Author Topic: Big Forum Upprade Soon  (Read 4921 times)

Offline Jazza

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Big Forum Upprade Soon
« on: June 24, 2011, 10:14:27 AM »
Hello!
Very soon we will be unleashing a new major update of the forums, this includes updating the forum software to the next major version and a completely new theme.
This will involve some downtime when so we can migrate all the old data from the current system to the new system, we are hoping to schedule this for the weekend.
When we are ready we'll make an announcement on the day of the migration and then we'll shut down the forums until it's finished and ready (I think the migration will probably take a few hours, maybe quicker if things go right).

New Features
Many of the new features are aimed at the Administration but some new features of the upgrade that you will see are:
  • Each board will have an icons (More about this later! We want to start a competition)
  • PM Rules which allow you to set rules to automatically label IMs based on preset conditions.
  • Reply entry field can be resized on the fly.
  • New Moderation features
  • Old Browser detection warning on Login and Registration Pages.
  • Solar Flare Activity removed and a new and better 'Environment' section created.
I'm sure you'll notice more but those are off the top of my head. I think the biggest change you'll notice is the completely new theme.

Attached is a sneaky snapshot of the new theme, if you like surprises then don't look at it. We might change it depending on feedback or if we want too but I doubt it'll be more than just altering colour tones.

As for the icons, I'm thinking of having a competition where people can submit a 48x48 PNG of the icon that represents the board but we still have to flesh out the details. Although, I doubt we'll have icons by the time we upgrade so I'm assuming it'll be an ongoing thing.

Important Information
A very important note is that we will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 6 and below. This browser accounts for roughly 5% of hits but it's holding back the development of the website, if Facebook and Google can drop IE6 support for some of it's products then I can we should be able to as well. Even Microsoft is trying to kill it. IE6 browser is an abomination that needs to die, it has numerous security problems and has many incompatibilities, please upgrade or use another browser. You might be able to use this tool to see what version you are running if you are unsure. We have also updated the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy to be more clear, please ensure you read them before continuing to use the service.



Technical (Scary) Details
We're upgrading from SMF 1.1 to SMF 2.0, so the old theme wasn't going to work anyway so it needed a new theme for the new software. The upgrade will involve taking this forum down, copying the current database data to the new database, installing the new forum software using the new database, apply the new theme and the modifications to the software and (unfortunately) re-adding by-hand the portal content because we're ditching TinyPortal in favour of SimplePortal. Re-adding the portal content will probably take the longest since we've already done a pilot conversion already so we know what we need to do , what can go wrong and the new stuff has been tested (to a point).

We don't expect much downtime, only a few hours. The worst case scenario is the new forum doesn't work then we'll just restore the old forum software and the old database and evaluate what went wrong and reschedule a time to try again. Seeing as we've done a pilot conversion and the whole process should only take a few hours I don't really see the need to schedule it weeks ahead for people to 'prepare'.

The user-interface will look different but the workflow is basically the same so I don't see the need for much extra user 'training' beyond the included help files. All data (posts, PMs, attachments) should remain exactly the same, links should work as well.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 01:55:13 AM by Jazza »
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Offline lotsakids

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 10:21:21 AM »
it all looks and sounds very exciting jazza

One day my light went out, but was blown again into flame by an encounter with some wonderful people I call friends. I owe the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light...
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Offline Christine

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 11:50:36 AM »
Wow, beats my post J.

Thanks. Sounds exciting.

I like the new look you have done well. I like the tie in of the girl we have in our current forum too.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline catseyes

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 01:43:38 PM »
spiffy!


Offline Jazza

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2011, 01:16:11 PM »
I've just finished changing the "Solar Flare Activity" for the upgrade, it'll be expanded and include new information and images (satellite images) but only once I get clarification on a copyright issue.
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Offline Jazza

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 04:25:39 PM »
I'm expecting to do the migration tonight. I'll put up a big obvious banner when it's hours away.
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Offline catseyes

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 05:12:11 PM »
So...tomorrow..a nice surprise?


Offline Christine

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Re: Big Forum Upprade Soon
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2011, 09:06:05 AM »
What do you all think?
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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