XenForo 2.1 and beyond

Discussion in 'XenForo' started by The Sandman, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Destroy Repeat

    Destroy Repeat DestroyRepeat.com

    They'd have to be careful. And I don't think they can easily hire... U.K./Europe has the most strict tax laws, employee laws, and the most draining startup procedures you'll ever find in a country. This means even if they employ, they'd have to worry about taxes. EU is draining startups dry, here's a video you should see...

    This is why:

    - Facebook, Google, and other U.S. companies are getting pushed back despite their intention to localize their companies in EU.
    - Likewise, they're being told to literally "GTFO."
    - GDPR was set up to compensate for the loss of these companies, and tech companies.
    - EU has the slowest Tech adoption in the world. Period.

    This is basically why Internet Brands acquired vBulletin, and why vBulletin is a shadow of its former self.
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  2. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    Just one would be a good start. I believe I read somewhere that it is something they hope to do at some point.

    I'd have hoped that as a small company running leanly for 7 years and taking a huge portion of the commercial forum market they'd have a bit of cash saved up.

    Maybe an influx of 2.1 renewals will help, who knows.

    Regardless, it would be really nice to see the media gallery get some more love. The lightbox has never been quite up to scratch (edit: I'm not even sure if there is a lightbox anymore after looking at it again?), as you can't show or hide the comments inline with the media with it open. I don't want to have to scroll away from the media to find the comments section, I want to be able to see the media while I compose my comment, especially if I'm watching a video. Sonnb's implementation has always been superior in this sense, it's a really top notch gallery over all. It even works brilliantly on mobile to show and hide comments and ads. Son's version even allows profile page cover banners and some other cool settings promoting more imagery around the site in general.

    The XF one has been an official add on for 4 years now and I've been waiting for Son to release an XF2.0 update to his gallery for 2 years now.

    IPS have recognised the importance of a high quality lightbox, for both engagement and advertising reasons.

    If the official version had this feature, and perhaps an option to browse photos uncropped in a masonry effect (which is gorgeous for browsing when it's full of high quality thumbnails), I'd probably make the switch. There's a lot of really great features in Son's version that would translate well into the official gallery and really improve it. A lot of it comes back to being mobile and monetisation friendly, as well as UI improvements for better engagement and consumption.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  3. eva2000

    eva2000 Habitué

    Development takes time and perfection takes time. XF's foundation is as good as it it is, because they took the time to do it properly and didn't rush it.
  4. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    I don't disagree, but as a package they're starting to fall behind the progress of some of the competition and alternate options (depending on your needs) and it feels like after 7 years some people are starting to lose their patience, especially when not everything is perfect.

    I'm not saying they should rush, many of us appreciate the attention to details and taking their time to get may things right. What I'm saying is that if they want to compete as a complete community software suite (which it seems many communities need these days thanks to the additional range of community options available to admins and increasing pressure from facebook), it might be time to start spread the load among more devs so that more gets done while still not rushing. I imagine a few extra people for diversity of opinions and feedback internally would be a good thing.

    Don't get me wrong, I think 2.1 is going to be really awesome for all the big boards and long established communities that have already made the jump to XF. There's some really great stuff in it, especially when you consider many of those sites haven't even upgraded to 2.0 yet. But I don't think it's at the stage yet where it's the killer option that a lot of brand new admins need to start their own independent communities and websites in this very competitive time. A time where mobile is exploding at a rate faster than I think many old school admins appreciate, and a time when a highly polished UI and UX is more important than ever when trying to create a browser only service to compete with truly native apps.

    I do think the new additions of features like the API will really help with this though. Hopefully it means there will be more add ons and features plugged into the core by 3rd party devs using this system, making the entire ecosystem feel more capable. Similarly with the new install and upgrade system if it gets expanded in the right direction.
  5. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

    But if you don’t build on the foundation it can be the best thing ever but people need the infrastructure above the foundation to make it work for there users. Also this is important you can have a good foundation for a house but if roads can’t connect it sits alone with no visitors, meaning the forum needs to be more then its sum.
  6. Fillip H.

    Fillip H. Developer

    Kinda funny then that the three examples of "something jaw dropping" you posted are not useful for everyone:p

    Could it possibly be that what's considered "jaw dropping" is subjective :confused:
  7. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Sorry, but what?

