New PCR Design / Forum Software Upgrade

Ian

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I've been mulling over creating a new PCR design for the past few weeks, as this one has been here for a good few years now and has a few little niggles that could be solved with an upgrade.

The forum software is getting on a bit, so I'd upgrade that at the same time (which would introduce a few new features for mods/admins to make zapping spam easier). This would also clear out some of the old features that are no longer used, as well as meaning that it's easier to code additional things for the site.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this one, as I'm in two minds about it!

The new things that could be introduced are:
  • Single sidebar by default, creating more forum space.
  • Re-arrangement of frontpage.
  • Better anti-spam additions (using an online spam database to prevent known spammers).
  • Automatic image re-sizing and other handy thread tools.
 
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If it's not broken then dont fix it?

OK.
Well in a way Ian it's up to you as the Boss.
The sites free and easy to use & has been my home in cyberspace for nearly 5 years!:D I like the site as it is, but if it makes your job & the work of the mods easier then i vote for it!:nod: That said i will probably be the first to complain if the site differs a lot, but thats just me!!:rolleyes:
 
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PS: Perhaps you could try the "new" site out on us all for a few days as a taster?

Is that possible or am i just in "Feckit World" now!
 

Ian

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I'm very much of the same opinion when it comes to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" (although it took me a few years to learn that important lesson!)... but as the forum software will need to be updated at some point to keep up to date with new security releases, I thought it may be a good time to take the plunge.

I should be able to make a test page that shows the new design (once I've worked on it anyway), so it would give a chance for some feedback. However, it wouldn't be possible to make a whole new theme for the current site as the forum software update changes a lot of things.
 

floppybootstomp

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I think the improvements outweigh the uncertainty meself.

I'd say - providing it ain't gonna cost you an arm and a leg - go for it :)
 

V_R

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Redesign would be nice, but i do like the site as it is. :)

What are you thinking, New VBulitin or something else entirely like SMF or IPB?

Single sidebar would be nice. :)
 

Ian

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Yeah, it would be a newer version of vBulletin. I've had a look at vBulletin 4.x and it still looks like it's full of bugs and the private customer forums aren't full of positive feedback. However, the more mature vBulletin 3.8.6 version is very stable and has good reviews - so I'd probably go with that for now.

If you guys have seen any recently forum designs that you like, I'd be really grateful if you could PM them to me and I'll take a look for ideas :).
 

EvanDavis

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Change is always good in my opinion. And if it will help yourself and mods run the site then go for it. Like any other site users will grumble for the first few days of change, but they soon get used to it. I say go for it.
 

nivrip

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Ian Cunningham said:
but as the forum software will need to be updated at some point to keep up to date with new security releases, I thought it may be a good time to take the plunge.

I should be able to make a test page that shows the new design (once I've worked on it anyway), so it would give a chance for some feedback.

Well, why not change things when the software update comes along? I think the present setup is fine but if you think it can be improved then go ahead.

And if we can see the test page then we could decide at our leisure. I'm sure we'll all dislike a new page to begin with, simply because it's different, but will very quickly get to think it's the bee's knees.

Think of it as PROGRESS. :)
 

Ian

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nivrip said:
Well, why not change things when the software update comes along? I think the present setup is fine but if you think it can be improved then go ahead.

Ideally, I'd do as you suggest and change it when a new security patch comes along - however, the current version of PHP (5.2) has come to the end of it's life now, and the current version of vBulletin isn't compatible with version 5.3. So, should any serious flaw be found in version 5.2 then I'd have to upgrade the PHP and forum version (the latter would take weeks as it needs a new design created due to templating differences).

That's why I'm in two minds, as I'd leave things be for a while longer if I knew it would be ok for another couple of years. It's good to hear your thoughts on this :nod:.

nivrip said:
And if we can see the test page then we could decide at our leisure. I'm sure we'll all dislike a new page to begin with, simply because it's different, but will very quickly get to think it's the bee's knees.

Think of it as PROGRESS. :)

I'll see what I can come up with in the next couple of weeks and then that should provide some more information to mull over :thumb:. If it's not a popular decision and it doesn't need to be done, then I'll be more than happy to leave things alone :D.
 

Quadophile

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One of the forums I frequently visit is the Majorgeeks, I like the layout of it in the sense that they have "What's going on" right at the top followed by the Forum section below. Next if you click any forum section you will see the layout is very nice and has some useful info for the visitor at the bottom. I am particularly not thrilled about the colour scheme though.
 

muckshifter

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will it work with IE9 / Chrome? ... 'cos we know this version of VB don't

get with the times, technology moves on & software follows. :D



oh ... and I want new smilies :nod:



:user:
 

Ian

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I'm going to test it with IE9 tomorrow and see what happens :)

I'm sure new smilies can be arranged :lol:
 

Taffycat

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Yay! New smilies,

Like others have said, PCR is great as it stands, :thumb: it's a super site. :nod: But software upgrades are bound to be necessary to keep things ticking-over, and it's obviously an appropriate time to carry out improvements in general. My own question is whether you might be planning a colour-scheme change? (Hoping not, 'cause the current scheme is so comfortably familiar... if that doesn't sound too naff?:blush:)

Not sure if this would be a popular suggestion - or not - but how about including a shoutbox? Purely for brief greetings, not for answering tech questions; and only accessible to members who have a goodly-number of posts, (maybe 500, for example) to prevent spammers, etc. Just a thought, so please don't shoot me!! :p

 

nivrip

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Taffycat said:
a shoutbox?


Shouldn't that be a shoutbox ? :D

Can see your reasoning, TC , but wouldn't the spammers simply post in the non-shoutbox sections?
 

Taffycat

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nivrip said:
Can see your reasoning, TC , but wouldn't the spammers simply post in the non-
nivrip said:
shoutbox sections?


Well Niv, they seem to do that already :p but as Ian said in his first post:

Ian Cunningham said:
Better anti-spam additions (using an online spam database to prevent known spammers).

So they will probably get zapped pdq ;)
 

Ian

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The colour scheme may be quite different if the design was changed, as I've had quite a few people think it's a very grey site (I like it, but I am bias :D!).

I did a very quick knockup using an existing template to show what the new forum section could look like. The icons aren't the right ones and the sidebar doesn't have anything on it, but it gives an example of what it could look like using vB 3.8:

attachment.php


The design/upgrade is far from certain - I'm just throwing ideas around to see how it would go down. If people don't want too much change, we'll stick as-is :thumb:
 

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Taffycat

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Ian Cunningham said:
(I like it, but I am bias :D!).

With you on that one :D But, have to say that the new template looks very smart - and not too far removed from the original either :thumb:
 

V_R

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Quadophile said:
One of the forums I frequently visit is the Majorgeeks, I like the layout of it in the sense that they have "What's going on" right at the top followed by the Forum section below. Next if you click any forum section you will see the layout is very nice and has some useful info for the visitor at the bottom. I am particularly not thrilled about the colour scheme though.

I second that about MG's site (dont like the colour either though) Its layout is similar to the OcUK forum which i like too...

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/
 

V_R

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Ian Cunningham said:
The colour scheme may be quite different if the design was changed, as I've had quite a few people think it's a very grey site (I like it, but I am bias :D!).

I did a very quick knockup using an existing template to show what the new forum section could look like. The icons aren't the right ones and the sidebar doesn't have anything on it, but it gives an example of what it could look like using vB 3.8:

*snip*

The design/upgrade is far from certain - I'm just throwing ideas around to see how it would go down. If people don't want too much change, we'll stick as-is :thumb:

Thats nice and clean, think it needs a bit of 'personalization' though if you know what i mean. :)
 

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