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Hive 2 Sneak Peek

Discussion in 'Latest Updates and News' started by Ralle, Nov 28, 2013.

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  1. Ralle

    Ralle

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    [​IMG]
    Hello everyone,

    As Archian so boldly promised last week, we will have a preview of Hive 2 today. I am quite busy this week, but I figured that since the development was done on my machine, it would be harder for Archian to actually show you what we have done so far.

    First a bit of history though. Many years ago when I started getting tired of vBulletin, I fantasized about building my own forum system. I spent 2-3 years working on this and build things to be very optimized and cool, but in the end, it wasn't a great user experience and it was still quite buggy. I decided that if I were to actually ever ship something, I would have to use an existing forum system instead. So I scrapped it.. I did so about a year ago. I never scrapped the idea of getting off vBulletin though. It is very smelly under the hood and it is not easy to work with neither as an admin, nor as a programmer.
    I went looking for forum systems. I had two priorities:
    1. It should be elegant and very capable of being expanded by custom code.
    2. It should be a somewhat simple forum system without too many features out of the box.
    So many forum systems these days contain so much more that I don't need and it's annoying that it's there.
    Before we used vBulletin, we had phpBB. These days it still seems common practice to make code edits to the phpBB code base which is not very elegant when you update to newer versions and it is not exacty programmer friendly. It's probably easy to extend, but it is not built with extensibility in mind.
    The more recent versions of vBulletin are even worse than what we have now. They are becoming more and more bloated with things I don't need. The code is also not very nice. Even in our current version there is heavy code duplication. I know this is not something all of you understand, but consider this: Don't social groups seem a lot like forums? They can contain threads and they can be restricted to a group of people, they can have leaders (moderators). All this is separate limited and not very well integrated code. With a little bit of thought, it could be implemented while sharing code with the forum system. You would get subscriptions, post count, reputation, attachments for free, but no.
    I looked at Invision Power Board which is somewhat cool, but it is just so old and boring.
    Finally, I looked at XenForo, a reasonably recent forum system. After studying the code for a few weeks I was sure that this is what I wanted for Hive 2. ANY part of this system is designed for a programmer to change or add more features. It is like legos, made for you to change any part to work differently depending on your taste. The attachment system, search system, like-system (I know... But we can easily replace it with reputation), permission system, discussion system are all there for you to re-use them in different contexts. They even do this themselves with threads, VMs and PMs. They are all just different types of discussions but they share 90% of the code. This also means that their PM system is much more powerful, they are basically a private thread instead of being like an email system.
    XenForo is awesome.

    I wrote a little bit of code for XenForo last year, but since then I have been quite busy with my school and job, so to be honest I don't have that much to show you today. What I can show you though, is how fast you can actually build pretty cool things.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I spent about 3 weeks (about 3-4 evenings per week) developing a new pastebin for XenForo. It is pretty much done and is better than our old one. It uses the XenForo attachment system which gives us the ability to select a group of files at the same time and upload them all at once. Also, it gives you better thumbnails and the XenForo message editor (In vBulletin it was practically impossible to take their editor and put it in our pastebin and resource upload pages). It took a few hours to integrate it with the XenForo permission system, so depending on which usergroup you are in, you have different permissions in the pastebin. Those of you who are or used to be moderators will know that being able to integrate with the permission system is a big improvement over what we have now as my home-rolled permission system (used for resource sections mostly) is dreadful and hard to maintain.
    I still need to spend some time with Archian for him to tweak the pastebin interface to his liking. It may look a little rough around the edges, but I insisted that you had to see it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Archian and I have been meeting regularly and working on themes for this new site. We are at work on this new version of the Night Elf theme. So far it is going pretty well and feels like a fresh take on this old and creaky site :). We are also planning on putting a lot of work into other themes, but for now the goal is to replace the current site with a new one without losing any functionality.

    By the way. Now and again people ask for an API or mobile friendly version of the site. XenForo has this built-in. Also, there is an extension to add an API for the popular app Tapatalk to use. I may add that at some point depending on the demand.
    [​IMG]

    Archian has made several screenshots of how he thought the site should look. We are using them as reference for many things but not all. Do keep that in mind.
    Archian's screenshots

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    So.. When is it ready?
    There is still a lot of work to do. The pastebin only requires a few more hours and it will be done. Then I will attack the resource sections. It will take more time than the pastebin, but less time than it took when I created our current resource sections. Back then I was a horrible programmer (they always say that when looking back) and copy-pasted a lot of code when making a new section. This time when I have built one, it will not take much time to build the next as most of the work will be put into the "upload page" and the "view page". The rest is mostly the same.
    I am planning many cool things for the new resource sections. Multiple authors, multiple resources per resource (what..?). By this I mean that you can add more files to a single resource. For example, you can add icons to a model as a single resource and you can upload multiple textures as a single resource (Because I am not so happy that people upload the rest of the textures somewhere else and link to them). This new system should be more flexible, but with power comes responsibility. Resources that don't belong together needs to be split up and resources that do should eventually be merged into a single resource.
    Currently, you can only upload a single screenshot per resource. This limitation is stupid and annoys many. For the next section, I am planning for unlimited screenshots.

