If you’ve been waiting for phpBB 3.3, you’re not alone. The phpBB Group is famous for not setting release dates. They arrive when they arrive. There is no big company like Automattic is for WordPress behind phpBB.
I took a development version of 3.3 (3.3.0-RC2-dev) for a spin today to see what’s new. And the answer is not too much, at least so far. There are only two things I noticed right away:
- The phpBB logo is now a Scalable Vector Graphic. This means it will scale nicely and always look sharp and fresh.
- When you access the General tab in the Administration Control Panel, statistics are laid out differently and are arguably a bit confusing. Two tables with statistics? The first block contains counts. The second one contains metadata. It could be better laid out
What phpBB 3.3 “Proteus” really seems to be about is keeping it up to date. So far I don’t see any new features. A one-click update is supposed to be in 3.3, but I don’t see it. I suspect it got deferred for phpBB 4.0.
How is it keeping it up to date?
- PHP 7.3 and 7.4 will be supported. These versions of PHP have been out for a while, but phpBB wouldn’t work reliably with them.
- PHP 5.6 and 7.0 will not be supported. The minimum supported version of PHP will be 7.1.
- The reCAPTCHA Invisible CAPTCHA will be supported. Currently, only V2 Checkbox is supported. This means CAPTCHA can happen implicitly. You shouldn’t need to click on a checkbox to prove you are a human.
- Two new password hashing algorithms will be allowed: Arg2i and Arg2id. Passwords are not stored in the database in plain text. But using these newer algorithms, passwords become harder to crack. The 2id version is also much faster than the 2i version.
- phpBB is dropping support versions of IE below IE11. That’s because the versions of Windows these run on are no longer supported by Microsoft, so they feel free to let them go
- As a consequence of the above, jQuery 3.4 will be included. This version works with newer versions of browsers and pointedly does not support ancient versions like IE7.
If there are other new features, I’m not finding them. For most users, except for the phpBB logo, it will look and behave as it did under 3.2.