    First suggestion is about attachments. Can you tell me one single forum you ever visited which didn't have any kind of attachments? Avatars? Images? Videos? PDF files? ZIP files? Nothing in signatures or conversations? None at all?

    I can literally drag and drop an image here right now.

    How on earth arent image/video optimizations to save you diskspace not considered being useful for everyone?
    Is there a single website out there which doesn't need a backup of its site? How is having an automated backup solution not sth. for everyone?
    And enabling all of this by having a bridge to well known cloud storage sites, which are used widely on the web, which will save everyone tons of money, not for everyone? Literally all forums have to deal with disk usage, all of them. You can't escape that.

    If you have said 2 out of 3 examples, I could have understood you maybe, but the first one is literally for every forum owner. No exception. Unless there are boards out there which block all kind of attachments, no images, no avatars, no uploads of any kind. But then I wouldn't understand how people are able to have a discussion on these boards. Even if you don't have any kind of attachments, your board gets big day by day because of your database. Sooner or later you will need more diskspace.

    About the 2nd suggestion. Obviously you can choose to ignore social media. This would mean you are ignoring 75% of the internet population.




    You can ignore billions of people, sure. As a forum/website owner you can choose to stay away from them. Or not.
    Now I won't start the discussion "Are forums dying", because forums are dead, for 10 years now. So you can understand that every single forum out there needs exposure. It needs those market of 3 billion people. I don't think you have the luxury to stay away and concentrate on the 25% of the users.
    Just make sure you get a part of the pie for yourself, all what I am suggesting. Don't tell me that forums don't need new users, or activity or user engagement, feeling connected like on social media. These people are your target audience, you can't just turn your back to them. Obviously you can, but then we are at the point we are today. Dead.

    About my 3rd suggestion. That one is a big experiment but in my opinion worth it.
    And all would benefit from it. Let's say my 3rd suggestion would be available today. It means in one night all forums out there would get instantly more exposure,more activity, by just being on the directory for doing nothing. Just being listed on there, just being a part of a "big family", big or small forums, all would get basically more chance to be seen and used. The pool of users which searched and used your site/forum would get enormously much bigger. So how would this be not for everyone? Is there a forum out there which doesn't need or want more exposure or more visitors or more chance being of seen and visited? Can you eloborate?
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  8. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

    Probably not jaw dropping but there are two common sense features I feel all forum software should have by default.

    1) An app with push notification. One app to rule them all that does not require an Apple/Android developer account for each forum.

    2) A proper search function. When it comes to content discovery, forums are really no better than Facebook as older content quickly gets consigned to the bowels of the forum. Predictive search, three character search terms, media search by user/date range/size should be mandatory for all forums.
  9. Fillip H.

    Fillip H. Developer

    Straw man argument. My argument is "not every forum needs the benefits big boards get from offloading their attachments to the cloud" and your argument is "every forum needs this because every forum has attachments".

    Plenty of web hosts offer automated backup solutions, especially if you have a control panel like cPanel installed. For instance, our site is automatically backed up to both a physically separate internal drive, and to Google Drive. If I wanted to, I could add other cloud storage providers to this list.

    The fact is, while XF being able to back itself up to cloud storage would undoubtedly be a good feature for smaller boards, I posit that it would be 100% useless for large forums. Note that I am explicitly talking about the backup features, not attachment CDNs. Why would it be useless, I hear you ask? Because you cannot expect the XF cron job system to back up 1 million or more posts on demand, that is an unreasonable demand to be placed on the cron job system. That is ignoring everything else that could potentially be way bigger than the post table, such as various log tables, or an add-on's tables.

    Once your site gets large enough, you need the power of server-side backups. mysqldump is infinitely faster than manually querying content for backup. Even if you open your site for running mysqldump via something like exec or some other function, it's still not going to be as fast or as capable as a server-side backup solution.

    The larger a site, the more valuable it is, and the more resources will be put into place to ensure proper backups are being taken, beyond what can be done in XF itself. If a site with 5 million posts were relying on forum-level backups like that, then I would say they are completely insane and they're practically daring the universe.

