Simple Machines Community Forum

Simple Machines => News and Updates => Topic started by: HoTmetal on December 02, 2007, 08:57:23 PM

Title: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 02, 2007, 08:57:23 PM
As Simple Machines readies itself for a new year, I thought I'd take a look back at just how far we've come.  In doing so, I immediately contacted a few of SMF's founders, Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis, and [Unknown]. For most SMF'ers, this group needs not introduction, all of which have played an instrumental role in not only SMF, but in the evolution of Forum development in general.

Jeff and Joseph were both team members of a perl forum system called Yabb. (Yet another Bulletin Board), they went on to port it into a PHP based forum called YabbSE.
It was a hit within the forum software community. Later, with a total revamp provided by a new developer [Unknown], the team took another turn, and formed SMF....

Jeff Lewis in Maroon.
Joseph Fung in Navy.
[Unknown] in Orange.

"How did the name SMF come about? How was it chosen? How was it decided?"

Jeff
When we started to make the move to making SMF it's own entity we realized it needed a fresh, new face and along with that would be a name. We discussed all sorts of names from things like Zeal to Palinola. In the end we decided Simple Machines was a good candidate for a name and one that would allow us to expand our offerings forum software into other areas such as galleries, CMS, etc. In the end it was decided by a vote in the boards and I think it turned out to be a good choice .

Joseph
We had a long, long discussion on what to name the system, and the conversation kept coming back to the question of "what did we want to be recognized for". We didn't wan to be just another "cool-sounding" name; we wanted it to mean something. We kept coming back to two ideas: first, that we wanted the software to be recognized as one of the easiest to install and manage, and second, that we wanted to build more than just one software title, that could be easy to use and easy to integrate. The closest analogy that we could come up with was the idea of a set of simple machines (i.e. lever, ramp, etc) and that we could do things like a Simple Machines Forum, Simple Machines CMS, Simple Machines Gallery etc. I can't remember if it was Jeff or I that suggested it, but I'm pretty certain it was one of us. As to how it was decided, it was a simple vote on the boards.

[Unknown]
We had a contest, team members picked names - zeal and palinola were the most popular iirc. Then, Jeff Lewis came up with Simple Machines, bought the domain immediately, and we decided to think up a new name. smForum was the first choice, but had negative connotations in Europe.  I think we wanted to avoid BB... And SMF was suggested. Honestly, I didn't like it at first but there was worse.  I think I liked Zeal... Can't remember...
For a long time I would always spell it out as Simple Machines Forum but SMF grew on me eventually.

"You were on the Yabb team, when you both decided to create the splinter edition "SE" and port it to PHP, what was thing 1st thing you did?"

Joseph and I got together at my place over a weekend and pounded out a translation of the Perl code to PHP. We just started opening files and translating it line per line and did little testing until the end. We took a screenshot of our first view of the translated version which I am sure we still have somewhere.  It made for a good laugh.

I think the first thing we did was meet up at Jeff's place for a weekend of intense coding, trying to get everything translated to PHP. It was a crazy ride, because we translated *everything* before we even tried running it once! The first execution was a laughable failure, but after enough trial and error we had it running pretty smoothly.

"What was your initial goal?"

We wanted to offer a PHP/mySQL alternative to what was available at the time. Several issues were popping up due to the Perl/flatfile system we had in use and we felt a database backend was the way to go. By forming a new team it allowed us to forge ahead with the same goals and ideals.

Our initial goal was to provide a good PHP and MySQL alternative to YaBB, and to participate in a software project that had the energy and philosophies that we enjoyed. Every team has it's own character, and we found that we were looking for something slightly different from the original YaBB project. So, the project was as much for our personal satisfaction, as it was to provide something great for the forum-user community.

With SMF, it was initially intended as a stop gap for Trinity, or YaBB SE 2.  It was taking too long, and too many of its features (which were by far the most popular feature requests or sources of confusion in support) weren't hard to back port.

Coincidentally, this is why I always fielded support, even as a lead developer.  It kept me in touch with what was needed and what was bloat (so I hope.)

"How did SMF start? What was the 1st thing you did?"

The start to SMF was almost by accident really. We were starting code work on YaBB SE 2 but were fighting with other issues that were not code related at the time so we weren't progressing as much as we had hoped right away. One of the newer developers on the team named [Unknown] had been working on cleaning up YaBB SE and making some big changes in what he coined his "Secret Project". We had known YaBB SE needed some optimization as ultimately it was the same older functions used since the port to PHP and they drastically needed updating. When we saw what [Unknown] had in place, we scrapped what we had started and the "Secret Project" became SMF. One of the first things we did was decide on a name and a process of making the switch from YaBB SE to SMF.

During the development of YaBB SE 2 (usually referred to YSE2) we had a lot of mixed opinions on direction for the project as a whole, and on the software version itself. We had also just made it though a tumultuous encounter with a competitor that had been trying to steal our code, so the entire team was a little uncertain about which route to go.
       
While this was going on, one of the newer developers to the team, [Unknown] started working on something he called his "Secret Project" - it was essentially a rebuild of the YaBB SE functionality, with some key upgrades, but on a completely new code base. We spent a lot of time reviewing the Secret Project code base, and in the end we decided to use that as the basis for YSE2, as opposed to the existing work that had been done.

