Starting in June, we have launched this "Community Updates" blog. July has once again been a fantastic month for the Flarum community with many great additions, which we want to take a deeper look at today.
📩 Making Flarum "real-time."
A much-desired addition to many communities is to add the real-time feeling. Before explaining the different solutions currently available, it's important to understand the difference between "real-time" and "push notifications". While there are several options for enabling "real-time" behaviour for Flarum, this is not enabling push notifications on Android or iOS.
Real-time refers to the list of discussions, notifications, and posts being updated without refreshing the browser. Your browser establishes a WebSocket connection on the first visit and gets notified (pushed) information which is then rendered (displayed) in your browser.
By default, Flarum ships with an extension enabling the service "Pusher". This is a cloud-based solution where your Flarum installation hooks in with the Pusher service. While the technical difficulty to set it up is low, the number of messages available in the "Free" plan is limited. Therefore only smaller communities will be able to run this service free of charge.
For communities seeking independence from third-party services or don't want a usage-based billing, there has been a locally hosted solution for quite a while - Websocket by Kyrne. With this extension, you can set up a local WebSocket server enabling real-time features - as integrating with Pusher does - with the addition of integrating with some third-party extensions. Setting it up requires a hosting solution that allows this as well as some technical ability. Recently this premium extension was made available free of charge. You can still support the development though by purchasing it on Extiverse.
In the past, discuss.flarum.org was using "Websocket" by Kyrne but has changed to a new real-time extension called "Realtime" by Blomstra. This is an upcoming premium extension. The motivation for developing an alternative to "Websocket" has been the reduction of third-party library dependencies as well as some additional features like the "typing indicator". Setting this up will pose similar requirements to the "Websocket" extension. This extension can be purchased on Extiverse.
There may be other solutions available to add real-time alike functionality. For brevity, we've chosen to focus on these solutions, which we feel best suit the broadest subset of Flarum's userbase at this time.
If you have found interest in experiencing a real-time community (as seen on discuss.flarum.org), we recommend giving it a go yourself. The shipped Pusher extension poses a great possibility with no initial costs and very low technical requirements for a start. You can decide how to proceed if you have found a liking in "real-timing" your community.
PS.: If you are interested in talking more about mobile Push notifications, we can take this up in a future Community Update.
🕸️ Extension Highlights
- Pallet Theme by @Kylo: Looking to fresh up your Flarum design? This is a new theme opting for a more tag-oriented experience of your community.
- Purify by @Justoverclock: If you are having trouble with language in your community - take a look at purify to replace certain words automatically.
- Flamoji by @Kylo: Customizing the available emojis in your community has never been easier with the addition of this new extension.
- Signature by @katos: It's a revival of an old incompatible extension by Extum - bringing back signature functionality to Flarum.
- Manson by @FriendsOfFlarum: This complex extension adds the possibility to modify available fields in discussions.
- Level Ranks by @ianm: Adding experience - another revival of a popular old, now incompatible, extension by Reflar.
- Whisper by @Kyrne: This is a revival of the popular Shout extensions. The difference is that there is no message encryption included this time.
📢 Flarum Lang
New additions into the Flarum lang family are Hungarian 🇭🇺 and Portuguese 🇵🇹. Also new - the German 🇩🇪 translation has been added to Weblate. If you are missing out on a translation of a certain extension, you can help yourself. Just head over to Weblate and register yourself. IYou can also start adding your own translations to your language. The maintainers of the language pack will then review your translation and, if compatible, add it to the language pack. By the way, there is a support thread with a ton of useful information on Weblate by @rob006.
Don't see your language and you are interested in adding it to Flarum 🌐? You don't have to bring along a ton of technical knowledge. Just let either @Justoverclock or @GreXXL know you are interested, and we will make sure you have an easy start in the world of translating Flarum.
🏁 Final words
The Flarum team is extremely grateful for its great community. We hope to have given you a comprehensive overview of some highlights. Please share your thoughts about the new blog format to incorporate changes in our future community updates!