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United-Forum CSS Sprites - ludicrous speed - NOW! Details »
United-Forum CSS Sprites - ludicrous speed - NOW!
Mod Version: 0.7.2, by Osbes (Member) Osbes is offline
Developer Last Online: Feb 2013 I like it Show Printable Version Email this Page

vB Version: 4.x.x Rating: (31 votes - 4.55 average) Installs: 268
Released: 12 Jul 2011 Last Update: 06 Aug 2011 Downloads: 2868
Not Supported Uses Plugins Auto-Template Additional Files Is in Beta Stage  

tl;dr Makes your forum faster.

Want an easy one-click installation for this addon? . Vote for this jira-entry

Add on currently is in beta stage

When visiting a website, speed is a very important factor not only for users but crawlers as well. Long loading times are a nuisance since your time is basically wasted during the waiting period. Hence, we are trying everything we can in order to speed up our site. One great way to improve loading times is by the use of css sprites. Unfortunately these are not implemented by vBulletin.

We therefore decided to develop our own css-sprite add on for vBulletin boards and want to share this code with the worldwide vBulletin community.

Live demo
The add on is permanently running in our vBulletin board ( > 2.000.000 posts), take a look:
http://www.united-forum.de

The add on will be supported via this thread. If you have any questions, issues, improvements or feedback regarding this add on, please feel free to post a comment or write us a pm at any time. We are happy to discuss

vBulletin performance using css sprites
Our tests are based on version 0.7.0. We used the analytic tools firebug network utility and the googlelabs.com page speed site

on the client side the following parameter were used:
download speed: 5.7 MBit/s
ping: 31ms




css sprites - what are they?
The intention behind css sprites is the bundling of many small graphics into one large graphic in order to decrease the number of required http requests. This shortens the loading times of the given website. In addition, the the accumulated size of all small graphics is higher than the size of the sprite due to reasons of compression.
You can find further information in a great article by Chris Coyier.
What is the gain in using css sprites?
Aside from the technical implementation, the question on how much one actually does gain by using css sprites is of the most interest. Obviously they decrease loading times - but how important are small loading times and what is the impact on vBulletin overall loading times?

A short time ago, Jasper Aguila pointed out that speed is one crucial stickiness factor in his blog on vBulletin.com.
Originally Posted by Jasper Aguila vBulletin Support
The internet has unfortunately contributed to the exponential decrease in attention span for many individuals. That's why this decade is seeing a trend in emerging technologies emphasizing the importance of speed request. It's crucial for your content to be promptly distributed in a timely manner, else bounce rate will increase - making you lose returning visitors. It's also important to note that slow sites may be penalized by search engines.

With better browsers, more powerful processors, and improved technologies constantly releasing each year, it's becoming quite difficult to provide excuses for slow loading pages. Therefore, try optimizing your server for speed. Read up and learn optimization techniques at vBulletin.com's Server Configuration forum.
In addition, the google ranking is influenced by the site speed as well.

Google Webmaster Central Blog
Originally Posted by 09.04.2010 - Google Webmaster Central Blog
You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.
vBseo Webmaster Mert Gökçeimam
CSS sprites is a huge bonus for big boards , any big board owner definately should use it.
Last but not least, not only the user's loading time is reduced, but also does the server load decrease as the server will have to handle a lot less of http requests. This clears available connections and cpu time.
Add on features
In the current released beta version 0.7.2, sprites are available for FORUMHOME and FORUMDISPLAY. Coming up next SHOWTHREAD.

Sprites are created style based for all forum styles and saved in a folder which you can set via the imgdir_sprite stylevar. You have one additional button in the ACP (CSS-Sprites -> Refresh) which automatically creates all sprites, the according css definitions and includes those css definitions in the vBulletin css rollup files.
Installation

First of all, if you didnt want to change the templates manually, install the Template Modification System (TMS). Now proceed with the installation:
  • upload the contents of the upload folder into your forum home directory.
  • import the add on in the ACP
  • upon installation a new stylevar imgdir_sprite will be created. Update this stylevar based on your file structure - default value is the vbulletin sprite directory. Make sure the folder is writable, else the sprites can't be saved!
  • create the sprites via the ACP at CSS-Sprite using the Refresh option.
  • If you have installed TMS, you are done now. This was an easy gained speed up, not? If you didnt installed TMS and didnt want to do it, proceed with the next point:
  • in order to use the sprites, you then will have to edit some templates. The diffs (xou will find it in the do_not_upload folder show which parts you have to delete '<' and which parts to add '>' In addition, on top find the lines in which you will find the respective code.[/b]

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Only licensed members can download files, Click Here for more information.

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Screenshots

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Views:	1165
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ID:	131572  

Show Your Support

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  • If you like this modification support the author by donating.
  • This modification may not be copied, reproduced or published elsewhere without author's permission.
  #421  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 02:31
addamroy addamroy is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Thanks Johan.

I'm not sure I understand the custom icon feature...

I don't really want this mod to 'change' any of my existing icons, do I have to do that with this?

I was under the impression that I install this thing, and it will take care of the rest, and my site will load faster... Is that correct or is there more to this than I realize?
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  #422  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 03:02
Johan Hiemstra Johan Hiemstra is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
It won't change anything you will tell it to change. The custom icon feature is optional, you can ignore it.

I was under the impression that I install this thing, and it will take care of the rest
That's correct. Just follow the installation instructions above. If you don't use the Template Modification System (TMS) you need to make quite a few template modifications manually.