That code became the first releases of SMF. I think the first thing we did when SMF was released, was to tell everyone about the new branding, the new site, and to begin locking off areas of the old YaBB SE site to make sure we could pull over as many members as possible.

I started it as what I called my secret project.  The first part I started changing was MessageList.php - adding templates and reorganizing code. I also wanted to do [different] from YaBB SE, was make it use better packages in the package manager.
Initially, I had only intended to add a few templates and child boards to YaBB SE, and make it a mod... but I got carried away.

"Did you imagine it getting so big?"

Definitely. I think the approach we used was one that could be embraced by users and web site owners. By offering easy to use, FREE software that had good community support and a team that was willing to listen to it's users I think it was inevitable that it would grow. I still think there is a lot of room to grow for the project even more so than the success it has already achieved.

Always :)  I think it's pretty safe to say that Jeff and I have always had pretty ambitious goals. For myself, all I can see for the YaBB SE / SMF project is more exciting growth. The community has truly flourished, and boasts over 100,000 members. However, it's important to realize that it took 3 years for the community to grow from 2 to 10,000 members, but it's only taken another 3 years to get from 10,000 members to 100,000. The project should be able to continue to grow - think about where it will be in the next 3 years!

Not a chance.  I expected it to be a mod, at best as popular as my bugfix ones had been.  When Compuart wanted to make it the next release, I was completely surprised. After that, I did... When we got to 1.0, at least.  This is conceited, but I always thought SMF was better than phpBB, and really thought of vBulletin as its main competition, quality wise.

That said, all the software's out there are great... And I do remember being surprised when other software's started adopting our features.  I hadn't considered it would actually affect other software too. I was really happy about that.


"Looking back, if you could of changed one thing, what would it be?"

I think I would have wanted to see a more solid base in place in regard to expansion of Simple Machines. I always felt that we could offer more than just forums and one area I always wanted to expand into was content management solutions and if I could have changed one thing I would have changed was the direction we took in regards to additional software so that we could have grown quicker.


I think I would have pushed harder to try and get greater adoption from non-technical users earlier. One of the greatest assets SMF has is the community of users that clam our for features and changes...getting more non-techie users earlier, would have allowed the project to improve its UI a lot faster, and would have helped us develop more renown outside of the "web developer" circle. There are services out there like BoardNation and Xsorbit that are providing something that I think SMF should have been doing from day 1.

I would have not tried so hard to do everything.  At first it was great, but in the end it became impossible - and there were always volunteers, but many weren't interested in filling shoes I'd been walking in.

That said, I really think my mistakes were forgivable - I would've done much differently knowing what I do now, but that was my first time. Everyone has to learn somewhere, and things were still pretty good. That's a big part of open source to me.

"Knowing what you know now, what advice do you have for the SMF team?"

Stay happy. SMF is a hobby for most and people need to have fun when taking part in hobbies. Do your part to make Simple Machines a fun place to be, have fun with each other within the team, talk to each other, avoid burn out, and be courteous to the users.

I'd recommend a couple of things: 1) try to keep the user community happy, they are your customers and they will fuel your growth and 2) keep a sense of humor about you with regards to the project, and more importantly with regards to yourselves. The project team is made of people who want to *learn* and *grow*.

This means that sometimes decisions won't be made in the optimal way, and that sometimes we need to look at ourselves and laugh. I've been on many, many different teams and the ones that last the longest are the ones that avoid taking themselves too seriously, and remember to enjoy what they are doing.

Don't give up, don't ignore political problems in the team, and listen to what people are really asking for. Also, I hope support for IE 6 hasn't already been dropped.  Lazy :P.

(Blogs and forums, seem to be new buzz words and thus, more and more are building their own sites...) What is your advice to new site owners?

Don't be afraid to embrace change. The internet and technology is ever changing and a site owner needs to be somewhat connected to the changes happening and, if necessary, make the changes to adjust to the current offerings to keep your users happy and coming back. While you may be comfortable with your current set up, your competitors may be offering the same but also something new that your users find they are willing to switch sites for.

First, always work your butt off to attract new visitors and to interact with the ones you have, and second, be willing to pay for a good host who will support you, and for it. More often than not, when a community site fails, it fails because either it can't retain traffic, or because the host doesn't grow with the site. Yes, there are many other possible causes of failure, but a good host is an easy one to resolve, and being sure your attention is put in the right place is also an easy one to fix.

Start small.  Don't try to emulate your favorite big site... You will look like a ghost town. Cliché, but just be you. Also, think hard about content first.  A site without content isn't interesting.

"You're both proactive in the PHP movement, as web designers, what to do look for in a free software?"

I look for software that has decent saturation, decent documentation, and good community support. Nothing is more bothersome than going somewhere and asking a question and not getting an answer for a week. When I find software I want it to do what I acquired it for and avoid bloat and provide a friendly UI - I don't want to be confused looking for a feature I need to use.

Generally I look for features and longevity, before I look at price - and I believe that as designers and developers grow and their businesses mature, they do as well. So for any free software, it's important to take the philosophy of wanting to compete with the paid solutions on features and stability.

