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Blue Eagle 5 v1.5.5 has been Released (Yesterday)

The Kunena team has announce the arrival of Kunena template Blue Eagle 5 v1.5.5 which is now available for download. This version addresses most of the issues that were discovered in development.

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Question Kunena 1.6 - a moderator's view

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10 years 9 months ago - 9 years 9 months ago #1 by sozzled
We get asked a lot of questions about the upcoming version of Kunena 1.6. I am not going to disclose what will be in the new version nor what will not be in the new version. I think, though, it's sufficient enough to say that the new version will please a lot of people; the new version will probably not please a lot of people. You can't please everyone. ;)

One thing is certain. Whatever beliefs that anyone has about what will or will not be in the next version, those beliefs will change right up to the time when the new version becomes publicly available. The only certainty is that nothing is certain. :lol:

It is impossible to answer the question "When will the new version be available?" One thing is certain, though, the new version will be available a lot sooner if people stopped pestering the development team for an answer to that question.

"Can I get an alpha release version to take away and test?" is another question I see repeated a lot. The development team has taken the stand that test releases will need to be tightly controlled. Please understand, using an alpha release of any new software product is tricky. It took me 20+ attempts to finally get the alpha K1.6 version working on a test site. I was determined, though, not to ask the developers for assistance (although I'm sure they would have helped) because their time is precious. I don't want to give you the idea that when K 1.6 arrives in its final form it may take you a lot of attempts to install it. Of course not! But the version that I had was incomplete - it was a bit like a Lego set - which I had to assemble. I doubt that any raw novice would have easily succeeded let alone someone with nearly 40 years of IT experience. :S

I have also seen recently a rush of requests for new features to be added. Some of those ideas have already made their way into K 1.6. Some of them won't be implemented until K 2.0 (sometime in the future). In the meantime, to give people an idea of what K 1.6 will look like, you should see A few Kunena 1.6 Screenshots .

For general information purposes I am putting a link to an image of the Kunena Configuration Settings screen: kunenaConfiguration-screenshotV1.6.gif (316 Kb) Please note: this image is based on a work-in-progress. It is not intended to be an official endorsement of what the finished product will look like. It is merely an illustration of people may encounter with the new version.
Last edit: 9 years 9 months ago by sozzled.
The following user(s) said Thank You: scept1c, deepaklucknow, jhon.merakbal
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10 years 9 months ago - 10 years 9 months ago #2 by sozzled
As most of you - those who have followed the many discussions about K 1.6 template design - would know, K 1.6 template design is a whole new ballgame. While many of our users have discovered a fascinating hobby (some of them have even turned this hobby into a business) in making templates for Kunena, how will those templates work in the future?

Basically, there are probably two questions that most people would like to know the answers to:
  1. How many templates will be included with the production release of K 1.6?
  2. Will my old, customised K 1.5.x templates work with K 1.6 without further modifications?
While I cannot give any guarantees about what will and will not be included in the production release of K 1.6, it is more than a safe bet that there will only be one default template that ships with K 1.6. This template will resemble what fxstein showed us earlier (see A few Kunena 1.6 Screenshots ).

You will recall that, on many occasions, the developers have openly stated the need to totally overhaul, and eliminate, the dependencies of the programming code from the template design. This rebuilding has also resulted in huge performance boosts for Kunena.

For example, work to date has shown a massive 60% reduction in total server response times. That is, if a page load took 0.6 seconds to produce in K 1.5.x, K 1.6 delivers a similar page in 0.2 seconds! :woohoo: But that's not all! Load tests also show a 90% reduction in the number of database queries needed to extract the information. That is, if the recent discussions page took 377 queries in K 1.5.x, K 1.6 has done the same in 37 queries!

Of course, this has meant that a lot of Kunena internals have changed.

Therefore, to answer the second of the two questions I mentioned above - "Can I use my old, favourite K 1.5.x templates ..." - the short answer is no, you won't be able to do that. Howls of protest, perhaps, but this is really no different to the situation that faced Joomla template designers when J! 1.5.0 first appeared on the scene.

The good news - and you should always keep this in mind - is that the new template design process is simpler, more "Joomla-fied", less error-prone than what you have seen in the past. When I write "more 'Joomla-fied'" I mean, the new process uses more Joomla best practices in the setup and development procedures.

In addition to the ease that the new design process will involve, there are the added benefits of using Mootools.

