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Thread: Platform upgrade

  1. #1
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Platform upgrade

    I just saw Mike saying that the Les Paul Forum will be upgrading its platform to Xenforo. Are we having that too?

    P.S. I'm asking this out of pure curiosity, I feel no real need for any changes here.

  2. #2
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    It seems Xenforo is becoming the Microsoft of the forum world. I have two thoughts about it:


    1. Once you get used to the interface (I have, since it's in use now on many of the fora I read) it's easy to navigate.
    2. It looks the same everywhere (it's in use now on many of the fora I read). A site's "personality" seems to get lost, in a way.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    I got in it for a while the other day and have not been able to access it since.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    I got in it for a while the other day and have not been able to access it since.
    Same with me. They made the change, it seemed to work well, then it didn't.

  5. #5
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    I going to post this here first, as I'm not sure what feathers I might rustle on LPF.

    I have been researching the idea of "re-birthing" TFF as a new forum (new name, new software, different hosting service, etc.). To that end, I have found a domain name available and I have been in discussion with my ISP about moving there. Without going into the gory details, here's what I've learned so far.

    As of this writing, TFF comprises 7,414 members, 40,589 threads and 520,465 posts. It's a good guess that many of the 'members' have been absent for a while... The software used is vBulletin 4.2.4, which is old, but can be updated. The current version of vBulletin is
    Connect 5, which is a host-it-yourself package selling for $249. There is also a vBulletin Cloud where the hosting and maintenance is done by vBulletin. They have pricing plans that run $14.99/mo to $59.99/mo. vBulletin is written in PHP. There are other forum software, many of which are cost-free.

    This is a slightly edited response to my query to my ISP.

    I checked the requirements for hosting the latest vBulletin 5 and it appears you could install and host the latest vBulletin 5 forum on your current [edited] Copper account:

    You have plenty of storage space left on the current [edited] Copper 5GB plan if you want to host it there.
    You would need to upgrade the PHP version (currently outdated 7.1) to 7.4. *

    You can change the PHP version for each domain via the Plesk Panel
    Websites&Domains->->PHP Settings

    You could also register a new domain name if you wish, the average cost is $20/year for .com, .net, .org domains, and setup a new Copper account for the new domain (5GB for $10/month).
    Note If the initial 5GB of storage space of the Copper account were not enough to import 20 years of the old forum data you could upgrade to a bigger hosting plan (Up to 40 GB for $100/month).
    After that, I'm not sure how to export your database data from the old vBulletin 4.2.4 forum but it looks like you would import the database data - if it is not too big - to the new vBulletin 5 connect using the Plesk Panel PHPMyAdmin tool.

    In response to a query I made on LPF, Ken Fortunado replied that maintaining TFF didn't make economic sense. In part, he said
    it's more about the fact that the site doesn't make any financial sense, and it's expensive, and would become more expensive if upgraded. For what worthwhile purpose?

    I'm not arguing. If the owners of TFF want to discontinue it because they don't like the color scheme, or anything else, that's their choice and they're free to have it. I'm merely interested in seeing if by "migrating" TFF to another owner/site/service has any appeal to anyone, and if the costs and effort seem unreasonable. Thoughts?
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  6. #6
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    That possibility sounds eminently feasible and I would participate if such an endeavor became reality. As well, I'd be willing to contribute a modest annual stipend to the effort (at least for my remaining time on this rock). Keep me posted, via PM or e-mail if you wish.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  7. #7
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    Well, since it's a slow work day (next week will be different), I've tried two different approaches just to see how feasible any of this might be. On my web site, which I have running WordPress, I installed a WP plug-in called wpForo. The documentation for it seems to be written by a non-English speaker, so it's a bit tedious at times. I participate in one forum running WP, so I thought I'd give it a try.

    The other is a piece of software that is reportedly the schizz. It's a new piece of technology called
    Discourse, and it's not only robust and powerful, it's also free! Their web site doesn't make it apparent -- they talk of using a partner cloud service or Docker -- but you can download and install it on a machine of your choosing. I built an Ubuntu server for personal/work purposes, and with lots of memory, cpu and disk, it's got room for me to put all sorts of goodies on it. So, I'm in the processing of installing Discourse to see how well it works. If it looks like something usable, I'll see if and how I can migrate it to my host. One very nice feature of Discourse is that it works on mobile devices as easily as on a computer browser!

    Stay tuned. This is how I geek out. No wonder I play guitar!
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  8. #8
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    I’ll be honest with you. I have very little faith in such an endeavor since there was a bit of resistance even to the idea of migrating to what is the closest thing we can have to TFF, the parent forum.

