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Feature Creep on IPB 3.x?


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#1 Fast Lane!

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:32 PM

I love many of the new features but I get the feeling that IPB has become stuck in "Feature Creep" mode.

http://en.wikipedia....i/Feature_creep

I am worried that some of the more basic elements of the forum design are getting overlooked, in addition to releases taking longer. There are so many "small" updates that seem to span everywhere with no cohesiveness other than to make the site as "social" as possible (good in a way). It just seems like the IPB Forums software is now something different with the forums as an "add on".

One of my biggest gripes is the "clean cut" skin that was "made official" is still in beta a YEAR later. I now see other skins being talked about being final. My conclusion is that IPB has no desire to support it. They would be happy to see it die and to be forgotten. I have been waiting a year nearly to upgrade to IPB 3.x (awaiting cleancut to go final). Cleancut has had good feedback from my members when they take a look at the design. With the end of life for 2.3.4 coming in about 4 months I will be forced to upgrade and this really irks me given the cleancut situation and overall lack of skin support for something that keeps the previous look and feel for people (changing the look so drastically is akin to re-branding the look of a site so many like me are very hesitant).

My thoughts: When you try to make everyone happy and add in a lot of things, you end up not doing any of them very well. IPB may want to consider (IMO) staying focused on their "core" first and then adding these other elements second. If I were them I would have a guy full time making and supporting the official skins. They are the "forward facing" element of IPB that the end-users see. If they suck, then the forums "suck" regardless of what cool coding is behind the scenes.
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#2 bfarber

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:45 PM

If you don't like the features added, you can turn them off. We aren't charging you extra for them, or anything like that. ;) Nor is it "taking a long time" as you indicated. We've actually been putting out updates more frequently and more openly than at any point I can remember since working here.

As for the skin, is the only reason you're hesitant to use it because it's labeled "beta"? Many people are using Cleancut, and to my knowledge there aren't many open issues with it at present. If I rename it from "beta" to "final" in the client center, would you be willing to use it then? It is, after all, just a label. :)

We do, for the record, have a full time skinner. But he's tasked with more than simply maintaining the IPB skin. He deals with the website, some custom skin projects, the front end skin for IPB and all our first party addons (IP.Content, Gallery, Blog, etc.), the mobile skin, and so on. Most of our customers are happy with the default skin in IPB3 - very few have told us "it sucks", as you put it. :unsure:

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#3 Fast Lane!

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:48 PM

If you don't like the features added, you can turn them off. We aren't charging you extra for them, or anything like that. ;) Nor is it "taking a long time" as you indicated. We've actually been putting out updates more frequently and more openly than at any point I can remember since working here.

As for the skin, is the only reason you're hesitant to use it because it's labeled "beta"? Many people are using Cleancut, and to my knowledge there aren't many open issues with it at present. If I rename it from "beta" to "final" in the client center, would you be willing to use it then? It is, after all, just a label. :)

We do, for the record, have a full time skinner. But he's tasked with more than simply maintaining the IPB skin. He deals with the website, some custom skin projects, the front end skin for IPB and all our first party addons (IP.Content, Gallery, Blog, etc.), the mobile skin, and so on. Most of our customers are happy with the default skin in IPB3 - very few have told us "it sucks", as you put it. :unsure:


Beta == not supported. Final == Supported. Beta == May no go final and be gone in the next release. Final == confidence it will be there for a while.

The title does mean something. I do not mean to be rude (sorry) but this does affect people and actual businesses so these things are simple but important.
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#4 Fast Lane!

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:51 PM

If you don't like the features added, you can turn them off. We aren't charging you extra for them, or anything like that. ;) Nor is it "taking a long time" as you indicated. We've actually been putting out updates more frequently and more openly than at any point I can remember since working here.

As for the skin, is the only reason you're hesitant to use it because it's labeled "beta"? Many people are using Cleancut, and to my knowledge there aren't many open issues with it at present. If I rename it from "beta" to "final" in the client center, would you be willing to use it then? It is, after all, just a label. :)

We do, for the record, have a full time skinner. But he's tasked with more than simply maintaining the IPB skin. He deals with the website, some custom skin projects, the front end skin for IPB and all our first party addons (IP.Content, Gallery, Blog, etc.), the mobile skin, and so on. Most of our customers are happy with the default skin in IPB3 - very few have told us "it sucks", as you put it. :unsure:


I think the new skin is nice. It is just a radical change from before and there is not similar skin (other than cleancut) that is similar to before. The fact is, third party skins are nice but I do not want to have to worry about the 3rd party no tsupporting updates for every revision of IPB (official skins are supported and updated by IPB so no worries on those).
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#5 bfarber

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 04:34 PM

So then, is it safe to say your hesitations aren't so much about the direction of 3.1, but rather the CleanCut skin mainly?

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#6 Olivier Turbis

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:13 PM

I think the new skin is nice. It is just a radical change from before and there is not similar skin (other than cleancut) that is similar to before. The fact is, third party skins are nice but I do not want to have to worry about the 3rd party no tsupporting updates for every revision of IPB (official skins are supported and updated by IPB so no worries on those).

