Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum 2nd March....

Merge together Early Aircraft Projects and Postwar Aircraft Projects?


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overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

NeilChapman said:
Are there any reference sites out there that one might visit if they're so inclined?
https://xenforo.com/community/ is a typical basic install of the XenForo forum software (its the forum for user support).

Some other features include tags for posts, topic prefixes, better user messaging, personalized news feeds, trophies, subscription support, support for Facebook style "likes"... I'm not sure exactly which features will be enabled, a lot depends on testing. I have an issue with a small number of corrupt images breaking the import process, once that is resolved I''ll work on setup, and once its in a useful state I''ll get moderators and selected users to test it out.

One option is to drastically cut down the boards and distinguish topics another way. For example, have one Aircraft Projects board, then create topic prefixes like "Pre-WWI", "WWI", "Interwar", "WW2", "Cold War", "Modern". Then if you like specific eras only, you can filter out those time periods you aren't interested in. A Topic Prefix is a single choice item which comes at the start of the topic name, you can only have 1 and it can be mandatory.

You can also use tags like ""Aircraft", "Missile", "Project", "Vought", "WW2", "V/STOL" so topics can be tagged with multiple tags describing the content. You can click the "Vought" tag and find all topics tagged "Vought" but not instances of people mentioning Vought in other topics. Tags can be restricted to admins or users can be allowed to create tags too (this would probably be a "senior member" privilege).

Once I have the existing content migrated to a test forum, I will try out these different features.
 

Antonio

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

I welcome introducing tags. Some subjects are difficult to classify into a single topic. Choosing a brief but descriptive topic tittle couldn't be easy. Tags will bring a more efficient forum and allow easier access to contents.
 

CJGibson

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

In the search feature, will it be possible to ignore items, specifically members names?

Chris
 

Hood

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

I like the concept of the mandatory topic prefix. That could work well, likewise so could the tags.
The current search is a bit hit and miss, especially if you're searching fairly generic terms or project names.
 

steelpillow

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Couple more thoughts occurred to me overnight about Xenforo.

Privacy: Commercial software companies can gain an additional revenue stream if they embed data harvesting into their product and sell the data on to the Big Data companies (who provide the harvesting code). Many commercial web service products now do this. Can we be sure that Xenforo does not?

Proprietary lock-in and end-of-life: One day you will want to migrate from Xenforo to something else. It is common enough for commercial software to use a proprietary data format. It then tries to attract and keep its user base by enabling import from a competitor product but to forbid export. Does Xenforo offer full data export, against that day?

Open Source products such as Simple Machines and phpBB are pretty user-friendly in these respects.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

steelpillow said:
Couple more thoughts occurred to me overnight about Xenforo.

Privacy: Commercial software companies can gain an additional revenue stream if they embed data harvesting into their product and sell the data on to the Big Data companies (who provide the harvesting code). Many commercial web service products now do this. Can we be sure that Xenforo does not?
Yes. Source code is PHP, you can read it yourself, just like SMF or PHPBB. Its '"open source'' in that sense, just not freely distributable. There's no nefarious code in there.

steelpillow said:
Proprietary lock-in and end-of-life: One day you will want to migrate from Xenforo to something else. It is common enough for commercial software to use a proprietary data format. It then tries to attract and keep its user base by enabling import from a competitor product but to forbid export. Does Xenforo offer full data export, against that day?

Open Source products such as Simple Machines and phpBB are pretty user-friendly in these respects.
Like phpBB and SMF, Xenforo is just text data in a MySQL database with a PHP web app. Migration of any similar forum to a new format depends on availability of a converter in the new product, which is to a large extent determined by user base size of the forum software. Xenforo is a pretty popular forum, so there is for example a PHPBB converter available should you want to go that way, as well as converters to other commercial forum products. Converters are the responsibility of the new forum, not the old.

SMF is effectively a dead project. 2.1 is still miles from release, and hardly any improvement on 2.0, which was hardly any improvement on 1.1 from 2006. I've given up waiting for it.

I've tried NodeBB, Vanilla, Discourse, PHPBB, MyBB, and Elkarte, which is a fork of SMF. Elkarte came close to perfect, as a easy modern upgrade to SMF, similar but with lots of things improved, but is not too popular yet, which means you could end up in the position you imagined for Xenforo, without an easy means of data conversion out if the project dies. Given its basically just 2 developers working in their spare time, this seems too risky. Xenforo is a safer bet - there are converters already out for most alternative forums.

I'm all for open source software in general but in this instance, I feel its worth paying a smallish fee.
 

MihoshiK

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

My main haunt on the web is Spacebattles.com, which moved to Xenforo a few years ago. It's a remarkably stable bit of kit, and it's main developer used to work for vBulletin, to which it is markedly superior.

