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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: 2878
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]

Download Now

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

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Screenshots

Click image for larger version

Name:	forumdisplay_default.jpg
Views:	2235
Size:	151.3 KB
ID:	131565   Click image for larger version

Name:	forumdisplay_sprites_070.png
Views:	1629
Size:	70.8 KB
ID:	131566   Click image for larger version

Name:	forumhome_default.jpg
Views:	1318
Size:	145.6 KB
ID:	131567   Click image for larger version

Name:	forumhome_sprites_070.png
Views:	1168
Size:	66.6 KB
ID:	131568  

Click image for larger version

Name:	nachher_forumdisplay.jpg
Views:	1557
Size:	96.6 KB
ID:	131570   Click image for larger version

Name:	nachher_forumhome.jpg
Views:	1173
Size:	94.1 KB
ID:	131572  

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  • This modification may not be copied, reproduced or published elsewhere without author's permission.
  #31  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:36
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Hi Sebastian
I mean the forum custom icons, see the pict
Attached Images
File Type: png Schermata 07-2455761 alle 10.35.16.png (222.5 KB, 72 views)
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  #32  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:38
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
The mod I use for custom icons is http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=244351
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  #33  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:44
klaus's Avatar
klaus klaus is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Real name: Klaus
Works great for me on vb414. There are less requests like promised.

However I use Absolute path (http://cdn.domain.com/forum/image/buttons vs. images/buttons) in my image_dir style vars and this plugin doesn't seem to support it when I run the "refresh".

Overall I think this is a very significant performance enhancer that VB should have built into the software about 2 years ago. Thank you for writing this add-on and keep it going.
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  #34  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:44
Mooff Mooff is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
@giorgino
The way you use that mod seems to be no different than the basic vb4 setting (forum prefix).

check our board. We have different icons for almost all our games - starcraft2, tiberium twilight, tiberium wars, red alert3....
www.united-forum.de
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  #35  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:53
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Originally Posted by Mooff View Post
@giorgino
The way you use that mod seems to be no different than the basic vb4 setting (forum prefix).

check our board. We have different icons for almost all our games - starcraft2, tiberium twilight, tiberium wars, red alert3....
www.united-forum.de
I've tried to install your mod that work but it reset the forums custom icons to default icons... what's wrong?
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  #36  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 08:56
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
@giorgino
The feature to use forums custom icons is builtin in vBulletin 4. You can add to every forum an own imageprefix, so it will use forums custom icons. If you use the vBulletin imageprefix for your your forums, these icons will instantly added to the sprite.

If you want to further use the Forum Category Icons addon, i can create you a plugin, so this icons will also added.

But i would advise you to use the builtin solution from vBulletin, so you didnt need an extra addon and an extra plugin from us on top of this.
This could make your workload during every vBulletin Update easier (less addons and plugins = less problems)

###

@klaus
Can you send me the output, when using an absolute path, via PN? This would help me finding the problem

Best regards
Sebastian
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  #37  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 09:11
doctorsexy's Avatar
doctorsexy doctorsexy is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Real name: Chris
Will give it till it can be loaded with less fuss... looks good
__________________
http://sandstormradio.org
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  #38  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 09:45
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Originally Posted by Osbes View Post
@giorgino
The feature to use forums custom icons is builtin in vBulletin 4. You can add to every forum an own imageprefix, so it will use forums custom icons. If you use the vBulletin imageprefix for your your forums, these icons will instantly added to the sprite.

If you want to further use the Forum Category Icons addon, i can create you a plugin, so this icons will also added.

But i would advise you to use the builtin solution from vBulletin, so you didnt need an extra addon and an extra plugin from us on top of this.
This could make your workload during every vBulletin Update easier (less addons and plugins = less problems)
Ouch Sebastian!
I don't know how to customize each icon per forum basis, with standard vB4 features. Can you advise me a guide to perform this? So I can uninstall the plugin and use yours?
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  #39  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 10:23
Mooff Mooff is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
@giorgino

In the ACP go to
-> Forum Manager
-> search for the forum you want to edit
-> edit forum
-> scroll down to 'Style Options'
-> Prefix for Forum Status Images --> add your forum prefix there (you can have a different one for each forum - and you need to add the prefix in your subforums as well, if you want the special icons to show up there). For forums which should use the default icons - do nothing.

you then need icons which are named accordingly
So if your forum prefix is, let's say, 'sc2_'
you need the following additional icons
sc2_forum_new-48.png
sc2_forum_old-48.png
sc2_subforum_new-48.png
sc2_subforum_old-48.png

In your ../statusicons folder.
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  #40  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 10:28
Mooff Mooff is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Originally Posted by doctorsexy View Post
Will give it till it can be loaded with less fuss... looks good
Unfortunately we can't make the template changes easier.