I look for an organization that takes pride in itself - they've spent the time to build a decent website, you can tell from the verbiage in their community that they enjoy working together, and you can tell from the way others talk about them that the team has respect.

I also look for a software package that has a clear purpose and direction. Nothing frustrates me more with open-source software, then when the development of the software suddenly changes flavour, and the values it used to have no longer apply (e.g. when a very good "blogging" application suddenly starts trying to roll in features to make it a "cms" application).


I checked out your site (Jeff), and I see that your have a blog on gophp5. What are your thoughts on PHP4 vs 5 when it comes to creating a product that targets the masses? (Joseph/[Unknown], just your thoughts on php4x vs 5x)

Ultimately 4 versus 5 won't matter much to the end user but from a development point of view I'm fairly disappointed in the lack of change from 4 to 5. We're nearing the end of life cycle for PHP 4 in 2008 meaning nothing more will be done with it from the PHP team. PHP 5 has been out for years now and PHP 6 is in development. Hosts are neglecting to upgrade and it's causing drops in PHP penetration. The sooner people move to PHP 5 the better.

Actually, our (Lewis Media) Content Management System, WebAdmin, has required PHP 5 since last summer, so we're already past year 1 of our PHP v5 support. As far as my opinion of it, I believe the number of project still supporting PHP 4 is actually hurting the web development industry. Because of the wide-spread support for PHP 4, hosts are hesitant to upgrade to v5, making it difficult for v5 projects to flourish.

And even those that are pushing for v5, and going for a "we support PHP 5" as opposed to "we adopt PHP 5 methodology". Projects *need* to start abandoning v4 so that they can actually take on the opportunities that are opened with v5 and that will be expanded with v6.

I typically write a lot more with 5 now, but I still often write for 4.3.x.  I don't like pulling the rug of requirements out from under people... never have.

About a year ago Lewis Media did something huge, it gave SMF to itself. What choices were involved? What other alternatives did you have? As other forum sites have gone paid, how big of a step was it to do (and honor the core values)?

I wasn't involved in the discussions outside of some conversations with Joseph about the process and what was happening. To me, it wasn't really a massive change as Simple Machines was always treated as a separate entity from Lewis Media. We've always wanted to offer SMF for free to it's users and did so even though it was "owned" by our business. Essentially the ownership transfer was just a formal separation between Lewis Media and SMF.


I always get a kick out of how surprised some people are by this step. Lewis Media never was anything more than a custodian for the project: the only reason that we had any kind of official presence was to help protect the project against the malicious actions of certain competitors, who wanted to take advantage of a project that had no registered business entity.
Once SMF was ready to take that step, it was simply a matter of logistics to transfer over the rights and titles. The real choices though, were what format the business should be in. We had many, many discussions on whether to incorporate as a not-for-profit, or as a for-profit corp; whether to register in the U.S., or in Canada, how many directors there should be, etc.

Finally, we realized that the debate was slowing the process down and it was more important to move forward and take that step. And that's where we are today. It may seem like a big step - but it really wasn't. Although in theory, there were alternatives (legally, I suppose, we could have kept the software as an Lewis Media product and gone "paid" with the system), in good conscience there wasn't any alternative to the route we went.

We wrote those Core Values so people would know what we stood for. Looking at them, it's clear that the only choice we could have made, was the one we did.

I wasn't involved in this, but it was planned for quite some time. Honestly, I wasn't expecting it to ever actually happen, but I'm very glad it did. I never even considered the thought of SMF going paid.  I can't imagine anyone (at least on the original team) letting that happen. So really, it was no big step.  We were already basically there.

"Which online communities do you frequent now days?"

I don't frequent too much online any more as I found people don't seem to really have that drive any more. Pretty much just the World of Warcraft forums and TMLFans.ca

I frequent the support community for Lewis Media software the most often, as well as several communities that have geographically-local content to me.   Unfortunately, I no longer frequent the SMF community as much as I'd like, but as people and times change - so do the requirements on our time.

Not many. I never liked forums all that much, thought most just ate a lot of time.  Ironic, I know.  But I did like Simple Machines' Community.

How do you see the internet in general changing over the next 10 years? What about online communities in particular? How do you feel forums play a role in this?

There are two VERY key items that are going to rock the way we interact with the web over the next few years: the low cost of GPS chips, and the ubiquity of high-bandwidth wireless technology. These two factors are very similar to the factors that lead to the rapid growth of the web as we know it in the late 90's.. so what we'll see are more and more people accessing content from mobile devices,  and more and more content being geo-targeted.

Imagine, for example, being hungry in down-town Paris, having no idea where to get food you recognize, whipping out a cell phone and typing "Pizza", only to have Google deliver the list of Pizza joints closest to you, ordered by proximity.

That's what our lives with the web are going to be like. Similarly, we're going to see online communities evolve to cross that gap between cell phones and computer-users. Chats between phone users and computer users will be key, the ability to post rich media to communities will be even more important (e.g. calling into a discussion forum and posting your comment in the form of a voice clip from your cell).