Just wanted to say that serious skinners are usually very prompt and update their skins regularly. Also, our community skins include two skins that look very much like the Pro and Blue themes from the 2.x series. Not sure about the status of these though.

#7 Fast Lane!

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 10:45 PM

So then, is it safe to say your hesitations aren't so much about the direction of 3.1, but rather the CleanCut skin mainly?


It just seems like IPB has so many little nuggets they are adding that they are forgetting a promise to us, the community, that the winner of the "super" skin contest will have it become a new fully supported skin for IPB.

April 2009: IPB announces Skin Contest: http://community.inv...design-contest/ They say, "In summary, we are after a very professional skin with a nice, clean look and feel...
First place will receive $2,000.00 and their skin will be featured along with IP.Board as an alternate skin choice!"

July 2009: Cleancut wins. http://community.inv...ontest-Winners/

July 17 200: You (bfarber) say, "It will be included by default, but I don't think we intend to make it *the* default skin. " ...and, We will keep the skin updated just as we do the default skin, yes." ..and, "
We're not ignoring the skin, forgetting it completely, etc." and then six months later in January, "I'm not sure why there is such anger over a skin here" and... "We have simply been distracted with core development on new versions and have not had an opportunity to focus on the skin and such. "... http://community.inv...kin-for-ipb-3x/

Sept 2009: Member asks Charles, "Why is it taking so long to release a skin? 2 months at least have passed since this competition ended and you release a beta now?". Charles says, "This will end up being more than just another skin. CleanCut will be included along with IPB3 so it has to be well supported. ". http://community.inv...nCut-Skin-Beta/

Jan 26 2010: Member says, "IPS have not released an official version yet.. When I asked on the forums, my post was ignored by IPS in the feedback forum, having waited until the new blogs etc. came out and still nothing. I then asked in a ticket and was told it was not an official skin at all and it was a community skin, and that it was dependant upon the community. It was only when I pointed out Lindy's post above that they agreed it was an official skin, but gave no indication of when it would be updated." http://community.inv...3x/page__st__20


Bfarber, I know you mean well, but documented above is a pretty clear case that you guys have no intention after nearly a year to support nor release this. I could dig up plenty of old posts to further support this and find many more promises from IPB staff broken. Lots of talk... no action. Many many people have just given up. Seriously you would make so many people happy if you released it as a fully supported final skin included in the release.

At least IPB can get the DN2K Vaporware award for this IMO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware

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#8 CheetahShrk

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 11:00 PM

It hasn't been 10 years of waiting yet, too early for the award.
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#9 rbiss

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 11:11 PM

This has bugged me too, and especially this exorbitant wait for a mobile skin. Just give us the beta mobile to download please.
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#10 Fast Lane!

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 11:18 PM

It hasn't been 10 years of waiting yet, too early for the award.


True. I just hope IPB remembers its roots. I have been a customer since IPB was free. The support used to be great but now they seem to be acting a little like the "new" vBulletin. They say enough in their replies to get you to shut up (and hope you forget or give up), only to focus on what matters to "them" vs. their promises or commitments to "you" the community / customer.
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#11 Wolfie

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 11:39 PM

Where did "feature creep" come from? What happened to just saying "bloat"?
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#12 Ditchmonkey

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 12:37 AM

The OP has raise some very valid points and the fact that he has been neg rep'd several times for the post really demonstrates the overall maturity of this community.

To expand on his post: nothing has been complained about more than the quality of the IPB3 search results. And while the main culprits to the horrendous search have been identified repeatedly as a combination of the logical OR rather than AND, and the results returned as posts rather than threads in the default search, and IPS staff's response here in the forums that this would be an easy thing to remedy as a settings change, here we are many months later and several versions later with no improvement, and no word on what improvement to expect. But what we do hear a lot about are enhanced status updates, the ability to add BG images to user profiles etc. So yes, the OP, myself, and probably many others are getting frustrated. How about it IPS - where are the core functionality changes that are REALLY going to make this product the clear industry leader?
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#13 texterted

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:07 AM

Seems like IPS are damned if they add features... and damned if they don't.

I just know that I'd sooner be here than over at the vB fiasco...
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Cheers Ted.

#14 Kyanar

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:08 AM

Uh, Ditchmonkey? Matt said in a post that they are changing the search to use logical AND rather than OR in 3.1. how is that "no word"?
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#15 Ditchmonkey

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:13 AM

Uh, Ditchmonkey? Matt said in a post that they are changing the search to use logical AND rather than OR in 3.1. how is that "no word"?


Despite your usual snarky know-it-all style, I'll respond anyway.

1. I didn't see that, was that in an official dev update?
2. was the issue of results as posts rather than threads addressed?
3. Has Matt addressed the numerous threads about this issue with the information that you have revealed?
4. Given that this was "an easy fix" as revealed by IPB staff, why haven't we seen it before - especially in light of the fact that this is probably the most complained about feature of the software?
5. Do you think that if you communicated in a less abrasive manor, people would be more interested in what you have to say?
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#16 squidfish

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:21 AM

For me ...the search functionality and the skins are the biggest issues. 2.3.6 still works ok so i have stuck with it for my main sites. The search function is the only significant flaw in this version.

