PB v6: Unlimited Plugin Space and Header/Footer Upgrade!

Hello ProBoards!

Did you miss me? I hope you’re beginning to look forward to these periodic announcements! Today we’re going to talk about plugins, headers and footers, and for some reason…salad.

Plugins:

I hope nobody thought paid plugins were the only exciting plugin change coming with v6! Plugins on ProBoards started out 3 years ago as an idea of a way to replace headers and footers on the forum. The idea was that instead of using complicated JavaScript code in your headers and footers to achieve different things on the forum, you could simply install a plugin and have a delicious graphical user interface to work with. Initially we decided to be conservative with plugins. We didn’t know how resource intensive it would get with all the plugins we imagined users creating! In the months and years after the release of v5 we realized that we could meet the resource demand of plugins and began questioning if we even needed to limit the amount of plugins a user could have on a forum at all. With our latest back-end upgrades that we’re doing in anticipation of v6 we’ve decided to lift the restrictions on the amount of plugins a forum can have. You read that right, all ProBoards forums will have unlimited* plugin space with the release of v6! With that said, on a very related note…

Headers and Footers:

We have to face the hard truth; headers and footers are the Candle Salad of the forum world. They’re both dated and (in general) not terribly useful when compared to other things (like plugins). Usage of headers and footers has dropped dramatically on ProBoards since the launch of v5 and we think it’s time we give headers and footers a new lease on life.

I can already hear the cries of “Wait! I use headers and footers on my forum!” Fear not! Prior to the release of v6 a new ProBoards Official Plugin™ will appear on your forum and your headers and footers will be automatically transferred over to this new plugin. This new plugin will be more powerful than the current version of headers and footers. It will allow you to enter your header and footer codes a single time, then select multiple boards to place them on without having to copy and paste them over and over. You can even choose to have a header or footer code only run on a specific theme! This new plugin makes headers and footers more powerful and rewarding than ever before.

That’s all for now everyone! Please look forward to our next announcement where we’ll continue to bring you the best and most interesting news about ProBoards v6.

*Within reason. If for some reason you are running too many plugins such that it causes performance issues we will contact you to figure out a reasonable solution.

FAQ:

I use headers and footers, what will change for me?

Absolutely nothing. Everything will be transferred for you automatically. You need to take no action at all!

I don’t use headers and footers at all, is there anything I need to do?

Nope!

Does this mean unlimited keys and super keys?

Yes! Once v6 launches you can have as many plugins that use keys or super keys as you’d like.

ProBoards v6 Announcement: Emoji and Gender Options!

Hello ProBoards!

We aim to keep you salivating for the freshness of v6 and in order to keep your palate hungry we have some new information to announce!

Emoji:

Let’s face it, emoji are awesome. From the smartphone in your pocket to your forum we’ll be using Twitter’s open source emoji pack to provide you a massive host of emoji/smiles options in v6. You can check out the upcoming options here: twitter.github.io/twemoji/2/test/preview.html which includes 1661 total emoji images! Additional smiles/emoji images will of course be available to add at the forum owners discretion.

We hope this massive new set of images will help you accurately convey your emotions to your fellow forum users!

(In case anyone was wondering my favorite emoji is:

Additional Gender Options:

It seems like a couple of times a month we get the question in support “Why don’t you guys offer more than two gender options on signup?” Well, ask no more! We plan to introduce a 3rd gender option, “Other / Decline to State” which will be available at the v6 launch. Once ProBoards v6 is available, this new option will become available to users during registration, and existing users will gain access to the feature when going to edit their profile.

We feel that this feature both provides a great option for people that do not specifically identify as a particular gender, but also for others looking to have more privacy by not disclosing their gender to the rest of the forum. As always you can use custom profile fields to add in even more options on the forum itself if you wish.

That’s all of the annoucements for now everyone! We hope to bring you frequent updates like this one in the future as we unveil more and more of ProBoards v6.

FAQ:

Will I still be able to add my own smilies/emoji?

Of course! You can add and remove smilies/emoji at your discretion on the forum.

Can we remove the “Other/Decline to disclose” gender option from our forum?

No.

Advertisement Placement Update!

Hello ProBoards!