The changes weren't made because they were someone's brainchild. The improvements to Kunena have involved working in collaboration with the Joomla Leadership Team. The improvements are necessary to build a foundation for K 2.0 and, really, after people get used to K 1.6 it's all downhill running after that. :)
Last edit: 10 years 9 months ago by sozzled.
The following user(s) said Thank You: awedge
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10 years 9 months ago - 10 years 9 months ago #3 by sozzled
Most of you have probably heard of Fireboard. Some of you may have heard of Joomlaboard. A few of you might even remember Simpleboard. What has this got to do with Kunena? Quite a lot actually.

Once upon a time there was Mambo, and then came Joomla (V 1.0) and then came Joomla 1.5. ("Yes, we know all that," I can hear people moaning, "get to the point!") Well, the point is that back in the dark ages there weren't many forum components (or extensions to use the J! 1.5 term) that were in a ready-to-use form for Joomla users. You had to use bridging software to let your users interact with some of the big names around, like phpBB or Simple Machines Forums ... and bridging software is a right royal pain in the neck.

Along came Simpleboard for Mambo which then became Joomlaboard for Joomla which then became Fireboard. Fireboard was great: no bridging software! Even better, Fireboard had a very busy and helpful support forum. But Fireboard was also clunky: it would fall over whenever the wind changed or someone sneezed. (Not true, but it was a devil of a job to run it smoothly.) One day Fireboard development stopped. :ohmy:

The first versions of Kunena re-launched the Fireboard idea and progressed it to the stage where it was mostly reliable and mostly error-free. But Fireboard (and K 1.0.x) were designed to run on Joomla 1.0. By this time Joomla 1.5 had been out for nearly two years. While Kunena 1.0.10 made Fireboard relatively defect-free, Kunena 1.5 propelled the concept forward as a Joomla 1.5 extension and made a lot of us very, very happy! All of this in less than 6 months.

In its short life, Kunena has been installed on 100,000+ websites around the world. Not bad in just over a year.

But the main drawbacks, in terms of creating a more reliable, more durable and more in "Joomla-fied" (for want of a better term) extension, originate from an archaic design, a patchwork quilt-like code, and the inability to leverage modern, leading-edge web-design technologies.

Looking back at K 1.5, the top five goals were:
  1. Joomla 1.5 compatibility
  2. Streamline and improve the front-end user interface
  3. Simplify the installation process
  4. Integrate the forum with an extended range of other developers' extensions
  5. Implement a new search function and search engine friendliness.
What, therefore, are the top five goals for K 1.6?
  1. Decouple the code from template CSS
  2. Improve server performance
  3. Adopt best-practice development methodologies and prepare the way forward for Joomla 1.6
  4. Fix the moderator tools
  5. Extend the functionality of the front-end interface
These will be mighty achievements if any of them are completed in time for the first release of K 1.6!

So, while you may have heard, and may continue to speculate, about the restoration of certain moderator tools (like the split function, or the option to display IP addresses) or some other peripheral agenda, keep in mind that K 1.6 is a mammoth undertaking that is progressing as fast as is humanly possible. :)
Last edit: 10 years 9 months ago by fxstein.
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10 years 9 months ago #4 by woonydanny
Very well said mate and i think many that are not avid followers of kunena (i like to check every day and keep abreast of whats happening) then this will be very informative and am sure will cut down alot of questions asked on the forum.

Thanks Sozzled!!!

still wish that i can write my forum signature through a jomsocial plugin and do it from my jomsocial profile :(
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10 years 9 months ago #5 by freedomcoach
Hi Sozzled:

Thanks for sharing the history. Having started with Fireboard, I knew some of it but it is very valuable to know the full evolution of Kunena. Please extend to the development team my deep appreciation for their incredible creation and hard work. I'm sure there are many who share my feelings of gratitude.

Kunena has become, literally overnight, a very key component on my website and business structure. We are in the process of creating a multi faceted learning community with Kunena at the hub of it all. I will be watching the development process with keen interest. Thanks again and I'm excited to see 1.6 unfold in the weeks ahead.

Sincerely,
Howard
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10 years 9 months ago - 10 years 9 months ago #6 by sozzled
I've had a case of writer's block, struggling to work out how to begin my next instalment in this rambling 'blog. First of all, thank you to those who have posted their encouragement to continue with this project. :)

A while ago there was an official announcement about moving www.kunena.com to a new server ; an update was posted today. What has this got to do with K 1.6? It has much to do with K 1.6 as it also does about improving the user experience with the existing Kunena discussion forum.

