December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

The title says it all.
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December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

It was about this time in 2007 when I wrote an announcement thread called "The forum's dead, long live the forum!" in which we discussed a major forum upgrade. Those with a longer history on this site may even remember the introduction of the forum over 10 years ago in 2003 IIRC.

We use the forum software for its original purpose, but we've also extended it to provide the backbone engine for the site. It handles page layout, email messaging, user authentication and provides the glue, if you like, that holds the species database, the fishkeepers and the forum based community together. In the fish world at least, the approach it is unique.

The forum software is called phpBB and we are about to embark on an upgrade from version 3 to 3.1. On the face of it, this doesn't seem like a big deal (it didn't to me). However, I then looked into what the developers have done and it's a massive step up at all levels. Whether the casual user, moderator, admin or developer, there's a lot of new stuff.

While a change of this magnitude might be a pain to some, it is necessary to keep current from a security perspective as well as avail ourselves of new features. As I've mentioned before, social media integration and decent access from tablets and smartphones are important things these days.

I have prepped as much as I can in so far as I've already upgraded http://www.zebrapleco.com and http://www.aquaticrepublic.com. Over the next few weeks, I will implement it here. I would expect the majority of things to work within hours of the upgrade but I suspect also there will be a few weeks worth of fixing specific things here and there. Please use this forum to report issue, as there might be a few on the go at the one time, probably best if in different threads.

Actual site downtime should be limited to a few hours, I will update on when that will be in the next post. As ever, happy to discuss!

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Just running backups now, shouldn't be long until we go offline.

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Well, here we go, see you on the other side...

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Step one completed, the new forum software is now in place. Two remaining steps, (1) get it working with the rest of the site and (2) make it look and feel the same (things are currently looking a bit blue!).

Bug fixing as we go.....

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Front page is up!

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by KungFish »

Is there going to be a new design for the front page, or will it be close to what it was before?
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Progress is slow at present because I've got to take a snapshot of the new site before I can work more on it (and it is not a small backup file). However, Tapatalk should be up and running within the next 45 minutes allowing unchanged forum access via that app.

For the majority of our users, priority will be getting the site nav up and running and then fixing the Planet specific stuff like CotM, Shane's World etc. The layout, look and feel should be pretty much as before but a touch more modern.

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

KungFish wrote:Is there going to be a new design for the front page, or will it be close to what it was before?
If I get it right, it should be similar, but a bit cleaner / modern.

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

A degree of layout has been restored. Going to get on to the navigation stuff after I eat.

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by NCE12940 »

Nice and clean looking.
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Brian2014 »

OMG its shrank! top bar where is says plantcatfish, shanes world etc etc is fine, but the middle section is tiny with two big blue empty spaces down either side :(
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Brian2014 »

Or is that the new look you are going for ?
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by KungFish »

The font seems to be smaller on all the links. Lots of empty space.
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

It's days away from being finished folks - just getting the basics back up and running.

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by krazyGeoff »

Looking good Jools,
I have created a bug for you, but since you are still working on the upgrade I will not go hard out, until you have more time to complete.

Cheers

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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by dog321fish »

Posted in Bugs perhaps should have posted here, sorry
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

dog321fish wrote:Posted in Bugs perhaps should have posted here, sorry
I don't care, what really matters is that you took the time, thanks! But posting in bugs is useful and I will go have a look at what the issue was.

Meanwhile...

Yay#1 Quickfind is now working.
Yay#2 Some of the menu nav styling is working.

Boo#1 The footer is a mess.
Boo#2 Several pages (specific to Planet) not working...
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Shovelnose »

Hey Jools,


Would you prefer we wait till the upgrade is done to report Bugs???
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by jac »

Lot of work going on here!
Waiting patiently on the final result :-)


Btw, smilies aren't working when I click on them, handmade are showing as you can see ;-)
Every great achievement begins with a dream ;-)
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Re: December 2014 :: Major forum upgrade

Post by Jools »

Shovelnose wrote:Would you prefer we wait till the upgrade is done to report Bugs???
I would suggest giving it until tomorrow (Friday). I will have a good 6 hours today to address the worst of them or at least as many of them as I can do. I am trying to prioritise on the most important (layout or failure stopping content being readable), failure stopping use of a feature and finally layout/look feel.

I appreciate the input from everyone, while I know it's a pain it's a lot easier for me to get the upgrade "into the wild" and then fix things than set-up, maintain a test environment then do the upgrade twice (once test, once live). I'd got the majority of big issues fixed before I touched Planet - honest!

:-)

Jools
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