phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Discussion of general topics related to the new version and its place in the world. Don't discuss new features, report bugs, ask for support, et cetera. Don't use this to spam for other boards or attack those boards!
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Discussion of general topics related to the new release and its place in the world. Don't discuss new features, report bugs, ask for support, et cetera. Don't use this to spam for other boards or attack those boards!
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Eelke
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by Eelke »

Maybe, there should be a more obvious development roadmap somewhere, that clearly states that it only lists what has been done and what is still to do and that it doesn't imply anything about a timeframe. Other than that, there is very little that can be said about a development schedule. The "courteous" reply would be: "Sorry, phpBB does not give out estimates about when a certain development stage is reached (including gold release). The nature of this open source project is such that there are too many factors influencing the progress to be able to give a remotely reliable estimate."

I also feel that when people visit a board about board software, you can expect them to understand the dos and don'ts of a bulletin board; do search before you ask questions, don't ask questions that have been asked a million times before. Should this project be run as a business, where those interested in it should be treated like potential customers? I'm not sure.
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faw
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by faw »

Eelke wrote:Maybe, there should be a more obvious development roadmap somewhere, that clearly states that it only lists what has been done and what is still to do and that it doesn't imply anything about a timeframe. Other than that, there is very little that can be said about a development schedule. The "courteous" reply would be: "Sorry, phpBB does not give out estimates about when a certain development stage is reached (including gold release). The nature of this open source project is such that there are too many factors influencing the progress to be able to give a remotely reliable estimate."
I think that there is still time for roadmap. Developers are still in planning phase, so I think they even don't know if some of their ideas will be implemented at all. But actually, you can keep track phpBB SVN repository, exactly trunk branch and see what is done by now.
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Eelke
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by Eelke »

Sure, but the people that continue to ask "when will it be done?" are not the type of people that think, "hey, let's first have a look in their version control system to see what's going on". Also, SVN will hardly give an overview of the stage at which the project is. A roadmap could for the time being be as simple as "Planning, development, release candidates, maintenance cycle", or something like that. Maybe beef up the development stage by adding some imaginary milestones. Just so that people get an idea that there is a long way to go right now.
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by SamG »

Outside of simply being courteous (and I agree that 3.2 deserves a different sort of reply than the antagonistic environment surrounding 3.0 produced), I'm personally not sure there are good ways to deal with this. Roadmaps are interesting from a development point of view but prone to being interpreted in timeframes by people keen on knowing a release schedule, it seems to me. I was hoping that with the change in approach by the development team some sort of crude estimates might be feasible, but it may be too early to know that.

And I presume that 3.2 inherits some of the remaining issues left from 3.0 through the scaled back 3.0 featureset, making 3.2 development potentially atypical in its own right. But then again, by now, the developers may have rethought a great many things.

And if even those of us who've been around here a long time are a little lost when it comes to phpBB development, how can we explain it very adequately to potentially new users? Polite but uninformative replies can only be marginally satisfactory to someone completely unfamiliar with phpBB, I would think.

I just don't see an easy solution outside regular updates from the development team in the form of announcements, and that may amount to nothing more than a courtesy rather than information useful to potentially new users, depending on where development is at. The only alternative from the end user point of view, it seems to me, is a regular release schedule, where the developers commit to maintenance releases and major releases at certain dates. As we can see in other open source projects, even very large ones, that also carries risks to end users.

It's a difficult thing to address in terms of real information, apparently, whether the project is commerical or not.
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by code reader »

some points:
when phpbb came out, php was "hot technology". there was a lot of interest in and around php, and as soon as thefinn posted his project on sourceforge, there was a very significant group of enthusiasts that contributed, pushed the project forward, and eventually (quite soon, really) became "team members" with commit access to the repo.

situation now is different: phpbb is "the establishment", php is "yesterday's news" - ("hot stuff" is RoR, django and probably some other stuff i did not keep track of), and the team is extremely reluctant to take community code contribution.

in addition, looking at the repo, very little real development appears to be happening.

it is my opinion that phpbb should better find a way to recreate some enthusiasm, and bring new life to the development cycle, or 3.0 will be the last meaningful release.

if i had to guess i would say that the team do not expose their roadmap not because they are secretive, but because they don't really have one. maybe its the same "burnout" effect we saw after 2.0 came out, which held back real progress on 3.0 for significant amount of time. if this is the case, i think that the best thing for the team and the project would be not to deny it, but rather to discuss it openly and sincerely.
the only other explanation i can come up with to the measly progress in the repo is the idea that some secret development is going on elsewhere, waiting for the "right time" to be committed to the repo. i don't believe this is the case, and i sure hope this is not so, because this would be a step in the wrong (imho) direction.

i am not trying to be negative here, but i really do think that the team should think hard of a way to re-vitalize the development, if it wants to keep the project alive.

i do not claim that the only solution is my proposal ("open development"), i just state my opinion that something should better change in the way the team handles its business.

you may disagree with me, but please believe me that this is not trolling: its sincere expression of my concern.
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by SamG »

I personally think that the recent activity in London (among other things) demonstrates that enthusiasm for the project still exists. It seems an odd waste of time and energy otherwise. Additionally, the interaction with other projects seems to suggest interest beyond the phpBB community proper -- a first. So I think there must be explanations for what you're observing other than depleted enthusiasm. But I could only guess at what those might be.
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EXreaction
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by EXreaction »

From the sounds of things, there will be a lot of changes to the way the community goes with things. Just read some of the topics at phpBB.com about changes and discussions.

As for the SVN seemingly dead, the amount of stuff committed is minimal usually. It seems that most of the time, when adding big things, the developers wait and continue to work on them, then commit a whole bunch of changes at once.
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Eelke
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by Eelke »

Especially when building big features, I can imagine that developers work on it until there is some base functionality before committing. Although I'd say that's what feature branches were invented for :)
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by SamG »

Going back to the communication "problem" for a minute, I've long wondered whether phpBB as a project would benefit from having a "press secretary." Someone who would not only assume responsibility for encouraging communication within the community, but someone who could also help set the tone.

In the early going theFinn was an excellent press secretary for his own project, IMHO, if for no other reason than that it was possible for him to be so. I personally think psoTFX, a solid communicator, could have used some help as things went along simply because of the amount of stress phpBB clearly introduced into his life. SHS`, in my experience, tended to be more laid back in private than in public, and I think that public persona (if I can take the liberty of putting it that way) worked to his disadvantage at times and under some circumstances given his position.

I mention these (selective) personal opinions to show the roots of why I've personally wondered about the benefits of having someone (or perhaps even a small team, to broaden the language base) to help out with communication, press releases (though Christopher Justice is the press contact, apparently), etc. Not that Acyd and his team can't handle it (especially in the absence of a visible project manager), but that a "press secretary" may help provide both continuity and a pivot point -- a safe harbor of sorts -- for communication both ways.

I dunno...
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code reader
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Re: phpBB 3.2 Discussion

Post by code reader »

SamG wrote:Going back to the communication "problem" for a minute, I've long wondered whether phpBB as a project would benefit from having a "press secretary." Someone who would not only assume responsibility for encouraging communication within the community, but someone who could also help set the tone.
just an anecdote:
in my earlier years in the software industry (some ~16 years ago) a boss of mine who had a sense for summing complex issues, told me once:
"in life, you either succeed or you explain".
i'd much rather see phpbb do better in succeeding than see it do better in explaining... ;~)
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