Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

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Kokuei
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Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Kokuei » Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:55 pm

First of all, i did make a search for "table" but you can all guess what turned out in majority of that search. Second, this could be considered a borderline feature-request. But to work around that we will call it a discussion about BBCode and the custom BBCodes feature. ;)

I think it was one of my professors that said that the internet began as a military/academic network and that the early HTML-version had the basic supports:
• Text, for obvious reasons
• Images, for graphs and diagrams
• Tables, for series of data

I still find it amazing that so few (if any) forums dont have this basic support for tables included. But back to the discussion. I did find a post mentioning the subject (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=11527 ), so i would like to continniue the discussion but more focused.

With the current release (3.0.B4) there is possible to add all the <table>-related html-tags and pull this off in phpBB3, but what would be the point? The function of BBCode is to enhance the usability and speed up the creating of posts. Hence minimizing the need for excess tags. I installed a mod named TableBBCode ( http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=219269 ) on my phpBB2 and it has a really nice syntax ([table][row][col][col][row][/table] and so on.... and only one close-tag) for tables without having to impliment the entire HTML-solution .

In this way the custom BBCode feature is quite limited (if anyone have solved this, feel free to contact me), and the possibility of "open" custom tags is an even worse solution. To bad this issue was not raised in the early stages of phpBB3 development.

To take a step back, is table BBCode really necessary? I was hoping this discussion would prove my point that it is, perhaps even convince the admins/mods to make a poll on the subject.

Discuss on!
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//Kokuei
Last edited by Kokuei on Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dhn
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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by dhn » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:19 pm

Kokuei wrote: To bad this issue was not raised in the early stages of phpBB3 development.

What makes you think it was never raised? We are 4+ years in development and had multiple pretty exhaustive feature request sessions where people were able to put forward their ideas for months. :)
Kokuei wrote: To take a step back, is table BBCode really necessary? I was hoping this discussion would prove my point that it is, perhaps even convince the admins/mods to make a poll on the subject.

Simple answer? In my 10+ years as forum user and administrator (am in the phpBB team since 2001), I never once found the need to put a table into my post. I am pretty sure the developers feel the same way, or it would have been a standard feature.

Sure, there are forums that would benefits from having tables, but they are just too specialised to be a standard feature. That there are not more people crying out for it being not in is just one example.

And in the end, this is a forum, not a content management system. Keeping out advanced editing functionality helps to keep people sane. Just thinking about people using a table BBCode to start formatting their signatures into columns, completely defeating the purpose of semantics, makes me want to punch in walls.

And in the end, tables are possible thanks to Custom BBCode, as you note yourself. You can easily make them more user-friendly by using javascript. Let the user decide the number of rows and columns via popups and fill in the custom tags automagically. ;)

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Kokuei » Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:37 pm

dhn wrote: What makes you think it was never raised? We are 4+ years in development and had multiple pretty exhaustive feature request sessions where people were able to put forward their ideas for months. :)

My thinking went along the lines that it was a so simple and basic (but perhaps as you say, not vital to a bb) web-function, and if needed it could be handeled with HTML. Now the HTML option is removed since v3 and there is no way to use tables at all with the basic installation (unless an admin sets it up). Btw is there a thread of this request/discussion?
dhn wrote: Simple answer? In my 10+ years as forum user and administrator (am in the phpBB team since 2001), I never once found the need to put a table into my post. I am pretty sure the developers feel the same way, or it would have been a standard feature.

That is based on you'r opinion and usage, does that reflect the all users? Just considering that there is a mod developed for it points to that it's a requested feature. I think its alot more viable than some other features being put into the betas now.
dhn wrote: And in the end, this is a forum, not a content management system. Keeping out advanced editing functionality helps to keep people sane. Just thinking about people using a table BBCode to start formatting their signatures into columns, completely defeating the purpose of semantics, makes me want to punch in walls.

And in the end, tables are possible thanks to Custom BBCode, as you note yourself. You can easily make them more user-friendly by using javascript. Let the user decide the number of rows and columns via popups and fill in the custom tags automagically. ;)

I take that as a joke, i think phpBB is a great product and don't what to mess it up with popups. 8O
As for signatures and so on, there is already that possibility with images and flash, and there is the possibility to turn these features off (just like [img] [url]).

You seem to think it would mess up the structure of the forum, have you taken a look at the mod? Have you even tried using tables within the forum? No, as you said you never have. It's not funny i can say. I think this would be a good feature to any forum even if its not used everyday.

This was a bit of a disapointment to me with the v3, and unless you can come up with some better arguments for not having it ill stick to my line. :mrgreen:

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Martin Blank » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:09 am

I've been hanging around here for most of three years, and this is the first time that I can recall anyone asking about adding a tables BBCode. There have been some pretty eclectic requests in that time, but I don't think tables were ever one of them. The mere presence of a mod doesn't make it a feature requested enough to add it to the main codebase. I have a mod on my board that rotates the forum description on every reload, but I wouldn't ever ask for it to be added to the main codebase because I only know of a couple of boards on which it's used.

