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Data migration to modern forums... feasible?


 
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kali
Board Member



Joined: 27 Nov 2013

Posts: 6
Location: Berlin (Germany)


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 11:33 pm 
Post subject: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

Like most of us, I'm clinging to this really old forum I'm still running on phpbb2. It is nice because it still works and the community, despite fading, still is there...

Long time ago we went as far as voting for a new version, seeing that phpbb2 was already too outdated and some users were demanding features from modern forums. We decided on vbulletin and even cashed in all together and got a license. Only to discover that:
a) vb at the time did not have a spanish langpack. this was a deal breaker
b) the testing site got spammed faster than we could try the migration
c) the migration script they promise to work seamlessly on the sales department, did not work properly

We stopped there and ditched our paid vb license, and stuck to phpbb2. Spam here was no longer a thing with a very tiny effort. Mostly because all those script kiddies are now targeting phpbb3.

Time went by and the situation has got worse with more users moving away mostly because of the lack of features. So we are re-evaluating our options.

Biggest problem now is, nobody seems to be able to migrate data away from phpbb2. VB's impex got discontinued by themselves, as they finally came to terms they could not make it work. Any other software out there no longer even know phpbb2 as a thing, and they all refer to simply phpbb which is of course v3.

So the question is, is there any kind of software or service which do offer data migrations from phpbb2? I won't even consider any options if this is not feasible, to be honest, i'd rather let the forum die of inactivity before killing it with a broken migration...

Myself I'm a seasoned sysadmin and mysql power user, but I haven't spent any time trying to decypher other forums' software and db structures enough to try and write a migration script of my own.

Maybe someone here has done anything remotely similar and is willing to share it?

Cheers
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lumpy burgertushie
Board Member



Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 249


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 3:26 am 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

there is a convertor for phpbb 2 built into phpbb3 by default.
the conversion does not touch your phpbb2 board.
they both have to be installed on the same server.
then just follow the instructions and run the convertor.
It should work just fine.
you will not be able to keep any MODs you may have installed or any styles.
all of the forums/topics/posts will be there. all of the members will be there etc.

https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=1213555
explains how to do it all.

luck,
robert
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Salvatos
Board Member



Joined: 19 Feb 2009

Posts: 440
Location: Qu├ębec


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 3:16 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

(And once you have your data running on a phpBB3 board, it should be much easier to convert it from there if you prefer to use a different forum solution.)
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kali
Board Member



Joined: 27 Nov 2013

Posts: 6
Location: Berlin (Germany)


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 9:27 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

ok that makes sense... i guess i will have to try that mid point

anybody here has experience with phpbb3 as a final destination? i remember trying it out years ago and it was horrific
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Vendethiel
Board Member



Joined: 26 Oct 2014

Posts: 185



PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:15 am 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

You're asking people with a fairly strong bias at that point icon_wink.gif.

Do note that you'll probably need to do phpBB2 -> phpBB 3.0 -> phpBB 3.1 -> phpBB 3.2 -> ...

Also, remember that you'll lose all mod data by default. If you got a subforum mod, also remember to put everything on the top-level before migrating.

_________________
Developer on EzArena, the ADR premod.
Developer on Icy Phoenix, the phpBB hybrid cms.
Developer on IntegraMOD, the full-featured premod.
Help me archive premods on github! (fixed for recent PHPs).
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Jim_UK
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 600
Location: North West UK


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:02 am 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

I was just wondering what the extra functions are that his members are so keen to have and whether he could add them to his phpBB2 install. There are after all many hundreds if not thousands of add on mods for phpBB2.

Jim

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The truth is out there.
Unfortunately they will not let you anywhere near it!
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lumpy burgertushie
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 249


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 1:20 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

Vendethiel wrote:
You're asking people with a fairly strong bias at that point icon_wink.gif.

Do note that you'll probably need to do phpBB2 -> phpBB 3.0 -> phpBB 3.1 -> phpBB 3.2 -> ...

