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This is the very first post I have made using this very website's UI. Well, the very first done on production instance, obviously.

Some may say: "What's the big deal? There are lots of blogs and forums." And, indeed, there are, but the forums "engine" that I use on this website is built completely from scratch, without reliance on any 3rd party libraries of frameworks. That is why this post is very important to me, because it symbolizes a significant achievement for me. Hence the rocket on the custom banner.

In order to get here, to be able to do something, what we consider very basic nowadays, I had to build from the ground up several systems, "connect" them, test them. Again, without reliance on frameworks, and only very limited number of 3rd party libraries are being used (which are listed on Technology page). If you are familiar with web development, you probably know it's not that trivial.

Why I chose not to rely on frameworks? Well, they certainly can speed up development, but the moment you start using one, you are mostly locked to it and its peculiarities and own dependencies. I want to avoid those kind of dependencies at all costs. Especially with frameworks, since with them, every change may trigger requirement for huge refactor. Granted, changes in PHP can do the same, but PHP is usually more flexible than any framework, that enforces certain patterns onto you, at least to a degree.

But it's not that I am afraid of dependencies: I do use some 3rd party libraries, but I use them strategically. In fact, in the backend I am already using a 3rd library for mail delivery. And I switched from one to another almost seamlessly, due to how isolated this functionality is. With frameworks, a small change may trickle down into changes all over the project. And while I do refactor my code sometimes, I would prefer to do it, when I need it, not the framework.

It's not the only reason, though. The thing is, long ago, I got an idea, that blogs, forums, tickets and knowledgebase articles are technically the same thing from the backend structure perspective, and what differs them is mainly how they are presented in UI. Hence, the main section for the "forum" here is called "Talks", representing a more general idea of communication. This is me trying to test that idea in real-life.

So what's next, then? Well, I will continue fine-tuning the "engine", especially since I want to standardize what you can input into TinyMCE (which I use for WYSIWYG editor) to objects, that can be seen on the website all over. I will continue to enhance threads in various ways, including stylization (like branched conversations in Forums) and new features (like tags). I will add ability to create personal blogs for registered users, as well as start conversation threads from banks' and FFXIV entities' pages, and... At some point open up the registration. Who knows, maybe even in January 2023. But knowing myself, probably later.