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Announcements and Suggestions This is a place for suggestions, news and updates about the site.

View Poll Results: Which Software Should We Move To?
vBulletin 4 49 37.12%
Xenforo 30 22.73%
SMF 50 37.88%
Other (Specify in the thread) 3 2.27%
Voters: 132. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:20 PM
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Default Forum Software Update Question

We've been running vBulletin 3.8.x for a long time and it's getting to be very long in the tooth.
In fact vB 3.x.x has been EOL (End Of Life) for a while now and updates are no longer coming.

I'm looking at upgrades or conversions and the three that seem the most viable are vBulletin 4, Xenforo and SMF.

vB4 is the next step up from 3.x.x but not the newest which is vB5. vB5 is a resource hog and frankly kind of ugly if you ask me. vB4 is better but it lost something when vB was bought out and the designers and coders of vB3 left the company.

Xenforo is the work of a two of the original developers of vBulletin after they left vB and the buy out.

SMF is an open source software that has been around for a long time and is regularly updated. It's the lightest of the three in terms of server resources and load.

I want to hear from the community which they think looks/feels best, most familiar and easiest to use.
Below are samples of each to look at and poke around on.


Xenforo: https://xenforo.com/community/

vBulletin 4: http://www.gunrightsmedia.com/?styleid=10

SMF: http://www.calguns.org/forum/index.php
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:24 PM
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IMO they all look decent, I like SMF the best, but if I was the board operator ease of transition would weigh in a lot.
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deedle View Post
IMO they all look decent, I like SMF the best, but if I was the board operator ease of transition would weigh in a lot.
With the size of Calguns (threads, posts and members) any transition is going to be a pain in the butt so that comparison is a wash.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:28 PM
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I think 4 looks the best, easiest to navigate at first glance, but it may just because most of the forums I surf use VB.

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  #5  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:30 PM
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I would lean towards SMF. Is portability of the itrader system still a factor at this point?


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  #6  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:34 PM
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I like the current format.
Not sure what is what... I don't like the interfaces on Apneaboard (MyBB) or the Fender users support forum (unknown).

So whatever is closest to this format, or the format used by ToyotaNation/Rav4World is my preference.
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:35 PM
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I must be getting old, I don't like the look of any of those proposed in the OP.

Maybe if VB4 bolded unread thread titles and in a larger font, like VB3. But the VB4 example above is very lame. You have to really look to pick out the thread title from the poster name and other misc info on the 2nd line. The two lines are exactly the same size and the top line is not bolded.

To me, scrolling a page of thread listings in a subforum on the VB4 example looks like a giant wall of unreadable text. Very sad.

And the second line of every thread listing is 75% useless. Here is an example:

'Started by JTHunter, September 19th, 2016 09:57 PM'

Do I need to know the day and time every single thread in the list was started? No I do not. If I want to know, I can look in the thread in question. And isn't 'Started by' implied? Does it really need to be said? No. That excessive info alone is junk noise, and contributes significantly to the unreadable look of a subforum thread list.

Maybe some of that is tunable. But if it was, why aren't site ops getting rid of that junk and tuning the bolding and second line font size? I could b-slap the programmer who thinks that is a friendly, usable thread list. It is not inviting, instead it is a huge turn off. Aint nobody got time for it.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2018, 8:59 PM
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Just get the current version of vb board.

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  #9  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:03 PM
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The opening page of SMF is a lot of white space. That and the normal CG banner ads means there will be no message sections shown on the first page.

V4 feels familiar and comfortable.

Xenforo is OK.
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:15 PM
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I vote for VB4!
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:38 PM
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My choice for a user friendly easy upgrade is VB4.

But my questions to you are: Where do you want to Calguns? What is your plan? What capability do you need?
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestryll View Post
With the size of Calguns (threads, posts and members) any transition is going to be a pain in the butt so that comparison is a wash.
Fair, and lol.

The fact that SMF is open source would also lean me to favor it, even if I didn't like the way it looked. Popular open source projects are generally nice to work with or use IME.
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:50 PM
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I vote for smf since open source and it looks clean.
Other than that wtf do I know?
Can you or would you need support?
I like the fact it's updated regularly but that could be a problem also if they break something?

P.S. I am guy #11 posting but only 4 people voted
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2018, 9:54 PM
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How much data will be lost?
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:14 PM
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How much data will be lost?


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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantodd View Post
A just government will not be overthrown by force or violence because the people have no incentive to overthrow a just government. If a small minority of people attempt such an insurrection to grab power and enslave the people, the RKBA of the whole is our insurance against their success.
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  #16  
Old 04-11-2018, 10:22 PM
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Don’t sweat data loss, we can always restore from Cambridge Analytica’s backup copy.


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  #17  
Old 04-11-2018, 10:24 PM
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SMF looks like a step backward to bulletin boards of 10 years ago - Mark Serbu's site comes to mind when I see that, and it looks "clean" because it's boring.

