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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.

Supporters / CoAuthors

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  

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.
  #151  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 16:10
Crotan's Avatar
Crotan Crotan is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Originally Posted by Osbes View Post
Please try the attached sprite.php

Replace this with the sprite.php in your admincp-folder and recreate the sprite.

I have added some additional Debug (starts and ends with DEBUG). if this file doesn't resolve your problem, pls send me those

Best regards
Sebastian
Looks like that fixed the post icons! and 14 were added for each style. No "does not exist or is not readable" error read out for any of them anymore.

There are still two statusicons that it can't find however, I'm not sure what makes these any different than the usual statusicons that it's able to find and create sprites for.


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

I should mention the .... isn't what the mod is printing out its just my FTP directories that I'm taking out of my copy and pastes.

Just looking at it, the correct path would be
Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

But then again those files legitimately don't exist. My custom statusicons don't include old_lock or new_lock in 16x16 sizes only 48x48. Neither does the default vBulletin statusicons

There is however a forum_lock-16.png
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  #152  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 16:31
giorgino giorgino is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Hi Osbes is it impossible to have templates changes integrated in your plugin?

I don't love the TMS option (another plugin installated = risk), so I'm using the manual changes option.

I'm not a coder, but if is possible and you teach me how to do this, I offer you my time for write the code to integrate in your plugin (sorry for my english..)
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  #153  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 16:35
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Hello Crotan,

good to hear, that it fixed your problem


To didnt miss any images, i evalutated what values are used for the statusicon in the image codes:


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

it is possible, that this icon never exists within vbulletin, but i will check (and remove) these after 4.1.6 first, since the mobile style use this definition and i dont know if these will be included und how much this style will be changed.

On a side note: i didnt add any templatechanges for the mobile style at present. and i wont do before 4.1.6

Best regards
Sebastian

Last edited by Osbes; 02 Aug 2011 at 16:42.
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  #154  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 16:38
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Hello giorgino,

it would be no problem to replace every perfect match of old code with new ones that use sprites, but the problem is, that it is complicated to revert such changes or update any changes.

Since the TMS does all this (and more), i didnt want to reinvent the wheel.

Best regards
Sebastian
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  #155  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 17:14
valdet's Avatar
valdet valdet is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Real name: Valdet
Just came across this wonderful mod.

Is it possible to make this hack work for older versions of vB 3.x (3.6, 3.7 and 3.8) series.
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  #156  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 17:16
tpearl5's Avatar
tpearl5 tpearl5 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Real name: John
Originally Posted by Osbes View Post
Hello tpearl5,

Support for SHOWTHREAD is planned for 0.8.0.

Best regards
Sebastian
Originally Posted by Mooff View Post
First Post:


Missed that - thanks!
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  #157  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 18:14
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Hello valdet,

since our liveforum doesn't use vBulletin 3.8.x we wont do it.

But if someone wants to port our addon to vBulletin 3.8.x, we will appreciate it.

But you are not allowed to charge money for the addon and the branding needs to be intact (but you can extend it).

So if someone wants to port our addon to vBulletin 3.8.x, feel free to do it, we will glady help.

Best regards
Sebastian
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  #158  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 18:47
final kaoss final kaoss is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
You can install a test forum with 3.8 being the installed version. Just remember the rules to password protect it & name it testvb.

Originally Posted by Osbes View Post
Hello valdet,

since our liveforum doesn't use vBulletin 3.8.x we wont do it.

But if someone wants to port our addon to vBulletin 3.8.x, we will appreciate it.

But you are not allowed to charge money for the addon and the branding needs to be intact (but you can extend it).

So if someone wants to port our addon to vBulletin 3.8.x, feel free to do it, we will glady help.

Best regards
Sebastian
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  #159  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 19:03
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Hello extreme-gaming,
yes, that would be possible, but since the development of an vBulletin 3.8.x port of this addon wouldnt be usefull for our forum, since we didnt use 3.8.x, i wont invest time into this.

Please dont forget, that developing this addon happens beside my work and freetime

Best regards
Sebastian
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  #160  
Old 02 Aug 2011, 20:12
ZeroHour's Avatar
ZeroHour ZeroHour is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
I am not sure why but my forum category images are cut off by a few pixels on the sprite which breaks the drop shadow effect.
Any ideas?
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  #161  
Old 03 Aug 2011, 01:25
archet1337's Avatar
archet1337 archet1337 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Real name: Olav
This is a brilliant mod! Thanks for sharing. Working great on 4.1.5

Not that it matters much and is a quick fix, but you forgot to translate the phrase $vbphrase[sprite_navgroup_configuration] to english

Also, the attachment icon looks a bit weird. See attached image. How to fix this?
Attached Images
File Type: png sprite.png (58.5 KB, 41 views)
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Last edited by archet1337; 03 Aug 2011 at 02:00.
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  #162  
Old 03 Aug 2011, 02:08
FReeSTER FReeSTER is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
this mod is great but it gave me a hard time. For some reason it HIDED must of the forum images.

So I Un-Install until I know how to fix it

thanks
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  #163  
Old 03 Aug 2011, 04:02
popmyzit popmyzit is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
I am testing this I get error on refresh

Default Style
Error occurred: Your sprite folder is not writeable. Please check the permissions on the directory "".

Where can I modify the directory? What is the default directory so I can make it writable.

thanks
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  #164  
Old 03 Aug 2011, 05:14
Crotan's Avatar
Crotan Crotan is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Originally Posted by popmyzit View Post
I am testing this I get error on refresh

Default Style
Error occurred: Your sprite folder is not writeable. Please check the permissions on the directory "".

Where can I modify the directory? What is the default directory so I can make it writable.

thanks
www.yoursite.com/forums/images/sprites

Folder needs to be 755.
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  #165  
Old 03 Aug 2011, 05:52
Osbes Osbes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Hello archet1337,

Originally Posted by archet1337 View Post
Also, the attachment icon looks a bit weird. See attached image. How to fix this?
the problem is, that you are not using GD-Libary 2.0.36 (or later) and your image isn't using "color RGBA", but "gray+alpha". You can tell this problem by the vertical lines you get.

GD had a problem handling grayscale images with alpha channel correctly, wich was fixed with GD 2.0.36 in the Year 2007.

GD 2.0.36 (2007-11-xx)
88, Fixed support of PNG grayscale image with alpha channel (Pierre)
https://bitbucket.org/pierrejoye/gd-...361a31aab/NEWS

The solution is to update the GD-Libary to 2.0.36 (or later) or replace every file which uses "gray+alpha" with an version using "color RGBA".

I would advise to update the GD-Libary, cause there is also a serious security problem, that was fixed in the Year 2009 by Debian.


2009

libgd2 (2.0.36~rc1~dfsg-3+lenny1) stable-security; urgency=high


* Non-maintainer upload by the Security Team.
* Fixed CVE-2009-3546: possible buffer overflow or buffer over-read attacks via crafted files (Closes: #552534)

-- Giuseppe Iuculano <[email protected]> Mon, 09 Nov 2009 21:46:06 +0100
I am really shocked by this, since you are now the sixth person with this kind of problem and this fix is 4 years old and since 2 years known als high security fix by debian.

Best regards
Sebastian
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