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Albert

Forum upgrade time again!

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It's been nearly a year since I last updated the forum software, and a few days ago Invision released the version I was waiting for before taking the plunge. We're currently running 3.3.4 and I'll be upgrading the forum to 3.4.3. Basically, this involves:

  1. Setup a new test environment with a copy of the forum, which I will use to do a full upgrade test, as well as any skin related work. DONE
  2. Setup second instance of Sphinx Search Server. DONE
  3. Install new SSL cert on test domain. DONE
  4. Download all the new modules from Invisions site DONE
  5. Merge (by hand) all custom forum modifications into the new codebase. DONE
  6. Copy all new source files to the server. DONE
  7. Run install scripts for each forum module (board, blogs, gallery, etc.) DONE
  8. Download and Update any third-party applications (such as "Spy") and hooks, if updates available. DONE
  9. Download and Update third-party skins (Deflection, Gravity Blue, Splat). DONE
  10. Update Tapatalk plugin. DONE
  11. Update AtariAge forum skin (the most time consuming step).
  12. Thoroughly test the forum. Assuming no problems, then:
  13. Export updated AtariAge forum skin and graphics.
  14. Take live forum offline.
  15. Backup forum files and database.
  16. Upload new source files.
  17. Run upgrade scripts.
  18. Import skins.
  19. Update third-party apps / hooks.
  20. Test!
  21. Bring forum back online.
  22. Listen to complaints about what's changed.

I'm leaving out lots of minor steps, but that's the gist of it.

 

What I'm doing now:

 

Updating the main AtariAge skin.

 

..Al

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When Step 19 is completed.

 

Edit: It's possible I may add more steps. I will update my progress as my progress progresses.

 

..Al

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19. Post at the Invision forum, asking why they seem to introduce more bugs than they fix and why they seem to generally change things for the worse.

 

20. Suggest that Invision's official motto should be "If it ain't broke, we'll break it."

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19. Post at the Invision forum, asking why they seem to introduce more bugs than they fix and why they seem to generally change things for the worse.

 

20. Suggest that Invision's official motto should be "If it ain't broke, we'll break it."

 

I don't agree with either of these. The forum software (and related modules) comprises a huge codebase and is very complex. It has to run on a wide variety of platforms and various flavors of PHP and MySQL, as well as other third-party software that's required. Virtually no software is free of bugs, and they are generally fairly responsive about fixing bugs. There are probably at least 500 bug fixes between the version we are currently running and 3.4.3. Many of these were introduced with 3.4.0, which is why I held off until 3.4.3. But there are many improvements (nothing major off the top of my head) in the software, and it's constantly evolving.

 

There is a lot of competition in this space, including many free and/or open source projects (such as phpBB), so they can't just sit on their laurels. And I wouldn't want them to. They certainly stumble sometimes, and I don't always agree with their design decisions, but overall the software works fairly well. I've never been in a situation where the software has lost any content or otherwise corrupted the database in some fashion, and there are hundreds of people actively using the software at any given time.

 

Where Invision is weak is with their add-on modules, most especially the Blog and Gallery modules. The Gallery has seen significant work in the last two years, but the Blog has mostly been neglected. IP.Downloads is very nice, but I'm not using it yet here. Now that I've moved the site to a new server with considerably more file space, I can finally activate IP.Downloads. I will be doing that soon, but first I need to get the forum software up to date. Other modules include Chat, Calendar, Nexus (used for subscriptions, but can do much more), and IP.Content (for custom pages--there's only one at the moment). Most of these incur additional expenses beyond the main IP.Board software, and that adds up.

 

Invision is now working on version 4.0 of the software, which WILL have a complete facelift and is being (mostly) rewritten from the ground up. I don't expect to see that before next year. They've only recently started talking about it.

 

..Al

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Invision is now working on version 4.0 of the software, which WILL have a complete facelift and is being (mostly) rewritten from the ground up. I don't expect to see that before next year. They've only recently started talking about it.

 

Hopefully that version will leave the formatting inside of code boxes alone when you edit a post. Right now you have to be toggled to the plain editing mode if you want your code boxes to keep their formatting. I won't get my hopes up, though. The new version will probably remove all blank spaces and reverse the code too. :D

 

 

Never post on an empty stomach. :D

 

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The new version I am working on now fixes a TON of editor related problems, many of them centering around the Code Box. Should be much better than it is now.

 

..Al

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I'm posting on an empty stomach while I wait for my Chinese food take out order. :)

 

..Al

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Albert, thank you so much for all you do for this site. I enjoy my time here more than anything else on the web and I can tell this really is a "labor of love" for you. I guess with that said, I really should subscribe. I'll get around to it, but in the meantime, I want to again thank you.

 

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Albert, thank you so much for all you do for this site. I enjoy my time here more than anything else on the web and I can tell this really is a "labor of love" for you. I guess with that said, I really should subscribe. I'll get around to it, but in the meantime, I want to again thank you.

I agree, I spend more time here than any other website. Albert is definitely doing us Atari guys a huge service and I appreciate it.

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Example of some code (on the left, in orange) that I wrote that needs to be merged into the new code (which in this case is easy, since this is a self-contained function):

 

forum_merge_2.png

This is part of the code that allows people to edit specific posts, once given permission to do so.

 

..Al

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Finished the code merge. Here's another example of a change I made. This one allows you to include a period when searching. Useful for software version numbers. While the change looks simple (and it's only a few bytes), doing the research to get this to work took a bit of time, and there are also some changes elsewhere related to this (including configuration changes for the Sphinx search engine the forum uses):

 

forum_merge_3.png

 

Now I need to actually get the development site working before I can do much more. Waiting for a DNS change I made earlier to properly resolve. Hopefully that happens soon, otherwise I may need to wait until the morning to go any further.

 

..Al

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