c) get an editor and modify some programs.

3)  read discussions on vanilla forum even if they don't pertain to what you are looking for - you might get some ideas.

4)  read the documentation - read the wiki - add to the wiki, if you can.

5)  try to solve other people's question.  If you can find a working solution to someone else's question - provide an answer.

6)  learn how to frame a question - so someone will understand what you want.
         - include you version, theme, screenshot, and any other pertinent info
           that might help the person helping you.

7)  download plugins, themes, etc - try to digest them, modify them, experiment.
          - look at various function calls people use in plugins
          - download the example plugin and experiment
          - read the theme tips provided by 422 and others.
          - read the wiki that hbf volunteered to create


8)  slowly look at the different files in vanilla
           particularly the helper_functions.php  in vanilla/views/discussion and vanilla/views/discussions

9)  don't be afraid to modify the core on your test box - if it will teach you something.  than after you understand the change - write a plugin that does what you want and remove changes from the core.


10)  make your suggestions in a non-abusive way.  Remember everyone is learning and most are volunteering their time gratis and the development team of vanilla consists of a small group with only so much time in the day.  Instead of gripeing contribute.  If you learned something new that you struggled with but now understand either through your own solution or with somebody elses help - add it to the wiki.

11) read 1-10 again, and then one more time and then...

.... add your own tips

I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

UnderDogaeryEdelAliAdrianmbjvfxr0obertBleistivtvrijvlinder
«1

Comments

  • 11) read 1-10 again, and then one more time and then...

    .... add your own tips
    

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    422qwentyUnderDog
  • a) run through some tutorials on the web for:

    b) learn some debugging skills with your browser:

    • obtain firefox and firebug

    • or chrome or some other web browser where you can inspect elements

    • watch some videos on how to debug with firebug or whatever

    • firebug Firebug intro screencast

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    UnderDogqwentyvrijvlinder
  • troubleshooting mysterious problems

    Got a mysterious problem occuring. But can't figure out if it is theme or plugin or core related.

        change theme to default
        if problem goes away - check your theme for errors
        if problem still occurs
        disable plugins one by one
        if problem is fixed - identify plugin and post question under offending plugin
        if problem still occurs, download core files again.
        - if problem still occurs (no plugins and default theme) , file issue on github.
        - if problem is fixed - you made a change to core that caused the problem.
    

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    UnderDogmbjvfx
  • aeryaery Gtricks Forum in 2.2 :) ✭✭✭
    If you have a windows machine, here is what you need to do for setting local or test environment - 
    
    1) Download [WAMP](http://wampserver.com/). Install it. Run it.
    
    Now you have local server in your computer with PHP and MySQL.
    
    2) Download Vanilla and extract zip to WAMP's www folder. 
    
    3) Open http://127.0.0.1 or http://localhost in your browser (WAMP should be running)
    
    4) In WAMP page, select phpmyadmin. It is your database interface. Make new database.
    
    5) Now again go to http://127.0.0.1/ or http://localhost and select your vanilla folder.
    
    You should be prompted for Vanilla Installation.
    
    vrijvlinderUnderDogmbjvfx
  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited July 2013

    see this thread if you plan to develop plugins, etc. and read Lincoln's comments. A good way to go about the process. (and if it overwhelms you - you can use the list provided by hgtonight), then after a while read Lincoln's comment again, and you might not need the list.

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/23046/hooking-in-with-plugins

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    aeryUnderDogmbjvfx
  • TamaTama United Kingdom ✭✭✭

    @aery said:
    If you have a windows machine, here is what you need to do for setting local or test environment -

    1) Download WAMP. Install it. Run it.

    Now you have local server in your computer with PHP and MySQL.

    2) Download Vanilla and extract zip to WAMP's www folder.

    3) Open http://127.0.0.1 or http://localhost in your browser (WAMP should be running)

    4) In WAMP page, select phpmyadmin. It is your database interface. Make new database.

    5) Now again go to http://127.0.0.1/ or http://localhost and select your vanilla folder.

    You should be prompted for Vanilla Installation.

