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IPS 4.0 backward compatibility


steadyoptions
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vb is still pretty good, but I like the feel of invision better, as usual. Main thing I think ip.board should improve on is the ease of every type of member doing what they want to do. It's still not quite as easy as it could be, but I'm not good at knowing a better way, just that some things take a tad too long to find. It's better than it used to be and better than vb, though. But a few things should have really quick, easy links.

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The fact the Ehren had to release 20 upgrades since 3.1 speaks volumes about the way IPS does things. That means that they broke backwards compatibility in virtually every new release. While it might be acceptable for every major release, I think it is completely unacceptable when it happens with every release.

A: 3.2 had a brand new skin.
B: http://community.invisionpower.com/resources/bugs.html/_/ip-board/globaltemplate-duplicate-hook-points-r39135
This is an example of why what you want is infeasible. Shall we keep backwards compatibility for my hook, leaving a bug within the codebase so that skins do not need a globalTemplate upgrade?
No, fix the bug, and I fix my hook. Or even honoring the stocks over the custom template? No, that would wipe out your customizations.
No win to be had there. The number of templates/CSS modified is inversely related to the number of skin upgrades needed. The cleaner the skin can be pulled off, the less updates will be needed. This has been that way for literal ages, and 4.0 only addresses it by breaking the big templates up into several templates, and the same for CSS. Unless you expect IPS to refuse to fix template bugs in minor versions(not happening), this problem is not going anywhere.

And the fact that developers continue selling mods/apps/skins today knowing that they will stop working in a few months and not warning customers is a dishonest practice by itself.

This I take outright offense to. I plan on no re-release and updating the mod. Please do tell, when we are yet waiting on the code to develop against, and have 0 control of the fact they even release a new version, how exactly is it our responsibility to warn the customer to not update? Compatible versions are listed. The mod only has to work with the versions listed. I do not see any mods claiming 4.0 support, do you?

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A: 3.2 had a brand new skin.
B: http://community.invisionpower.com/resources/bugs.html/_/ip-board/globaltemplate-duplicate-hook-points-r39135
This is an example of why what you want is infeasible. Shall we keep backwards compatibility for my hook, leaving a bug within the codebase so that skins do not need a globalTemplate upgrade?
No, fix the bug, and I fix my hook. Or even honoring the stocks over the custom template? No, that would wipe out your customizations.
No win to be had there. The number of templates/CSS modified is inversely related to the number of skin upgrades needed. The cleaner the skin can be pulled off, the less updates will be needed. This has been that way for literal ages, and 4.0 only addresses it by breaking the big templates up into several templates, and the same for CSS. Unless you expect IPS to refuse to fix template bugs in minor versions(not happening), this problem is not going anywhere.

This I take outright offense to. I plan on no re-release and updating the mod. Please do tell, when we are yet waiting on the code to develop against, and have 0 control of the fact they even release a new version, how exactly is it our responsibility to warn the customer to not update? Compatible versions are listed. The mod only has to work with the versions listed. I do not see any mods claiming 4.0 support, do you?

I never said that that bugs need not to be fixed. But if every bug fix breaks backwards compatibility, something is wrong here. Do you believe that 20+ skin upgrades since 3.1 is normal?

Yes, I believe that if a developer knows that a new release is coming, and his mods will need to be re-written and he plans to charge for the upgrade, he needs to tell that to potential customers. Does it make sense to you that I pay $30-40 today for a skin only to find out that I need to pay again in 3-6 months for the same product?

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Yes, I believe that if a developer knows that a new release is coming, and his mods will need to be re-written and he plans to charge for the upgrade, he needs to tell that to potential customers. Does it make sense to you that I pay $30-40 today for a skin only to find out that I need to pay again in 3-6 months for the same product?

But it's not the same product. It may accomplish the same tasks, but the code may be drastically different.

If a product has a renewal fee associated with it, the upgrade to IPB4 should probably be included with it. But otherwise, I think the developer has the right to charge for updates to a new major release if he or she so desires.

It's also not the developers responsibility to ensure you stay informed. That's your own responsibility. The marketplace developers know 4.0.0 is coming the same time everyone else knows 4.0.0 is coming. That is, when it's publicly announced. There's no inside scoop marketplace contributors have.

The only people with a real inside scoop and with early testing access are quality assurance testers. Which there are only a handful of. Marchers also technically staff I think, so he definitely does have an inside scoop. So you can actually yell at him if you want, but the rest of us are innocent.

Only kidding.

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To me as a customer, it's the same product. Yes, everyone knows that 4.0 is coming, but not every developer charges money for the major upgrades. Those who do, have the moral obligation to inform the customers that this is going to be the case. Of course developers can do what they want, and once I buy the product, I don't have much choice but to pay for the upgrade, otherwise I simply need to go back to the default skin. It is like holding a customer hostage. But then again, I guess we have different views on this and will have just to disagree.

