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phpBB.com is now running phpBB 3.2

Posted by Michael Cullum in Uncategorized on December 31st, 2016

Greetings all,

With the release of phpBB 3.2.0 almost upon us (it will be released on the 7th January), after a few hours of maintenance, we’re glad to say that phpBB.com is now running on phpBB 3.2.

We hope to have a demo up and running soon so you can test out the new features but in the meantime feel free to have a look around.

If you notice any bugs then please do report them to either the website or phpBB trackers (https://tracker.phpbb.com).

Thank you for all of your continued support and we wish you a happy new year!
The phpBB Team

phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Posted by Marc Alexander in Development, Extensions on December 9th, 2016

Beginning with phpBB 3.2 Release Candidate 2, the phpBB package will include a VigLink extension.

Currently, we rely solely on ads served throughout phpBB.com to fund the project’s expenses, namely: web hosting, legal expenses, software licenses, travel expenses for community events, etc. Our ad revenue has been steadily declining for a long time because the unobtrusive ads we’re willing to serve to visitors are less and less profitable. We have explored a variety of alternate funding options, such as utilizing more profitable advertising or accepting donations, however we feel that these solutions would either be ineffective or result in tangible undesirable effects.

We believe that this is the best solution to our current problem, namely that it provides a necessary revenue stream for the project while not negatively affecting the usability of the phpBB software.

The new extension allows phpBB users to support the phpBB project or alternatively elect to monetize their forums using a service called VigLink. If you enable the VigLink extension, whenever a user follows a link from your forum to any of VigLink’s partner websites and performs certain actions (such as making a purchase), a referral credit will be generated. To be clear, this will only affect existing links and should be entirely unnoticeable. It can also be entirely disabled, at your discretion.

After installation, it will be up to you to pick between disabling or enabling VigLink to help support phpBB or to use your own VigLink Convert account to earn money with your board. In order to accommodate this newly added feature, we improved the overall look of the “Send statistics” page in the Admin Control Panel and extended it to support extensions:

viglink_acp_example

phpBB Numerology – Extension categories (Part 5)

Posted by battye in Extensions, Modifications with the tags , , on November 23rd, 2016

To round out this series, we’ll look at the different categories of extensions that people like to download.

The list of extension categories is:

  • Official Extensions
  • Cosmetic
  • Tools
  • Security
  • Communication
  • Profile/User Control Panel
  • Add-Ons
  • Anti-Spam
  • Entertainment
  • Miscellaneous

Overview of extension categories:

part_5_1

It’s worth mentioning that the download figures will not add up to the total extension downloads from part four, because some extensions belong to more than one category.

Add-Ons are the most popular type of extension, most likely due to their broad nature, with all of the top 10 most downloaded extensions belonging to this category (among others).

Official Extensions get downloaded in huge numbers due to their high profile, while some of the most downloaded extensions like Board Announcements and Advanced BBCode Box 3.1 belong to the Communication category.

Interestingly Anti-Spam extensions don’t feature highly, but with that said it’s probably a good thing if additional measures are not required to keep the spambots at bay.

This brings to a conclusion the phpBB Numerology series. I hope those that appreciate their statistics – or have a general interest in phpBB and its user submitted customisations – have enjoyed these last five blog posts.

phpBB Numerology – All customisation downloads (Part 4)

Posted by battye in Extensions, Modifications, Styles, Uncategorized with the tags , , , , , , on November 16th, 2016

MODs, extensions and styles are what immediately come to mind when thinking of the phpBB.com customisation database, but there are other types of customisations too.

This part of phpBB Numerology takes a look at every type of customisation.

Overview of all customisation downloads:

part_4_1

There are some obvious anomalies in the data (like the Viewtopic Birthday MOD) which haven’t been removed from this raw analysis. With that said, this data still gives a fairly accurate representation of how people use the customisation database.

