The Road To v0.5.0 and Beyond

It's been almost two months since v0.4.3 was released, and we've been working hard to make sure that our next release is just as featureful and polished as our releases prior.

Our community has continued to be one of our biggest supporters, and we can't thank them enough. Every user who contributes back by reporting bugs and participating in development discussions is helping shape NodeBB, and we hope to continue this tradition of openness and transparency.

As we're nearing the release of v0.5.0, I wanted to take a bit of time to go over some of the new features we're shipping, and a couple ideas that we're thinking about.

At this time, there is no set release date for v0.5.0. A release timeline will be available closer to the date.

What's new since v0.4.3?

ForumCon

Last month, NodeBB sent a representative down to ForumCon in San Francisco! We were also media partners (you may have seen the ad on our community forum, running the week leading up to ForumCon), and got the chance to meet some very interesting people working with forum software. We had no booth this year, but there's always next year!

HackerNews

We also had the good fortune to make it to the front page of HackerNews! The entry (posted by an unrelated third-party) rocketed up the rankings around 6am Eastern Time, and totally decimated our analytics.

Makes our existing traffic flatline...

Now for some good news and bad news:

The good news is NodeBB handled the traffic very well, and our server did not go down for any significant amount of time (which is a miracle, when all of us were sleeping!). The bad news was that the night before, I had pushed an update to the (at the time, very much in-development) Pushbullet plugin, which had the nasty side effect of crashing the forum whenever somebody tried to access their settings. During these brief interruptions (~ 30 seconds each), visitors were not able to access NodeBB, but our monitoring code (bundled with all NodeBBs as of v0.4.0) brought it right back up, so downtime was minimal.

Talk about bad timing!

Things we're working on

Note: Not all of them will make it into v0.5.0
  • We received criticism for our Lavender theme, which arranged categories in a "Pinterest-style" manner. Reactions to it are mostly of the love-it-or-hate-it variety. We're planning to ship a new theme for v0.5 so if you have ideas about what it should be like let us know!
  • NodeBB translation is an ongoing process, with 2 new languages added (Korean and Romanian). If you speak another language, help us translate! The translation project is hosted on Transifex.
  • Pushbullet integration has been completed, enabling admins to provide push notifications to their users (free for both users and admins)! The plugin will be released concurrently with NodeBB v0.5.0. Coupled with the mobile-responsiveness of NodeBB, it is completely usable on a mobile phone, no app purchase required.
  • Topic searching has always been a sore spot for users of NodeBB, especially if your community speaks a non-latin language. In addition, the existing search plugin is built on phonetics (e.g. A search for "Johann" would also return matches containing "John"), but we found that the rate of false positives was too high (e.g. searches for "forums" would return results about "farms").
    • A new search plugin is in development by the NodeBB team, utilising an Apache Solr install as a backend.
  • After many requests, NodeBB v0.5.0 will contain the tags feature, allowing users to specify their own categorisations in conjunction with existing categories.
    • Some intrepid admins even did away with categories altogether, and use tags exclusively!
  • We received many requests for the ability to sort posts based on popularity (upvotes), in addition to time. This functionality has been completed, and will be in v0.5.0
  • While integration with NodeBB methods is always available to plugins, many developers do not work with Node.js, and would prefer to integrate with NodeBB through a JSON API. The current API included in NodeBB is read-only, and we are looking into providing a write-enabled API with key-based authentication (possibly OAuth) to allow external apps to integrate easily. Join the discussion here.
  • Admins will be able to create badges in the ACP. Badges can be created by the admin via an "if-this-then-that" style logic interface. Badges are able to listen to any hook in NodeBB, allowing you to award users for a myriad of achievements on your forum

Looking to contribute to NodeBB?

Julian Lam

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Toronto, Ontario