Changing the forum software!

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • Changing the forum software!

      I've concluded that while the Beehive forum software has interesting aspects, I'm finding it difficult to use and am equally surprised as other users by some of its behavior. It appealed to me because the threads panel was always visible, so there is no need to constantly navigate back to a main threads window when one is finished reading a thread to move on to the next thread of interest. I consider such navigation reduction important enough to lose some screen real estate. (The better Usenet readers worked this way and it has a lot to commend it in my humble opinion. Certainly the Beehive authors thought so too.)

      I haven't ruled anything in or out, but I'm currently considering porting the forum to UBB.Threads (http://www.ubbcentral.com/).
      It has the advantage of longevity, widespread usage, and commercial support while not costing very much.
      A password reset will need to be done for all existing users regardless of which system this forum gets ported to, so there is that (hopefully  minor) annoyance to reckon with.

      Anyone with objections, recommendations, or suggestions one way or another please let me know as soon as possible. I'd like to start the migration process within a week or two.
       
    • Please don't decide too hasty for a new one.

      I think the most important things are
      A.) lots of usage which forces the (big) user community to keep it working and documented
      B.) the possibility of easy backup and migration

      I went for mediawiki for my peronal wiki since wikipedia uses it too (mediawiki doesn't shine in point B though)
      There is nothing comparable to mediawiki-wikipeia in the world of forum software though.
      The two currently (2015) most commonly used forum softwares are according to a quick investigation I just did phpBB and vBulletin.

      1.) Among the forums I regularely visit the software I most often encountered was phpBB
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PhpBB  -- open source with friendly homepage

      2.) vBulletin -- this one is proprietary though :S
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/VBulletin

      Might Inyoka be an option ?? -- I'm always amazed about the quality of documentation for ubuntu.
      https://ubuntuusers.de/inyoka/
      It seems to be a multi purpouse CMS (wiki + forum + blog ?)
      I just found this and haven't looked into it in any detail.

      I guess you know this page already:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_software
    • I think the most important things are
      A.) lots of usage which forces the (big) user community to keep it working and documented
      B.) the possibility of easy backup and migration

      Beehive appears to have only a modest user community and they don't talk much about how to do backup and restore. So it doesn't rate very well on those important points.
       
      1.) Among the forums I regularely visit the software I most often encountered was phpBB
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PhpBB  -- open source with friendly homepage

      That is certainly high on my list.
       
      2.) vBulletin -- this one is proprietary though
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/VBulletin

      I've never liked the vBulletin software and the company appears to have had some past internal problems. Commercial or proprietary aren't an issue so long as support is available and competent without costing great amounts of money.
       
      Might Inyoka be an option ?? -- I'm always amazed about the quality of documentation for ubuntu.
      https://ubuntuusers.de/inyoka/
      It seems to be a multi purpouse CMS (wiki + forum + blog ?)
      I just found this and haven't looked into it in any detail.

      First I've heard of Inyoka - looks intriguing but the German I learned in school is rusty, so if there is no English version of the documentation I'm afraid I'll have to pass. I think I would, however, consider Burning Board (https://www.woltlab.com/wbb/) which does provide English documentation.
       
      Yes. Another site that I also found useful is this one: http://www.forummatrix.org/
       
    • Oops I've completely overlooked that inyoka is german only since its my mother tongue => not an option.

      >> "... Commercial or proprietary aren't an issue so long as support is available and competent without costing great amounts of money."
       
      I personally prefer open source software mainly out of those reasons:
      * problems in the closed source parts -> tell them and pray
      * company goes out of business -> you're forced to leave the sinking ship
      * others

      Based on the open/proprietary criterion I'd prefer PhpBB over UBB.Threads.

      But you obviously did quite a bit of research already judging from your comment:
      >> "I've never liked the vBulletin software and the company appears to have had some past internal problems. ..."

      So if you see major technical advantages (excluding experimental features) in UBB.Threads maybe this is the better solution.
       