    Okay. The thing is, though, that not every web site has a topic that's appropriate for social media. Adult content forums cannot integrate with social media, for one. Forums that primarily act as support forums (officially or unofficially) has no need for social media integration. I think you would agree with me that DBTech has no need to offer the ability for new support tickets to be auto posted to Facebook.

    Are you starting to sense a pattern here, a pattern that indicates that perhaps these features are not universally needed?

    I'll grant you that a link directory would probably have some form of benefit, but it fails because of a very big difference between it and Reddit; Reddit links aren't limited.

    Presumably, such a link directory would draw from licensed XF customers, and only if the website was validated to not contain objectionable content such as adult content, or content that is illegal in certain jurisdictions (drug forums, etc). Even if we ignore the manpower needed to manually verify websites after they've self-categorised, to make sure that someone isn't lying about their categorisation, you still have the problem that this directory is drawn from a limited number of sites.

    Link directory add-ons were popular in the early days of forums because search engines weren't that good, and it was better to have a small section of curated links that the wild west that was AltaVista or Ask Jeeves. Oh, and those links could go anywhere on the internet, they weren't restricted to other vB 3.0 forums.

    Search engines are very good now. Other websites, like Reddit which you yourself mentioned, are also much better at being a link directory because of the shockingly good upvote/downvote algorithms that weighs content so as to arrange them. It's only shockingly good because so many people use the site, if there were 10 active users on a site then having upvotes or downvotes would be way less useful.

    In short, while I agree that having a centralised link directory database would potentially increase discovery, I think you are vastly overestimating the benefit this would have. I would surely add DBTech and FinalFantasyForums.net to that database, but I would be shocked if either website had a noticeable uptick in traffic as a result of inclusion in such a database.

    Therefore, I would rate this feature a yawn / 10, same as I would the other two features of yours I've addressed.

    My point is as it was in my previous post: The three features you mentioned are not 100% universally good or useful, and would not "wow" every kind of forum.
  10. Xon

    Xon Adherent

    Honestly mysqldump starts showing it's limits fairly quickly once you have large multi-million rows.

    SpaceBattles is a ~98gb database, I use a percona XtraBackup to take hot-backups of the database files rather than logical dumps.
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  11. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Can you please show us in which part of this 2 liner, you said anything close to "not every forum needs the benefits big boards get from offloading their attachments to the cloud" ?


    You said nothing about big boards in your message, you didn't put any argument at all. You just said that my 3 suggestions don't benefit everyone. You didn't say why.
    Do you think I can read your mind?
    And then you say I used a straw man argument based on that I couldn't read your mind? How the hell am I supposed to know what you were thinking, if you didn't write it at all?

    Again, you clearly said that my 3 suggestions don't favor everyone. You didn't say more or less. You didn't give any argument at all why you thought like that.
    And then I responded to you by clearly showing that your thought is wrong. And after that magically you invent an argument.
    Learn to debate. You can't invent after an exchange of messages an argument and then refer to it as if you have stated it before the exchange began.

    Now before I go on.
    You are talking in the following part about my 1st suggestion, which is based on 3 things: attachment optimizations, attachment backups and attachments offload to cloud storage.

    Of course you pick the one thing from the 1st suggestion (which is based on 3 things), which would make it look like it wouldn't be for every forum, because big forums couldn't use it. Let's see:

    Yes, I see your point. You say big boards couldn't use that backup feature. Fine. I don't know the technical side of things. You know it better, all good. But you clearly ignore the other part of my 1st suggestion. Attachments CDNs would be useful even for big boards and optimizations too.
    So my 1st suggestion is based on 3 things, still 2 out of 3 would be usefull for big boards.

    I didn't think that the XF version of backups would be different than server-side backups. I thought XF would just tell the serve to back it up, just like you explain how it supposed to be. But you say there is a difference and I believe you. Then my 1st suggestion would have an exception. But so what? Still 2/3 applies to all boards, and the last one applies to smaller boards only. Isn't that still good enough?
    Nothing is perfect and we should expect always exceptions. This one would have an exception for bigger boards. Okay, fine. Still, my point stands hard as a rock. Video/image optimizations would benefit still every board, big or not. Being able to offload those attachments to cloud storage would benefit everyone, small or big. Just the backup system is a bit tricky as you say. Fine then.
    Initially you said all my 3 suggestions aren't for everyone, but as you see, that is misleading.