    Note: WAMP Conflicts with skype, so will not start to fix this go to Tools> Options> Advanced> Connection

    and untick "Use port 80 and...."

    UnderDoghgtonight
  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited July 2013

    revised:

    troubleshooting mysterious problems

    Got a mysterious problem occurring. But can't figure out if it is theme or plugin or core related.

    1) Have you recently changed theme or added css files or added a locale or created new definition files?

       -  delete the .ini files in /cache  folder.
       -  getting a bonk after changing themes.  check the permission on your Smarty/compile folder and make sure it exists.
    

    2) other mysterious issues.

        change theme to default
        if problem goes away - check your theme for errors
        if problem still occurs
        disable plugins one by one
        if problem is fixed - identify plugin and post question under offending plugin
        if problem still occurs, download core files again.
        - if problem still occurs (no plugins and default theme) , file issue on github.
        - if problem is fixed - you made a change to core that caused the problem.
    

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    UnderDog
  • TamaTama United Kingdom ✭✭✭
    edited August 2013

    When developing themes for Vanilla, http://alphapixels.com/prepros/ is a great tool, for auto refreshing elements (localhost only, see the WAMP post above); it also complies less and sass automatically for you ( I prefer the latter ).

    UnderDogShadowdarehgtonight
  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited September 2013

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinderUnderDog
  • Another piece of advice

    learn how to identify the version of vanilla you are using and post the version in your question.

    How to find version number

    look in index.php in your forum directory
    or go to dashboard and look on the right hand side of the footer - the version is clearly displayed for you.
    

    To turn on debugging

        vanilla 2.1 and above
        $Configuration['Debug'] = TRUE;
    
      vanilla 2.0.x
        $Configuration['Garden']['Debug'] = TRUE;
    

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinder[Deleted User]
  • revised:

    troubleshooting mysterious problems

    Got a mysterious problem occurring. But can't figure out if it is theme or plugin or core or database structure related.

    1) run /utility/update and /utility/structure to update structure of database.

    2) Have you recently changed theme or added css files or added a locale or created new definition files?

    - delete the .ini files in /cache folder.
    - getting a bonk after changing themes. check the permission on your Smarty/compile folder and make sure it exists.
    

    3) other mysterious issues.

    change theme to default
    if problem goes away - check your theme for errors
    if problem still occurs
    disable plugins one by one
    if problem is fixed - identify plugin and post question under offending plugin
    if problem still occurs, download core files again.
    - if problem still occurs (no plugins and default theme) , file issue on github.
    - if problem is fixed - you made a change to core that caused the problem.
    

    4) miscellaneous can't see effects of plugin in mobile view

    also for plugins to make them mobile friendly:

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/196078/#Comment_196078

    locale and mobile:

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/25641/how-to-tutorial-theme-specific-definitions-mobile-vs-non-mobile

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    hgtonight
  • in step 1 above is unclear

    to run /utility/structure and/or /utility/update type

    e.g. if your forum is located at http://example.com then

    http://example.com/index.php?p=/utility/structure
    
    http://example.com/index.php?p=/utility/update
    

    or if you use rewrite urls's you could also type

    http://example.com/utility/update
    
    http://example.com/utility/structure
    

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinderprihandokoruditaichicentral
  • Awesome. Thank you.
    I may actually be able to keep the forum going. I've been spending the past few days investigating ning, spruz, dolphin, eigg, etc.
    I really do appreciate your help. I hope you are paid well.

    vrijvlinder
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    I hope you are paid well.

    Appreciation is payment enough, most of the time <3

    peregrine
  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited January 2014

    @taichicentral said:
    Awesome. Thank you.
    I may actually be able to keep the forum going. I've been spending the past few days investigating ning, spruz, dolphin, eigg, etc.
    I really do appreciate your help.

    @ vrijvlinder said:Appreciation is payment enough, most of the time :heart:

    vrijvlinder is a true altruist. Others like me only partly so.

