Author Topic: Migrating the forum  (Read 1358 times)

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Offline Gryzor

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Migrating the forum
« on: 13:53, 08 June 18 »
Hello guys!


I've had reports over the past couple of days (today I confirmed them) that the forum has, once more, been exceedingly slow at times.


...I'm giving up. There's nothing on the server to suggest something's amiss and I haven't been able to address the issues.


So, I was thinking, maybe it's time to move on to some other platform?


If so, here are the points we should consider:
-it should probably be a paid-for platform
-it should be possible to import the SMF database to it
-we should cover the costs
-we would lose some functionality we've been accustomed to - for instance, even if the new platform supports Likes and/or Karma etc, we will lose current Likes.


Right now I'm looking at Invision/XenForo(?)/vBulletin.


If anyone has any experience or opinion about those (or others), please let's discuss!


Thanks!

Offline roudoudou

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #1 on: 14:03, 08 June 18 »
So, I was thinking, maybe it's time to move on to some other platform?


I cannot disagree  ;D


IMO the worst thing on this forum is the wysiwyg editor that is absolutly not what you get  >:(


I hope you will keep attached files of every topics
use RASM, the best assembler ever made :p

I will survive

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #2 on: 14:05, 08 June 18 »
Attachments will *probably* be kept with each post, but as for their position within the posts themselves, I have my doubts.


What's not wys in the editor though?

Offline roudoudou

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #3 on: 14:27, 08 June 18 »
Attachments will *probably* be kept with each post, but as for their position within the posts themselves, I have my doubts.


What's not wys in the editor though?


Very often my messages are screwed up with a tiny tiny tiny font size (why? don't know) I had to re-edit, select all the text and font size, and pray  ;D

use RASM, the best assembler ever made :p

I will survive

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #4 on: 14:54, 08 June 18 »
I think I have described somewhere when this happens. All you have to do though it clear the formating and it'll be fine.


But anyhow, that's only one of the smaller annoyances...

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #5 on: 14:57, 08 June 18 »
I've always found vBulletin the most stable, and with the most options for optimising (databases, etc).

Used IPB (invision) briefly, found it the biggest pile of shit ever.  :laugh:

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #6 on: 15:39, 08 June 18 »
I tried the IPB demo a bit, seemed nice. But, as always with systems of such complexity, it's not unless you have used it for a while before you start appreciating its pros and cons...


vBulletin is, in my mind, a steady sort-of-behemoth, not without its flaws though. At least it's (I think) a once-off payment.


They also offer ncie cloud hosting plans, but I doubt their bandwidth will fit our size (the disk space certainly won't!).

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #7 on: 16:44, 08 June 18 »
I tried the IPB demo a bit, seemed nice. But, as always with systems of such complexity, it's not unless you have used it for a while before you start appreciating its pros and cons...


vBulletin is, in my mind, a steady sort-of-behemoth, not without its flaws though. At least it's (I think) a once-off payment.


They also offer ncie cloud hosting plans, but I doubt their bandwidth will fit our size (the disk space certainly won't!).
vBul is definitely a once off payment, and then I think the updates are free for life. Or at least they used to be. I haven't been a forum admin since 2013 so my information could be well out of date.

Offline Targhan

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #8 on: 22:36, 08 June 18 »
I don't personally care much about the sometimes-slowness of this forum. But pleeeeeease make sure the new forum, if there is one, is nice looking and nice to use. Some very known websites changed their design/forum/whatever and they LOST many users because they didn't like the new design, or simply got lost. Habit is a dangerous thing on the web!
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #9 on: 18:07, 09 June 18 »
Sooo, bad news. I asked vBulletin about migration options and they had this to say:


Quote


Hello,

Unfortunately there is no importer to go direct from SMF to VB5. What you may be able to use is a free open source importer called Impex to import from SMF to vBulletin 4.x and after the import, assuming everything is working, you can then upgrade to VB 5.x. However you would need to purchase the vBulletin license to know if this would work and there would be no refund once you download the software. I understand this is a major issue for someone in your position and we have no great solution.

Other options are 3rd party conversion services listed below- we do not endorse either but we know other customers have used them with success in the past-

http://gconverters.com/
https://cms2cms.com/

You can learn more about Impex here: https://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum/vbulletin-4/vbulletin-impex-import-system/4045829-impex-how-and-where-to-download

The online demo is here but you cannot import into it: https://www.vbulletin.com/en/vb5-trial/





Ideas?

Offline ComSoft6128

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #10 on: 18:23, 09 June 18 »
What would be the cost for this?

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #11 on: 18:26, 09 June 18 »
Depends on the target platform. For vBulletin, it's $249 for the base version and $399 for the base+mobile suite.