Forums play a key role in that they enable asynchronous group communication like nothing else can. This is a VERY important role for teams that are geographically separated - for forums to continue to succeed and be key players, we'll need to focus more on that value statement. Synchronous activities (like chats) or forums for local communities (i.e. neighborhoods) are going to become weaker and weaker as more effective alternatives exists.

Some day, really, DNS will be replaced or upgraded.  Some day.  I expect a lot from WHATWG's XHTML5 also. Less technically, I don't expect it will really change.  Browsers may change.. Inputs may change... Servers may change...

The Internet will still be the Internet, just like restaurants are still restaurants.  Johnny Rockets, Cheesecake Factory, McDonalds... They aren't really much different even though they came from different times.

Communities will evolve.  Maybe people will communicate more with voice, or more visually.  But they will still be people sharing common interests.  They will need organization, tools, and etc. all the same.

UPDATED: Question to [Unknown].
What do you consider as your accomplishments up to this point?

    Personally?  I just got SMF rolling, and as much as some say otherwise
    that really wasn't one of the significant parts to it.  By far what
    Jeff Lewis, Joseph Fung, and Zef Hemel did were accomplishments.

    I guess I really felt accomplished to have read every post, up at
    least until a week or two before I left.  That was really the most
    work of all of it, but I felt it the most necessary.




Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: shadow82x on December 02, 2007, 09:02:48 PM
This is just amazing.... Wahooo you rock rick. ;)

Wait I better read now. :D

Edit:



It was a very good read and I found many things interesting what I found most interesting was

Quote
Not many. I never liked forums all that much, thought most just ate a lot of time.  Ironic, I know.  But I did like Simple Machines' Community. (unknown)
VERY ironic how you can spend that much time if you don't like forum software that much

QuoteI would have not tried so hard to do everything.  At first it was great, but in the end it became impossible - and there were always volunteers, but many weren't interested in filling shoes I'd been walking in.

That said, I really think my mistakes were forgivable - I would've done much differently knowing what I do now, but that was my first time. Everyone has to learn somewhere, and things were still pretty good. That's a big part of open source to me.
Thats the way most projects work.. Right?

Something I would say you guys would need to work on is instead of "leaving the community" to still take part in some community discussion. (whether its SMF related or not) Instead of just leaving staying "unknown".  ;)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 02, 2007, 09:15:21 PM
Feel free to Digg it :D (http://digg.com/software/An_interview_with_Joseph_Fung_Jeff_Lewis_and_Unknown_founders_of_SMF).
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: DonaldJ on December 03, 2007, 12:13:02 AM
Ooo, I found this quite interesting. Good advice given as well.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: babjusi on December 03, 2007, 02:27:33 AM
How come that the founding fathers of SMF are ''Smf friends'' now? Just curious......
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Horme Gaming on December 03, 2007, 04:14:11 AM
As even though they are founding they dont play much in the running of SMF now, they are friends and always will be of the forum.  There needs to be a line shown on who is the team and who was the team and it be confusing to people who did not know the history of SMF so well.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 03, 2007, 12:16:09 PM
Quote from: babjusi on December 03, 2007, 02:27:33 AM
How come that the founding fathers of SMF are ''Smf friends'' now? Just curious......

SMF staff consists of 100% volunteers. Sometimes RL (real life) and or other ventures require team members to step down for the team. (remember the bulk of SMF'ers admin/own one or more of their own sites) Some of our friends still stay active, but aren't able to commit fully to the team like they once did. Friends such as Douglas, groundup, Tippmaster, and Killer Possum, still are fairly active.  KP still is a moderator here. (Just and example).

The way I see the SMF community/ the SMF team, consists of everyone who contributes in some way shape or form to the project. The official badge is just a symbol of extended dedication.

There are many regular members who have built some popular mods, popular theme(s) and continue to provide support of those mod/themes. They too help make SMF what it is :D

Just my 2 cents
:D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: H on December 03, 2007, 04:17:16 PM
Thanks for this Rick, an interesting read :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: babjusi on December 03, 2007, 04:23:16 PM
Quote from: rickC on December 03, 2007, 12:16:09 PM
Quote from: babjusi on December 03, 2007, 02:27:33 AM
How come that the founding fathers of SMF are ''Smf friends'' now? Just curious......

SMF staff consists of 100% volunteers. Sometimes RL (real life) and or other ventures require team members to step down for the team. (remember the bulk of SMF'ers admin/own one or more of their own sites) Some of our friends still stay active, but aren't able to commit fully to the team like they once did. Friends such as Douglas, groundup, Tippmaster, and Killer Possum, still are fairly active.  KP still is a moderator here. (Just and example).

The way I see the SMF community/ the SMF team, consists of everyone who contributes in some way shape or form to the project. The official badge is just a symbol of extended dedication.

There are many regular members who have built some popular mods, popular theme(s) and continue to provide support of those mod/themes. They too help make SMF what it is :D

Just my 2 cents
:D

Thanks for your answer rickC
Title: Ynt: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Leipe Po on December 03, 2007, 04:40:36 PM
[unknown] u r missed  :'(
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: ThompsonAlex on December 04, 2007, 03:33:56 AM
It's good to hear from them again ^_^. God bless them all.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Coldfx on December 04, 2007, 06:28:50 PM
Quote from: Leipe Po on December 03, 2007, 04:40:36 PM
[unknown] u r missed  :'(

Amen - heck, I joined right around the time activity built on Unk, woulda' loved a chance to see him in recent action. Seems we share a common interest or two according to his site URLs aswell (Anyone else programming in D? No?)

