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AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour

You might be interested in what AtomBB currently looks like in its current state so, I’ve attached some images to this blog post so, you can visually see everything rather than, just hearing descriptions like you have upto now (keep in mind that the software is currently in a pre-alpha state so, it may change dramatically by the time that the first alpha is actually released and you should not use it on a production site as the software is currently not stable enough.. yet).

[ABB_Pre-Alpha_Tour_Index]

The index page for the AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour.

The index page has remained fairly similar to how it was in earlier development however, the statistics on it can be disabled with a flick of a switch for those who may not want the statistics to be so publically available or those who think that it’s a waste of space on the page.

There are many plans to revolutionise this page dramatically in Alpha 2 however, those innovative features have not been prioritised for Alpha 1 as Alpha 1 covers the more fundamental and basic features which we expect to have in the software.

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_002The list of discussions on each forums is a fairly standard feature which is currently kept fairly simple for expected functionality although, we do plan to extend it dramatically during the next alpha as it currently serves it’s minimal purpose very well.

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_003Santa is an easter egg which was attached to UID -2 (which is unusuable by users) which is the account which the default topic is generated under rather than, the account of the administrator to help differentiate it from the administrator.

You can see the contribution level system in action with a level being displayed clearly on the postbit along with the group which the user is in and a user statistic to gauge the number of “big” posts which a user has which eliminates small low quality posts in order to avoid artificial inflation.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_004The system will make sure to confirm your action when you click one of the moderative options on someone’s post to prevent you from accidentally deleting a post or other such actions.

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_005There are several options under the user’s message which are signified with icons which expose a number of moderative features like banning the user rapidly or protecting a post which is a feature where you lock the post so, no one else can modify the post in any way without revoking the protection which when used in conjunction with a specific permission can be quite powerful.

abb_prealpha_tour_006Welcome to the Moderation Control Panel which is a miniature control panel for moderators which you may already be familiar with when using other modern software (unless, you are coming from one of the older software) which has a number of sections for moderators to do their jobs more effectively by having a general overview.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_007For instance, you can see posts which have been deleted (normal deletions are soft-deletions with more powerful deletions generally not being available to lower level moderators), posts which have been hidden from public sight by a moderator or posts which have been protected so, no one is able to modify it without revoking the protection flag from it.

A similar overview is also available in the thread manager under it (Yes, you can protect whole topics too) which is not shown here but, it looks very similar to the Post Manager.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_008The Notice Manager is a relatively new innovation in the forum market as other software don’t really leverage the idea of sending global messages across the forum (group specific ones are planned for Alpha 2 so, don’t worry about those) so, we decided to have an easy system for staff to make a notice across the forum which is very visible (unlike announcements in other software which are usually buried under a forum. We’ll have those but, we are implementing them as a third topic type which topics can be elevated to rather than, a whole new concept).

 

abb_prealpha_tour_009An example of a notice created by the notice manager mentioned above.

As you can see, the user who created the notice is listed in the notice list next to the notice so, it’s easy to hold people accountable for their actions.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_010There is also a miniature user manager where you can issue warnings and bans from along with giving some useful information on a user on a glance like the group which they are currently in. Editing capabilities are planned.

While you can’t see it here, it is also possible to activate an account via this page which allows moderators to help with managing an activation queue or to speed people who you know are not bots through the activation process.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_011I’ve done quite a bit of work on the Control Panel like reworking the navigation bar to make it somewhat more appealing than the more boring look which it had yesterday and I threw on the logo to help the branding of it.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_012The User Editor has fairly standard capabilities and has a layout consisting of two parts (asides from the sidebar which is present everywhere in the Control Panel) with more items planned to be added to the right part in the future.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_013A list of all of the groups which are currently on the forums which won’t necessarily all be admin-created (if you set it up, that way, of course) as we have huge plans to add to the group system as a whole with group permissions being considered a basic feature (unlike some recent software which are trying to go down a more minimalistic approach).

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_014Several minor features which differentiate this group system includes the ability to have multi-coloured names which is caused by the system assigned a random colour to each letter in the name.

A more important feature however, is the access level system where if you try to edit another user of an equal rank (E.g. supermod, admin, etc.) then, the system will check whether your level is higher than theirs otherwise, it will prevent you from performing that action or any moderative (or administrative) action on them for that matter.

abb_prealpha_tour_015AtomBB has a fairly fine grained permissions system which should grant a huge degree of flexibility to administrators to control access in nearly exactly the way which they desire access to be granted.

