Sciencemadness Discussion Board

call for participation: modernizing SM forum software

Polverone - 26-1-2012 at 14:24

<h3>Changing software</h3>
The XMB software that this forum runs on is a little quirky and showing its age. Sciencemadness should eventually migrate to other forum software.

Important forum features:
-Free (I could pay for vBulletin, but then I couldn't prepare working forum backups in virtual machine images)
-Runs under Linux
-Supports user access controls and different moderator roles/powers
-Substantial history of use
-Substantial developer community and ongoing development
-Substantial user base

The option I'm leaning toward is Simple Machines Forum: http://www.simplemachines.org/

If anyone thinks that this is a poor choice or has alternative choices to endorse, please let me know in this thread.

<h3>Migrating historical data</h3>
There was a tool developed to migrate from XMB 1.9.8 to SMF. See this thread (perhaps skip near the end, it's long): http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=1407...

It doesn't work with XMB 1.9.11, which we are running. There is a user-contributed tool that sort-of/mostly converts XMB 1.9.11, but it still has some defects. I will want conversion to be very close to perfect before I can switch from XMB to some other forum system.

<h3>How you can help</h3>
I write software in my day job. At the current rate, working by myself in spare time, I will be prepared to do the XMB migration in about 40 years. I need technically-inclined members, especially those with programming and/or database experience, to investigate the XMB to SMF conversion and figure out what additional work needs to be done. Then we can start building tools to do that work. You can download a complete, ready-to-run virtual environment with Linux, XMB, MySQL, PHP, and a sanitized copy of the SM forum data here: https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=12...

It should also be possible to install SMF and the existing conversion tools in this virtualized server image.

Beyond simple data conversion we will need some sort of redirect scheme so that old thread/post URLs get transparently redirected to the corresponding data in the new SMF forum. This could be something as simple as a large .htaccess file derived from the contents of the thread table in the XMB database.

I'm sure that you can identify additional issues that may need to be addressed after a big change like this. Please post in this thread if you are interested and possibly have the time/skills to contribute. I am hoping to bring together members with the most appropriate skills to work as a small team planning the migration and building the tools for it. The conversion tools, at least those that might benefit others, will also be released as free software after they have done their job here. It might benefit another site or two looking to move away from XMB.

[Edited on 1-26-2012 by Polverone]

quicksilver - 26-1-2012 at 15:14

According to some testing/voting, etc vBulltin is the one people like but there are some issues that would cut the list.
The issue of freeware is a tough one becasue the features mentioned are generally wrapped in a pricy item. It MAY be possible to get an older version of vBullitin without any legal hassles because the company may simply not support whole version changes as many companies do (like Microsoft leaves OS's to rot after several years). These guys may have it...

http://www.oldversion.com/

There is some of the important issues discussed via Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_so...


The WORST is the forum software that hosts the American Diabetes Association discussion Forum (really poorly designed & costly).

Lambda-Eyde - 26-1-2012 at 15:35

There are two forum software solutions I like: InvisionBoard and vBulletin. Neither of them are free, but I believe there's only a one-time cost that could easily be covered by donations/fundraising. I've moderated both Simple Machines and phpBB and didn't care much for any of them. I am also a moderator on both IB and vBulletin boards - the latter is quite pleasant to work with, vBulletin is a dream when it comes to moderation. I'm not familiar with the technical details, so I can't provide any details there.

What I like about XMB is the clean design. I've never seen anything like it, it's just pleasant to look at. vBulletin is also pretty clean, phpBB and SMF (especially the former) are absolutely horrible to look at.

Polverone - 26-1-2012 at 16:38

People already donated enough to buy vBulletin or Invision, but commercial software is just not going to work. Not even if it costs only $5 for a perpetual license. I have to be able to freely redistribute the forum software so I can make and distribute the virtual machine forum backups.

It is possible that if I used an old version of vBulletin, nobody from the company would hassle me about it, but it would also mean being stuck on old software that never improves or gets bug fixes. That's the very situation we are in now that I'm trying to leave.

Further background, if it helps: I don't want to stick with XMB forever because the last version was released in 2009; development seems to be stalled. There are some bugs/quirks that will probably never be fixed, and I would like a forum with better tools to discourage bad behavior without outright banning people.

