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FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26425] Thu, 21 July 2005 13:02 Go to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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In the past few years FUDforum has grown quite a bit in both the offered functionality and the user base. However, aside from a few tweaks the layout of the forum has remained largely unchanged. While the current layout works quite well for most people, there is a clear want to update the layout to something more interesting. Hence this contest, the goal being to devise a new better, faster and prettier default theme (layout) for the forum, which would improve the user experience. Aside from a new and improved default template some additional templates maybe included in the stock distribution to give forum deployers greater flexibility as far as appearance out of the box.

So, if you have some spare time and would like to help to improve FUDforum please submit your design entries.

There are few requirements from the design and I ask that you consider them when making your changes:

  • The design should be based on CSS, you can make use of tables and so on, but the formatting should be done in CSS as much as possible.
  • The design should work in all major browsers, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror and Safari.
  • Try to keep the design as generic as possible so that it can be applicable to almost any situation the forum is used in. We want to allow people to use the forum without having to tweak the design every time.
  • Be original, don’t port layouts and themes of existing bulletin boards.

How to submit your ideas?

  • Send a patch with your changes (please indicate the forum version the patch is based upon).
  • Send an archive of all the modified files.

The submissions can be either attached as replies to this topic or sent to me via e-mail at forum(at)prohost(dot)org.

Timeline:

It is my hope that we have some suggestions within the next 2 months at which point via the use of public opinion we will determine the best entries.

Licensing Issues:

In order to use your template ideas the license needs to permit its distribution with FUDforum, the acceptable licenses are: GPL (FUDforum’s license), LGPL, BSD, Apache and PHP license.

Prizes:

For the winning design that becomes the default theme for FUDforum aside from my gratitude (as well as those of other FUDforum users) the winner will receive a 4GB Ipod Mini. Authors of designs that get adopted as optional FUDforum themes, will all receive 512 meg Ipod Shuffle.

It should be noted that the authors will be given their due credit inside the FUDforum’s CREDITS file.


FUDforum Core Developer

[Updated on: Thu, 21 July 2005 14:53]

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26434 is a reply to message #26425] Thu, 21 July 2005 17:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
enygma is currently offline  enygma   United States
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So is this for a complete rework of how the forum is laid out or just the creation of a "theme" based on what it looks like now?

(or both? Smile )
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26437 is a reply to message #26434] Thu, 21 July 2005 17:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Both are valid,, I'd prefer to keep the data layout relatively the same, but there are not restrictions.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26472 is a reply to message #26425] Thu, 21 July 2005 23:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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Hopefully I can find time to get in on this. But with the huge undertaking that it is I doubt I will Sad
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26474 is a reply to message #26472] Thu, 21 July 2005 23:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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JamesS wrote on Thu, 21 July 2005 23:07

Hopefully I can find time to get in on this. But with the huge undertaking that it is I doubt I will Sad


Yes and no Smile

By this point majority of forum's layout is controlled via a single CSS stylesheet, much can be changed and improved (I guess) by tweaking the values there.


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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26475 is a reply to message #26425] Fri, 22 July 2005 00:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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If I were to do it I would be targeting at least HTML 4.01 Strict. I wouldn't be using very many tables, if any.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26490 is a reply to message #26425] Fri, 22 July 2005 14:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
enygma is currently offline  enygma   United States
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just a few ideas:
http://www.talkingpixels.org/fudforum_ideas/index.php

comments/suggestions/gripes? Smile
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26491 is a reply to message #26425] Fri, 22 July 2005 14:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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Quite interesting. I am not very fond of the third one simply because of the scrolling div. The only problem I see with them is they are not very easily integrated into individual web sites. The current theme can be wrestled into other sites (e.g. mine) which is one of its strengths. That being said, I particularly like your first idea. It is very similar to what is floating around in my head.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26496 is a reply to message #26490] Fri, 22 July 2005 17:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Interesting ideas, the 1st variant of the page looks rather well. Few things to note, how would nested categories look like, while not used on this forum, FUDforum allows categories to have subcategories ala:

Main Category
---- Sub Category
--------- Sub sub category

Aside from that the only information I feel is missing that is somewhat import are details about the moderators. Since front page is the only place where this is shown, perhaps we need to consider showing it somehow or move it off to another page.

