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Forum Upgrade - Whats New and Help - March 2021

Chris Fairbanks

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Team, We have been working behind the scenes for a few months on planning and testing the upgrade of the AAW Forums to the latest and greatest version of XenForo, our forums software. The challenge is, we have been running a version of forum software that originally came out in 2015 and our vendor stopped patching it for security bugs ~2 years ago. The forum staff's main goal with this upgrade was to modernize the site so it was more mobile friendly, security patches by running current software and added additional features that members would like, all while trying to make sure the navigation and overall feel of the forums was a similar as possible to the current forums.

This turned out to be a lot heavier lift than I anticipated but I think we have pulled it off :) The old forums were using a theme from the even older version of forums (vBulletin 4) that has long since been retired. With a lot of effort on the staffs part and a small group of very helpful testers we completed the upgrade tonight! I hope you enjoy the new site.

New features include;
  • new enhanced editor
    • Ability to paste pictures in thread posts
    • Ability drag and drop pictures in thread posts
    • Updated emojis
    • Gipfy support
  • new mobile friendly theming throughout
  • Push notification to most browsers (Apple Safari on iOS does not support this feature)
  • upgraded gallery support of 100mb of storage for AAW members
  • ability to tag users to forum threads with @username and for them to receive notifications they were tagged in a post
  • better sharing with existing social media platforms and new sharing capabilities for many other platforms
  • stronger spam control and numerous admin features to make Bill and Emiliano's lives easier :)
  • performance increases throughout the system
  • automatic summary emails of whats new if you have been away for a few weeks
Now that we have the upgrade in place we are going to start looking at other features to help make this a better community for all woodturners. If you have any suggestions on things you would like to see please let us know in this thread or use the contact form to let us know. Maybe its something you saw on another wood working forum or hobby forum. Let us know and we can look into it and see if it makes sense to add to the AAW Forums. I'll be posting some additional posts in the next few days showing how to use some of the new features so please check back to this thread. If you are having any issues with the upgrade please also post in this thread and we will help figure out the problem.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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The forums now support push notifications on most devices with the notable except of Safari on iPhones and iPads as Apple does not currently support this feature. Enabling push notifications will allow you to get a pop-up on your machine when a new post happens in a thread you are subscribed to, when someone sends you a message via conversations on the forum or someone tags you in a post. To tag someone in the post all you have to do is put an @ and type their name, like @Chris Fairbanks. To enable push notifications click the box at the bottom of your browser.

1615793513719.png

Next up the system supports displaying your month and day of your birthday and optionally the year as well. The old forums had an option for you to enable to disable this but it did not show birthdays anywhere so it did not make a difference. About 5,500 forum members had it enabled in their privacy settings and in order to not cause a privacy issue for folks that were unaware of this setting I have unchecked showing your month, day and year of your birthday by default. If you want to show it you can do it by clicking your name in the top right corner of any forum page and then selecting privacy. From there you can enable or disable it as you would like.

1615793737234.png

Finally for tonight the updated editor. This is one of the biggest changes with the new forums. It dynamically changes the editor options you see based on the size of your web browser. If you have a large screen you will see more options and if you have a small screen you will see less but you can still access all of them by clicking the more button which is represented by three vertical dots

1615793948886.png

1615793980994.png

You can also now drag and drop pictures into the editor or if you have copied the picture to your clipboard you can paste it in as well.

1615794335144.gif

And finally the greatest feature of all in the new editor is Giphy support :) They say a picture is worth a 1000 words..... Select the gif button directly if you are on a larger screen or it might be hidden under the middle more button as seen below. From there you can search all of Giphy.

1615794476104.png

I'll post some more tips and tricks on the new system in the next few days. Enjoy!

will ferrell yes GIF
 
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All good so far. You definitely kept the look, function and feel of the previous version which IMO is a good thing. Keeps content within the same space vs jumping to different spaces that may or may not work.

Add’l features:

I understand there may be legal or other reasons, with this being the AAW forum, that these were not be good choices. Perhaps a “AAW assumes no liability” statement would work.Another forum I’m on has these separate areas available. I primarily use them as a “database” by linking to the particular entry when there is a relevant question in a forum. Similar to some of the videos that get linked to here as well as some of the other content users have elsewhere on the web. I currently dont have a webpage set up to reference in this way.

Blog - users can write most anything. I use it to document methods, processes, etc that I use or have developed, and it’s easy to put a link in a post when someone asks a relevant question. I dont have to continually repeat the same facts or opinions over and over again.

Projects - projects can be described in some detail. Would not replace the gallery, which is fine as is for finished turnings. This would be more of a description of how an unusual jig or finished piece was accomplished, a sharpening bench/layout detail, etc. A technical reference database.