We’ve decided to remove the “Related Topics & Stories” feature from our forums. Currently this is a section displayed at the bottom of each thread.

The primary reason for this change is to help improve the flow and overall aesthetic of one of the most important pages on your forum: the threads. With the current thread page containing 2 banners (top and bottom) plus a 300×250 rectangle ad (in the Related Topics section), threads felt slightly off-balance when you reached the bottom of the page. This caused theme creators to take unique steps to help “balance out” the page in their designs. With the beautiful and sleek v6 on the way, we want to make sure we do everything we can to ensure advertising does not negatively impact the flow of forum participation.

Since this will result in the removal of the 300×250 ad, we plan to move this ad to the very bottom of the page. Currently at the very bottom of the forum we have a 728×90 banner ad, which we plan to change to a 300×250. Next to it we will place the 300×250 ad which was removed from the Related Topics & Stories section. With these changes, this means that the advertisements will be farther out of your way than before.

Here is a sample screenshot of how advertisements will display at the bottom of your forum after this change, with the Related Topics & Stores being removed:

We sincerely appreciate your support and your continued use of our service! As always we will not allow intrusive, obstructing, flashing, auto-playing audio, redirecting, or otherwise commonly “annoying” advertisements and we encourage you to report any such ad to us using our new ad report tool we launched this week.

Michael Stone
Customer Support Manager
ProBoards, Inc.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Are ad-free users affected by this change?

Ad-free forums will continue to remain ad-free. This does not affect the price of ad-free or change how ad-free works in any way.

When will this change be made?

Monday, May 23rd

Announcing ProBoards v6, Codename: Phoenix!

We’ve spent a lot of time here at ProBoards looking at how we can improve ourselves, our communities, and our platform. Through this process our team has worked towards the release of a huge update to the ProBoards platform. Before going into that more, we want to share with you ProBoards’ mission statement and values that help drive our company forward.

ProBoards’ Mission Statement

Everyone deserves a great community.

We make awesome tools to build thriving communities filled with the best people.

Let’s create something great together.

What Our Mission Means

We know that we provide an awesome platform for great people like you to create and grow online communities. Our team also wants to always strive to be better, both to improve ourselves and our communities.

ProBoards’ Core Values

Our core values are:

  • Support
  • Communication
  • Positivity
  • Community
  • Sustainability

What Our Values Mean

Our values reflect and guide how we do business. When we make decisions at our company we always want to ensure they reflect the values we set forth. They help guide our decisions on everything from how we how we engage our employees, customers, and partners to the practices we employ developing and maintaining our platform. With this in mind, we are proud to announce the next big thing from ProBoards!

ProBoards Version 6: Phoenix

The fundamental principle guiding us in improving our platform is the user experience. Everything from the design of the product to the features we provide should engage the user, provide value, and promote meaningful conversations. We want you to have an awesome experience communicating with your friends, colleagues, and other enthusiasts seamlessly across all platforms.

New Features

Below is a list of many of the features you can expect when ProBoards v6 launches.

Responsive Design

Mobile matters. The key to the best experience on all screen sizes is an intelligent responsive design. While ProBoards has supported mobile devices for years, it has not been the same powerful experience that users have had on their desktop computers. We’ve heard your requests for more power, options, and customization on your mobile devices, and we’re finally in a position to provide everything you’ve asked for, and more.

Say goodbye to the limitations of the mobile view! With ProBoards v6, themes will no longer have to rely on a separate mobile version. Your users will get to see every customized detail of your forum no matter the size of the screen or the device being used.

Moving to a responsive design has afforded us the opportunity to take a good look at each page within our forum platform. When v6 launches, you’ll notice that many areas have been overhauled with a focus on simplicity and functionality, making sure that you can focus on the things that matter most, your content and your community.

Plugins

Now that the mobile view is being retired, plugins will be able to run on all platforms. All of your users will get your forum’s customized experience regardless of what device they have close to hand.

New Posting Experience

Joining the responsive design is a brand new WYSIWYG editor. For those who don’t know, WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get”, and in v5, is labelled the ‘Preview Editor’. With our new editor we’re bringing an awesome new posting experience to you, with a special focus on streamlining the process to allow you to more easily create the great content that ProBoards users are known for.

