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Nacey

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I need to update IPB again and as always that means updating the entire theme to make it work with the new version. As most people have probable noticed, the current theme is far from perfec, especially some of the popup / AJAX (dynamic) stuff. The default IPB skin that this is based on is fundamentally based on dark text on a light background (which I will henceforth refer to as a "light" theme/skin). Our theme here is the opposite, which I do like, but it is a lot of hassle updating it every time.

This is deliberately not a poll because I want to get some reasoned opinions about this rather than just counting the yes/no votes. It also makes it a lot easier to ultimately ignore you all and just do whatever is easiest. I'm looking for opinions you can justify ("I hate green because I am allergix to trees") and explanations as to why the theme does or does not matter to you. Please take a few moments to let me know what you think so that I don't do something that you hate.

So, here are the questions:

  1. How important is it to you that there is a dark theme (like the current one)?
  2. The IPB default theme is light, see here. If I made that green instead of blue (and added our logo, of course), would it work for you?
  3. An alternative to updating this skin is that I just buy one, they are pretty cheap and it means someone else does the work after each update. There are some examples around that could work for us, such as this (if this isn't dark/green, use the Change Theme option in the bottom left to select "Carbon (Green)"). Thoughts?
  4. If you want me to update the current skin, how much of Dan's 10bn ISK would you recommend that Dan sends me in payment?

You can answer point by point or in one big blurb or whatever, I don't really care.

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Skins do not bother me so long as it is functional. You've seen my forum and lack of skin. So long as I can read, post and generally use the forum what you do with the skin is upto you.

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1. I do like the theme but dont want to see you spending all your life fixing a new one if it takes alot of effort

2. Would like to see a mocked up example of the green to be used but on the whole that sounds good.

3. The buy one link looks the same as the one in two. Is there green ones?

4. 4Bn sounds about right

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You may need to set the theme, I wasn't sure if that link was associated with my cookie or not. In the bottom left of that link choose Change Theme and select "Carbon (Green)".

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This is an extremely quick demo of the default IPB theme except turned green using a single RGB Level filter on the blue parts of the image Obviously this may not fit your monitor, the avatars would not be all green/brown, the text that is brownish would be a better colour, and in general it would look a bit more polished. But it should serve to give a general idea of how it would look.

Click!

I actually quite like it.

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  • How important is it to you that there is a dark theme (like the current one)?
    Quite - I can't sit and read when the colours are the other way around, its actually one of the reasons I haven't got stuck into the Goon forum (though I may be missing a trick there)
  • The IPB default theme is light, see here. If I made that green instead of blue (and added our logo, of course), would it work for you?
    To me, the light text on dark background is more relevant than the colour of the banners and theming. I used the PB theme when that was avaliable.
  • An alternative to updating this skin is that I just buy one, they are pretty cheap and it means someone else does the work after each update. There are some examples around that could work for us, such as this (if this isn't dark/green, use the Change Theme option in the bottom left to select "Carbon (Green)"). Thoughts?
    I quite like that theme, I'd be happy with that with our logo in the corner.
  • If you want me to update the current skin, how much of Dan's 10bn ISK would you recommend that Dan sends me in payment?
    None - But if cost was an issue for the theme to save effort I'd chip in (though I doubt it is)

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Quite - I can't sit and read when the colours are the other way around, its actually one of the reasons I haven't got stuck into the Goon forum (though I may be missing a trick there)
Have you tried turning your brightness down? This isn't normal, unless the website is really badly designed and has a true white background or something. Most themes are shades of grey/blue for the background and should not be causing eyestrain but I sometimes get that effect if I use an uncalibrated/horrible monitor.

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I know why it is - its to do with the way my eyes see. Black on white\light backgrounds causes my left eye to have the Black text blink between black and white. This is due to damage to my left optic nerve that now can't be repaired - I'm told if I had caught this before I was 7, they would have patched my Right eye to allow the left to catch up.

Typically when reading, this isn't a problem as my Right eye has learnt to compensate and when I read text it appears normal, but if I can't sit and read black on white for long and my optician thinks its likley that its due to the increased strain on my Right eye.

Grey on Dark Grey, like our forum, doesn't do that and I find I can sit and read it as long as I like.

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Thanks, that is what I mean when I say that it is helpful to understand the reasons behind things.  There is a big difference between "I don't like it" and "I was stabbed in the eyes as a child and can't see it properly".

