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Thread: Major Forum Changes Ahead

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2017-03-16 21:47:00
Major Forum Changes Ahead
There are a handful of MAJOR issues with the forum software and web site that I will get into below.
There are also dozens of other less important issues that have been un-fixable in the past.

Instead of tackling them all one-by-one, the forum is moving to a new host for the first time.
This will mean a new TLS certificate and the site will be 100% https, which will fix two major issues:
1) Australian ISPs are blocking our site.
2) Some browsers are complaining hard or preventing access to the site.

In the process of moving to a new host, I will gain access to the host and every other part of the forum so that other major issues can be fixed like the outgoing e-mail issues we've had for years.

I want to explain a few other points:
1) The new host insists (rightly so) on the newest versions of PHP. Our version of the forum software does not work well on the newest versions of PHP. Upgrade paths cost money, and are way more work than I want to deal with just to end up where we started.
2) Moving hosts also means the forum will need to "pay its own way" as it were. We can no longer ride on the generosity of piggy-backing with much larger players.
3) The new host billing is a la cart (you pay for what you use, no more, no less) so having bloated forum software and a bloated database is less-than-ideal.

For the reasons listed above and more, the decision was made to move to new forum software. Specifically, we're moving to a custom solution that will be written from scratch (all important data will carry over, no worries there). I know this sounds a bit nuts, but it is what I believe to be the best way forward.

Here is the expected order of events:

- Build forum software to handle new user registration, outgoing emails, user login, posts, PMs, and chat.
- Beta test with a small group of users.
- Fix any issues.
- Release new forum software, on new host, with new TLS certificate, at the same https://www.sr20-forum.com domain name.
- Second wave of features to restore things like the enhanced posting tools, user tagging, "likes", updating user avatars, etc. etc. etc. (whatever is deemed most important)
- Third wave of new features to take care of the stragglers.
- Clean up tasks, let dust settle, etc.

This change has been a long time coming, and there were milestones along the way 2 years ago, 6 months ago, 3 months ago, and 2 weeks ago.
2 years ago - The decision to move hosts was made
6 months ago - The point/lead person was chosen (that's me)
3 months ago - The new host was chosen and signed up for. The forum software and database was cloned and converted over. Major roadblocks were encountered and surpassed only eventually to hit a brick wall.
2 weeks ago - The decision to build new forum software was made and I've been working on it every waking moment I'm not at my day job making huge progress daily.

I would love to respond to inquiries about this, but I'm pouring all of my available time into writing the new forum software so go easy on me if I don't respond, or if some things don't seem to make sense. I promise you that the forum will be fixed ASAP, and it will be so much better than you can even imagine once we hit a stride with the new software.

Thanks for your understanding.
Last edited by BenFenner on 2018-07-13 at 07-32-42.
2017-03-16 23:35:36
Much appreciated update.
2017-03-17 15:32:05
The new forum software will be the most challenging piece, writing from scratch will be quite an undertaking. I'd much rather completely rebuild my car...
2017-03-17 15:44:52
Good news. Thanks Ben
2017-03-17 16:04:13
Originally Posted by jimbo_se-r
I'd much rather completely rebuild my car...

Yepper! Patience will pay off in spades.
2017-03-17 17:48:45
Good update...Do it to it, Ben! Thank you sir!
2017-03-18 16:21:13
Awesome news fenderbender!

But tell me 1 thing.. will the new shit have a chat box like we have now? That's very important for about 5-6 of us guys who hang out here every day..
2017-03-18 16:23:58
I understand how important the chat box is for some people, which is why I'm planning to have it for the initial roll-out if at all possible (although it will be the most difficult thing I'll have to reproduce).
It might not be fully featured upon initial release (text might all be one color for example), but the plan is for it to be usable at release.
And with any luck, it will not suffer from the scrolling bug the current one does. I am on a mission to kill that bug.
Last edited by BenFenner on 2017-03-18 at 16-33-11.
2017-03-18 16:25:48
Right on man! We certainly appreciate it!
2017-03-20 12:43:32
Save the chat box!
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