The Tech Report forums got a big upgrade

Gerbils, we bring you good tidings. As some of you may have noticed, our forum software has become a little outdated, lacking niceties like SSL support, a modern UI, and a responsive design to better fit mobile devices. After a hefty upgrade, those features are now all at your disposal. Feel free to visit the updated forums and enjoy all the new goodness.

Much like the main site, you have two themes at your disposal: a default white-based theme called Canvas, and a darker option called Black, which is actually inspired by the old-school TR blue. To change your forum theme preferences: click on the little person icon in the top-right corner, select User Control Panel, then click on the Board Preferences tab.

As an additional note, if you have images in your signatures or posts, we request that you change them to the SSL version. That is, when possible, link to them with URLs starting with "https," to avoid browser notifications about mixed content.

The upgrade to the forums was a long process, but we believe the results are more than worth it. Some of you may wonder the reason why we went through such massive changes, though. Let us answer in a typical Q & A fashion:

  • Q: I hate change! Why did you change the themes?
  • A: Because our previous themes, despite being based off the standard phpBB "Prosilver" look, were heavily customized. That required us to fiddle with custom backend code and two themes every time we wanted to upgrade phpBB. Trust us, this was time-consuming and not pleasant at all.
  • Q: But still, they're themes. Themes are HTML, it's easy!
  • A: The thing is, not only do we have a customized header and footer, we also need to worry about integrating (among other things) the several layers of spam filtering, the forum advertisements, sponsorships, and of course, the subscriber badges. That's all now accomplished using multiple TR-written phpBB "Extensions" instead of the old way of altering phpBB's HTML and PHP code.
  • Q: The forums looks a little too big now?
  • A: Yes, that's a compromise between desktop and mobile devices. The information density was far too high before, making it a little tricky to use the forums on phones. They should be much more pleasant and clean-looking now.
  • Q: You're only securing site logins now?
  • A: Most definitely not. We did that before, though it went unnoticed sometimes. This time around we're using SSL for the whole forums.

That's all, folks. If you notice any issues, please post in the Announcements forum, in this thread.

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