The conversion service first mentioned in my quote is $100.


Others vary, but in general we're talking a few hundred euros...

Offline pelrun

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #12 on: 19:07, 09 June 18 »
I'm currently in the middle of the Switch On 2018 demoparty, trying to hack together a prod, and the forum goes down for ages! Aaaaaugh!  :picard2:


Thanks for getting it back up :)

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #13 on: 20:52, 09 June 18 »
I do have an idea. You could probably find a cracked version of VB4 and install it in a separate directory and see if those converters work before you shell out hundreds for VB5 only to find it still won't work. Obviously remove the cracked version before installing the proper version if you go that route.

Not ideal, but how else are you going to find out if it works or not?

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #14 on: 21:05, 09 June 18 »
@pelrun : apologies mate :( Had to put it in maintenance mode - seems ok for now, but if it happens again do drop me an email and I can try to set you up with some special access (not sure if possible, but I can try).


@Shaun M. Neary : yeah, thought about it, too. But I'm weary of installing it on our production server - and this would mean setting up a VM, copying everything over and doing it. Doable, but it'd take quite a bit of time...


Such a pity they don't offer trial versions any more!

Offline reidrac

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #15 on: 22:55, 09 June 18 »
I don't think this is going to help, but I've used Discourse a bit in some projects and I liked it; but I see that is a quite "modern" experience that some folk here may not like.

It is open source, further info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_(software)

My two cents!
« Last Edit: 22:59, 09 June 18 by reidrac »
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Offline Fessor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #16 on: 23:04, 09 June 18 »
what about the memory? maybe the timeouts are caused by the memory sometimes running out and the server starts to swap?


Offline ASiC

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #17 on: 00:20, 10 June 18 »
What about phpBB on AWS?
You can launch it on a free tier account (even on a t2.micro ec2 instance) and do some testing.
If/once happy, you can take it to production and size it up accordingly.


Where is the current BB hosted on?

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #18 on: 08:25, 10 June 18 »
@reidrac : I like Discourse myself, but as you said its approach is quite 'modern'.  Plus I don't really know much about it, but this could change I suppose :D If people say they like it (you can try it at https://try.discourse.org ) I may consider it since it seems I can migrate the data to it!


@Fessor : no, memory is ok. It's always 'something' that causes the CPU to spike. The problem is, I can't nail it down; one time it's this query, the other that one, this subsystem, that module... drives me crazy.


@ASiC : moving to a cloud hosting would be akward. Indeed, I briefly thought about letting someone else manage our forum serving, but that would leave the wiki itself out... Also, isn't phpBB old news?


We're currently on our own bare metal server, btw.

Offline reidrac

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #19 on: 09:39, 10 June 18 »
@reidrac : I like Discourse myself, but as you said its approach is quite 'modern'.  Plus I don't really know much about it, but this could change I suppose :D If people say they like it (you can try it at https://try.discourse.org ) I may consider it since it seems I can migrate the data to it!

Is not only a modern UX, it is also modern regarding operations: it is deployed using docker.

So I guess it may have a learning curve if you're not into the new stuff.
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #20 on: 10:48, 10 June 18 »
Ah, that does it :( I've dabbled with dockers but I'm nowhere near proficient enough. I wouldn't want to learn with our forum!


Also, from a structure point of view - it seems that the Discourse docker requires its own domain. I could place in on a subdomain, but then I'd have to 301 *every* page from here. It'd be challenging, to say the least, not only doing it (since I doubt SMF<->Discourse URLs are one:one) but also successfully implementing it from an SEO point of view.


Sooo I guess Discourse's out; pity, I'd love to try it.

Offline AMSDOS

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #21 on: 13:44, 10 June 18 »
@Gryzor don't want you to take it personally, as a precaution I was able to transfer many of the Bookmarked threads I've built over the years by using the Print Option and Exporting as PDF, just in case.
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Offline Docent

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #22 on: 14:04, 10 June 18 »

@Fessor : no, memory is ok. It's always 'something' that causes the CPU to spike. The problem is, I can't nail it down; one time it's this query, the other that one, this subsystem, that module... drives me crazy.

What system is on the server? Linux, FreeBSD?
I had similar problem on Linux and it was caused by read/write disk error/disk failure. Is there anything interesting in logs around the time it happens ?


Offline Gryzor

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #23 on: 17:22, 10 June 18 »
It's an Ubuntu system, but no, I never noticed a hardware issue...

Offline gerald

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Re: Migrating the forum
« Reply #24 on: 18:21, 10 June 18 »
Could it be a some king of garbage collection happening somewhere ?
database ?
web server ?
syslog/journald ?