SW Forums 3.0 Updates

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SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:57 am

After a long time away neglecting the boards, and the past few months of sputtering starting and stopping, I have finally made my first commits to a SW Forums source code repository. What does this mean? It means I have begun work on updating the SW Forums to be the message board community that you deserve.

It's no secret that I have neglected this site and it has fallen into a rather dormant state. The posts are light and registrations are almost always spam. I have tried to mediate the spam the best I could but that also meant making registration very difficult. I've basically been doing the bare minimum to keep the server and software running, nothing else. There have been several instance where I have contemplated shutting down the site because I have just not had the time to keep it running.

When I took over administration of the SW Forums for Webmasters of the Force back in early 2003 I was 17 years old. I had all the free time in the world and Star Wars was one of my biggest passions. A decade has passed and life has gotten much more complicated but my interest in Star Wars remains. Now I just have to rekindle my love for web site design. Over the past 10 years my interests have moved from web site design (HTML/CSS) much more into full blown software engineering (which is now my profession). While my HTML/CSS skills are still OK my design/Photoshop skills are still just as bad as they were when I was a kid. :D I will do my best to make a beautiful looking site.

This thread will serve as a public work log of my progress on creating a brand new custom theme for the SW Forums as well as enhancing and customizing the forum software to meet the needs of the community. I know that this will be a long and difficult task but I don't want that to keep me from making progress and keeping everyone informed. I will try to keep this thread updated at least once a week with what I have been doing, no matter how boring it might be to everyone. I am hoping that giving public updates will keep me on task.

Feel free to post questions and feedback on my progress. If you have any suggestions for a direction on the visual appearance or would like to see certain features on the boards, post them here. I will see about making them happen.

Wish me luck and as always, May the Force Be With You!
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:14 pm

My first two days of work are just about done. I got the basic template configuration files set and started work on the header. I am moving over to HTML5 so if you use a browser like IE 7 or 8, you best migrate over to the latest Firefox, Chrome, or IE 10. I will not be supporting any browser older than a year or two.

I am thinking of doing a Naboo night theme. I really like the shot from TPM of the Naboo palace at night. Here is a link to the image I am talking about:

http://jcouncil.com/naboo-test.png

If anyone has any suggestions on the header or wants to take a stab at it, let me know. The height of the header needs to be 300px and the width needs to either be 2000px or be a repeating image.

Also, if you are feeling dangerous and want to live on the edge, the template that I am working on is online and available to view. All you have to do is go to the user control panel and change the theme to 'swforums' in the board preferences section.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Power » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:10 am

I want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I know what you mean by trying to keep a site going and live in the real world as an adult. I too have considered closing Galactic Voyage on more than one occasion, but my passion for Star Wars has keep the site at least on even if the updates have been fewer. As you add children, the time and energy becomes less available and some of the free time at work has dwindled away.

I know this forum is going to be a great place to visit again. Build it and they will come, right? GV is still running on old HTML code because I haven't learned any of the new things or had time through the years. I may want to pick your brain Viper on the HTML5 thing. Best of luck!
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Jin Su » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:05 pm

I am very much looking forward to the new look! So far it looks great!!

I for one am glad you are trying to revamp everything. :)
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Power » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:48 pm

I am on a gaming forum that is exactly the same as here. I would like to recommend that the "view new posts" link be available at the top on at least the main page if not every page. I find I use that the users go to that link the most. There is "view your posts" their now.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Boba4Apples » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:18 am

Viper you've done a great job over the years maintaining the forum. We all have ebbs and flows. Its always a challenge to keep grinding along with this sort of thing.

I remember years ago you got me to draw some repeating headders and themes for this forum. Don't think they were all that great, but they were Star Wars-ie! I only recall a Bespin and Luke/landspeeder themes.

The Naboo image is a nice one but needs work for a headder.

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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:20 pm

I do remember those repeating backgrounds you made. I still have them. I spent several weeks trying to replicate them at a higher resolution so I could use them but I was unsuccessful. I need a higher resolution image set so I can support high-dpi monitors that are becoming more and more prevalent. :-/ I am now sampling images from the Blu-ray discs to have a really high res starting point.

The header image there now is just a placeholder. I need to figure out what I am going to do with it. You're welcome to try your hand at Naboo (or any other design if you are freeling up to it). ;)
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Minor update:

For the past few days I have been doing to research/reading on the best way to handle the forum and topic listing pages. It's the age old tables vs. divs conversation. I have decided that those pages do represent table style data it it makes sense to make them tables. Also, the phpBB templates for those pages are way overcomplicated and this will simplify them greatly. I am hoping to get working on those pages soon.

I put up a temporary header image just to fill some space and for me to get a feel to see how the dark image will work. Still not very satisfied with it. I really want it to stretch across the page much more than it does.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Craig » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:44 pm

I will have a fiddle with the images. Already had an idea last night for the Naboo image. Any image test I send you now will be low-res due to this PC. The laptop has a blu-ray drive, so I should be able to give you high-res if you like what's done. Though I don't think the laptop has a graphics programe I can use - that may be a headache.

You should have told me about the high-res image problems before, Perhaps I could have helped.

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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:27 pm

If you are serious about making any images, I can provide you high-res versions of any screenshot. Capturing from Blu-ray is rather...complicated.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:10 pm

I was super busy of the past week and didn't get as much done on the theme that I would like. My schedule is (hopefully) lightening up a bit so I am back to work. I will try to solidify the front page forum listing page before moving on to the topic listing page. I am also looking into setting up a local development environment so I can reduce the round trips to the server.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Power » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:44 pm

The gaming PHPBB forum that is just like this one that I frequent allows for the use of Google Video and YouTube video. That would be a great addition!
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Jin Su » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:00 pm

It indeed would be a great addition especially with the new movies getting underway.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by viper2843 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:17 pm

Sorry for the lack of updates. Tomorrow is my company's big release that I've been working on for the past 4 months so it is pretty hectic right now. I do have some more styling that I will hopefully push to the server this weekend.

As for new features like YouTube links in posts, it is definitely in the plan. There are lots of features and plugins that I will be including once the template is finished. Hopefully once my workload drops off I can get back to more of a normal rhythm with development.
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Re: SW Forums 3.0 Updates

Post by Jedi Power » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:47 pm

We totally understand how "real life" gets in the way. I happens more and more each year. Take your time.
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