aPaddedCell Article: Goodbye vBulletin, Part One: Reasons to Switch

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Article summary:

Quote: The aim of this article is not to poke holes, or say 'vBulletin sucks', but to provide constructive criticism of a successful product, proving that vBulletin is not always the best choice. In places the article compares vBulletin to Drupal, this is the platform The Webmaster Forums will be switching to and represents many of the things vBulletin should--in our humble opinion--aspire to.

Here is the link: http://www.apaddedcell.com/goodbye-vbulletin-part-1-reasons-switch

Post any questions or comments here. Smiling

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Wow! That's awesome.

Are you going to start on Drupal 5 or Drupal 6?

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jGirlyGirl wrote: Are you going to start on Drupal 5 or Drupal 6?

Drupal 5, looking forward to 6 though, I've tried it out and it looks good. There are big speed improvements too I hear. Smiling

*** EDIT ***
I've also started a thread about this on vBulletin.com. Only fair to tell them why we're leaving, hopefully it'll help them improve their product (unless my article is totally wrong of course!).

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Yeah, and there are major theming improvements as well. You might be interested in this post (and presentation), if you haven't seen it: http://groups.drupal.org/node/6285

Drupal's future looks very promising Smiling

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Wow, thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that, love the look of those .info files for themes, just plonking regions into the .info file of a theme is a fantastic idea. Even creating a starter theme that just has a .info file, I wanted that functionality the other day!

Being able to theme forum-topic-list looks good too. Soooo exciting! Laughing out loud

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Hey, nice write-up. I must agree with most of that. Now I'm really looking forward to part 2, the new forum, and Drupal 6 all at once. Smiling

A few items in the article caught my attention:

  • You do still have to worry about licensing with Free Software, as it's only free because of a licence whose conditions need to be met upstream and downstream.
  • A hybrid human-readable + performance-optimised template storage system might be ideal. Flat-file for editing definitions, and optionally compile/serialize/cache -- possibly to a SQL db, or an object file -- for performance.
  • You're likely right about vB not being architected for security, but regular MVC doesn't mix with security easily either. Maybe an aspect- or context-oriented approach would suit, on top of MVC.

Smiling

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I think I could handle a bad interface, bloated HTML output, and commercial licensing, but it would drive me nuts if I had to constantly change my templates to fit around the latest version. I'll have to look into drupal a bit more, but I'm quite satisfied with my CMS of choice Smiling

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Great article! A few things to add:

1. Features

Features are good but only if you use them. Of the list posted in the article, I'd guess that we regularly use about 60% those features (and some we could definitely live without). And yet they are here, bloating the code, making the site slower and more difficult to use.

3. Templates

You really have no idea how bad these templates are if you haven't seen them. They are a nightmare to work with, overcomplicated code everywhere, condition after condition to determine whether certain features are turned on or not. There's a reason why you never see significant modification of the vBulletin interface. And then, as Liam said in the article, even if you do try to change things you get warning messages after every upgrade and have to comb through the code to see what's changed.

4. SEO

I think the bloated code has something to do with this. We are excited to see how our rankings and search traffic change when we move to drupal. Unfortunately it will probably take a few months to see the difference, but we believe it will be worthwhile.

Liam - I think you could have gone a little further with the introduction. Don't be too afraid of criticism. Remember this graphic.

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Great article Liam -

I was originally attracted to Drupal when I learned about the vbDrupal project, and later the more promising Drupaltin project (my site, tutorialforums - now neverside - previously ran on vBulletin 2.x, then switched to a fully custom forum which we never completed the code for, and I was exploring how to go about switching back to vBulletin, but with a powerful CMS to pair with it). Since then, I've been actively learning Drupal (all the great podcasts, screencasts, handbooks, and Matt/John's terrific book), and though I've had my share of banging my head on the wall trying to figure out some things, I've been loving Drupal more and more... and vBulletin less and less.

