[Update] We're upgrading our forums on Sunday to IPB 3.1

Starting sometime this weekend, we will be upgrading our forums to Invision Power Board 3.1 which was released in the summer, and has since seen 4 minor updates taking our version directly to 3.1.4. Neowin has never jumped on first time releases due to the complexity of our skin and inevitable bugs that crop up after major versions are rolled out. Atlas has been updated to include all of the new social connectors that have been added to the forum software.

Please note that we will be upgrading with just one color, that being our trademark (light) blue default parent skin. The forums can then undergo a live test period so we can iron out any bugs we've missed, before we do the rest of the colors.

The skin was outsourced to IPBForumskins.com and it will be our last (major) IPB update.

Future plans involve Neowin creating its own "Ignition" forum software, that will be built alongside our custom Content Management System. The initial database development and coding has already started which means that we will no longer have to continually modify the forum software to make it do what we want. Upgrading major versions are a real pain unless we want a "vanilla" experience, and we've never had that since we first started using IPB back when it first released in 2003.

2011 will bring a further customized experience for our readers, and we hope that by launching IPB 3.1.4 we can get an idea of what is really important to our readership when we eventually move to our own custom forum software.

Update: It has been decided by our overlord Marcel (Redmak) that the upgrade will start on the morning of Sunday 19 December. (EU time)

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63 Comments

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my favorite forum gets even better...looks like I'll have to occupy myself elsewhere....until the upgrade's complete, that is . Neobond...Dave....Steven....ya'll just keep making it better and better! (and all of the rest of the hamsters who are unmentioned...)

Sounds great and I look forward to seeing your own home grown forum software. you certainly have the ability to make something that is leading I am sure. you never know you may be able to license it too in future and make cash that way!

Yeah,
You all know of Murphy's Law, right?!!

What's been the issue here lately with links opening new windows/tabs that shouldn't and links that should open new ones not?

On top of that, a lot of links that do open new windows simply lead to a page that can't be found due to malformed url's.

Otherwise,
Here's wishing you BAD luck!!
I HATE when people wish ME good luck. Things NEVER work out for me then!!
Not superstitious, to much.

All you people who are against the switch, how do you even notice a difference between each forum? They all have the same basic look with tweaks and themes. Aside from being a developer and using one then you dont notice the difference. Anyways, glad Im working Sunday, itll keep me away and hopefully by the new year all the colours will be back.

Intrigued by the plans of Neowin's own forum software...a steep mountain to climb I'd imagine, but good luck

Don't take too long in adding other colours.
Echoing an above poster, I can't handle the default blue, its too bright for me (even in good light)

Ethere said,
I've been through quite a few upgrades since my original time here at Neowin. Ahh, the good old days!

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20010529162030/http/www.neowin.net/

I hate URL smiley's. Sorry guys.


Hopefully thats something they can fix in their new forum software. The code to replace text with smileys really should be more intelligent than that and should only work if the smiley characters have a space each side of them.

Good luck. I hope it doesn't turn into the fiasco that the last upgrade was! The fact that no one realized that Google would need to completely reindex the site after the upgrade was bad planning, and caused a LOT of unneeded downtime.

We knew they would, we just thought they'd have some control built in on their end to prevent them trying to reindex so fast they cause a DoS

Lucas said,
Good stuff, can't wait to see the new custom stuff, even though I do enjoy IPB.

+1
I'll miss it, but if it's not too much of a drastic change, I will like it.
Glassed Silver is a cat you know... hate change...

Seems surprising that you'd go the custom route for forum software when IPB is a really good, polished product. Their hook system allows you to do anything you basically want with it, including having your CMS integrate well with it.

Personally I find it silly to reinvent the wheel when somebody's expertise is specifically in that area, but whatever floats your boat.

The entire CMS here on Neowin is made by Neowin devs. It didn't have the major issues that IPB had when it was upgraded either. IPB also isn't designed for these large forums, and Neowin devs hate making mods because it makes upgrades and everything even more difficult. With their own custom forum software, they can make Ignition have the perfect integration they need and take a large load off with all the IPB features Neowin doesn't need.

Hercules said,
Seems surprising that you'd go the custom route for forum software when IPB is a really good, polished product. Their hook system allows you to do anything you basically want with it, including having your CMS integrate well with it.

Personally I find it silly to reinvent the wheel when somebody's expertise is specifically in that area, but whatever floats your boat.

I agree. IPB 3 is an excellent product. As a web developer creating a forum software seems crazy to me.

Electric Jolt said,
The entire CMS here on Neowin is made by Neowin devs. It didn't have the major issues that IPB had when it was upgraded either. IPB also isn't designed for these large forums, and Neowin devs hate making mods because it makes upgrades and everything even more difficult. With their own custom forum software, they can make Ignition have the perfect integration they need and take a large load off with all the IPB features Neowin doesn't need.

From my experience, a custom forum software will need 2 or 3 times more code than a CMS. And of course, more features = more bugs.