The 3rd concept, topic view is a neat concept, but I wonder if perhaps the forum listing is given too much space there. In most cases people relatively rarely change forums and spend much more time reading messages and browsing topic. Thus from usability perspective it may be worth while to reduce the space taken up by that list.


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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26503 is a reply to message #26496] Fri, 22 July 2005 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kenjb is currently offline  kenjb   United States
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I already do some major wrapping of FUD and others here, so side navigation will be doubled up if placed on one side and not able to move it left, right, or to the top easily.

Fixed the link to the forum. sorry about that.


kenjb

[Updated on: Fri, 22 July 2005 22:36]

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26534 is a reply to message #26425] Mon, 25 July 2005 12:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
!alex is currently offline  !alex   Germany
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Hi there,

i also like the first idea, it looks fast and clean.

One thing i would change is the rounded box with forum satistics, i guess it`s hard to change the color/appearance of it without the need to open the image in photoshop. I know a lot of people like to change the color-scheme fast and easy through the forum`s administration for ci-reasons.

Maybe the forum`s statistics could be placed on the bottom of the right, green box with a smaller font-size, too ?

I also do a wrapping of my forum(s) (here and here) - the new default-theme should really be easy to integrate in a content-area of any given layout/ci.

i`m currently working on templates for my ecommerce-solution that are nearly pure css, xhtml 1.0 transitional compliant and use no tables (at the moment still 2 or 3 Rolling Eyes)
- generally i would say it is possible to give the forum a div-based layout but there is need to use a lot of css-hacks to switch some values based on the browser.

At the moment i don't have enough spare to work on a forum`s layout but if someone would like to work on such a mission i may bring-in some hours on the css/hacks to make it work on different browsers.

Best regards and happy Programming,
Alex
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26568 is a reply to message #26534] Wed, 27 July 2005 11:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lukin is currently offline  Lukin   Poland
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Hello world! Smile

!alex wrote on Mon, 25 July 2005 12:46


i`m currently working on templates for my ecommerce-solution that are nearly pure css, xhtml 1.0 transitional compliant and use no tables (at the moment still 2 or 3 Rolling Eyes)
- generally i would say it is possible to give the forum a div-based layout but there is need to use a lot of css-hacks to switch some values based on the browser.



Well, I see no point in removing all tables - they're allowed even in strict XHTML, as long as they are not used for design, but for presenting data. I made phpBB template without tables, pure xhtml and css. Removing tables from "index" and "viewforum" was a mistake - there is no way to make good substite for them (substitute that would look so clear and would work with all browsers or in all resolutions).
Other than that I agree it's possible to make a forum layout based on div's, etc.

!alex wrote on Mon, 25 July 2005 12:46


At the moment i don't have enough spare to work on a forum`s layout but if someone would like to work on such a mission i may bring-in some hours on the css/hacks to make it work on different browsers.



http://www.dithered.com/css_filters/css_only/index.php
www.alistapart.com Wink


BTW What is the oldest browser that should be supported by the new theme? IE4.0?

[Updated on: Wed, 27 July 2005 11:45]

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26569 is a reply to message #26568] Wed, 27 July 2005 12:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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While tableless layout is nice, I must agree with Lukin that avoiding tables like fire and coding just to avoid them may not be such a good idea. As long as there is maybe 1-2 tables per page, IMHO that's not a problem.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26570 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 27 July 2005 12:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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I have an idea or two that doesn't involve using tables for layout. My Calculus II final is one week from today and I hope to be able to work on it after that; right now I have to catch up in class Laughing

Any way, if done correctly, a layout done without tables is going to make the forum quicker (and I know how much you like speed). The typical use of tables for layout creates a lot of overhead that has to be re-downloaded every page view. I don't agree with everyone's desire to use the transitional doctype nor their need to use XHTML. The first is just lazy and the second has no viable, cross-browser, implementation IMHO.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26571 is a reply to message #26570] Wed, 27 July 2005 12:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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My problem with strict HTML formats is that they make it very difficult to add all sorts of brower specific hacks often necessary to get things to render "OK".

