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Thread: Forum Software Changes

  1. #1

    Forum Software Changes

    At this past Spring board meeting I shared the fact that our forum software vBulletin 4, originally purchased in 2008, has reached end of life (EOL) status. This means the developers are no longer updating it aside from security fixes. 10+ years is pretty amazing longevity in the software world and it has overall served this community well.

    What this means going forward is we need to start considering our upgrade options. Staying on EOL software is not desirable as it will prevent us from upgrading the underlying software (PHP) version as time goes on.

    Unfortunately, the company that developed vBulletin has gone in a direction beyond just forum software with vBulletin 5 being more of a site builder/blog/calendar kitchen sink type platform. Too much "weight in the racecar" for our needs in my opinion.

    The first alternative that comes to mind is a forum software called xenForo, developed by some of the guys who initially created vBulletin forums and moved on to form their own company. I'll be researching the migration path this year to evaluate if this is the best option for our community and make a recommendation to the board.

    This change is not happening now. The purpose of this post is to proactively inform the community of upcoming changes. Whatever forums we do switch to, my plan would be to keep the existing structure along with all the data. Any comments are welcome.

    Thanks,

    Alberto

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    It seems like phpBB would be an obvious possible replacement.
    My favorite racing quote: Jan Magnussen, when asked by a reporter how he could be "so brave" on the racetrack, replied, "I've had hospital food; it's not so bad."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Adams View Post
    It seems like phpBB would be an obvious possible replacement.
    Thanks Steve, I'll take a look as it's been a while since I looked at them. Robust and low maintenance spam management is an important feature so will see what they offer.

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Something that supports Tapatalk might be good, for those smart phone types....

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by karl_seeger View Post
    Something that supports Tapatalk might be good, for those smart phone types....
    Thanks for sharing, I haven't tried Taptalk myself. It looks like it's free but you would get ads displayed on the mobile app unless you pay $5/mo. So not sure that's a good direction but if enough people are okay with it that's something to consider.

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Well, as far as devices are concerned, I know phpBB supports responsive styles so it looks good on phones/tablets as well as desktops.
    My favorite racing quote: Jan Magnussen, when asked by a reporter how he could be "so brave" on the racetrack, replied, "I've had hospital food; it's not so bad."

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Seeing as how they are 'closely' if not the most active racing Forum in the internet why not look at the latest on Apexspeed? Also, the two brothers (Doug and Keith Carter) that run it are very, very knowledgeable about one system over another. Ask them what they think is the best way in todays world
    89 Reynard FC (sold) - CREW or F&C

  8. #8
    Thanks Richard, that's a great idea just to get some additional input from a neighboring community. It looks like they're running a slightly older version of vBulletin than we are so I'm sure they're going to be pondering the same decision going forward.

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

  9. #9
    Just a quick follow-up; on Richard's suggestion I got in touch with ApexSpeed and received a very friendly and helpful e-mail from Kim Carter. She's tested vBulletin 5 and they "hated it" which is similar to other comments I've read online. She also advised against phpBB having used it for other forums in the past due to support being hard to come by. Being they are open source/community developed software you're either on your own or relying on the help of the community if things aren't working right. That is a concern for me due to potential overhead this might introduce and issues we've had to deal with managing spam registrations, etc. (I am a volunteer after all so I have limits as to how much more time I can dedicate).

    Kim did mention xenForo seems like the logical step after vBulletin as it was developed by former vBulletin engineers and has much of the same look/feel and good support for transferring over our existing data. I'll continue researching but this does put xenForo back up on the top of my short list.

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Alberto,

    Glad you got some help from Apexspeed. I've known Keith and Doug for many years now. If they say it's the way to go, I'd take a really, really hard look at xenForo. From what you've said about support, transferring, etc. it sound like the right way to go considering the people are ex-vB types. BTW Kim is Doug's wife Also very knowledgeable on the whole Bulletin Board thing.

    They started out as FC racers sharing a Van Dieman then switched to FE a few years back. Their dad owns a super top notch custom machine shop.
    89 Reynard FC (sold) - CREW or F&C

  11. #11
    Thanks again Richard! Yes, I'll definitely take the advice to heart as that aligns with my initial intuition. As I mentioned we have some time to look into it thoroughly and take input from folks so I'll continue to share what I find as I learn more.

    1988 Porsche 944 - #44 PRO44, ITS

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