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 Forum Migration
dgoodmaniii
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 01:31 AM


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Joined: 21-May 09



Since this seems to be the administrative forum, I thought I'd post this here.

We've been talking some about forum migration, and we're getting to where this might be a realistic possibility. However, we do have a problem: invisionfree won't give us a database dump without money, and even then we'll have to wait to get it, which means we'll never have a truly up-to-date dump to import into a new database.

This isn't really unreasonable of them; they've been hosting this board with its bandwidth for free (from us, anyway) for years, and I doubt the ad revenue that we provide them really covers that. (For busier boards, I'm sure it's more than enough; but not ours.) Charging for a dump of a free service seems sensible to me. It's not a lot of money---for more than ð10000 posts, which we have at 5X80, it's a special support ticket (I'd estimate fifty to sixty dollars or so), but it's there.

That's not really the big deal, though; we could drum that up from members pretty quickly. The trouble is this: it's not really an up-to-date dump. We've got to wait for it, and in the interim we'll be posting, and so we won't have a complete database to build on the new server.

The only good way to go about it, then, is this: we set up our new forum, register new usernames and passwords there, and start posting. We set up a date after which no new posts on the old forum will be preserved. We then archive the old forum---so it's still available for linking, reading, and all that---by buying our database dump from Invisionfree, build it separately on the server, but disallow new posts, because the posts in the interim won't be on it.

This is annoying, yes; but it also presents us with an Opportunity. How do we feel about Invision? Do we like the software? Would we like to experiment with some other software? Does anyone have any strong opinions about this?

If we're going to have to set up a new board from square one anyway, we might as well take some time and figure out what type of board we'd like, which ones have the fancy features we'd like, and so forth. (And, of course, set it up with dozenal characters, table functions, and so forth, this time from the ground up.)

If anyone else sees a better way to do this, please let me know; but that's the only path I can see, unless we just stick with Invisionfree.

Thoughts?
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Dan
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 05:18 AM


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Joined: 8-August 05



I like Invision's format. I just want two features that we don't have now:
  • A Search that actually works.
  • The ability to attach pictures to posts. (In the meantime, we can a site like imgur.com for image hosting.)
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Shaun
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 02:12 PM


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Joined: 2-August 05



QUOTE (Dan @ Feb 17 2013, 05:18 AM)
I like Invision's format. I just want two features that we don't have now:
  • A Search that actually works.
  • The ability to attach pictures to posts. (In the meantime, we can a site like imgur.com for image hosting.)

agree with Dan
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stevep
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 02:39 PM


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Joined: 8-February 13



I don't know enough to have an opinion either way about Invision, but from your proposal, I wonder if its possible to do this:
Once the new forum is in place, and you have the database dump of the old forum, perhaps it would be possible to import that data into the NEW database, while obviously preserving the existing data in the new database? In other words, a merge.

Incidentally a workaround for site search is to go to google and put in this:

site:http://z13.invisionfree.com/DozensOnline/ QUERY

where QUERY is your search term.

I think this is more or less what the "official" search link is trying to do but obviously it's not configured correctly.
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Treisaran
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 03:44 PM


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The forums I used to post on before this one ran on vBulletin, which at the time was the most advanced (compared to PHPBB, for example). But that was quite a few years ago, and most other forum software has pretty much caught up. So, I have no issue with Invision. All of my requests so far have had to do with the setup (forcing UTF-8, downloading web fonts and so on), not with the forum software per se.

In short, the problems we have today stem from a lack of full control over the server; they'd be the same if DozensOnline ran on vBulletin or PHPBB. I'll gladly re-register once the migration is done.
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dgoodmaniii
Posted: Feb 17 2013, 05:35 PM


Dozens Demigod


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Posts: 1,927
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Joined: 21-May 09



Didn't think a merge would be possible without userid conflicts and duplicate content; in other words, without a mess. It looks like it might be, though; I'll have to research into that. Thanks for the thought.
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Double sharp
Posted: Jan 26 2017, 06:18 AM


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The forum software is all right. What annoys me is the apparently random, capricious switching between text encodings. It was vaguely all right when we had a bit of old mojibake (Unicode default); it was greatly annoying when we had a lot of old mojibake (Western default); and now it is greatly aggravating when some threads flicker in and out of being mojibake (who knows what the default is).

