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Author Topic: Multiple Boards (again)  (Read 58824 times)

Offline drhamad

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Multiple Boards (again)
« on: December 10, 2004, 03:07:59 AM »
I'm posting this again only because the last thread I could find about it had its last post in January.

We run our forums on phpBB2 currently and am always on the lookout for better software.  The one thing that has stopped us from changing software is that no matter who I go to - IPB, vB, etc - they won't support what we want to do, even after the software is paid for.

Specifically, this is (as the title says) to run multiple boards.  On the same userdb, of course (and it is on the same server).  On a basic level this is a rather simple mod (at least, in phpBB) to get running, but that doesn't exactly make it run WELL.  For instance, on phpBB it causes all kinds of avatar headaches.

It would also be nice if post counts could be kept seperately, but also combined.  What I mean by this is that the standard pc you see every time the user posts is for that forum only, but in the profile you see both that forum and all forums combined.  This is of lesser important than just a well functioning, easy to use multi-forum installation.

And the 3rd thing would be that it would be nice if cross-forum global announcements could be made.  This is a constant pain in the butt.

If these 3 things were taken care of, however unlikely, I would consider it worth almost any price for the software.

To see how we currently run:
http://www.mazda3forums.com
http://www.volvoS40club.com

We normally run 3 more boards but sadly we just lost 2.5 months of data, spanning 50,000 posts and 1,000 new members (and our backups died as well, all the way back to 9-17).  Those 3 other boards have not yet been resurrected.

Anyway, hope that gives you an idea of what I'm looking for.  So far I like what I see with this software, though I haven't yet had much experience with it - but it's a major hassle to change software with all the (necessary because of phpbb's few basic features) mods we run, and we don't want to change unless we can get most of what we want, standard.

Regards,

Daniel R Hamad
FMVperformance.com
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Offline Trekkie101

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2004, 03:43:42 AM »
Freaky requests, but good idea's. im sure someone will try and help you accomplish this, if they cant, you could always try the paid help board they may pick you up there, but id try for free first and see what you get, plus Welcome To SMF.  :)

Offline [Unknown]

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2004, 03:50:59 AM »
Actually, Compuart and several other people have worked on having forums with "multiple outlets".  There are easy and hard ways of doing this, including:
  - using separate tables for each forum (causes avatar problems, yes.)
  - using a column to specify which "outlet" to use (very easy, Compuart did this one.)

Post counts separately would be a little more difficult, but not that hard.  You would only need to have a posts1 and posts2, and increment posts still every time.  This would only mean changing Post.php and Load.php slightly.

Cross forum?  I'll assume from the terminology you're using that you mean what I would call "cross board" - meaning a sticky posted in one board that appears in more than one (e.g. in the whole category, or in the whole forum.)  I actually wrote a mod for YaBB SE to do this, and it was only somewhat annoying :P.  The idea would be the same for SMF, and while I don't have time to port it... I would give anyone permission to should they want to.

Depending on how much you've altered your database, the mods you've installed may not actually mean a significant barrier to conversion.  I would suggest installing a copy of SMF, and testing a conversion - this won't hurt or affect the phpBB installation, but will let you play with SMF and see if you like it - and also tell you if the conversion will work or not.  If it won't, we'll help you fix it or fix it for you ;).

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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2004, 02:24:23 PM »
Actually, Compuart and several other people have worked on having forums with "multiple outlets".  There are easy and hard ways of doing this, including:
  - using separate tables for each forum (causes avatar problems, yes.)
  - using a column to specify which "outlet" to use (very easy, Compuart did this one.)

The way we do it right now, each board is installed to a different table prefix in the same database, but some table's are stripped entirely of the prefix.  For example, "groups" "users" "banlist" etc have no prefix, so they become cross-board accessible.  The problem with avatars occurs because each board still has a seperate avatar directory, but avatars are controlled globally (since the profile is a global thing).  There needs to be a way to have a single avatar directory for all the sites for it to work properly.

I'm not sure what your 2nd idea  means...