The first figure that sticks out in this table is the the 52.02 views per download for bbCode. This is disingenuous. Taking the fairly popular bbCode “Open URL in new window” as an example, it’s had 8026 views and 0 downloads. Why is this? Because there is nothing to download – the instructions are on the main contribution page: https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/bbcode/open_url_in_new_window/

MODs, due to their prevalence in the phpBB2 and phpBB 3.0 era, are still the undisputed king of the customisation database and will take some catching up. Styles may catch up in the medium term though, as it’s a forever expanding customisation type in phpBB 3.1.

It’s not surprising to see phpBB tools well represented on the list. AutoMOD and UMIL alone represented 208757 and 151820 downloads respectively – very popular tools. Converters and Bridges round out the top 8, being quite niche categories.

As noted earlier, the figures may be a little high due to anomalies but after taking into account off-site downloads through development topics and the like the numbers may actually be conservative. It’s therefore very pleasing for everyone involved in the phpBB community, and something to be very proud of, that phpBB customisations have exceed 15 million downloads.

For the fifth and final part of phpBB Numerology we’ll go back to where it all started – extensions – and take a closer look at the categories of extensions that are most popular.

phpBB Numerology – Language packs (Part 3)

Posted by battye in Extensions, Modifications, Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 9th, 2016

The third part of this series has a look the most popular language packs.

Most downloaded language packs (phpBB 3.x):

Most downloaded language packs (phpBB 3.x):

The most interesting observation, bar an anomaly with Brazilian Portuguese, is that the number of downloads corresponds quite closely with the number of total pageviews. This implies that when people download language packs, they know in advance what they want and there is little hesitation in following through to actually download it.

The average views per download for language packs is 2.29. By comparison, for phpBB 3.1 extensions that figure is a little higher at 3.53 – which suggests perhaps people casually browse more for extensions than language packs – which makes sense given for region specific forums a language pack is a necessity.

That European languages dominate the top positions in the list is not surprising either. It is evident from the make up of phpBB.com’s own community that phpBB is very popular in Europe.

In part four of phpBB Numerology, we’ll look at some of the lesser known customisations.

Codename for phpBB’s next version

Posted by Marc Alexander in Development on November 5th, 2016

After two weeks of voting and a bit of back and forth between the four candidates, we now have a final winner for the codename of our next version:

Proteus

With Proteus we’ll be moving on from Saturn and continue our deep space journey to Neptune’s second largest moon (based on the name Proteus, the shape-changing sea god of Greek mythology).

We’ll be updating the release process page in the next few weeks to reflect this as well as to update current maintenance periods and target release timeframes.

Thanks to everyone for participating in this vote!

phpBB Numerology – MODs (Part 2)

Posted by battye in Extensions, Modifications with the tags , , on November 2nd, 2016

For the second blog post in this series I thought it would be interesting to do a direct comparison with the data presented in the 2011 post.

Most downloaded phpBB3 MODs:

part_2_1_updated

There are a few figures which are unrealistic, which have been struck out accordingly. For example, “User recent activity” apparently has nearly 80,000 downloads while its customisation page has only had 5300 page views.

The most significant movers and shakers were the Advanced BBCode Box 3 MOD, which had a huge spike in downloads in moved up 18 positions from 2011. The ReIMG Image Resizer also experienced a spike, but due to its favourable position in 2011 only moved up 7 places. None of the top 10 from 2011 experienced large drops.

Most downloaded MOD/extension authors (primary authors for phpBB2 and phpBB3):

Most downloaded MOD/extension authors (primary authors for phpBB2 and phpBB3)

Due to the overwhelming successes of the Attachment MOD and Cash MOD for phpBB2, both Acyd Burn and Xore remain among the most downloaded phpBB MOD/extension authors of all time.

nickvergessen is the third most downloaded author of all time, despite not having any entries in the top 10 downloads for an individual customisation. This is because two of his submissions are/were highly popular and fall just outside the top 10 of their respective lists; phpBB Gallery for 3.1.x has 57,070 downloads while NV advanced last topic titles for 3.0.x has 49,372 downloads.