The tag function is extremely useful.

Thread length is somewhat limited due to forum software and database limits. That is to say, for a forum like spacebattles, which has almost 70,000 users and a database of more than 29 million posts. I imagine that a thread length of 1500 pages with each page 25 posts long is more than sufficient for Secret Projects :D
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Well. more than a year has passed since I abandoned the migration to Xenforo, and I am trying again.

I've got to a point I'm very happy with the data migration - all posts, personal messages and attachments have been converted, permissions fixed, I have a solution to preserving old links, and I'm working on customising the site look and feel. I'm having some challenges with the search system differences from SMF which I am trying to resolve - its not quite as good at finding content yet.

Once I've got what I think is a stable, workable system (hopefully within a week or two) I will invite some users to give it a try.

Once it's tweaked after feedback, I'll have to schedule a weekend to take the forum down for a final backup and migration, probably the site will be down for 1 or 2 days while I redo the entire process of migrating to Xenforo.

Hopefully this will be a positive change overall. SMF was the best forum software in 2005, but it's pretty dated now.
 

TomS

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Looking forward to a new forum software. Zenforo is quite powerful and flexible.

Word of warning though. Another forum I frequent converted to Zenforo a few months ago. It took much longer than expected to do the actual conversion, by several days in fact.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Well, I've already done it once as a test. The actual conversion part was fairly speedy (a few hours) thanks to the speedy DigitalOcean servers, but there's lots of post migration steps to complete. I need to remove permissions from all boards and recreate them, change style, and alter any options that differ from the defaults. I think two evenings is about right overall. I could get it online in one evening's work, and carry on tweaking while its running, but I'd rather get it all looking right before reopening the doors. Just my control freakery at work perhaps :)
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Now the important thing - keep the McDonnell-Douglas 265 or ditch it for a new mascot?
 

Michel Van

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Now the important thing - keep the McDonnell-Douglas 265 or ditch it for a new mascot?
to be honest, i don't know

Is there another iconic unbuild aircraft that could replace the McDonnell-Douglas 265 ?
 

sferrin

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Now the important thing - keep the McDonnell-Douglas 265 or ditch it for a new mascot?
I vote for new.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

I'll try and create a few options in Photoshop. Logo shape favours long and thin - TSR2???
;D
 

steelpillow

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

TSR2 good and iconic. Or, how about the BAe Kingston (Hawker) P.1216 supersonic Harrier replacement, if you can find a free graphic?
 

Silencer1

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
I'll try and create a few options in Photoshop. Logo shape favours long and thin - TSR2???
;D
The idea of changing forum's header is good. Also, TSR-2, in my huble opinion, didn't match the idea, important to me - to demonstrate the unbuilt proects. I like TSR-2, but it has been built and tested.
So, I'm looking for someting elegant, but did' leaving the drawing board!

Good luck with software replacement!
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Some screenshots of me playing around with colours, fonts etc. Not in any way representative of the final design! TSR2 was a joke BTW. I have a super high res screen so these are pretty giant.
 

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overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

This is showing thread prefixes - I could merge the Early and Postwar Aircraft Projects to just "Aircraft Projects" and then each thread can be tagged with an era. You can then select that prefix in the filter to see only projects from WW2, for example.

You could even combine missile, aircraft, army, navy, space projects into just one giant "Projects" section and then have prefixes of "Missile", "Aircraft", "Naval", etc.
 

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kitnut617

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Just as long it doesn't have any of that 'tapatalk' crap Paul
 

hesham

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

My dear Paul,

I agree about most of those improvements,but please don't change the title or the name of
forum,its a trade mark,continues for ever.
 

sferrin

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
I'll try and create a few options in Photoshop. Logo shape favours long and thin - TSR2???
;D
Or galgot's Boeing SST? Or the nuclear-powered, Mach 4 flying submarine? Or the McDonnell Douglas GAM-29A, Project Pluto, FB-23. . . So many possibilities.
 

Michel Van

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Some screenshots of me playing around with colours, fonts etc. Not in any way representative of the final design! TSR2 was a joke BTW. I have a super high res screen so these are pretty giant.
Oh I like the screenshots !
if new forum will look similar like this
I gonna love it ;D
 

TomS

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

sferrin said:
PaulMM (Overscan) said:
I'll try and create a few options in Photoshop. Logo shape favours long and thin - TSR2???
;D
Or galgot's Boeing SST? Or the nuclear-powered, Mach 4 flying submarine? Or the McDonnell Douglas GAM-29A, Project Pluto, FB-23. . . So many possibilities.
Love the SST. Good reminder that there are plenty of interesting civilian projects out there as well.
 

sferrin

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

TomS said:
sferrin said:
PaulMM (Overscan) said:
I'll try and create a few options in Photoshop. Logo shape favours long and thin - TSR2???
;D
Or galgot's Boeing SST? Or the nuclear-powered, Mach 4 flying submarine? Or the McDonnell Douglas GAM-29A, Project Pluto, FB-23. . . So many possibilities.
Love the SST. Good reminder that there are plenty of interesting civilian projects out there as well.
As well as spacecraft, armored vehicles, ships, etc. etc. etc.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Galgot's Boeing 2707 is definitely a contender.
 

