Sunday: 25.March.2007

Upgraded & Converted Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.1 (new URL)

YaBB = Yet another Bulletin BoardWe have a new URL for the (upgraded) Rad Community forums >

As of 9:45 AM PST today (Sunday) I converted all members & posts to the new forum.

But posts made to the old forum URL *after* 9:45 AM PST today will *not* convert over to the new forum (v2.1).

The installation of the new forum software (which is the hard part) went flawlessly, without a hitch, but I had trouble with the conversion (the easy part).

Once I figured out however, that the convertor wanted (needed) the *absolute* path [/home/radif2/public_html/cgi-bin/YaBB] to the old (v1.4) files, the conversion worked beautifully (took ~ 5 or 10 minutes .. truly a thing of beauty).

We have literally thousands of posts, and even more registered members, so doing the conversion "by hand" would've suk'ed big time. I love when technology works the way it's supposed to.

today's entry continues here

This is a major upgrade. The previous version I was using (v1.4) was released 2 years ago. Weekends, when site usage is down, are always the best times for major site upgrades. Easier to recover from muck-ups.

I'm realizing, tho, that the forum's new URL is creating some challenges. Even tho all the old posts have been imported ("converted") to the new (upgraded) forum, there are literally thousands of links pointing to posts (threads) at the old URL.

Even many threads themselves contain links to other threads (using the old URL format). And if you're a regular here, you know how I hate to make any Rad-link obsolete.

So I'm in a quandary, trying to find a way to remove the option to register and post new entries at the old forums, without having to delete the old threads. I'd rather leave them there, as an archival source. My head is hurting (and my eyes are burning).

Okay, after considering my options, I've decided to *delete* all currently registered members from the old forums (which will take a while, with thousands of members), so they can't post new entries to the old forums .. without first re-registering.

Attempting to re-register will take them to the agreement, which I modified to notify them of the NEW forum's location. That seems my best option.

If I tried to delete all 5,000 registered members at once, it might choke the server. So I'll do a handful at a time. (Only 4,800 more to go.)

I already installed this mod for YaBB Advertising, which makes it easier to include ads into the threads. See HERE for an example of how (beautifully) ads look in this new format (incorporated into the thread), rather than merely at the top of the page (format used by the old board, which people rarely pay attention to).

It installed & works flawlessly. I'm impressed & pleased. The mod allows you to include up to 7 ads per page. I selected (a maximum of) 2. I also changed (darkened) the background color of the window where the ad is displayed by using this tweak.

I install a forum template called Black_Gray3d. The default white I can hardly stand, yet any registered user can select that template from their "Profile" settings .. if they so desire).

We also added the ability to increase the forum's font size (to both medium & large). Thanks to NightOwl for that. More forum templates (for YaBB v2) can be found here. (I like most of the ones that are dark, primarily black & gray.) I can install any template, but one requires tweaking cuz of my other mods, so less is more.

I also installed a mod called News Fader Colors Update, which allows me to tweak the colors of the news fader (found in the upper-left corner of each page) for each of the different forum templates we offer.

Another thing I've learned that suks about board conversions .. is that all "moved" posts (which were moved back at the old forum, to another board) contain links that point back to the old forum.

Of course, you can always find the moved/converted post at the new forum by entering its title search function, but that's a less-elegant solution then having a direct link. And threads do tend to lose relevance as time goes on.

A major positive aspect of the new forum is its Security featues. Today I turned on (activated) flood/session security, which generates a distorted graphic at log-in, which the registering person must enter, thus preventing bots from registering automatically .. a problem at the old forum. I opted for a 4-character graphic. (Max is 15.)

I also noticed this installation was much simpler than when I installed the original version 1.0 software, which required much more manual editing. By contrast, this installation (v2.1) was far more automated. It searched for and found all the files and directories it needed, and (automatically) configured the forum's settings. All I had to do was verify that the various directories/paths listed were correct, and click the "Okay" button. Sweet!

I have never before upgraded the forum software so that it involved using a new URL. It's becoming clear that the more posts your forum has (mine has ~25K), the more disruptive it will be (to use a new URL).

Also the more *links* to posts/threads (I use a lot in the Ghost guide, which I am in the process of updating now to change the links to the new forum), the more disruptive the "upgrade" will be. At some point, (lots of posts/threads & links to forum), you will start looking very hard at doing everything you can to keep the same forum URL.

Finally, this post > titled New forum feedback contains comments from users regarding their experiences with the new board, both positive & negative .. which anyone performing this upgrade is likely to encounter.

One final thing: you can get from a post at the OLD forums to the same post at the new forum if you understand how the YaBB convertor assigned file names. It's pretty simple. See here for details: Getting to new-forum post/thread from old forum URL

For more on this topic, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query YaBB forum upgrade conversion

Posted by Rad at March 25, 2007 09:48 AM


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