As well as giving users a snappier response when they use www.kunena.com , it is planned that the new server will also host a demonstration of K 1.6! :woohoo:

"I can hardly wait for K 1.6!" I have seen a few people eagerly post recently. "I can hardly wait for K 2.0!!!" I've seen one or two people post. Well, to be honest with you, I can wait because people will discover that although the new product will not look substantially different to K 1.5 it will behave differently. Therefore, even before the dust has settled on K 1.6, there will be a rush of questions like "how do I do this" and "how do I do that" (not to mention "how do I change things"). And, while this is going on, users will continue to ask questions about K 1.5 issues as well as the inevitable "So, when will K 2.0 be released?" ones. :pinch:

Therefore, in order to gently ease people into feeling more comfortable about K 1.6, the development team would like to create a hands-on demo site. OK, before you press me with all your questions about what will be in the demo site, let me state, from the outset, that the demo site does not yet exist and the operational parameters have not been agreed to. Everything I say from here on is educated guesswork.

It seems likely that a demo site will be created as a cut-down version of a "real" Joomla website. The demo will look and behave like a typical site except that users will not be able to request their own accounts. In other respects, users will be able to login and logout, create messages, change their postings, change other users' postings and delete their own or others' messages. Sounds like anarchy, right? Not quite. It is expected that, at a regular frequency (once a day, perhaps) the site will be vacated of any changes that have occurred and the forum data will be reset again. This means that, although the forum will behave like any "real" site, users should not imagine that any messages posted in it will be taken seriously. It's like a sand-pit. The things you build will last until the next person comes along and rakes the sand over.

Considering what features should go into this demo site, it's been suggested that there should be a handful of user accounts. This was the thinking a few days ago: four different "ordinary" user accounts, two "moderator" accounts. The site would also permit posts from unregistered users. Otherwise there would be few (if any) other extensions. Therefore, the purpose of the site is not to demonstrate Kunena's interoperability with, say, JomSocial, Community Builder or even the KunenaDiscuss plugin. These are matters for users to experiment with in their own time when a public release of K 1.6 becomes available. These are matters that are beyond the basic scope of K 1.6. These are, therefore, issues that users may have to be patient about.

Another issue that has crept into this what-goes-into-the-demo discussion is "what sample data should be loaded?" Obviously, a test site with a mere "Welcome Mat" is hardly sufficient. We are thus looking for material that will demonstrate a broad range of situations that site administrators are likely to contend with when they implement K 1.6. Assembling this sample data is something that everyone can help with. In all probability, the samples that we gather could well form the basis of the sample data that is installed, by default, whenever users install (or upgrade) K 1.6. You could help us by writing sample messages for inclusion in the installation kit! B)
Last edit: 10 years 9 months ago by sozzled.
The following user(s) said Thank You: scept1c
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10 years 9 months ago #7 by freedomcoach
What happens if you install K1.6 on a production site with active Kunena Forums? Will it still install this sample data? I hope not. There should be a way for the installer to know if this is a brand new Discussion forum or not. Right?

Sincerely,
Howard
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10 years 9 months ago #8 by fxstein
freedomcoach wrote:

What happens if you install K1.6 on a production site with active Kunena Forums? Will it still install this sample data? I hope not. There should be a way for the installer to know if this is a brand new Discussion forum or not. Right?

Sincerely,
Howard


Correct - Sample data only gets installed on a brand new empty install.

We love stars on the Joomla Extension Directory . :-)
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10 years 9 months ago #9 by rinuccio sp
Hmmm, demo Poll :)
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10 years 9 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #10 by sozzled
Here are a couple more screenshots from an alpha test version of K 1.6 that I thought people might like to see. The first of these is the message editing screen, showing the proposed layout of editing controls:


The next screenshot was taken immediately after I posted the message I was editing (as depicted in the earlier image). There was no intermediate "Your message has been successfully posted" screen with the inbuilt delay. This next screen shows the immediate result of what happens when you post a new message.


You must remember that these screenshots were taken from a work-in-progress. The depiction of the various controls does not imply operational readiness nor does it guarantee these features will be included when the product is release to the public.
Last edit: 9 years 8 months ago by sozzled.
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