New Site Feature: Live Updates

Hey all,

WoltLab, our platform vendor, recently revealed their Big New Feature for version 5.5 of the site platform: live updates. To offer a brief explainer, this is a feature that utilises WebSockets and a background service to update things like posts in a thread in real-time. This sort of responsive page design is possible with JavaScript and AJAX, but the WebSocket method is so much more efficient when implemented properly that it's not worth using JavaScript for it.

Now, I said this is a new feature for WoltLab Suite 5.5, did I not? So why do we have a new line in the footer and why is the feature available to us now when we use version 5.4 (and 5.5 isn't even out yet, for that matter)? While, yes, it is going to be released as an officially-supported feature in version 5.5, they're only releasing it to their WoltLab Cloud customers. We are most definitely not one of those, as the cheapest package offers less flexibility than we have with a self-hosted license for a much greater overall cost. This decision has been met with quite some pushback on their official support forums, with many detractors pointing to just the service we tapped to implement it ourselves: the wonderful Push++ package (with optional WSF integration) by Cyperghost. WoltLab, to their credit, have offered some explanation (post in German, use Google Translate) as to why their version of this feature is exclusive to their Cloud offering--it's a custom implementation that requires the combined server brawn they have available to be as efficient as it is--but I (and a lot of other people, if the thread I linked is any indication) don't buy it.

Getting Push++ running took a bit of effort and trial and error--including, but not limited to, accidentally hosing PHP for a bit and completely recompiling the Push++ daemon from scratch based on our VPS's server config--but it is live now, so thread should now be updating in real-time without user input. Make sure you report any bugs you find to me on the Discord!

Thanks, and see you all around