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2020 OSS Roadmap plans

charrondevcharrondev Developer Lead (PHP, JS)Montreal Vanilla Staff

I did one of these ~6 months ago and I'd like to followup on it and give out some additional roadmap context.

How'd we stick to our previous roadmap

Accomplished Goals

  • Shipped new Embed System. (Documentation)
  • Alt-text for images in Rich Editor.
  • Emptied the Security Backlog (Over 300 security fixes since launching our HackerOne program!)
  • Testing Pull Requests on CircleCI. (CircleCI)
  • Improved automated testing - Code Coverage reporting & Visual regression testing.
  • Refactored the text formatting pipeline (Gdn_Format is mostly deprecated. see FormatService, and DateTimeFormatter for new methods. )
  • Splitting the frontend into different independant packages. (See /packages directory).

Still In Progress

  • New Controllers & Routing. The new structure has matured significantly as we've worked on new projects, and documentation is forthcoming.
  • Rich Editor mobile improvements.


  • Builtin Docker Images - I was working on this personally and got burnt-out of it before I could get it polished enough for code review. Unfortunately I don't have much motivation for it. It looks like the community is starting to take it up though. I'm available for questions of anyone working on projects like this.

New Roadmap Objectives

Warning: These notes are not a guarantee of any particular version number or release date. It just represents some of our development goals.

Complete the 4.0 release

The 4.0 release is currently in progress. Main improvements will include:

  • New Base Theme & New theming system.
  • Hero Image plugin no longer a plugin. Instead it is built-in to core.
  • 100s of bug-fixes
  • Performance improvements.
  • New PHP version requirements.

Documentation Overhaul

As we move our developer documentation over to it's new home in our Success Knowledge Base, we are updating outdated articles, adding new ones, and moving some new technical documentation from our internal documentation to become public.

Items that are set to receive new documentation:

I'll link the documentation here as it becomes available.

As we write these we will primarily looking to provide "quickstart" guides with code examples. For for more technical understanding it's best to look at the key source code files, which will be linked at the bottom of documentation, where possible.



  • charrondevcharrondev Developer Lead (PHP, JS) Montreal Vanilla Staff

    A followup note on the documentation project:

    Is there there some part of Vanilla that's lacking in documentation (that isn't mentioned in my list above)? I'm looking to see what else I need to write.

  • new to Vanillaforums - but impressed by this view on a very sustainable development.

    i really like what i see.

    BTW: since i am currently in the early planning stage of a new project - i have a closer look at the options and the different forums.

    among the question and answer-engines which are open source i have found two systems

    vanillaforums - and questions2answer.

    i for one have seen that the vanillaforums do have much much more contributors than the alternative. (questions2answer)

    see the comparison


    29,184 commits

    254 branches

    0 packages

    107 releases

    117 contributors


    1,291 commits

    6 branches

    0 packages

    15 releases

    20 contributors

    well - for me it is obvious that vanilla is much much more sustainable developed - with a much bigger group of contributors.

    @the mods: sorry for posting these kind of data here in the forum. But as i am new to the world of Q&A - Forums i need some help to get

    an overview.

    many thanks for this project - i really like it.

    keep it up - it rocks

  • 1) Any update on progress of 4.0 release?

    2) About the "New Base Theme & New theming system.": That's similar to what the vanilla cloud service got now just recently?

  • pioc34pioc34 Pézenas ✭✭
  • @charrondev Hi, are there any updates on the 4.0 release. Is it still on track for 2020? What would the ETA be, roughly speaking? Summer / fall / winter? Thank you :)

  • AdrianAdrian Wandering Spirit Montreal MVP

    There will be a 4.0 release. I don't want to make any promises on timelines - because I would be lying. The work is being done and when it makes sense to share something concrete, it will be posted. There is no need to mention Adam or myself on this topic - we want to get this to the community when we can.

    You can always grab the version from Github if you are impatient, but be aware it comes with it's own risk of moving off stable.

  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    Just because you mentioned it: I tried running the master branch several times in the past few weeks and wasn't able to run the build process.

  • AdrianAdrian Wandering Spirit Montreal MVP

    @R_J oh goodness. I had an issue before, then I didn't. This was a couple of months ago. Do you recall the error you saw? I'll see if I can help.