    • >> I personally prefer open source software mainly out of those reasons:
      >> * problems in the closed source parts -> tell them and pray

      Problems in open source -> tell them and pray or solve the problem yourself.

      >> * company goes out of business -> you're forced to leave the sinking ship

      Unless the last release is broken there should be no reason to switch software. I frequent two piloting forums that use vBulletin that stopped upgrading to the latest release of vBulletin years ago - the company may as well have gone out of business. They seem to have survived OK.

      >> So if you see major technical advantages (excluding experimental features) in UBB.Threads maybe this is the better solution.

      I haven't come to any decision yet about what will replace Beehive.  UBB.Threads is only better than Beehive in some aspects; it remains to be seen if it is optimal. I do know that when I try to use a browser on an iPad with Beehive, it can't handle quoting (in fact the quoting mechanism isn't very good in general.) I need to do further research.
       
    • JimL (JIMLOGAJAN) wrote:

      >> So if you see major technical advantages (excluding experimental features) in UBB.Threads maybe this is the better solution.

      I haven't come to any decision yet about what will replace Beehive.  UBB.Threads is only better than Beehive in some aspects; it remains to be seen if it is optimal. I do know that when I try to use a browser on an iPad with Beehive, it can't handle quoting (in fact the quoting mechanism isn't very good in general.) I need to do further research.
       

      I realized that the quoting button in the editor is unresponsive sometimes (both on firefox and chrome) - as an (admittedly ugly) workaround it is possible to hit the quote button under the post to reply to before hitting the reply button and then awkwardly copy past the quote box.

      About your further research:
      Thanks for your effort, keep us informed and if you run into any troubles just let us now :)
       

      JimL (JIMLOGAJAN) wrote:

      >> * problems in the closed source parts -> tell them and pray

      Problems in open source -> tell them and pray or solve the problem yourself.

      The "solve it yourself" option (you in plural - ok its part of "them") is IMO one more option that can become really powerful once the molecular nanotechology community grows beyond a critical level (I sure hope it will). A strong self-preservation interest might be a powerful motivation.

      JimL (JIMLOGAJAN) wrote:

      >> * company goes out of business -> you're forced to leave the sinking ship

      Unless the last release is broken there should be no reason to switch software. I frequent two piloting forums that use vBulletin that stopped upgrading to the latest release of vBulletin years ago - the company may as well have gone out of business. They seem to have survived OK.
      I think it still may be decades till APM takes off not just a few years. One of the things I am most afraid of are emerging super smart spamming AI's that might emerge not too far in the future. In this regard I am afraid to become a sitting target.
       
    • Just an update to anyone interested:
      After further research where I took another look at many of the possibilities, my list has narrowed to one of these:

      FUDForum
      MyBB

      My preference is now slightly toward FUDForum.

      Development of UBB.Threads appears to have slowed in the past few years. I played with its sample forum. Editing of posts seemed OK enough but felt a tad limited and unhelpful. Creating and editing posts in the two finalists felt much more natural. I also read some of the public interactions between prospects/customers and UBB.Threads company personnel. The company doesn't doesn't seem to interact with prospects much - existing customers seem to provide most of the marketing muscle. In the end it just didn't seem to have enough going for it relative to the other options and extra cost, so I dropped it from consideration.

      While phpBB was another contender, it didn't seem to be different enough from the final two choices to add to the list. It didn't help that the developers of phpBB appear to have got strong feelings against indented threaded views; so much so that they will not even make it a user-selectable option. I'm neutral on the issue, but I think users should have that option. It does help that FUDForum can allegedly be integrated with Usenet and email lists, while it isn't clear whether phpBB can be (not that there is any value these days in integrating with Usenet.)
       