Tool Reviews - I know there’s some existing rule about this, dont remember it exactly. Provides a separate area for user opinions on tools/equipment. Any mfr gets flagged and tossed. People do it all the time inside a post. The idea is to provide an area to link to vs users constantly repeating themselves.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Add’l features:

I understand there may be legal or other reasons, with this being the AAW forum, that these were not be good choices. Perhaps a “AAW assumes no liability” statement would work.Another forum I’m on has these separate areas available. I primarily use them as a “database” by linking to the particular entry when there is a relevant question in a forum. Similar to some of the videos that get linked to here as well as some of the other content users have elsewhere on the web. I currently dont have a webpage set up to reference in this way.
Doug, great ideas. Let me collect together all of what Bill, Emiliano and I have along with yours and any other folks submit and I'll run them by the AAW to see if they are good with it. Stay tuned. Thanks!
 
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In the previous version, it was possible to mark just the specific (sub)forum -- e.g., "getting started" -- as read but you also had the option to mark *all* forums as read. Now it seems that the only option is every one or none. The option of marking just the subforum you are in no longer appears.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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I’ll check into that when I am back online. Just got my vaccine shot at the local hospital and waiting until they can tell me to leave.
 
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Chris, just to make you aware of an issue that will come up sooner rather than later with tagging. On some machines (Android +Chrome) When you try to tag by typing the @ and select from the popup, then start typing after the name appears, the editor deletes the part of the name that was inserted.

For example, when I try to tag you by typing the first three letters of your name and then click on the popup your whole name appears in the editor, but when I start typing a message, the portion of your user name that was inserted disappears and what I typed overwrites the inserted portion of your name.

E.g.. "@Chris Fairbanks this is a test" how it should look

"
@chrthis is a test" is what actually happens

Over on woodbarter, this has been going on and the Admin believes it is a problem with this version of the software and cant be fixed until a software upgrade occurs in the future. Here is a link to one of the threads discussing it over there.

https://woodbarter.com/threads/tagging.44007/

Just wanted to make you aware of this problem that will occur sooner or later and hopefully save you some time chasing it down. Even though many of us over there periodically complain about this issue, we've learned to live with it.

BTW, Thanks to you and others for all the work going into this upgrade.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Chris, just to make you aware of an issue that will come up sooner rather than later with tagging. On some machines (Android +Chrome) When you try to tag by typing the @ and select from the popup, then start typing after the name appears, the editor deletes the part of the name that was inserted.

For example, when I try to tag you by typing the first three letters of your name and then click on the popup your whole name appears in the editor, but when I start typing a message, the portion of your user name that was inserted disappears and what I typed overwrites the inserted portion of your name.

E.g.. "@Chris Fairbanks this is a test" how it should look

"
@chrthis is a test" is what actually happens

Over on woodbarter, this has been going on and the Admin believes it is a problem with this version of the software and cant be fixed until a software upgrade occurs in the future. Here is a link to one of the threads discussing it over there.

https://woodbarter.com/threads/tagging.44007/

Just wanted to make you aware of this problem that will occur sooner or later and hopefully save you some time chasing it down. Even though many of us over there periodically complain about this issue, we've learned to live with it.

BTW, Thanks to you and others for all the work going into this upgrade.
Tim, Thanks for the heads up. I'll check it out and maybe even reach out to the admin on woodbarter. I'll post an update once I get a chance to dig into it.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Chris, just to make you aware of an issue that will come up sooner rather than later with tagging. On some machines (Android +Chrome) When you try to tag by typing the @ and select from the popup, then start typing after the name appears, the editor deletes the part of the name that was inserted.
@Tim Connell, can you confirm what virtual keyboard your android device is using (See below on how to change keyboard if you need help, iOS users here so I am lost on android). This looks to be a bug potentially with the actual Samsung android keyboard trying to be helpful in auto completing words and not the forum software. If it is the Samsung one can you try googles Gboard or another virtual keyboard to see if tagging is still broken? Thanks!

 
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@Tim Connell, can you confirm what virtual keyboard your android device is using (See below on how to change keyboard if you need help, iOS users here so I am lost on android). This looks to be a bug potentially with the actual Samsung android keyboard trying to be helpful in auto completing words and not the forum software. If it is the Samsung one can you try googles Gboard or another virtual keyboard to see if tagging is still broken? Thanks!

I'm using the default keyboard, so I'll try switching a little later and see what happens.

I think one of the mods on WB tried switching to different keyboards and still had the problem, but I'll go and check later tonight and let you know.
 
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Hi,
New format looks good. Thanks for all the hard work put into it!!!

Will all "watched" forums set before upgrade still be active or do they need to be reset?

If I may suggest, please anchor this thread to the top of what's new for a while.

Lance
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Hi,
New format looks good. Thanks for all the hard work put into it!!!

Will all "watched" forums set before upgrade still be active or do they need to be reset?

If I may suggest, please anchor this thread to the top of what's new for a while.

Lance
Lance, Any watches you had setup before the upgrade should have migrated over fine. If you have a problem with them please let us know and we can look into it. I have this post anchored and plan to leave it there for a while. Thanks for your feedback!
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Why is "Stay logged in" the default? Are people being tracked like Google and Amazon does?
Joe, The stay logged in feature is just for you to keep from having to login every time you visit the forums. If you want to disable it just click your name in the top right corner and then logout. Next time you visit the forums you can login without it checked and it will then prompt you for to login each time you visit. Thanks!
 
