phpBB3 is on its way around the corner, and it’s looking pretty polished. It’s got an upgraded infrastructure, a fantastic new administration interface, and a slew of new features. Its new proSilver template is out and about now, and is very modern in design. All CSS-driven, tableless XHTML which makes it more flexible than ever, moreso even than its competitors.
Amongst it’s new clean interface is a fairly simple, unique little difference that sets it apart from virtually every other board: The author’s avatar and information are displayed to the right of the post rather than the left. The design decision was made in order to direct the eye to the post content rather than the author. It’s literally just a matter of modifying a couple values in the CSS to switch it back, but it’s caused a significant stir over at the phpBB forums. This will be the phpBB default, so altered or no it’ll be making its way onto many online forums in the near future. I personally am in favor of it as it makes the forum look more like an actual discussion rather than a post count warzone (not that it won’t still be one), but I’m curious to hear some of your opinions. Comment away!
“The Beauty in CSS Design”
The web is a very messy place. Web standards, in reality, aren’t. But I like to cling to them anyway, because they need the help and they make things much better in the long run. XHTML and CSS, when used properly, let the content writers churn out pure content and the designers worry only about making that content look wonderful, without all the toe-stepping that has plagued this process for years.
Of course, there’s no point in it if nobody uses it, and let’s face it: it hasn’t been advertised very well where it counts. XHTML/CSS is geek stuff. We made it to make our lives easier. It makes the designer’s lives easier too, but they’re not interested in the ramblings of evangelizing engineers. We can show them all the shifted, resized, repositioned and cascaded colored boxes we want; we simply aren’t speaking their language.
Which brings us to the CSS Zen Garden. It is a project that challenges actual graphic designers to try their hand at customizing their page using CSS alone, and the results are astounding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of what the guy’s over at PIE are doing, but nobody can show the true potential of CSS as a design layer quite like, well, designers.
Be careful over there though, it’s easy to lose an hour flipping through all the various designs. Here’s a few of my favorites: