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OSCON 2010

Posted by Sam in Events with the tags , , , , , on July 28th, 2010

The O’Reilly Open Source Convention has been held annually since 1999, allowing students, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and professionals to attend informative sessions and tutorials as well as visit the expo hall and mingle with others holding a common technical interest. This year, for the first time ever, phpBB was among the exhibitors in the Expo Hall.

Left to Right: Yuriy, Nathan, Cullen, Sam

What we expected

Despite phpBB3’s fantastic security record, we expected to meet some attendees who were only familiar with phpBB2. Anticipating questions dealing with security, we came prepared with laminated placards displaying pie charts and details of all issues reported for the phpBB3 line – the flagship phpBB version for the past 3 years.

What we didn’t expect

Very few people asked about phpBB’s security and walked past the placards to ask us questions about features, bridges, future plans, etc. Many of the other Open Source project exhibitors visited our booth and expressed their warm feelings toward the project and positive experiences using the phpBB software. Rather than having to defend ourselves, we were instead answering interesting questions and tipping our hats to compliments.

New Beginnings

Of all the different questions we were asked, the most common was surprising, to say the least. Over the course of the two days, we heard “Does phpBB integrate with Drupal?” so often that we began keeping count. This sparked some internal discussion, and we visited the Drupal booth, which was conveniently located just around the corner from us. There is already a community developed Drupal module for integration with phpBB, but multiple reports suggested that it was unstable and poorly written. Its scores within the Drupal database suggest that it is largely unusable in a live environment, which was a huge shock to us. After the first night, we returned to our hotel room and began planning a new phpBB-maintained Drupal plugin. Work on this has already begun and more information will be available soon.

Some very popular open source projects were present at OSCON, and a number of them approached us about presenting at their upcoming events. We are, of course, very excited about these plans and will keep you updated on our upcoming speaking/presentation engagements either via this blog or on the board.

After the Expo

On Thursday evening, we attended an informal “Birds of a Feather” session. Organizer Douglas Bell (Webmacster87), Cullen Walsh (ckwalsh) and Lorelle VanFossen all spoke about running online communities. We later joined them for dinner at a local restaurant.

phpBB.com server

The following day we joined the OSUOSL Open Bus Tour for a view of the Oregon State University campus and Open Source Lab. OSUOSL rented a wifi and power equipped bus for the 90 minute journey and we had a blast with the other attendees. You can see us with Lance from OSUOSL and the 2 phpBB.com servers (underneath the Berties) to the left.

We are very grateful to have such friends in the Open Source world.

What we took from this

We are glad to have met so many wonderful people at OSCON and look forward to maintaining the new bridges that have been formed. Speaking directly to phpBB users was a unique experience and we walk away with a better perspective of what the community expects from us. We will continue to improve over the next year and will be ready to address your updated concerns at next year’s event.

Please discuss this blog post in the phpBB OSCON 2010 topic in the Discussion Forum.

Please discuss this blog post in the phpBB OSCON 2010 topic in the Discussion Forum.

At TekX Chicago

Posted by A_Jelly_Doughnut in Events with the tags , , , on May 29th, 2010

(That’s Tek-Ten, by the way)

A week ago, I was recovering from a weeklong trip to Chicago for php|tek. Here’s a few of the things I heard about:

  • Derick Rethans on the DateTime functions added to PHP 5.2. The power of the DateTime class is pretty awesome. The class’s essential beauty is in the fact that it stores a time and a time zone. It can also do accurate math against times and solves the 2038 problem. phpBB will be moving this way for Ascraeus.
  • Git is here to stay. Talks from Travis Swicegood, Lorna Jane Mitchell, and Matthew Schmidt all talked about version control systems in some way or another, and a great number of the conference attendees are trying to move their projects to Git. Matthew gave the keynote on Thursday, and included phpBB in his listing of “open source projects driving the move to Git”. Thanks Matt!
  • HipHop for PHP, a technology created by Facebook, and open-sourced for anyone to use, essentially compiles PHP into C++ for performance. Scott MacVicar, now at Facebook, formerly of vBulletin had a conversation about the future of bulletin boards – the name of the game is doing it better, not about doing more. I’m looking forward to the day that someone compiles phpBB using HipHop and reports their performance gains.
  • JIRA is successfully used in other open-source projects. I spoke with Matthew Weier O’Phinney, project lead of Zend Framework, who says that they’ve been very happy with JIRA. I was surprised that I was able to talk with him on an intelligent level about it, because Zend Framework has used it for years, and phpBB has used it for just a couple of months. Unfortunately at Tek, very few of the “front-end” open source projects were represented. For example, I don’t know of anyone in attendance who had submitted code to Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, MyBB, or Magento. There were, however, numerous framework developers running about.
  • Some Things Never Change. As I went around during social periods telling people “Hi, I’m Josh, I work on phpBB”, I got several responses:
    1. Oh, that software that gets hacked more often than ? (This is the “take another look” argument. I politely informed these people that phpBB3’s security record is greatly improved compared to phpBB2.)
    2. Its nice to see open-source projects represented at Tek.
    3. I spent hours trying to integrate that with WordPress and failed. What’s the deal with that?
    4. How’s the transistion from 2 to 3 going?
    5. How do you bear to work with that code?

I came away from these conversations with the opinion that phpBB is well known in the community, but not necessarily well-liked. A lot of this is because it can be difficult for these experienced developers to integrate with their products. Some wanted single-sign-on, others found that the layout was hard to customize to match an existing site, and still others wanted to add custom features but weren’t sure where to start.
I told people in person that we want to work on that, and we will, with some improvements slated for Ascraeus.

A large portion of the learning these conferences is not the talks, but the socialization that happens around them. A lot of the un-conference portion of the conference revolved around frameworks. It seems that everyone hates at least one of them, but many of them are looking forward to Symfony 2 and Zend Framework 2, both expected by the end of the year.

This was my first major PHP conference, and it was a good experience. With any luck, I’ll be there again in 2011.

Developer Meeting

Posted by naderman in Development, Events with the tags , , , , , on July 26th, 2009

The phpBB Development and Management Teams met in Cologne, Germany last week for 4 days of exciting brainstorming and coding.

We discussed future phpBB releases and worked on phpBB 3.0.6. Our plans for 3.0.6 have previously been discussed on this blog, but we decided to add even more. One feature we decided upon and implemented during the meeting was PM reports. This feature allows users to report private messages to moderators just like posts. A reported private message will then appear in a new MCP module so moderators can read the message and act upon it. This is particularly useful for users who want to report spam PMs. From this feature emerged another: emptying a user’s outbox. This option, in the Manage Users section of the ACP, allows the deletion of all unread PMs sent by a spammer.

Yet another idea we had during the meeting, which has already been announced, is the Best CAPTCHA Plugin Competition. I would like to urge all MOD developers to participate in this competition since a large variety of CAPTCHAs is the most effective measure against spammers. With the new CAPTCHA API, creating a CAPTCHA plugin is really simple. The example Q&A CAPTCHA Plugin, which will ship with phpBB 3.0.6, was also created during the meeting.

Details of the decisions made regarding the future of phpBB will be published in separate blog posts over the next several weeks, so make sure to check back for news! Of course, the meeting was also a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better. Most of us had already met at Londonvasion last year, but it was great to catch up with everyone again! We visited the Chocolate Museum and climbed the tower of the Cologne Cathedral. All in all, we had lots of fun too. During the meeting, we were happy to invite bantu to join the Development Team.

View from the K├Âlner Dom
View from the cathedral
At work
Team at work
Chocolate Fountain
Chocolate fountain

Group Photo

Andreas (bantu), Dominik (dhn), front: Jim (TerraFrost), back: Nils (naderman), Meik (Acyd Burn), Marek (APTX), Chris (ToonArmy), Henry (kellanved), Carolina, Yuriy (Marshalrusty), Igor (evil<3)