When it comes down to it... I'm trying to make a full website, rich with both textual and multimedia content, with the utmost in usability and a consistent user experience as one of my guiding principles. The site will "also" have forums, as well as comments and discussions occurring directly on the pages of content themselves - but the forums alone are not the central focus of the site, and having the most cutting edge forums at the expense of the rest of the site goes against my goals for what the site will be. I'm also coming from a point with my site where activity has dwindled to almost complete nothingness (which hurts, since I have - er had - almost 20,000 members)... I know full well it will take several years of hard work to reach an activity level that will overload my dedicated server(s), and I have a lot of confidence in Drupal and the developers in its community that it will have improved performance in the necessary areas by that point (and if it hasn't, then hopefully my success will help me afford to help financially to make it happen).

Anyhow, I wanted to encourage you and say thanks for your efforts in this so far. I'm looking forward to your tips/instructions on how to switch to Drupal. Also, in my own efforts to figure out how to add my own needed forum features to Drupal (in a modular way, of course), I've been working on writing up some of the more subtle details in my "If only Drupal's forums could do XYZ" list (e.g. usually people bring up the obvious things like private messenger, subscriptions, etc - though I'm trying to get at the more subtle aspects that one begins to miss... as well as my personal list of nice-to-haves). If you're interested, I'll gladly post my thoughts publicly in case they might help. Also if you plan on hiring any developers to create needed modules for Drupal, let me know and I'll lend as much financial support as I can.

Looks like they found a half baked excuse to close your thread on vb.com... coming from a similar mindset as you with Drupal, I know they're mistaken in their accusation. I dunno, but Drupal (and open source in general I think) seems to get under your skin, motivate and excite you (er well it does for me at least haha). Drupal is not perfect, but it is constantly improving at a pace that I can actually see on a daily basis. It's reason to be excited Sticking out tongue

Anyhow, good luck my friend. Let me know if I can help.

- Dave

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Megan;224913 wrote: 3. Templates

You really have no idea how bad these templates are if you haven't seen them. They are a nightmare to work with, overcomplicated code everywhere, condition after condition to determine whether certain features are turned on or not. There's a reason why you never see significant modification of the vBulletin interface. And then, as Liam said in the article, even if you do try to change things you get warning messages after every upgrade and have to comb through the code to see what's changed.

It's because the programmers dictated that it would be too difficult for those NS4 browser users (truth is, they don't want to revamp their code for web standards, it's too demanding and their bells and whistles will take second seat) to have a truly cleaned up template system with tableless layouts. It does not need to be this complicated.

The result is, not only webmasters having to pay more for more bandwidth for code bloat, they usually have to hire someone who specializes in modding templates (and these folks don't like the template system any better). And there's not many template designers wanting to do so, because you can never get paid for all the days required to hand-code all of those templates. I don't like being cheated, and I sure don't like saying to a customer, "this will cost you $800" (and knowing few folks have that cash to pay). It's why now I'm concentrating on blogs -- one template is all that's needed to be designed, all in pure XHTML Strict/search engine friendly/web design ease goodness!

Megan;224913 wrote: 4. SEO

I think the bloated code has something to do with this.

Absolutely. Tables aren't meant for navigation. It takes much longer to server 22 70kb templates of tables, than 22 blocks of 22KB worth of CSS code for DIVs.

Spiders/bots/crawlers DO NOT like table layouts, as it's harder for them to separate the content from the inline presentation code, in all those tables/tds/trs. Cleaner the code, faster the page load time, and more crawls you can get an hour.

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absolutecross wrote: Looks like they found a half baked excuse to close your thread on vb.com...

Yes, I PM'ed the community manager (or whatever his title was). He told me, quite politely, that the conversation was closed because it was just a series of rebuttals and wasn't going anywhere. I did explain--to both him and the person who accused me of only writing the article to get visitors to aPC--that the article took approx. 14 hours to write, that I agonised over it, and could have spent the time more remunerative work.

Basically I think they wanted an excuse for closing the thread and that guy gave it to them. I did notice that even one of their programmers couldn't find much fault with the article, basically nitpicking about flat files and use of the word 'bloatware'. If they hadn't locked the thread I would have answered his post, although that's mostly my fault as I left it for a day or two before going to reply (too late). It's sad that they didn't let the thread play-out as a lot of the members were using it to voice their own concerns with vBulletin, it could have been a great way for them to learn the ways their customers want the software improved.

