Forum Faff!

October 30, 2016 | By | Reply More

Bit of a faff ongoing with the Author’s Apprentice site’s forums at the moment.

Look away now if you’re of a non-technical disposition …

Most web hosting firms have moved to PHP 7+ now because it’s way more hack-proof and faster than the old PHP 5.6. which was the standard many moons ago. The web host behind the Author’s Apprentice, 1&1, has now upgraded to PHP 7, which is a good thing. Sadly, it transpires that the Vanilla Forum software I had bolted onto WordPress to handle the forum posts here does not work with PHP 7. Which is a bad thing.

Forum Faff!

Forum Faff!

Vanilla Forums are working on making their software compatible with the new version of PHP, but not very hard, as they make most of their money (now) from customers hosting forums on their new paid we’ll-host-it-for-you service, rather than their old open source forum code which you could run for free on your web site. Vanilla seem to have gone to rather an extreme here, with all the old helpful online manuals on installing and maintaining the open source forum having vanished from their new-look web site.

Going forward, I was going to have to tackle this issue, as semi-abandonment of open source software by its original developers is a fairly common issue. Developers are,  after all, only human – they have bills to pay and mortgage payments to meet, and they often move on to new gigs that actually pay in cash rather than the eternal gratitude of saps like me.

However, having the whole thing disintegrate under me has accelerated the search for a new forum system somewhat. Having looked around at the alternatives, I’ve plumped for BBpress, which is a forum system designed by the actual WordPress people, which means it’s (fingers crossed) unlikely to explode as badly as Vanilla did.

This is the forum now running on the site. What it’s lacking, currently, are the old messages and posts from the 2015/2016 program. I’m working to export these and import them into the new BBpress system.

In the meantime, the main functional difference between the old and new system is that the new BBpress forum requires you to actively register for it (the old system auto-registered you for the forum with the password/username you use to login to the web site). There are pluses and minuses to this new way of doing things. The minus is that you have to actively register for the forums and remember yet another username/password combo in addition to your site login details. The pluses are that lots of you HATED having to use your real names/emails when posting in the forums, and changing your details was a world of pain. In the new system, you get to choose and control your forum ID much easier.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new system in the forums.




Category: The Novel, Voting & Announcements

About the Author ()

I have been working as a full-time author publishing fantasy and science fiction novels for HarperCollins for the last seven years.

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