    I’ve seen attempts to recreate a forum’s atmosphere by way of creating a clone site. It always goes like the Frankenstein experience. The new forum might be good, I don’t doubt that. But it will not be TFF. Old users will feel uncomfortable, new ones will bring a whole new circumstance to the old ones. It will be a different place, eventually.

    Please don’t take this bad, I’m not discouraging you, and like Roger I’m in. To help and donate.

    But if THIS place will be discontinued anyway, why create a whole new thing if we can just hang around the LPF? About 80% of the ‘TFF band of brothers’ are already doing that. Different for different, why not there?

    Anyway, I’m with you guys. Whatever you choose to do, count me in.

  9. #9
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    The geek in me is curious.

    Even before TFF started to disintegrate, I've been wondering what it takes to set up and run a forum.

    Because it's late and I'm not sleepy, here's a bit of history: In 1995, as the Internet began to take off, I had been partaking in several bulletin board systems (BBS). The man who ran the "boss node" in my area decided to jump into the ISP business and I went along for the ride. I got my own domain, primarily to teach myself HTML and Internet technologies. I built a web site from scratch -- just me and a text editor -- and it went live on the Internet. In the early days of Google, I had a first page hit status. The site was about music and musicians, and it led me to a brief career writing music reviews for a print publication.

    However, life and the Internet change things, and so I drifted away from it. I kept renewing the domain registration because... well, who knows, maybe one day I'd revive it. And then I did. But I changed it, because web logging -- blogging -- became the next big thing. So I ran a WordPress site. I still do, in fact. I don't promote it -- I never have -- but it's there on the public Internet, and I make posts on it when the mood and muse strike.

    So you see, I have all the basic infrastructure necessary to convert the site into a forum. The TFF experience has been a bit of a motivator in that regard. What I needed was a subject. What are my interests? Cars. Cameras. Travel. Guitars. Take your pick. It could be any of these things. Until I could come up with something to get me charged up, I procrastinate.

    I like TFF. I like several other forums I visit on a daily basis. Some of them creak along on ancient software because the companies that created them use them as support adjuncts to their products. When users help other users, it lightens the load on the company personnel. I've often wondered why my employer doesn't go this route. But it's not my call.

    For me, it's the knowledge. Would the TFF owners be willing to sell it? That would probably be the easiest and smoothest way of transitioning, but all indications are they aren't in a mood to discuss its future. If they decide to shutter it, would they be willing to migrate the database and the design pieces? Again, don't know.

    I'm nearing retirement age. Rumor has it my employer is being bought by a private equity firm. There are changes coming soon, and I may find myself with either a lot of time on my hands, or in need of some fresh knowledge. Either way, I can learn from building a forum whether it ever gets used or not.

    Speaking of which, it took me only about 30 minutes to get this installed:


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  10. #10
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    After another hour or so, tweaking...

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  11. #11
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    UPDATE: Not one, but TWO proofs-of-concept I've created today. One, is for presentation to my employer as a proposal for providing a platform for customers and users of our software. The other is the one I've started as a "mock-up" alternative to TFF. Both of these are currently on local computers, thus not on the public Internet (although I made my work-related one available today for some of my coworkers to review), so not all the features are in place. Just so you get an idea -- and the design/configuration possibilities are endless -- here's a screenshot with a new theme and layout. By the way, I swiped the icon/banner image from TFF and modified it slightly. It's meant only to be a placeholder and not a finished design element (I suspect there might be copyright issues to just outright use intellectual property from TFF or anywhere else).

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  12. #12
    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    I can see that could be a fun project!
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

  13. #13
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    Some light at the end of the tunnel. After the LPF went down, it seems that they're fixing the certificates of both sites.

  14. #14
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    Speaking of "light", I'd enjoy a brighter format to the forum's pages. The blue/gray and black background reminds me of a funeral parlor's schedule, very dour and foreboding. And to those my age, somewhat difficult to read at times. Just sayin'......
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  15. #15
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Speaking of "light", I'd enjoy a brighter format to the forum's pages. The blue/gray and black background reminds me of a funeral parlor's schedule, very dour and foreboding. And to those my age, somewhat difficult to read at times. Just sayin'......

    IIRC there are more display options in black, red and white

  16. #16
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Platform upgrade

    If you go to "Forum Actions" (link in the top bar of the page) and select "General Settings" you can switch between the Blue/Grey to a Red/Grey (that looks a lot like LPF). The selection is called "Forum Skin."
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