But as Treisaran said, that's not the software, that's because we don't have full control over the server.
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Shaun
Posted: Jan 29 2017, 10:13 AM


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Group: Admin
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We are looking into upgrading the board.
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The Mighty Dozen
Posted: Jan 29 2017, 03:56 PM


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Member No.: 1
Joined: 2-August 05



QUOTE (Shaun @ Jan 29 2017, 10:13 AM)
We are looking into upgrading the board.

Yes. We're going to try and get things moving on this front. So keep the suggestions coming. Bear with us.
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Kodegadulo
Posted: Jan 30 2017, 08:03 PM


Obsessive poster


Group: Moderators
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Joined: 10-September 11



Regarding mojibake: I believe this board started out life as all Western encoding, but at one point in the last 5 years we discovered that we needed to use Unicode instead. A lot of us started setting our browser defaults to Unicode, with the consequence that many old posts in Western were rendered with broken characters. We then authored a lot of posts with Unicode. Occasionally if I came across an old thread that was interesting, I would convert it from Western to Unicode.

But then last August zifBoards migrated all its boards to new servers, and ever since we've been stuck with Western encoding. For some reason, it does not seem to respect our browser defaults, and even our forum header settings seem to have no effect. So my occasional thread conversions became Unicode to Western instead. But it's tedious work and life is too short.

If we're going to migrate to some other site, I'd want to see automatic conversion of all old messages to a single encoding, as part of the deal. It would have to be smart enough to detect which messages were Unicode versus Western, and convert one to the other. I don't much care which, since it looks like Western today does seem to support all the weird characters many of us have played with, so the motivation for defaulting to Unicode seems to have become obsolete.
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GG-Doz
Posted: Mar 31 2017, 07:54 PM


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Very similar to zIF is its successor, ZetaBoards. Almost everything about it is better... except it doesn't do html, meaning we have to say good-bye to tables.
The benefit of switching to ZetaBoards is:
1. It's familiar
2. It's easy to do
The search feature even works in ZetaBoards
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Shaun
Posted: Apr 1 2017, 11:41 AM


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Group: Admin
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Joined: 2-August 05



You can have tables - Zeta board help says:
"Hi,

ZetaBoards support HTML in the board template (Wrappers) in the same way that InvisionFree/ZiFBoards does.

In posts, HTML is not supported on ZetaBoards however there is a greatly expanded BBCode feature, and tables are one such example."
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Kodegadulo
Posted: Apr 1 2017, 02:41 PM


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QUOTE (Shaun @ Apr 1 2017, 11:41 AM)
"...In posts, HTML is not supported on ZetaBoards however there is a greatly expanded BBCode feature, and tables are one such example."

But then the question is, what is to become of the many years of posts we have here, that make extensive use of html, and tables in particular? Will all that work suddenly be obliterated? I can see two possible scenarios, neither of them particularly attractive:

(1) We close down this forum to further posting, relegating it to become an archive, and start an entirely new forum from scratch using ZetaBoards. At least our previous work will still be available in its original form, and presumably we'd be able to hyperlink back to it from the new forum. But such long-distance connections are brittle and tenuous, and tedious to set up. How would you quote an old post if it contained unsupported html? How would you even know about old posts, if they were no longer at your fingertips as they are now? Like any historical archive, the old forum will cease to be "alive", and will just start to collect dust.

(2) We try to transmute this forum to ZetaBoards BBcode, with the likely result of reducing grosses of beautifully-rendered posts to moldering piles of slag.

It would be one thing if ZetaBoards were offering backward-compatibility to zIfBoards format, and just layering on this more advanced BBcode as a more convenient alternative going forward. But eliminating support for html is tantamount to dismantling this forum.

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GG-Doz
Posted: Apr 2 2017, 07:21 AM


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QUOTE (Kodegadulo @ Apr 1 2017, 02:41 PM)
(1) We close down this forum to further posting, relegating it to become an archive, and start an entirely new forum from scratch using ZetaBoards.  At least our previous work will still be available in its original form, and presumably we'd be able to hyperlink back to it from the new forum. But such long-distance connections are brittle and tenuous, and tedious to set up.  How would you quote an old post if it contained unsupported html? How would you even know about old posts, if they were no longer at your fingertips as they are now? Like any historical archive, the old forum will cease to be "alive", and will just start to collect dust.
This seems a truly horrid idea.
QUOTE
(2) We try to transmute this forum to ZetaBoards BBcode, with the likely result of reducing grosses of beautifully-rendered posts to moldering piles of slag.
The problem is, this requires people to convert manually. This would become even more a hassle than the current Mojibake issue
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Shaun
Posted: Apr 2 2017, 11:03 AM


Dozens Disciple


Group: Admin
Posts: 1,115
Member No.: 3
Joined: 2-August 05



From the Zetaboards documentation.