    Adult content forums can integrate with social media, for example Reddit. There are tons of subreddits for that kind of stuff. Or why shouldn't you be able to link skype or chat messengers with adult content web sites? I imagine cam girls or stuff like that could use that kind of stuff?

    I wasn't saying that every single forum out there can be associated with every single social media site. I never said or intented to say such a thing. I was just saying, all forums can use some love from social media. Whatever social media they want to hook with, that is obviously based on the forums niche and needs etc.

    For example you are also wrong with your DBTech example. Because if you have read my 2nd suggestion, I wasn't only talking about the traditional social media sites. I said:

    I imagine you could benefit from having a bridge with Github or Stackexchange, wouldn't you? Like if people post bugs in Github and it is automatically posted in your forum? Or you respond to a bug in your forum and that resposne is moved over to Github for that specific bug.

    You wouldn't need autoposted support tickets to Facebook. Yes, but wouldn't it be nice if your official statements could be autoposted to Facebook? Like announcements, deals, like on Black Friday or "we wish you happy Chrismas" kind of stuff? Just open a thread on your forum and it submits those "happy Christmas" messges to Twitter or Facebook.
    There are a lot of things which could be even useful to support forums.

    Here we go about the 3rd one:

    Not sure what you mean by saying their links aren't limited, but again, I am not talking about the technical side of things. What can be done or not, devs need to figure it out. That is the "jaw dropping" part devs need to invent. As if it was an easy thing to do, obviously it would have been made yet. But I assume such kind of a "link directory" system is very complicated and has its problems. But I am just suggesting, not telling you how to figure it out.

    I mean XF has a validation tool already. It is practically already there. And it would be an "opt-in" thing. Just because you purchased a XF license, you wouldn't be in the directory. You have to opt-in, and when you do it, it asks you for a validation from your customer account and other things.

    And again, it can have adult content or not, all sites are not affiliated with XF anyway. They just use XF as their software, they are not linked to XF. If they do shady things, then it is their problem, not XFs. I mean right now there are definitely warez forums I know of which use XF as their platform and I know for 100% they are licenced with XF. But that is not XF's problem right now, why should it be a problem when there would be a directory?
    XF doesn't need to verify anything except for the validation that those participant sites are officially licenced with XF.

    I wasn't talking about traditional link directories we know of from the past. Or like au lait's addon on XF.
    Like tags or media galleries, those things are from the past.
    Obviously I didn't describe well enough what I envisioned. But I wasn't talking about that kind of stuff like from AltaVista (that place was horrying because of virus and malware btw).

    I was talking about a portal thing like reddit has. Like you have 1 mainhub which is shared by all XF platforms. And you can go back to it from your current XF forum and go on to other sites which are XF sites.

    Upvote/downvote algorithm was also a thing I want to see in that link directory thingy I envisioned.
    And having hundreds of XF forums connected to each other, we would have quite a few thousand of visiots at least. Maybe not as big as reddit has, but still. And by time the algorithm could pick up as we would have a good pool of users.

    Maybe I am overestimating, maybe not. But reddit is my argument. It works for them. Why shouldn't it work for us?
    Right now each subreddit as its own moderators, its own rules and style and stuff you can do (like on the sidebar, widget stuff). It would be the same for forums. Each forum has its own platform, domain, each one its own style with its own niche etc. We just need to link all together. And none of them are officially affiliated with each other. We just need a hub for exposure.

    Maybe DBTech wouldn't get more exposure, but FinalyFantasyForums has a good domain name. I would think it would be high on the list if one searched for Final Fantasy.

    Google's thing is it searches for any kind thing. Our hub would be limited to forums and only forums. So the audience knows what he is getting quickly. And having a hub, if let's say a thread on your FinalFantasy forum gets popular and tons of messages, on the hub it would get featured.

    Maybe yawn, maybe not. And nothing is 100% universally. That kind of argument is not an argument, as everything has an exception. I could right now also say "I don't need avatars", but yet XF provides every forum with avatars. I can't disable them completely. But at some point they made the decision that it is beneficial to everyone, but obviously with everyone they don't mean 100% all customers no exceptions. They mean in general, the general audience. And jaw dropping suggestions must be like that. They must favor everyone, but not like 100% everyone as there is no 100% for no features. Never. I just meant it shouldn't be a niche thing like a "Media Gallery".