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Chris. thanks for all your work on this update. Maybe it's just me and my vision problems but I'm having trouble discerning the difference between the bold text (unread messages) and the un-bold text....maybe it's the blue color. I didn't have this problem with the old version - even though I don't remember what the difference was. Is it possible to change the 'bold' color? If not, I guess I'll get used to it. Thanks.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Chris. thanks for all your work on this update. Maybe it's just me and my vision problems but I'm having trouble discerning the difference between the bold text (unread messages) and the un-bold text....maybe it's the blue color. I didn't have this problem with the old version - even though I don't remember what the difference was. Is it possible to change the 'bold' color? If not, I guess I'll get used to it. Thanks.
Tom, I may be able to make a copy of what they call the Theme and tweak it to be higher contrast. The theme is all the fonts, colors, layouts, etc that make the forums the forums. I don't have the time to maintain two completely different themes but I should be able to tweak some font colors and manage that as a second option for folks if this color scheme is hard to see. You would then be able to select which one you want under your account and as long as you are logged in that would follow you between all of your devices. Give me a few weeks on this one but I should be able to whip up something for you and others that need it. Thanks!
 
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Tom, I may be able to make a copy of what they call the Theme and tweak it to be higher contrast. The theme is all the fonts, colors, layouts, etc that make the forums the forums. I don't have the time to maintain two completely different themes but I should be able to tweak some font colors and manage that as a second option for folks if this color scheme is hard to see. You would then be able to select which one you want under your account and as long as you are logged in that would follow you between all of your devices. Give me a few weeks on this one but I should be able to whip up something for you and others that need it. Thanks!
Thank you, sir! I appreciate your efforts.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Thank you, sir! I appreciate your efforts.
Tom, This might be a lot easier than I thought. The new version has the capabilities for me to copy the main theme and make "child" copy of it. That allows me to keep making any changes in the parent and those will flow down to the child. I can them put specific child settings in that will override the parent. An example is changing the font colors. I created a high contrast version and just enabled it. The only changes I made so far is changing the forum names colors to black and change the thread names to black. See what you think? To change themes, click the Default Style button in the bottom left of your web browser.

1616003842639.png

From there you should get a pop-up for the Style Chooser. From there select high contrast and you should be good to go.

1616003813325.png

Let me know what you think and if anything you would like to see changed.
 

Timothy Allen

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Hey @Chris Fairbanks

(1) Tagging users -- The pop menu only shows the first 10 users with whatever you start the tag with, somebody with a popular first name but who is not one of the first 10 alphabetically doesn't show (e.g. Tom Gall) -- so how can I tag somebody like Tom Gall?

(2) Can you post a link to this thread in the "Help and FAQ" sub forum -- it's a little out of place in the Woodturning Discussion forum (not necessarily suggesting moving the whole thread, just need a link there).
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Hey @Chris Fairbanks

(1) Tagging users -- The pop menu only shows the first 10 users with whatever you start the tag with, somebody with a popular first name but who is not one of the first 10 alphabetically doesn't show (e.g. Tom Gall) -- so how can I tag somebody like Tom Gall?

(2) Can you post a link to this thread in the "Help and FAQ" sub forum -- it's a little out of place in the Woodturning Discussion forum (not necessarily suggesting moving the whole thread, just need a link there).
@Timothy Allen to tag someone with a popular name, all you have to do is keep tying their name even with a space between the first and last night and it narrows things down. In the editor it may show as plain text but when you post the editor will link it correctly. For Tom just type "@ Tom g" (dont put the space after @) and that should be enough for you to find him from the pull down. As for the link post in the help and FAQ, great idea and I just took care of it.
 
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Just had a strange occurance on the bew forum software - clicked on the topic in the forum index and was taken, as usual, to the discussion. When I attempted to go back to the same discussion a few minutes later, the original posters post was gone, but the two replies were there. Is there a reason the iriginal post was missing? Am I doing something wrong? Other thread behave normally.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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Just had a strange occurance on the bew forum software - clicked on the topic in the forum index and was taken, as usual, to the discussion. When I attempted to go back to the same discussion a few minutes later, the original posters post was gone, but the two replies were there. Is there a reason the iriginal post was missing? Am I doing something wrong? Other thread behave normally.
Jeff something might have been deleted. Can you share the link to the topic and I'll check it out. Thanks!
 
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The thread was on adding rope - I just cleared the browser cache and the original post miraculously appeared when I went back to the thread.
 

Chris Fairbanks

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The thread was on adding rope - I just cleared the browser cache and the original post miraculously appeared when I went back to the thread.
Strange... with all of the changes some things getting stuck in cache could have been the problem. Keep an eye on it and hit me up on this thread or via conversation if it happens again and we can look into it.
 
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