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This is the first in a series of articles describing the features and changes to the next major upgrade to IPBFREE. Information presented may or may not be in the final product.

Introduction

IPBFREE 3.0 is the next generation of IPBFREE software. The goal of this version was to give IPBFREE a complete facelift:

  • We concentrated on making things simpler and faster.
  • To make IPBFREE a better platform to expand upon.

The upgrade is slated for release sometime this year.

Components

Credits
One of the major design goals in Phalanx was to do away with the credits. At the time, it was used as a way of reducing the load on our systems. Because we have rebuilt all our components from the ground up, the credit system is no longer needed. Community owners can enable or disable components without credit limitations.

Blogs
Community blogs is one of the most requested features. This feature allows users to create their own blog within a community.

Gallery
We have added a photo sharing component. This feature allows users to create albums and share them among the community.

Army System
The next update to iPBFree will feature a whole new set of components however we have removed the army system. In the current version(s) of iPBFree the army system is required to interact with other components such as IBStore. Components in the next update of iPBFree will work independently, due to this we decided to remove the army system and focus our work on the Store System.

Mods

YUI
JQuery is currently used in IPBFREE 2.1. However, during the development process we had issues with many JQuery plugins. They were inconsistent and only worked with certain browsers. Also, the documentation was not good. We ended up going with the YUI javascript library. The reasons were simple, we wanted something that was consistent, good quality, and well documented.

Issues
There have been many mods created by dedicated users over the years. However, we have come to the point where in order for us to improve our service, we must break some of these mods. We understand that this may cause some frustration among community owners. To counter this, we are actively working with many of our top modders to help them transition over to the new platform.

Skins

XHTML
In an effort to improve the quality of skins, we opted to ensure semantic markup. Semantic markup helps make style changes via CSS or Javascript much easier to do. Templates are XHTML 1.0 Strict making it more accessible for screen readers and search engines.

Issues
In order to provide a good foundation for skins and mods, we had to rewrite the HTML, CSS, and Javascript. As with the mods, we are working with many of the skinners to aid in the migration of skins to the new format.

Languages

New Languages
There are currently 25 languages supported in IPBFREE 2.1. However, many of our users have asked us to support more translations of our software. In IPBFREE 3.0, we will have support for 51 languages.

UTF-8
Instead of dealing with all sorts of complicated charset issues, we chose to standardize on one single charset – UTF-8. It allows for different languages to be posted on the same page without having encoding issues. For example, if I had a forum in Hebrew or Arabic, I can post in English without having funky characters show up. It helps make your site more diverse and open to more users.

This is just some of the major highlights. We will be going into detail in the following posts.

If you have questions about this blog post, please post them here.

Suggestions for the next blog post (part 2) in this series, please post them here.

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