Archive for the ‘Modifications’ Category

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:


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 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:


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:

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’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.

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:


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

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):


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

Guest post: MOD Creation, From Start to Finish by Unknown Bliss

Posted by DavidIQ in Modifications on January 11th, 2012

Written by: Unknown Bliss

Within this article I’m going to briefly outline how to create your modification, package it up, submit it to the Modifications Database and support it afterwards.

Writing MODs can be so simple but yet so complex. It really depends on what MOD you wish to make. If you wish to make a portal or arcade then it will be quite complex. If you just want to make dynamic page titles or ACP Link in header it will be a rather small trivial task.

The first thing you need to do is open up word or notepad and prepare information on your modification, a brainstorm of ideas. It should include items such as your modification name, description, what sort of features you might include and what requirements do you want. Then you need to think about what features you’ll need. For instance, if you are creating a portal, will you have a configuration setting to toggle or re-order individual modules?

Once you have a good idea of how you want to make your MOD you can start to do a bit of research. Take a look at something similar. If you’re designing a blog with articles and comments then take a look at phpBB’s Topic and Replies system. See how it works and what can be done with it. While you’re doing research feel free to note down bits and pieces of information for future reference.

Once you know what you’re making and you have a rough idea on how you are going to make it, you can start working on it. Normally, it’s easiest to start with the database structure. If you have a bug tracker you know you need to make the table for tickets, the table for projects, table for comments/replies, table for logging etc. So plan this structure out.

After you have done all the planning, notes and researching you can install your test board. I recommend you use QuickInstall (QI) as it does a lot of items already done for you and it can generate multiple boards faster. If you use QI then I always find it’s best to populate your board with users and posts as it can come in handy later on. If you don’t use QI then you need to install a board then enable debug and debug extra. You also should change the recompile style components option to ‘yes’ inside ACP –> Load Settings so you don’t need to refresh your style components or cache every time you make an edit to a style file. There is a blog article about QI here

Now that you have a test board, you should use your DB Structure Plan to make your database changes. If you need to add something later then you can. Once you have your database changes in place what you’ll need to do next is write the PHP functions files. I can’t say much about this except that this is when you need to take out your notes and use a checklist of everything that you need to include.

Once you have made the PHP Function Files you need to create the basic language PHP files. At the moment, you won’t have much to put in them. However, you will need to put in the basics, such as, if you are making a set of modules, you will need language entries such as “Recent posts”. Just a reminder that all standard language files should be inside /language/en/mods as all MODs should have an English language built into the MOD. Any additional languages should be in additional MODX Files but I’ll come back to that later. As a general rule it’s normally useful to have a generic error and success message for most MODs.

Now that you have made you language and function PHP files you need to make your template files. These may need to contain the Overall Header and Overall Footer and sometimes forum jump but otherwise its up to you what goes in them. One very common error people make is putting hardcoded language inside template files. This is against phpBB Coding Guidelines and it will make your Modification deny worthy. If you can remember this rule it then means less of a nightmare later on when your MOD is denied for hard coded language and you then have to re-submit it. Note: Hardcoded language can be anywhere, the most obvious and common place to put it is in template files but you can put it in most files and that’s where it normally catches people off-guard.

Now you need to make your PHP file that the user will visit (such as viewtopic.php or blog.php or index.php rather than /includes/acp/info/blog.php). An attempt should be made to keep file names short and simple like portal.php or blog.php rather than my_absloutley_almighty_cool_portal.php.
Once you have a working set of files you need to start adding your ACP, UCP, MCP etc. Modules. I’m not going to go into much more detail with regards to this much except to say that when designing these try to keep them looking uniform with the built-in modules in these control panels.

Now you should have a working test board. At this moment in time you shouldn’t have all of your features implemented except the very core and basic ones. Now you need to add your UMIL files. To do this just generate a UMIF File with the hosted UMIF Generator. Also make sure you include a copy of the latest UMIL and you must make sure this is always the latest and when a new version is released remember to update. Outdated UMIL makes a MOD deny-worthy.

So now its time to create a development topic in the MODs in Development Forum. Make a topic and I recommend you use the suggested template for your topic. At this moment in time don’t attach any downloads and keep the status as [DEV] but if you wish you can provide screenshots.

Now you need to package it into a MODX. I suggest you use the MODX Generator. Once you have this you can then edit the MODX using the MODX Creator with additional information.

Now that you have made your MOD you need to make a new board. This board should be the same as the one you made earlier with debug, debug extra and AutoMOD. Now you need to zip up your modification, go into AutoMOD on the new board and upload it using the upload feature within the AutoMOD module. Once it has been uploaded, install it. If it fails but you can’t see why double check if you have used spaces instead of tabs and vice-versa in finds. Once you have AutoMOD working you are almost ready to submit your MOD.

You should now update your topic to Alpha or Beta (ALPHA is for a VERY unstable MOD. BETA is generally when almost all of the features have at least been implemented, but not much testing has taken place) and add a download link. Downloads aren’t required for the alpha stage but are recommended; otherwise how do people test your MOD and provide feedback? Downloads for beta are required due to rule 3d. The MODs in Development Forum is a place to get ideas, free beta testers and market your Modification so you should take advantage of it.