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26572 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 27 July 2005 12:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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IE is really the only browser that becomes a problem. But, I have worked with it enough to know what needs to be done. I am not saying I will complete such a theme though I intend to give it a good shot. We shall see.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26573 is a reply to message #26572] Wed, 27 July 2005 13:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Well, IE maybe the one requiring most "hack", but Opera and Konqueror are definately a close 2nd and 3rd.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26574 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 27 July 2005 13:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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Agreed, KHTML sucks. I haven't had too many issues with Opera though. I have found that it is much easier to get browsers to do what you want them to when they are in compliance mode. When they are quirks mode who knows what is going to happen.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26575 is a reply to message #26574] Wed, 27 July 2005 13:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Well, KHTML engine (somewhat tuned) is what powers Apple's Safari browser, so it's popularity is growing, making compatibility with it a concern. Opera mostly tries to emulate IE behaviour, which in many cases means that the same hacks used for IE also solve issues on Opera.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26576 is a reply to message #26570] Wed, 27 July 2005 14:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lukin is currently offline  Lukin   Poland
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JamesS wrote on Wed, 27 July 2005 12:44

I have an idea or two that doesn't involve using tables for layout. My Calculus II final is one week from today and I hope to be able to work on it after that; right now I have to catch up in class Laughing

Any way, if done correctly, a layout done without tables is going to make the forum quicker (and I know how much you like speed). The typical use of tables for layout creates a lot of overhead that has to be re-downloaded every page view. I don't agree with everyone's desire to use the transitional doctype nor their need to use XHTML. The first is just lazy and the second has no viable, cross-browser, implementation IMHO.


Tables are bad when you use them for purely visual purposes, like making a menu in table. But they are excellent for presenting sorted data, something like a table of topics with an info about topic starter, date of last post, etc. This part of forum is something like an Excel sheet - making such thing in div's has no sense. Tables are not "banned" in XHTML, they just should not be used for "description of a layout".

Ilia wrote on Wed, 27 July 2005 13:12

Well, KHTML engine (somewhat tuned) is what powers Apple's Safari browser, so it's popularity is growing, making compatibility with it a concern. Opera mostly tries to emulate IE behaviour, which in many cases means that the same hacks used for IE also solve issues on Opera.


You're talking about some old version of Opera. The one and only version of this browser which emulated IE was 7.01. It was in use for a shor period of time - producer quickly updated it to 7.23. The newest one is Opera 8 and it has one of the best css support on the market.
The newest version of Safari (not officialy released yet) has it even better than Opera - it was the first browser which passed Acid2 test. To this day only two browsers pass this test: Konqueror and iCab.
Well, imho strict XHTML is a big problem only for older browsers like IE4 and IE5. Making a layout for IE6 is not that complicated and don't need so many hacks - of course if your layout is not that complicated Wink



I reply my question to forum developers: What is the oldest browser that should be supported by the new theme?
And a second question: opening links in new windows (using target="_blank") is not allowed in xhtml 1.0 strict. So the question is: do I have to modify the forum code and remove "target" parameters from an [ URL] code, etc. or better use transitional xhtml in a theme?
P.S. I know that opening a page in new window can be done by javascript, so that could be a good substitute for "target" parm, but then again newer browsers could treat such link as an pop-up window.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26577 is a reply to message #26576] Wed, 27 July 2005 14:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Lukin wrote on Wed, 27 July 2005 14:09


I reply my question to forum developers: What is the oldest browser that should be supported by the new theme?



At this time I'd say IE 5.0, according my quick search on browser usage sites it still comprises 5-8% of the overall browser market. I'd consider IE 6.0 specific themes as long as they can me made to look reasonably well in IE 5.0. I suspect & hope that within 6 month or so IE 5.0 usage will drop well below 5% mark.

Quote:


And a second question: opening links in new windows (using target="_blank") is not allowed in xhtml 1.0 strict. So the question is: do I have to modify the forum code and remove "target" parameters from an [ URL] code, etc. or better use transitional xhtml in a theme?



