We're planning to move away from Vbulletin to Discourse

vbimport

#1

I would like to notify all our community members that we’re going to move away from Vbulletin.

But Vbulletin is fine, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

Vbulletin is no longer secure, hardly updated, not mobile friendly, and development has pretty much ceased. After the company was acquired by a large company things went down hill.

The lead developers left the company and started a new forum. I’ve also seen Vbulletin employees recommending users to move to other software, and development is very, very slow.

Also, we’ve been hacked several times which took us hours of investigating and closing loopholes. It’s likely that as time moves on this will only get worse, which potentially also brings our users in danger.

OK, I got it, Vbulletin is broken, what now?

When moving to a new forum it has to be to something that’s future proof. The last thing we want is to have change software again, as we have a rather large forum, it’s not the easiest thing to do, and it’s stressful.

Future proof in this case means that it natively supports mobile, is secure, fast, and has support for the latest technology. I prefer open-source software as well and obviously it’s important that the software is regularly updated according to community feedback.

The software that brings us all this is Discourse.

This open-source project offers a hosted solution, is actively developed, and is top-notch feature wise.

The software adapts to your screen size, so you can read and post on your mobile, tablet, and desktop without additional software.

But images say more than a thousands words, so here are some screenshots.

[ul]
[li]We can change the layout, my idea is to start with the basic layout and adapt it according to the wishes of the members, so you will decide how it will actually look!
[/li][li]So, we can change margins, padding, colours etc.
[/li][li]You can see much that resembles what we have now
[/li][li]The major change is infinite scrolling, which means pagination works differently
[/li][/ul]


#2

The forum software also shows more statistics about posts and allows other to like and share them.

It’s also possible to respond to posts directly, which means the discussion becomes partly threaded.

The pagination is different but works fairly easily. Instead of dividing threads and forums in multiple pages, new items will appear when you scroll. The forum will remember to where you scrolled, so next time you load a page, you don’t have to scroll the entire page again. Nevertheless, if you want to move to a specific page, then that’s still possible, as you can see in the images below.


#3

The software has several useful features, such a wide range of options for searching posts, keyboard shortcuts, post history (so you can see what has changed after edits) and you can set how you want to receive notifications.


#4

Also when it comes to your profile, there is a load of information, and obviously you can still use private messages.


#5

Creating a post or thread is also a bit different. When you type a post the software directly shows a preview, so you always know how it looks.


#6

My idea is that when we change the software, that I will open a thread in which you can provide feedback. I will then make changes accordingly.


#8

I would like to see borders around every post to seperate those from the other posts/replies…:bigsmile:


#9

Zebadee found this site that shows up pretty good
check it out


#10

I’m aware that Discourse has probably a lot of powerful features under the hood,but once you hit a forum thread under the categories listing,most of those boards I’ve checked,looked like basic blogs with reply options…
DoMi,I think it will be a real challenge for your theming skills to satisfy us…:bigsmile::wink:


#11

I know it’s not open-source and free, but did you consider XenForo? Another board I am on switched from vbulletin to it, and seriously, their current XenForo design looks a lot the current Myce vbulletin one. Migration also went very smoothly, no loss or anything.


#12

Within the realm of IT, nothing is future-proof (page 1, IT general) :bigsmile:

It usually never makes it to this stage if it is not a bare necessity and so you have my vote on open source. Afaic, it is the road ahead…

What is not to be taken lightly is the historical aspect and the sheer volume of information searchable which end up in a link pointing here. By that I mean that conversion is of utter importance. If it can’t be done, the software should immediately be ruled out, period.
The same is true for link-conversion, sitewise if needed, to avoid dead links from the net. The latter may be more short term, but still is important to keep traffic and popularity up for the many anonymous surfers dropping by for the odd article or thread.

2 cents in the fountain.


#13

[QUOTE=Lebowsky;2761010]I know it’s not open-source and free, but did you consider XenForo? Another board I am on switched from vbulletin to it, and seriously, their current XenForo design looks a lot the current Myce vbulletin one. Migration also went very smoothly, no loss or anything.[/QUOTE]

Yes, we even bought a license. But the entire database structure is based on Vbulletin’s and their code is based on the Zend Framework. (The developers are ex-Vbulletin as well)

It’s a good forum, but I feel it’s a minor change, while Discourse brings much more and, in my opinion is more future proof. Another important issue is that Discourse hosting is provided by the developers of the software and we will move our hosting to them as well.


