Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

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rjlittlefield
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Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by rjlittlefield »

Very soon now, we'll be upgrading the forum software to phpBB 3.3.0, the most recent release in the phpBB series.

Major purpose for the upgrade is to maintain continuity of the forums. Phrased more bluntly, it's to avoid "disaster by obsolescence". (Shock of the day: Google finds no prior use of that phrase!)

I've been working on this upgrade for several weeks now. (No, not full time!) I'm pretty confident it will go smoothly.

The upgrade will preserve all posts, PMs, and URL's, so all existing links will work without change. Usernames and passwords will not change.

For regular users, the major difference is that instead of using the current "Upload picture" button and [img] tags, image uploads to our server will be done as "Attachments", displayed inline for that post by using [attachment] tags.

Inline display of images from other servers, and images that are attachments in other posts, will continue to use [img] tags.

Readers of the forum will notice several improvements:
  • Updated appearance, with neutral gray backgrounds and text to avoid conflicts with colors in photos.
  • Automatic scaling of oversized images that are hosted on other servers.
  • Improved usability on small screen devices like smartphones.
  • Improved page formatting, avoiding problems currently caused by long URL's or oversized images.
I have already converted the forum archives, which you can see in their new format by clicking the "Old Forums/Galleries" link at the top of this page.

I have also created a demo/test version of the current forum, which you can access at https://photomacrography.net/demotestforum/ .

The demo/test forum is only a snapshot of the current forum, but it is otherwise completely active. You can login, make new postings, upload images, and so on, but all such material is guaranteed to be deleted soon, possibly without warning. To avoid any confusion about where you're logged in, I've given the demo/test forum a distinctive banner.

Please let me know whatever issues or concerns come up in your tests.

The upgrade to the real working forum is currently scheduled to happen starting at Sun 21 Jun 2020 04:00 UTC. That's 5 am Sunday morning in England, midnight for US East Coast, and Saturday 9 pm for my own US West Coast. You folks on the other side of the world will see it in daylight hours, sorry!

Based on trial runs, I expect the forum will be down for about 3 hours. The entire database ends up getting copied, restructured, and re-indexed.

--Rik

TheLostVertex
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Re: Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by TheLostVertex »

rjlittlefield wrote:Phrased more bluntly, it's to avoid "disaster by obsolescence". (Shock of the day: Google finds no prior use of that phrase!)
Better buy that domain then, sit on it for 5 years, then sell it to a person who wrote a book about "disaster by obsolescence" claiming to have invented the phrase :lol:

The new forum software looks nice.

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

Those sound like great improvements. I am sure I speak for everyone in thanking you for all your work on this unique forum.

bralex
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Post by bralex »

Thank you for testing a bunch first! Unusual to say the least :)

Beatsy
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Post by Beatsy »

Thanks for all your efforts Rik. Small screen improvements are super welcome for browsing on my mobile. It's a bit of a chore at present. Yayyy!

Troels
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Post by Troels »

Thanks for your work on this.
Looking forward to get rid of horizontal scrolling infinity text lines.
Nice looking design with easy navigation.

[Edited a language error]
Last edited by Troels on Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
Visit my Flickr albums

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Thanks for all the feedback, most appreciated!

bralex, the approach of testing a bunch comes from my 50+ years developing software. I've learned through painful experience that if software is not tested, it's probably broken in some obvious way. Even if it is tested, it's probably still broken, just not so obvious.

At this point, the aspect of this upgrade that I'm most worried about is on the administrative side. With the current forum software, we get typically 500-700 bogus registration attempts every day, and we have gradually developed some custom filters that deal with almost all of those automatically. In the updated forum software, the standard code that does registration has been almost completely replaced. None of our old filters will work without modification, and because of the restructuring, I'm not sure how to re-implement them. So, I'm expecting that right after the upgrade there's going to be a sudden influx of new questionable applications, which we'll have to figure out how to deal with.

--Rik

henryr
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Re: Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by henryr »

Hi,

I'm having a problem using the search utility. Every time I try searching for two words or more the search returns with whatever its found but also shows what it ignored. Seems it only searches for the first word, so I go to advanced search and it say put a + before words wanted included in the search. I've tried this many times and it always ignores the word preceded with +. What am I doing wrong?

thanks,
henryr

rjlittlefield
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Re: Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by rjlittlefield »

henryr wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:35 am
I'm having a problem using the search utility. Every time I try searching for two words or more the search returns with whatever its found but also shows what it ignored. Seems it only searches for the first word, so I go to advanced search and it say put a + before words wanted included in the search. I've tried this many times and it always ignores the word preceded with +. What am I doing wrong?
Hhmmm, puzzling. At this moment I have no idea what's going wrong for you.

I generally use advanced search, specify the word(s) that I want, and leave the default selection of "Search for all terms or use query as entered". Sometimes I use * as a wildcard. Before today I had never used + or - .

I actually have no idea what "+" means in this case, because my understanding is that simply listing a word specifies that it must be found. Maybe that comment refers to some search facility other than the one that we're using. phpBB in general allows several different search facilities to be installed. We're using "phpBB Native Fulltext", which means that phpBB maintains its own indices and does the matching itself, instead of deferring the search to some other engine such as MySQL, Sphinx, or Google.

I just now did some tests of the simple search field at upper right of each page:

1. Search for single word "papilio", finds 289 matches. (I expect it will be 290 after I post this.)
2. Search for single word "ulysses", returns 45 matches. (I expect 46 after this post.)
3. Search for two words "papilio ulysses", returns 36 matches. (I expect 37 after this post.)
4. Search for "-papilio ulysses" (ulysses but not papilio) returns 9 matches. (Should still be 9 after this.)

The text shown is highlighted appropriately. So, everything seems to be working fine.

Can you provide a very specific example, so I can reproduce the problem that you're seeing?

It might be best to show us a screen capture of the results that you get, marked up to indicate the parts that seem wrong.

--Rik

henryr
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Re: Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by henryr »

In the advanced search on your site it says enter a + before the word you want included in the search. I just tried it again and it completes the search and shows what was ignored. I just tried it with the two words "leitz sm" and it comes back showing it ignored the word sm. I can't get to include more than one word in a search. See example

Search found 2433 matches: "leitz sm"
Searched query: leitz sm

ignored: sm

rjlittlefield
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Re: Scheduled upgrade of the forum software

Post by rjlittlefield »

henryr wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:03 pm
Searched query: leitz sm
ignored: sm
Thank you for the example.

The phpBB search facility does not index terms that are too short or too common. The settings for this forum are phpBB defaults, which index only words that are at least 3 letters long, no more than 14 letters, and occur in no more than 5% of posts.

Even though "sm" is seldom used and would be a good search term for that reason, it is too short to be considered.

I will take a look at changing the minimum length. I have no idea at this moment what problems that might cause.

In the meantime, I suggest to search at Google, using a query like this: site:photomacrography.net leitz sm

--Rik

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