{kun´ēzē}
1 1 1 1 1
27Mar2015

Kunena 3.0.7: what the developers didn’t tell you

Information
1275 hits Updated: 05 May 2015

Kunena 3.0.7 is “an­nounced”

K 3.0.7 instal­lation prob­lems (part 1)

K 3.0.7 instal­lation prob­lems (part 2)

K 3.0.7 known bugs

Kunena project personnel changes

What’s next for Kunena?

After waiting more than 6 months for news about a possible release of K 3.0.7, an announce­ment was made on 1 February at the Kunena website.  It is not suprising that this announcement did not generate a scramble to download this latest version because people would have to be regular visitors at the Kunena website to have been aware of it.  If you follow the project on Facebook, there was no announcement made there.  If you follow the project on Google+ there is no announcement about K 3.0.7 there, either.  If you use Twitter to find out the latest news about Kunena, the developers did not make any announcement about K 3.0.7 there, as well.  In fact, the first “tweet” about K 3.0.7 was made by someone who is not even a member of the Kunena team and it appeared nearly three weeks after K 3.0.7 was released.

This raises some concerns about how the Kunena team is looking after their own interests in keeping the community informed about what is going on.  If it wasn’t for independent websites, like this one and others, people probably would not know what is going on.

Therefore it came as a complete surprise to me—it probably comes as a surprise to many of you, too—that the first official announcement appeared on the forum on 21 March nearly seven weeks after K 3.0.7 was released, quite possibly as an afterthought when the developers realised that people were not adopting this release as quickly as they may have hoped for.

Of course, when K 3.0.7 was released, there was an update on the Kunena documentation site, the download page and in the Joomla Extensions Directory, but unless you were actually looking for this information, the “announcement” almost went unnoticed.  It makes one wonder what are the developers’ intentions, their level of enthusiasm and their commitment to ensure that people would be rewarded for waiting six months for K 3.0.6 to be fixed.  This, however, is only the beginning of the list of issues that I have been investigating for a couple of months.  I invite you to read more to see what else has happened with K 3.0.7 that may change the way you think about the product and the people behind it.

K 3.0.7 installation problems (part 1)

In January this year, Joomla announced plans to retire its JoomlaCode repository (and move away from Sourceforge).  Without consulting other members of the team, one of the Kunena developers decided that it made sense to relocate the Kunena installation kits on GitHub.  This important piece of information was not included in the release notes or in the announcement he wrote at the website.  Consequently, most people who use on the “Install by URL” option (as recommended in the upgrade guide) found themselves with a problem.  The problem is that GitHub does not support the “Install by URL” method (click the image SSL certificate problem on the right to enlarge it and see the details of the error message)

People then used the Kunena forum to ask what had happened and how they could resolve the problems.  Several topics on the forum discussed the matters.  For the first week, the developers denied there was a problem.  It was not until the developers asked the Joomla team that they realised what the problem was.  In effect, the Kunena developers were saying that “some people” have a problem with using the recommended upgrade when, if fact, no-one had actually tested it before K 3.0.7 was released.  The solution is to use the “Upload Package File” method.

This was just the beginning of problems that people were having.  The problems were exacerbated by the developers’ claims that they had not caused the issue.

It’s a server issue with some servers. Those same servers in theory would have issues pulling the Joomla core updates (J! 3.3.6 is using GitHub)."xillibit", K 3.0.7 "auto-update" issue: SSL certificate problem , 18-Feb-2015

I’m not arguing about the “theory”—that people would also have problems updating to J! 3.3.6 because of Github (although I have not see any reports on the Joomla forum about those things). It was painfully obvious that the Kunena developers were trying to hide their embarrassment about their mistake and their failure to subject the new version to field trials before they released K 3.0.7.  It took nearly two weeks before they admitted their knowledge about the issue.  I know that we felt sympathy for the forum moderators caught between a rock and a hard place but trying to shift the burden of responsibility on to the users who reported the issue is inexcusable.  I’ll let my readers decide for themselves what they perceive to be the case.

The main problem is that it has been difficult obtaining reliable information from the developers or finding the information from the Kunena website.  The information is there but it’s fragmented and advice is inconsistent.

K 3.0.7 installation problems (part 2)

If the first problem was not bad enough (and you’ve figured out that the auto-update or “Install by URL” option didn’t work for you) there was another hurdle that a few people had to jump over before they could install/update K 3.0.7.  The minimum Joomla version requirement for K 3.0.7 is different to K 3.0.6.  If you were one of those people who have seen the reports of pagination problems with J! 3.3.4 (or J! 3.3.5 or J! 3.3.6) and you’ve stayed with J! 3.3.3, then you will have a problem installing K 3.0.7.  It’s not that K 3.0.7 will not operate with J! 3.3.3; K 3.0.7 will not install with J! 3.3.3 (click the image K 3.0.7 minimum Joomla version requirement on the right to enlarge it and see the details of the error message).