For those who find the permissions system to be overwhelming, there will be a type of plugin known as “presets” which populate your installation with custom groups created by other members of the community (which ever ones which you want) or any other type of script which involves inserting data in a similar manner.

abb_prealpha_tour_016The forum manager looks fairly standard however, you are capable of dragging forums around to rearrange them (or you could set the orders manually via the forum editor) which should help to speed up your workflow with forums being assigned to other categories when you drag them under another category automatically.

abb_prealpha_tour_017As mentioned above, you can set the order via the forum manager.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_018The Control Panel can manage moderators much more effectively than the ModCP with a vast degree of control over the local permissions being available while if you want a more simplified interface then, there’s always the ModCP’s forum manager.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_019The setting editor is one of the features which takes advantage of the two pane layout much more than the other areas with plans to add over twenty types of settings with each having their own unqiue input type like the system automatically pulling a forum list when you have to input a specific forum into a setting.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_020The plugin manager allows you to install plugins although, it hasn’t been expanded much currently although, it is planned for the ability to upload plugins and to have an interface to navigate the plugins which are available in an interface similar to that used by WordPress for those who want to quickly find plugins to use.

abb_prealpha_tour_021The System Manager which you might have seen before on the blog has been planned out much more thoroughly than it wa when I last made a blog post about it.

It shows several important statistics with a single glance and is planned to have dramatically more information to ensure the smooth running of the site.

 

abb_prealpha_tour_022Why not? Just throwing the UserCP out there.

 

 

 

 

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Alright, back to the more.. advanced features.

abb_prealpha_tour_025As you would expect with the current climate, we have created a conversation system for people to privately (well, depends on if anyone is snooping like an admin so, let’s reword that to.. directly) communicate with each other and where multiple users can join in a conversation.

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_026You simply have to seperate each name with a ‘,’ to create a conversation with multiple participants in it.

 

 

 

 

abb_prealpha_tour_027You can also add people to an existing conversation by hitting the invite option while some users (like administrators) may have the ability to lock a conversation which results in no one being able to post in it at all.

 

 

 

 

That’s the end of this AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour however, we plan to continue more and more features as we progress towards our eventual goal of entering the Beta Phase with our currently goal being the release of the first AtomBB Alpha which will contain a small subset of the eventual vast array of innovations however, it is one step in the direction of our objective to break the stagnation in the forum market.

If you liked this article then, feel free to share it or to link to it or to discuss it on our forums.

What is AtomBB?

AtomBB is an new forum software which has been in development since early 2012 in the hopes of breaking the current stagnation in the forum market due to many of the forum software stalling or not innovating rapidly enough with some new approaches towards hierarchical staff structures, permissions and other big innovations.

AtomBB is a project which is under my ownership as of.. this summer after my skills for developing and managing the project were recognised by the original founder who is known around this site as SuperSajuuk as more suitable for the role than himself thus, the ownership was tranferred in a process which resulted in all of the existing assets being tranferred over.

The first approach which we took was building the permissions system from the ground up to serve as a resilient important solution rather than baking it in as a lesser feature and as such, the permission logic is located within it’s own object where it can weigh the permissions checked and respond accordingly with a true or a false response to such permission checking requests as some forum software like MyBB take this much less seriously by just sticking a number of columns on the usergroups table for each permission which they may want to check.

Additionally, local permissions like local moderator status are loaded via the permissions object with a single method call where after being loaded, they can simply have those permissions checked in the same way as any other permission which results in a fairly standardised permissions model across both local and global scopes.

One aspect which AtomBB covers is a feature known as contribution levels which are based on numerous statistics like the number of posts which someone has, the number of topics which they have created and so forth with certain metrics being given greater weights than others in order to generate an overall idea about someone’s contribution to a forum as opposed to more traditional methods on older forums like post counts which tend to be artificially inflated by a large number of low quality posts as all posts are treated equally on such systems.

Theoretically, the contribution level system uses an exponential algorithm so, it can in theory go on forever rather than hitting a solid cap as someone rises up the levels however, it’s unlikely that anyone will ever get past level 10 on an unmodded setup with the default settings (it’s possible to modify a multiplier in order to raise or lower contribution level requirements to an extent although, very detailed alterations are only possible via a plugin due to the complexity of the algorithm) due to how high the requirements are to achieve such higher levels.

One important aspect for managing staff is a feature known as staff levels (not to be confused with contribution levels which are automatically calculated by the system) which allows super administrators (normally, the owner) to assign levels to staff which prevent them from performing moderative or administrative actions on staff who are equal or higher level than them (admins can still edit supermods as the rank difference overrides the level difference) with an exception for super admins who aren’t bound by the level system.

This system can be useful in creating much larger hierarchical structures than would typically be possible or to simply get an extra degree of flexibility over what actions that staff can perform to each other which also helps to solidify more conceptual structures which may have been harder to implement without the staff level system and it protects higher level staff from the lower level staff who may not and should not have the ability to edit the higher level staff.

The next point may seem less important and is being developed in several other software however, it introduces an extra level of accountability which is edit history where all the edits made to a post are logged and these entries can be navigated via the edit history interface with options to restore a revision, hide a revision and other options for managing the revisions which makes it much harder for staff to hide moderative actions or for users to edit a post to change their opinion when things go downhill for them in an argument.

There are a number of other features which are planned and being implemented for AtomBB however, those will have to be left to a later blog post as we don’t want to dump all of the features on a blog post.. Quite yet..

If you liked this article then, feel free to link back to this page, to share it with your friends or to discuss it on my forums.

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