Never the less, top notch interview, great reading material.  I especially enjoyed Jeff's take on how often the Internet will be used - heck, look at the iPhone, it's happening already.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Tony Reid on December 05, 2007, 03:19:22 AM
Thats a great read Rick - thanks for organising it :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Jeff Lewis on December 06, 2007, 12:06:53 PM
Was nice to know Unknown is doing well...hadn't seen any sign of him in a very long time.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Karuhun on December 06, 2007, 12:50:36 PM
Glad to know that you still arround us Jeff. :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: MultiformeIngegno on December 07, 2007, 04:09:13 PM
Great interview! ;)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: nick09 on December 07, 2007, 09:14:23 PM
thinks for the history! :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: iPivot on December 07, 2007, 10:14:39 PM
Hang on a minute, MAY change?! More like WILL DEFINETLY change, FF is already moving on to v3, IE is already v7 and is now known as Windows Internet Explorer, Winamp now has a built-in browser, phpNuke is now 12 bucks(it used to be free.) DNS is becoming more complicated, there are WAY more domain extensions available, some ridiculously long(-{cough}- .TRAVEL -{cough}-), and all versions of WordPress are quickly becoming out-of-date.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Daniel15 on December 08, 2007, 03:44:18 AM
Nice interview :D

Quote from: SySRoot74 on December 04, 2007, 06:28:50 PM
Quote from: Leipe Po on December 03, 2007, 04:40:36 PM
[unknown] u r missed  :'(

Amen - heck, I joined right around the time activity built on Unk, woulda' loved a chance to see him in recent action.
[Unknown] helped me with the very first version of my mod, and answered all my stupid questions... I'll never forget him :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 08, 2007, 12:25:01 PM
I originally wasn't going to add this last question in Jeff, Joseph, and [Unknown] answered it very modestly, (Is that a word?? :P) but I couldn't get over the fact that...
During his time on the team,[Unknown] read EVERY single last post here @ SMF. At the time, there was over 345,750 posts!! I added it in. I may add a few more, if questions come up, that Jeff, Joseph, and [Unknown] addressed.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: capabmx on December 08, 2007, 12:40:11 PM
Very great read. And I too must say I wish I would've been around to see Unknown in action. Cheers to the founding fathers, and may SMF be around for many more years to come. I hope to grow up with SMF, (I'm 16) lol, so maybe when I'm 20 I can look back and say that I feel like SMF contributed to my real life. There are many morals here shared by the team and members that are just as useful out in the real world. And once I graduate next year, and many of my friends part ways, I'll still have everyone here at SMF :). This is the best community ever, and also the best forum software by far. There are so many people that I could name that are helpful in every aspect and it almost feels like everyone here is a family of sorts. (If anyone is crying yet, please let me know :)) But on a serious note Thanks to the founders, and thanks to the team, and thanks to all members on here for making this what it is.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Fiery on December 08, 2007, 09:56:27 PM
Very nice.

Thanks to all of you for getting SMF started, thanks to everyone on the team for keeping it going, and thanks to all of the users for giving the software a chance!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Laibeus Lord on December 09, 2007, 02:39:46 AM
Oh lol the founders!  And [Unknown]!!

It's been a long time since the Secret Project :D and YaBB SE.

Btw, you should consider IPB a competitor now, other than vBulletin :p

Well, good luck to all.  Glad to hear from them again.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Minare on December 09, 2007, 01:04:57 PM
Great story.

And this is the point where I really agree with Jeff Lewis :


"Looking back, if you could of changed one thing, what would it be?"

Quote
I think I would have wanted to see a more solid base in place in regard to expansion of Simple Machines. I always felt that we could offer more than just forums and one area I always wanted to expand into was content management solutions and if I could have changed one thing I would have changed was the direction we took in regards to additional software so that we could have grown quicker.
I think I would have wanted to see a more solid base in place in regard to expansion of Simple Machines. I always felt that we could offer more than just forums and one area I always wanted to expand into was content management solutions and if I could have changed one thing I would have changed was the direction we took in regards to additional software so that we could have grown quicker.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: SleePy on December 09, 2007, 07:47:51 PM
Quote from: Laibeus Lord on December 09, 2007, 02:39:46 AMBtw, you should consider IPB a competitor now, other than vBulletin :p

who? :P

I consider every software competition. Even the little guys, they are the ones who you will ignore and they suddenly start taking the market when you least expect it :o
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 09, 2007, 08:56:45 PM
Quote from: SleePy on December 09, 2007, 07:47:51 PM
Quote from: Laibeus Lord on December 09, 2007, 02:39:46 AMBtw, you should consider IPB a competitor now, other than vBulletin :p

who? :P

I consider every software competition. Even the little guys, they are the ones who you will ignore and they suddenly start taking the market when you least expect it :o


Indeed. SMF started when yabbSE was @ no more than 11k members. Not everyone converted right away. We don't ignore any of the forum softwares. To quote our core values...

