Re: New Code: show forum posts since last visit
What is all this extending people want to do with forums (is bbPress) I am having trouble wrapping my head around what was deemed “weak forum functionality” What is it supposed to do that it already isn’t?
From my perspective only: I’m working on migrating a busy community of about 1000 users from Vanilla. Now Vanilla itself is just that — basic, but nice and solid forum structure. Unfortunately, Mark, the guy behind it, fractured the vibrant development community around extensions when he jumped the gun on the 2.0 release, reworked the extension repository, badly, in my opinion, and now things are in disarray, sadly, and the 2.0 version, nice as it looks, just isn’t coming very fast, while the 1.x versions, still apparently being maintained and moved forward, have a floundering and disjointed developer community kind of wondering what’s going on. It’s a bit sad to see, as it’s a great little app. It’s just that I think there was a big mistake made in the way that the community website around it (like this one here) was changed, and lost focus on users. It’s gotten better since, the developer site, but I think momentum might have been lost.
So, anyway. My users have come to expect some basic functionality from a forum, most of which ihas been added through extensions to Vanilla. Things like:
- Attaching inline images to posts
- Easy quoting of posts in replies
- Minor, standard forum structural stuff like new comments since last visit, links to last reply/replier and so on
- Inline PMs (which, in my case, will be moved to BP private messages when I do the jump)
- Individual hread pagination/navigation in the forum view
- Ways to thank (ie vote up, ‘like’, whatever) posts
- Buttons on textareas for basic tinyMCE-like functionality
And lots of other little niceties like that. I am determined to make the transition from Vanilla to BP as smooth and seamless as possible for my users (many of whom are developers and sophisticated web users, many of whom aren’t), and so the little things have been much on my mind. I want to provide them with a core forum experience that replicates as closely as possible what they’ve been used to for the past few years, but with all the other BP goodness and blog hosting with WPMU and all the rest extending it.
Pretty much all of that is now covered by plugins (or even core BP stuff) from etiviti (rich!) and Boone and others, thank goodness. But until literally the last couple of weeks, a lot of the plugin functionality to fill in those gaps, available on standalone bbPress installs through plugins written for bbPress, wasn’t available in Buddypress’s integrated version. So I am deeply thankful to folks working on that stuff and porting it to work natively in BP.
So, for me, it’s not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with BP’s forum functionality as provided by bbPress, but there are just a whole bunch of nice little things that people don’t think about much until they’re no longer there that I want to make sure my userbase doesn’t miss if we make the move.
Again — that’s just my own personal story with the site I’m currently working on. And yes, I am well aware that Buddypress isn’t about replicating or extending the kind of bog-standard forum style we’re all used to, it’s kneedeep in the MyFace-y Spacebook-y Twitteriffic social networking hoohah that is so au courant these days. All good.
In my case, it’s not a matter of everything looking like a nail because I have a hammer in my hand, honestly. If all my work with BP to tweak it towards something that will please my users doesn’t pan out, I won’t end up using it for this particular project I’m working on right now — but I’m so close I can taste it. Learning BP is an end in itself, as well.