Xenforo looks too... "cute"? - like it's some kind of personal blog of a teenage girl discussing Hello Kitty's latest adventures? Design wise, it's sloppy looking with unnecessary wasted space.

I like VB4. Seems that most all of the websites that I might go on utilize it for either guns, cars, or similar fields of interest.

My vote is for VB4. It's an upgrade, but not a drastic change.

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Old 04-11-2018, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cokebottle View Post
I like the current format.

So whatever is closest to this format,
This.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyHawk View Post
I must be getting old, I don't like the look of any of those proposed in the OP.
And this.

Whatever you do, don't use whatever bladeforums went to. That software sucks az!

Anyway IBTL (the big lock)

Eta: bladeforums IS xenforo. Which means xenforo is the devil. I will boycott if you go that route (which may or may not motivate you )
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  #19  
Old 04-12-2018, 12:13 AM
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The High Road is xenforo.
Quote:
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2017 XenForo Ltd.
It's OK; can't say I like that color scheme, but surely that much can be customized.
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  #20  
Old 04-12-2018, 6:04 AM
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I like iTrader, popular/trending topics like on glocktalk homepage, and the thumbsup button. I prefer the Xenforo first and the current VB5 though. I always choose to go with newer things.
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  #21  
Old 04-12-2018, 7:42 AM
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Part of your evaluation should be which platform will be able to provide support and continued updates. Do you buy into their annual support plans which usually include all updates. Do they update and improve on at least a yearly basis? I think you should create a quick matrix to help with the decision and then you can more visually weigh the strengths and weaknesses of all.
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  #22  
Old 04-12-2018, 7:46 AM
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SMF or Xenforo. VB4 looks terrible, its just a wall of text seeing things and picking things out while scrolling is difficult
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Old 04-12-2018, 7:49 AM
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One requirement (either approved add-in or built-in) is the auto-resizing of photos so text does not get squished. Pretty please.
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  #24  
Old 04-12-2018, 8:08 AM
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They all seem fine to me. I do automation graphic (SCADA) software all the time. Customers make the mistake of seeing the next upgrade, not the future upgrades and paint themselves into a corner early in the game, and it costs them a LOT to get out later. Go with the easiest upgrade that will allow you to port over later if at all possible. Boxing yourself into a software system you can't move from could be problematic if the developers drop it or the newer packages go in a direction you don't want or can't use. As long as its not a VerticalScope-like nightmare of ad links and landscape hogging overlays, everyone will adjust. Some will complain, but we all complain about something at one time or another.

Best of luck on the upgrade.
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Old 04-12-2018, 8:45 AM
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Re xenforo. Go poke around bladeforums.com.

It's not that it's bad visually. Think of all the other functions we use here. The "other" functions are buried and not intuitive at all. PM, user post history etc.

Relearning all that, you're going to end up dumping a lot of current users. They won't bother trying to get back up to speed
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Old 04-12-2018, 8:50 AM
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Xenforo has by FAR the best mobile theme and is usable that way.

Whatever is chosen I hope is still compatible with Tapatalk.


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  #27  
Old 04-12-2018, 10:16 AM
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I vote for whichever one has smiting and animated avatars like .org
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tencreations_ar888 View Post
I would lean towards SMF. Is portability of the itrader system still a factor at this point?
I will try to save iTrader or at least see if it can be ported in to something new.
The problem is iTrader is an unsupported mod/hack from several years ago so the fact that it still run on 3.8 is surprising in it's own right.

What ever we go to if iTrader is not portable I will make sure a more modern rating system is available for it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cokebottle View Post
I like the current format.
So do I, unfortunately End Of Life means we become more vulnerable to hacks and attacks and eventually PHP and MySQL will move beyond what the software can handle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marauder2003 View Post
The opening page of SMF is a lot of white space. That and the normal CG banner ads means there will be no message sections shown on the first page.

V4 feels familiar and comfortable.

Xenforo is OK.
The link I used for SMF is the plain vanilla version, it looks different at calguns.org
Here's a sample of what it looks like with ads, the notifications are above the ads so they're still visible on initial loading.


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Originally Posted by freonr22 View Post
How much data will be lost?
The goal is none.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CALI-gula View Post
SMF looks like a step backward to bulletin boards of 10 years ago - Mark Serbu's site comes to mind when I see that, and it looks "clean" because it's boring.
Just to point this out, the software we're currently using is over 11 years old.
We ARE a bulletin board from 10 years ago!


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Originally Posted by readysetgo View Post
Re xenforo. Go poke around bladeforums.com.
WTH!?! What did they do to that software!!

Blade forum seriously screwed up the Xenforo layout, check out Librarian's link to High Road to see a more normal, albeit oddly colored, version.



