Things have never been busier for the vBulletin development team. The whole team is working flat-out writing specifications and code for new features and we are actively looking for and hiring new talent to assist us in this task.
With all this activity, now seems as good a time as any to talk a little about what is coming up.
Project Tools 2.0, Blog 2.0
The first things you'll see are new versions of Project Tools and Blog (both version 2.0). Those keeping up with the developer blog or the bug tracker will already know a fair bit about these two updates. The Project Tools update is already running in a beta form here on vBulletin.com, and is available to download from the Members' area. Blog 2.0 will follow in the coming weeks.vBulletin 3.8
A little later this year, you will get your first look at vBulletin 3.8 here on vBulletin.com. While primary development efforts are focused on vBulletin 4, we felt that there is still mileage in vBulletin 3.x, so vBulletin 3.8 is a new feature release, designed to extend and improve some of the functionality introduced in vBulletin 3.7, while adding some additional goodies that we're sure people will appreciate while they wait for the arrival of vBulletin 4.vBulletin 4.0
We will release more information about vBulletin 3.8 over the next few weeks, but here are a few choice morsels to whet your appetites:
Social Group Discussion Topics
This is probably the most-requested feature since the introduction of social groups in vBulletin 3.7. While the current 'social group messages' system allows messages to be posted to a social group, unlike forums it does not allow messages to be divided up into discussions. vBulletin 3.8 rectifies this, and social groups in 3.8 now have the ability to contain individual topics, each with reporting, inline moderation and many of the other tools one would expect from vBulletin.
Private Messaging Improvements
Since vBulletin 3.0, the private messaging system has remained largely unchanged. vBulletin 3.8 sees a number of changes and improvements to make the system easier to use and manage.
We have added Quick Reply to the private message viewing page, removing the need for a visit to a separate interface.
Users now have the ability to change the sort order in private message folders from the existing date-newest-first default.
In order to find what you are looking for more quickly and easily, there's now an inline search system too.
Also, as an anti-spam measure, it's now possible to limit the number of private messages any user may send in a given period of time.
Most Recently-Updated Albums
Bringing users' album pictures out of the dark recesses of their profile, vBulletin 3.8 has a system to display the most recently-updated albums from all users in a unified interface. Now everyone will know when your members upload new pictures!
Moving Album Pictures
It's now possible to move pictures from one album to another, rather than having to delete and reupload.
Thread Prefix Permissions
For those who want to be able to limit the ability of their users to access thread prefixes and prefix sets, vBulletin 3.8 now gives you that ability.
Social Group Categories
To allow users to more easily find a social group that they'd like to join, the administrator can now create categories to which social groups can belong.
Social Group Avatars
A picture is worth a thousand words, so when users create a social group, they can now upload a picture to represent the group, which will be shown both on the group page, and on the list of groups.
There is lots more to reveal, and Darren will be authoring some blog posts to introduce some of the new features in more detail in the very near future. We anticipate a Q4 release for vBulletin 3.8.
vBulletin 3.8 will have the same system requirements and recommendations as vBulletin 3.7.
The biggie. vBulletin 4.0 is ramping up now and is the primary focus for new development. Some may have noticed Andy Huang has been brought into the development team to help out with bugs and allow Mike and Scott to spend more of their time on new development.
vBulletin 4 is an extensive rewrite of the vBulletin system, aimed at providing a superior experience both for users and administrators, while providing a much faster development cycle for vB4-based features and products though code flexibility and stability.
Users will benefit from a new, intuitive interface designed to provide greater usability and accessibility through a clean, modern design. Administrators will also discover more power from the new semantic XHTML templates, whose layout can be restyled and edited with CSS.
Architecturally, vBulletin 4 follows MVC (model-view-controller) object oriented principles, allowing far greater capabilities in code re-use and extendability. It will make far more extensive use of caching and is being designed to be scalable on a level that previous vBulletin versions have not been able to achieve.
Because of the nature of the new code, we will be working much more closely with the plug-in community to provide information and help in getting existing modifications ready for vBulletin 4, so that there is already a library of exciting and well-written plug-ins ready at launch time.
vBulletin 4 will require PHP 5.2.3 and MySQL 5.0.22 or newer versions of each. Having APC and Memcache available on your server will be a significant advantage for vBulletin 4.
We look forward to bringing you a lot more information about vBulletin 4 in the coming months.