Quote from: SMF Core values
Friendly Competition

We exist in a competitive world, with many other alternative software titles. We will persevere in this arena through quality and respect, not through antagonism and hate. We will support competitors and treat them as we would have them treat us. We will not insult, disparage or in any other way teardown other projects, businesses or organizations.

Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: 青山 素子 on December 10, 2007, 01:19:39 AM
Wonderful interview by the people that started this project. It is always nice seeing what they thought of various things.

Quote from: SleePy on December 09, 2007, 07:47:51 PM
Quote from: Laibeus Lord on December 09, 2007, 02:39:46 AMBtw, you should consider IPB a competitor now, other than vBulletin :p

who? :P

I consider every software competition. Even the little guys, they are the ones who you will ignore and they suddenly start taking the market when you least expect it :o

Agreed. Even really small ones like Vanilla have things to teach us, and often some good ideas. (Personally, I don't care for Vanilla's huge lack of structure, but it is an interesting philosophy.)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: elwizard on December 13, 2007, 06:10:17 PM
I hope to see more than this :P ;D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Prasad007 on December 14, 2007, 11:36:46 AM
Fantastic interview indeed!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: ft28 on December 15, 2007, 12:56:50 PM
Very nice interview.
I am not a coder and indeed,  it is very simple to install and to administer SMF.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: tuanluu on December 16, 2007, 11:57:47 AM
Kool keep up the good work :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: humbleworld on December 21, 2007, 07:19:33 AM
The world has become a better place to live and the Internet more appealing because SMF is free. Thank you Jeff, Joseph, and Mr. Unknown.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Meriadoc on December 23, 2007, 01:30:31 AM
Rick, as far as further questions - did you ask them what they were up to now? It's been a while, at least for [Unknown], since they were first-hand involved. "Where are they now?" Projects, business, etc...
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: PacificWx on December 23, 2007, 07:14:04 AM
wonderful interview - great philosophies
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: shadow82x on December 23, 2007, 12:18:16 PM
Quote from: Meriadoc on December 23, 2007, 01:30:31 AM
Rick, as far as further questions - did you ask them what they were up to now? It's been a while, at least for [Unknown], since they were first-hand involved. "Where are they now?" Projects, business, etc...
Yeah I asked the same thing to myself. :P
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on December 27, 2007, 04:38:20 PM
Quote from: shadow82x on December 23, 2007, 12:18:16 PM
Quote from: Meriadoc on December 23, 2007, 01:30:31 AM
Rick, as far as further questions - did you ask them what they were up to now? It's been a while, at least for [Unknown], since they were first-hand involved. "Where are they now?" Projects, business, etc...
Yeah I asked the same thing to myself. :P

I did discuss with them what they were up to now days, but didn't really add it into the core of the interview. For those of you intrested....
Joseph  still runs LM, you can view his blogg site @ http://www.josephfung.ca/ or on
Jeff's helps on LW from time to time and has his site. http://www.lewisonline.ca/
And [Unknown], well he wished to remain unknown :D

Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: MH-MINI on January 01, 2008, 08:20:42 AM
Thanks for the interview Rick, it was an interesting read.

Not sure if you can divulge this but, I'm really curious though, what was the actual reason behind [Unknown] leaving the team? IIRC, one day he suddenly left, and before that he was actively replying to support posts.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: tatore on January 01, 2008, 09:19:01 AM
I'm still learning tons of tricks reading the [unknown] posts and answers.
Meantime I've understood that he doesn't like to be celebrated with a "requiem" soundtrack (or better he doesn't like to be celebrated at least)-
Personally I've stopped to ask to myself what about him actually, and I just try to take the best (there's not worst, though) from his great, elegant and powerful contribution he left to the SMF community even now, because what he wrote in  34,901 posts still remain available for everyone-
Thank you, [Unknown], for all things you've done for SMF.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Matthias on January 02, 2008, 01:49:35 AM
That's a very nice interview, really!
I'm using the software since 2003, YaBBse and now SMF. The Software is the best to customize.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Jeff Lewis on January 02, 2008, 10:55:31 AM
Quote from: rickC on December 27, 2007, 04:38:20 PM
Joseph  still runs LM, you can view his blogg site @ http://www.josephfung.ca/ or on
Jeff's helps on LW from time to time and has his site. http://www.lewisonline.ca/

My buddy Joe is taking Lewis Media to some cool places and has some really innovative stuff going on with their main product there.

I am currently working for a local developer spearheading a product that is used by work at home businesses and is doing pretty good.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on January 02, 2008, 05:09:30 PM
Quote from: Jeff Lewis on January 02, 2008, 10:55:31 AM
Quote from: rickC on December 27, 2007, 04:38:20 PM
Joseph  still runs LM, you can view his blogg site @ http://www.josephfung.ca/ or on
Jeff's helps on LW from time to time and has his site. http://www.lewisonline.ca/

My buddy Joe is taking Lewis Media to some cool places and has some really innovative stuff going on with their main product there.