Quote
Post counts separately would be a little more difficult, but not that hard.  You would only need to have a posts1 and posts2, and increment posts still every time.  This would only mean changing Post.php and Load.php slightly.

It is not a particuarly difficult modification, you're right.  It required editing something like 6-7 files in phpBB (a couple of php files and some template files).  The way we're doing it right now, each board records its posts individually, then when it's time to display post counts, depending on what we wanted in the specific place, it either uses just that boards pc, or it adds all the pc's together  (For example, when you post people see only the board pc.  In the profile there's both the board pc and the total pc listed).

Quote
Cross forum?  I'll assume from the terminology you're using that you mean what I would call "cross board" - meaning a sticky posted in one board that appears in more than one (e.g. in the whole category, or in the whole forum.)  I actually wrote a mod for YaBB SE to do this, and it was only somewhat annoying :P.  The idea would be the same for SMF, and while I don't have time to port it... I would give anyone permission to should they want to.

Yes, you're right, I meant cross board.  I hate to have to go through all 5 boards and post the same post 5 times when I need to get everybodies attention ;)
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Offline [Unknown]

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2004, 08:02:36 PM »
The second method I mentioned works like this:

One set of tables.  One database.  One install of SMF.  Works even if you uninstall the modification.  The only trick is, everything knows which forum is belongs to - #1 or #2.  And when I say everything, I really only mean a scarce few things that need to know...

When you want cross board posts (sometimes called anything from "announcements" to "super stickies" to "cross stickies" too), do you want them to be for every board in a category, for all your boards in your forum, or for those boards of your own specific choosing?

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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2004, 01:11:03 PM »
Well, as far as cross board posts go - I would just like to be able to make a global announcement, and have people be able to reply to it.  So I guess what I really want (now that I consider it more) is the ability for specific sections to be cross-board.  For example, an "Announcements" section that spans all boards.  (or also now that I think about it, the Lounge being shared by all boards would be nice... that's beyond what I was originally talking about though.

Normally all these things I've been talking about could be solved by just doing one install of the board and having a few levels of forums, but that would require everything to be on the same domain (due to cookies, among other things... can't log into a subforum), which I don't want.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2004, 01:19:21 PM by drhamad »
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Offline [Unknown]

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2004, 11:06:31 PM »
Hmm... what you're looking for seems more to me like having a news board and putting links to it in the news (like we do here) than having cross board posts....

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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2004, 02:54:51 PM »
Well, that would be one way to do it.  The problem is that the links would not show when there is a new post, or what that post topic is (at least, a standard link wouldn't).

Now that I keep thinking about this (its been a while since we've tried to make anything like this work so everythings just resurfacing) I really wish I could do things like the Lounge idea too - having the lounge work across all boards.  Somehow I don't think that's possible though.  At least, not without a lot of work.

With the single installation idea, could you still have a different config for each theoretical board?  Different cookies, different template, etc?

The seperate table idea (which is what we use now, I suppose) works fine, but the avatar problem needs to be solved - besides that I'm perfectly happy with it (well, except for the lack of cross-board ability, but that's just wishful thinking at this point).
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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2004, 03:37:22 PM »
What if...Instead of having multipule install, have a diffrent board instead for each installation you wwould have and have sub-forums. ;)

Offline [Unknown]

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2004, 09:47:12 PM »
Now that I keep thinking about this (its been a while since we've tried to make anything like this work so everythings just resurfacing) I really wish I could do things like the Lounge idea too - having the lounge work across all boards.  Somehow I don't think that's possible though.  At least, not without a lot of work.

With the single installation idea, could you still have a different config for each theoretical board?  Different cookies, different template, etc?

Very possible.  This is exactly what Compuart's CMS (it was a full blown CMS) did.

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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2004, 12:28:04 AM »
What if...Instead of having multipule install, have a diffrent board instead for each installation you wwould have and have sub-forums. ;)

THe problem is that we use about 5 different domains.  These include different graphics/etc.  If this could be done where people could login to the subforum directly, I'd be happy to do it - but that seems to be not possible.