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Upgrading is a choice that each admin must make. You aren't required to upgrade, but should that be the option chosen, there may be changes to 3rd party products your using to make them compatible. With 4.0, it's every 3rd party product.

There are many hooks written for 3.2 or 3.3 that still work, unmodified, on 3.4.6.

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I'm going to come right out and be the first to say this and have everyone shoot me.

I DO plan on re-releasing SOME of my mods separately and charging again for the 4.0 version. There are several reasons for this:

1. I never ever charge renewals. Ever. I have people that purchased a mod for $25 3 years ago and still get support and free upgrades for the 3.x series. Given that, I think that a separate version is justified.

2. I intend to support the 3.x version of the mod for quite some time, including enhancements (not just bug fixes). The fact that I will be maintaining and supporting two separate codebases is something that should be taken into consideration.

Again, I will not do this with ALL modifications. It depends on popularity, and how much work is involved in upgrading to 4.0. I will make that decision when I see the 4.0 code, and I do intend to inform my customers as soon as my decision is made.

P.S. If you murder me, there will be no upgrades. This much I can promise you. ;)

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To me as a customer, it's the same product. Yes, everyone knows that 4.0 is coming, but not every developer charges money for the major upgrades. Those who do, have the moral obligation to inform the customers that this is going to be the case. Of course developers can do what they want, and once I buy the product, I don't have much choice but to pay for the upgrade, otherwise I simply need to go back to the default skin. It is like holding a customer hostage. But then again, I guess we have different views on this and will have just to disagree.

It's a different product.

Microsoft Office 2007 is not the same as Microsoft Office 2010.

Windows 7 is not the same as Windows 8.

Battlefield 3 is not the same as Battlefield 4.

A skin for IPB 3.X is not the same as a skin for IPB 4.X.

Skinners normally label their skins for the version that is supported. I believe the same is true of modders too.

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Modders/developers have an obligation to accurately list which versions of IPS their hooks/applications/skins support. They have no obligations beyond that. They are not required to tell you "I will not be freely upgrading this hook so that it's compatible with the next major release of IP.Board."

There's also a chance the hook may simple never be updated again. Do they have a moral obligation to state "I may or may not upgrade this hook to be compatible with future releases of IP.Board" too? I doubt it.

Hooks, applications and skins need to be compatible with the versions they list support for. Not only should you not expect everything to be free, you realistically should not expect a compatability upgrade for future versions of IP.Board period. You should simply expect it to work for the version(s) it's advertised for, and if you like the hook, try giving feedback and encourage the developer continue upgrading and improving it.

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I'm going to come right out and be the first to say this and have everyone shoot me.

I DO plan on re-releasing SOME of my mods separately and charging again for the 4.0 version. There are several reasons for this:

1. I never ever charge renewals. Ever. I have people that purchased a mod for $25 3 years ago and still get support and free upgrades for the 3.x series. Given that, I think that a separate version is justified.

2. I intend to support the 3.x version of the mod for quite some time, including enhancements (not just bug fixes). The fact that I will be maintaining and supporting two separate codebases is something that should be taken into consideration.

Again, I will not do this with ALL modifications. It depends on popularity, and how much work is involved in upgrading to 4.0. I will make that decision when I see the 4.0 code, and I do intend to inform my customers as soon as my decision is made.

P.S. If you murder me, there will be no upgrades. This much I can promise you. ;)

I actually think this is very fair.

especially since you will be supporting and, this is the key, improving on the 3.x versions.

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Kirito makes a good point.

You're paying IPS a renewal to have access to upgrade versions. How is that different for 3rd party mod / skin developers that release products without renewals? Why can't they charge for new major releases? If a 3rd party product already has a renewal, I would think that renewal would cover major upgrades.

I get that you don't want things to break on major upgrades, but that's the fact of web development.

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Regarding skins - if we add a feature in a release, then by its nature it requires new HTML in the skin to display it. This means any skin designers need to add that HTML to their skins. We have a system that will automatically update templates, but it can't do that if a template has been modified - in that situation, it has to be manually done and an update released.

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  • Management

The poster here is focused on skins but misses the points that skins are not programming: they are design. One is HTML, a design language, and one is PHP, a programming language. It is all but impossible to maintain any sort of "backwards compatibility" in a design. Design is fluid, subject to interpretation, editable, customizable, tweakable, renders differently depending on browser, and so on. There is no way to make a design work between versions of OUR software let alone between versions of browser releases.

That is different with code of course. You can (and we do depending on the circumstance) write code that will have support for previous options. But that is different in that is programming logic not design fluctuations.

Using an example: Windows XP programs ran on Windows Vista but Windows XP themes surely didn't work on Windows Vista. One is design and one is programming.

