I know babble 3.0.0 has probably seemed like vaporware for awhile now. well today i am announcing i'm suspending its development for a few reasons.
overly ambitious: babble v3 had a lot of features and changes being made to the core of babble. this was overly ambitious move, considering how much work was involved, to make changes that a lot of people were "luke warm" too. feature creep: i kept adding new and more features, instead of refining the ones already there. no market: babble has never been a stellar selling app, its been "modest" to put it simply. i've gotten busier in my business and have to make some concessions. i don't bring in enough to hire additional developers and babble doesn't perform well enough to warrant many hours to rewrite the application. so v3 is suspended for now. however i have began work on v2.8, which will be combining features from v3 that were done that can be backported to v2.8
new features and improvements:
message template: this has been updated to be more "streamlined". avatars are always visible now, with username above the message, same with the time/date. this frees up the horizontal space, to allow better responsiveness. commands: commands have been improved with room restrictions. you can now enable which groups can use commands, and then which rooms the commands are available in. editor: with my work with stratagem, i've become quite intimidate with the CKEditor, so since the legwork was already done in that application that allows me to overcome a lot of the limitations i originally had with it when i began work with babble years ago. command list editor plugin: this will be automatically loaded fore babble, this will give a list of available commands for the room based on the user group. bots: bots have been changed around, they are now independent of "rooms". you can create one and share them among rooms. you can also limit the bot to groups. connections: several improvements to the node.js have been introduce that should help with receiving messages specifically targeted to your, your group and your room. removal of guest messaging: this code was bulky and actually was the cause of several bugs, so i've completely removed it. sorry to anyone who actually used it. guest will still be able to view the room, they just wont be able to see the online list or participate in the conversation. chat service activation: this process has been troublesome, some servers wont send the required information to activate properly, so i've streamlined this process a bit, so instead of having to activate, i've made some changes to allow easier activation. hopefully activation problems will be a thing of the past. message dialog: commands can now open up dialog boxes to display their info instead of showing in the chat window like they use too. this ability can be extended to custom commands. these are the major changes, there are minor changes that are too numerous to mention here. hopeful these changes will be welcomed . these are the major changes for v2.8, there will be other v3 features that will be brought into babble, but at a later date.
here is a video of some of the new features and improvements (there are bugs still and missing styling )
I had announced that i would be getting rid of self hosted, but that was for v3. I've decided to repeal that decision, and continue to make a self hosted and a chat service version. i will also begin selling the self hosted again when i launch v2.8. self hosted and chat service will continue to be feature parity to each other, so the only difference will be the the user limit.
New Chat Service Pricing:
I've lowered the buy in prices for the babble chat service, but have kept the renewal terms the same.
New Chat Service Server:
with v2.8 i will be opening up a new server, the old servers will continue to run for 1 month after v2.8 release and the new server will not be backwards compatible with older versions. there will also only be one server. Europe started out as an experiment to see if i could improve latency, it does improve latency, but the costs of running dual servers is prohibitive. the NA server is a much more powerful machine and handles about 90% of the traffic for the chat service, so the amount of sites on the European server are in the single digits. if the demand is there, i will considering coming out with "European" packages, that cost a bit more, that will have a europe based server. sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.
I know babble 3.0.0 has probably seemed like vaporware for awhile now. well today i am announcing i'm suspending its development for a few reasons.
After long consideration, I will be ending Babble Self Hosted in the near future. It wont happen immediately, I don't have a firm date, but I am looking at the second quarter of 2019 (sometime between march and end of may, probably closer to the end of may).
The reasons i have decided to do this cause the support load for babble self hosted is incredibly high, due to the installation requirements, the amount of self host clients who have moved to the chat service, the general decline in sales for self hosted in favor of the chat service. Basically the chat service has more or less killed it off.
People who have a self hosted purchase and current on their renewals, will continue to be able to download (even after the EOL has been reached). I will try to cancel any outstanding renewals at the time the product is EOL, but you should also check this at that time to avoid being charged for renewals. You will be allowed to run babble self hosted as long as possible, but i will not be providing updates (including bug fixes or new features).
