The IP.Board 3.0 preview has been going quite well and we have received some good feedback and ideas for version 3.0 which we have already implemented. This blog entry will outline some of the changes that have been implemented in 3.0 since the preview was made available. Other than the changes listed here there have been lots of minor skin interface improvements and many bug fixes too numerous to go into.
For a long time we have been looking at ways to solve a problem with global searching. Searching is very resource intensive and we are under pressure to deliver a comprehensive search that is both quick and light on the server. One solution we implemented on the preview board was a search index. This index contained the text from various sources such as posts, blogs and calendar events.
The search index was successful in making global searching quick and efficient but it was limited by MySQL itself. While it worked well on smaller boards, there was an issue with scaling in that MySQL does not deal very well with large tables. While the posts table would often lock in normal searching, the search index table would lock in many more situations thereby eliminating any benefits it brought to IPB. Also, when upgrading to IPB 3 the search index needed to be built which could potentially take many hours. This is obviously undesirable.
We also found that it limited what you could search for and how the results were displayed. For these reasons we have decided to remove the search index option in IPB 3.0. We will instead work on enhancing the normal search system (including some of the good ideas from the preview site) and large search solutions such as Sphinx. Removing the search index will not impact the overall ability to search and find content you are looking for and we will work on the normal search routines to make displaying the search results easier to work with.
Gravatar is as service that hosts your avatar so you can have the same avatar on the various communities you visit. It also allows you to centrally update your avatar and have it show up all over the web. You just sign up on their site and then enter your email address you registered with Gravatar in IPB 3.0's settings area.
Warn Panel Updates
The warn panel has been updated to allow for moderators to be able to better control troublesome members and posts without administrator intervention. Enhancements include:
- Option to "ban" a member permanently from the warn panel
- Increase or decrease warn value by a custom value (rather than just +1 or -1) for super moderators only
- Ability to unapprove (hide) all member's posts and/or topics made with the last X days/hours
- Member's current reputation and other general information now displayed on warn panel
Adding and removing friends is now a mutual option in that if you add someone as a friend you will also appear on their profile as a friend. The same goes for removing a friend: if you remove a friend you are also removed from their friend list.
Administrators can now edit a member's reputation points. They can also view the record of ratings that member has left for others and the ratings others have left for that member.
Enhanced Watched Topics/Forums
The listing of watched topics and forums in your user settings now displays the number of new topics or posts since your last visit. You can click this link to be taken to the forum listing showing only those new topics since your last visit.
Filter Forum by New Topics
You can now filter a forum using the filter options bar at the bottom of the page to show only new topics posted since your last visit.
The option to allow public polls is now in the admin area. Public polls are like normal polls but they show the name of the members who voted and what they voted for in the poll. Administrators can also optionally allow members to delete their vote and re-vote in polls. This new feature only functions with newly-created polls. Administrators can switch a poll from private to public only if the poll has had no votes.
IP.Board 3.0.0 Release
The preview testing and feedback has been going so well that we have decided to reevaluate our release schedule. We will still have a downloadable beta version of IP.Board 3.0.0 out by the end of this year but a final version will not be out by the end of this year. Because the preview site has become so useful, we are treating it as a "pseudo-beta" and using it to test various features and learn about how IPB 3.0 behaves in a production environment. Although this will delay our final release until early next year, it brings the benefit of a much shorter beta-release cycle since IPB is being so heavily tested now. This means that we will have fewer beta releases before moving on to the final release. It also means that the final release of IPB will be as good as it can be which is good for everyone.
We believe that this short delay until the final release will be beneficial for all as the final version of IPB 3.0 will be as stable as it can be on day one.
Thanks to everyone for your help and ideas. We will keep you updated on our progress in the coming weeks.