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Brent C

Complete BBCode support

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

I'm here to touch on the touchy subject of BBCode that has been discussed many times before, yet the importance of it seems to be dismissed.

BBCode is STILL the main way of styling forum posts in many communities. In a community I moderate, many users either post broken topics (styled with BBCode that works on (all) other forum software) or complain that the BBCode that does work gets converted to HTML when they save their post.

To claim that BBCode is deprecated and an old technology is fine, but forums are right up the same alley. People who still use forums, are people who also still use BBCode. BBCode is simple, it's like writing Markdown and everyone loves that. Suddenly taking that away from everyone, in the spirit of being innovative because everyone else "still" uses BBCode is a bad move. BBCode still exists because it works great. It can't be that hard to maintain from a technical perspective. I believe your decision to drop it was more of a "crap we fudged ourselves and now it's hard" rather than a "this is what the users want" decision.

In previous discussions it was mentioned that it's technically challenging to bring back proper BBCode (into the current CKEditor?/parser). Back then a user proposed a separate editor for those who wish to write in BBCode (AND KEEP IT IN BBCode). This could be a solution to the technical dept you've created by removing it, should you wish to avoid fixing it. Otherwise, I think "a lot of work" is just the way it is. I don't think anybody requested the removal of BBCode, and I believe the demand for it is large, but not very apparent towards you guys.

Now,

If there is a way to:

  • Add BBCode extensions (through plugins or a UI)
  • Permanently stay in BBCode source mode (and also persist the posts in the original source format, be it HTML or BBCode)
  • Support all the previously supported BBCode elements in the same format as other forum software

then please point me to that solution, and forget this post, but the last time I checked there was no proper solution. I know there is a BBCode plugin for CKEditor but that doesn't really do much besides convert (some) BBCode into HTML when writing the initial post, but this is not what is required. To my community (and probably many others), BBCode is MUCH more important than HTML. Not a single user of my community writes HTML posts and many don't want to take the time to use the WYSIWYG editor to mark up their post. Many of the users post BBCode posts from other forums as well and these often don't get marked up at all.

Anyway, thank you for considering my post and I'm sorry if it sounds rude but I'd like to stress the importance of BBCode.

 

Edited by Brent C

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I too get complaints from some of my community members about the removal of the View Source (since it exposes the HTML vs BBCode) - I was surprised to find that many people mark up their posts prior to posting.

I get that, but with this version of the CKEditor, using keyboard shortcuts is a HUGE time saver, and much easier to mark up than manually writing BBCode, much less HTML.

Since I upgraded my forum to 4.x I have been loving the ease at which I can CTRL+B to bold, CTRL+I for italics, etc. - not to mention the paste and upload image capabilities.

Your forum may be geared towards more complex markup and hence why BBCode is important to you/your community, which I can understand.

IPS seems to be taking the "greater good" approach in abandoning BBCode (presumably to make the software easier to maintain and improve upon), but if it's feasible there should at least be BBCode support for those who want it (or if possible encapsulate it into an addon/application) as you suggested.

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While that ship has sailed anyway and with HTML as default saved post format being used for years now I’m sure that official BB code support will never return, I would like to make the general comment, that I it’s better to make a case than just deliver claims and assertions. Your posts claims over and over again that BB code is still important, but you don’t provide a single example. If I were in your shoes I would make a list of niches and specific sites where BB code is being used. I would provide code samples or links that make it clear that BB code trumps the alternative methods and so on. That would at least have a chance of convincing someone – in contrast to such obviously false claims as …

Quote

 it's like writing Markdown and everyone loves that

 

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Brent, 

 

We appreciate the feedback! I certainly understand there are still some niche sites - notably certain techy/dev sites that still rely on to BBCode both because they find it easier and it’s what they know. The (comparatively) few still using it are very passionate about using it and we can definitely appreciate that. 

At the same time, the BB in BBCode stands for Bulletin Board. It was created long before WYSIWYGs in the 90’s by UBB. The web has since long evolved and with the advance of proper WYSIWYG technology, so BBCode is really rare to encounter. Be it Google Docs, email or virtually any modern editor, we all use buttons or shortcut keys like command-B as second nature, which works even with markdown. 