I want to add a Sciencemadness wiki that shares accounts with the forum. Woelen did a good job setting up a home chemistry wiki but it seems like it won't be used much as long as it requires a separate login from the Sciencemadness forum. I could integrate XMB with MediaWiki, but it would make leaving XMB even more painful in the future. So I want to pick some good free forum software with a more assured future, convert to it, and then do the MediaWiki integration. Based on features, availability of (at least partial) conversion tools, and developer/user community, Simple Machines seemed like the best choice.

madscientist - 26-1-2012 at 16:49

I agree that Simple Machines is the way to go. I will miss the old look of the site, though - it's the only site that looks the same as it did when I was still just a kid... ahh, nostalgia. Goodbye, SM smilies... :):(:D;):cool::mad::o:P

watson.fawkes - 27-1-2012 at 06:49

I can assist with the project. I've done plenty of code in my life.

At the very least, we should be able to re-theme an SMF instance to look much like the current board. Certainly the basic color scheme can be moved over. There's a full set of templates available for deep customization.

A public git repository would be useful for collaboration.

bfesser - 12-2-2012 at 08:22

I'd like to offer assistance, if possible. I have previous experience with phpBB and a few other forum frameworks. I used to be able to code PHP, HTML, JSP, CSS, and some other applicable languages. I have familiarity with MySQL. I also have experience with templates and graphic design. (I did freelance webdesign and server administration in my teenage years--something I try to keep secret from my real world acquaintances, lest they nag for tech support.) I'll admit, I haven't done much with code or databases in some years, but I'd be willing to brush up on it.

I concur with watson.fawkes.
Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
A public git repository would be useful for collaboration.

garage chemist - 12-2-2012 at 08:52

What I'd really like to see is a forum search engine that lets you choose between displaying threads and single posts. I am sure most would agree with me on this.

quicksilver - 12-2-2012 at 09:06

This is the largest site I could find that has FREE Forum software:

http://thinkofit.com/webconf/forumsoft.htm

There are a great many to choose from and it appears.....that it's up-to-date with most all Forum software commonly distributed.

zoombafu - 16-2-2012 at 17:24

Just an idea, but It would be cool to add a wiki to the site. To edit the wiki I think that the member would have to prove their worth in the forum (by submitting quality information). The wiki could serve as the member publications area almost, and it could be very comprehensive. There could a wikiportal for different areas of chemistry (organic, energetics, inorganic, etc), and everything could then be cross referenced. The wiki would also probably help by cleaning up un needed forum posts, because information would be found much easier through a wiki interface than through digging through old forum posts.

plante1999 - 16-2-2012 at 17:27

Quote: Originally posted by zoombafu  
Just an idea, but It would be cool to add a wiki to the site. To edit the wiki I think that the member would have to prove their worth in the forum (by submitting quality information). The wiki could serve as the member publications area almost, and it could be very comprehensive. There could a wikiportal for different areas of chemistry (organic, energetics, inorganic, etc), and everything could then be cross referenced. The wiki would also probably help by cleaning up un needed forum posts, because information would be found much easier through a wiki interface than through digging through old forum posts.


Great idee! I love the idee of posting good quality synthesis/ extration on wiki. I would be the first to contribute.

watson.fawkes - 16-2-2012 at 18:00

Quote: Originally posted by zoombafu  
Just an idea, but It would be cool to add a wiki to the site.
So also does our gracious host here. See upthread:
Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
I want to add a Sciencemadness wiki that shares accounts with the forum.

What's needed first is conversion software to take the old database file in XMB and convert them over. Are you able to help with this?

AndersHoveland - 16-2-2012 at 18:06

I hope nothing gets lost in the transition. Hopefully everything gets archived, including all the pictures and attached files.
The transition might also be a good time to weed out some of the threads, or specific posts, that are obviously trash. But I would hope whoever is sorting through would err on the side of caution. Quicksilver recently sent a thread to detritus that I thought had some decent posts with some information I did not know before.

watson.fawkes - 16-2-2012 at 18:19

Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
I hope nothing gets lost in the transition. Hopefully everything gets archived, including all the pictures and attached files.
The transition might also be a good time to weed out some of the threads, or specific posts, that are obviously trash.
The whole reason to do custom conversion software is to lose nothing. Are you able to contribute?

