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Sirius

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Heather and I have kicked this idea around for years now, but never really made any plans to actually do it. Now that the forum has turned five, and seems to be going stronger than ever, I am worried about a few things.

This thread is for discussion of updating the forum software.

This forum is running vbulletin software version 3.6 and has never been upgraded since day one. Vbulletin now offers version 4.0, and it is a significantly more robust package.

Now, I would never do anything that would significantly change the way this forum looks or operates. If it ain't broke... However, the web is changing every year. Web browsers are being updated and changed, and conflicts can arise when you don't keep up with the times. I have some serious concerns about the forum's ability to work for the long term.

There is a possibility that in the future, software problems could cause the forum to break. It's probably a long shot, but it could happen. If it does, Heather and I would have to scramble to fix it, and the forum could be down for weeks until things got fixed. In a worst case scenario, we could lose the database and the forum would have to start over, losing all the old threads and forcing everyone to sign up for a new account. Again, this is probably not going to ever happen, but you never know.

I am willing to put the time in to research and plan a forum upgrade to new software. The members would be well informed of all upgrade plans and we could take our time and make sure that the forum looked pretty much the same at the end, but operated much more efficiently. However, if the members here don't even care to bother, we will leave it alone and let the chips fall where they may.

How do you feel? Do you love the forum so much that you don't want anything to change ever? Or could you stand a slightly fresher look without going overboard with the graphics? Would you be upset if someday the forum crashed, and we had to start all over from the beginning? Or would you just start a new account and post as much as ever?

This is not something that would happen overnight. I imagine it would probably take a full year to do, as we would have to plan and prepare quite a bit to make sure it went smooth. The new forum software would also cost close to $200, so it would have to be rolled into next years auction, and probably rolled out next spring at the earliest.

Comments, questions, idears?
 

gonewild

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The forum is fine and works very well as is. But as you say...one day you'll have problems.

It's probably best if you upgrade every so often to keep relitivly current.
Don't risk having your database be lost.

When you change the design or features just don't get to carried away with un-needed features.
 

Sirius

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If anyone would like to see what the most current forum software looks like straight out of the box, you can visit the vbulletin forum.

http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum.php

We would of course have to research templates, to find one that was easy on the eyes and not cluttered with the blog/chat stuff.
 

Heather

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I agree with Lance re: the database - I would hate to lose the great knowledge we have amassed here.

Also, it has been mentioned before - long ago - but still rings true.
NO ads. Just in case anyone is concerned about that, we won't ever implement that. I think it is safe to say that our strategy here is K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Slipperalk.

Just wanted to remind folks of our stance on that.
 

NYEric

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I actually had a tough day at work today because one of the procurement tracking systems I have to use has compatability issues with the upgraded Java on my pc. So a tech had to come out to my office and install an older Java,. If you can start implimenting a new system, without disturbing the current one, and then make a smooth transition then i think this shoud be initiated. One of my concerns is the 'safe' interaction with foreign networks and servers. Another concern is the developement of the latest vbulletin. Is it going to need patches and upgrades...?
 
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Darin

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Being a IT guy, I say do the upgrade, as the technology advances, we have to keep our systems at a level where we maintain compatibility with the systems that people are using. We are already beginning to see issues with those who are running IE9. We will likely continue to see more and more of these types of problems as time goes on if we do not upgrade to a more recent version.
 

Sirius

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Upgrades have been available for every year since the forum started. Do we need them? No. Mostly they have added features like member blogs, chat add-ons and photo galleries. They have also updated the security features to make hacking harder, and keep spammers out easier. But again, upgrading is not necessary to keep the forum running. The software we have now may continue running for the next 20 years without a problem.

However, the search engines, web browsers, and programming languages are all changing. In the next ten years, our site may be kicked out of the search engines for not keeping up with the format changes. Or the language that was used to create the forum software may become obsolete and cause problems for members. We are already seeing some Internet Explorer 9 users see funny glitches with the forum.

I am not saying upgrading to the new vbulletin will fix any future problems like this, but we won't be so far behind if something does go wrong.

On the other hand, vbulletin 4 could be a waste of time to upgrade to. If members hate the new look, we will have failed. There are a lot of variables to consider. That's why we are giving people the chance to think it over and speak out before we commit.
 

Gcroz

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I think it is probably a good idea to update, unless we would lose the database of threads. I agree with previous posters that the loss of the info would be a disaster.
 

Sirius

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We are not going to lose the database in the upgrade. We have backups in place daily. And I will be working hand in hand with vbulletin customer support techs to make any upgrade be mostly problem free, if we go through with it.

I should probably be a little more careful with my dramatic predictions of what could happen if an asteroid hit the forum. :)
 

Heather

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I will also say, I am nervous about doing it, thanks to John's deathstar predictions, (I am totally kidding) but I would not do this myself; However, apparently John has volunteered! :clap: :p

The support that we have is also very good.

And my husband or his ProApps friends could probably help too if something went kerflooey.

I have faith. But I've also had faith the last 5 years when we didn't do anything! :)
 

Sirius

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Lance asked if we would be able to roll back to an older version if something went wrong, or the new version was buggy. The answer is probably not. That is why I would want to plan, plan and then plan some more before we actually plan anything. :)

It would be great to have a small committee of computer knowledgeable people formed to go over the plan, and discuss the technical stuff. I used to be a computer nerd, but I have been out of the loop for a long time now, so extra heads would be appreciated. There are plenty of threads on the vbulletin forum discussing the upgrade process, and most of the bugs have been worked out by now.

I am convinced if I had a team of three or four really good computer guys by my side, the upgrade would go without a hitch. It's not really hard, just complicated. :)
 
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Ernie

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I like the feel of the forum the way it is, but understand the necessity to upgrade. If more trinkets and gizmos are added, I would be turned off big time. This is the ONLY forum I visit for anything! That's mostly because it is so simple- simple background, simple fonts, not too noisy front page, etc. Of course the content is excellent too! I hate wading through a bunch of garbage. That would make it more like work, and I have plenty of that already. So, if you can keep the ergonomics the same, I'm for the upgrade.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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It seems that I'm in agreement with most of us. I like the forum as it is, feel that it needs no changes, but the fact is that technology changes, the web changes, and eventually sites have to keep up with it. Another group I belong to (a neighborhood group) was sabotaged, and 5 years of posts were permanently lost. So it definitely pays to update our software. I wish I could help, but simply posting here is towards the upper limit of my computer skills....
 

JeanLux

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....... So, if you can keep the ergonomics the same, I'm for the upgrade.

As an old mainframer, I am of any help in this net-world any more, but as one of my main concerns was data security and backup, I see the need here!!!!

Just, as Erny already noted, please keep the ergon. simple, and, please, no ads!!!

=> K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Slippertalk (cf. Heather :))

Jean
 

Wendelin

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I'd say, just do whatever is necessary to keep the accomplished knowledge, piled up inside this forum, save!
If there's any danger that it could get lost one day if you don't upgrade, then please do it!
 

valenzino

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In my opinion there are 2 things:
1)The forum is done by peoples who write on it,but sometime a change of dress is nice,but have to stay on the same style and simpliness.
This forum database is a treasure of informations that must be protected for future generations,is better than any existing publication in my opinion.

2)decide when to upgrade when the balance problems/benefits is positive.So get informed about how much problems gives the 4.0 and compare to this version.As the 4.0 version have less problem is time to update.

Old or new depends on how the users are upgraded...so someone can have problem on the new or on the old.
 
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