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#1 2010-07-23 18:13:53

Reines
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From: Scotland
Registered: 2008-05-11
Posts: 3,197
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FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

So now that we have 1.4 out the door, it is time to think about what direction we should go in next. However let me emphasise the think part, we still have a number of open tickets relating to 1.4, and various parts of the site itself that still need completed.

So we really have 2 directions we could go in next, and we wanted to open this up to the community and see what everyone thinks.

Incremental approach

The first approach we could consider is an incremental approach. This would mean building on-top of the 1.4 code, with the next release being 1.5. With this approach we could, for example, introduce a templating engine and so forth in version 1.5, allowing us to introduce an extension system in 1.6, and continuing along the 1.x path.

Advantages:

  • We already have a base (1.4) to build on.

  • Users are already familiar with the architecture of the 1.x branch.

  • With smaller updates on-top of an existing base we can release faster and more often.

Disadvantages:

  • Parts of the existing base are 7 years old and out-dated.

  • In some aspects the existing base isn't very consistent.

  • Releasing more often is good in ways, but in terms of updating modifications etc. it is bad.

Total rewrite

The other approach we could take here would be to perform a total rewrite from the ground up, resulting in version 2.0. This could also include a templating engine and extension system, however it would allow us to design around these ideas rather than attempting to include them in an existing architecture.

Advantages:

  • Ability to design the architecture around the new features.

  • Can be designed in a more modern way taking advantage of features in PHP5.

  • By laying down guidelines/rules at the start we can be much more consistent.

Disadvantages:

  • Getting to a releasable state may take quite a while.

  • A new architecture may confuse users.

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#2 2010-07-23 18:14:10

Reines
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From: Scotland
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Posts: 3,197
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

When I first started thinking about this, I felt an incremental approach may actually be better, as rewriting from the ground up would be time consuming and with so much flexibility getting the team to agree on the best approach (obviously mine!) can be hard.

However now I am leaning towards a rewrite. While 1.4 is a big step forward from 1.2, and from an end users point of view is perfectly fine, it isn't anywhere near as consistent as it should be, and various parts are rather hackish feeling. With a rewrite I feel we could come up with a much cleaner and better designed approach.

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#3 2010-07-23 18:30:04

adaur
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From: France
Registered: 2010-01-07
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Well, I think a total rewrite is needed... It may take a while to release FluxBB 2.0, but I think a total change is necessary to FluxBB. More, I think the updates of modifications oftener is a bad thing... Just have a look to the update between FluxBB 1.2 and 1.4... And the modifications are essentials to FluxBB! So I think the complete change is the better and cleaner way to do!


FeatherBB - A simple and lightweight new generation forum system
Based on FluxBB, written in PHP, using Slim Framework for a proper OOP-MVC architecture.

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#4 2010-07-23 20:54:31

zaher
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From: Damascus, Syria
Registered: 2008-07-12
Posts: 126
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

I Agree with "Incremental approach"

Total rewrite mean another 5 years.

I have in my harddisk old patch for add new DB layer for FirebirdSQL 2.x
If you are interested with it, i can reopen it, it need some changes in database and code.

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#5 2010-07-23 21:31:41

FSX
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From: NL
Registered: 2008-05-09
Posts: 818
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

I'm for a total rewrite. I think there are more advantages to it than to keep working on the 1.4 release.

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#6 2010-07-23 23:57:17

TheLifelessOne
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Registered: 2010-07-23
Posts: 1

Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

New here, but I think a total rewrite would be best, as it can remove any inconsistencies within the core, as well as provide a possible increase in the overall speed of the system.

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#7 2010-07-24 00:39:10

Plazzmex
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Registered: 2008-07-24
Posts: 85

Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Maybe a total rewrite isn't so good idea, because it can take years before it will be released, in the meanwhile other forum software developers continue to improve their software, so fluxbb can end in to be outdated when released.

In the other hand its really a good thing to remove all the unnecessary code from the core and use the new php5 features.

Very hard decision, but I believe you guys will choose the best.