Insofar as I know, there's no plan to do retroactive editing.

for developers on Windows

watson.fawkes - 1-3-2012 at 04:25

For those wishing to get the site backup and use it to test migration code, there's a relevant note for setting up the site backup on Windows.

froot - 1-3-2012 at 06:51

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we're talking about database translation so that the new software can place everything in the right place on it's interface right?
Could we do it on this domain in a seperate directory and set up a seperate database totally seperate from the live board if the hosting package allows it?
Installation of the new software should be straight forward as per given instructions. The database side would be where intellectual input is needed where the current database is downloaded, translated and the uploaded to the new one. Testing can be done and corrections made while the site stays live.
I have done this before with phpBB but that was a while ago so it may be possible.

Edit: Maybe research translating the database to another forum software that has the facility to translate it back to the software you're after?

[Edited on 1-3-2012 by froot]

bfesser - 11-3-2012 at 08:27

Has any progress on this been made? If so, who is actively participating and how can I join the effort?

As I said earlier, I really would like to contribute. I'm learning more than I ever wanted to about <a href="http://www.xmbforum.com/" target="_blank">XMB</a> through my <a href="viewthread.php?tid=19198">symbol project</a>, and I'd like to put that knowledge to use. I will host a shared workspace for this on my web host, if one has not yet been established. Just say the word.

watson.fawkes - 11-3-2012 at 12:19

Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
Has any progress on this been made? If so, who is actively participating and how can I join the effort?

As I said earlier, I really would like to contribute.
There are two immediate steps we need:
1) A git repository. This is just a matter of finding one. I don't see a reason we can't use a free one, but I haven't taken the time to read a bunch of terms-of-service documents.
2) A trial run of the conversion software that Polverone mentioned at the beginning. It won't work completely, but once we're to a point where individuals can contribute incremental progress, we'll be able to proceed much faster.

bfesser - 13-3-2012 at 16:59

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
There are two immediate steps we need:
1) A git repository...

I have tried to register with <a href="https://sourceforge.net" target="_blank">SourceForge.net</a> but never received the registration confirmation email&mdash;same issue I had with them years ago. I'm waiting on an email response from their support staff.

bfesser - 14-3-2012 at 19:29

Ok, so are we moving to a <a href="http://www.simplemachines.org/" target="_blank">Simple Machines</a> forum (SMF)? Personally, I'd like to see us migrate to <a href="http://www.phpbb.com/about/" target="_blank">phpBB</a>. I have many years of experience with phpBB, and wouldn't have to study as much to get started coding the migration tool. It also satisfies all of your requirements listed in the OP.
Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
Important forum features:
-Free (I could pay for vBulletin, but then I couldn't prepare working forum backups in virtual machine images)
-Runs under Linux
-Supports user access controls and different moderator roles/powers
-Substantial history of use
-Substantial developer community and ongoing development
-Substantial user base

Polverone, ultimately you hold the power here. Will it be SMF or something else? Once you decide, I'm going to start working on it&mdash;since no-one else seems to have the initiative. As I mentioned in private U2U, it would be helpful to any of us who already have Linux boxes for you to release non-virtual machine sanitized backups. Just an archive file (.tar.gz is good) with the website/forum files and a sanitized backup of the MySQL database.

I've already started two SourceForge.net projects, one for <a href="https://sourceforge.net/projects/migratexmbtosmf/" target="_blank">XMB&rarr;SMF</a> and another for <a href="https://sourceforge.net/projects/migr8xmbtophpbb/" target="_blank">XMB&rarr;phpBB</a>. I can start another project, if a different forum platform is chosen.

<hr width="300" />
I'm going to take this opportunity to lay out the first requirement of the migration tool. It needs to prune off some of the <a href="http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/misc.php?action=list&order=postnum&page=133">133+ pages of non-participating registered users</a>. They comprise more than half the total registered accounts. Nothing against lurkers, of course&mdash;I tend to lurk more than participate. The tool will give this as an option, with a way to set it to delete all 0-post accounts or delete them if they haven't been logged on in a variable ammount of time.

