FTO development plans

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FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:51 pm

Edited 10/19/15 8:15 pm MDT to mark Step 2 below as done.

Our wizard has been busy pulling levers behind the curtains around here -- you've seen the big push to improve our mobile experience, and you may have noticed that we turned off Tapatalk. Here's what's going on behind the scenes right now at FTO (and #1 below is the main reason for turning off Tapatalk):

Step 1: Integrating users between the main site and the forums
Right now it's awkward that we have two different user databases between the main site and the forums. I think that hinders traffic in both directions as well.
Goal: If someone's logged in at the forums they're logged into the main site, and vice versa. If they log out of one, they're logged out of both.
Status: Completed 10/19/15!

Step 2: Re-style the forums so that they more closely represent the color scheme of the main site.
Goal: Develop some consistent branding and appearance between the two. Make the two appear to be less disconnected from one another.
Status: Completed 10/19/15.

Step 3: Take Step 2 one step further by making the integration seamless
Goal: identical menus, sidebar widgets, etc. between both sites. Literally pull the forums into the main site.
Status: We're currently exploring whether or not that is feasible.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby EMSC » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:08 am

All 3 worthy goals.

Just wanted to let you know that the updates to the forums means that they now display across only a bit more than a third of the real estate on my 22" monitor which is far less than ideal obviously. (desktop/mobile confusion in the code?)
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:22 am

I'm guessing that you are seeing the mobile version on your desktop. What operating system and what browser are you using? Can you attach a screen shot?
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:52 am

The right side of pictures is cut off in forum posts now. It's a PITA to click enlarge each pic individually to see the whole picture.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:56 am

Tony, I'm unable to replicate that. Screen shot please.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:12 pm

Sent to your e-mail. I chose one of your pictures that will illustrate the situation in an obvious manner.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:19 pm

And as indicated in my email reply it appears to be a browser zoom issue and not coming from the server.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby EMSC » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:46 pm

Windows 7, Chrome Browser (Version 46.0.2490.71 m) which is 'up to date'.

FTO Capture.JPG
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:49 pm

At 1366x768 with the latest Chrome on Win10, here's what I'm seeing:

screenshot.jpg
Screenshot


Really, there shouldn't be much difference. The new style is based on the new style, and in fact relies upon the old style to provide most of its attributes. The biggest difference is the color scheme.

That said, EMSC, depending on whether or not we're successful with task #3, if we are the top menu and sidebars for the forums will be pulled from the news site for a cohesive look. That means that what you're seeing as substantial real estate in black on either side of the forum content will be occupied by advertising that will be moved there instead, menus and other information, just like what you're seeing on the news site now.

And Tony, I don't have any answer for what you're experiencing other than that:
1. 1280x1024 is a small screen resolution by today's PC standards; and
2. You may not have ever noticed before, but a small portion of photos was beyond the right margin of the old style. I'm seeing the same amount truncated from the screen shots posted to this thread. My option is to reduce the file sizes but I'm not sure that we really want to do that, for many users -- see EMSC above -- are using a much higher screen res.

And Tony, on a completely unrelated note, I just got back from lunch with Nathan Rafferty and he brought up your name and your mid-mountain snowfall statistic from last year. Just sayin'.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:58 pm

admin wrote:You may not have ever noticed before, but a small portion of photos was beyond the right margin of the old style.

That may be, but with your change I have measured and the rightmost 19% of pictures are truncated. This occurs on Firefox, Explorer and Chrome. The old truncation was not noticeable, but 19% is conspicuously noticeable and needs to be corrected.

"1280x1024 (recommended)" is the max for "19-inch standard ratio LCD monitor." 13-15 inch laptops are going to be similar, and there are many tablets and mobile devices with less.

I find it hard to believe that the
admin wrote:substantial real estate in black on either side of the forum content

does not have something to do with this. Let's put the ads at the top and/or bottom where they belong.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:16 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:That may be, but with your change I have measured and the rightmost 19% of pictures are truncated.