In order to use sprites we need to replace the image codes in those templates. And since images are widely spread around in those templates it is a bit of a hassle to replace that code.

In addition we can't just upload the whole templates cause the code inbetween the image parts might be modified heavily on some boards and shouldn't be replaced.


If anyone has an idea how to make it easier - please let us know.
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  #41  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 11:53
final kaoss final kaoss is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
No, I never did set expires, I'm using this in my htaccess. If you want to compare the load times on my site, select the df2 skin at the bottom left.


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

Originally Posted by Osbes View Post
Hello extreme-gaming,

no problem, i putted up the template changes in codeboxes again

The extra > and < is to indicate what should be replaced by what, but i understand that it is a little unhandy, if you want to select-copy-replace multiple lines.

I am adding icons step by step. Thats why the Logo is currently not added.

It is weird, that you didnt noticed a significant drop in the requests, using the addon. Can you send me a link, so i can try your implementation in the test skin?


I think you set the expires entity-header and cache-control header in your htaccess for images, right? This should behave totally independent to my addon.

I just double checked this an its working correct on our forum.

My Browsers sends:

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

and gets as response

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

and then he loads the file from the browser-cache.

So that this isnt working on your forum seems also a little bit weird. Please send me a link, so i can check this in your test skin and the corresponding .httacces file, so i can check your cache settings.

Best regards
Sebastian
Without it installed.

http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110718_F8_12XTQ/

Page Speed 1.9 Score: 80/100
Load time 3.018 seconds on second load
Requests 8
KB's 35
F A A B B

With it installed.
http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110718_5T_12XVE/

Page Speed 1.9 Score: 80/100
Load time 2.935 seconds on second load
Requests 8
KB's 64

F A A B C

So I wind up losing a grade and on the forum refresh, it's noticeable that the images reload on the test skin

Last edited by final kaoss; 18 Jul 2011 at 12:02.
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  #42  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 12:30
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
I didnt unterstand the Grading behind webpagetest.org, but as you can see, you gained alot of Performance using this addon.

Without addon
  • First View
    Load Time: 5.161s
    Requests: 78
  • Repeat View
    Load Time: 2.405s
    Requests: 8


With addon
  • First View
    Load Time: 3.759s
    Requests: 59
  • Repeat View
    Load Time: 2.387s
    Requests: 8

So the performance is better in any aspect using this addon. Your Load Time dropped significant 1.5 seconds on the first view.

As far as i can see, your grading only dropped cause on the second test (with addon) there is an additional

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

,but this isnt coming from our addon. Maybe you gained additional google ad since the forum is faster, using adaptiv ad strategies? This would be a big bonus.

Last edited by Osbes; 18 Jul 2011 at 12:37.
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  #43  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 15:28
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Originally Posted by Mooff View Post
@giorgino

In the ACP go to
-> Forum Manager
-> search for the forum you want to edit
-> edit forum
-> scroll down to 'Style Options'
-> Prefix for Forum Status Images --> add your forum prefix there (you can have a different one for each forum - and you need to add the prefix in your subforums as well, if you want the special icons to show up there). For forums which should use the default icons - do nothing.

you then need icons which are named accordingly
So if your forum prefix is, let's say, 'sc2_'
you need the following additional icons
sc2_forum_new-48.png
sc2_forum_old-48.png
sc2_subforum_new-48.png
sc2_subforum_old-48.png

In your ../statusicons folder.
GREAT! Work perfect!!!
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  #44  
Old 18 Jul 2011, 17:12
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
If someone of you are using CDNs, please update to the latest version (0.6.2)
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  #45  
Old 20 Jul 2011, 17:26
final kaoss final kaoss is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
with this installed. This get's reported


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

For showforum:


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

Add these to the next update?
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