[Edited on 3/15/12 by bfesser]

Polverone - 15-3-2012 at 10:35

bfesser,

Thanks for taking the initiative. It took me a while to upload the bare db dump and code, but it is available now:

https://www.sciencemadness.org/xmb_sm_test.sql.gz
https://www.sciencemadness.org/smtalk.tgz

I don't have any particular affinity for smf over phpBB, but it looked like the conversion would be more complicated with phpBB. According to someone on the phpBB user forums, writing last year, the current xmb to phpBB converter does not work properly: the user instead had to translate xmb to smf, and then smf to phpBB. If we need to translate to smf anyway, it seemed well enough to me to stop there and not do another conversion to phpBB.

If you have experience with phpBB and prefer it over smf, the phpBB conversion from smf appears to be fine. Using phpBB might allow me to better tap your expertise should it ever need further modifications.

bfesser - 15-3-2012 at 12:26

md5sums?

[downloading]
At least it's not 4.8GB! Thanks for making this available, Polverone.

[digging in]
This is going to be such a pain in the . . .

[Edited on 3/15/12 by bfesser]

Polverone - 15-3-2012 at 17:31

I installed SMF 2.0.2 and the XMB to SMF converter found here:

http://download.simplemachines.org/?converters;software=xmb

Then I tried to run it from the command line and ran into a problem.

Quote:

root@desktop:/var/www/smf# php /var/www/smf/convert.php --path_to=/var/www/smf --path_from=/var/www/smtalk --convert_script=xmb_to_smf.sql --db_pass=XXX
Starting Conversion

* Converting members...
.

.

.

Successful.

* Converting categories...
Successful.

* Converting boards...
Successful.

* Converting topics...
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Duplicate entry '18275' for key 'PRIMARY'


I'm not sure exactly how this comes up. I checked the XMB database and there's no duplicate use of tid 18275.

EDIT: I thought that maybe my database-sanitizing procedure on the public XMB dump somehow produced results which confuse the converter. But it is not so. I tried restoring a full db backup as used on the production forum and running the conversion -- same error.

[Edited on 3-16-2012 by Polverone]

So, no md5sums then?

bfesser - 16-3-2012 at 12:39

Hmm. I'll set up the database backup and SMF on my host and give that converter a go and we'll see if I get the same result.

Part of me also wonders if it has anything to do with the <a href="http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_iframe.asp" target="_blank">iframes</a> <img src="../scipics/_ext.png" /> that <strong><a href="member.php?action=viewpro&member=metalresearcher">metalresearcher</a></strong> used in <a href="viewthread.php?tid=18275">that thread</a>. Perhaps converter.php doesn't play friendly with iframes. I know that phpBB3 no longer allows HTML in posts&ndash;in large part due to the historical abuse and exploitation of iframes. They now rely entirely upon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBCode" target="_blank">BBCode</a> <img src="../scipics/_wiki.png" />. I've browsed around all the documentation on the SMF site, but they say nothing at all about support for HTML in posts. My bet is, they don't allow it. Maybe the iframe sandbox tags caused an unforseen logic or loop bug in the converter.php. I'll check their 'Community' board soon.

Coincidentally; I haven't received my confirmation email from the <a href="http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php" target="_blank">'SimpleMachines.org Community'</a> <img src="../scipics/_ext.png" /> forum. Same issue I had with SourceForge.net. My email apparently sucks. No spam filters or blocking . . . just unreliability. When I get that, I'll poke around over there to see if anyone's encountered similar issues.

In the meanwhile, I'm sifting through the <a href="http://download.simplemachines.org/?converters;software=xmb#thegoods_xmb" target="_blank">convert.php</a> <img src="../scipics/_ext.png" /> file&mdash;the comments leave much to be desired. No lie, here's a sample:
Code:
// We found the treasure :P.

Seriously? Why add such a useless comment to your code!? Why not just write your code in <a href="http://www.dangermouse.net/esoteric/ook.html" target="_blank">Ook!</a> <img src="../scipics/_ext.png" /> or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainfuck" target="_blank">brainfuck</a> <img src="../scipics/_wiki.png" /> if you want it to be difficult to follow. Some people's children...

[Edited on 7/9/13 by bfesser]

Subscript/superscript buttons now available

Polverone - 26-3-2012 at 14:35

Thanks go to bfesser, who added new subscript/superscript buttons and supporting code to our creaky old XMB software. You can use them via the buttons above the message composition window or by manually inserting sub and sup bbcode tags.

converter still fails

Polverone - 26-4-2012 at 00:07

I tried deleting thread 18275 to see if that ended the error, on the theory floated above that the iframes in that thread might throw off the process. It didn't work. I get almost the same error as before, except it's now "Duplicate entry '18277'" instead of '18275'. Any insights from inspecting the code?

bfesser - 19-8-2012 at 19:19

No progress to report yet. Hopefully soon. No promises.