In Jelsoft's (or whoever owns them) defense, they did let me voice my opinion before locking the thread, and it probably was a conversation that was going to ramble on forever. I just wish they hadn't insinuated that I'm a liar and made it look like the article was only written to gain visitors to my site. The guy who pointed that out did reply to my PM and turned out to be a nice guy, he thought there were some valid points in the article. Really though, if I were just doing it for the visitors the article could have been dashed off in five minutes: 'vbulletin sucks' blah blah blah, vbulletin is t3h suxxors (never mind why it just does 'cos I said so, innit) etc. etc. etc. But it wasn't dashed off!

Overall they were polite, did the right thing but for the wrong reasons. My impression, after that experience of the Jelsoft community, is luke warm. Although posting an article like that is somewhat like entering the lions-den. Smiling

absolutecross wrote: (e.g. usually people bring up the obvious things like private messenger, subscriptions, etc

Those modules are available, but as I was saying in this post, there're problems with them. By the time TWF moves over, those problems will be fixed (they're mostly pretty small).

absolutecross wrote: I dunno, but Drupal (and open source in general I think) seems to get under your skin, motivate and excite you (er well it does for me at least haha). Drupal is not perfect, but it is constantly improving at a pace that I can actually see on a daily basis. It's reason to be excited Sticking out tongue

Absolutely! I know what you mean.

absolutecross wrote: (my site, tutorialforums - now neverside

Don't be afraid to provide a link old chap. Wink

absolutecross wrote: I've been working on writing up some of the more subtle details in my "If only Drupal's forums could do XYZ" list

Are you planning on publishing that on one of your own sites? We'd be glad to publish it on aPaddedCell.com, with a nice linky to your site (if the article fits in with our readership of course!)

Thanks very much for your excellent post Dave! It's great to get some encouragement. I'll definitely be hollering for you when the public beta comes around. Laughing out loud

Megan wrote: Don't be too afraid of criticism. Remember this graphic.

Yes, I was remembering that graphic! The intro wasn't great, I admit it, but that graphic did stop me from destroying the rest of the article with fear.

Abhi wrote: You do still have to worry about licensing with Free Software, as it's only free because of a licence whose conditions need to be met upstream and downstream.

Hmmm, true-ish. I'm not sure how I should be worried about that, upstream is trusted because of posts like this on the Drupal forums. I know they're looking after things and that it's GPL all the way. As for downstream, well am not sure what can be done about someone stealing my code if I don't know anything about it, so I don't really worry about it. I will continue to not worry about these things until I have to: it's a bit like worrying about being run over by a bus when sat on the toilet. I can't be arsed.

Please do feel free to enlighten me why that's completely the wrong attitude to have, I was being silly (as opposed to trolling) in the paragraph above. Smiling

Abhi wrote: A hybrid human-readable + performance-optimised template storage system might be ideal.

Which is exactly how Drupal works I believe. Flat-file templates for the human-readable themes -> SQL DB cache table(s), modules often have their own cache tables -> user. Although caching is only performed for anonymous users (I believe).

Abhi wrote: You're likely right about vB not being architected for security, but regular MVC doesn't mix with security easily either. Maybe an aspect- or context-oriented approach would suit, on top of MVC.

You're bound to be right about that and I was barking up the wrong tree. I think vBulletin are usually bang-on when it comes to security, the product may not be architected for security, but they're faster than most at fixing any problems that do arise. Everything's relative too, they beat the nearest competition (phpBB) hands-down!

I suppose what that means is that by adhering to MVC and object orientation-ish (well the good bits of object orientation: implement an interface in a modular fashion) principles Drupal has better quality code. More maintainable, easier to spot bugs, easier to refactor. That's what I was trying to say: Drupal will get less security issues because of: once and only once. If most functionality is made-up of calls to highly optimized functions, then security bugs will appear with less frequency and will be easier to fix. Drupal (the core modules at least, can't speak for third-party as they may not adhere to the API) seems to have very few problems, I thought it was probably due to them using good software design practices. I probably didn't say that in the article, making it seem like MVC is the answer to security issues.