Last edited by Plazzmex (2010-07-24 00:39:47)

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#8 2010-07-24 01:03:50

j0hnnie
FluxBB Donor
Registered: 2010-05-21
Posts: 33

Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

I would say whatever you guys feel you can tackle with the current time you have. Of course rewrite seems like the best approach if you're not a dev, it'd be a commitment.

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#9 2010-07-24 07:20:32

Moloch
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

After the debacle that was v1.3 -> v2.0 we're talking about another two or three years of wait time. Almost killing the community wasn't enough the first time around? The website isn't even completed and we're talking about re-writes ... yay! \o/

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#10 2010-07-24 08:47:49

Franz
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From: Germany
Registered: 2008-05-13
Posts: 6,744
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

We should also not forget that having a completely new core could make it harder for people to write extensions, as they have to get used to a totally new way to do that.


fluxbb.de | develoPHP

"As code is more often read than written it's really important to write clean code."

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#11 2010-07-24 09:37:20

Reines
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Moloch wrote:

The website isn't even completed and we're talking about re-writes ... yay! \o/

As I emphasised at the very start, the first step is to make sure the 1.4 branch is properly stable, and to finish the website. I don't see a problem with starting discussions now though, the longer we have to think about things and gather input the better thought out it is and hence better decision is made... in theory.

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#12 2010-07-24 11:31:55

ethy
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Registered: 2010-07-24
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Plazzmex wrote:

Maybe a total rewrite isn't so good idea, because it can take years before it will be released, in the meanwhile other forum software developers continue to improve their software, so fluxbb can end in to be outdated when released.

It was never mentioned to make fluxbb competitive with other forum software.

We should create another branch for 2.0 and develop branches simultaneously with greater focus on 2.0 and feature freeze for 1.*.

Hello. :-)

Last edited by ethy (2010-07-24 11:32:10)

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#13 2010-07-24 11:34:13

Franz
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From: Germany
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

We could also focus heavily on 2.0 and from time to time (like every three months or so) release an update with small improvements to the 1.4 branch - just like we did and do now with 1.4.1 and 1.4.2...


fluxbb.de | develoPHP

"As code is more often read than written it's really important to write clean code."

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#14 2010-07-24 11:37:53

ethy
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

@up: I guess that's the  best solution.

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#15 2010-07-24 11:44:08

adaur
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From: France
Registered: 2010-01-07
Posts: 843
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Same opinion...


FeatherBB - A simple and lightweight new generation forum system
Based on FluxBB, written in PHP, using Slim Framework for a proper OOP-MVC architecture.

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#16 2010-07-24 11:49:22

FSX
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From: NL
Registered: 2008-05-09
Posts: 818
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

ethy wrote:

It was never mentioned to make fluxbb competitive with other forum software.

I think FluxBB should compete with other forums in term of speed and weight. Focusing less on features. If one wants a shitload of features he/she/it would already have switched to an other forum.

Last edited by FSX (2010-07-24 11:50:46)

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#17 2010-07-24 12:12:18

hussam
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Registered: 2010-06-13
Posts: 41

Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

FSX wrote:
ethy wrote:

It was never mentioned to make fluxbb competitive with other forum software.

I think FluxBB should compete with other forums in term of speed and weight. Focusing less on features. If one wants a shitload of features he/she/it would already have switched to an other forum.

Switching isn't easy. Most converters don't work properly. I've already tried switching from punbb 1.3 to mybb, smf, etc..
All converters are mostly broken or only convert some data. Fluxbb simply worked because of the shared code/database structure with punbb.

In any case, with proper mods, there isn't any visible feature loss in fluxbb as compared to other forum software.
There are working mods for PM, Poll and fluxtoolbar and many other additions . I would go with incremental updates because you want to keep it easy for people to maintain workings mods.

A full rewrite doesn't make much sense unless there's bad code that you need to get rid of. Featurewise, fluxbb is good at the moment unless you guys decide to move some mod functionality into core (even if disabled through admin panel by default). Otherwise, I would just keep working on 1.4 branch.