I upgraded one forum to IPB3 and was a bit disappointed with it. Mainly because of the skin. Maybe the skin has been improved since the release but I did not hear about those improvements via the company blog (or did i? maybe i forgot).

I have also been with IPB since the start. I love running forums. I love the interaction with other members. I like them to be fairly simple. My members don't like big changes in the software... and neither do I.

I look forward to getting a nice "old school" skin finished and on the table. Then I can be confident in upgarding my main forums.

Cheers :)

#17 Kyanar

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 03:43 AM

Despite your usual snarky know-it-all style, I'll respond anyway.

1. I didn't see that, was that in an official dev update?
2. was the issue of results as posts rather than threads addressed?
3. Has Matt addressed the numerous threads about this issue with the information that you have revealed?
4. Given that this was "an easy fix" as revealed by IPB staff, why haven't we seen it before - especially in light of the fact that this is probably the most complained about feature of the software?
5. Do you think that if you communicated in a less abrasive manor, people would be more interested in what you have to say?


Despite your usual confrontational and unnecessarily antagonistic (and most ironically, know-it-all) style, I'll actually respond also. I won't do so again.

1. It was not in an official dev update, but then I don't believe there's been one covering search yet. I'd love to see one on this topic, since it took me 5 minutes to find the thread I was looking for and I eventually just gave up and trawled through the forum I knew I saw it in anyway, to find it: http://community.inv...h-terms-not-or/.
2. No, that hasn't been mentioned.
3. Only the one thread. But then I'm not one hundred percent sure why there even is multiple threads. They're posted close enough together that there should be only one thread.
4. I've seen it mentioned that it's actually not all that easy of a fix, due to difficulties in working out what's meant to be a word break and stuff like that. I don't recall where though.
5. Do you ever think that if you weren't so confrontational, people would be more interested in what you have to say?
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#18 Wolfie

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:33 AM

Despite your usual snarky know-it-all style, I'll respond anyway.

Despite your usual confrontational and unnecessarily antagonistic (and most ironically, know-it-all) style, I'll actually respond also. I won't do so again.

Children, children, please, can we all get along?


how is that "no word"?

Dm, while I think this part of his response wasn't exactly pleasing, it's not really all that bad. I can see why you'd be a bit put off by it, but I'd say to just let that part go, it's not worth getting into an argument about.

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#19 Fast Lane!

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 05:18 AM

Children, children, please, can we all get along?



Dm, while I think this part of his response wasn't exactly pleasing, it's not really all that bad. I can see why you'd be a bit put off by it, but I'd say to just let that part go, it's not worth getting into an argument about.



Lets definitely keep this on topic. I will be honest, I am tired of IPB giving half answers, meaningless promises that they do not follow up on, and in general saying enough to pacify us "until next time". Lets not give them a reason to let this thread run and get off topic. For once lets get IPB to stand up and make a commitment to us the customers. Saying things like "it is coming", or "soon" is BS marketing talk for "we will get to if and when we damn well please". How about a technology road map. Say WHEN things will be added in. I understand for business strategy to keep the long term road map private, but we (admins, webmasters, etc) need to plan too. We need information ahead of time. This is how business works. I know IPB has grown from a small company to a medium sized small company, so maybe this is honestly new. That said it is time to adopt some standard business practices like this (IPB, it WILL help your company and its products -- seriosuly). If you announce a roadmap integration date and it slips, fine. At least be honest. If it will not be considered for the next release do not string us along like you have with cleancut for the last 8 months or more.
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#20 Robulosity2

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 05:37 AM

I'm fairly sure the OP got Negative point's due to the way he (or she) is approaching the topic at hand..

Half Answers? If you know where to look I've seen them provide some pretty in depth and insightful comments and responses to Active customers


In terms to your comment saying its BS marketing talk.. No no its not, saying it's being worked on they don't have a final time line because it is NOT in beta yet.. That's like Apple saying "Oh yah, were in Alpha 2 right now on OSX 10.9, so it will be in FINAL June 2rd.." Won't happen, ever.

As they create and code the new features to ensure it works into the software they announce it will be there, but until they've actually started designing it you wan't them to promise features they may not be able to deliver so people can cry about that to? Guess what, they ARE saying when things will be implemented.. it's in a version basis, but they aren't just going to blow smoke saying features will be there because people want to hear it.. (Remember how pissed people were when WinFS wasn't available on Vista or 7?)

You're acting like they're out to dick us around, they have one of the most reasonable pricing and best support platforms for their products out of most CMS/Forum software providers (Go look at VB's support and pricing) including not charging for new major version releases if your keeping your subscription up to date.. This is not something that can be said for most of their competitors.

CleanCut is included with 3.0.5, it's an addon something your not paying for.. something they didn't HAVE to include nor is it in any way a Core Function or product of Invision.. But hey, if you want to whine about it being called a Beta when the template bits are all there by all means.. It doesn't mean its any less ready for the public and people who properly test things on their Production instead of just installing them because they're "final" would realize this..
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