The real issue is the fact that it’s simply not native to any modern editor (that I am aware of) - including the one we integrate with, CKEditor. We have a backend “parser” that converts your BBC tags to HTML upon submission, but there is no way to convert that back for editing or any other purpose. To maintain overall stability as well as compatibility with editor updates, our only intention with Invision Community 4 was to ensure some degree of backwards compatibility for those who still use tags when submitting content. The software in fact does that and while BBCode will be deprecated (which simply means it will not be further developed) in a future release, we have no immediate plans to remove it entirely.

While there are still traditional software packages that have legacy BBCode support, you will find that most modern community platforms have no native (built-in) support for BBCode and I think it’s extremely unlikely we will ever see it make a comeback (although I said the same thing about bellbottoms.) 

We are always open to ways to improve your experience with the editor and if you’re struggling to get things formatted properly using native functionality, we would welcome you to open a support ticket so we can see what you’re trying to achieve and try to offer some help. 

Thanks again for taking the time to share your concerns!

 

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Thank you all for your replies.

@Joy Rex @Lindy Indeed my community and all the other communities (about 3 large ones) related to the same scene use BBCode and are related to software development. A lot of information between those communities gets shared, but we, with IPBoard (and others that also use it in the same scene) kind of drew the short straw in terms of sharing information because of all the broken formatting. While yes, the keyboard shortcuts significantly improve the flow of making a post, and in the case of writing a new post I suppose my users will just have to get used to that idea, which is fine, there is still the (big) problem I have with people who paste BBCode-formatted posts into the editor. Many of the BBCode tags don't work. I suppose the compromise could be that there is a way to define custom HTML objects (there probably is?) for certain BBCode tags that are at the moment not converted.

It's just that... I miss BBCode... 😔

@opentype All vBulletin forums (and equivalents such as SMF, phpbb) use BBCode, no? The communities mentioned above, besides a few minor ones use vBulletin or equivalent.

If it wasn't such a hassle we would move back to vBulletin or something, but it's a huge amount of work and we had moved away from it in the past because IPBoard was more refined in terms of user experience, but if i remember correctly that was before the removal of BBCode in IPBoard.

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BBCode still works - so you can type stuff like:

[b]Bold[/b], [i]italic[/i] and so on.

To add your own replacement style buttons, check out this guide:
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Matt said:

BBCode still works - so you can type stuff like:


[b]Bold[/b], [i]italic[/i] and so on.

To add your own replacement style buttons, check out this guide:
 

 

Hello,

Yes basic BBCode works. The guide you linked, does it then also allow me to define BBCode that gets converted to my custom HTML block? If so, then I'll be happy enough.

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55 minutes ago, Brent C said:

The guide you linked, does it then also allow me to define BBCode that gets converted to my custom HTML block? If so, then I'll be happy enough.

You can make a plugin for this, it's just a few lines of code.

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On 7/31/2019 at 8:04 AM, Brent C said:

@opentype All vBulletin forums (and equivalents such as SMF, phpbb) use BBCode, no?

So? It’s like saying to Apple years ago “every PC maker still puts in floppy disc drives and no user asked you to actively remove it so you need to keep it forever”. This kind of argument can be used against any change, and it turn it means nothing. 

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8 hours ago, opentype said:

So? It’s like saying to Apple years ago “every PC maker still puts in floppy disc drives and no user asked you to actively remove it so you need to keep it forever”. This kind of argument can be used against any change, and it turn it means nothing. 

The floppy drive can still be put into every computer either directly in the case or by cable. The point is that users can still use the floppy drive the same way they used to, with the same product. You're very quick to dismiss, yet the decision to remove it was completely arbitrary and nobody asked for it. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's obsolete. Yes there are WYSIWYG editors, but they are a totally different feature. Besides, current editors support BBCode perfectly fine, besides IPBoard of course. Anyway, there are pro and anti sides for everything.

