Xenforo conversion thread

Happy holiday(s), everyone!

Just checking in.

I've noticed forum activity has been continuing to increase and i'm really happy to see this. This is weird to see happening during winter, considering most ES users are in the United States lately, and tend to be interested in bicycles more during fall, summer, and spring.

Another interesting thing going on in EV land is that we should soon have a lot of new cell chemistries available to us hobbyists in the next few years, with sodium ion, lmfp, higher density lfp, solid state, etc etc all being available in the next few years. I have a feeling this will boost DIY interest, because batteries have been the weak spot of an ebike for a while now.

We expect 2024 to be pretty busy here, between this swell of traffic, and innovations in the most important part of an ebike. :)

On the ES Dev side, we are pretty happy about the result of our hard work. And we're glad you're enjoying it :)

TBH, lately we have been doing a lot of 'yogurt on top' type things ( architecture cost reduction, efficiency, search system tweaks, misc improvements ), things that have generally been a pain in the ass, and don't really have much to show for.

Well, we are finally coming up to the fruit-on-the-bottom part, the user experience, starting around spring 2024.

Can't wait to get to that part! Will start a new thread once we're on to phase 2. :es:
For some reason I didn't get an email notification for the last 2 posts in this thread though the alert bell icon showed it. I did get an email notification for other threads I'm following.
Yes. This is an ongoing issue I also have. I suspect many others also based on the spattering of mentions of this elsewhere.

It would be awesome if this were looked into still.

I did get a notification for this reply so maybe it's fixed.

Not yet, it's looking involved, but we're on it!
Howdy folks.

Some minor UI updates yesterday:
- top bar slightly shortened, to free up vertical room
- posts in threads are 5% shorter, to free up vertical room
- saw ES on a gaming monitor with high contrast settings and was horrified at some spots. Made some minor color adjustments to account for this scenario.
- new fancy search bar visuals corrected
- removed lower breadcrumbs
- minor alignment work across the board

Nothing earth shattering, just smoothing out some rough spots.

Generally, plan to keep this design for a year or two, then revise when we rebrand to ebikes.com.
Oh one last thing.

Early next week we are doing a significant update of the Xenforo software and PHP version.

We have tested the heck out of that upgrade and ensured all the basic functions work, but with so much change comes a chance of bugs we could have never noticed until the system got used in real world, multiplayer conditions.

I'd say the chance for some minor issues is high, just due to the amount of code and technology change happening simultaneously. For this upgrade, me and my co-conspirator will both be available to solve any issues that pop up in a hopefully quick fashion.

More news on that later!
Surprising what 30 lines of CSS can achieve :)
Glad yall like the improvements!
State of affairs..

Forum and huge PHP version upgrade done & seems it went well.
Expect snappier response, ~2x faster search, and some boosts to SEO functionality; may result in more growth.

Current priorities, in order:
- Email notifications fix ( add mode to make it work like PHPBB )
- Notifications aka 🔔 fix ( make it work in a more modern and controllable way )
- Remaining bits and pieces of the infrastructure project
- Image compressor daemonization so it's a zero maintenance/tinkering part of the system.
- ( giant backlog )

Also, as to dark mode, it looks like Xenforo is in the process of working that out. We're not sure if it's better to skip this transitory 2.3 version or wait for Xenforo 3.0 ( coming sometime 2024 ) at this point.

So far, the default Xenforo mode looks like this. Personally, i think the dark mode theme we have here beats it in look.

More in this later as the situation develops, heh!

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Howdy folks!

We have a big update for alarm bell and email notifications ready that will make them work more consistently, as well as group them when the amount is large ( like how a social media site does ) with user settable behavior as well.

In effect, the notification bell should work like a social media site but email notifications should work like old phpbb ( annoying but consistent ). You will be able to change email to be more quiet depending oin your tastes.

It will probably take a little tuning to get right, so we are pushing off the update until early next week.
Hopefully it will fix email notifications so they actually work for everyone, for all parts of the site. I can't be certain about any particular person, but statements by some, like this one
imply they aren't being notified of threads, just PMs.

(I've had emails turned off except for PMs, so I just turned them all on to test if they work for me).

While I'm thinking about it, this section of user preferences
Receive a notification when someone…
only allows alerts; has no option for emails.

The only way to get emails is to select the appropriate options here
Email options
Receive news and update emails
Receive activity summary email We will keep you updated about new content when you haven't visited for a while.
Receive email when a new conversation message is received
Content options
Automatically watch content you create…
and receive email notifications
Automatically watch content you interact with…
and receive email notifications

Also, I don't think this one
Automatically watch content you create…
is active by default. I know that I had to turn it on. If so it means that people won't get notified of replies to threads they start, and could easily be why at least some people never come back to their help-wanted/etc threads.
Currently doing surgery on the server.. expect turbulence for up to an hour.
We done! new alerts/email system deployed!

Will write up some details on how to enable the 'full blast' aka phpbb-like email notification mode today.
See the updated tips and tricks thread for some information on these updates.
ES 2.0 Forum Tips and Tricks

I encourage people to give the new mentioned settings a try and report back.
We don't expect that we got this right on the first try and could use feedback.

Hopefully the full blast setting works as described and acts just like PHPBB did.
Just an update on where we're at.

Forum traffic is up 10-20% since installing Xenforo. The blip was a statistics collection bug.


Work is underway on the image processor. Over the weekend, i did some benchmarking and image analysis on various codecs. I found a jpeg recompressor ( cjpegli ) that preserves detail better than our current reprocessor ( mozjpeg ), and also uses a third of the CPU.

The result will be images in the future will look a little sharper than before, while being the same size.

We are developing it so it can stay ahead of uploaded images. It needs to, because if we get 'slashdotted' again, Xenforo shows thumbnails of images to not logged in users, instead of no images like PHPBB. During our last slashdot event, we sent out over 1tb of just text... adding thumbnails to that would make such an event a lot more expensive, so we have to crush our thumbnails down to potato quality, and about as quickly as they're made, which wasn't possible with mozjpeg ( too slow ).

We could adopt webp, however, the issue is that a lot of things that aren't web browsers still don't support the format. AVIF is an even worse problem. We expect to stick to jpeg until jpeg-xl is supported by all major browsers, for the sake of compatibility.

Once this last part of the infrastructure project is done, expect me to start a new thread for ES 2.5, which is focused on improving the user experience more than the technology!
Some partial results of the jpeg compressor showdown.

jpegli is pretty impressive. 5% sharper and -10% bandwidth = a win. handles text and diagrams like a boss and spends a little extra bits on them ( we want that ). I can't wait to switch over :)

It changed when we converted to Xenforo actually 😅