Any self hosted client who wishes, I can move you over to the chat service now or at the time, I will offer the first 3 months or remainder of your renewal (whichever is the lesser) and after that you will receive an invoice to continue to be on the service, just let me know if you want to do this (as well which package you want, 3/6/1 year terms).
in the near future, i will also be offering a different packages for users who will exceed the chat services 100 user, so stay tuned for those.
lots of fine tuning has gone on this release private rooms and whispers should be working properly now.
private rooms and whispers will now (or should) send out a notification if you are "offline" (each time you go to babble/switch a room/send a message, your last "online" time changes for babble, if that offline time is older than 15 minutes, you will be considered to be offline and a notification will be sent.).
i've also made some style changes, dropped the background coloring, left them just to be all "white", you can still style them if you want, but i am going for a min. theme here.
alpha 2 to 5 have mostly been PHP fixes and work, little to no work has went on on the front end so the things that were broken in the first alpha, remain broken in this alpha. One of the new front end features i've been wanting to bring to babble for awhile, is instead of fixed heights for everything, i wanted dynamic heights for it. so it will responsd to the view port size (well, it will measure from the top of babble itself to the bottom of the view port, and resize everything to 70% of the height of that area, hopefully avoid scroll bars and what not. the chat message area has a min height of 150px, cause i just know there will be one person out there that be on one of those 3 inch cheap af android smartphones from back in 2011 that has resolution of a calculator ).
I've also been getting a huge amount of feedback from the IPS forums, mainly cyboman, who has given me a ton of great ideas on how to improve bots and other features in Babble. so like always if you have a suggestion, this is the best time to make it
you can now test out an alpha of babble v3.
there will be bugs with it, uploads do not currently work (they will upload but they wont attach to the topic) and a lot of the commands are still out of commission, edit/delete don't work (well they sorta do, but its not a permanent thing yet) .
whispers and private rooms should work without a hitch.
oh you should also be able to use markdown along with bbc in the editor error, so give that a go if you know markdown.
so if you find anything that i haven't mentioned here, please let me know, as i'm pretty sure i got all the features i wanted to add in, now its just shoring everything up and getting some styling going on to finish it off
showing off the new @list and command list, ignore the bugs, as this is relatively new code haven't gotten to actually debugging to testing it for all the issues it could have
I know it might seem like version 3 is a pipe dream, but after a lot of debate, thinking and trying to figure out what i was going to do with it, i've began work on version 3.
Its gonna be different than what i've previously shown for babble version 3, it will have some elements lifted from it. but here is a list of some features removed and added into version 3:
Guest Messaging: this was removed cause the code was a bit buggy and was standing in the way of some features i wanted to add in. guest will be able to view the room, but there wont be any settings to allow them to chat. Rooms: well they're not really gone perse, but they act differently. in 2, they were treated as different entities than each other, in 3, they are treated as "channels'. persistent online list: as some of you know the online list has been a bane to my existence for awhile, i had thoughts of removing it completely cause of the issues, but i did a lot of work on it for 2, and have taken what i've learned to 3. in 3, the user list is pulled directly from who is connected at the time when it was connected, in 2 it was a list i tried to maintain and i think that was the problem, trying to keep the list synced. entry/exit notifications: this wasn't really popular with folks, got a lot of complaints about them, so i've decided to just remove them. New:
front interface: i really like how the new interface for babble is turning out, it reminds me a lot of chats like slack/discord in the way it functions. new sounds: there will be new sound files, less annoying and softer than the old sounds. whisper history: will show you a list of everyone you have had a conversation with in the past, with showing you their status. Statuses: change your status, if you go idle, automatically sets to away. new bots: there will be several new bots and the way they are configured. Group Chats
there will be more news as i finalize the alpha of 3, here is a short video of some of the new features and what version 3 looks like:
*note: there isn't the final look, as i have minimal styling atm, as i get all the elements built and changes in the codebase.
I'll be upgrading my apps to use improvements found in php 7. the current versions of my apps will remain php 5.6 compatible. I will tag each app with PHP7 when i release them if they will only function on php7+.
I thought would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed about the end of life of CJM (CJ Menu) and its Replacement MGM (Menu Groups Manager). in a lot of ways CJM and MGM will be identical, but there are some key differences and changes. the biggest change is in there code design, as some of you know CJM was my first app made with the new IPS 4 framework. There was simply a lot that wasn't known about the framework and over the last 3 years i have become very familiar with the framework. So my goal with MGM was to redo CJM with what i've learned over the last few years. There are also problems with CJM, and those issue become more apparent to me when 4.1 and then 4.2 was released, its code base was rigid, didn't allow for easy modification. I basically wrote CJM in the fashion of a 3.x app, but in the 4.x's framework. Below i will list things that have been removed, features added and things that have changed from CJM to MGM:
Featured and Popular : this feature was never fully realized and the fault lies with me. it never worked correctly and no one has ever really reported issues with it, so i took that to mean it wasn't a "popular feature" and have removed it from MGM.