Sorry for my delay in responding to this. I had appendicitis shortly after my previous post, and my offline life got a little complicated thereafter. Things are slowly getting sorted out, and I hope to get working on this again in the near future. However, moving the last of my glassware to my new apartment takes priority. :P

WolfPack - 3-2-2013 at 09:33

First of all, sorry for my bad english, and for resurrecting this thread. Maybe you've finished yet with the migration.
Most of my experiences in forum software is from SMF, so I'll try to summarize them. As I suppose you already know, SMF has a lot of user-contributed tools like ReCAPTCHA (which requires an account in google mail) and Akismet (AFAIK, checks the content of the message against an online engine and, if detected as spam, reports it to the moderators before showing it publicly), to avoid spamming and automated registration. There are other useful tools like "Users mass actions" that allow deleting/changing group/etc. a whole page of members from the Admin > Members submenu.
Nevertheless, and due to security reasons our server don't use the FTP port for updates/upgrades, which forces to patch the code manually.
Obviously, we suffered a huge attack several months ago and we found that, in fact, there are groups of spammers that do the registration process by hand and using utilities that do a search for texts that match the thread topic and insert links, thus bypassing protections, and the only way to avoid this completely was using email confirmation plus validation by admin/mods. Also the forum was changed to other IP and server and a honeypot was mounted at the old server.

The database is somehow prone to corruption if you modify it by logging on to the database server and use SQL even being careful with foreign keys and things like that (SMF has a lot of indexes on each table); this can be noticed if the statistics/total amount of replies/threads on the main page disappear; but you've got a database tab on Administration>Maintenance
Forum Maintenance>Database to fix these issues, IIRC. Also, backups of the database and table optimizations can be done from there.

I don't know if you're adapting that script or using a backup of this forum, a fresh install of SMF and with SQL sentences, but I'll try the latter since you can make a replica of the VM. Surely you have noticed that there are several main tables: smf_members, smf_boards, smf_categories, smf_topics and smf_messages. Some other tables are filled by the installation code. I've never used XMB so I don't know its internals.

Hope my post is of some use.

Glucose Oxidase - 1-3-2013 at 13:22

Sorry for resurrecting this thread again but i recently found a good forum software called FUDforum http://www.fudforum.org maybe that will help.:)

[Edited on 1-3-2013 by Glucose Oxidase]

bfesser - 2-3-2013 at 09:12

Apologies for not making any progress on this since my last post... I really need to find employment first.

[edit]
Oh, and I'll have to recover all my data from my fried laptop's HDD.

[Edited on 3/2/13 by bfesser]

Random - 15-10-2013 at 11:38

Polverone it seems the guy managed to convert the database itt:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?P=759b39b9...


bfesser - 18-12-2013 at 09:14

Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
https://www.sciencemadness.org/xmb_sm_test.sql.gz
Polverone, I'm trying to set up a server (again) to work on the migration, but this file seems to be missing. Any chance you could re-upload it? (I'm sure I have a copy somewhere, I just don't know where...)

Texium - 17-8-2014 at 09:32

Is this something that is still happening? I'd never read this thread before until now, and hadn't realized that there were previously plans for a wiki. Is the forum still going to be migrated to new software, and if so, is incorporating MediaWiki and migrating the wiki going to happen after that, as discussed earlier in this thread?

JAVA - 16-11-2014 at 07:53

Just a question: is it so hard to implement a spelling corrector in the preview mode? With for example a anchor.

I also suggest to make a hidden tread to fix a anti-spam code.

Etaoin Shrdlu - 16-11-2014 at 13:11

Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  
Just a question: is it so hard to implement a spelling corrector in the preview mode? With for example a anchor.

Firefox has a built-in spell-check.

JAVA - 16-11-2014 at 14:43

Quote: Originally posted by Etaoin Shrdlu  
Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  
Just a question: is it so hard to implement a spelling corrector in the preview mode? With for example a anchor.

Firefox has a built-in spell-check.