    So... When is it ready?!
    I don't know. I am working more on this now than ever, but it's hard to tell. I would guess that it is ready in 2014. I am cutting some corners. I will re-use the current chat until I get a time to rewrite it, so the only big thing I need to make is the resource sections. Then there's the BBcodes, but that's actually it.

    To make everything clear. All of what I have shown you is subject to change. I cannot promise that it will look like what I have shown you today, but it will look similar. There are still many corners of the design that have not been touched, for example the text editor buttons, the weird padding/margin here and there and the pastebin UI. We still need to iterate on this and improve it. While that is said, don't hesitate to tell us your opinion. It's alright. If there's something you don't like, perhaps I can assure you that it is an area we have not touched on yet, if not, perhaps we have to improve it.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  2. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04

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    Have you looked at xenForo's own resource system? It might be much easier to modify that as opposed to building something from scratch.
    Overall, I'm really glad to hear you have been making such amazing progress. Can't wait to see it!
     
  3. Ralle

    Ralle

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    I think that XenForo's own resource system is a deal breaker. I really want to get away from having a resource linked to a thread just like the current Hive. It gives so many weird situations. If the thread is deleted, the resource cannot be shown. If the thread is moved to a different forum, it is detached from the resource. In XenForo they have the "Discuss this resource" which redirects you to a thread. But what if it is deleted? I really don't want to have another resource to thread linking. I would rather use their API to allow posts to be connected to resources. The same with likes, reports, attachments, search and so on.
    This thread is actually going to be posted on Hive news when Archian and I are ready.
     
  4. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04

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    I agree that the thread functionality was always awkward. Good luck, and let me know if I can help with testing or whatever.
     
  5. Ralle

    Ralle

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    Sure, I will let you know :).
     
  6. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04

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    I think in some parts of the world it's illegal to make graphics that look this good. D:
     
  7. Malhorne

    Malhorne

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    Will we keep our current stats or it will be reset as the pictures show ?
     
  8. Ralle

    Ralle

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    I will import all data when it is ready.
     
  9. Malhorne

    Malhorne

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    OKay good :D
    It looks more customized and also it looks simpler and more friendly user in my mind at least
     
  10. SpasMaster

    SpasMaster

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    Very, very pleased with what you show us today, Ralle. It surely looks and sounds better. Many annoying limitations of the current forum system will be gotten (get/got?!, grammar nazis, help) rid of.

    Do you consider making a suggestions thread for Hive 2 where people can throw all of their ideas? Or should we do it here?

    Good luck and as a member that spent every day for the last 4 years here, I can't wait for this.
     
  11. Ralle

    Ralle

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    I think that I want to wait a little with that until I am further in the project.
     
  12. chobibo

    chobibo

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    I hope there will be a low graphics style, like what we currently have. Please.
     
  13. wc3_threads.png was my favorite picture :) The hive text below avatar would really add more value to staff posts.

    http://xenforo.com/community/help/trophies
    This kind of system would really be beautiful. Could it be possible to implement something like this?
    Ahaha :D we need a special badge for the first to gain this one :D
     
  14. T. D. W.

    T. D. W.

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    Awesome! Can't wait for this :3
     
  15. SpasMaster

    SpasMaster

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    It does help, indeed. I think it can further be improved if Ralle wants to. Like adding a custom color (and font?) to staff posts by default (no bb codes).

    Kinda like Blizzard does in their forums. :)
     
  16. GhostWolf

    GhostWolf

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    If resources are attached to threads it's also messy to make them work properly with the 3D viewer, if you'll ever add support for that.

    I like what you've shown so far.
     
  17. 1)ark_NiTe

    1)ark_NiTe

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    If even half of these changes are made I will be a happy, happy user. Can't wait to see how the end product turns out. Good luck guys.
     
  18. Ralle

    Ralle

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    Well. To be honest, I don't think posts by staff members should be too different from user posts. We are all users after all. Anyway, this is a minor detail technically at least.
     
  19. Malhorne

    Malhorne

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    DSG will win this easy xD
     
  20. monkeyboy15

    monkeyboy15

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    Ooooooooo, looks very nice. :)
     
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