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Antonio

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Galgot's Boeing 2707 is definitely a contender
Gorgeous!
 

galgot

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Would be a great honor Sirs :D
 

SpudmanWP

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Is there the capability for each forum (Early Aircraft Projects, Avionics, etc) top have it's won header?

That way you can keep the existing one as the "primary" header and rotate through forum specific ones as the need or desire arises.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

galgot said:
Would be a great honor Sirs :D
In which case a render with no background, and a render with more sky horizontally, would be awesome to play around with.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

SpudmanWP said:
Is there the capability for each forum (Early Aircraft Projects, Avionics, etc) top have it's won header?

That way you can keep the existing one as the "primary" header and rotate through forum specific ones as the need or desire arises.
I'm still looking at layout possibilities including a "grid" mode where each forum gets its own image.
 

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sferrin

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
SpudmanWP said:
Is there the capability for each forum (Early Aircraft Projects, Avionics, etc) top have it's won header?

That way you can keep the existing one as the "primary" header and rotate through forum specific ones as the need or desire arises.
I'm still looking at layout possibilities including a "grid" mode where each forum gets its own image.
That could be interesting. Would be fun to see suggestions for the different sections. :)
 

Richard N

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

The capability to view all of the pictures or files in a thread would be a very useful tool in the SP Forum. Posters sometimes post previously posted pictures because the only way to find out if a picture has been posted before is to sequentially scroll through every single page of the thread. The RC Groups Forum ( https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php )has this capability as demonstrated in the attachments below.

You need to be a logged on member of the RCG forum to get access to the Thread Tools. I am also the thread starter of the example thread so I have a couple of more options available. To get to the attachments, I click on the Thread Tools pull down menu and select Show Attachments in this Thread. That will take you to a page showing all of the thread's attachments as shown in the second picture. When you click on a thumbnail, you get a larger version of the picture with the options View Post or Pics in Thread. View Post takes you to the post where the picture was posted and Pics in Thread takes you back to the page of all the attachments. Clicking on the larger thumbnail will take you to the full sized image.

The Show Attachments capability is also available in RCG when visiting a member's blog and you can view all of the member's attachments he has ever posted along with all of his threads and posts.
 

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Sundog

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Is it possible to have five or six different headers that change as one reloads the page? Then you don't have to settle on just one.
 

Moose

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Galgot's Boeing 2707 is definitely a contender.
That's snazzy!
 

dan_inbox

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Paul,

If you are making changes to the forum, I'd suggest a subsection dedicated to the life and whereabouts of the members.
And I'd recommend to specifically move there all the RIP/obituary threads which take so much space (even anchor space) in all the wrong places today. And which frankly are not very atmosphere-improving.
Having a proper section for those homages would also be more dignified / respectful / whateverIsTheRightTerm.


Separately, I would prefer if you did not merge the Early and Post-war sections.
Reason is that today, the daily updates for each section fit on one page, the first. If they were merged, then many days they would take more than one page, and trying to read oldest-first on the 2nd page is just a pain.


Anyway. Thanks for all the care and upkeep of this wonderful Aerospace Geeks' Cantina. You have made it one of the best places on the net. --- You and the forumers and moderators, of course. So much knowledge, so much sharing. All kept mostly civil and friendly. Big Kudos.
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

You would have to see the interface to understand, and I'll post a screenshot, but you could basically have one Aircraft Projects forum, then prefixes of, say, Pre-war and Post-war, and then at the top you can select to view all, just pre-war, just post-war. You could even merge all "Projects" into one forum, then have prefixes of "Aircraft", "Missile", "Army",Navy","Space".

I feel the current forum is too split into tiny parts, so I'm experimenting with different middle grounds between Facebook group style mess of everything in one place, and the plethora of separate sections we currently have, some of which are rarely visited.
 

Hood

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

Looking good.
I like the idea of prefixes. I assume there will there be a pre-selectable dropdown list of prefixes when making new posts?
Just thinking that conformity would be good across prefixes. Also, its trusting us as the membership to remember to use them and not get them wrong! ;D
 

overscan

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

...
 

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hesham

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....

PaulMM (Overscan) said:
My dear Paul,

I think the dividing is better to be a development of the old for pre-1945 and since-1945
sections,put the topics together is not recommended.
 

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