Yes, but many, many members don't write in English by default. If you are from The Nederlands then the corrector shows that every word is wrong.

I'am native Dutch, write in German, Bahasa Indonesia and English. It's a great idea for people from the USA but not for the majority of other members...

In addition: we can reduce spam if you work with filters that don't allow things like chinese, rude things,...

We can use a checkbox to sign-in and validate the e-mail adress. If they don't do it: it are spambots.

[Edited on 16-11-2014 by JAVA]

[Edited on 16-11-2014 by JAVA]

Etaoin Shrdlu - 16-11-2014 at 15:11

Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  
Quote: Originally posted by Etaoin Shrdlu  
Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  
Just a question: is it so hard to implement a spelling corrector in the preview mode? With for example a anchor.

Firefox has a built-in spell-check.


Yes, but many, many members don't write in English by default. If you are from The Nederlands then the corrector shows that every word is wrong.

If you don't write in English, your post is going to wind up deleted anyway, am I missing something?

EDIT: Ohhhh, I get it. It's because of comparing to another language by default. You can add on other dictionaries though. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/language-tools/

[Edited on 11-16-2014 by Etaoin Shrdlu]

JAVA - 17-11-2014 at 07:41

It does work for English (problem solved), really thank you. I did learn finally one thing that makes sense in everyday life.
I don't answer on messages with too much errors anymore ;)


Apart from that I was thinking about a rather technical aspect to prevent these daily UK Spam messages. I see that the administrators really DO a lot of efforts to prevent Spam, administrators and moderators aren't stupid at all.

The solution that I propose is to create a "apply to join Rador labs" button on sciencemadness, all members have to do that within say 6 months. If they do apply they will get the message: "a email is send to your mailbox, check your mailbox to be a and follow the instructions to be a member approved member and click on the link that is embedded in your mail"

Just click on it and you are a approved member of Sciencemadness AND Rador labs. Once Rador labs or SM did write a code in javascript to make smart filters, check their IP address, GMT time zone, provider: these Spambots have no chance anymore.

This is the only solution that I see: the forum software is simply too old and not updated. A by-pass system with a confirmation mail and a new database of users have only good things.
1) It's a Win-Win situation between Radorlabs and sciencemadness, no build in competitions on sciencemadness are needed anymore to motivate people to work on the sciencemadness wiki.
2) We can catch the spambots or Spammers by redirecting to external sites
3) user list is up-to-date
4) If the location is known (like UK) a huge amount of money have to be paid (intellectual property damage, time to develop new scripts,...) and the external website can be one that applies to the UK to bring it to the court. With this money we can invest in scientific references for the community, money for those that did really work to expand our knowledge,...
5) The external website can get the newest IT features, things evolve really fast.

Please wait a bit to react on this proposal: I send a U2U to the IT-minded admin or moderators and they decide.

bwn - 31-10-2015 at 16:33

I am going to attach this here for now (md5: 7d001f64e8bc018fa687f1c24a0fd17f). I dug up this version of the XMB->SMF converter, it ran the conversion all the way through without errors, but choked on the recounting totals and statistics step. The posts and users all made it over, but I'm seeing a couple issues with the conversion right off the bat:

- XMF quoting isn't converted to SMF quoting
- Single and double quotes have escape characters in posts (ex: it\'s)
- It didn't convert post attachments
- Thread subjects get changed to the subject of the most recent post that has one set
(for example, after conversion, this post is named 'converter still fails')
- Poll choices didn't make it over
- Some character set issues

- SMF has stricter limits on allowed html (links and images show source code)

Attachment: xmb_smf_converter-10.30.2015.tgz (28kB)
This file has been downloaded 895 times

[Edited on 1-11-2015 by bwn]

metalresearcher - 1-11-2015 at 05:12

Why not using vBulletin ?
I use other forums like alloyavenue.com (metalcasting) and iceinspace.com.au (astronomy) which do use this software and is very good.

gdflp - 1-11-2015 at 06:56

As per the topic by Polverone
Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  

Important forum features:
-Free (I could pay for vBulletin, but then I couldn't prepare working forum backups in virtual machine images)

akok - 28-7-2016 at 09:25

Polverone could you send me the forums backup to try it on newer XMB?
In parallel I could make an attempt a transition to alternative software if possible.

akok - 30-7-2016 at 22:44

Guys I have grade news!!
I've made it!!!! I've successfully transfered the old xmf to new smf SM forum!!