Beyond this we of course will sometimes make programming not backwards compatible too. Take version 4.0. We are moving the supported PHP version ahead to a newer, faster, more secure, and actually supported version of PHP. This means that we will have newer functions available in PHP to make our suite faster, more secure, and supported. Yes this means that some ancient code will be eliminated.

If making something faster, more secure, and supported is the price we pay for breaking some 5+ year old code (which is ancient by web standards) then I say that is a good thing and will do it all day everyday without hesitation.

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HeadStand, I thought about the same, but you'll almost surely have to deal with all these outraged people. It's true without renewals, it's a tough situation but watch how many people are going to complain. I have renewals on two of mine and even still I hate that I have to do all this work to upgrade and still not get any new income, but I also hate to release separate versions.

I guess the ideal thing would be when you first add the apps, have a message in the description from day 1, sayng it may require a new purchase at some point.

Also, one other reason I hate to not be able to sell separate versions is it would be better if each ip.board supported version were separate where I would not get confused myself on which ones people need to use for whatever board version they have. I didn't do a good job keeping track of it.

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People will always find a reason to complain no matter what you do. The average American consumer is an illogical unreasonable spoiled idiot.

For one, they tend to think they deserve way more than what they pay for. Paying $5 for a hook once should not guarantee someone a lifetime of free support and upgrades.

Even if no one else here is willing to be audacious or blunt enough to say it, most developers here know this to be true. You can't please everyone. As long as you know you're being reasonable and putting a fair value on your time, I wouldn't worry about it.

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When it comes to Skin Templates, the fact that you can get highly customized IPB Skins for prices under $50 are all a steal! Your complaining that once a new version is released, the upgrade for that should also be free since you've paid for it... however the reality is, the amount of effort and time that actually goes into the development of said skin hardly covers the asking price, or even a renewal price. Obviously my idea of skins and other developers are different and there are lots of customizations and features most aren't even aware of. When 4.0 is going to be released, a lot of time and effort will be put into creating and converting the older skin and all of that should be given out for free? There is a reason why the skin market is not popular. They don't get rewarded for nearly half the work they do and when you really think about it, half of the best skins are pirated so where does that leave the author! The pricing for skins is ridiculously low for the amount of time, inspiration and effort really needed to develop a skin. Paying the same $50 or lower price for a renewal that will work with a totally new version of IPB is more than fair.

The bottom line is, 4.0 is something noone can guarantee because they don't know what the changes will be exactly, will their be new bugs, and will the conversion process go smoothly... so they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot and promise an upgrade, especially for free. Every time a new series version of IPB comes out, its always the same discussion on the forums and once things settle down, people continue to move on. I still have IP.Boards I manage that are running on the 2.3 Series and have had no reason to upgrade!

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The price of the skin is not the issue here. Developers charge what they charge for the skins not because they don't want to charge more, but because if they charged more, very few people would buy them. We all know that every product is priced what it's worth, it's supply and demand.

As for features - it might be important for admins, but most members don't really care about features or how pretty the forum looks. I didn't have a single member cancelling my subscription because the forum doesn't look pretty enough. As a side note, there is one feature that I'm desperately missing in IPS forums - the ability to force a specific post to be sent to all members. I know that even many free forums have this feature, but IPS doesn't. And this is something that did cost me few members because they thought that the need to follow each new topic to get new posts from this topic is ridiculous and could not believe that I cannot send the post to all members as mass email.

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So.. you're saying my members don't care about the level of functionality or the aesthetics of my communities?

I don't agree with that at all.

If users don't care about functionality, why even use IP.Board? Why not use a free alternative such as MyBB or phpBB? They're not as functional as IP.Board, but if members don't care about that, it would save you a decent bit of money.

And if members don't care about how your website looks, why even use a custom template at all? Why doesn't your site just use the completely stock IP.Board template with nothing but a custom logo? Compatibility won't be of concern then.

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It's not that they completely don't care. They care that it should be functional and fast. But is it important if the search button is at the top or slightly below (for example)? I don't think so.

Like I mentioned, I installed few themes and asked some members to give me a feedback. Here is a typical answer:

"I think the 'smart' theme would get my vote. Has a bit of an IOS7 look and feel to it. I would say the current theme doesn't look to bad in comparision either (but I'm a creature of habit...)

Indifferent between the others (as in I can't really warm to any of them). I think they are all compareable in terms of 'ease of use' as the location of everything and functionality doesn't really change from theme to theme as far as I can tell. I think the themes other than the 'default' and 'smart' look all a bit home made"

So I guess it also depends on the forum you run. There is no doubt that a custom skin gives you more unique look, but I had no problems to get few hundred paying subscribers with the default skin.

Regarding fee forums - I installed IPB based on advise from my webmaster, and I don't have any opinion about other forums. I guess one of the big advantages of IPB is support you get.

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