When posting a reply to a thread you will no longer need to load a new page. We’ve integrated the full posting experience right into the thread page itself; you can continue to browse a thread while drafting your reply at the same time. No more choosing between a simplified quick reply and the more powerful posting page. This also enables the easiest, most powerful multi-quoting you’ve ever seen.

Upload Attachments from Mobile

Mobile users will be able to upload attachments using their web browser! You will no longer need to rely on an app to post attachments. Our new WYSIWYG editor includes the ability to upload attachments on mobile and so much more.

Native Language Support

Our software has supported posting in multiple languages for quite some time, but the core software itself has been based on the English language. V6 has been built from the ground up with translations in mind. Soon after launch we will be releasing Spanish as our first official language pack, with more to follow afterwards.

Admin Panel Updates

The admin panel is receiving a refreshed look and an overhaul to the Theme area. Expect some big improvements to overall theme management. It is important that we note that the admin panel itself will not have a responsive design as part of the ProBoards v6 launch, but is planned for a future update.

Forum Search

We’ve updated the forum search functionality to make it easier to use. We’ve also added a new forum-wide search feature which will be available on every page right at the top, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for!

ProBoards Store Revamp

The ProBoards Store is getting a fresh update. Stay tuned for more details!

Easier Account Switching

Fans of the quick account switcher will be pleased to hear that account switching is also getting an upgrade! Quickly switch to another account without ever leaving your forum.

Paid Themes & Plugins

We know that plugin and theme developers have worked long and hard providing enormous value to the ProBoards community over the years. We greatly value the contributions made by these talented and dedicated individuals, and to this end, we are working on building a platform to allow them to offer their creations for sale through the Plugin and Theme Libraries. We are not yet ready to announce full details, but you can expect that the program will be similar in nature to that of mobile app stores. The complex nature of this particular feature means that although we do hope to have it ready by the launch of v6, outside factors may delay its availability until shortly after the release of v6. We will be sure to reach out to our dedicated community of ProBoards Resource Contributors to keep them in the loop as we work on rolling out this feature.

Developers

Warning: This section is intended for developers! Techno-babble ahead! If you are not a developer you may want to skip past this section.

Plugins

I’m sure you’re wondering about your existing plugins and how they will work with the new responsive designs. Some plugins may work out of the box with our new update, while most will probably need some small updates. We will be reaching out to plugin developers to offer them assistance and advice in the run up to the v6 launch.

New JavaScript API

With the advent of new technologies the JavaScript in v6 is rebuilt from scratch in ES6/ES2015 allowing us a range of more powerful client-side features. We sat down and examined what plugin authors were doing with the existing plugin system and what the limitations were. With that in mind and the never ending list of wishes from our top coders we rewrote the entirety of the JavaScript API. We hope to work with you to include all of the functionality you want and deserve from our platform.

Reimagined CSS

We are bringing the magic of object oriented code to our CSS! While CSS itself does not support object orientation we have defined a new set of constraints and guidelines to allow CSS to be used as if they were objects. What this means for you is that there will be far less confusion about what each CSS class effects as the name itself will reveal its intended use. Check out our publicly available OOCSS guide and Class Naming Guidelines for more information!

Flexbox

Thanks to no longer having to support older versions of Internet Explorer, ProBoards v6 can finally utilize the power of Flexbox. You can read more about Flexbox here!

Moving Forward

We’re really excited about the future of ProBoards! You can sign up for email updates about ProBoards v6, and we’ll be continuing to post updates here on the ProBoards Support Forum.

Thank you for being on this awesome journey with us. We can’t wait to show you the next big thing in forums.

Patrick Clinger
President and CEO
ProBoards, Inc.


Frequently Asked Questions

When is ProBoards v6 coming?

At this moment there is no official release date. There has been much progress already made, but we want to ensure that we release a polished product that we can all be proud of. Expect more updates over the coming weeks.

Will there be an Open Beta?

Yes, an announcement will be made about this at a future date. You can sign up for the ProBoards v6 email listto stay up-to-date with all the latest announcements.

What will happen to my current ProBoards v5 themes and templates?