I'm asking from the administrators to grant my access to make the transfer online!!!

Additionally, there' re THOUSANDS of members with duplicate account or only logged once!! the maintenance to smf (or mybb that are correctly trying to convert) can be piece of cake!!



sm_upgraded.jpg - 142kB

Marvin - 31-7-2016 at 03:24

Looks like good progress, but that forum looks nothing like this forum yet. I'm sure when Polverone has some time he'll speak for himself, for now what might help most is if you wrote down every step you took. When the forum is fully functional and all extra plugins work Polverone can read through and decide if it's feasible to apply all the other tweaks and patches and that the effort is worth the reward.

There is also the risk that moving to a board with new features opens up new security holes.

akok - 31-7-2016 at 04:32

Marvin,
No... SMF is obviously (and undoubtedly) far better than XMB even in this state... And think I found a better one, myBB, which i've tried it and is incredible!! The double user can be merge... For instance there were 4 accounts of Chemplayer which I made them one... There are other Marvins as well which can be possibly your locked out account of yours.. And may other features (Chat, Avatars, custom smilies etc)!!!
And seriously... security issues? You know that XMB has stopped development since 2012 and only sometime made a fix in 2015?? all our data is at risk by staying in this platform... Moreover the issue of open .ova backups exposed all e-mails provided...
I'm not saying that the conversion went perfect.. There are some issues with syntax of quotes but it can be edited individually by the creator of the thread or post... But the users, groups, threads, posts passwords migrations went perfectly!!
MyBB is far more secured and there is no change of discontinued in the next 5 years at least...
Just a preview of MyBB...

sm_upgraded.jpg - 153kB

Velzee - 20-10-2016 at 17:39

Hmm. Looks like akok is onto something.

Melgar - 17-5-2017 at 22:03

I'm nearly 100% certain that vBulletin's license allows for the distribution of virtual machine images. After all, with cloud computing being where it is, how could it not? Software like that is typically very generous about giving its customers plenty of rights and such, and since it's all written in php, they essentially give you the source code when you buy it. Usually, the license is per public-facing domain, so like, if you bought a site license, it could only be public-facing on sciencemadness.org. I've used vBulletin, and moderated a forum that I installed it on, and it was really very straightforward. They only make you authenticate when you're downloading updates and such, it's not like it'll shut down if it goes five minutes without being able to connect to vBulletin's servers.

vBulletin also can do "retro" styles, which at this point would almost be necessary for this site, since it's been out of style so long that its deliberate flaunting of Web 2.0 guidelines is clearly a style choice.

WangleSpong5000 - 27-12-2017 at 04:43

All I'm really familiar with is using React redux for the front and, Express for the backend, Mongo as the middleware to query the database and using Node to kick the whole thing off. All written in JavaScript. Modular components for everything...

Isomorphic JavaScript... it's pretty awesome. I might try and write one as a project for myself... I know bugger all about pretty much everything else.

Sorry I know this probably isn't very helpful... I'm just surprised when I learn that people still use PHP. Every dev I know tells me not to bother learning it although I thought it couldn't hurt... Shit I'm still surprised when I hear ppl still use Jquery!

I have no proffesional experience though so what the fuck do I know...

I do know JavaScript however... I'm going to pore over this thread and research all this old school stuff... I'm interested...

j_sum1 - 27-12-2017 at 20:40

You know, every time this topic comes up I reflect on how content I am with the old-school look and interface. There are actually very few modern features that I think we actually need.

JJay - 27-12-2017 at 21:00

Is there a current SM backup? I was thinking a while back that it would be nice to have all the PDFs indexed, and it would be a lot easier to download a tgz than to spider the site.

Oh and PHP is still very widely used... something like 80% of web sites use PHP. I haven't used React, but jQuery is pretty much the best thing out there for DOM manipulation... the stock UI elements are so-so, but there are a lot of good third party tools that interface with it. Most websites really don't use a lot of Ajax or fancy UI elements, though....

I think Node is a great concept, but I haven't really used it, and it works quite differently from how most programmers think about web applications.

WangleSpong5000 - 27-12-2017 at 22:14

Yeah I suppose this is the difference between studying a thing and having professional experience and industry knowledge of it.

