During the last days phpBB.com was offline, as they had some serious technical problems with their Web server machine.
Today I went to check if they are back online, and to my surprise not only they were back, but they had launched their new Web site as well.
The new design is definitely more professional, and it is closer to Web 2.0 standards.
The downloads page is clean and neat, however I would love to see an RSS feed there, in order to monitor the new files easily.
Oh, and I fancy the new favicon, despite the fact that it resembles the Windows Live Messenger icon quite a lot.
Now let’s move to the more interesting stuff, the phpBB main forum has been updated to the phpBB 3.0 version!
At first glance, you can see that the new prosilver style is not in full screen (100% width) mode like the old phpBB 2.0.x subSilver style, and it has (at last) round corners.
It also gave me the impression that it loaded faster, so I clicked on to view the page source, and the result was amazing… It was marked up as XHTML 1.0 Strict, and it didn’t contain any old fashioned table tags!
Checking that with the official W3C XHTML validator, it only gave out 4 minor errors.
Back to the layout, in the “viewforum” pages, the “author” column has been removed. I guess that it wouldn’t fit in the new “centered” theme approach. Apart from that it is similar to the old style.
Now, what has really changed a lot, is the “viewtopic” page, which is showing the actual posts for each topic.
The author’s profile and avatar block has moved to the right of the page, and thus the message is on the left-side.
At first I thought that it was a huge mistake, and that it wasn’t at all convenient for the reader.
However, when I checked it back a bit later, and went through some posts, I had completely changed my mind.
It reminds me of the blogs layout, even my blog.
The author of each individual post is shown on top of it, as well as the date. For example:
Posted Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:46 pm by author-name.
Therefore, you can easily see who the author is, read the post, and then if you wish, check the author’s profile info on the right panel. Isn’t it a brilliant idea? Probably this way you will not get distracted by a mighty annoying avatar.
Anyway, if you don’t like it as it is, since the style is CSS-based, it would be quite easy to have the profile on the left.
The posts are separated by one line of white space, so again it is easy to distinguish them.
In conclusion, the new style is overall of high standards, and with a few tweaks it is going to look great.
Edit: According to some posts, the final style version will have a 100% width.