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BBTactics Forum Upgrade

Discussion in 'Site News, Bug Reports and Questions' started by Coach, May 4, 2015.

  1. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    For those of you who read the recent redirection issue thread you will have seen that I mentioned a forum software upgrade. I've been planning on doing this for a while for various reasons but due to that exploit in now unsupported software the need to do so has become more urgent.

    Upgrade Reasons:
    The main push towards doing this is that the current software is really old and no longer supported. There are two parts to it, the main forum software which does still have some security patches available, but only if you have a licence for the new versions. BBT runs on vbulletin 3 and I'd need to buy a new licence for either 4 or 5 to get the updates for version 3 (the newer versions aren't that great).

    Second part of the software is using another paid extension which is really heavily integrated into the forum software and the company that produced that no longer exist and more and more exploits are being found in it as time goes on which there aren't any fixes for.

    As the internet and technology has moved on there are more and more users accessing forums from devices other than desktop computers and laptops. With smaller screens becoming primary devices for more users the need to make the site work better across all of those is required. Harking back to the fact this software is really old it isn't well suited for doing that and despite some hacks I have made to make it better, switching to newer software will be preferable.

    The longer the site sticks to using this software the more exploits and spam issues are going to arise.

    Switching to Xenforo:
    The current vbulletin software was sold to another company after this version was produced and the newer versions aren't as well received. The original coders of vbulletin left the company after selling it and set up a new one creating the software from scratch. This software is Xenforo which you may have seen on many other newer forums. A lot of forum admins have switched to this now. It's responsive for mobile devices and makes use of more modern coding practices for websites for better performance.

    I was going to switch years ago when they first launched but at the time it wasn't as fully featured as vbulletin but now the extra customisations I've added for BBTactics, it would appear that most if not all of them should be possible.

    There are also more sophisticated spam measures and tools to deal with them, though thankfully BBTactics don't get targeted that much and the mods do a fantastic job of dealing with the ones that do appear.

    I'm also going to switch the hosting to a cloud based platform which may make the switch over a bit more problematic and possibly take longer than I think.

    What this means for BBT:
    The biggest impact will be that the forum will have some downtime when I make the switch over. It's also going to look a bit different and some of the ways you are used to using the software may also change. I've already been looking at how to convert all of the forums, posts, user accounts etc over.

    Leagues and Cups that are organised on the forum are going to have to deal with the biggest disruption. I'm hoping that the downtime shouldn't be too long and the plan is to get the switch done as quickly as possible and have the forum up and functioning so you can all start using it again. I'll deal with tweaking the appearance after that.

    I don't think there is going to be any great time to do this and I'll try and give warnings and updates as often as possible so you've got enough time to make arrangement and make sure all the players know. I would like to think that the downtime would be a matter of hours, but I'd suggest planning on it being down for at least a couple of days.

    If you are a league admin / organiser then I suggest subscribing to this thread.

    Currently I'm looking at starting this process on Saturday 23rd May

    I will need to prepare for the switching process and I hope that gives me enough time to get ready and also for everyone else to schedule their games, make arrangements for a weeks break, or whatever else you need to do. Any worries, questions or concerns or information you think would be useful for me to know before hand please post as soon as possible!

    Funding the upgrade:
    The final reason for not upgrading now and planning on doing it later in the year is that I've got to pay for a forum software licence. This isn't something that I've got the money to fully cover myself at this time so I need your help to do so. Some generous coaches have already chipped in so a massive thank you to those.

    The cost of the licence is $140 + 20% VAT so I need to scrape together a total of $168. Any extra money that comes in I'll put back into the site as there are lots of paid moderations I can add (I might need one for the trophies for example) and if there's enough left in the coffers I'll see about perhaps giving away some copies of Blood Bowl 2.

    Anyone who donates I'll give you a special supporters badge on your account.

    Please send donations via paypal to coach@bbtactics.com

    Oh and as another way to say thank you after things have settled down I'll also finally add those missing player articles that people have been asking for!
     
  2. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Reserved for Updates:

    Tuesday 5th
    I think I may be able to do the transfer sooner than I first thought. I'm considering doing it late on Wednesday 6th (as in tomorrow) with the site being down possibly all day Thursday. Please let me know if this will cause too much disruption, if so would Sunday be preferable?
     