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I vote for whichever one has smiting and animated avatars like .org
That would be SMF...
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  #29  
Old 04-12-2018, 11:10 AM
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Will they all still work with Tapatalk?

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  #30  
Old 04-12-2018, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cpttimerestraint View Post
Will they all still work with Tapatalk?

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
Yes, tapatalk has plug ins for vB, Xenforo and SMF.
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  #31  
Old 04-12-2018, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestryll;
I will try to save iTrader or at least see if it can be ported in to something new.

The problem is iTrader is an unsupported mod/hack from several years ago so the fact that it still run on 3.8 is surprising in it's own right.



What ever we go to if iTrader is not portable I will make sure a more modern rating system is available for it.

Sometimes deprecating a legacy system is more cost efficient. Porting the data over from one backend to another isn’t trivial but not impossible as long as the new rating system allows for data import of some sort.

Do we have a reference list of criteria’s to evaluate these new boards?
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:34 AM
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Years ago I played with setting up a forum. I knew squat. I went with SMF.
VB4 might be more familiar to you, but since they are at VB5 now, how confident are you it won't be EOL quickly?

Of course you could always go Xenforo just to piss off readysetgo.



Quote:
Originally Posted by readysetgo View Post
This.

And this.

Whatever you do, don't use whatever bladeforums went to. That software sucks az!

Anyway IBTL (the big lock)

Eta: bladeforums IS xenforo. Which means xenforo is the devil. I will boycott if you go that route (which may or may not motivate you )
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:41 PM
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Wouldn't the easiest transition be V4? And wouldn't it be simple securing data? I can adapt to any of them but I would think V4 would be the easiest transition.
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  #34  
Old 04-12-2018, 1:56 PM
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Originally Posted by meno377 View Post
Wouldn't the easiest transition be V4? And wouldn't it be simple securing data? I can adapt to any of them but I would think V4 would be the easiest transition.
This is exactly what I'm thinking, too.

Also, I know many members use Tapatalk, and it seems like everyone's tapatalk accounts and whatnot would transition much smoother this way.
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Old 04-12-2018, 2:00 PM
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As far as user interface is concerned, the other options you provided are all terrible.

I've used a lot of web forums over the years, and Calguns has always been my favorite one to navigate. I doubt I'm alone in this. If you change it dramatically, you risk confusing and alienating people who have grown used to it over the years.

IMHO.
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Old 04-12-2018, 2:06 PM
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I like the clean look of Xenforo.
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Old 04-12-2018, 2:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FresnoRob View Post
Years ago I played with setting up a forum. I knew squat. I went with SMF.
VB4 might be more familiar to you, but since they are at VB5 now, how confident are you it won't be EOL quickly?
That is a legitimate concern, vBulletin5 is six years old which means vB4 is even older.
The onlly redeeming aspect is that the vB3-4 license is inclusive where vB5 is a separate license so if you own 3 or 4 you're fine but 5 is a new purchase.
A lot of people don't want to do that so vB4 has a following, it's kind of Win7 to vB5's Win 10.


Of course you could always go Xenforo just to piss off readysetgo.
Don't think that doesn't have value in it's own right...



Quote:
Originally Posted by meno377 View Post
Wouldn't the easiest transition be V4? And wouldn't it be simple securing data? I can adapt to any of them but I would think V4 would be the easiest transition.
You'd think that but vB4 is so substantially different than vB3 that it's not much different than converting to another software.
vB4 uses PHP completely differently than vB3 and has a different 'engine' as well.

There are some aspects of transferring the database that would be easier but overall the process would be similar.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cockedandglocked View Post
This is exactly what I'm thinking, too.

Also, I know many members use Tapatalk, and it seems like everyone's tapatalk accounts and whatnot would transition much smoother this way.
Tapatalk will not be affected no matter what.
You access it through their interface and software, on our end it's just a plug in that is avaialbe for any of these forum softwares.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cockedandglocked View Post
As far as user interface is concerned, the other options you provided are all terrible.

I've used a lot of web forums over the years, and Calguns has always been my favorite one to navigate. I doubt I'm alone in this. If you change it dramatically, you risk confusing and alienating people who have grown used to it over the years.

IMHO.
As I mentioned earlier, my preference would be to not change a thing but that's becoming less and less of an option. Soon it simply won't be an option.

With no patches coming security is going to become a problem and it's not just the forum software it's the server as well.
With vB3.8.x we're locked in to an old version of PHP and MySQL which means server security and stability can be compromised as well.
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Old 04-12-2018, 3:08 PM
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That makes sense... but even if "ease of transition" is not a factor, then my recommendation is still vB 4.

From my post only hours ago in another thread:



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Old 04-12-2018, 3:25 PM
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What are these various systems implemented in?
I'd avoid anything that used PHP ;-)
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Old 04-12-2018, 3:32 PM
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silly question, but what are the soft and hard cost differences between these?
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