Since we announced MyBB 1.8 back in April work towards making a public beta has been slow. This time of year is traditionally the busiest for the team members with exams, workloads and personal projects – not to the mention most of us enjoying the summer (or lack of, in some cases!) – often taking over from our usual MyBB duties. Where we were once working on the code every day there has been weeks without anything being done at all. This is, unfortunately, the perils of volunteer work.
We know you’re all just as excited about MyBB 1.8 as we are, and we haven’t told you everything that is changing yet, so we’re stepping it up a gear to put it all together as fast as we can without compromising our new features. We’ve tried setting deadlines (and failing miserably) and I know you’re sick of the usual ready-when-it’s-ready story so all I can say is please bear with us. We’ll be working hard to bring you this feature update and that starts with our move to GitHub.
Part of the fallout from when MyBB.com was partly taken over was to have an overview look at how we do things behind the scenes to see if we could improve our services. This understandably has a knock-on effect on our development; we decided it was best to drop SVN and move to GitHub ahead of the 1.8 schedule. MyBB 1.6 development also happens over there too.
We’ve briefly hidden the 1.6 repository so that our team can get used to this new service and for us to sort out some new standards for developers and contributors to follow. This is a pretty big change not only for users but for our team as well so we need to take some time to get used to it too.
That being said, we haven’t quite got rid of everything. We will still be using the development site – powered by Redmine – as the central place to report bugs and issues with MyBB and the Merge System. It is up and running but we are having a few problems syncing the repository on GitHub and our local copy here. We hope to have this – and the GitHub project – up and running soon.
Consistency in 1.8
A general trait that has been hanging over 1.8 during planning and early development is consistency; making sure everything we do looks and feels the same as though it is from the same product, system and service. Everything from MyBB.com to the install process on your own forums will be getting a makeover to the new upgraded style giving MyBB in general a clean modern look. We’ve replaced the popular FamFamFam icons with the equally popular Fugue icon set to give 1.8′s UX (user experience) a fresh appeal – meaning 1.8 uses CSS buttons and carries PNG icons instead of GIFs. We’re looking into providing sprite images too for the ever-conscious large forum owner as well as providing theme artists a new opportunity with this style of coding.
Alongside the jQuery update and base colours, 1.8 themes are sure to be some of the best in the series.
Full Feature Update
So, as you might have thought by now, MyBB 1.8 is going to be a bigger update than most people imagined. While not 2.0-esque, it will certainly provide a full feature update that will require careful planning and action. And, to settle the nerves of the plugin developers, there will be no major updates to the plugin system – meaning for the majority only the compatibility section of your plugins will need updated for them work in 1.8.
By providing an update like this we hope to extend the life of the 1.x series while also providing the tools and processes for developers to create even more amazing themes and plugins. It also gives us, as a team, a chance to rebalance our own structure to provide a better product for you all to enjoy.