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EoS Alpha - Overview

Eos_default.png: 1173x814, 196k (July 29, 2012, at 05:09 AM)
EoS Alpha main page

EoS Alpha is a forum software, written in PHP, using the MySQL database as storage engine. It is a fork of the popular and well-known forum software Simple Machines Forum version 2.0 which was released in 2011 as open source.

For a quick overview of all document pages, look here.

Differences between EoS and SMF

While EoS Alpha shares a lot of code and uses almost the same database layout, it differs a lot from SMF in that it features:

  • a new template system, using the Smarty 3 template engine
  • a plugin architecture that tries to avoid file edits for installing modifications (additional features). Plugins use hooks, both in the backend code and in the template system to add functionality to the software.
  • A completely new theme with a new layout, including a side bar.
  • A couple of new features, like a rating system, topic prefixes, user tagging, new bb codes, post caching and much more
  • Built-in "pretty" URLS (sometimes called SEO friendly)
  • Support for the Sphinx search daemon as replacement for the (slow) MySQL fulltext search.

Features that were removed

  • Support for databases other than MySQL
  • Support for older versions of PHP (PHP 5.3 is the minimum requirement)
  • Support for codepages other than UTF-8. Basically, UTF-8 is the only supported character encoding.
  • The spell checker - didn't work very well anyway and not on all servers. Furthermore, any decent browser now has a built-in spell checker.
  • The database backup in the admin panel. Again, it didn't really work well enough and was actually dangerous to use in SMF. There are thousand ways to backup a database, so this feature isn't really needed in a forum software.
  • Support for older technologies like caching support for eAccelerator
  • MySQL fulltext search index. No longer needed, Sphinx works better and should be the preferred solution for large forums. For small to medium sized installations, the custom search index works just fine.

The project was started about 10 months ago after Simple Machines finally released SMF 2.0 under a OSS compatible license (BSD three clause, actually). Initially, it was just some kind of experiment to create a completely new theme, but I quickly realized that theming can't only get you thus far and without code modifications there is no way to implement more drastic changes.

I decided to go the open source way, created a repo on GitHub and started to code away. I made good progress initially, then slowed down a bit because of the typical open source problem (lack of free time). Even though development goes a bit slowly, I've already achieved quite a few new features, a completely new look and much more.

Current project status

Well, still in a very early stage. For really experienced users, the code is probably usable, but since there is no fully working installer nor a updater script, it is very difficult to install and use. Also, most of the new features are not yet polished enough to make them suitable for a production site and there are probably a lot of bugs.

Since I can only work in my free time and sometimes have to take longer breaks, I also cannot predict a release date yet. In any case, it is still many months away.

Last modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 16:50 CET, by Nightwish

Category: EoSAlpha

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