Some feedback by a newbie



  • Hi,

    I am currently searching for a new forum/community software for my small online gaming community. In general, I like what you are doing here. My game is also implemented with NodeJS.

    Sadly, after some days of work with nodeBB, i am frustrated. Here are some issues:

    • The documentation is poor.
      • When i installed nodeBB, noone told me which branch i shall use to run a stable version. Currently i use master branch which is pretty much broken all the recent days.
      • Some essential plugins like "custom-pages" or "custom-homepage" don't have a documentation at all. The README does not help any way.
      • I cannot find any information about the upcoming (hopefully stable) version 1 release. When does it happen? Which features does it have?
    • Core plugins (nodebb-theme-vanilla and nodebb-theme-persona) are broken all the time. Here is what my output.log lists as incompatible plugins with master branch:
      • nodebb-theme-vanilla
      • nodebb-plugin-mentions
      • nodebb-plugin-spam-be-gone
      • nodebb-plugin-dbsearch
    • Most of the time when i make a change, i need to restart nodeBB twice. After the first attempt, the server responds with "Cannot get /".
    • The customization options are very poor: Perona has nearly none, vanilla offers some few, but that's really not enough. E.g. Why is there no footer widget are in categories.tpl?

    I really wonder if you have any kind of e2e testing. I would assume that core plugins run e2e tests to ensure everything works together before they are commited into master.

    I mean, how do you want to provide a stable forum? The UX, okay. Its shiny in the first moments... but after some looks underneath the surface... i dont know.

    Can you give me some information about your future plans to provide a stable version?

    Cheers
    Norman



  • NodeBB v1.0.0 is a stable version (v1.x.x branch) and previous stable version was v0.9.4 (v0.9.x branch).
    https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB/releases


  • Community Rep

    Documentation definitely needs work. But I understand it can be difficult sometimes, I know even some of my own plugins have a blank/useless readme. Maybe we will see some improvements now that 1.0.0 is released.


  • GNU/Linux

    • The documentation is poor.

    https://docs.nodebb.org/en/latest/installing/os.html
    For each of those it states -b v1.x.x, so the branch is pretty clear to me. For cloud installations I sent a PR (which already got merged while writing this post) https://github.com/NodeBB/nodebb-english/pull/84 to adopt v1.x.x.

    • Core plugins (nodebb-theme-vanilla and nodebb-theme-persona) are broken all the time. Here is what my output.log lists as incompatible plugins with master branch:

    Warning about incompatibility is not broken. This is master-branch specific, you shouldn't encounter those for any stable version.

    • Most of the time when i make a change, i need to restart nodeBB twice. After the first attempt, the server responds with "Cannot get /".

    Any logs of NodeBB that might regard on this? Should be reported on GH with reproduction steps and OS information. Most probable as well master related (if NodeBB is to blame).

    • The customization options are very poor: Perona has nearly none, vanilla offers some few, but that's really not enough. E.g. Why is there no footer widget are in categories.tpl?

    The most customization options you get by creating a theme that extends from your favorite theme; You then can overwrite single templates or less variables (if the base theme makes use of those).
    Writing a theme is not an easy task, writing it with customization-features is pretty difficult. Since the (developing) core team consists of just 3 people I understand why there are other tasks being worked on.
    After all the devs are doing a great job providing capabilities of custom plugins/themes. Sadly we're missing 3rd party people writing themes, there are 2-3 of whom I know.
    Also themes are affected by breaking changes of the core most often. Not to mention the new features that need to get integrated within themes.

    We're lucky to have some people who are willing to do all that kind of work yet there is low quantity. Only time (or preventing core team from releasing new features xD ) can solve this.

    After all the NodeBB core team does offer personalized themes/customization, so we're just missing all of this without any charge.

    And as of the footer within categories you're always free to propose changes via Pull Request. NodeBB and it's core plugins/themes are quite community-driven and open for feature requests; There just has to be someone requesting those ;)
    And this might be best within separate topics (one for each request/issue you have for/with NodeBB) due to overview reasons.



  • I checked out v1.x.x still having the same issue with "Cannot GET /" when switching from persona to vanilla. I think it has something to do with tests of nodebb-plugin-custom-pages but i am not sure.

    I really think you should have some coding guidelines to ensure some level of code quality. A git repository without a README is just useless. As is software without some sort of test coverage - on unit and e2e level.

    Im still not sure if i shall give nodebb a chance or stick to phpbb. I will play a little with phpbb and then i will make a decision.



  • If you're comfortable with any other forum software then go for it.



  • @normanwenk

    I installed few days ago using
    git clone -b v1.x.x https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB.git nodebb

    switched from persona to vanilla then restart nodebb within dashboard

    where did you encounter error? i would like to check also.

    note: i don't have any plugins installed at moment


  • Admin

    Could be a custom pages plugin error... I'll admit that plugin makes it really easy to brick your forum, since you could type in the incorrect format for a route and NodeBB just won't boot.

    v0.2.3 of the plugin should be easier to use now.



  • @normanwenk said in Some feedback by a newbie:

    • The customization options are very poor: Perona has nearly none, vanilla offers some few, but that's really not enough. E.g. Why is there no footer widget are in categories.tpl?

    Having this exact same frustration. The categories.tpl to insert widgets is not consistent from theme to theme.

    Persona being the default theme. I'd think it would have all of the available templates? In any case, how do I make the categories.tpl available in Persona so I can add widgets only to the category page?


  • Admin

    gh#4646 You're right, widget areas should be reintroduced. It's not really usable in Persona as is.

    julianlam created this issue in NodeBB/NodeBB

    closed Reintroduce widget areas to Persona #4646



  • After your friendly replies i would like to give an update. I did play with phpbb and its really nothing to go these days. It feels like stepping 20 years back compared to the nodeBB user experience.

    What i am doing now is to refactor my game on base of angular2 stack and to add a a very small forum like messaging feature myself. I think this will be the best solution because it seamingless fits into my application.

    You are doing a great job here and if i ever search for a real forum again i will come back :)


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