In part three of this series, we’ll look at the most downloaded language packs for phpBB which will also offer some insights into which regions phpBB is most popular.

phpBB Numerology – Extensions (Part 1)

Posted by battye in Extensions, Modifications with the tags , , on October 26th, 2016

Five years have now passed since our first statistical journey through the archives of the customisations database (see MOD Statistics: The most downloaded MODs from the MOD Database). Armed with just one table from our database, I’m setting myself the challenge of creating five blog posts worth of in-depth (and hopefully interesting) statistical data about the way users download extensions from phpBB.com.

The obvious starting point is to revisit the original blog post, and see what the state of play is in 2016. Then, we looked at the most downloaded MOD authors and well as the most downloaded MODs of 2011 and of all time. We’ll repeat that exercise with extensions now.

Starting with the most downloaded extensions overall, we can see it’s a tight race for first place between Board Announcements, Advanced BBCode Box and Pages. Little over a thousand downloads separate the three extensions which average close to 30 downloads a day.

Most downloaded phpBB3 extensions:

Most downloaded phpBB3 extensions

Just after the half way point of 2016, Application Form and Scroll Page are favourites of the phpBB community with close to a thousand downloads each.

Most downloaded phpBB3 extensions submitted in 2016:

Most downloaded phpBB3 extensions submitted in 2016

While dmzx has submitted more extensions than any other author with 43 extensions, it’s VSE who has been associated with the most downloads by far – 55875 in total.

Most downloaded phpBB3 extension authors (primary authors):

part_1_3_updated

Stay tuned for part two of Numerology in next weeks blog post, where we’ll take a stroll down memory lane and look at the movers and shakers of phpBB 3.0.x between 2011 and 2016.

* Data accurate as of June 28, 2016; click on each image to view at full resolution

Vote For phpBB’s Next Codename

Posted by VSE in Development with the tags , , , , , on October 16th, 2016

At phpBB we love codenames as much as we love Bertie.

Previously we have travelled to Mars and Saturn to find the most prominent features to name our versions. Now it’s time to come up with another codename for the version of phpBB.

In line with having an open mind for new features, looks, and changes in phpBB’s next major version we’re also opening up the decision on the codename to the community.

The phpBB Team has already pre-selected four possibilities from a rather long list.

Now it’s time for you, the community, to have the final say:
[Vote] Codename of next phpBB version

The vote will end in two weeks on October 30th, 2016.

Happy voting!


 beer_bertie

phpBB not vulnerable to ImageMagick exploit

Posted by Marc Alexander in Development, Security, Support on May 5th, 2016

As some of you might have noticed, a security issue has recently been uncovered in ImageMagick, a widely used software suite for displaying and modifying images. You can read about the full details of the exploit on news outlets like Ars Technica (article on ImageMagick exploit) and the ImageMagick community forum.

It has come to our attention that admins are unsure whether this affects their phpBB installation and/or what they might have to do to secure their installation.
First and foremost let me make it clear that, based on the currently available information, phpBB is not vulnerable to the exploits.
phpBB already verifies the supplied image types and therefore already contains one of the described mitigations for the ImageMagick vulnerabilities.

phpBB supports using ImageMagick for creating thumbnails only. Other parts of phpBB, such as image or general attachment uploads, are not using ImageMagick at all. The described exploits rely on directly passing uploads to ImageMagick and/or passing “clear text” image formats such as SVG or MVG to it. phpBB itself does not support these image types for creating thumbnails and therefore will not pass them onto ImageMagick. Additionally, supported image types are checked for integrity before passing it onto ImageMagick for thumbnail creation. Passing malicious files as described and disguising them as other image types is therefore not possible.

We hope this will help with clearing up any confusion or uncertainty on this subject.