Am amazed you only found those things to talk about Abhi, my programming zen must be improving. Feel the power of my monad! Smiling

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JeevesBond;225003 wrote: I don't really worry about it. I will continue to not worry about these things until I have to: it's a bit like worrying about being run over by a bus when sat on the toilet. I can't be arsed.

Please do feel free to enlighten me why that's completely the wrong attitude to have, I was being silly (as opposed to trolling) in the paragraph above. Smiling

No, that's about the right attitude. Wink The point is to be aware of exactly what the license (GPL or otherwise) requires and not get too careless about what code you use, or how you distribute it. I guess 'worry' is too strong a word; 'careful' fits.

JeevesBond;225003 wrote: Which is exactly how Drupal works I believe. Flat-file templates for the human-readable themes -> SQL DB cache table(s), modules often have their own cache tables -> user. Although caching is only performed for anonymous users (I believe).

Ah, that sounds good.

JeevesBond;225003 wrote: I suppose what that means is that by adhering to MVC [...] using good software design practices. I probably didn't say that in the article, making it seem like MVC is the answer to security issues.

Your general point is well taken. And yeah, that's what you should have said in the article. Wink

JeevesBond;225003 wrote: Am amazed you only found those things to talk about Abhi, my programming zen must be improving. Feel the power of my monad! Smiling

I'll add a bonus comment: I agree with whoever mentioned in the vB forums thread that MVC is not quite as you described it, but it's hard to criticise a 30-word, explicitly oversimplified definition.

The article was solid because you got to the point and spoke from experience -- you should share more of that in future works.

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JeevesBond;225003 wrote: Yes, I PM'ed the community manager (or whatever his title was). He told me, quite politely, that the conversation was closed because it was just a series of rebuttals and wasn't going anywhere.

I bet I know who you're referring too. And I bet the site is "unofficial", too.

Don't count on these project sites to anything more than place setters. The vBCSS project bit the dust (and it's really the easiest one to complete), all because of that attitude your described above. No organization (despite vBulletin is a tightly run shop); with piecemeal entries that have no reason. It's worse than game mod sites, at least there's a hands-on project manager there who assigns work and reasonable timelines.

Been there, done that, and sad to learn it still continues. Sad

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Well, in my view I do not think VBulletin and Drupal are scripts to be compared. They are 2 completely different types of scripts. One is a forums script, one is a content management system.

You guys switching this board into Drupal? You mean you will integrate it together?

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Yes, we thought that since we're running Drupal for the content site, we should consider it as a forum platform as well. We were also considering Vanilla and PunBB but felt that Drupal would be the most flexible.

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Abhi wrote: I agree with whoever mentioned in the vB forums thread that MVC is not quite as you described it, but it's hard to criticise a 30-word, explicitly oversimplified definition.

Yep, it is grossly over-simplified. I didn't want to ramble about the subject as the target audience would either not understand or become bored. Should have included a caveat. Smiling

Abhi wrote: be aware of exactly what the license (GPL or otherwise) requires and not get too careless about what code you use, or how you distribute it. I guess 'worry' is too strong a word; 'careful' fits.

That's fair enough, was over-exaggerating a bit as I am careful with where code comes from, always check licenses even if I'm only going to be excercising freedom zero.

Abhi wrote: The article was solid because you got to the point and spoke from experience -- you should share more of that in future works.

Thanks very much! Smiling

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Two years ago I went into the same rut with vB over web design standards. Like MS, they simply won't change, despite change can be good overall for them.

What folks don't understand vB promotes a "old skool" programming mentality. All they concentrate on is code and how to keep appearances among the forum software community (so well known when the whole AJAX rah rah hit the fan 2 years ago, when IBP pushed it), that promotes programming code, not web standards.

As web designers understand, the move is to remove presentation code out, all to be ready for the eventual XML replacement. This transition phrase from HTML 4.01 to XML is via XHTML. Blogs have really taken off with XHTML and most try to comply with XHTML Strict coding, making it a breeze for spiders to index their sites and upkeep their work. The result is blogs getting higher page rankings.

Forum coding is at the exact opposite. It's very programming friendly (why vB has such a dedicated add-on mod site, with plenty of 15 to 20 year-old beginning coders), but the presentation of that code fails because, to date, forum software companies like vBulletin does not have any web designer on staff that can push web standards (most staff was promoted into vBulletin from that mod community, that concentrates on programming).