"Conversion Facts

The conversion is completely free.
You do not need to turn your board offline, but during the opt-in process you can select to have your newly converted board turned offline so you can make any changes before members start using it. You will not be able to access your board during the conversion.
You do not have to do anything in preparation for the conversion, although you will need to find a new skin, or convert your current skin so it's compatible with ZetaBoards. Your board wrappers will also not be compatible, so you may need to find alternatives.
The doHTML tag will not be available after converting to ZetaBoards. ZetaBoards offers a wider selection of BBCode that will let you do things such as create tables and embed YouTube videos without the doHTML tag.
Your zIFBoards board, topic, and forum URLs will redirect to the new board. These redirects will continue indefinitely so that no one has trouble reaching your board.
If you have a custom domain, it will redirect to the new ZetaBoards URL for your board. You will need to point the custom domain at the new ZetaBoards server to fully use the domain on your new board. If you have a custom domain, the instructions for re-pointing it will be listed in your new Admin CP.
Occasionally, the converter will fail to convert a board, in which case nothing will happen when you opt in - your original InvisionFree/zIFBoard will still be accessible as normal if this happens. Submit a support ticket if you opt in and nothing happens after a few hours.
There is no conversion back to zIFBoards at this time. The ZetaBoards software offers an improved forum experience. If you have any concerns that ZetaBoards might not be for you, feel free to start a test ZetaBoards forum or open a support ticket with any questions.
A skin converter is not currently available, so you will need to find a new ZetaBoards compatible theme after you convert, or you may need to convert your current skin manually.
Only the board owner can opt-in at this time.
Your board's URLs will redirect to their new URL indefinitely. There will be no conflicts if your board has the same name as an existing ZetaBoards board."


I shall be discussing the html question with them to find out just what might go wrong. We don't want to end up having to re-do wads of coding.
S

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Double sharp
Posted: Nov 19 2017, 11:54 AM


Dozens Disciple


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QUOTE (Kodegadulo @ Apr 1 2017, 02:41 PM)
QUOTE (Shaun @ Apr 1 2017, 11:41 AM)
"...In posts, HTML is not supported on ZetaBoards however there is a greatly expanded BBCode feature, and tables are one such example."

But then the question is, what is to become of the many years of posts we have here, that make extensive use of html, and tables in particular? Will all that work suddenly be obliterated? I can see two possible scenarios, neither of them particularly attractive:

(1) We close down this forum to further posting, relegating it to become an archive, and start an entirely new forum from scratch using ZetaBoards. At least our previous work will still be available in its original form, and presumably we'd be able to hyperlink back to it from the new forum. But such long-distance connections are brittle and tenuous, and tedious to set up. How would you quote an old post if it contained unsupported html? How would you even know about old posts, if they were no longer at your fingertips as they are now? Like any historical archive, the old forum will cease to be "alive", and will just start to collect dust.

(2) We try to transmute this forum to ZetaBoards BBcode, with the likely result of reducing grosses of beautifully-rendered posts to moldering piles of slag.

It would be one thing if ZetaBoards were offering backward-compatibility to zIfBoards format, and just layering on this more advanced BBcode as a more convenient alternative going forward. But eliminating support for html is tantamount to dismantling this forum.

Unfortunately this looks like it is going to be an issue, as icarus alerted to me in a PM (since I have recently been pretty active using tables for Le Tour Des Bases), since it seems that zIFBoards is now getting forcibly upgraded to either ZetaBoards or Tapatalk. Neither of which allows for HTML in new posts, although as far as Icarus has heard at least the latter allows them in old posts (which however become non-editable). All because of security concerns with doHTML (which is true, but in a pinch, couldn't we simply only allow admins to use it, and give adminship to whoever demonstrates a significant need to use those features and has enough of a post count?).

(Icarus, I hope you're fine with putting this small amount of your PM on the whole board, since it concerns everyone; the rest of it concerns me. Please do PM me again if you want me to remove this post.)

Essentially, I suspect that much of the problem is that we do not have real control over the board, and that we would do better bringing some of the important "finalised" articles on this board elsewhere to serve as a reference (indeed some might even go on the Dozenal Society website too), and leave this just as a place for discussion. For example, Icarus has discussed with me about moving forward to bring Le Tour Des Bases onto his own site; I suspect that we should probably do similar things to some of the more important work that we have done here that really needs the tables. I know Kode has done this with Primel, at least, and I would like to have a complete overview of SDN (and its twins for other bases) continuing all our added bells and whistles.