We will continue to support ProBoards v5 themes for 18 months after v6 launches, which includes any custom template changes you made. This will give you ample time to make any needed preparations to switch to the new responsive design. However, we’re sure that with all the big upgrades and features that are coming you will want to switch over as quickly as possible after the launch. After the 18 months are up, old themes will be disabled and removed with all users being switched to the responsive design.

I like the existing mobile view, can I still use it?

Users that access your forum that are still using a ProBoards v5 theme will get the same mobile experience they are used to until the switch to ProBoards v6. Afterwards they will get the upgraded fully responsive design that improves the overall user experience.

Why responsive design?

We think this blog post sums it up well.

Will anyone be able to help me with the transition from ProBoards v5 to v6?

Absolutely. Our amazing support team is here to help every day of the week. When v6 launches, our team will be there to assist you with any questions you may have. We want to ensure that you have a stress-free transition to the new (awesome) responsive design, so you’ll have 18 months to switch your forum theme to the new design.

Will existing plugins work on ProBoards v6?

Existing plugins will not automatically run on the new responsive design, but don’t worry! This is because most plugins will most likely need some small updates to work with the new responsive themes. We will be working directly with plugin authors to support them and get their plugins ready for the launch of ProBoards v6. When a plugin is updated by the author it will still have access to any of it’s plugin key data, so no information will be lost in the update.

Will there still be free Themes and Plugins?

Yes. Plugin and theme authors can still offer their creations for free in exactly the same way they always have done.

You’re reworking the ProBoards Store. Does this mean prices will change?

Some store items are undergoing a restructuring in terms of how they work, but we have not made any decisions related to pricing at this time.

Will v6 include an API for third party apps?

No, it will not. However, this is very high up on our list of things that we want to provide for developers. Expect more on this right after v6 launches.

Can I run a v5 and v6 theme at the same time? How can I transition?

Absolutely. A theme can either be a new responsive v6 theme or a non-responsive v5 theme. You can run these themes side-by-side on your forum and users can select which themes they’d like to use just as it is right now.

Is any major functionality going away or changing?

No. While the design of the software is improving, we are not planning on removing any major functionality as part of ProBoards v6.

Am I going to lose my members, threads, posts, etc. with the upgrade?

All of your existing forum data will be unaffected. Your threads, posts, members, etc. will all automatically transition into the responsive design without any data loss.

How is my current forum affected?

Your current forum will continue to function as it always has. After the launch of v6, you will have 18 months to switch to the new responsive design. After 18 months, anyone that has not switched will be automatically switched over to the new design. All your forum features including your members, posts, threads, etc. will continue to function as normal in both the old and new design.

How do I get v6?

Sign up for email updates and we will keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings!

Do I have to switch to ProBoards v6?

Yes, all forums that have not updated will be automatically updated 18 months after v6 launches.

How long does it take to upgrade?

Unlike past upgrades to the ProBoards service, there is no “conversion” process for ProBoards v6. When we launch, all forums will immediately have access to the new features. At that time, forum admins will be able to head into their Admin Panel and create a new responsive theme to take advantage of all the new features.

Will Forums.net get the upgrade as well?
While ProBoards and Forums.net are separate products, they will both be receiving the update. The scheduling for the release may be slightly different for each, but in the grand scheme of things the release dates should be relatively close together.

Announcing the Launch of Forums.net

We are proud today to announce the launch of our new service, Forums.net. Built on top of the ProBoards v5 software that you’ve come to know and love, Forums.net adds new functionality that is targeted primarily towards businesses and other organizations. Some of our many new features include:

  • White Label
  • No PG-13 Content Restrictions
  • Integrated Login and Registration Pages
  • Single Sign-on
  • Unlimited Plugin Keys
  • SSL Secured
  • Data Export

Plans start at just $9.99, and transferring your data from either an existing ProBoards forum or another forum platform is supported. Please note that if you want to transfer your ProBoards forum to Forums.net, you will need to select the “I am interested in importing my existing forum data to Forums.net” and choose “ProBoards” from the drop-down list when customizing your Forums.net plan.

For more details, check out either www.forums.net or your Admin Area > Upgrades > Forums.net.