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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1
This is just a heads up that ehMac.ca may be moving away from vBulletin to a new community forum platform.

Why?

Currently, and for quite some time, ehMac.ca has been running on the forum software called vBulletin. Awhile ago, vBulletin was bought out by a company called Internet Brands. Since then, many would argue that the company has been on the steady decline. Many of the original developers have left the company.

They have released a new version of their software, version 4, which after about a year of being out, is still full of many bugs and glitches. Feedback was getting so bad on the vBulletin site, that they pretty much completely shutdown the feedback section. To move to that version, also requires a complete reworking of the site's "skin". There will most likely come a point where the company will stop supporting older versions with important security updates.

Many other big-board forum owners are abandoning ship for other platforms that provide an easier forum experience (Uploading photos, inserting internet videos, integrated spam monitoring service) but also make it easier for forum owners to add other functionality, such as a having a product review section.

I am currently looking at switching to the forum software called "IP Board".

This is just in the investigative stage right now, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up.

There is another really great forum software called Xenforo, which is made by the original developers of vBulletin. They just released their first version last week, and it looks great, but is such a young company. The other problem is, there are currently two open lawsuits against them from the owners of vBulletin, Internet Brands. (This has further fuelled animosity to vBulletin / Internet Brands. )

I was at a conference for experienced and established forum owners in San Francisco a few weeks ago and the head developer for vBulletin was there. The talk was supposed to be on the future of vBulletin. The whole talk was showing basic slides on what vBulletin was... like we weren't familiar with the product. We finally got to one single slide on the "future" which was just a picture of an iPhone with a vBulletin logo on it. A lot of us left not feeling to optimistic about vBulletin's future.

Whichever path for forum software is chosen, the function of the community forum section of ehMac, the look and feel, the features etc... would remain relatively the same. Hopefully with many improvements making it easier to upload photos, embed internet videos, find where you change settings like forum subscriptions, sending personal messages, zapping spammers etc...

Feel free to post your comments, questions and concerns. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First thing that comes to mind is, will a new system platform preserve the current content of ehMac?
Absolutely.

Attached is screen shot of what gets transferred over no problem.

The only problems are:

1. Bad Word filters. :) I think I have 3 words in there right now, so no big deal

2. Ban Filters - Would be able to do that manually, and IP Board has their own Spam Monitoring service.

3. Permission Sets - What users can do what. This isn't automatically imported, but my tech would have to duplicate the permission sets for LifeTime memberships (No ads etc..)

4. RSS Imports - Not sure what that is, but don't think that matter.

The rest of the items like existing subscriptions, friend lists, members, passwords, PM's, Polls, Threads, Posts, attachments etc... are all imported.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #4
Here's a link to a tour of all the features.

Another thing I keep hearing often is that vBulletin's (Hence ehMac's) search feature is useless, which apparently hasn't improved much in version vBulletin 4. IP Board's search feature is supposed to be really good. (See the section on "Content Discovery")
 

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Premium Member
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For what it's worth, a few years back I was running a board and was very impressed with IP Board. I can't speak to how it is now, but back then it was way better than anything else we tried.

Will you still keep the Liquid skin?
 

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Premium Member
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I'm all for anything that will make your life easier, Mr. Mayor. It would seem that you're running into issues that you don't want to have to deal with with the current software, so if you think switching to a new software will resolve that, I'm totally in support. =)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For what it's worth, a few years back I was running a board and was very impressed with IP Board. I can't speak to how it is now, but back then it was way better than anything else we tried.

Will you still keep the Liquid skin?
From what I've read, one thing IP Board doesn't have, is the ability for users to select their skin.

Having said that, with the advent of wide-screen's being so prevalent, my personal preference would be to opt for wide / liquid version of the site of I had to go with one.

Haven't investigated it that much, but their may be a 3rd party solution to bring this functionality.

Either way, I was already planning on widening the fixed width version of the site.
 

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From what I've read, one thing IP Board doesn't have, is the ability for users to select their skin.

Having said that, with the advent of wide-screen's being so prevalent, my personal preference would be to opt for wide / liquid version of the site of I had to go with one.

Haven't investigated it that much, but their may be a 3rd party solution to bring this functionality.

Either way, I was already planning on widening the fixed width version of the site.
Looks like multiple skins are supported (emphasis mine):
Multiple Skin Support
You can offer multiple 'skins' to users, and let them pick the one they like best. Allow all users to select a particular skin, or keep it as a perk for certain usergroups. Our resource site, exclusively for license holders, is a great place to find new skins for your community to enjoy.
Features: Look & Feel

Will you look at adding SSL to the login form if the forum is switched?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looks like multiple skins are supported (emphasis mine):

Features: Look & Feel

Will you look at adding SSL to the login form if the forum is switched?
Well cool! There we go! :)

As for SSL to the login form. Not familiar with that. If it's something members are asking for and the software supports it, I don't see why not.

What is it and what is the benefit of it? :eek:
 

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Well cool! There we go! :)

As for SSL to the login form. Not familiar with that. If it's something members are asking for and the software supports it, I don't see why not.

What is it and what is the benefit of it? :eek:
Far as I can tell, I'm the only user asking for it... though I'd be surprised if others didn't welcome it.

Adding SSL (HTTPS) to the login form would encrypt the username and password before it's sent to the server for authentication, similar to the way your bank's website operates. Google has been doing it for some time now, and Facebook is allowing it as an option.

