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Kunena 5.1.18 Released (30 Jun 2020)

The Kunena team has announce the arrival of Kunena 5.1.18 [K 5.1.18] which is now available for download as a native Joomla extension for J! 3.9.x. This version addresses most of the issues that were discovered in K 5.1 and issues discovered during the development stages of K 5.1.

Question Why bother with "native" Joomla forum?

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11 years 4 months ago #1 by GoremanX
I don't understand the design philosophy that forum component authors have. My Joomla site already has a unique, distinctive look to it that I spent countless days editing and fine-tuning until it was exactly the way I wanted. All the colours, design elements and fonts are matched to complement the theme of my site. Every page follows this design and everything looks integrated.

I want to add a forum to my site. At first, I was turned off by the thought of a bridge. The only reason I disliked a bridge is because I wanted the forum to be an integrated part of my site. I didn't want users to feel like they were being redirected to a "separate" site for the forum. Most forums (phpBB for example) have a very distinctive look, and it's almost impossible to make it match a Joomla template without a lot of work.

So I thought a native forum component would be a perfect idea!

...except it's not! Even native Joomla forum components force their own special look and feel onto us! What makes these authors think that my site has a white background?!? Why would I want to have to deal with yet ANOTHER theme for a component on a site that's already themed?!? Why is this component setting its own font sizes and colours independently of what I already spent DAYS designing?!? Can't these components just use the elements that the site already calls for without needing yet another stupid stylesheet to maintain? For example:

- font size
- font colour
- background colour
- link colour
- border colour

None of these components integrate well with my site. It's like I have a completely different web page housed within the look and feel of my real web site. It's atrocious and horrible. The worst offender in this is probably Agora, but I really hoped Kunena would be different. It's not.

I'm fully aware that there are themes out there that will bring the look of the forum component closer to my own web site, and that I can modify all the elements myself to fine-tune the appearance. But the point is I shouldn't have to. If I have to waste my time doing that, then I might as well just do it on a stand-alone forum and use a bridge.

I just want a forum component that doesn't have its own look to it. Something with all the functionality of Agora or Kunena but that will look like whatever Joomla web site I decide to stick it into.

And for the love of God, please use png images with feathered edges instead of gif images with a jagged white halo around them! Are we really still in the 90's? Those pictures look atrocious on a non-white background.

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11 years 4 months ago #2 by Mr Livered
Replied by Mr Livered on topic Re:Why bother with
I don't think you're going to be able to integrate something as involved as a forum without doing some work on it. That will certainly involve css changes and making new images (so why not create png files if that's what you want?).

A lot of work has gone into creating Kunena and I can't really see your point, because as you say, forums like phpbb need tons of work to customise anyway.

However as time goes on there will be more templates available for Kunena so you will be able to choose one that is closest to your requirements. And as you say, kunena is much easier to fit in with almost any site than Agora is, imho.

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11 years 4 months ago #3 by Matias
Replied by Matias on topic Re:Why bother with
Themes are legacy feature of FireBoard and anything related to themes is horrible at the best. Not much has been done to fix the themes in 1.0.8.

Kunena 1.0.8 is basically a huge security bug fix release for FireBoard 1.0.5. It still has all the design flaws of it's descendants, FireBoard, JoomlaBoard and SimpleBoard: in the design, code, themes and images.

These all will be improving, but it does not happen overnight.

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11 years 4 months ago #4 by GoremanX
Replied by GoremanX on topic Re:Why bother with
Mr Livered wrote:

I don't think you're going to be able to integrate something as involved as a forum without doing some work on it. That will certainly involve css changes and making new images (so why not create png files if that's what you want?).

Right... OR... the developers could do everyone a favour and upgrade to PNG files since that would be an improvement and offer no drawbacks whatsoever, thereby making a BETTER overall product.

If I've decided that my web site should use 13px fonts as default, why should a component I install force a 12px default font size instead? I can see some functions needing a 10% larger or smaller font, but why is it forcing its own DEFAULT font sizes? CSS was created so that an increase in font size doesn't require doing it in a fixed way.

Mr Livered wrote:

A lot of work has gone into creating Kunena and I can't really see your point, because as you say, forums like phpbb need tons of work to customise anyway.

I'm not disputing that Kunena is the culmination of a lot of work. No-where did I pretend that this is a simple component. But obviously some of the work is being wasted on unnecessary things, like the "look" of the forum. The whole point of using a native Joomla component for a forum is to have it integrate nicely with the existing site. Please don't pretend that THIS is a seamless integration:

I can't even read the text that's in there!

Mr Livered wrote:

However as time goes on there will be more templates available for Kunena so you will be able to choose one that is closest to your requirements. And as you say, kunena is much easier to fit in with almost any site than Agora is, imho.

