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Forum Upgrade

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

The hour is nigh!

GOOD NEWS! The new forum upgrade testing is complete. The forums display as expected on the key browsers and mobile devices. All data from this forum can and will be migrated over to the new system. Your user account, posts, private messages will all be maintained. Though due to text formatting issues in the old forum system, we may have users re-create their signatures from scratch to keep things clean, his also gives everyone a chance to update theirs so it makes sense to do it now.

Here's how things will go:

1) At some point in the next few weeks (Maybe 3? No promises! But before 2017 comes out.), we will announce that we will be locking the old forums. This locking is so that new posts made on the old forums between the time we start importing the posts to when the new forums go live won't be lost. This period will be maybe 2-3 days and will be over a weekend to be as non disruptive as possible.

2) Your same login information will be migrated and used on the new forums. We DO plan to clean up the user list (Users that haven't logged in for more than 5 years or something like that, details later) at some point, but for now we are migrating everyone over to the new system. All old posts will be kept regardless of age. I will drink many pots of coffee during this phase.

3) The new forums will go live and you will be able to log in, most like the Monday after we finish the transition.

Once we go live, I'll have a quick guide ready on how to do things in the new forum, since it's a complete change. I'll make a nice video if I have time. You will have all the capabilities you had here, but way more, so it will take some time for you to see all the new stuff and how to use it.

All of the posts will be transferred over to the new board, but the categories will be cleaned up significantly. For instance, most interaction here takes place in General Discussion, Wishlist, Architect or Marionette/Vectorscript and maybe 4 other subforums. No reason for the dozens of subs we have at the moment really. All the Resource Sharing subforums will be combined, for instance. There will be more changes rolling in over the next few months as well, but we wanted and needed to get the main core system up and in user's hands as soon as possible, get any growing pains ironed out, and then proceed from there. Eventually more systems will be integrated with the forums so that you only need to search a single location, and we have plans for a much more robust resource sharing toolset as well.

Please feel free to ask anything you like, I am able to discuss all aspects of this project publicly now.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I'm going to try a few new things and that will be one of them. The main concern is that a huge majority of bugs reported aren't actually bugs. I think this can be resolved by having a "Troubleshooting" subforum that users are able to post to, and a "Confirmed Bugs" section that users can not post directly in, where only admins/moderators can move posts to when they've been confirmed from the Suspected section and submitted. This will let users chime in with more information and continually rank existing issues higher if they are affecting more people, which gives me a bat to swing during bugfix cycles. This at the same time helps filter out issues that are user error, file specific, system specific, etc.

This will also let us take advantage of the "Best Answer" system to not only confirm that the bug has been submitted but also add any viable workarounds to the Best Answer post.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

More relevant info I posted elsewhere:

One day I'll be able to click Like for that post..... one day soon I hope....



New forums are extremely nigh (I don't want to roll them out right on top of the release of 2017 for support reasons as I'm sure you all can understand, so it will likely be between now and then or just after release) and I CAN share info about that:

The test import of these forums into the new version went flawlessly. All user accounts, posts, signatures, profiles pictures, post counts, private messages, everything that everyone has ever done on these forums (16-ish years of knowledge and debate!) will be transferred to our new home. When we roll this out, we will probably pick a weekend and lock the forums after alerting users a week or so ahead of time, perform the upgrade, and then the link to this page will bring you to the new forums directly and your old login info will get you in right away.

The wishlist posts will transfer to a forum where any users will be able to go back over past items and like/upvote/promote the post which will give us a much better method of tracking which feature requests are the most wanted. Instead of users having to post "+1s" they will have only to click a single button and then go on about their lives without fear of a 504 error.

You will be able to simply drag/drop files right onto the post to attach them and the restrictions on file size will be significantly relaxed. Images and videos will automagically (one of my favorite words) embed themselves into posts so no more dealing with the file manager.

To start with there will just be the one UI theme which will closely match our main web pages, but I will be poking the design team about creating a dark theme choice for users because lots of white space burns my eyes. I much prefer lighter text on a darker background.

The search actually WORKS and the boards include a tagging system for articles, posts and files that makes it easier to find them later. Users will even be able to make up their own tags they aren't forced to use a set we develop.

Users will have access to a kind of download gallery that allows uploaders (either us officially or individual users) to curate their shared files as well as tag them for easy searching, and even iterate versions of them while maintaining a history of the old versions if they want. (This part might come later, there are some more complex questions about it to tackle regarding legal stuff but we wont let this delay the release of the forum upgrade.)

Separately but sort of related to the forum upgrade (an off-to-the-side project), engineering is working on a method of making bug reporting simpler, possible having it grab bug reports right from posts on the board without users having to fill out a form. I have also seen initial design docs for including the ability to report issues directly from the software itself. The idea being that the easier we make reporting bugs, the more often it will be done and the more problems we will catch and fix.

I get excited about it, if you couldn't tell. Any questions about the forums I can answer freely, none of that is under NDA.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
Awesome news Jim, Tapatalk support?

Yep: https://tapatalk.com/download_IPBoard.php

It was one of the checklist items, however I have not tested it heavily myself. The regular web version was formatted cleanly enough that I didn't feel the need to look elsewhere.

EDIT: This MIGHT not be on by default when we first launch, but if it isn't up and running within a few days of us releasing it let me know and I can get it set up again. We have to turn it off to perform the import from the old forums.

Edited by JimW
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Apologies for lack of clarity:

Yes IPS are the creators of "IP.Board" which is the software framework we will use first for the forums alone, but then the rest of their IP package will be what we use to replace the knowledgebase as well as add some new resource sharing tools for the community.

But yes, playing with their basic/stock forums on their site will give you an idea of what we will be implementing, with a few more bells and whistles added as we go.

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I thinks restrictions are still ok for mobile devices, to prevent

people from adding 300 MB BMP images.

For everything download link only, I think unlimited may be ok,

while I still don't feel happy if people link 60 MB PDF's to show

an image that content could be reduced to a 30 k Jpeg.

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