Forum software phpBB has released the finalized version of phpBB 3.2. The milestone release includes many changes such as a revised installer with command line support, a new BBCode system, emoji support, and full support for PHP 7.0 and 7.1.
The PHP 7 support is a big deal for many sites because it will allow them to move up to the newest version of PHP which is able to provide better performance. CPU usage is decreased with PHP7 and often faster. This means cheap servers can do more with their meager specs. It also impacts other services running on the server that were waiting for phpBB in order to take advantage of PHP7.
When I upgraded my forum, I found a mess waiting me. The icons for each forum were tiled across the site and the menus in the top-left and top-right stayed open all the time. This made the site nearly unusable or at least unreadable. I cleared the phpBB cache, then purged the cache for the site at CloudFlare, and finally cleared the cache in my browser. Unfortunately, all of the forum visitors also have to clear the cache in their browsers, including desktop and mobile. Upon clearing the browser cache, the icons returned to normal and the site was usable again.
PhpBB 3.2 has some slight visual changes but they are pretty minor compared to the icons repeated every 20 pixels. I actually like the visual refinements in 3.2. It makes the platform seem more modern and mature. The extensions I was using for phpBB 3.1 mostly continue to work such as moving the profile of the poster to the left. I am dealing with some issues with the media embed extension to automatically show YouTube, Twitter, and other content on the site.
Check out the phpBB 3.2 Rhea announcement for more details of the new features.