Again, this defeats the whole purpose of integration. I don't WANT to be templating my native component to look like the parent web site, that's counter-productive. What about when my web site design gets updated? Why should I need to modify every component that insists on being themed independently? I can see why a template would be needed for layout and functionality, but not for basic things like fonts and colours. It makes no sense!

After a lot of playing around in the configuration, I did find an option that comes very close to doing what I'm referring to; it's the "Use Joomla Style?" option, which is set to "No" by default. When I turned it on, most of the horrible theming was removed and the forum started to look a lot more like my web site. There were still some issues with font sizes being explicitly forced (!), but a quick run through the joomla.css file allowed me to comment them out. Now the forum component looks a lot more integrated;

and this required very little work. I wish this option was the default, rather than being an obscure, unexplained feature hidden in the configuration. The icons still look like crap on a dark background (although it's hard to see in these small screenshots), but apparently recommending the use of PNG files is some kind of blasphemy.

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11 years 4 months ago #5 by gulffresh
Replied by gulffresh on topic Re:Why bother with
You Should ask for your money back.:laugh:

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11 years 4 months ago - 11 years 4 months ago #6 by sozzled
I agree, in part, with what GoremanX was trying to say

I don't understand the design philosophy that forum component authors have. My Joomla site already has a unique, distinctive look to it that I spent countless days editing and fine-tuning until it was exactly the way I wanted. All the colours, design elements and fonts are matched to complement the theme of my site. Every page follows this design and everything looks integrated.

I want to add a forum to my site. At first, I ... thought of a bridge [but] I disliked [the idea] because I wanted the forum to be an integrated part of my site. I didn't want users to feel like they were being redirected to a "separate" site for the forum. Most forums (phpBB for example) have a very distinctive look, and it's almost impossible to make it match a Joomla template without a lot of work.

So I thought a native forum component would be a perfect idea!

...except it's not! Even native Joomla forum components force their own special look and feel onto us!

I can certainly sympathise with him in some respects.

Kunena, and Fireboard before it, doesn't look good with most of the standard templates (if you choose the "Joomla style" on the configuration control panel). I think this is because Joomla has moved further away from TABLEs and more into DIVs, whereas the Kunena layout is a mixture of both. Given time, I'm sure that Kunena will be made to blend nicely with whatever template CSS you've chosen.

In the meantime, sit back and smell the roses. Kunena may not be ideal in it's "vanilla-flavoured" version, but it's still [relatively] easily adaptable to most website themes. :)

Good point about using .PNG files! B)
Last edit: 11 years 4 months ago by sozzled.

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11 years 4 months ago #7 by GoremanX
Replied by GoremanX on topic Re:Why bother with
gulffresh wrote:

You Should ask for your money back.:laugh:


lol! Not quite what I'm hoping for here.

I just think maybe development efforts are being steered in the wrong direction. We've already had a fairly successful revolution on the web that separates content and appearance (html vs stylesheets). It's discouraging to see developers go backwards by merging functionality and appearance where they could easily be kept separate. Let Joomla take care of the appearance, it already does a great job at it. Just concentrate on the functionality! The joomla.css stylesheet included in Kunena proves that it's not necessary to fully style this component. All it needs to provide is basic layout stuff that Joomla doesn't typically handle by default. This makes it infinitely easier to adapt the component to the look of any web site.

I want Kunena to rock as much as anyone else does :) After all, I benefit from its success!

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11 years 4 months ago #8 by Matias
Replied by Matias on topic Re:Why bother with
@ GoremanX: As a Kunena developer I agree you 99%. We need much better themes.

Kunena 1.0.8 was meant to be major security fix release for FireBoard users, nothing else. All the interesting changes were delayed to later versions.

Not much has happened with the themes. All themes are a legacy from the FB, and most of the fixes made into them are relatively minor -- just to fix xhtml incompatibilities and to import some changes from our own themes to Kunena. We also tried to make default_ex to work in all themes and made some progress in it, but unfortunately our templates are too far away from Joomla themes so the results were not as good as we hoped.

I must ask Noel to point out where you can find the new theme (mainly css file). It's much better in dark themes than default_ex, but it has some issues if you have white background.

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11 years 4 months ago #9 by GoremanX
Replied by GoremanX on topic Re:Why bother with
I'm glad I've made my voice heard :) and my apologies if I came off as a little aggressive. It's hard to make criticism sound positive. As far as functionality, Kunena (and Fireboard before it) rocks! I'm relieved to see that the old Fireboard component didn't just fade away into obscurity, there's definitely a lot of potential for it. I look forward to seeing where Kunena takes it.

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11 years 4 months ago #10 by Matias
Replied by Matias on topic Re:Why bother with
As a small spoiler: Themes are still not in the top in our priorities. :( In few days we will have working J!1.5 Native version up and running. After that we are going to merge improved search functionality and huge SQL performance optimizations into it.

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