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Author Topic: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....  (Read 2911 times)

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....
« Reply #45 on: December 21, 2017, 02:36:37 am »
Couple more thoughts occurred to me overnight about Xenforo.

Privacy: Commercial software companies can gain an additional revenue stream if they embed data harvesting into their product and sell the data on to the Big Data companies (who provide the harvesting code). Many commercial web service products now do this. Can we be sure that Xenforo does not?


Yes. Source code is PHP, you can read it yourself, just like SMF or PHPBB. Its '"open source'' in that sense, just not freely distributable. There's no nefarious code in there.

Proprietary lock-in and end-of-life: One day you will want to migrate from Xenforo to something else.  It is common enough for commercial software to use a proprietary data format. It then tries to attract and keep its user base by enabling import from a competitor product but to forbid export. Does Xenforo offer full data export, against that day?

Open Source products such as Simple Machines and phpBB are pretty user-friendly in these respects.

Like phpBB and SMF, Xenforo is just text data in a MySQL database with a PHP web app. Migration of any similar forum to a new format depends on availability of a converter in the new product, which is to a large extent determined by user base size of the forum software. Xenforo is a pretty popular forum, so there is for example a PHPBB converter available should you want to go that way, as well as converters to other commercial forum products. Converters are the responsibility of the new forum, not the old.

SMF is effectively a dead project. 2.1 is still miles from release, and hardly any improvement on 2.0, which was hardly any improvement on 1.1 from 2006. I've given up waiting for it.

I've tried NodeBB, Vanilla, Discourse, PHPBB, MyBB, and Elkarte, which is a fork of SMF. Elkarte came close to perfect, as a easy modern upgrade to SMF, similar but with lots of things improved, but is not too popular yet, which means you could end up in the position you imagined for Xenforo, without an easy means of data conversion out if the project dies. Given its basically just 2 developers working in their spare time, this seems too risky. Xenforo is a safer bet - there are converters already out for most alternative forums.

I'm all for open source software in general but in this instance, I feel its worth paying a smallish fee.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 02:44:06 am by PaulMM (Overscan) »
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Offline MihoshiK

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Re: Big changes coming to Secret Projects Forum soon....
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2017, 05:33:00 pm »
My main haunt on the web is Spacebattles.com, which moved to Xenforo a few years ago. It's a remarkably stable bit of kit, and it's main developer used to work for vBulletin, to which it is markedly superior.
 
The tag function is extremely useful.

Thread length is somewhat limited due to forum software and database limits. That is to say, for a forum like spacebattles, which has almost 70,000 users and a database of more than 29 million posts. I imagine that a thread length of 1500 pages with each page 25 posts long is more than sufficient for Secret Projects :D