  3. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Considering doing the forum software switch tomorrow as the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. Please post if you feel this will be an issue not having the site for 24 hours.

    League and Cup admins, please post letting me know if you think it will be OK. If I don't get any complaints then I'll probably start the process around 9pm UK time Wednesday 6th May. Please be aware that we are in Summer Time so an hour off GMT.
     
  4. cjblackburn

    cjblackburn Well-Known Member

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    Tomorrow is certainly better for the Big Crunch than sunday but since we haven't started next season yet we won't object to either.
     
  5. Nikolai II

    Nikolai II Super Moderator Moderator

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    If you are sure the upgrade will be a quick one, then it should be survivable. I know Big Crunch probably appreciate having it over with very soon, and Crunch Cup can survive a break as easily now as at the later time.

    If there's a significant risk that the forums will be down for several days without any chance at going back.. well, in that case maybe a backup solution should be started first, but 24 hours shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.
     
  6. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Well I'm hoping I can do the switch over within 24 hours (I would think it should take a few hours) but you never know how things can go tits up!

    I've sent a message to the web hosts asking how long the hosting switch will take and waiting to hear back from them. I think they can do what they need to do at their end pretty quickly and then the rest will be down to me.

    So fingers crossed...
     
  7. Smakapotomus

    Smakapotomus Active Member

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    Thanks Coach, its allot of work behind the scenes that allow us to play a game we all enjoy.

    Cheers man,
    Smak
     
  8. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Right, site has moved hosting now, going to get some sleep and then look to tackle switching the forum software.
     
  9. Altashheth

    Altashheth Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Coach
     
  10. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    It looks like most of the transfer went smoothly, with one exception being some Avatars.

    Quite a few of you will find you need to upload your Avatar again.

    Colour scheme was just a quick thing to make it look more like the old one while I mess around sorting things out.

    Redirection from the old forum seems to be an issue, PLEASE NOTE THE NEW URL, it's changed from forums to forum (the s has gone).

    I'll create a new thread for problems and another for suggestions in due course. For now please enjoy the new software, everything should be functionally working.
     
  11. Kalick

    Kalick Member

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    Thanks for the hard work, Coach!

    Is there going to be an on page chat like the old system had? It was really useful for setting up matches.
     
  12. Altashheth

    Altashheth Well-Known Member

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    Looking good.... Smooth.... And I'm a new member :)
     
  13. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    There is a chatbox option, think it costs £25 if I remember correctly.

    Yeah think that's the default user titles doing that, I'll eventually get around to changing those. Not too keen on this colour scheme, think I'll have to address that first!
     
  14. cjblackburn

    cjblackburn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Coach for the hard work.
     
  15. cjblackburn

    cjblackburn Well-Known Member

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    Is it still possible to edit our old posts?

    The reason I ask is I found it easier when posting results threads to copy the code from the old thread and edit it for a new day. Getting the links from bbm each time would take longer.

    I understand if you can't get to this straight away as I imagine you have other things to get to. So I am happy to wait on a response.
     
  16. Nikolai II

    Nikolai II Super Moderator Moderator

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    It is a very pale place now, yes.

    I'll have to scrounge up my old avatar, but I can use this for now to get some use from it. :D

    (Also, I just marked "all forums read" since I had 127 pages of unread posts. If I missed anything important posted during the last 24 hours, just poke me)
     
  17. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    It would appear that the forum permissions do let you edit your own posts already (the import process carried all those over).

    Do you not have an edit link at the bottom of the post box?
     
  18. Ravers

    Ravers Well-Known Member

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    Coach, thank you for the time and effort to do this, much appreciated.
    Please add the chat box when you are able to do this, I have sent you monies to cover the cost of this.
    Lastly, if you're ever in Reading let me know, and I'll happily buy you a beer or 6;)

    I would normally PM this but can't find the option to do that.
     
  19. sbr32

    sbr32 Well-Known Member

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    Here's another big thanks for not only the upgrade, but the site and forums in general.
     
  20. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Thanks again, I'll try and get the chat box added as soon as I can (probably be Monday at the latest).

    To send a PM just click on the person's avatar and click on start conversation. There is an inbox link at the top right of the forum where you can see all your "conversations".