Electric Jolt said,
The entire CMS here on Neowin is made by Neowin devs. It didn't have the major issues that IPB had when it was upgraded either. IPB also isn't designed for these large forums, and Neowin devs hate making mods because it makes upgrades and everything even more difficult. With their own custom forum software, they can make Ignition have the perfect integration they need and take a large load off with all the IPB features Neowin doesn't need.
"These large forums"? I don't really understand that. IPB scales without a real issue, and I would probably say much better than vBulletin does because the code is better.

That said, all the custom features that Neowin needs could be added into IPB and easily maintained, rather than throwing the whole thing away and rewriting it. There's not a lot you can't do with the skinning system, and you can easily make it look like something totally different if you felt like it. Honestly, I just find this move silly given that IPB is best of breed. They offer a CMS that is pretty good too (a tad unfriendly to setup and stuff, but otherwise great), as well as a gallery and other things, all of which are really great products.

Like I said, I just find the extra work silly when you're already using great software and have a forum community that is used to the look and feel of IPB. If you're just going to re-create the same look and feel for users, then why not leave it alone and save the development time to devote to custom mods for IPB that you might need?

I'd love to hear the reasons but on the surface the motivations seem fickle.

Hercules said,
Seems surprising that you'd go the custom route for forum software when IPB is a really good, polished product. Their hook system allows you to do anything you basically want with it, including having your CMS integrate well with it.

Personally I find it silly to reinvent the wheel when somebody's expertise is specifically in that area, but whatever floats your boat.


Maybe a testbed for developing a system that could be sold afterwards?

Hercules said,
"These large forums"? I don't really understand that. IPB scales without a real issue, and I would probably say much better than vBulletin does because the code is better.

That said, all the custom features that Neowin needs could be added into IPB and easily maintained, rather than throwing the whole thing away and rewriting it. There's not a lot you can't do with the skinning system, and you can easily make it look like something totally different if you felt like it. Honestly, I just find this move silly given that IPB is best of breed. They offer a CMS that is pretty good too (a tad unfriendly to setup and stuff, but otherwise great), as well as a gallery and other things, all of which are really great products.

Like I said, I just find the extra work silly when you're already using great software and have a forum community that is used to the look and feel of IPB. If you're just going to re-create the same look and feel for users, then why not leave it alone and save the development time to devote to custom mods for IPB that you might need?

I'd love to hear the reasons but on the surface the motivations seem fickle.

Our main issue with IPB is that, every upgrade, they add features we don't need, but we have to upgrade anyway due to security issues, stability issues and the like. Every upgrade involves completely redoing the skin, and our mods and hooks usually require fairly heavy modification. We then have to test the upgrade scripts against our database, go through a testing process for the skins and modifications/hooks, and then cross our fingers on upgrade day.

By coding our own software, we're able to do incremental updates. We add the features we (and the members) want, without gaining a lot of the bloat IPB adds every update. Security is done on our terms (which means quickly), we don't have the need to redo everything once a year, and we can make our forums into whatever we want. To be honest, we've been very limited by their skinning system thus far: it's a robust system, but it does still require that you stick to their idea of a forum. Our skinning system has proven itself on the main page, and through a full year of planning (and experimentation with ideas on our front page, as well as our admin panel that our members don't see), we've determined that this model will work perfectly for our own forums, and give us a more maintainable forum system going forward,

Simon said,
Security is done on our terms (which means quickly),...

That comment right there just demonstrates to me that this decision hasn't been properly thought out. Using security as one of your main reasons for writing your own forum is illogical.

Sure, you can write patches to correct discovered security holes and deploy them much quicker than IPB can. But good luck finding those holes to patch in the first place. You don't have the thousands (or hundreds of thousands, millions) of forum installations out there with many millions of users spread between them all finding and reporting bugs. NeoForum has one installation with only as many people finding bugs as Neowin has members.

I hope it's going to fix the most annoying bug ever on IPB in Safari 5 in OS X : opening a new tab with a random website in my history.

PsykX said,
I hope it's going to fix the most annoying bug ever on IPB in Safari 5 in OS X : opening a new tab with a random website in my history.

As far as I know no other browser has that behavior, so how come thats a problem with IPB and not with Safari? Go report it to Crapple.

In this news post: "Forum downtime incoming!"

It seems every time there is an update something goes wrong and you guys end up rolling back or limiting features. Not complaining, just sayin.....beyond that I don't know if I can deal with the plain light blue theme for however long it takes you guys to port the Darkside theme over. The blue is simply too bright in the dark of night sitting in front of a monitor.

Neobond said,
Please remember that going from 2.x to 3.0 meant all of the board URLs were updated, that won't need to happen this time.
True, but you know how it goes, if anything can go wrong it will go wrong.

Neobond said,
Should be minimal.
I've been a reader/lurker on Neowin for years now. And these things never go to planned See you when I see you:D

Singh400 said,
I've been a reader/lurker on Neowin for years now. And these things never go to planned See you when I see you:D

Yea. I remember the last one.

I think midnight blue looks a lot better than the light blue theme as default but I cannot wait for this update, means I can connect via twitter

Arron said,
I think midnight blue looks a lot better than the light blue theme as default but I cannot wait for this update, means I can connect via twitter

+1