Years ago they tried to spearhead a CSS replacement movement, but more like a hobby, as they were adamant in not changing their forum to XHTML Strict (it wasn't about old customers with NS4 browsers, but how limiting Strict is with all those bells and whistles your article was referring too). A vBulletin staffer setup a private site to do this and invited us web designers over to hash out the web code. The result was folks like me, who doesn't tout the company line, goes back to the official forum -- after telling the dude organization is needed -- to talk about the hot issue of the day there, and got hit with a ban from that same staffer (remember the CSS site was a private off-duty forum, right?).

That's how vBulletin plays "the game" if you disagree with their direction. Two years later, I come back to get some mods, and the same attitude is there over very trivial matters. Worse, 2 years ago the same dudes got the same treatment, but now "learned" from that community the mores of staying with the status quo.

That's why you won't see them changing, like MS, they have no competition and competition they do have they ban or do the public humiliation scheme.

I haven't tried Drupal, but if Drupal is friendly to suggestions -- not defending turf -- I hope it can give vBulletin and other stick-in-the-mud forum software vendors a run for their money. If for anything, to give the end-customer (why any software company is in business) more choices for their needs. Navigation is just the tip of the iceberg (seems Drupal has taken an idea from DirectAdmin or vice versa ), web design and usability are also factors.

Great article, and also hope more folks write about these issues. We're the content makers, and content makers need software to work to our needs -- not be dictated how/what/why we can do it.

I love vBulletin as a forum, but can't stand it's programming culture. Pure pigheadness, even over the most trivial matters that's important to content-makers.

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NiteWatcher wrote: Years ago they tried to spearhead a CSS replacement movement, but more like a hobby, as they were adamant in not changing their forum to XHTML Strict (it wasn't about old customers with NS4 browsers, but how limiting Strict is with all those bells and whistles your article was referring too). A vBulletin staffer setup a private site to do this and invited us web designers over to hash out the web code.

I tried to do some conversion myself on our templates and eventually gave up. There are so many templates and so many nested tables, it's just a nightmare to get them out of there. And then there's the integration of conditionals and other programming stuff that changes every time they upgrade. You have to go through all the changed templates with the diff engine and check to see if they've changed everything important.

I don't think the'll ever change those templates over and one of the reasons (in addition to what you said) is that it's just too much work. They'd have to start over from scratch.

And the standards movement isn't going away. It's become a matter of course for many web developers. More and more people will use that as one of their deciding factors when choosing a forum platform (or any other system for that matter). VBulletin is really shooting themselves in the foot. The modular software movement is also really starting to take hold - people like us are looking for simplicity over feature sets.

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Well, after this reception by the Dupal side, I'd take vB's snot nosed kids anyday...

http://drupal.org/node/93127

Not only rude, absolutely wrong, and obnoxiously paranoid to go with it.

Adios!

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I had a skim through that thread. Looks like someone posted asking how to convert vBulletin to Drupal and it turned into a huge rant about why would you want to do that because Drupal's forum sucks. And you are surprised the Drupal community got grumpy? People show up on Drupal's forums, say Drupal's forum sucks but are not interested in helping to improve it, and wonder why the community gets upset.

What sort of reception do you think I would receive if I went to the vBulletin's forum, found someone asking how to convert their Drupal forums to vBulletin, and started ranting about how they shouldn't do that because Drupal's forum is so much better. And, yes, I do happen to prefer Drupal's forum. But I wouldn't be so rude as to go spouting about it in the vBulletin community.

Michelle

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Michelle wrote: What sort of reception do you think I would receive if I went to the vBulletin's forum, found someone asking how to convert their Drupal forums to vBulletin, and started ranting about how they shouldn't do that because Drupal's forum is so much better.

Quite right Michelle. Did Sepeck close that thread? I noticed the reply links have all disappeared (not that I have any desire to write a reply). Smiling

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JeevesBond;226229 wrote: Quite right Michelle. Did Sepeck close that thread? I noticed the reply links have all disappeared (not that I have any desire to write a reply). Smiling

He probably did. We're pretty tolerant of critical posts but sometimes it's just a train wreck and it's time to bring it to an end.