Let's use transitional if that allows us to keep target, it seems to me removing a non-javascript way of handling new window creation was a REALLY bad idea on behalf of the spec writers.

Quote:


P.S. I know that opening a page in new window can be done by javascript, so that could be a good substitute for "target" parm, but then again newer browsers could treat such link as an pop-up window.


There is the issue of people disabling JavaScript all together.


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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26578 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 27 July 2005 15:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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First, tables were never intended to be used for design purposes. I know all of that and fully subscribe. I also never said anything about using divs to replace the table structure. My idea involves a different element all together and would allow for greater freedom in layout design. I am keeping it under my hat, so to speak, so that none of you steal it (yet) Wink If I decide that I don't have the time to complete it then I will at least show off a mockup of the front page.

Also, I am using Safari to write this post Smile I think that webkit has a bit better CSS engine that KHTML. It isn't quite as good as Firefox's but it is certainly better than IE's minimal implementation of CSS1.

As for the target problem. Why not use javascript? One of the requirements for FUDforum is that javascript must be enabled. Since FUDforum already relies on javascript so heavily what is wrong with adding one more little function to handle opening new windows? Plus, with javascript turned off the link would work like the user expects it to. I know that I never expect links to open in a new window, unless the site has conditioned me to, and get upset when they do.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26579 is a reply to message #26578] Wed, 27 July 2005 15:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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JamesS wrote on Wed, 27 July 2005 15:01


As for the target problem. Why not use javascript? One of the requirements for FUDforum is that javascript must be enabled. Since FUDforum already relies on javascript so heavily what is wrong with adding one more little function to handle opening new windows? Plus, with javascript turned off the link would work like the user expects it to. I know that I never expect links to open in a new window, unless the site has conditioned me to, and get upset when they do.


That's not true, if you disable JavaScript you will still be able to use the forum without any problems. The only instances where lack JavaScript will become apperent is automatic styling tools on post page and a 2-3 non-critial popups.


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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26601 is a reply to message #26425] Thu, 28 July 2005 14:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ligesh is currently offline  ligesh   India
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Username should be on the left side.

i only have gripe with the main message page. The rest of the fudforum looks pretty professional - the darblue - light bluish gray combination.

But the main message page sucks - ( in the original sense of the word Smile. The user info should be on the left. It has too many advantages.

Take a look at this. It is just a three minute hack, and i am a person who has no color nor design sense. It just shows that ANYTHING will look better than the current main-message layout. Smile


http://lxlabs.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=84&start=0
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26603 is a reply to message #26601] Thu, 28 July 2005 16:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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IMHO that's a bad idea, FUDforum used to arrange messages like this in the past.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26605 is a reply to message #26603] Thu, 28 July 2005 16:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ligesh is currently offline  ligesh   India
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Ilia wrote on Thu, 28 July 2005 16:12

IMHO that's a bad idea, FUDforum used to arrange messages like this in the past.


Didn't 2.5 have the userinfo on the left. Anyway please have at least one skin in this format. The user-info on the left also doubles as a margin, which is what makes this particular layout look good.

Thanks.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26728 is a reply to message #26605] Sun, 07 August 2005 14:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wild_Cat is currently offline  Wild_Cat   Ukraine
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ligesh () , 28 2005 23:40

Ilia wrote on Thu, 28 July 2005 16:12

IMHO that's a bad idea, FUDforum used to arrange messages like this in the past.


Didn't 2.5 have the userinfo on the left. Anyway please have at least one skin in this format. The user-info on the left also doubles as a margin, which is what makes this particular layout look good.



I sign under that. You know, Ilia, there was quite a number of people desiring it back, I remember. The fact that you find it ineffective in one way doesn't mean we don't find it effective in another way. I would also like to contribute since I long had thoughts of completely redesigning the layout (I don't like this one for more reasons, including listing of tpoics and forums too for taking some data out of the tables), but I doubt I'll have time, unfortunately. I hope someone comes up indeed with something really different from this one.


