These forums run on the last version of Unclassified NewsBoard that was released back in 2015 and it served us well. Unfortunately it is no longer in development and does not run under PHP7. It is the very last software on this server still running PHP5.
I really liked the software and I looked into making it PHP7 compatible, but there are parts that extremely hard to update. This mostly affects the bbcode parser used for the post formatting.
So it's time to finally say goodbye and migrate to a different software.
I looked at what is available. My criteria was:
* easy to set up and maintain (for me)
* in active development
* plugin mechanisms and available anti spam mechanism
* modern design (tech and looks)
In the end I decided for Flarum
. It's a relatively new PHP based forum software I am loosely following for a while. It is still in beta, so things are still in flux, but it seems stable enough for the basic features we want.
I spent some time with writing a custom converter
to migrate our forum's content and users. This also gave me a good idea how all the data is stored and how to access it, should we decide to move again later on.
Now instead of going ahead and just doing the migration, I just wanted to give all of you a bit of warning.
I will probably do the final migration in a week or so (depends on my time). Just watch this space.
I thought about putting up a preview first, but because that would mean running two forums at once, it would either make for a very difficult merging after the trial or we would loose the changes made in one of the instance so I had to decide against it. Check Flarum's own community forums
to get an idea how the new forum will look and function.
Here's a little FAQ
What will be migrated?
* Users and Passwords
* Threads and Discussions
* Subforums will be converted to tags
What will not be migrated?
* Some usernames will be modified to match Flarum's username policies, but you can also login by email
* Polls. There's a plugin for Flarum to have polls but they were so rarely used that I rather skip them
* File attachments. Again they were only rarely used and I would prefer people using public hosters like imgur - but maybe a Flarum plugin will be added when there's enough demand
Where will the forum be hosted?
* Right here on the DokuWiki server, just as the old server.
* Your data will not be shared with anyone
Why Flarum instead of discourse, phpBB, whatever?
* see above for my criteria
* discourse was much too complicated to get running for my taste
* phpBB is... well... not very modern
Isn't it bad to run beta software in production?
* yes. yes it is.
* we're running DokuWiki master on this server
* the Flarum people are dogfooding their software in their own community
* if it breaks, you can say "told you so"
* in the end it will be me who has to fix it. regardless of the software choice
Any questions not answered? Post below.