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Thoughts on VuTales Next

Written by Vusys on October 19, 2015
So as nobody noticed, a few days ago I teased a picture of something that looks awfully like the next version of VuTales.

I know it's been ages since I did anything VuTales related, but I've really always had VuTales on the back of my mind. VuTales was my first big development project and I'm very proud of it.

After almost 6 years of VuTales, and 4 years of VuTales v3, it's time to look at a major revamp.

Design


To be frank, it's a miracle that VuTales looks as good as it does. Especially compared to v2 and pretty much everything else I've designed single-handedly. The logo, header and background I still really like. The buttons, cramped text and thin (for 2015) design have aged fairly badly.

To be even more frank, the chances of me designing anything good for VuTales Next single-handedly are pretty slim. Thankfully, since 2009 a number of good front end kitchen sink frameworks have popped up. Still, it would be nice to see what people would like in a new site. VuTales Next is going to be based on top of Bootstrap - so please, take a look at the themes on places like ThemeForest and Bootstrap Bay that are built on bootstrap and tell me what design ideas you like.

BBCode vs. Markdown vs. HTML


Another thing that's aged VuTales is its continued use of BBCode. I still think that Markdown has issues, but it's better than BBCode and certainly better than its contemporary markup languages (e.g. Textile), if only because of how ubiquitous it is.

With Markdown, VuTales would adopt and editor like this: http://www.codingdrama.com/bootstrap-markdown/ similar to what we have now, but with Markdown.

I've already made a 80% complete BBCode to Markdown converter. Perhaps the biggest issue with Markdown is that there are a number of formatting options that we currently offer with BBCode that can't easily be ported into Markdown without non standard extensions to the language. These are:

Underlines
Coloured text
Coloured bullet points
Spoilers & Soft spoilers (tooltips)
Blink & Marquee
Centre and right aligned text.
Toggling lightboxes on YouTube/ Image links
Image groups
Heavily nested quotes (sort of)

Personally I don't see a major loss dropping most of these, and stuff like lightboxes and image groups could be brought back with metadata on the blog. A bit of a faff, but it would work and the Markdown would remain pure.

Heavily nested quotes are a bit different in that they can be made in Markdown, but they don't work all that well and are tricky to get right. I can see two solutions: 1) We convert the existing nested quotes and going forward, make it possible but preferred not to nest quotes. 2) We adopt nested comments... more on that later.

The other option is to use HTML with an editor like TinyMCE. The content you write would then be filtered so you can't include Javascript, crazy CSS and whatnot. Personally I'm not a massive fan of using HTML, but the option is there. One advantage would be getting to keep stuff like coloured text and even blink tags... if they still work for your browser.

The Forums


Not sure how much effort to put into revamping them. They weren't all that used here, even in VuTales' prime. They'd either be a stripped down single forum discussion area, or simply set to read only and left available for historical purposes.

Comments


Since 2011, the number of comment sections on the internet that support deeply nested comments seems to have greatly increased. Two of the sites I go on most both have nested comments (Reddit and Hacker News). It seems like a good idea to adopt this approach. The paged flat comments we have now seem out dated.

It would also solve some of the nested quoting issues with Markdown. I could take quotes and nested quotes and turn them in to nested comments like Reddit.

Better Social Media Integration


Seems a given to have SSO logins with Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps easier sharing on Facebook as well.

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Of course, I'm very open to suggestions on what everyone would like to see.

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Vusys

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October 19, 2015
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Comments

 
Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:46 PM [Edited once ] +

Open source it, I'd be down to contribute, especially if you're using Laravel!
also markdown would be fantastic just because of how prevalent it is now

 
 
Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:52 PM +

Open source is a definite possibility.

 
 
Tue Oct 20, 2015 03:30 AM +

Yes to all suggestions, forums weren't really used for anything other than the occasional RP, and nested comments a la reddit style is more modern.

Looking forward to the updates. :D Now if only more people frequented this place... That Jeff guy didn't even stay to explain who he was. :(

 
 
Tue Oct 20, 2015 07:11 PM +

Vusys said: Open source is a definite possibility.


cool, let me know if you do!

 
 
Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:33 AM +

yeeeeaaah boooooiiiiiii

 

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