Apologies for not formatting this page (yet).
I want to jot down a bunch of notes here for making better use of the new chat.
I hope to reformat this thread properly later.
In the meantime it is just a bunch of notes, and not in any particular order.
Lower in this message is a farewell to our beloved ClearChat from the old forum, along with a comparison of differences between it and the new Blab! Pro chat.
Don't forget to check out all of the smilies you can use in our chat.
Farewell to ClearChat
First off - we will all miss our beloved ClearChat system from the old board. It was truly the best chat module I've ever used or seen. If its developer,
'Sensei' from Streaming Soundtracks.com had wanted to, he could have modified it in such a way as to work in forum boards other than php-Nuke, and he could have probably started a little business supporting and upgrading it.
The reason we no longer use ClearChat is that it only worked on a forum board called php-Nuke, and that hasn't had any development or updates in 10 years. Nuke only worked up to a certain level of php standards (5.3). It could not function on anything higher. This version is no longer supported by the company that hosts this website.
Knowing that this version was going to become an issue, I spent years looking for a decent replacement for ClearChat. Everything I saw and/or tried was just way too cheap feelling with NO features whatsoever. Most of them looked like they were all written in the same software class at a school somewhere. As if they all had the same template to work with and each person modified a little bit of it, and then put it out on the internet.
From time to time I'd come across some software that seemed ok, only to find out that the developers had abandoned it, or that it had some serious flaws and wasn't worth the effort. So, I kept looking casually over the years. But, at the beginning of March, 2018, I was given notice by the hosting company that the php 5.3 version was being permanently turned off. They gave me until the end of April to get my problems resolved. If you were here then, you were probably aware of the site being up and down frequently - in chat and in being able to see the playlist and request songs.
Introducing Blab! Pro
Blab is the software we are using now. It isn't the same as ClearChat, although I'm trying to give it the same look and feel where I can. There are a number of things that ClearChat could do that Blab cannot (a list of these, just below). There are a few things that it does differently (like typing on the bottom and text working its way up. Although many of us were use to the text going top-down, it is actually a little easier to catch up in the conversation as you can start at the top and just read down the page.) And, then, there are some things that Blab can do that ClearChat could not. All in all, I'm happy to have found Blab. It is really the closest to what we were use to having. I was really dreading having to install some cheap junk if I ran out of time.
Comparing ClearChat to Blab!
ClearChat allowed BB Code and HTML. This allowed us to have different words (or letters) be different colors, or bolded, or underlined, or be different sizes. You could insert line breaks (useful for making a list, like the 70s Artist Birthdays), or for stacking several smilies on top of each other to create a cool effect.
Blab! lets you change your text color by picking it from a color chart (no having to know the BB Code or html for the colors), and lets you choose bold and italic easily. However, it applies it to the entire line of text - not individual words or letters. Line breaks are not possible, which means no lists or stacking of smilies. I'm sure we'll come up with ways to make the smilies behave the way we want, but for now this is a bit of a disappointment.
In ClearChat, I could make cuss words display a different word, or even an image. Blab! does not. It only displays *** in the place of a banned word.
With ClearChat, the chat was visible on the main web page to visitors that were not registered (or logged on). However, users that were logged on could not type messages in that view. They had to go to the forum and either use the tiny chat frame on the left, or use the Undocked Chat.
Blab - although it does not let me display the chat to visitors that are logged off, it does let them type messages from there now (if logged on). I've wanted that ability for 10 years now. So now, once logged on, you can have the main radio web page open and chat on the same page. Granted, it's not as convenient as using the Undocked mode (still available and easily reachable), but it's something.
By the way, I'm working with the developer on a way to display the chat when not logged on. I really want that feature, and they seemed to think it was doable.
Text copy/paste in ClearChat was just a simple swipe. In Blab! you have to double-click something in the message area, and then you can swipe over other words or lines.
Annoying things with Blab!
That damned AUTOSCROLL box. Yes, you are not the only one that is annoyed by that. But, you may have also been annoyed with the way ClearChat kept moving the focus back to the top when you were scrolling through old messages. In Blab, if you scroll in the message area, it keeps it where you want it for as long as you want. The AUTOSCROLL box is there to remind you that you aren't seeing new messages. Either click the box, or type something in your message line to resume normal scrolling again. It might turn out to be better.
Speaking of scrolling in Blab, you may have noticed that there is no scrollbar. If you have a mouse wheel, you can use that but it's rather cumbersome to wheel up/down so much. Try this instead: in the message area, click and hold the mouse down, and then move it up (or down). It moves the text with the pointer. And, as you get near the top or bottom, it moves faster.
Positive things with Blab! Pro
Blab displays the apostrophe character properly now. ClearChat had to do a substitution for the ` character, making the text look odd sometimes.
Blab lets you find and display your own pictures in chat now (I'll provide instructions for this a bit lower). ClearChat only let you display graphics that I found for you (a couple of other people had the ability to upload pictures and make keywords to link them, but it was seldom used).
Blab allows for youtube videos to play directly in the chat now, and I think that animations from Giphy are also allowed directly too.
Blab has a little paint box. For those that feel like it, you can draw something (using their rudimentary tools) and post it for us to see. It even lets us replay the creation of it, stroke by stroke (when you click on it).
Blab allows me to finally assign colors to our various groups here. If you are in the DJs group, for example, your name shows up in orange. A regular chatter is green, and newbies are white. Board moderators and admin have their own colors too.
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