Also, remember that you'll lose all mod data by default. If you got a subforum mod, also remember to put everything on the top-level before migrating.


actually that is not quite correct.

converting from phpbb2 straight to phpbb3.3 works just fine.
I have never heard of having to put all your forums at the top level before. not sure why that would be the case.


robert
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Vendethiel
Board Member



Joined: 26 Oct 2014

Posts: 185



PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 4:53 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

lumpy burgertushie wrote:
converting from phpbb2 straight to phpbb3.3 works just fine.
It used not to exist. I know I was told to do it this way when I helped someone.
lumpy burgertushie wrote:
I have never heard of having to put all your forums at the top level before. not sure why that would be the case.
Because phpBB2 had no forum nesting, so if you have it it's from a mod, and phpBB3 doesn't convert mods.
_________________
Developer on EzArena, the ADR premod.
Developer on Icy Phoenix, the phpBB hybrid cms.
Developer on IntegraMOD, the full-featured premod.
Help me archive premods on github! (fixed for recent PHPs).
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kali
Board Member



Joined: 27 Nov 2013

Posts: 6
Location: Berlin (Germany)


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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:36 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

Vendethiel wrote:
You're asking people with a fairly strong bias at that point icon_wink.gif.

I know, I am already aware of that. I am kinda biased myself and it's more like an internal debate about should I keep looking for answers or just let it be...

Vendethiel wrote:

Also, remember that you'll lose all mod data by default. If you got a subforum mod, also remember to put everything on the top-level before migrating.


I have really no mods, besides cosmetic ones and antispam ones. And most of them are more hacks than mods, made by myself, only to make my forum more not-upgradeable xD

Thanks for the tips though
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kali
Board Member



Joined: 27 Nov 2013

Posts: 6
Location: Berlin (Germany)


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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:59 pm 
Post subject: Re: Data migration to modern forums... feasible?

Jim_UK wrote:
I was just wondering what the extra functions are that his members are so keen to have and whether he could add them to his phpBB2 install. There are after all many hundreds if not thousands of add on mods for phpBB2.

Jim


There are a few reasons to slowly fall outside of the forum...

First and foremost, most obvious one, is the lack of easy way to add pictures. The forum is a motorbiking community where most people used to post pics of their bikes, their trips and their fixes. Lots of them.

Back in the days they all used 3rd party hosting services, like imageshack. This lead to the inevitable facepalm when imageshack decided to wipe images from one day to another with no notice. I very much doubt there would have been any difference if they had given notice, because most old posts would not be reviewed by the original posters anyway.

In any case that was like the first nail on the coffin for the forum. Most of the very useful old posts became suddenly pointless, as the community pictures were offline, most DIY repair guides were no longer meaningful with the lack of explainatory pictures, and so on.

I did a coppermine gallery integration to allow users seamlessly upload their images to coppermine and modified coppermine's template to add very easy click-to-copy buttons for presized thumbnails, in bbcode, so they only needed to upload the picture on coppermine then copy the bbcode and paste it into the post. This was ok-ish, but it came at the same time when most people were already moving their social interactions to facebook anyway, where the biggest advantages where the social interaction was already there for most, and the unbeatable easiness to add pictures to your posts rendered the forum way too outdated and way too much of a hassle to use for the main purpose it was being used before.

When all of this happened, we had a massive round of spam attacks which make me spend most of my maintenance time removing spam, banning users and ips, and figuring out smarter ways to prevent it.

By the time I put all the measures in place it was kinda late already. Most people kept their forum accounts but seldom used it.

So, back to your question, fatures they missed the most:

- easy upload of pictures, within the posting screen (first and foremost)
- lack of usability from mobile devices
- tons of people asked about integration with tapatalk
- lately integration with some kind of oauth to register/login with google/facebook accounts
- generally, look and feel. so extremely 00's that no millenial has any interest on it. the style is also not vintage enough for it to gain traction
- search functionality is simply horrible
- private messages pretty much the same

Things I still like a lot about my forum:
- it has a great deal of custom made code so it is a bit like my little child
- it has almost no spam nowadays, mostly due to the combination of:
* phpbb2 is so obsolete that not even script kiddies are trying to exploit it
* i put a great deal of coding to detect spammers and ban them before entering
- sql scripts to find out massive registrations, non-regional ips, etc
- iptables rules automatically fetching public lists from firehol to block their connections on tcp
- and a few more tricks to prevent automatic and bulk registrations
- it has been running since 2006.03.30, with some users still active ever since
- it has resisted all sort of OS deprecations, and still served via php5 (although I finalised mods to move to php7)
- the community was so into it, they even participated in a crowdfunding campaign raising the full price for a VB5 license. We just never got to manage a proper migration, with several failures (e.g. data loss, incomplete/nonexistant translations to spanish, and plain massive spambombs)

So, well, yeah, give me some kind of drag and drop, seamless image upload (like VB) and I might stand strong on keeping it as is
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