Lounge Software Upgrade

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Nathan Flowers, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Nathan Flowers

    Nathan Flowers Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,609
    Hi everybody,

    We're running into quite a few problems with our vBulletin platform. It is ancient, outdated, not mobile-friendly, and is just a big pain in the neck, in general. The newest version of vBulletin is even worse than you could imagine, and we do not want to move to it. We're planning on migrating the board over to XenForo, which is what most boards our size are moving to. It was created by the old developers of vBulletin (who left before the company went off the rails.) It's basically like the old vBulletin, but mobile-friendly, with better galleries and more modern features.

    Here's an example of a board running it right now: https://xenforo.com/community/

    We'll work to get the styles similar to what we have now, but we're also considering a new, different style that you'll be able to take advantage of.

    Discuss here. What would you like to see? Have you used other forums running XenForo? Suggestions, please.
     
  2. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,635
    Location:
    SoCal
    I use the mobile version unless I need to post a photo, and I like the white background. I find it much easier to read on my phone than the black.
     
  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,764
    Location:
    London, UK
    The other board looks like it's a good format, from what I can see. Add the Lounge skin to that (he says, as if it's nothing!), and it'll be cool. I've heard of quite a lot of forums making a jump like this. I've been on others before when they did this - I know it's far from easy. Thanks to the bartender team for doing the necessary to keep this place ticking over.

    The mobile version is much easier to deal with on a small screen. It would be handy to be able to delete PMs in it too, if that's something the new format can allow. :)
     
  4. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    I'm flexible, I can adapt to any thing you come up with! I know how hard this is for you, our motorcycle club has been in the middle of an online upgrade, trying to come into the 21st century. My hats off to you!
     
  5. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    Whatever it takes to make the lounge most efficient and user-friendly. I hope it's fairly similar, once the move is complete. I know that's not always possible, though. The folks in charge here haven't steered us wrong, yet!
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  6. Trapped in T-wilight Zone

    Trapped in T-wilight Zone Familiar Face

    Messages:
    89
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Califunny, USA
    Tread lightly. I know that sometimes change is necessary, but often such forum changes become disasters. An antique automobile forum that I spend way too much time on has a die-hard following that continues to plead for "No Changes". Theirs is an archaic and unsupported for years now program (the companies that supplied it no longer exist). But most of the users love it because it it is basic, simple, and actually still works in dial-up internet. The sad fact is that more and more newer versions of interactive web sites are designed with only the best high-speed connections in mind. The other sad fact is that millions of people do not have reasonable access to high-speed internet connections. I have a DSL running beyond preferred limits and on a bad phone line that the phone company is not willing to properly fix. I am well off compared to quite a few people I know.
    Another website I try to spend a bit of time on upgraded to a vBulletin system about a year ago. They installed a whole new system that turned out to be so buggy that they traded it back for an older new system. They were down numerous times for system changes and patches. Photos do load, photos don't load, photos can be seen on some browsers but not on others. Once loaded, some days the photos can be seen, other days they can't. They finally got the photos loading and showing okay most of the time and then postings (text and photos) started posting twice, and sometimes three times. While trying to fix that, most of the photos disappeared again. Several dedicated hobbyists keep trying to keep it going. But it is frustrating, and use of that forum has dropped badly. This has been going on more than a year now, and no end in sight.

    You said that the newest version of vBulletin was "worse than you can imagine". I just painted a picture for those that needed a guide.
    I am not familiar with XenForo. So I cannot make any worthy suggestions there. But I applaud your looking for something other than vBulletin, based on a few sites that have upgraded lately.
    Be cautious, and Good Luck!
     
  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    12,400
    Location:
    New York City
    Echoing a few thoughts and adding one or two

    - I'll adjust with FL as I know these decisions are hard, transitions are rarely smooth and I respect the large amount of uncompensated effort that the bartenders put into making this a great site

    - It would be nice to keep the FL "noir" style - graphics, colors, etc. - as it helps both distinguish the site and gives it a fun feel for the members

    - The current mobile version is easier to see on the small mobile screens (as others have noted), but the mobile home page lacks the ability to see the last update to a thread (so you have to drill in separately to each thread to see if the three or four threads you are watching that day have updated). Similarly, you can't click directly to the last post in a thread from the homepage. It would be great to get this functionality, if possible.

    - Most importantly, thanks for asking and thanks for the hard work
     
  8. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    12,895
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Good luck with the changes. Like others have said, it can be a daunting task. I'll work with what you give us. Hopefully, we'll see some subtle improvements.
     
  9. Retro Spectator

    Retro Spectator Practically Family

    Messages:
    830
    Location:
    Connecticut
    All I hope is that I don't have to relearn where all the buttons are! :p
     
  10. Jacora

    Jacora New in Town

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Providence, RI, USA
    Will Tapatalk still be supported?
     
  11. I hope that we can keep a similar background. It seems unique to this forum. I know some complain, but for me, it is easy to read without a stark bright white glare as most others.
    HD
     
  12. WesternHatWearer

    WesternHatWearer A-List Customer

    Messages:
    364
    Location:
    Georgia
    If possible a more effective search program would be helpful.
     
  13. KingAndrew

    KingAndrew A-List Customer

    Messages:
    313
    Location:
    Shanghai
    As others have said, kudos for working to make the forum run its best. Here are my concerns:

    1. Like Western Hat Wearer, I would love a better search function.

    2. I hope we don't lose the old content. We already have lots of links that go to the wrong discussions and I would hate for us to become disconnected from the wealth of accumulated knowledge the board hosts today.

    3. A system that makes it easier to post photos and harder for us to lose them over time would be a real boon to the community. Too many of our most interesting and long-standing threads feature pages of broken photo links, making them far less useful.
     
  14. Nathan Flowers

    Nathan Flowers Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,609
    You're absolutely correct about how bad vBulletin v.5 is. Everybody I have spoken to about it hates it.

    We'll do what we can to keep the current style, or at least offer an option of different color schemes. The current mobile version is pretty terrible. XenForo's mobile version allows you to do almost everything you can in the desktop version.

    Unsure at this time. Perhaps. I use it, and like it.

    Yeah, we'll work on keeping options available.

    This is one of the best things about XenForo-- the search is supposed to be vastly improved from vBulletin.

    We will not be moving if we lose any content, period.
     
  15. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,078
    Location:
    Oroville
    I hope you keep the black background option, which is so "noirish."
     
  16. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    +1

    Very relieved, here

     
  17. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,582
    Location:
    California
    Easiest and most convenient forum I've ever used or visited. I too prefer the white mobile background to the PC mode on mobile. The ability to delete or edit a past post at any time would be useful instead of having a time limit to do so.
     
  18. winterland1

    winterland1 Practically Family

    Messages:
    534
    Location:
    minneapolis
    I concur about the time limit. I have not ran into that on any other forums.

    Good luck with the transition. Appreciate the effort to keep making the place better.
     
  19. el_gato

    el_gato Familiar Face

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Europe
    Excellent decision! I've moved our VB Forums to XF and never looked back since. We have not had any loss in content.
     
  20. ingineer

    ingineer One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,098
    Location:
    Clifton NJ
    Thank you for your hard work.
    Don't know PHP, but it sounds as if sticking with the Internet Brands stuff is riding a dead horse.
    All of the developers have left.
     

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