I am currently working for a local developer spearheading a product that is used by work at home businesses and is doing pretty good.
Welcome to your post Jeff... Thanks for the update.
(And thanks for the add @ FB btw.... ) :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Jpg on February 13, 2008, 10:15:07 PM
Thank you guys for SMF.
I started out doing SMF themes for my sites, now I'm making money doing designs for people.

Note: [Unknown] is my hero.  [Unknown] ftw!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Peregrinus on February 23, 2008, 05:45:15 AM
Great interview, very interesting
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: norhe on March 03, 2008, 06:51:08 PM
nice interview!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: JoshieDaMan on March 22, 2008, 04:51:53 AM
I was reading it like almost all night. All what I have to say is that I am very impressed of improvement you have made from old software to new brand of software SMF. All of you made the best software for a forums possible out in there in this world and which I like. And I am very glad that all of you didn't give up considering some of you thinking that creating a brand of software SMF immediately was on accident. Now it is not accident, it is a purpose since thousands of webmasters are using SMF as a site, and a forums.

Smf all the way!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Spaceman-Spiff on April 01, 2008, 05:04:16 PM
So, in the end, [Unknown] remains unknown...
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: tatore on April 02, 2008, 08:10:22 AM
Quote from: Spaceman-Spiff on April 01, 2008, 05:04:16 PM
So, in the end, [Unknown] remains unknown...
Nobody is well-known as [Unknown] :P
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Spaceman-Spiff on April 08, 2008, 01:59:56 PM
Woe, it was that his name wasn't known, that he came in mystery, and was recognized by none. And it became to be in those days something.  Something not yet unknown to mankind.  And thus what was to be known the secret project began into its existence.  Henceforth the opposition was only weary and fearful, for now their match was at arms against them.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: jack on April 26, 2008, 08:25:31 AM
Quote from: Spaceman-Spiff on April 08, 2008, 01:59:56 PM
Woe, it was that his name wasn't known, that he came in mystery, and was recognized by none. And it became to be in those days something.  Something not yet unknown to mankind.  And thus what was to be known the secret project began into its existence.  Henceforth the opposition was only weary and fearful, for now their match was at arms against them.
The Book of unknown 2:18

(jeez.. the number of people who can't attribute quotes these days ;))

hehe .. when was the second quote added?

And it came to pass that the unbelievers dwindled in number and saw rise of many proselytizers, and the opposition found fear in the face of the x and the j while those who stood with the something grew stronger and came together.  Still, this was only the beginning, and what lay in the future was unknown to all, even those on the right side.
The Book of Unknown, 4:16

I'll leave the third fragment for the true believers to find :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: alexvorn2 on June 22, 2008, 12:21:59 PM
Very useful interview.:)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: SwapsRulez on August 11, 2008, 01:06:29 PM
Quote from: tatore on January 01, 2008, 09:19:01 AM
I'm still learning tons of tricks reading the [unknown] posts and answers.
Meantime I've understood that he doesn't like to be celebrated with a "requiem" soundtrack (or better he doesn't like to be celebrated at least)-
Personally I've stopped to ask to myself what about him actually, and I just try to take the best (there's not worst, though) from his great, elegant and powerful contribution he left to the SMF community even now, because what he wrote in  34,901 posts still remain available for everyone-
Thank you, [Unknown], for all things you've done for SMF.

Sorry guys, I'm somewhat late here but the text i quoted are my words also. [Unknown] is real hero for the community & we should do something for make him feel more proud by his members. If in future, when SMF is going to expand the community to deal with other products, we can name it [Unknown] to show that we do care about you. Sorry, i have to say soo many things. But due to language problems, i can't express myself in proper words.

Thanks to rickC for giving us such a nice interview.

Thanks to all community developers, support team members who are there 24/7 to help. Also thanks to all the people who contributed to the project, but still are [Unknown]. :(
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Kenny01 on January 24, 2009, 05:38:26 AM
I take my hat off for these guys, for creating such a wonderful free software and for those keeping it rolling.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: ianus on January 25, 2009, 02:57:54 PM
Want to
Quote from: tatore on January 01, 2008, 09:19:01 AM
I'm still learning tons of tricks reading the [unknown] posts and answers.
Meantime I've understood that he doesn't like to be celebrated with a "requiem" soundtrack (or better he doesn't like to be celebrated at least)-
Personally I've stopped to ask to myself what about him actually, and I just try to take the best (there's not worst, though) from his great, elegant and powerful contribution he left to the SMF community even now, because what he wrote in  34,901 posts still remain available for everyone-
Thank you, [Unknown], for all things you've done for SMF.
because this is exactly what I think.

But with this in mind, I like to drop a note about the today's SMF team (and the huge number of users who offer a helping hand). The way they continue what this guys have initially started is  outstanding. It's nice to think about the "good old times" but what I see here in this days seems to have picked up the challenge and seem to master it when it comes to stable software, improvement and support.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: DakOon on February 09, 2009, 08:35:05 AM
Great interview Thanks...
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: qqzzyjoe forums on February 16, 2009, 12:27:50 PM
Great interview
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on March 02, 2009, 01:24:41 AM
Quote from: DakOon on February 09, 2009, 08:35:05 AM
Great interview Thanks...