#14

[QUOTE=Xercus;2761040]Within the realm of IT, nothing is future-proof (page 1, IT general) :bigsmile:

It usually never makes it to this stage if it is not a bare necessity and so you have my vote on open source. Afaic, it is the road ahead…

What is not to be taken lightly is the historical aspect and the sheer volume of information searchable which end up in a link pointing here. By that I mean that conversion is of utter importance. If it can’t be done, the software should immediately be ruled out, period.
The same is true for link-conversion, sitewise if needed, to avoid dead links from the net. The latter may be more short term, but still is important to keep traffic and popularity up for the many anonymous surfers dropping by for the odd article or thread.

2 cents in the fountain.[/QUOTE]

Thanks, excellent points actually. From our perspective that is also VERY important, but somehow I didn’t mention it :wink:

All data, including PMs, links, threads, posts etc. will/should become available and is converted from Vbulletin to Discourse. This is also one of the most stressful things :wink:


#15

[QUOTE=bean55;2761000]Zebadee found this site that shows up pretty good
check it out

https://twittercommunity.com/[/QUOTE]

Hi :slight_smile:
See this too!


#16

A lot of nice options are there :iagree:


#17

I hope it works out for me personally after having a look at the software set up I purely don’t care for it at all.


#18

[QUOTE=DoMiN8ToR;2761050]Yes, we even bought a license. But the entire database structure is based on Vbulletin’s and their code is based on the Zend Framework. (The developers are ex-Vbulletin as well)

It’s a good forum, but I feel it’s a minor change, while Discourse brings much more and, in my opinion is more future proof. Another important issue is that Discourse hosting is provided by the developers of the software and we will move our hosting to them as well.[/QUOTE]

Why the “but it’s based on vbulletin”? Is it that bad?

I know it’s your decision of course, but from a user point of view, I’d rather want the changes in the user-experience to stay as minor as possible instead of something drastic that won’t make me want to come back because I lost all my bearings…

As I said, I’m speaking from experience on another - similar - forum (decades old on vbulletin, had to change due to the security issues). I’m really glad they did all they could to keep a layout as similar to the older one as possible.

As for open source, well I’m in IT as well… there are also lots of open source projects that died all of a sudden due to lack of support, so that is no guarantee either.


#19

Never heard of that thing, isn’t Xenforo safer, more known and its just as responsive and even has a migration possibility from vb to xf


#20

[QUOTE=Lebowsky;2761096]Why the “but it’s based on vbulletin”? Is it that bad?

I know it’s your decision of course, but from a user point of view, I’d rather want the changes in the user-experience to stay as minor as possible instead of something drastic that won’t make me want to come back because I lost all my bearings…

As I said, I’m speaking from experience on another - similar - forum (decades old on vbulletin, had to change due to the security issues). I’m really glad they did all they could to keep a layout as similar to the older one as possible.

As for open source, well I’m in IT as well… there are also lots of open source projects that died all of a sudden due to lack of support, so that is no guarantee either.[/QUOTE]

The issue with that it’s too much Vbulletin is that there is a lot of legacy. Discourse is only 2 years old and totally written for the modern web. Xenforo is the Vbulletin database (they are pretty much the same!) with a layer of Zend Framework on top. As we had a license, I’ve been fiddling with Xenforo a lot and found it to be a more advanced version of Vbulletin.

Discourse has nothing to do with Vbulletin anymore. The entire architecture is different. Discourse provides the browser with data, which is then rendered mainly with Javascript. Vbulletin / Xenforo / PHPBB3 all render everything with PHP.

That’s not an argument against it, but it shows how different they are in the most basic way.

As more work is done in the browser it (should) render(s) faster for users, less scalability issues, more secure and because when all javascript is cached only the actual text of forum posts is transferred, it will be faster when loading.

In other words, there is no decades year old legacy and while Xenforo has done a good job, I think they’re current architecture will limit them in the coming years, where Discourse won’t have that issue.

And because moving a large forum like ours is huge, I would like to do it as less times as possible :wink:

The open source argument is there because I believe that when somehow something happens, the license permits the development to continue by the community. With so many forums adopting it now (it really goes at a rapid pace) I think development is pretty much secured.

On the minor vs. major change, that’s something I worry about (and really, really gives me stress!). I really hope that people won’t simply leave, but provide feedback and give me time to implement it, so I can make the change as smooth as possible.

While I know I’ve pretty much forced Discourse on the community, the forum is not for me (but being the end-responsible, sometimes I have to make choices I feel are best), it’s the users that make it the great place it is, and thus feedback is essential.


#21

[QUOTE=ILLP;2761092]I hope it works out for me personally after having a look at the software set up I purely don’t care for it at all.[/QUOTE]

I do hope you will provide feedback to make it better, I do care for that!