[TECH] Vbulletin, phpbb, etc

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Almoni, Jun 10, 2004.

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  1. Almoni Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    Has the administration ever considered moving to another BBS system such as vbulletin, phpbb, etc? That way we could code our own features and do really cool stuff to make the JC really awesome, instead of depending on IGN to write new stuff

    Almoni
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Those message boards are simply impractical for a community of this size.
  3. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    The option is known and, to my knowledge, has never been seriously considered.

    The owners like their relationship with IGN as far as I am aware.
  4. Bib Fortuna Twi'lek Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1999
    star 10
    Snowboards are the best messageboard system in existence. Why would TFN choose an inferior product?
  5. Almoni Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    KnightWriter, are you so sure?

    Has it ever been tried? I know that there are systems out there that can take the load, a lot depends on your hardware too...
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Almoni, there are various business relationships between TFN and IGN, and there is now a lengthy history with IGN boards. The other board systems are well known, but it's doubtful they could support what is currently the 7th largest message board on the web. IGN's board system also runs two larger boards than the JC.
  7. HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 6
    Also, why change? What would the benefit be from the effort of moving thousands of users to a different system?
  8. Semblance Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2003
    star 4
    According to the list here:

    http://www.big-boards.com/index.php?page=all

    the Gaia Online message board has more than 5 times the posts as TF.N and almost 5 times the number of members, and runs on phpBB.
  9. -_-_-_-_-_- Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 6
    Snowboards is the perfect solution for our community. I don't think a change is necessary. Like they say, if it isn't broke, then don't fix it.
  10. Almoni Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    It has to do with administration... from what I understand there are administration issues with Snowboards, like the fact that they can't move threads and stuff like that
  11. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    That's true, Semblence.

    Still, the business ties between TFN and IGN make any change unlikely at the moment, I think.
  12. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    Gaia also does a number of feature-reducing hacks on their forums in order to make it possible to run those forums.

    ¤Night
  13. Semblance Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2003
    star 4
    Also, why change?

    Off the top of my head:

    - Can't link directly to a post (only the page)

    - Can't delete PM's

    - No read indicators for individual threads

    - No "mark all as read" or "view posts since last visit"

    - No user-selected themes (skins)

    - No message preview when looking at user's posts.

    - Mods can't move threads

    The technology here is outdated. Does it go on forever?

    EDIT:
    - Can't adjust clock to my time zone. I really like that one. :_|
  14. Almoni Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    I agree with you, however...

    - Can't delete PM's

    I don't see why you would want to delete PM's, though. Why not keep them on the server permanently, if space is not an issue?
  15. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    - Can't link directly to a post (only the page)

    What's this?
  16. HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 6
    - Can't link directly to a post (only the page)

    Wrong. You can link from a person's "most recent posts" list.

    - Can't delete PM's

    That feature should be online by now, but our tech guy hasn't done it yet.

    - No read indicators for individual threads

    Actually, a thread goes from bold to normal when you read it, and back to bold when there's a new post. The only difference to phpbb is that it depends on which computer you're on, not which account you're using. It's not quite as effective as phpbb, but it works.

    - No "mark all as read" or "view posts since last visit"

    Use the favourite boards function, it tells you when there have been new posts in a forum since you last checked.

    - No user-selected themes (skins)

    I'll admit, that one I would like.

    - No message preview when looking at user's posts.

    ...Huh?

    - Mods can't move threads

    Possibly the only major limitation of snowboards that I'd like to see implemented. Ah well.

    - Can't adjust clock to my time zone. I really like that one.

    That would be nice, especially for someone like me who lives on the other side of the world. You do get used to it, though, I work it out in my head nowadays.

  17. Bib Fortuna Twi'lek Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1999
    star 10
    I'd like some skins too, but this works just fine as it is.
  18. Semblance Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2003
    star 4
    Another one
    - At the TWOP boards, it automatically remembers where you are in the thread and takes you to the newest post when you open the thread.

    What's this?

    That doesn't scroll down to the post. With some style sheets, it can be a little annoying finding the marked one.

    a thread goes from bold to normal when you read it,

    Not quite the same.

    Use the favourite boards function,

    Not really the same as what I mentioned.

    ...Huh?

    Look at mf.com, or T'Bone's site for example, and view someone's post history. You can read the first several lines of the posts (or the whole post on some boards). I'm not providing a link since there might be spoilers.

    It has to change sometime, right?

    EDIT: Also ;)
    - Most boards now have quick little helper buttons as you are posting. Click a smilie to add it, spell checking, bolding, colors, etc.
  19. Lord Tuvitor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2003
    star 4
    I've worked extensively with phpBB, not just on Phatooine but with other sites and some experimental stuff. I made a phpBB template (though it was incomplete when I abandoned it some time ago) that proved that it was possible to create a very JC-like interface in phpBB - and with certain hacks its possible to complete the JC's list of features in phpBB, including the Watched Users list, staff usercolors, and other things that would make the transition code-base wise transparent for the initial changeover. Converting the database would be trivial, considering that I've done it for an ezBoard that was converting to phpBB some time in the past, without having any access to the database backend whatsoever.