It seems reasonably clear that most (or at least, enough) people really prefer dark themes.  I do too.  Not in the "my eyes fall out" sense, but in general I think it works for thsi site, it fits the theme/concept better, and it is easy to read (I'm not sure about easier but it's certainly no worse).

As mentioned, I really don't want to recode the default skin to be dark again, it's actually really ahrd because some parts are just not designed to work that way.  If I could just change a bunch of colour hex codes then it'd be fine, but it actually requires changes to the page structure as well.  For $25 we can get a skin that will be updated quickly after each release and is guanranteed to work until IPB 4.0 which hasn't even been mentioned yet so should be a year or two away at least.  So I'm very much tending towards that idea.

Take a look at Carbon (Green) and Infinite Dark on the link I posted before, any specific comments welcome.  Infinite supposedly has a colour shade switcher built in, but I can't see so on the demo, so I need to ask about that.

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I prefer Infinite Dark, but it seems like it would better in Green. I'd be more than happy with either of those - and I can chip in with either ISK or money to pay for it.

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Four easy steps:

  1. Click here.
  2. Click Change Theme (bottom left) and choose Spectrum.
  3. Use the colour selector in the top right to make it the same kind of green as we have here for the top bar and link text (not the darker background). If you aim for the greenest part of the hue selector (right bar) and then about halfway down the right edge of the main square, that should be about right. It might look bad on Spectrum, don't worry about that.
  4. Click Change Theme again and choose Infinite Dark.

You should now be looking as Infinite Dark in green.

The theme does come with a colour switcher but it is disabled on the demo for some reason. The other switchable themes store the colour settings in the same place so we can use that as a workaround. If we bought it then it would work properly of course and you could individually set that colour to whatever you wanted it to be.

I sort of don't like it as much as what we have right now but it seems pretty usable. I would appreciate it if some people try it out with the steps above and click around a bit, read a random thread, use it for 3-4 minutes as you would this site and tell me what you think.

My aim here is to find a theme that I don't have to make a bunch of modifications to so this is your chance to tell me what you do/don't like about it.

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I actually really like that, would be more than happy and after a while would clearly forget.

I'm guessing you'd still have capacity for the logo?

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Yeah, we'd need to see how the logo best fits, obviouslly the layout is a little different to what we have at the moment.

Which brings us nicely to...

Things I don't like about it:

  • The "hashed" effect on the headers and buttons is kind of ugly.
  • I don't like the default font very much. That should be rather simple to change without screwing up every update though.
  • The logo probably doesn't fit very well, we'd end up with a big space. It might fit hanging across the black "Sign In" bar but I'm not sure how that would look and I don't want to have to fudge it too much.

It isn't major stuff and it looks okay but every time I look back at the default theme I just feel that it looks better.

I'm probably going to update IPB and see how much work it will take to reconvert it. You might have to live with the default light theme for a few days but it drags beyond that then I'll just grab Infinite or something else that looks reasonable.

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I'm running some giant database backups and other stuff, site might be a bit slow for the next hour.

(Edit: performance impact seems to be negligible at the moment.)

Also I'm trying to get us moved to a lower contention node to see if it helps with Mumble. If it doesn't then I'll look at other hosting options. Setting up IIS again would be urgh but it's currently pretty shitty so it'd be worth it if this host can't sort it. Sorry for people who have been using it more than me recently, I didn't realise it was bad all the time.

If we move nodes then our IP will change meaning some downtime for the actual transfer and then some time while the DNS propagates. I can minimise that, depending on how much warning I get on when they will do it (by reducing the DNS TTL, for the techies). Mumble will be accessible directly via the new IP but the website mostly won't. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 days altogether and I'm trying to get it done before MoP releases.

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Host has agreed to move us to a low contention node for free. More info to come. Make alternate voice comm arrangements if you absolutely need it at any specific time during the next week.

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Slightly new plan, they will set up the new box and I'll throw Mumble on it so we can test it for a few days. That means I will need everyone to get onto a new Mumble and talk to each other and then tell me how it works. Not now, but when I say so, should be sometime in the next week. Please keep an eye out for requests.

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Confirmed that we can try it out for a week. This does indeed seem like a good time to do it, and we'll still have the old one in case there is a problem so it shouldn't disrupt things too much.

I will need people to actually try the new one though rather than just sitting on the existing, since we only have a free week to decide. I may be taking the old one down for short periods or kicking people off in the interests of making that happen. I'll make a dedicated thread when it is ready to go.

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