Poll

What forum software should the forum use from now on?

Discourse ( https://www.discourse.org/ ) Ruby on Rails (in Docker)
1 (50%)
NodeBB ( https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB ) Node.JS + Redis + Nginx
0 (0%)
phpBB ( https://www.phpbb.com/ ) PHP+SQL
1 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 2

Author Topic: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?  (Read 209 times)

Peter

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Long story very short: We have to migrate from Simple Machines.

Which software should we move to? What do YOU use?
Requirements:
- Receives updates, is updated constantly.
- Not (very) new, so it has a sort of stable history. We don't want to put our members to risk.
- It can use any technology, stack, language - as long as it's not IIS/Microsoft locked in.
- FOSS software is preferred - our users love FOSS.

So far I found these as candidates:
  • Discourse. It's modern, it's fast, it can handle A LOT OF ABUSE. Our forums would never face such degree of spam and posts but yeah, I have seen people throwing everything they had at it and it did not break. Pretty well done. It's also modern, "real-time-ish". They offer free hosting for projects that quality (we do) or free on-site hosting. Open-source.
  • NodeBB. Feels and looks very close to Discourse. There is a fully free "developer edition" that we could easily use. It's open-source.
  • phpBB. We used this in the past and it's a great forum software. Heck, it was the market leader for many long years. When we moved to SMF from phpBB, the development came to a halt. There were no big updates, there were no small updates. Just nothing. SMF was getting regular updates constantly. So the choice was obvious. The tables have turned however. phpBB moved on. Added a new site, a great new plugin repository, and new updates come out left and right. Looks like a great FOSS target too.
Share your thoughts! What is your experience with them, if you used them? How they handle, how are updates, etc.? Thank you!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 04:35:36 pm by Peter »
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Peter

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 09:14:50 am »
After days of research I will proceed with testing Discourse. I am a bit worried about Ruby/RoR's future, but hey, Discourse is a big project. It won't die from one day to another. And yeah, I would still prefer Ruby over Javascript :D.
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Nemo

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 12:17:04 am »
I can vote but I don't know all of those things :P.. Choose what you think it would be the best mate.
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Peter

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 12:34:56 am »
:D

Sure thing.

Discourse example:
- http://community.liquidsky.tv/
- https://bbs.boingboing.net/
- https://discuss.howtogeek.com/

NodeBB example:
- https://bethesda.net/community/
- https://notepad-plus-plus.org/community/
- https://what.thedailywtf.com/

PhpBB... well it's kinda like what we have now.
So far I tried to put the Discourse migration together but a few bits are missing here and there. The reason why I went with Discourse is because NodeBB did not really have a clean and supported way of migrating from SMF. Discourse has the scripts in their own repo. And yeah, I disliked JS/Node.js more than Docker/Ruby. At least I will master Docker if we will run on Discourse full time. :) Discourse also seems a lot more stable, mature, future-proof.

(It's a weird thing Discourse went with Ruby by the way. Just years ago the web was full of articles like "is Ruby on Rails dead?" and such. And they went with it.)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 12:38:13 am by Peter »
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Nemo

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2017, 10:55:00 pm »
All good :D!
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Peter

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 09:10:35 am »
Yeah the test forum is set up, but the import still has some trouble.
Once I have a working build I will share the link here so anyone can check it out.
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Peter

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Re: Community vote - Which forum/community software should we merge to?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 08:45:46 am »
So the conclusion:

  • NodeBB and Discourse are both "the future". However their import scripts are not maintained, nor developed. They are just "there", and you are on your own. I have been managing servers for 7+ years now, used Linux and been a developer for the same amount of time. Yet, they both give you a headache. Don't get me wrong, both projects had working import scripts... years ago when a contributor wrote each script. But today? Try running a Discourse SMF import script today. Good luck! (Ps.: Of course, if you pay 10,000$ they will help you. How generous.) Guess such is life with paid forum engines. And hey, this might be the new norm. We just got spoiled by the PhpBB/SMF teams who wrote and maintained extensive import scripts for years for free.
  • I could migrate the entire forum to PhpBB3. It's decent, it's getting updates quick now. But who knows that it will stay alive? We moved to SMF because PhpBB stalled. Then again, Discourse/NodeBB can just die anytime as well.


That said, here is the plan:
  • Try to migrate the forum to PhpBB3. If it works, that's our new home.
  • If that fails, install Discourse/NodeBB, re-create the forum structure and lock down old forums. There would be a new forum (I will add Google/whatever login methods just to make the transition easier), and the old one will exist locked down. (I would just install a new SMF, re-import everything and put it in the same place locked down. I would also disable all users except the main admin account, so all former user data would be safely protected.)


There is not much time left, so I will do the migration tomorrow first and see how it works out. If it works okay, we just swap to phpbb3 and do this lockdown
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 08:47:50 am by Peter »
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