    I hope you are paid well.

    we volunteers are paid by several things. people clicking on reactions, people saying thank you and showing appreciation, and people showing their appreciation by making donations via paypal. All good. You can guess which ones are tangible payment.

    did this work out for you.
    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/25966/problem-after-importing-data-from-vanilla-com-to-my-own-host

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinder
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    p, you are altruistic too, just by donating your time to this community :)

  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited April 2014

    Tips here:

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/204749/#Comment_204749

    more troubleshooting for upgrading vanilla, etc.

    reading this:

    http://docs.vanillaforums.com/developers/troubleshooting/

    and this

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/26685/vanilla-2-1-stable-released/p1

    and this:
    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/199091/#Comment_199091


    tutorials for php, css, and jquery....

    http://css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/15-introduction-to-firebug/

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/185517#Comment_185517

    http://php.net/manual/en/tutorial.php

    http://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp

    http://html.net/tutorials/php/

    http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp

    http://www.w3schools.com/jquery/default.asp


    if you know php and a bit about MVC. you will love vanilla. It is also a great tool for improving your css, php, jquery, skills, writing your own plugins, themes, applications, etc.

    you can see the various add-ons (plugins, themes, applications, and locales) here.
    

    http://vanillaforums.org/addons

    wiki documentation

    there is a wiki here: http://vanillawiki.homebrewforums.net/index.php/Main_Page
    

    documentation

    there are docs here: 
         http://vanillaforums.org/docs
         http://docs.vanillaforums.com/
    

    Tutorials

    and tutorials here: http://vanillaforums.org/categories/tutorials
    

    and a few other links:

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/23483/advice-for-all-those-just-starting-out-with-vanilla

    when-asking-a-question
    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/25115/how-to-how-can-a-new-user-better-help-the-community-
    
    troubleshooting tips:
    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/20231/how-to-become-somewhat-adept-at-modifying-vanilla-to-meet-your-needs-for-free
    
    and this just in case....
    

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/25403/spam-attack-how-to-deal-with-spammers

    theme docs
    

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/19915/deploying-a-new-forum-and-adding-a-theme-for-everyone

    http://vanillaforums.org/docs/themequickstart

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/24813/how-to-go-about-editing-the-default-theme

    annotated theme http://vanillaforums.org/addon/annotated_css-theme:
    

    github and general info about 2.1

    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/26686/new-official-docs-repo-changes-site-updates-and-releases/p1

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinder
  • peregrineperegrine MVP
    edited April 2014

    GOT A BONK ERROR or "Something has Gone Wrong" screen

    http://vanillaforums.org/docs/errors

    from the docs:

    Errors & Troubleshooting (BONK)

    When using the download version of Vanilla, you may encounter the dreaded "BONK" screen.

    Bonk Error Screen

    This means that Vanilla encountered an error that it was unable to recover from. Typically these are caused by Vanilla trying to do something that the server won't allow it to do for some reason. To get to the bottom of the problem, you need to make Vanilla show you the actual error instead of this user-friendly one. You can do this by adding/replacing the following configuration setting in your conf/config.php file:

    $Configuration['Garden']['Errors']['MasterView'] = 'deverror.master.php';

    Once that configuration setting is saved, you can refresh the page to see what the actual error message is, and you'll see a full description of the problem, including a full stack trace telling you exactly what went wrong.

    Error Report Screen

    Often this information is enough for you to figure out the problem on your own. If you don't know how to solve the problem yourself, you can use the information on this screen when asking for help on the community forum.

    Important!

    When you are finished debugging your problem, be sure to switch the line in your config file back to the user-friendly version so you don't scare your users if they encounter further problems:

    $Configuration['Garden']['Errors']['MasterView'] = 'error.master.php';

    you can place the config statements anywhere in the file.

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    vrijvlinderAdrian
  • in vanilla 2.1 the bonk screen looks like this - see above comment to troubleshoot

    image

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

    Adrianhgtonight
  • AdrianAdrian Wandering Spirit Montreal Vanilla Staff
    edited April 2014

    @peregrine‌ thanks for adding more clarity

    Sharing is caring

    peregrine
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