    • According to this comparison:
      http://www.forum-software.org/forum-comparator/fudforum-vs-mybb
      FUD forum has a bigger community.
      The only slight downsides I spotted there are:

      • "no friendly URLS" 
      • viewer but still many plugins
      • the "mobile view" seems to be lacking a bit.
      • no topic tags, no syntax highlighting, ugly standard skin (all minor)

      So I'd be fine with FUDforum.

      Maybe you could actively contact the forum members and ask them to fill out a poll?

    • I'm not entirely sure that FUDforum is a good choice. Not a bad choice, but there are some other options I'm considering.

      I've also played with demos of UBB.Threads and Xenforo, both of which are commercial offerings. In terms of features that I think are useful, Xenforo seems to have the edge. Two things I would like that seemed to be missing in part from FUDforum are:

      Being able to get emailed alerts on selectable forum events (new posts, new threads, new users, etc.)

      A quick summary list of all the unread threads or posts that exist, regardless of subforum, in either a chronological or reverse chronolgical order.
       
    • JimL (JIMLOGAJAN) wrote:

      I've also played with demos of UBB.Threads and Xenforo, both of which are commercial offerings. In terms of features that I think are useful, Xenforo seems to have the edge.

      I kept coming across comparisons of Xenforo to Wotlab Burning Board (https://www.woltlab.com/). So I looked more closely into it - they provide a way for one to create a demo and play with it. After a couple hours of playing around with it, I'm impressed. Cost doesn't appear to be too bad. I may choose that product and purchase it this weekend.
       

    • Lukas (LSUESS) wrote:

      Any news?

      I would like to switch to Wotlab Burning Board. It should be pretty straightforward to get the software up and running, but the problem that has kept me from switching is deciding how to handle transfer of user accounts and posts from the Beehive software to Burning Board.

      One choice is to simply not do any transfers - instead, keep this board running for a while at a different URL (e.g. www.sci-nanotech.com/oldforum ) and alert existing users of the change to the new software and tell them they will need to re-create their accounts on the new forum. Users like yourself could re-post (hopefully via something as simple as copy-and-paste) messages you wanted to preserve from the old forum to the new one. After a couple months I'd then close access to the old forum. You have made the most posts of greatest value and interest - would you be OK reentering them on a new forum?

      The other choice is for me to do the transfer of accounts and posts. But if I do such a transfer (there are companies that specialize in that sort of thing that I'd rather hire than spend time myself - it is a non-trivial cost in either my time or money) the two forums use different one-way hash functions, so I'd still have to reset user passwords and send users the new passwords.

      Jim
       

    • As you know I am not very fond of commercial solutions
      as they thend to be not very fond of portability (reason: user binding).
      If you feel confident that the next switch (conservative assumption that it will come) will be automatable with minimal data loss there should be no problem.
      That aside:

      Migrating the current posts seems to be a managable task
      * there are only 22 threads yet
      * at the current posting rate [ :( ] it seems very reasonable to catch up.

      Bottom line - If you provide a new forum I'll try to migrate the posts (all).
      BUT there seems to be a problem though. I won't be able to accurately reproduce the threads since I won't and shouldn't be able to post in the name of others.

      Sidenote: I fear that our ongoing migration discussions keep others from posting because they might fear their posts will be lost (*). Or didn't any members visist anyway this last month?

      (*) btw is there an localized packaged archive of the old newsgroup messages?
    • lsuess wrote:

      Many thanks for migrating all the posts from the beehive forum to wotlab forum for better maintainability. All the posts seem well preserved :) - perfect job.
      Also I'm delighted to see that you've implemented my suggestions for sub-forum topics.

      Now everything is ready for a great year 2016 :)
      I paid the firm gconverters.com/ to migrate the posts - it was very inexpensive. So low that I later offered more money to expedite things (but they didn't take it.) I believe the fellow that actually did the work was in Armenia, based on the source of the emails. They probably have developers scattered around the globe.

      Anyway, your sub-forum topics did seem good once I found time to give it some thought. All that is needed now is to attract posters. Over the next week or so I'll try to respond to some of your older posts.