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Forum Upgrade 17/06/2016


Pete
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We will be performing a forum upgrade tomorrow if final testing goes well today.

Why are we doing this?

  1. The current version is over a year old and the developers have since released a new major version - in fact they're now up to 4.1.x whilst we're still on the 3.x branch.
  2. They will not be supplying bug fixes or security patches for much longer.
  3. There are a lot of nice changes (and some confusing ones - more on that later) such as responsive design leading to a more complete mobile experience. We can also leverage some caching options to make things even faster when browsing the forums.

What does this mean for you?

Unfortunately there are a number of down sides to this:

  1. The forums will have to be taken offline twice for approx 20-30 minutes each time for several hours. During the upgrade process, the post content gets completely rebuilt and whilst this is in progress things look a mess, code samples look broken etc etc. We think it's better to take it offline than show broken code samples! We've decided to leave the forums open as the forums still technically work, new posts aren't affected, and we need the shop to stay online as well.
  2. There will be a learning curve with the new layout, but I'll do my best to post a "this is where to find stuff" post right here after the upgrade.
  3. Bizarrely the "best answer" feature has been replaced with a Stack Overflow-style voting feature which doesn't work everywhere we currently have the best answer feature turned on, so we will be making adjustments to some forums. You also can't make the first post in a Q&A forum topic the "chosen answer" which is a bit silly, but I'll be looking for a workaround for that.
  4. Possibly the biggest annoyance is that all unread posts you may currently have will get marked as read after the upgrade. Since this forum is a complete rewrite they've been unable (or possibly unwilling?) to do a complete migration of all data to the new version.

There are plus sides though, right?

Yep, there are:

  1. The reason the post content gets rebuilt is so that it's all stored as HTML in the database rather than BBCode that has to be parsed and isn't upgrade-proof. They've also finally stopped using their own-brand post editor and gone with CKEditor, so upgrades should be a little less chaotic as custom tags have been replaced with universally-recognised data-attributes. Theoretically this means that I have less of a headache if they choose to do another complete rewrite in 5 years' time.
  2. The code-base has been rewritten and they've removed some of the less used features to speed things up, plus it'll be compatible with PHP 7 soon which means that theoretically everything on the main ProcessWire site can be updated to work with PHP 7 soon and benefit from some nice speed increases.
  3. We should be good to stay on the 4.x branch for several years. I'm not anticipating the devs rewriting the codebase for at least another 4-5 years as they've decided to future-proof it as much as possible.
  4. Did I mention upgrades will be easier for me to manage in future? :)

Wouldn't it be easier to build a ProcessWire forum module with all the same features?

I do think this from time to time, but to be perfectly honest it takes a team of people at least a year to come up with everything you see here. I'm sure I could emulate much of it pretty quickly if I was paid to do it full-time for a year (including BETA testing etc) since the ProcessWire API and module structure is much more sane, but I might also go crazy in the process :) One day maybe...

---

So at some point tomorrow, you will see a message here saying we're upgrading and to check back later. I can't give a precise time estimate, but it is a lengthy process - I would expect it to be at least 6 hours starting around 10am GMT - fortunately most of that is waiting for content to automatically rebuild - and then I have to apply some manual tweaks afterwards which will take about 30 minutes.

Schedule TBC - hopefully still tomorrow - some of the final preparations are taking a little longer. Downtime will be kept to 2 blocks of 20-30 minutes maximum if all goes well. Existing post content will look quite odd for the duration, but new posts will be absolutely fine and we'll fix up the old ones afterwards.

Edited by Pete
Change of plans
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Thanks Pete for all the hard work! Many of us know how much work (and pain) it requires to upgrade these monoliths, so hats off and I pay for the beer when you visit Finland (it is raining, so you would feel comfortable and just like home here!).

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See updated first post. I'll post more when we're closer to starting the process.

@Apeisa - just been enjoying some good downpours the last few days, but wouldn't mind the sun making a return :)

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Quick update - this will now take place either later today or at a later date due to issues with payment methods in the store in the new version. As always I'll update you all when I have more news.

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The upgrade will begin around 3-4pm 4-5pm GMT today. For reference, at the time of posting this its 1.21pm GMT.

As mentioned there will be some short periods of downtime so please bear with us.

Edited by Pete
Time warp
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The forums are open once again - please note that post content itself will appear very odd for a few more hours whilst the content rebuilds.

Please resist the urge to edit any old posts, but please feel free to write new topics and posts :)

Please also note that load times may be a little slow on the forums whilst the background tasks continue to update the old content.

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Thanks Pete, love the newer feel and grateful (again) to you for the work.

I noticed in my profile it says I have no 'Friends' <--insert joke here-->. I assume that's just some data that their migration process was not able to include, or should I start to worry o_O / change my brand of toothpaste etc?

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Yeah, they changed how this worked because you could become friends in the previous one and the other person not have any say in it, whereas in this version it's "followers". You would have thought they'd just change the friends to followers during upgrade but I think that would have meant a possibility of being alerted whenever the person being followed posts something so I can see why they changed it I suppose.

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  • 5 months later...

Hello everybody,

Can anybody tell me what the keyboard shortcut to submit a post like this one is? From time-to-time I accidentally press it, which is rather annoying since it results in a not yet finished message.

If I new the bloody shortcut, I could be more careful not to press it. I’m on a Mac BTW...

Thanks in advance :)

Edited by szabesz
typo
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2 hours ago, cb2004 said:

Alt+s (PC), option+s (Mac)

Thanks! However, it does not work on my Mac.

Edit: command + enter does work. Maybe there is something else that also works, because it is hard to imagine how I press command + enter by accident.

Edit 2: maybe my left hand is a bit too slow to release the command key when trying to open a new line with the right one.

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