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This. Is. Crazy.
« on February 3rd, 2012, 04:20 PM »
One year and a half... In a couple of weeks, it will be one year and a half since Pete and I decided to work on our own SMF fork. Talk about commitment!

About a year later, thanks to the SMF license change, over half a dozen new forks went into production. Somehow, I felt a bit relieved that we weren't going to be 'the new SMF' and that maybe we could simply focus on being the smarter one, instead of the one everyone wants to use (including morons. We hate morons. But don't tell them, or they'll come.)
Some of them were officially stopped after a few days or weeks. Others lasted a bit longer, but are clearly never going to happen. Nightwish's fork is clearly, and definitely, the only 'serious' competition we ever had, and given that I was the one that revealed its existence, I feel somehow responsible for pushing him into working hard on it. After several months of daily commits, however, it went off the radar and it would seem that none of the other forks made it into 2012.

Well, I'm sad about it. Once again, everyone's looking at Wedge again and expecting a release. I was kind of enjoying being able to simply work on it without any pressure. Hmm, still no pressure, but I'm starting to feel uncomfortable that nearly a year after SMF 2 went gold, no single fork has been made available to the public. So, it's time for me to look into what's ready and what's not.

If you'll remember, back when I published the first screenshots, I said I'd start using Wedge on itself once we'd reach 200 Likes on Facebook. While it was more of a joke than anything, it just so happens that we're getting close to that decent number of friends, and that in the same time, I'm working hard on making the transition as smooth as possible. So it's very likely that will actually be running Wedge by the time we reach 200 Likes. I'm currently running a 'beta-test' of the website on our friends group. The feedback is very positive, thankfully, so it appears I won't have too much to implement or fix before I make the final switch.

What else? Well, it's become customary to give a quick review of what we did since the last blog post... Pete worked on removing the calendar to turn it into a plugin, but as it turned out, it was harder than expected, and it pretty much hurt his motivation, and he has yet to dive back into the game. Still, 11 commits is better than all of the other forks together, so I guess I can still hope. I really don't want to keep working on Wedge alone, that's enough to drive a man crazy. Plus, well, I love working with Pete. He's such a great guy. I could say the same of the rest of our non-dev team. It's always been such a pleasure to share ideas with you!

And now for the customary changelog summary...

As for myself, I made 125 commits, which is pretty much on par with my regular output. I'm not going to keep up with this in 2012, well I'm hoping I'll take some time off because I never stopped to take a moment, and maybe I should go see a doctor or something. Or at least get paid for working on Wedge. I spent most of November working on improving the template skeleton system (it's now pretty much flawless), and finishing the thought system. In December I rewrote the BBCode implementation to be smarter about fixing mismatched tags and even giving proper error messages to the user.

This skin is a work in progress! And the select box
looks even better in action! I like
exclamation marks, sue me!
This skin is a work in progress! And the select box
looks even better in action! I like
exclamation marks, sue me!
Then the big chunk -- I had in mind that I wanted to replace our basic select boxes with a JavaScript implementation that would look cool. Well, it took me weeks to get it right, but it's possibly the best JS select box every written when it comes to usability, features and compacity (it's only about 2 kilobytes when other JS plugins are usually double the size.) Learned a LOT about JS code size optimization in the process, which means Wedge loads faster. I also changed my mind on that cool feature of mine, the automatic quote splitter. While technically interesting and everything, I felt that in the long run, it might seem unnatural to those used to non-Wysiwyg editors. So I decided to only run the splitter if you hold the Shift or Ctrl keys when pressing Enter. Plus I've documented it in the post editor.

Which brings us to January, where I kept working on the improved select box. I most notably added a custom scrollbar. After I was done, needless to say I was pretty burnt out, so I decided to focus on a small and easy task instead -- getting rid of the Wysiwyg editor's iframe. Well, that's what I thought... It turned into an absolute nightmare. Oddly, the only browser that liked doing without the iframe was Internet Explorer. Of all browsers. Including IE6. Well. Eventually, I had to admit defeat and went back to the original code. Which, I hate to say, was just as broken. I just don't use Wysiwyg that much, you know. So I spent another couple of weeks working on fixing it. It was pretty much an extensive rewrite, and I can now safely say that our Wysiwyg editor is more solid than SMF's. And shorter. And smarter. As I pointed out in the changelog (you know where to find it), the most annoying bug was due to Wedge using sprited images (inside a div) instead of regular img tags to show buttons and smileys. It turned out that IE loses focus when you click a div outside the iframe, but it doesn't when you click an img. Don't shoot the messenger. No, fear not, I didn't come back to a series of image files, it would be ridiculous. I simply added a dummy transparent image in front of the buttons if using IE. Sometimes, the simple solution is what is best.

After I was done with "small tasks that end up taking weeks to complete", I went the safe route and implemented some additions I'd already written for and -- such as indicating the number of new posts next to a New icon. Or adding support for transparent avatars. (Well, this one's from Aeva Media 2.x, technically.) Then I fixed a few broken areas of WeCSS (which live627 declared his love for, oh I sooo needed that!), and I renamed the 'sticky' feature to 'pinned', which took longer than I'd hoped, but will definitely be an improvement for everyone -- pinning a topic makes more sense than 'setting it sticky'. What does that mean anyway?

Now, what's in store for February? Well, as I said at the beginning, my plans are to finally use Wedge on once and for all, as soon as possible, and that does mean this month. So I've quickly cooked up a new skin for Wedge, which I'll hopefully be using here. My current keyword for Wedge is 'simplicity', so I'm trying to remove as much crap from the templates as possible. The current feedback is very positive, so I think I'm on the right track here.

And if I happen to fall asleep and not post for another month -- go, go, The Artist! The French touch is alive and kicking!

Re: This. Is. Crazy.
« Reply #16, on June 8th, 2012, 05:33 PM »
I already have a site lined up to use this on, so as soon as it's in alpha or available in some form I'll be grabbing a copy to skin for my site. :)