    The same can probably be said of Vbulletin, etc.

    It can be done, however judging the ownership of TF.N, such a change would be largely out of character here.
  20. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    I didn't realize there was a board on the scale of the JC that used php. When we used to discuss the possibility of server switches a while back, the sysadmin said she didn't think it was possible for the JC for some reason. So, I learned something new today.

    There's another problem with server switches - they're a pain in the rear for users and admins alike, so if we did it, there'd have to be an awfully good reason for it. Anyone remember the mass chaos when we switched from UBB to Snowboards? And we weren't switching for cosmetic reasons back then, we were switching because with UBB we went down several times a day and had a lot of random glitches occurring.
  21. darkknight_152002 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2003
    star 5
    Snowboards are the best messageboard system in existence. Why would TFN choose an inferior product?

    I agree with Bib. Why would we want to have a complete format chage with something that is slower and more cumbersome than this? The convenience of this board alone is great, and I've only been to one other board that used this format.
  22. TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2001
    star 10
    04ers.... *shakes head*

    It may have something to do with the fact that 99% of the people visiting the phpBBs and vBs I saw were/ are complete morons, but I absolutely hate these things.
    There may be one or two things that would be nice to have on the JC, but nothing is really necessary. The JC on IGNBoards is perfectly fine. Has been for 4 years now.

    It would only be necessary if the admins would want to get rid of me, because I'd quit if the JC were to move to one of those dreadful awful ugly evil message board systems.
  23. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    And how many features are dropped to make Gaia useable?

    - Instead of checking all posts for the new posts, it only looks at a topic and says if it has new posts.

    - The Users Online Script was taken out entirely and replced with an external script. I don't think he even lists the Users Online anymore.

    - Their search feature, which was removed for a long time, has the following restrictions (emphasis mine)
    - Skip posts with only one word in the subject line
    - Only process the first 20 replies within a thread
    - Skip posts with less than 20 words
    - All quoted text are removed
    - All numbered text are removed
    - Increased stopword table to 350 words
    - Only the first 80 words in a post are added to table
    - 3 letter words (or less) are omitted, 15+ letter words are omitted
    - Omit all words with 5+ repeating letters (heeeee, ehhhhh, etc are all omitted)

    - The entire database type is changed from MyISAM to InnoDB

    Another change that was made was that a lot of the rather static data such as themes, forum permissions, bb_code and category/forum listing (for making jumpbox) were all cached as a php file and automatically updated every few minutes (or hours, for stuff like the themes).


    There are more, but I have to leave soon, so I can't spend more time researching. There are also a number of board hacks in general that can make the system unstable.

    lanzer has done a ton of amazing work for Gaia, but ultimately, a lot of work went into making it even possible for the forum to operate at that level. Some changes he made reducing the loading time by 9 seconds. The loading time for a page was above 10 seconds, before one of his modifications.

    Besides, I would say 75% of the features phpBB has, Snowboards has, while SnowBoards has tools that Gaia doesn't, like forum templates. I know that phpBB can be modded to add functionality, but doing so can open holes if you're not spectacurally careful about it.

    ¤Night
  24. Dingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2001
    star 5
    I've worked extensively with phpBB, not just on Phatooine but with other sites and some experimental stuff. I made a phpBB template (though it was incomplete when I abandoned it some time ago) that proved that it was possible to create a very JC-like interface in phpBB - and with certain hacks its possible to complete the JC's list of features in phpBB, including the Watched Users list, staff usercolors, and other things that would make the transition code-base wise transparent for the initial changeover. Converting the database would be trivial, considering that I've done it for an ezBoard that was converting to phpBB some time in the past, without having any access to the database backend whatsoever.

    The same can probably be said of Vbulletin, etc.

    It can be done, however judging the ownership of TF.N, such a change would be largely out of character here.


    LT, if it was wanted, all the stuff that you've done could have been done a long time ago. And converting the database I think will be a little more complex than you think it is, but not altogether impossible.

    What you haven't addressed though is the main reason that moving these forum has not been considered seriously for the last 3 years. And that's the resources that will be required if it does move over. The fact that the JC (hell, and IGN Boards and VNBoards) can run off the server farm that IGN has with as few problems as there are is a testament to how well zerosleep did when initially creating the software. I've seen a large number of boards (a few run by some very good people) using software like phpBB using a higher level server/resources than here proportionally to their size, and they run a lot slower than this place. Without a lot of time and effort being invested in creating a barrel-load of hacks and patches to the base software, there is no way that most other software can efficiently handle the load that comes through here every day.
  25. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    You have to admit that Snowboards are very quick compared to phpbb with similar mods.
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