Are you kidding me, you measured it down to the percent? That may be the case on your screen and not necessarily anyone else's. Also, because that portion of the formatting is derived from the old theme, if it is precisely 19% now it was precisely 19% before. Really.

I'll play around to see if there's a way to make attached images have a responsive width, but I'm not making any promises.

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:substantial real estate in black on either side of the forum content

does not have something to do with this. Let's put the ads at the top and/or bottom where they belong.


Are you of the mistaken belief that this is a democracy?
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:57 pm

Mea cupla: I had tweaked the forum width on the former theme; I'd forgotten about that. So, indeed more of the photos was visible prior to the change in theme. Cue Arthur Fonzarelli here: "I was wr-w-wr-wro-wr..."

Furthermore, I tested further and realized that if someone doesn't place an image inline, the current settings allowed the attachment to completely overflow the design. Ugh.

So...

I tried to apply responsive width to forum attachments via the board's CSS. That would've been the ideal solution, but that didn't work. I then reduced the "thumbnail" width from 780px to 600 px and voila! Everything now fits. I was only able to do that, however, after going into the server and changing some settings on its PHP installation that were keeping me from accessing the forum attachment settings. Nothing's ever easy. ](*,)

Now, this only works for images uploaded to the forums after I made this change today. There's absolutely, positively no way to go back and do so on images uploaded prior to today, so please don't ask. The reason is how phpBB handles forum attachments. At the time that an image is first uploaded phpBB uses a server Perl package to resize the image and create the thumbnail that is displayed in the forum. That thumbnail used to be 780px wide; it's now 600px wide. The thumbnail process cannot be applied retroactively.

As an example, here's the exact same screenshot I uploaded earlier, but now displaying the correct width once it's been uploaded again.

screenshot.jpg
test of reduced width thumbnail


I'll play a bit more with responsive width to address the older images, but don't hold your breath.

Despite my earlier unfounded protestations, thanks for pointing this issue out.
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby SKI-3PO » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:18 pm

Embedded image looks better, but forum in general still appears much narrower than previous. This is Edge/Win10/1920x1080 (looks the same on Chrome).

fto.jpg
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:29 pm

SKI-3PO wrote:Embedded image looks better, but forum in general still appears much narrower than previous. This is Edge/Win10/1920x1080 (looks the same on Chrome).

fto.jpg


Thanks SKI-3PO. Yeah, but if I have my way that's only temporary. Those black columns on either side will be partially occupied by the same sidebar material that appears on our main home page if we're able to successfully pull that over to the forums. I'm waiting to hear back from a developer in that regard.

If not, what I may do is migrate these forums over to phpBB 3.1, which is a newer, different fork of phpBB than the 3.0 branch that we're running here. Both are being developed concurrently by the phpBB folks. The advantage of 3.1 is that it offers responsive themes that automatically size themselves to screen width. There are substantial disadvantages to going to the 3.1 fork, however, not the least of which is that I'll have to start this design process all over again. :roll:
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Re: FTO development plans

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:05 pm

OK, y'all...I've been working on this non-stop for the past three hours, and everyone should be happy.

a) I finally, finally figured out what in the CSS was controlling the inline image widths - I had been looking in the wrong place all along. I re-wrote the CSS to take any inline image and make it a maximum 600px. So, even the previously uploaded images will display in full.
b) I've figured out how to modify the CSS such that the content width is dynamic, depending on screen resolution and browser width, to occupy a space anywhere from 650px to 1100px of screen real estate. As you make your browser wider or narrower, the content of the forums will expand or contract automatically within those high/low parameters. The high limit used to be 900px. I reserve the right to drop that high limit of 1100 to a smaller number if/when we move the main site sidebars to the forums.
c) Finally, to correct a personal pet peeve, on the posting page the smilies are now contained within a box with scrollbars to correct overflow issues and compact the layout of the posting page itself.

:bow:
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