Once you have added a download I recommend you test your MOD thoroughly for any bugs and fix them. There is a blog post about how the Junior MOD Validators test (and I recommend you test it in the same way) here. Once you are quite sure that all of the bugs have been squashed and that all of the features have been implemented, as you planned from the start, you can promote the MOD status from the BETA to RC (Release Candidate) stage. Many MOD authors will not accept any more feature requests for the current MOD version, pushing any further requests back to the next major version (X.Y). At this point, your MOD should be ready to be submitted for validation by the MOD Team for approval and release into the MOD Database.

To submit it for validation you need to create a Modification type contribution in the MOD Database. For the contribution details, you should generally use the same information as was used in your MODX install file. You will also have the opportunity to include further information, such as a demo URL and screenshots. Finally, select one or more relevant categories into which your MOD fits. Note that at the bottom of the submissions page there is an option to upload screenshots, not revisions.

The next page to come up will be the “New revision” page. On this page you should upload your zipped up Modification, type in your version number and version name (can be the codename for the release or just the version number or the name of the mod). Then you have the notes to the MOD Team section in which I personally add a note of thanks to those who out of their own free time test and validate my MOD’s code but its up to you what you enter into this section.

Once your MOD has been submitted, it is a waiting game of sorts while the MOD Team and Junior MOD Validators review the code and test the functionality. Note that it can normally take a month, sometimes more, for the entire process to be completed, due to the number of MODs submitted. Once your MOD has been approved or denied, you will receive a PM with validation notes. This can include issues in the code, or problems found while testing. Even if your MOD is approved, it is suggested that the validation notes be taken into account for the next version of your MOD. If your MOD is denied, most of the issues found in the report must be changed before your MOD can be resubmitted. If you find that something in the validation report is incorrect or that there is an issue in the report, you may communicate that by replying to your Queue Discussion topic, found in the Discussion/Support tab of your Contribution page. This topic is only viewable to you, the MOD team, and the Junior MOD Validators. If your MOD is denied multiple times, do not become discouraged. Sometimes, when different people look through your code and test your MOD, different problems will be found. Simply fix the issues and resubmit your MOD.

So when you get your MOD approved it is time to provide support for it. This is not required but is asked for by the MOD Team that you update for new versions/bug fixes and support your MOD. I suggest you subscribe to the support tab in your Modification section in the Modifications Database so that you get updates when support is posted. When new phpBB Versions are released you are asked to re-submit it with any fixes that my be required.

If you wish to add features to it you can also re-submit it at any time for that.
And that’s it really. If you have finished this Modification perhaps you would like to start work on another modification (Maybe from the MOD Requests Forum).

In closing, this guide is just that: a guide. It is how I tend to approach the MOD writing process. If you have a method that works better for you, then you are welcome to use that and possibly share it in the discussion topic. It is quite common to skip the earlier section with planning but that is totally up to you. It can, however, prevent confusion, duplication and missing code later on.
Also remember, if you ever need help with anything MOD related you can always ask in the MOD Writers Discussion, in the Queue Discussion Topic (for queries about issues in a validators report being un-reproducible, queries as to what they mean or any notes to the team about issues that arise in validation etc.) or by asking on the FreeNode #phpbb-coding IRC Channel.

MOD Statistics: The most downloaded MODs from the MOD Database

Posted by battye in Modifications with the tags , , , , , on July 5th, 2011

Every now and then a question pops up in the discussion forums about which MODs are most essential for board owners to install. It’s difficult to answer this question for one key reason; what is essential for one admin may be trivial to another. It all comes down to personal preferences and the unique needs of a particular bulletin board. Unfortunately, while this response is accurate, it still leaves enthusiastic new administrators without any answers.

The purpose of this blog post isn’t to provide a definitive answer to the question, but more to provide something of a starting point for users beginning their search for suitable MODs… or something to munch on for the statistically inclined!

Number of downloads is the primary piece of data used in the calculation of the statistics below. There is no way of knowing exactly how many times a MOD has been installed so the number of downloads is the best option available to reasonably estimate a MODs ranking in terms of total use in the wider community.


Most downloaded phpBB3 MODs
Most downloaded MODs for MODs submitted in 2011 


Due to the overwhelming success of the Attachment MOD which provided functionality for file attachments in the early-to-mid 2000’s, Acyd Burn remains – and will remain for the foreseeable future – phpBB’s most downloaded MOD author.


Most downloaded MOD authors


If anyone reading this is feeling nostalgic, you may also be interested in the figures for phpBB2 MODs. Quite conceivably (and conservatively), at its peak the Attachment MOD averaged over 200 downloads per day.


Most downloaded phpBB2 MODs
All statistics are based on database entries up to June 18, 2011.

MOD Team Timeline

Posted by battye in Modifications with the tags , , , , on January 12th, 2011

As we enter a new year it seems like an appropriate time to look back at the history of the MOD Team. This time line focuses on how the team has evolved with regards to community projects, MOD Team sanctioned tools, meetings and more.

