After releasing Alpha3 last week, the development team is working on fixing outstanding bugs and getting ready for the first Beta release. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we are now working on transitioning existing hard coded profile fields – such as occupation or location – to custom profile fields. The pull request converting location to a custom profile field also introduced a new option to display custom profile fields on the memberlist. As we are turning hard coded fields into custom profile fields, we are ensuring that all previous functionality can be achieved through configuration. At the same time these options can now be used for other custom profile fields you may wish to display.
Ascraeus Notifications Dropdown
As we fixed a bug regarding the display of avatars in notifications I want to use this opportunity to show you the new notifications functionality we built into phpBB Ascraeus 3.1. You may be familiar with the concept of a central location for notifications from Facebook or Google+. The idea is to provide users with a single location that will inform them about all the activity they are interested in. So far this includes notifications regarding posts, such as replies to bookmarked or subscribed topics or posts you have been quoted in, notifications regarding moderation of newly submitted posts waiting for approval and reported posts as well as notifications for new private messages and requests to join a group you lead. You can configure whether and how you would like to be notified for each of these notification types individually in the User Control Panel. The options are email, Jabber or the notification on the website. Extensions can easily add new notification types making the system very flexible.
Further we’re now testing phpBB automatically with the alpha releases of PHP 5.6 on Travis CI. A final version of PHP 5.6 is expected this summer.
We’re happy to announce the immediate availability of the third preview release of the upcoming phpBB 3.1, codenamed Ascraeus.
This preview release is targeted at phpBB developers and advanced users who wish to assist us with this very important testing phase. We do not recommend, and will not support, running this version in a live production environment.
As with previous releases we compiled a list of feature and bugfix highlights on our wiki. We now have a generic framework for dropdowns in prosilver. We’ve started to use it for the new topic tools button from where you can manage bookmarking, attachment downloads and subscriptions to topics. Topic titles now link directly to the oldest unread post.
The only known issue remains that updating from 3.0 to 3.1 on Microsoft SQL Server is not possible.
Please use this release for testing purposes only. As always, we will provide no support for upgrading until the RC stage and urge users not to use testing releases in a production site. Please help us by reporting any bugs you find via a ticket on our tracker.
Unstable packages are available on Area51 at area51.phpbb.com/downloads/. Information on moving from 3.0 to 3.1 (currently only for testing purposes) is available at wiki.phpbb.com/PhpBB3.1#Moving_from_3.0_to_3.1
Please note that phpBB 3.1 has some requirements that differ from phpBB 3.0:
PHP version 5.3.3 or greater
PHP’s json extension
Only PostgreSQL versions 8.3 and above are supported
After the German phpBB Association’s general meeting on Saturday a group of developers spent Sunday making some great progress toward a first phpBB 3.1 Beta release. The German phpBB Association runs phpBB.de – one of our many international support sites. A number of German phpBB developers – including me – are members of the German association and decided to use the opportunity to work face-to-face for a day. We were joined by phpBB.de volunteers who helped with bug triaging and pull requests and worked on translation related projects.
Sunday group picture of phpbb.com and phpbb.de team members
We managed to merge the password hashing manager which will allow us to easily transition to newer more secure password hashing algorithms in the future. It will be the basis for an easier conversion process from hashing algorithms used by other forum software. Currently switching from another forum software to phpBB requires the use of a custom authentication plugin to keep passwords working.
The refactoring of profile fields which was merged at the event will allow extensions to work with profile fields and add new types of profile fields. This is a first step toward modularizing the entire profile so that all default fields can be configured by administrators.
The group working on phpBB in Stuttgart
After a lot of debugging over the past weeks we finally worked out why our tests were failing on PHP 5.5. It turned out that PHP 5.5.7 which is used on Travis CI has a bug in the OPcache extension. The OPcache extension is the new default opcode caching mechanism in PHP 5.5 which greatly speeds up the execution of PHP code.
On our path to Alpha3 – hopefully the last Alpha release of phpBB 3.1 – we also spent some time working on bugs in the build process. These prevented us from building packages for Alpha3 so far. As a consequence we will stop providing old text format MOD files for style and language file changes. We realized the algorithm may generate incorrect results which could go unnoticed, resulting in incorrectly updated styles or language files. Instead we will provide regular patch files generated with GNU diff. Alpha3 will contain all the improvements we finished over the weekend.