Unfortunately this means that all the discussion here using the tables gets lost or needs tedious conversion. It would really be nice if this could be automated somehow.
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Shaun
Posted: Nov 19 2017, 12:47 PM


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Group: Admin
Posts: 1,115
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Joined: 2-August 05



I have been on to Tapatalk twice this month to get some answers on html.
Will report back when I get some sense out of them.
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Double sharp
Posted: Nov 19 2017, 01:08 PM


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Group: Members
Posts: 1,401
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Joined: 19-September 15



QUOTE (Shaun @ Nov 19 2017, 12:47 PM)
I have been on to Tapatalk twice this month to get some answers on html.
Will report back when I get some sense out of them.

Looking forward to it - though given your previous comment from April I must confess to being rather pessimistic about this...
QUOTE (Shaun @ Apr 2 2017, 11:03 AM)
I shall be discussing the html question with them to find out just what might go wrong. We don't want to end up having to re-do wads of coding.
S
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Shaun
Posted: Dec 1 2017, 01:52 PM


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Group: Admin
Posts: 1,115
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Joined: 2-August 05



Please check your (html) posts on the Tapatalk DozensOnline version; the html issue seems to be fixed, but I would like others to look as well before I ask Bryan (as forum owner and senior admin) to ask for the conversion.
Let me have your comments, please.
S
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Double sharp
Posted: Dec 1 2017, 03:30 PM


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Joined: 19-September 15



QUOTE (Shaun @ Dec 1 2017, 01:52 PM)
Please check your (html) posts on the Tapatalk DozensOnline version; the html issue seems to be fixed, but I would like others to look as well before I ask Bryan (as forum owner and senior admin) to ask for the conversion.
Let me have your comments, please.
S

Thank you! This is reassuring, but how do we get to the Tapatalk DozensOnline version?

If I understand correctly, old posts with HTML should work, and it'll just be that we can't write anymore. (Do their table features provide enough freedom to replicate what we used HTML for before, though?)
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Kodegadulo
Posted: Dec 2 2017, 02:25 AM


Obsessive poster


Group: Moderators
Posts: 4,184
Member No.: 606
Joined: 10-September 11



QUOTE (Double sharp @ Dec 1 2017, 03:30 PM)
QUOTE (Shaun @ Dec 1 2017, 01:52 PM)
Please check your (html) posts on the Tapatalk DozensOnline version; the html issue seems to be fixed, but I would like others to look as well before I ask Bryan (as forum owner and senior admin) to ask for the conversion.
Let me have your comments, please.
S

Thank you! This is reassuring, but how do we get to the Tapatalk DozensOnline version?

Indeed, I had no idea that a new version of DozensOnline was accessible. Shaun, please share the url for it. I've tried some searches for "Tapatalk DozensOnline" and the like, and even dug around looking for a list of forums associated with Tapatalk, but no luck.
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Shaun
Posted: Dec 2 2017, 12:04 PM


Dozens Disciple


Group: Admin
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Joined: 2-August 05



https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/dozensonline

I'm not sure about new posts. Will contact them again and check.

S
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DavidKennedy
Posted: Dec 2 2017, 07:03 PM


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Joined: 13-September 16



QUOTE (Shaun @ Dec 1 2017, 01:52 PM)
Please check your (html) posts on the Tapatalk DozensOnline version; the html issue seems to be fixed, but I would like others to look as well before I ask Bryan (as forum owner and senior admin) to ask for the conversion.
Let me have your comments, please.
S

The ability to represent distinguishable against decimal numerals is one feature that will be lost on Tapatalk. See a demonstration at "Base Subdivisions, an alternative way of thinking of bases" (http://z13.invisionfree.com/DozensOnline/i...wtopic=1629&hl=).
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Double sharp
Posted: Dec 3 2017, 10:11 AM


Dozens Disciple


Group: Members
Posts: 1,401
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Joined: 19-September 15



It looks like all of Icarus' charts have stopped working anyway, although his text has been preserved in his HTML posts. The problem seems to be that basic HTML is still working, but CSS-defined styles aren't. However, attached pictures are now displaying inline, so in a pinch we could always use those instead.

The new Tapatalk version is really slow on my phone. To be fair, it is now approaching three years old, and it doesn't seem problematic on newer ones. I'm currently travelling and will be back in a day or two, upon which I'll test it on my computer.

I suppose our old usernames and passwords will continue to work on the Tapatalk version, right?
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