MOD Team Timeline

April 2002:
– phpBB2 released
– MOD Team is founded under AbelaJohnB
– Initial release of EasyMOD, the automatic MOD installer

September 2002:
– Second alpha release of EasyMOD

January 2003:
– phpBB2 MOD Database officially opened

May 2003:
– Third alpha release of EasyMOD

October 2003:
– Nuttzy99 becomes MOD Team Leader

August 2004:
– First beta release of EasyMOD

February 2005:
– wGEric becomes MOD Team Leader

August 2005:
– Community coding projects announced

December 2005:
– MODding’s Most Wanted announced

April 2006:
– MODX is announced, the XML version of the MOD Template

July 2006:
– The second edition of MODding’s Most Wanted occurs

March 2007:
– updated to phpBB3
–’s new website is unveiled

May 2007:
– phpBB3 MOD Database (Ariel) is opened for viewing

June 2007:
– First annual MOD Authors Convention takes place on IRC
– phpBB3 MOD Database (Ariel) now allows for MOD submissions and validations

December 2007:
– phpBB 3.0.0 is officially released

July 2008:
– phpBB2 MODs are no longer accepted in the MOD Database
– Londonvasion, the first phpBB meet

August 2008:
– Second annual MOD Authors Convention takes place on IRC
– MPV, the MOD Pre-Validator, is open for public use

October 2008:
– The Junior Validators team is created for the MOD Team
– evil<3 becomes the MOD Team leader

December 2008:
– The first beta of AutoMOD, the successor to EasyMOD, is released

January 2009:
– The framework for creating database installation scripts, UMIL, is publicly released

July 2009:
– UMIL 1.0.0 is released

November 2009:
– The online MODX creator is unveiled

December 2009:
– The MODX generator, which automatically generates MODX documents by comparing two directories, is unveiled to the public

February 2010:
– wGEric returns as interim MOD Team leader
– DavidIQ becomes the permanent MOD Team leader

April 2010:
– The completion of the first phase of Titania, the customisation database, is announced

May 2010:
– The MOD development competition, Summer of MODs, is announced

June 2010:
– AutoMOD 1.0.0 is released

August 2010:
– Libertyvasion, the second phpBB meet

November 2010:
– QuickInstall, the automated phpBB3 installer, becomes an official MOD Team tool as v1.1.5 is released

Invading GitHub

Posted by igorw in Development, Modifications, Styles with the tags , , on November 13th, 2010

After the phpBB core migrated to GitHub earlier this year, most of the sub-projects have now been moved as well.

The initiative begun during the Libertyvasion conference, where we moved the UMIL, AutoMOD and MPV repositories. After that the customisation database and the support toolkit followed. Last night we moved the remaining MOD team projects: MODX, and the MODX Editor, Generator, Creator and finally QuickInstall.

I’m really excited about this relocation because of the huge contribution potential Git and GitHub have to offer. We have already seen a few translators take the hurdle to learn Git, and it makes the whole translation submission process a lot more open. There have also been a few patch contributions, and all I can say is keep those patches coming!

Now with all these public repositories accepting contributions, we need some guidelines. For this reason we came up with a set of Sub-Project Contribution Guidelines. We tried to keep them as short as possible, here is the substantial part:

  • Projects should be hosted on GitHub under the phpBB organization.
  • All work by team members should take place in the main repo.
  • Use of topic branches is very strongly encouraged.
  • Contributors _must_ use topic branches, foreign main branches are never merged.
  • Version tags must be fully lowercase and prepended by a ‘v’, for example ‘v1.0.0-rc1’.
  • Branch names should simply describe the topic and use hyphens, for example ‘quick-reply’ or ‘issue1234’.
  • Translations should have a branch named ‘intl-<lang>’, for example ‘intl-de’.
  • Projects with many core contributors can use forks.

Please do read the full guidelines, as they include some additional information.

I am happy to announce that we have completed our GitHub invasion and are feeling very much at home. Fork away!

Help us making MODding in phpBB 3.1 easy

Posted by Kellanved in Development, Modifications with the tags on August 20th, 2010

As we’ve said before, phpBB is getting hooked. Now, we need your help to determine at which points in the code hooks are required to make MODs easier to create and install.

MODs are what makes phpBB work. Without MODs, it would not be the community or the software that it is. However, there is a downside. At the moment, most MODs have to alter the actual code of the software making it hard to install updates or other MODs. Hence, we want to make this a thing of the past: phpBB is getting hooked.

Hooks are in themselves a simple concept: at certain places it is possible to hook into the code, altering the behavior of the software. Where exactly these places are and what change to the behaviour they incur is up to you. We need your help in deciding this.

The hook concept of phpBB 3.1 is based on the idea of “automagic” hooks, replacing the wrapping hooks used in 3.0. If your MOD implements a method matching the hook’s name, phpBB will invoke it at the appropriate places. Even more, MODs can introduce their own hooks, making it possible to MOD the MOD.

However, just being called is just half the solution. A hook also needs semantics, telling phpBB what to do with the results. Thus, hooks can have many different roles. They might be used to register a callback, or they might be used to just add output. Or to change results. Or to alter a query. Etc. We need your ideas to make this great.
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