  • AdrianAdrian Wandering Spirit Montreal MVP
    edited May 2020

    And by the way, when I mean help, I mean ask someone who is a much more competent developer than me - if they have a moment & I can't figure it out :D

  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    Not even sure what I tried...

    But right now I have tried composer update followed by yarn build. That worked!

  • neptronixneptronix Utah New
    edited May 2020

    Sorry to ask this here, but what is the "release name" of 4.x to give your release.sh script in order to build it from source on github? I tried to type "release/4.0", "4.0", etc..

    I would like to start testing 4.0 as soon as possible, even if it's basically in an alpha state right now.

    or are the build instructions on the site not applicable here and RJ's method is the way to do it?

    Doing things RJ's way results in getting an error about types/path. But i can't npm install types/path because there's an issue with the certificate etc.

  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited May 2020

    It's the master branch. The build steps are in the README.

  • neptronixneptronix Utah New

    I see.

    I'm getting this output from running sudo bash release.sh:

    ==================== Running Command ====================

    ✔ What version name do you want to use? … master

    ✔ You entered master. Would you like to proceed? … yes

    ✔ What branch would you like to build from? This command works for all vanilla versions after 2.8+2019.003 … master

    ✔ You entered master. Would you like to proceed? … yes

    ==================== Preparing Fresh Vanilla Clone ====================

    Cloning new copy of vanilla into /var/www/html/vanilla/build/temp

    Cloning into 'vanilla'...

    ==================== Installing dependencies & Building ====================

    You are running composer with xdebug enabled. This has a major impact on runtime performance. See https://getcomposer.org/xdebug

    > Vanilla\Setup\ComposerHelper::preUpdate

    Loading composer repositories with package information

    Installing dependencies from lock file


     "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"?

    install [--prefer-source] [--prefer-dist] [--dry-run] [--dev] [--no-dev] [--no-plugins] [--no-custom-installers] [--no-autoloader] [--no-scripts] [--no-progress] [-v|vv|vvv|--verbose] [-o|--optimize-autoloader] [-a|--classmap-authoritative] [--ignore-platform-reqs] [--] [<packages>]...

    env: ‘/var/www/html/vanilla/vendor/bin/phing’: No such file or directory

    ==================== Copying & Cleanup ====================

    Build failed. Unable to locate built file at /var/www/html/vanilla/build/temp/vanilla/build/vanilla.zip

    .. i installed the phing package but i am getting this error still.

  • neptronixneptronix Utah New
    edited May 2020

    ps.. i run several forums which run on platforms ranging from phpbb to simple machines forum..

    We have been looking for a platform that provides a substantial upgrade to these older systems for 5 years.. after evaluating everything out there ( including flarum and discourse), i've decided that vanilla is what i'd like to move all these forums to.

    Very much looking forward to 4.0, and completing a test build of the software so i can start getting experience with it, and maybe provide some useful feedback, volunteer to do some testing, etc. I'm a linux sysadmin and php web developer by trade, so i think i could be of some use to the team.

    But.. where is the 4.0 branch at? would you call it alpha, beta, release candidate, what?

  • selfawareselfaware New
    edited June 2020

    Wasn't sure if this was the correct place for 4.0 feature request, but here goes:

    It would be nice if you could specify tags, in a category, in the form of a drop down menu, whereby the user would be required to pick from in order to submit their post. It would also be cool, if you had some ability to sort and organized the posts within the category based on the predefined tags. You could even have an option where each tag name could be shown as a link, whereby when the user clicks on it, it reveals all the posts associated with the master tag link.

  • @charrondev wow... what a crazy start to this year it's undoubtedly been. Thanks for doing updates like this, these comms give me so much confidence in vanilla forum! I'm wondering if there will be another progress update before 4.0 launches? I've noticed there's been no 3.x updates for the last 6 months, so I'm presuming 4.0 is likely to be coming soon™? 😃 Thank you.

  • pinchiespinchies New
    edited October 2020

    @charrondev - any updates? Thanks.

    Edit: saw your post here, I consider that an update, thanks: https://open.vanillaforums.com/discussion/comment/261460/#Comment_261460

    Burnout is no fun -- sending some encouragement your way. 👏

  • neptronixneptronix Utah New
    edited December 2020

    Due to lack of support and communication from the team i have decided to abandon my interest in vanilla forums and will be using a competing commercial forum software.

    No need to reply to any of my requests for help anymore.

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