Again, this vital piece of information was not included in the release notes or site announcement.  The change was made in December last year (again, with little consultation among other team members) and, therefore, it may surprise a few people when they try to install or upgrade on some versions of Joomla.

Minimum Joomla
for K 3.0.6
Minimum Joomla
for K 3.0.7
J! 2.5.22
J! 2.5.22
J! 3.0.4
J! 3.0.4
J! 3.1.5
J! 3.1.5
J! 3.2.7
J! 3.2.7
J! 3.3.1
J! 3.3.6
N/A
J! 3.4.0-dev
Preferred Joomla
for K 3.0.6
Preferred Joomla
for K 3.0.7
J! 3.3.3
J! 3.3.6

The table at left summarises the differences between the minimum and preferred versions of Joomla used by the K 3.0.6 and K 3.0.7 installation procedures.

Although it’s not terribly difficult to overcome this added hurdle, it may be inconvenient for some people to be forced into upgrading Joomla to version 3.3.6 or 3.4.x solely to install (or upgrade) Kunena on their site(s).

The good news is that J! 3.4.x fixes the “pagination problems”.

Kunena 3.0.7 known bugs

Fortunately, if you’ve overcome the installation headaches that I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, K 3.0.7 is pretty good.  There are a couple of security issues that should not affect a lot of people but there are a couple of changed behaviours that may upset a few members of the Kunena community.  The two known security issues are:

Correction
Based on new information, it has taken more than 4 days for the developers to realise that the report “SQL injection vulnerability” was a false alarm (but an issue that requires attention nonetheless).

 

The changed behaviours:

  • Error: no message in message body: if you use your forum to post video clips (and you post a message that consists only of a video clip) you will get this error. This problem did not occur in K 3.0.6 and it seems to be small defect that was introduced in K 3.0.7.  You will also get an error if you post a message wrapped in the Kunena BBcode confidential tag (and you write nothing else).  The solution is to add some other text to the end of your forum message.  As far as I can tell, this problem has not been addressed by the developers.
  • Button layout problem with K 3.0.7 Blue Eagle template on mobile device: This issue was caused when the developers made some minor changes to the Kunena Blue Eagle template; the problem has been fixed by the developers.

These are relatively small problems and may not affect a lot of people.  My purpose in mentioning them is not to highlight the defects in K 3.0.7 but, instead, put these items of your watch list of matters you may need to consider before you update to K 3.0.7.  The release notes show that the developers have worked through a lot of problems that people reported in K 3.0.6 and eventually produced a release to fix them.  Even with the best intentions, the developers introduced several other changes—changes that were not made public—that may cause people to think carefully before they update.  As far as I am concerned, there is nothing seriously wrong with K 3.0.7 that would prevent me from updating; there are a couple of minor nuisances, however, that you may need to be careful with.

Kunena project personnel changes

There have been a few changes in the personnel who run the Kunena project.

  • Matias Griese is no longer in charge; he is no longer the lead developer.  His current interest is developing the Grav project.  Although we have not always seen eye-to-eye on everything, it has been a privilege to have worked closely with Matias in managing the Kunena project—he’s a really nice guy—and I sincerely wish him all the very best in his new venture.  As the “man responsible for Kunena”, his departure will be deeply missed.
  • Jelle Kok is the new lead developer, project manager, head moderator and public relations manager.  He has big shoes to fill and is responsible for the future of Kunena.
  • Florian del Fitto is a part-time contributor and software developer.  He is primarily involved in the design and construction of most of the new features that people will see in future versions of Kunena.
  • Josh Weiss is no longer active with the project.  The same is also true for Sven Schultschick.
  • Rich Binder has taken over most of the day-to-day forum moderation, documentation, testing and bug reporting duties.  Without guys like him the forum would not exist.  Please be nice to him.

What’s next for Kunena?

It’s “official"—depending on your understanding of the word and your belief that anything you read on Twitter is official, of course!  Although there is no formal announcement at the Kunena website—chances are that there will not be, either—plans to release Kunena version 3.1 have been abandoned.  From what I’ve seen, the next version of Kunena will have too many new features—it will not be compatible with J! 2.5—to qualify as a “minor” new release.  The next version will be marketed as Kunena version 4.0.  I will have more to write about this late breaking news in my next article.

I apologise to the many people who have been following my ’blog.  I know that it’s been a couple of months since I last wrote here and people have been begging me for news.  Judging by the almost daily visits from Kunena project team members at this site, I know how interested they are to learn what’s happening, too!  I will try to be a bit more regular in keeping my readers happy and providing this service to the public.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.


Add comment
By submitting this form you agree to the site policy. All guest comments are subject to approval before they will be published.


Trending now