Anyway guys, I'd like to say that we are now in full test mode with SMF.  We've been running a basic test install for about a week now and we installed a full db of ours today.  One problem we're having (and yes, I know this is not the right place to post this, although I'm not sure what the right place is... and I figured I might as well keep it all in one thread anyway) is that the users seem to not be being pulled over.  I'm nto sure why this is, but instead of 5k members we have 0 after conversion ;).  Obviously a problem.
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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2004, 12:28:32 AM »
Now that I keep thinking about this (its been a while since we've tried to make anything like this work so everythings just resurfacing) I really wish I could do things like the Lounge idea too - having the lounge work across all boards.  Somehow I don't think that's possible though.  At least, not without a lot of work.

With the single installation idea, could you still have a different config for each theoretical board?  Different cookies, different template, etc?

Very possible.  This is exactly what Compuart's CMS (it was a full blown CMS) did.

-[Unknown]

I'm sorry, I don't know what CMS stands for?
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Offline Peter Duggan

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2004, 12:30:47 AM »
I'm sorry, I don't know what CMS stands for?

Content Management System.

Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2004, 02:16:38 AM »
Anyway, if we have a successful conversion and teh criteria we need are met, we'll definitely be willing to pay for SMF's fee.
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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2004, 02:25:55 AM »
SMF is free.

Anyhow, the problem with members may be caused simply by statistics.  Have you tried logging in with the username and password you had before?  If it works, go to Admin -> Forum Maintenance -> Recount all forum totals and statistics.

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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2004, 02:30:38 AM »
SMF is free.

Anyhow, the problem with members may be caused simply by statistics.  Have you tried logging in with the username and password you had before?  If it works, go to Admin -> Forum Maintenance -> Recount all forum totals and statistics.

-[Unknown]

I meant the support fee :)  Heck I'd pay any fee, if the software looks as good as it seems.

But anyway, back to reality.

I have tried logging in with both the SMF username I created prior to the conversion, and both usernames I had on the phpbb2 forum.  It literally recognizes ZERO usernames.
(this is at http://fmvperformance.com/smftest/ )
« Last Edit: December 17, 2004, 02:34:41 AM by drhamad »
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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2004, 02:50:00 AM »
I'm afraid this might be due to the rather large amount of mods that have been done to our forum, mostly relating to running multiple forums on the same database.  I'm just not sure what to do about it.

More specifically, inside of the phpbb user's table, we have a seperate row for each forum's post count...  user_posts_m3f, user_posts_ffc, user_posts_mm6, etc.  I think this is what's causing the error, but I'm not sure how to correct it.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2004, 04:00:05 AM by drhamad »
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Offline Grudge

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2004, 04:24:24 AM »
IS there a plain user_posts? If not that could be why it's failing. Why not add a new column to the table called posts and do a query like:
Code: [Select]
UPDATE users SET posts = posts_m3f + posts_ffc ....

To sum the posts correctly. Otherwise could you post the table structure of your users table?
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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2004, 02:27:33 PM »
OK I just created a user_posts table and set it equal to user_posts_m3f, since that's what I'm converting right now (I'm going to have to use some interesting tricks to get the converter to accept the other forums ;) )

It seems to have worked!  I can now login.

There was one issue - it was still saying 0 members despite HAVING all the members, and then I also realized tha tmost of my child boards had not been carried over.  I went through my forum and moved all of the child boards to the root level and reconverted, and somehow it seems to have solved both problems.

So, so far, it looks like phase 1 of the test conversion was successful.  I say phase 1 because I now have to figure out how to trick the converter into accepting the other boards (and for that matter, I need to figure out exactly what to do to get SMF to work with multiple boards - obviously on different tables, since that's the only way I know to do it, though it is not a very elegant solution).
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Offline drhamad

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Re: Multiple Boards (again)
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2004, 02:28:25 PM »
IS there a plain user_posts? If not that could be why it's failing. Why not add a new column to the table called posts and do a query like:
Code: [Select]
UPDATE users SET posts = posts_m3f + posts_ffc ....

To sum the posts correctly. Otherwise could you post the table structure of your users table?

I could combine all the post counts, but I kinda like having them seperate - it allows us to track where users spend most of their time, etc.
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