The key thing is knowing what features the platform needs, what users want and more importantly what developers need. For example, I like the modification review system. If the developers can help port the modifications every release, then that would be awesome as well. Punbb used to do that with extensions. That would make it more feasible for users to keep using fluxbb without sacrificing any of the lightweight forum principles. It'll be install fluxbb if you want a simple working forum and mods for extra features. To be honest, I like mods more than extensions. Maybe ask trusted mod writers to help with fluxbb development at least in parts of the code that helps keep fluxbb mod friendly.
Do we have a detailed feature plan for 2.0 or just brainstorming ideas?

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#18 2010-07-24 12:20:32

FSX
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From: NL
Registered: 2008-05-09
Posts: 818
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Mods makes updating very hard when you installed lots of them. That's why there's need for a good extension system. FluxBB 1.4 is, in my opinion, not suitable for an extension system.

To be honest, I like mods more than extensions.

You can't say that. You don't even know what's the extension system is going to be. I don't even know.

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#19 2010-07-24 12:25:41

SolykZ
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From: Mons, Belgium
Registered: 2010-05-15
Posts: 75
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

I'm okay with hussam.

A mod *just* adds what you want to.
An extension system means that there will be many hooks in the core but for someone who doesn't care about "extra features", the hooks are useless.

(-:

Last edited by SolykZ (2010-07-24 12:26:11)


SolykZ, apprentice modder.
...my English is probably the worst thing you'll ever see. PLEASE correct me if I make mistakes. (-:

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#20 2010-07-24 12:26:29

Reines
Administrator
From: Scotland
Registered: 2008-05-11
Posts: 3,197
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

hussam wrote:

I would go with incremental updates because you want to keep it easy for people to maintain workings mods.

An incremental approach would mean smaller changes each time, and hence updating mods is easier. However it would mean updating much more often. I can't speak for the mod authors, but if it was me I'd probably rather 1 big update than lots of small changes.

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#21 2010-07-24 12:30:19

hussam
Member
Registered: 2010-06-13
Posts: 41

Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

FSX wrote:

Mods makes updating very hard when you installed lots of them. That's why there's need for a good extension system. FluxBB 1.4 is, in my opinion, not suitable for an extension system.

To be honest, I like mods more than extensions.

You can't say that. You don't even know what's the extension system is going to be. I don't even know.

That's true. I shouldn't have said that. Sorry, I use Linux so I like patching stuff big_smile

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#22 2010-07-24 12:30:39

Franz
Lead developer
From: Germany
Registered: 2008-05-13
Posts: 6,744
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

SolykZ wrote:

An extension system means that there will be many hooks in the core but for someone who doesn't care about "extra features", the hooks are useless.

But at the same time, the hooks won't bother him.


fluxbb.de | develoPHP

"As code is more often read than written it's really important to write clean code."

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#23 2010-07-24 12:51:29

Jérémie
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From: France
Registered: 2008-04-30
Posts: 629
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Moloch wrote:

After the debacle that was v1.3 -> v2.0 we're talking about another two or three years of wait time. Almost killing the community wasn't enough the first time around?

Indeed.

On the other hand, the incremental means in the long run more time to wait for a functional extensible board (while extensible CMS software–which are much more complex–have been around for at least 7-8 years), and it means at least several rewrite of each extensions/theme in the end for nothing.

So although community or contributor doesn't have any kind of say in anything in FluxBB as shown these past years, it can't hurt to say that I'm in favor of a major rewrite.

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#24 2010-07-24 12:53:22

Jérémie
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From: France
Registered: 2008-04-30
Posts: 629
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

SolykZ wrote:

A mod *just* adds what you want to.

Nope. A mod screw up your sources and turn maintenance and updating into a lot of work, while computers are perfectly capable of doing "one click, plugin installed, one click plugins&core updates, nothing broken, have a nice day".

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#25 2010-07-24 12:56:46

Franz
Lead developer
From: Germany
Registered: 2008-05-13
Posts: 6,744
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Re: FluxBB direction - incremental vs major

Jérémie wrote:

So although community or contributor doesn't have any kind of say in anything in FluxBB as shown these past years, it can't hurt to say that I'm in favor of a major rewrite.

I can't agree completely.

Nontheless, that's the reason we started this discussion. Because we wanted your guys' input.
And healthy community doesn't only mean being able to influence decisions, by the way wink


fluxbb.de | develoPHP

"As code is more often read than written it's really important to write clean code."

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