Lady of Avalon

[Updated on: Sun, 07 August 2005 14:59]

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #26945 is a reply to message #26425] Mon, 22 August 2005 18:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
vln004 is currently offline  vln004   United States
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this sounds like it'll be fun. I'll see what i can come up with.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #27350 is a reply to message #26425] Mon, 05 September 2005 15:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lukin is currently offline  Lukin   Poland
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Is there any strict deadline?
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #27357 is a reply to message #27350] Mon, 05 September 2005 20:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Not particularly.

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #27521 is a reply to message #26425] Sat, 10 September 2005 10:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Malachi Knight is currently offline  Malachi Knight   United States
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Great!! I was browsing the Internet for something of this nature. I wanted to find a message board company to redesign their layout. If I win (which I will, a little sportsmanship trash talk) I don't want an I pod -- just recognition. I just graduated from Virginia college webmaster program and I am looking to get more recognition for my website. Good Luck.

Thanks,
Malachi Knight

Note: Is there a color scheme you have in mind?
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #27525 is a reply to message #26425] Sat, 10 September 2005 20:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
vln004 is currently offline  vln004   United States
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how about submitting an already made forum layout. And if it's chosen, a skin will be made. I think that would attract more people because skinning takes alot more time then comming up with a layout.

anywho, if you would, i'll submit this layout from my website. www.vjournals.net.. Of course it won't look exactly the same, i have some major tweeks in mind.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #27530 is a reply to message #27521] Sun, 11 September 2005 13:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Malachi Knight wrote on Sat, 10 September 2005 10:24


Note: Is there a color scheme you have in mind?


I'd prefer to stick with neutral colors such as blue, since afterall the "default' theme should be flexible enough to work in nearly all situations without requiring much tweaking.


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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28155 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 12 October 2005 11:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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My idea turned out to be a bad one. I had come up with a way to use definition lists and unordered lists for the main content but it ended up being a recreation of the table structure.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28311 is a reply to message #26425] Mon, 17 October 2005 11:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lukin is currently offline  Lukin   Poland
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Is there anybody else who still make a theme for the contest? I'm finishing with this one:
http://garbiak.com/fudforum2_tn.png

It will have a classic version (with colors and icons similar to default FUDforum theme) but personally I like this one better. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28313 is a reply to message #28311] Mon, 17 October 2005 11:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Looks good, I like your choice of colors, although the "native" icons for read/unread status look a bit out of place. Perhaps they need to have their colors adjusted to match the theme better?

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Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28752 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 09 November 2005 15:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lepus is currently offline  lepus   United States
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Any idea when a new design will be coming?
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28753 is a reply to message #28311] Wed, 09 November 2005 15:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lepus is currently offline  lepus   United States
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I really like the theme shown above. I do agree that the native icons need to be changed. Will forum administrators be able to customize the colors?
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28754 is a reply to message #26425] Wed, 09 November 2005 15:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesS is currently offline  JamesS   United States
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My biggest request would be a simpler stylesheet. There are a lot of unnecessary styles in the current stylesheet. If more robust selectors were used, then the stylesheet would be a lot easier to edit.

One method I have found handy is to split the stylesheet up based on function. Take a look at what I did with http://james.roomfullofmirrors.com/'s stylesheet(s). If you do, keep this in mind, I didn't catch some bad cascading with my original design so I implemented a quick fix by referencing the appropriate sheets on the pages that need them. I just haven't had the time to go back and fix it. It is still a good example of decently planned stylesheets, though. Oh, and it won't be too awesome in Internet Explorer; it is my personal site and I don't make any concessions for IE. If it were something more than a personal site, sure, I would have made IE work just like the rest of the browsers.
Re: FUDforum Layout Contest!!! [message #28773 is a reply to message #28754] Fri, 11 November 2005 09:24 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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There is a reason why there are so many styles, I think you'll agree with it in a moment. If there were fewer styles more parts of the forum would be goverened by the same style, making most changes very wide spread, much more so then the designer may may want. This would mean that many of the layout changes would need to be done in individual templates, making the process of customizing the forum's appearance more complicated.

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