No problem, it was fun to do, talking with those who made SMF from the beginning, and it was an experience working with the current team. Its good to see people still check this out. :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Yigal on March 13, 2009, 02:34:40 AM
Wow! great interview! so professional!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: archiebald on March 18, 2009, 04:09:40 AM
[Unknown] is to SMF what The Stig is to Top Gear.

I bet they even stole the idea!!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: JBlaze on April 12, 2009, 05:42:28 AM
Great interview rick  :P

I actually took the time to read it in full. I just can't believe the dedication it takes to read EVERY post!

[Unknown] is possibly one of the greatest people alive in the forum software community. Not to say Jeff Lewis and Joseph Fung aren't :P

I forsee SMF lasting until the day the internet or the world doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on April 12, 2009, 05:41:50 PM
Quote from: JBlaze on April 12, 2009, 05:42:28 AM
Great interview rick  :P

I actually took the time to read it in full. I just can't believe the dedication it takes to read EVERY post!

[Unknown] is possibly one of the greatest people alive in the forum software community. Not to say Jeff Lewis and Joseph Fung aren't :P

I forsee SMF lasting until the day the internet or the world doesn't exist.

Yeah, [Unknown] was/is unreal... I recall being a CM when he was around and he'd fix any issue himself in 20-30 minutes. His dedication is something the whole team takes to heart. Now as a team, there just isn't enough time in the day. Also remember when [Unknown] was on the team, SMF only had <5,000 members(apx, I didn't look it up)

I'm not trying to take away from [Unknown], just trying to credit the current team who has kept up the traditions of [Unknown] , and the team of old. I'm glad to see the community not take for granted everything that goes into dev'ing a software such as SMF. It takes an immense amount of dedication, time, and more time :D

As SMF has grown, so has the user base of the community. As we've promoted it, the demographics/users have changed. In the beginning, SMF was the forum build by devs for devs, but with the advent of click and install, and click and upgrade, and click to add mod, SMF has expanded to reach more users. I must commend the team for keeping the close knit team, even at 100k+ users.

Yet, still I hold a special place in my heart for those who "give back" or find a way to contribute even with their limited skills. I mean I know my way around PHP, but not to the extent of the dev team, or the support team for that matter. But even before I joined the team, I tried HARD to '"give back" to the community. Its good to see we still have that type of user base.


Thanks again to the team, and the community!!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: JBlaze on May 22, 2009, 10:18:03 PM
Hey rick, any word on getting another get together anytime soon with Jeff, Joeseph and [Unknown] about what they think on 2.0?

Just curious :)
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: HoTmetal on May 31, 2009, 03:13:08 PM
Quote from: JBlaze on May 22, 2009, 10:18:03 PM
Hey rick, any word on getting another get together anytime soon with Jeff, Joeseph and [Unknown] about what they think on 2.0?

Just curious :)

I actually had an idea to do a series of interviews, next was going to be the PM's, then a look forward, then 2.x, a few others but thats all I recall off the top of my head. But as the ideas built up, the time to do carry them out, shrank. I still keep in touch with some people from the team when time permits, but I haven't had the time to put into SMF as of late. I've picked up a new career field, and I'm in the process of moving to the east coast (3,000 miles away ) within the next few months.

SMF has had some Very exciting times, I'm glad to see we still have a community that cares, that gets involved, and that loves to give back. Its not something you see everywhere, especially when you have as many users as SMF does. This was one of the things that got me hooked. One thing I'd like to shed light on is that though [Unknown] is perhaps one of the most known, there was always SMF team members in the background doing other important things, or even doing some of the  mundane tasks that enabled him to be the hero he is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take away anything from [Unknown], but rather trying to credit the team he worked with. SMF was [Unknown]'s idea, he gave it to the PM's of yabbSE, they gave it an environment where it could grow, a team to support it, etc. Many people played/play a vital role in SMF, but do so behind the  scenes.

Compuart for example, has been the lead Dev since before SMF was SMF, his insight and contributions to SMF will stay with SMF long past the 2.x branch. I remember meeting him at MotM, and thinking to myself, that he was perhaps one of the smartest people I've met. He was really down to earth, yet very sharp-witted.
But I digress... I could go on and on about the SMF team, but I think those who take the time to read this, already know :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: JBlaze on May 31, 2009, 03:16:41 PM
Very nice Rick. I would love to see more interviews. I think that would get the regular users and members more interested in what goes into SMF and the people behind it.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: tooman on July 22, 2009, 07:18:17 AM
cool, i like this forum, and i love SMF :D
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: marinefish on August 11, 2009, 04:05:14 AM
Great, thanks. as a newbie i would like to see more interviews.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: Yigal on August 11, 2009, 03:09:11 PM
Join the IRC chat, the staff members are there if you wanna have a chat :P
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: delldead on August 12, 2009, 04:56:47 AM
awesome
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: opinionated1 on September 30, 2009, 12:56:31 AM
Whoa...! what a nice read from that stuff...! Thanks Rick....again and again!
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: General-Promotion on October 16, 2009, 04:17:49 PM
Nice InterView.
Title: Re: Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]
Post by: SleePy on October 17, 2009, 05:24:36 PM
I would like to thank all those who posted to this topic.  At this time we will be closing and archiving this news.

Thanks