Your site will load faster, and it can reduce server loads noticeably. The actually difference depends on how much visitors your site receives however. In particular the forum home and forum display pages will load faster and that's important for search engine rankings as well. Since vBulletin is pretty slow by default this is one of several things you can do to speed up the forums and I'll take anything that makes it a more smooth experience for my visitors.
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  #423  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 03:36
addamroy addamroy is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
I absolutely agree on the load times.

You mentioned it depends on how many visitors I get, I'm getting around 1500 visitors a day.
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  #424  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 14:37
Johan Hiemstra Johan Hiemstra is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
You mentioned it depends on how many visitors I get
Yeah, but I only meant that in regards to reducing server loads. Whether you have 1500 per day like you, or 15,000 per day like me, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, I truly believe sprites should be used by default in vBulletin. It's one of the great things about the new CKeditor, which also uses a spritesheet for it's buttons/controls.
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  #425  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 16:23
addamroy addamroy is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
What's the 'do not upload' folder for??

There's a template_changes.diff file in there, am i not supposed to do anything with it?

Why is it even in there in the first place if I'm not supposed to upload it??
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  #426  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 18:41
Johan Hiemstra Johan Hiemstra is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
That's file contains the template changes you need to make manually IF you do NOT use TMS.

As mentioned in the installation instructions above:
in order to use the sprites, you then will have to edit some templates. The diffs (xou will find it in the do_not_upload folder show which parts you have to delete '<' and which parts to add '>' In addition, on top find the lines in which you will find the respective code.[/b]
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  #427  
Old 22 Nov 2011, 23:10
addamroy addamroy is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Will this still work if I install the template modification system addon, then install this one, then uninstall the template modification system addon when it's done?

The TMS addon puts a sitewide branding link back to their site in the footer of the forum, which is quite disappointing, and I want to avoid this but there's ALOT of template changes and I don't want to mess anything up.

So can i do that? Install TMS just to make this add-on install easier then uninstall TMS?
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  #428  
Old 23 Nov 2011, 00:24
mrbreeze mrbreeze is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
i don't think this helped me.. i got a 59 for my site.. i must've installed something wrong.
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  #429  
Old 27 Nov 2011, 05:41
tme_power tme_power is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Pls make an update for vbb 4.1.8
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  #430  
Old 27 Nov 2011, 12:38
Johan Hiemstra Johan Hiemstra is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Originally Posted by mrbreeze View Post
i don't think this helped me.. i got a 59 for my site.. i must've installed something wrong.
Combining images into sprites is good for only a small portion of your total page speed score. With a 59 you should be looking at many other improvements. I added Xcache and mod_deflate (instead of vB gzip option) and I do have a score of 96 now.

Originally Posted by tme_power
Pls make an update for vbb 4.1.8
Yes pls do.

I didn't run the Refresh option after upgrading to 4.1.8 and it still works fine. Just make sure the upgrade doesn't wipe your template modifications if you made them manually.

Originally Posted by addamroy
So can i do that? Install TMS just to make this add-on install easier then uninstall TMS?
Sounds like a bad idea. I'm not really familiar with TMS but I think if you remove TMS you remove the template modifications as well. It's not as hard as it seems to make those modifications manually, plus you can test them out every time you changed a template before moving on to the next.
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  #431  
Old 27 Nov 2011, 13:40
Alfa1's Avatar
Alfa1 Alfa1 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
I would love a vb3 version.
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  #432  
Old 02 Dec 2011, 19:27
Popa Andrei's Avatar
Popa Andrei Popa Andrei is offline
 
Join Date: May 2008
Real name: Popa Andrei Florin
Ok first of all thanks for this great mode and i hope it will be finished.
Second this is mi first refresh so i hope it is ok

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

And in the end one question:
The refresh is done automatic or i have to do it manual.If its only manual chan we create a schedule with vb task?

EDIT: it removed all my custom forum icons
How can i make it to make sprites from the forum icons?
When i enable the sprites plugins it deactivates the forum advaced icons.
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Last edited by Popa Andrei; 02 Dec 2011 at 19:45.
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  #433  
Old 05 Dec 2011, 16:04
Alfa1's Avatar
Alfa1 Alfa1 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
I have tested this out on a small forum of mine (vb4.1.8 + TMS), and the forum icons are gone too. How can I fix this?

The TMS footer is an issue, as it has an adverse effect on SEO.

Please offer this to vBS for inclusion in the stock vbulletin release.
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  #434  
Old 05 Dec 2011, 18:01
Popa Andrei's Avatar
Popa Andrei Popa Andrei is offline
 
Join Date: May 2008
Real name: Popa Andrei Florin
uninstalled until incompatibiliti with custom forum icons is fixed
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  #435  
Old 05 Dec 2011, 21:26
Mooff Mooff is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Originally Posted by Alfa1 View Post
I have tested this out on a small forum of mine (vb4.1.8 + TMS), and the forum icons are gone too. How can I fix this?
Are the icons in the sprite? Meaning, manually open the png and check whether they are there.
If they are it is possible that in vb4.1.8 the forumbit templates changed in a way that the automatic templatemodifications programmed for the TMS do not work anymore. Then you would have to manually correct those templates.

We are currently in the process of updating our forums (not the addon!) and will do modifications there if necessary, but probably won't have time to program new TMS rules anytime soon cause we anticipate the new command and conquer beeing announced on december 10th. Since we are a c&c board this will then be our primary focus and is going to eat up all our time.

Meaning once the templates are fixed i can post how they have to look in the default style so you can do the changes manually.
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