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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:39 pm
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Location: Cambridge, UK
I'm thinking that it's high time we did something about the ancient version of phpBB that's running these forums. The main feature that's missing, from my point of view, is an RSS feed. (r7 points out that there is an RSS feed - if you know where to look! But Google Reader doesn't find this feed if you search for BLAG.)

In any case the whole look & feel of the thing is a bit 1990s. (In my last permanent job, I was responsible for a bunch of then-state-of-the-art web sites, including a phpBB 2 forum site!)

An upgrade to phpBB 3 would be quick and easy, and I'm happy to do it. In fact, this is such a no-brainer we should just do it. Any objections?

I'm also somewhat inclined to contemplate redoing the whole thing, probably in Drupal. Obviously this would take a bit more time, but it would also give us a framework to integrate forums, blogs, static pages, etc.


Last edited by TimGoodwin on Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:44 pm
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I think that sounds like a great idea. An overhaul of the entire BLAG web site would be even more awesome, but that is maybe too much work for one person. If you want to do something about the forums I say go for it! Can't say though whether to choose Drupal och phpBB 3 because I know nothing about them.

Good luck, mate.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 10:54 am
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Yes, Sir!

agenda


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:17 pm
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Location: London, UK
is it possible for you to set up a dummy web site so that we can have a generic idea of the features that you/we may be able to set up? If you could, maybe give some one log in rights so that we/he/she can create some "dummy posts" and play with the test forum?

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BLAG 'em up!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:32 am 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 10:54 am
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Another thing we might want is https.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:39 pm
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Location: Cambridge, UK
john maclean wrote:
is it possible for you to set up a dummy web site so that we can have a generic idea of the features that you/we may be able to set up?


OK, I think there are two strands to this.

First, the idea of upgrading the forums from the current phpBB-2 to the latest phpBB-3.0.4 (at the time of writing). It's not vastly different, but has some nice new features such as attachments, and the ability to save drafts of posts you are writing, as well as heaps of improvements for internationalization, and security. Full list here. It also has an improved (IMHO!) look and feel. Best thing is, it's just an upgrade: install the new software, push the upgrade button, and wait...

So far as I can tell, nobody has raised the slightest objection to this idea: it really is a no-brainer! Since my earlier post, I've had a chance to download 3.0.4 and read the upgrade documentation, and it turns out that you install the new phpBB-3 alongside your existing phpBB-2, and the upgrade process sucks all the data from old to new. But I still think it's a good plan to clone the existing phpBB-2 forum, so I can do a test upgrade and let other people have a look before it goes live. Even so, it's just a few hours work that I'm planning to do. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

The second strand is: what about a complete overhaul of the site? If we rebuilt it in a content management system - probably Drupal - then we'd get things like static pages that you can update without grokking HTML; blogs; loads of stuff. There's a Drupal module to play nice with Wikimedia; there's another that interfaces to phpBB, and another that uploads your phpBB site into native Drupal. I have to say that I've only just started playing with Drupal myself, but it's clearly a very powerful framework, and would make the job of keeping the BLAG website up-to-date and pretty so very much simpler.

This is definitely a job to plan in a bit more detail, and share out. Somebody (me, probly) needs to set up the Drupal framework, but then the bits and pieces can be done by anyone with an admin password. This one definitely wants a test deployment to try out and discuss before it goes live. I'll tentatively say I'll get this done in the next month or so.

Needless to say, both phpBB and Drupal are under the GPL.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:41 pm 
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If they are secure and GPL, why not. All the forums are crying out for is someone to maintain them. If you can do that, fantastic.


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