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2 minutes ago, Brent C said:

You're very quick to dismiss …

Dismiss what? I already asked you to substantiate your claims, even giving examples of how that could look like. You didn’t provide anything other than saying “other platforms still have it“. A poor argument, which I addressed. 

2 minutes ago, Brent C said:

… nobody asked for it. 

Just like nobody asked Apple to remove the floppy but it still happened and eventually became the norm. Again, I already addressed that. 

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2 hours ago, opentype said:

Dismiss what? I already asked you to substantiate your claims, even giving examples of how that could look like. You didn’t provide anything other than saying “other platforms still have it“. A poor argument, which I addressed. 

Just like nobody asked Apple to remove the floppy but it still happened and eventually became the norm. Again, I already addressed that. 

Every argument. I substantiated it by saying what I did, and you again dismiss it as a "poor argument". What's the point in discussing with you if you dismiss everything? And again, yes Apple may have done it and yes, they wouldn't revert it, but it was never impossible to use floppy discs in the same way as before. You seem to have completely ignored that point.

Either way, there's no point in continuing this useless discussion as IP will not reintroduce BBCode.

Luckily there are good alternatives.

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2 minutes ago, Brent C said:

 What's the point in discussing with you if you dismiss everything?

I accept logic, reason and facts. I do not accept flawed arguments or untrue or unsubstantiated statements. If you tell me 1+2 = 2 and 1 + 3 is 5, don’t complain that I “dismiss everything you say”. Continuing to point out that people haven’t asked to remove BB code for example, is an objective logical fallacy. It must be dismissed. The suggested conclusion (so it better should be kept or reintroduced) doesn’t logically follow from the premise. 

7 minutes ago, Brent C said:

Either way, there's no point in continuing this useless discussion as IP will not reintroduce BBCode.

There’s the disconnect: I was only trying to help you to see the flaws in your argumentation so you can maybe avoid that in the future. Some people would not consider this kind of advise “useless”. 

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10 hours ago, opentype said:

I accept logic, reason and facts. I do not accept flawed arguments or untrue or unsubstantiated statements. If you tell me 1+2 = 2 and 1 + 3 is 5, don’t complain that I “dismiss everything you say”. Continuing to point out that people haven’t asked to remove BB code for example, is an objective logical fallacy. It must be dismissed. The suggested conclusion (so it better should be kept or reintroduced) doesn’t logically follow from the premise. 

There’s the disconnect: I was only trying to help you to see the flaws in your argumentation so you can maybe avoid that in the future. Some people would not consider this kind of advise “useless”. 

Your statements would be valid if this was such a case. I'm sorry that I didn't add references in my initial post to satisfy your need for confirmation, even though I clearly stated the situation in the second post, and then dismantled your arguments in the next, and now it's come to claiming all my arguments are flawed, untrue or unsubstantiated. The problem here may be on your side. Perhaps you can do nothing else but go in denial towards all the statements, simply because you disagree with my vision. Either way, the question at hand was answered, and this discussion does not matter for that question, which isn't about how to argue.

Now this post is polluted and I'll take the blame for not ignoring you.

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On 7/31/2019 at 12:10 PM, Mr 13 said:

You can make a plugin for this, it's just a few lines of code.

How can this be done? Examples / manuals?

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Posted (edited)

OK, red it. but did not understood how can be parsed such BBcodes like list, url, img and others .

May be there is some more manuals?

The problem is that after upgrade posts are completely not readable. Even such simple BBcode tags like b and i are not converted to html markup 😕

Edited by Uldis
BBcode tags was parsed to HTML markup

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8 hours ago, Uldis said:

OK, red it. but did not understood how can be parsed such BBcodes like list, url, img and others .

May be there is some more manuals?

The problem is that after upgrade posts are completely not readable. Even such simple BBcode tags like b and i are not converted to html markup 😕

Have the background tasks completed? The tasks convert all of those old tags to proper HTML. If everything is done and the posts still aren't right, it's important you contact us as soon as possible to investigate. In the event a restore and reupgrade needs to be performed, you obviously do not want to let too much time lapse. 

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