Frequently asked questions
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WHAT is Wedge?
- Wedge is a fork of SMF. To be clear, SMF is Simple Machines Forum, a forum (bulletin board) system that is free to use on your own web server. When it became apparent that SMF 2.0 would be released in an open source license, we used the opportunity to 'fork' it, that is, create a new software based on the same code, going in a different direction. Hopefully an interesting one!
- Our current target release dates: early 2012 for the demo, an alpha version one to three months later, a beta version one to three months after that, and summer/autumn 2012 for the stable release.
[FAQ] Why are there so many features? / Isn't that bloated?
This is a very tough question to answer. Certainly there are a lot of features in Wedge that many will not use - not every forum owner wants to have a blog system built in, for example. Nor the calendar, nor <insert feature here>
But big features like that - like blogging support, like the gallery, like the calendar - these are features we have in the core so that we can maintain them. All too often mods get neglected over time - having them in the core means they don't get forgotten about.
The calendar is a particularly odd example: many SMF users didn't want the calendar in the core, it being a feature they didn't use. But there is another group of people who would actually go elsewhere if the calendar were removed/left to be neglected. These people love having it available and want it to be more powerful than it was.
So the approach we've gone for is that we've added these features in, but in a way that we hope doesn't make it feel too big or scary - and kept the performance aspect too.
Interesting parallel, really, is Microsoft Word. Word adds new features every release, and while some consider it bloaty, the bottom line is that any user might only use 10% of its features - but if each user uses a different 10%, it caters to a lot more people as a result - and this is something we've tried to keep in mind.
We're not going to add every little thing we've thought of - and there are plenty of things we've rejected from being in the core for just that reason. But the goal we have is to make it easier to make them as add-ons that 'just work' and require little maintenance over time.
What will likely happen is that once the core is stable and the ability to expand it through add-ons is mature enough, I'll start turning some of the 'would be nice to have, but not in core' things into add-ons, but we'll see how that turns out - it really requires the core to be mature enough to achieve that first.
The Friend group is not an "elite" group, it's just a private group of people who freely discuss the project and share sensible material about it. Because we can't (and don't really want to) release everything to the public right now, we're trying to keep our numbers low. Basically, the more committed you are to discussing Wedge, the more likely you are to catch our attention. If we already know you well, chances are we forgot to invite you. Just ask for it then.
Please note that if you are to become a 'Friend', you'll have to sacrifice your firstborn to us, and promise you won't discuss anything private outside of our private boards.
Our intention is to make as much as possible (90%+) of the currently private content, an actual part of the public area once we can safely release it. Among other things, we will publish discussions about features that ended up not being implemented, in case you want to make your opinion known.
[FAQ] Will my SMF mods and themes work?
Posted by Arantor, on November 10th, 2010, 02:49 PM (5,621 views)
We've been asked this more than once, so I thought it was about time I answered it.
The short answer is no: SMF mods and themes will not work properly on Wedge without significant overhaul, and this is completely intentional.
It's not about being petty and intentionally breaking it just to annoy people, there are major factors that we sat down - both of us being experienced mod writers - and decided we wanted to tackle.
SMF mods explicitly rely on the code, a mod package is really just a set of find/replace instructions on the code. The only way to retain a reasonable level of compatibility with SMF mods is to not change the code. It isn't ideal, of course, but it is the only way to go about that in the SMF world.
This causes multiple problems, file permissions giving everyone grief, as well as more and more mods being installed causes them to collide further and further until the point where mods just refuse to install because the code they look for has already been installed.
Add to that, that mods on custom themes are at best variable in terms of success and you find yourself in a world of hassle after a while, even when you're using mods written by people who know the code well enough to avoid most of the trouble.
The consequence is a serious amount of rearchitecting the core of SMF in Wedge, to make it far less dependent on mods having to edit the code itself. The downside is that in the short term, users may find a restricted choice of features available to them, while modders learn how to leverage the power of modding in Wedge without code editing.
As for themes, the amount of change is smaller, but still we've made a large number of changes to the default theme, meaning that any theme will need reworking for Wedge as well, but the compatibility should be greater in the long term.
tl:dr; No, themes and mods won't work. But for the hassle of modders and themers learning how to work on Wedge, everyone wins because you'll be able to drop things in with less hassle (if they're written properly), and both the modders and themers should find there is a lower support requirement because the base is that much more flexible.
Also, we will document the main changes we made, so that modders can easily adapt to them.
Currently, Wedge is developed by its creators and project managers.
* Peter Spicer ("Arantor") is the creator and main developer of SimpleDesk. He's also one of the better known SMF community members, having posted more messages than anyone else in the boards, mainly as a project helper. He's so smart it's scary, he's nice, he's everywhere, he figures out solutions to problems before they even arise, he collects dragon toys, he's got a cool name and, more importantly, he's on fire.
* René-Gilles Deberdt ("Nao") is the main developer of Aeva Media, the most downloaded mod for SMF. He's doing his best to be a bigger drama queen than Arantor. He's got a weird name, he's so monomaniac he scares himself (90+ releases of Aeva Media in 2 years), and he's old and grumpy, and it's not getting any better. And, more importantly, he can move his ears and has mismatched pinkies.
Who does what?
Working on such a large codebase allows us to specialize in different areas, generally our areas of expertise or simply what we're interested on at the time. We both have a huge to-do list and they mostly don't overlap. Arantor is specialized in innovation, reworking the admin area and rewriting the add-on manager. Nao's main interests are in user experience, writing tools to make a designer's life easier, designing stuff in general, the media gallery which he built before working on Wedge, etc.
To simplify, one could say that Arantor is in charge of the backend while Nao is the frontend developer, but it wouldn't exactly be true, as we both do a little bit of each, and we also tend to look into each other's work and suggest improvements or fix tiny bugs here and there. What we learned after a year of development, though, is that right from day one, we got together pretty well and we've been very happy with our collaborative work.
We certainly hope it shows in the software itself!
- The website itself is using Wedge as its platform, as logic would dictate.
- The forum logo is a community effort led by Nao, with help from Bloc and CJ Jackson.
- The forum badges are loosely inspired by earlier SMF badges created by Gazmanafc.
Wanna join the team?
Not for now, we're afraid. We will announce any team additions and changes here in the future. Please do not offer your help here or anywhere else. Right now we prefer to keep the team as small as possible. Of course, we always accept suggestions with pleasure, but we'll do the coding by ourselves. echo 'We like that.';
Should I be using Wedge instead of SMF?
- If you're an übergeek, yes. If you're Joe Yourmileage, your mileage may vary. You may enjoy the new features in Wedge, and some of the simplified processes, but may also fear our more frantic and chaotic release habits (although frantic is better than once a year innit?), or the different state of mind compared to SMF. We're just two people in here, and we're well known for saying the truth, rather than going through convoluted speeches to "keep it professional". We think that professionalism is delivering software that rocks. We'll leave the bullshitting to people on the payroll, thank you very much.
- You can still install Wedge and run it alongside SMF. Consider the two projects as totally separate. We will *not* provide an upgrade script, however later on we will release a perfect converter. You'll be able to test Wedge and see if it suits you, without deleting your current SMF install. (The SMF team will probably also write a Wedge to SMF converter at some point.)
- Maybe you should simply decide whether you want to follow the authors' vision rather than the main SMF line.