Parent Duplication: this was a way around the problem with have menu set to click and having the parent menu have a URL. in MGM this has been done a different way (as the opening for click menus is a separated from the clickable part of the menu). so now when on click, the parent menu wont duplicate itself.
Predefined Groups: MGM doesn't come with any groups predefined, and the styling differences between the locations will be kept to a min. there will be 5 locations you can choose, there is a 6th choice but it has no location on the front end. its just for when you want to make a hook/widget out of the group.
Stems/Indication Arrow group settings: stems were a pain to add in and i didn't like the end result all that much cause they didn't function properly with all the show/hide effects, so i've just decided to remove them. same with indication arrow settings, this will be handled in the theme settings. you can select one or not and if one isn't selected the indication arrow wont display.
Group select on menu creation: you must be in the group you want to add a menu item too, or it will add it to the group you are in. i changed this as this required a bit of JS voodoo and hackery into how the forms work. so anything that required a bunch of voodoo to work, i removed and this was one thing that required it.
App Sync: this was a feature that was removed in CJM awhile back, that was added in promenu, but it wont be making a come back for MGM. so if you were wondering if it was coming back, nope. one of the points of this overhaul was to get rid of problematic features, freeing me to focus on the other features and some of the automation in CJM was causing issues.
attributes box: there will now be a class, style and attributes box on menu creation on the style tab. i changed this cause like the item before this required some php voodoo to work properly, so it was just easier to separate them out into their own inputs. and should help with understanding with using them too.
app title as menu title: if you select application as your type, you can now choose to use the app title (whatever is set by the frontnavigation extension) or you can override that and create a new menu title from MGM.
Application Type: this has changed a bit. when i first wrote CJM they only had a very simple menu system in 4.0 that i built from, so i didn't put a lot of thought into it. this changed with the new menu manager in 4.1 and added to mine, but it wasn't enough and there were things that never fully worked with CJM, this has been corrected. instead of selecting an app then a front navigation/sub item/etc, you select the navigation extension itself from a list, and then if there are any configuration options, they will appear and can be configured and MGM will use them. The application list has also changed, that it shows the extension directly, and it will only show them after being created if they are intended to be used multiple times. Example: you select a forum, save it, and create a new menu, forum will no loner be an option (as in the frontnavigation extension it only meant to be used once), but this happens at a group level. so you can create another forum menu item on another group.
Enable/Disable Groups/Menus: you can now disable/enable groups and items, instead of manipulating their permissions.
Group Permissions: groups now have a permissions matrix for them, so you can set on a group level which groups can see a menu.
Publishing/Refresh All Caches: CJM would after any changes to a group or a menu item recache everything automatically for you. this was an issue for some people who were building new menus or had a lot of menus/edits going on. so in MGM you have to publish the group before it shows up or the changes appear on the front end. there will be 2 ways to do this, you can do it just for that group or recache everything. a Publish button will appear for the group when a unpublished change has occurred (also the group will have a visual indicator in the menu in the acp if it has unpublished changes).
Traditional Menus: like CJM, MGM's menu's will be "mega", but some do not like mega menus. so i introduced "traditional" menus in CJM. however this was on the entire group. with MGM this feature has been moved to the parent Menu items for bars group type. so you can have one menu that way you can have a mix of mega/traditional menus on the same group.
about the only thing really "new" would be the locations, and that is just a tweak of what was already there. you can assign multiple groups per location now, and what order they appear in, but other than that, MGM and CJM function more or less in the same way. most of the changes have happened at a code level. I'm also doing my best to keep styling to a min. for MGM, that way it can be easily styled for themes. most of the styling that i have already done, is just for stuff that makes it look presentable on the default skin, but its pretty bland compared to even the min. style approach i took with CJM, even to the point i would say "ugly".
the other big change, would be the replacing of the default IPS menu. MGM has a setting to attempt the remove of the Default IPS Menu, but it doesn't do it by default now, there will also be no guarantee that it can, this really depends on the theme as some themes have been known to really alter this area, so my hooks might not have any effect and with like CJM, this will not be considered a support issue and will be treated as its own service if you want me to work on it.
So hopefully MGM will be a good for the legacy that started out as promenu all those years ago.