    So "everyone" is meant to be figuratively, not literally.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  12. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

    You want a main hub and then like reddit with all sorts of sub-reddits where you can do either subforum.domain.tld or domain.tld/subforum or both. Is my understanding correct in this? If so that would be innovative and very powerful feature in XF with that you should be able to get more people in because it mimics reddit.
  13. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    More or less, exactly that is the idea.

    Obviously there are 2 problems with that.

    In reddit all subreddits are a part of reddit. So there is just one domain and all subreddits are subdomains of it.
    Like AskReddit
    is under reddit.com domain.

    We as XF forum owners can't have that, because we all have different domains. I am not sure how to accomplish that technically for thousand of domains.
    Maybe we can agree on a fake predomain for us and with redirects we could have a similar system. Like
    would redirect to theadminzone.com

    XF will 100% want to stay away from legal aspects of it. Obviously they don't want to be associated with each single XF forum out there. The system must respect that and put the legal responsibilities 100% to each domain. So if someone has an adult XF forum, XF itself shouldn't be held responsible for it, just like right now they are not responsible. That adult forum is just using their software, nothing more. And like that, if we have a mainhub, provided by the XF architecture, XF itself shouldn't be responsible for the content and domains on that.

    As you yourself agree with me, it would be innovative and it would bring a hell of a wind to the forums game.

    We could finally compete with social media, we would be a part of it. And each single XF forum would get exposure by just being in the system (if they opt in). I don't know, like visiotrs of theadminzone could potentially visit my forum xyz.com by just having a main hub. And not just a main hub, also like a internal search system, like a directory where people could advance search their interests and it would suggest you XF forums for your taste and interests and language settings.
  14. sanction9

    sanction9 Enthusiast

  15. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    It seems push notifications are getting people back on the site fast too, a lot of likes on that post very quickly after posting!
  16. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Initially their implementations were "bare minimum" style but I must say that they did great work in responding to the needs and wishes related to the new features. All got polished significantly, which is good support.

    Honestly, I underrated push before its release. Now I see how powerful it is. It brings really a good portion of engagement to the table, very pwoerful. Sad for iOS users though.
  17. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    It really is insanely powerful - even more so on mobile with certain demographics. At least they managed to get Android covered, it's a good start.

    Yeah, I'm still slightly apprehensive about how well it will work when users start uploading high quality vids from newer smartphones, especially 4k or 60fps, or just longer videos that last many minutes. If they're able to migrate over the transcoding system from the media gallery at some point it could make it even more powerful. Hopefully it doesn't get forgotten about after they release 2.1. I'm really impressed by it so far, I think it will get a lot of use. Although I have had one or two minor issues with the lightbox design.
  18. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Yeah, you are right.

    Above all of that I see a much bigger problem. Disk space is the most expensive thing. That is the bottle-neck for all type of hosters. They make money through that.

    Being able to upload vids and images is great, but as you say, today's smartphones are very powerful and they demand so much disk space.

    Let us think about that for a minute. Today's smartphones, each single of them, have in average 32GB to 64GB storage capacity. 1 single phone.

    On the other hand, our forums are hosted on servers, which grant us more or less the same disk usage, but for the WHOLE forum. So 1 forum has the capacity of 1 single phone. But one forum is visited by hundreds or thousands of people. Imagine how much more capacity we actually need...

    So being able to upload videos is great and fun, but I would recommend to disable that feature for 99% forum owners. It is too much. Quickly it would destroy your budget. And 1-2 pages ago, as I suggested, unless we get video/image optimizations by default, I would never ever recommend anyone to enable that. Unless you can spend hundreds of dollars each month for your hosting companies.
  19. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    I'm sure someone will figure out a way to be able to offload the storage to cheaper 3rd party options and make it work.
  20. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Well, yet again, one more addon to buy...
    Well, there is xfrocks addon out there already, but I am reluctant to recommend that. And yeah, probably another dev will tackle on that hopefully, still that not being a part of XF is a big problem. It can break a lot of things (for example if you want to get those stuff back to one server). For the short run, for now I would recommend to disable video uploads all together.
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