Here's the most basic reason to not include it: Olympus is feature-frozen. Nothing else will be added to the feature list so that the devs can get this out the door. This has been moving along quite rapidly for the last year, and the overwhelming majority of us are more interested in seeing the existing featureset out than a niche feature added in.

You may well be able to get your tables when the custom BBCode is more fully explored. I've already seen some neat things done with it (look around for some of the spoiler code suggestions), so you'll probably be able to go in with others to create your own table BBCode. Just be patient.
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Kevin Clark
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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Kevin Clark » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:00 am

Kokuei wrote: That is based on you'r opinion and usage, does that reflect the all users?

And so is your opinion that it's needed ;)

I own, run and help out on 8 forums and none of them have any need for tables. It's horses for courses as they say.
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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by warmweer » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:40 am

Kevin Clark wrote:
Kokuei wrote: That is based on you'r opinion and usage, does that reflect the all users?

And so is your opinion that it's needed ;)


Actually, if one interprets what Kokuei wrote, as it should be interpreted and not as it can be interpreted, Kokuei has a strong point.
However, a question was posed: is there an need for a table BBcode? and I will expand the question to .... as a standard feature?

IMHO the answer to the last question is NO, and since phpBB3 is featurefrozen, it won't be in v3, not even (again IMHO)if the developers suddenly change their mind and think it is an indispensable feature - tables are strange little creatures and can easily mess up the rest of the page, so (not even thinking yet about the ease of use) development of this feature will take a bit longer (putting it mildly) than adding a simple BBcode, and should then be postponed for 3.2

However, I have wanted a table function for a long time and the mod on phpBB2 is (up to now) the best (and almost only) implementation I have seen.

For v3, (almost) as per dhn: not a standard feature but a mod (the javascript thingy is also something I prefer to avoid).

Although there is no Release Version yet, I do think the time is right to initiate development of this mod (or BBcode expansion), keeping in mind that it should be userfriendly, damn hard to break, easy to install and easy to update (personal sorting preference).
Procrastination is my hobby, but I keep on postponing it.

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Kokuei » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:56 pm

Kevin Clark wrote: I own, run and help out on 8 forums and none of them have any need for tables.

Well, im not talking about provinding a feature to those who don't use it. Im talking about providing one to those how do. And does any of these forums you talk about have a table-mod installed? If not, how can you say for sure it's not needed? SMS is not a needed function for mobile phones either when you look at it.

What you may say is true, but you might also be saying "it dosen't exist, hence they don't what to use it".

Im about 99% sure that there will a table-mod a short time after phpBB3 is released (hopefully a update to TableBBCode) and I will proborly install that. The way the arguments so far has been agains me is "it's not needed since enough people don't want/request it". I can buy that why it's not a standard feature. But what I wont agree on is that its not a worthwile function to alot of users.
IMHO the answer to the last question is NO, and since phpBB3 is featurefrozen, it won't be in v3, not even (again IMHO)if the developers suddenly change their mind and think it is an indispensable feature

True, this won't be and should not be in the release. I fully agree with the devs that they sould focus on testing & improving the current features.

This i just a "point of view" discussion of how useful a feature it would be and how it can be implimented with the new Custom BBCode feature.

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by code reader » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:02 pm

Kokuei wrote: Im about 99% sure that there will a table-mod a short time after phpBB3 is released (hopefully a update to TableBBCode) and I will proborly install that.
i find it highly unlikely that such a mod will exist, and, if it will, i would recommend not to install it.

this is exactly the type of things for which custom bbcodes were created.
there is more than one phpbb 2 mod that implement text alignment. again, none is needed with olympus, for the same reason.

of course, it is possible that someone, or even many people will create and distribute a "custom bbcode package", and, possibly, this will be considered a "mod". if this is the case, then i guess "a table mod" is likely to happen.
Kokuei wrote: In this way the custom BBCode feature is quite limited (if anyone have solved this, feel free to contact me), and the possibility of "open" custom tags is an even worse solution. To bad this issue was not raised in the early stages of phpBB3 development.
i would recommend that you'll try to create a [table], [row] and [column] custom bbcodes, use them for a while, and only then decide whether you really think a special mod is required.

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by Kokuei » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:38 pm

code reader wrote: i would recommend that you'll try to create a [table], [row] and [column] custom bbcodes, use them for a while, and only then decide whether you really think a special mod is required.


I quote myself from post 1:
Kokuei wrote: With the current release (3.0.B4) there is possible to add all the <table>-related html-tags and pull this off in phpBB3, but what would be the point? The function of BBCode is to enhance the usability and speed up the creating of posts. Hence minimizing the need for excess tags.


Edit: And btw each row adds another ">>" before the table, so the solution is not viable either.

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Re: Custom BBCode - still missing a basic feature, tables.

Post by dhn » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:13 pm

You misunderstood my popup idea. You create the table bbcodes: table, th, tr, th, td. You then write (or ask someone to write - it is not difficult) some javascript that you can simply put into the templates as a button. Now, when you click the button, a javascript popup asks you the number of rows and columns that you want your table to have. It will then create all tags automatically for you, and all you need to do is to enter the data. If you want to make this more userfriendly, javascript gives you all the freedoms in the word (as long as they are supported by Microsoft :))

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