Many sites just encrypt the login page, rather than the whole site. When it's not encrypted, it's rather simple to pluck usernames and passwords out of unprotected wifi - take a look at FireSheep. Since the content of the site isn't really encryption worthy, there's no point in forcing it on the rest of the site, as that just increases server and client load.
 
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I have admined for quite a few Invision Power Board (IP Board) setups and I have seen, had, and barely recovered from many many nightmares with them over the years. That along with the whole "keep on paying" approach they take really turned me away from them. If you don't keep paying their fees you don't get any support. In fact I can tell you first hand that their paid "support" was a bit of a joke too. 3 weeks+ to get things resolved is not my idea of response time when paying yearly support fees.

I urge you to closely investigate SMF Mr Mayor. It's the best coded forum software I've ever seen, in imports from just about anything, and there are tons of themes/mods/etc for it as well as a very strong community. I run it on a few other sites, some quite a bit more active than this one, and it purrs like a kitten. I just did a security update for one the other day .. it was done 100% within the web browser in the admin section, took (literally) 5 seconds, and it even does a "dry run" testing that the patch will apply cleanly before it runs. Also the way it handles addons and mods is absolutely brilliant (all the updates and addons are done as diff files, which means if you've done any sort of customization on the forums things will still work as expected).

Home of SMF: Free PHP and MySQL forum software
 

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Tapatalk support?
Looks supported.
Q: Which forum system does it currently support?

A: Currently phpBB3 3.0.x, vBulletin 3.6.x/3.7.x/3.8.x/4.x, Invision Power Board (IPB) 3.x and Simple Machine Forum (SMF) 1.1.11+/2.x are supported. You can also look for other forum system plugin developed by third party developers using Tapatalk API at our Developer Support forums
Tapatalk - Forum App on the iPhone, Android, Nokia, and BlackBerry for vBulletin, phpBB, IPBoard, and SMF
 
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A couple of other comments on IPB ...

- Their search feature uses the _exact_ same stuff that VBulletin's does and has many of the same downfalls (MySQL fulltext).
- as far as addons, good luck with them. They are a very very closed patform so if you want to add things that they don't actually sell/support, good luck with that

More points about SMF:

- spam blocking ... there's a simple mod that hooks up to stopforumspam.com ... which has been incredibly awesome in blocking spammers and bots. On one large forum we went from 150+ spam bot registrations a day to about 5. That site keeps very up to date on the spammers and they are usually identified and blocked within hours of them changing up their scripts.

- admin area: is a breath of fresh air compared to IPB. IPB has so much crap in the backend you literally have to use their internal search feature to even find anything in admin for the most part. In SMF it's super simple yet incredibly powerful.

If you have any more interest in SMF drop me a PM and I'd be glad to fill you in on more info about it all. I've even written a bunch of integration tools and custom mods for SMF for other projects and it is truly delightful to work with. Also their community support is amazing, you can get answers to problems in minutes (not like the weeks that it took with IPB -- we were literally offline for over a week waiting for them to reply to emails and voicemails, a total nightmare)
 

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peek-a-boo
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interesting. The forum I admin is still using version 3.x because I dislike version 4 as well. I know someone who upgraded to 4 and they've had nothing but problems.

I haven't had much time, but I've been meaning to look around. A friend is running IPboard for a smaller forum than mine and he loves it. He also is using their chat box service, which runs off of ipboards servers, which seems to run pretty well.

one thing on the spammer front, I had huge numbers of spammers registering I had to put it on moderation for a while, but I added a custom question in the registration, as in what is the first letter in [set word], and it wiped out pretty much all of them and still works very well.

The forum has a few thousand members with 300 very active, and close to 150k posts so I was hoping to find something that imports well with the least amount of problems.
 

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Much as I have become familiar with this format, Mr. Mayor, if you need to try a different approach, that's fine with me. I've actually come to like the Tapatalk design as well and the ability to see 'participated' threads easily. Like Apple, if you ain't evolvin', you may as well be using a PC.
 

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A consideration for those of us who use iPads.

When you reply to a topic and exceed the number of lines visible in the reply box, on an iPad, you can't make the box bigger, nor can you scroll back up to proof read what you've written. On a Mac or PC, you can both scroll in the reply box and it has a grab handle to make it bigger.

This may seem unimportant now, but the first team to implement this functionality in their message board software just might own the market in the near future.

Also, when you receive notifications via email and click on the link to read the post in safari, there is a lot of shakin' goin' on before the page settles down. This mostly happens on the visually humorous thread, so it could be related to how safari has to access all the image files.

And, when someone embeds a YouTube in a post, the iPad displays an error.

I remember something about a different way to get to ehMac on the iPad, but I forget what to do, so I haven't tried it.

Margaret
 

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From what I've read, one thing IP Board doesn't have, is the ability for users to select their skin.

Having said that, with the advent of wide-screen's being so prevalent, my personal preference would be to opt for wide / liquid version of the site of I had to go with one.

Haven't investigated it that much, but their may be a 3rd party solution to bring this functionality.

Either way, I was already planning on widening the fixed width version of the site.
Please keep tablet users in mind. How will a wider version fit?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Is there a demo someplace?
IPBoard has their own community running, which you can visit.

There is a test post section at the bottom there. Keep in mind, this is just the default look / feel that IPBoard uses, and I also think they have every feature turned on, some of which I wouldn't necessarily use.
 
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