That said I do think things such as React, Angular and Vue etc. to be the way of the future.

Funny thing is loads of people said similar things in the strange period of time when shiny new frameworks were being pumped out in ridiculous quantities! Haha ... and there all gone now :D


JJay - 6-1-2018 at 08:48

I think it would be cool if we could upload avatars.

Sulaiman - 19-2-2018 at 04:27

I can't add much to this topic, but one feature of the SM forum that I think is very important is
the inability to edit forum posts after 24 hours.

This removes the temptation to correct mistakes without announcemen
- bad for science and threads containing 'lively discussions'.
I have seen this occur elsewhere.

As a user my only real complaint is spam,
all other aspects of this forum I can live with,
I'd continue as-is until unable to, unless maintenance is too difficult.

Velzee - 29-4-2018 at 17:08

Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
I think it would be cool if we could upload avatars.


I second this.

sodium_stearate - 29-4-2018 at 17:15

My vote is please do not change it!

It works. It's solid. It's reliable. It's dependable.

Please let's use our heads here and realize when
to leave well enough alone!

Every darn time any software actually works well,
it's not long until someone changes it into some
piece of garbage that does not work nearly as well.

This works well. Please leave it alone!






[Edited on 30-4-2018 by sodium_stearate]

Melgar - 22-9-2018 at 02:18

I guess I should probably add to this thread to mention that I've made progress with converting to phpBB. The theme I chose was semi-arbitrary, and other themes can be imported easily enough. Here's an example of a page from it:

http://35.185.63.230/talk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=66361

It's running the test database, which has been scrubbed of a lot of data, but the rest should all work. There are some glitches in how it parses bbcode, but those could be fixed for the production run. I set up nginx instead of Apache as the web server, which allows for regex-based redirection from old links. I also kept every single thread, post, attachment, and user id the same when doing the transfer, so any redirects can be done just by repositioning the relevant numbers in a new URL. And that can be done with simple regular expressions. Since phpBB had the most similar underlying database structure, that's the one I went with. It also has the ability to automatically update the security on MD5-hashed passwords to (I think) bcrypt when users log in. That means we can keep password hashes intact during the transfer, without security ever being any more lax than it already is.

There are lots of things that could be changed here, like the maximum size that inline images show up as, among other things. If there's anything wrong about the way that anything looks, there is certain to be some way to change it.

If we want to integrate the boards better with the wiki, there is an extension here that greatly simplifies this:

https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Phpbb_Single_Sign-O...

I'd expect this to at least modestly increase participation in editing the wiki.

I guess I need to know what the next step is now. AFAIK, this is the furthest anyone has come with this.

[Edited on 9/22/18 by Melgar]

Dihydrogenmonoxide - 24-6-2019 at 14:27

What happened? Any results? I would love to see a mobile optimized version of this forum. Who even runs the servers? Do you have contact to him?

Tsjerk - 29-11-2020 at 09:27

Apparently XMB is still under active development! Last October 22th there has been the release of XMB 1.9.12! Apparently it includes some modifications on the registration page.

Edit: the current version SM is running on is 1.9.11, released back in 2012. The second to last patch is from 2013, the last from 2017, which included only some minor bug fixes.

This forum runs on the new 1.9.12. The registration page includes a captcha.

The Google reCAPTCHA. Free to use up to a million times a month.

[Edited on 29-11-2020 by Tsjerk]

symboom - 29-11-2020 at 12:58

Here is a thread about
What features would you add on sciencemadness
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=155957


Tsjerk - 29-11-2020 at 14:10

What I mean is that if this update is backwards compatible, and I assume it is, nobody has to write code in order to get the captcha functionality.

As far as I understand the most important reason for the transition to new forum software was that the current software was not maintained anymore.

[Edited on 29-11-2020 by Tsjerk]

Oxy - 16-7-2021 at 11:27

If there is something that needs some work I can participate.
I have several years of commercial experience (mostly with back-end) and can help with maintenance, development and also migration to other software if still considered.

Tsjerk - 16-7-2021 at 11:47

First Polverone has to turn up, I send him some private messages when I found out about this 1.9.12 update, and one more time some weeks ago. I don't know how many messages he has in his inbox, but mine he hasn't read.