Michelle

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Having read your excellent article, I do understand the reasons for switching to Drupal. However, vBulletin is what I'm used to and it'll get hard to become accustomed to the new interface Sad

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Glad you liked the article. Switching is a risk because--as you said--vBulletin is the interface most of our members are used to. But then vBulletin has some problems, whereas Drupal is a pleasure to work on and extend.

It's a lot to get used to, and we could have made the interface a little more like vBulletin's. Although everyone did have plenty of time to give us feedback, but we didn't receive a single comment! Smiling

One more thing: we will be changing the design a lot, this is just the start. One step at a time and all that!

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Howdy all

I am here because of this article! I am thinking of doing the same thing and am currently installing everything I need locally to try this out. I have downloaded all the modules from drupal.org to get me started. Is that all I need?

I have a question though.

How did you get drupal to quote/multi-quote as above? Is it manual or is there an additional module that I haven't seen?

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how it goes. I have 5K members with 2K active and about 350K posts.

Cheers
Bruce

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Bruce wrote: I have downloaded all the modules from drupal.org to get me started. Is that all I need?

Should be! Best advice is to take a copy of your database, then test the conversion thoroughly. It'll take some time before you're ready to move the live site over, most of your time will probably be taken up matching functionality. Smiling

Bruce wrote: How did you get drupal to quote/multi-quote as above? Is it manual or is there an additional module that I haven't seen?

It's manual, but I've seen quote modules used on other Drupal forums. Have a search on the modules list, if you can't find it let me know and I'll hunt it down for you. Also be ready for a drop in functionality, although what you lose in functionality you get back tenfold in ease-of-theming and upgrades (no more fiddling with the upgrades every minor release!).

Don't know about the others on this site, but I never used the auto-quote thingamy.

Welcome to the Webmaster Forums by the way. Smiling

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Thanks for that...and the welcome.

This will definitely be an interesting project to see if I can get it to work. Just this month we consumed 100Gb bandwidth needing me to add more.

One question if I may. I actually started this today on my local machine. There are a couple of errors which has me thinking.....does Drupal have to be install in the *same* database as the forum? I tried a new DB for Drupal but the module complains it can't find a couple of VB tables...

Cheers
Bruce

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Quote: I tried a new DB for Drupal but the module complains it can't find a couple of VB tables...

You have to specify the database connection details on the configure page. Under the Where is the vBulletin database? section. It's a bit confusing unless you know the format:

databaseengine://username:password@host/databasename
'
So your database would probably look something like:
mysqli://root:password@localhost/drupaldatabase
'

If you get a blank screen or 'function already defined' error on the test page, it's probably because of a limitation of Drupal itself, it can't handle using more than one database engine at a time, e.g. MySQL and PostgreSQL, or MySQL and MySQLi. Basically: don't change the 'databaseengine' bit.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions of course. Smiling

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Hi again

Both databases are MySQL, one database for VB & PhpAdsnew and another for Drupal. In the screen you speak of, the database connection settings point to the VB database and I have a table prefix of vb_

When I click test, I get complaints about not finding vb_watchdog and vb_system....which are of course both Drupal tables (I meant Drupal tables above BTW, sorry 'bout that). I don't know if it makes a difference but I have a Drupal table prefix of dp_ which would be used on my new live DB if all this works out. That is so I can differentiate between phpadsnew, photopost and the forum/site when looking at phpmyadmin and all the tables stay "together".

I have looked into the module itself but can find no reference to either of the "missing" tables. And once again, any help would be appreciated.

Cheers
Bruce

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I decided to go ahead and see what happens. to summarise my vb database is name sprinter_ozspeed and my Drupal database is names sprinter_ascdp5. VB table prefix is vb_ and the Drupal one is dp_.

On a test it returns this:

Warning: Table 'sprinter_ozspeed.vb_system' doesn't exist query: SELECT * FROM vb_system WHERE type = 'theme' in /var/www/asc-dp5/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172

Warning: Table 'sprinter_ascdp5.vb_watchdog' doesn't exist query: INSERT INTO vb_watchdog (uid, type, message, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (1, 'php', '<em>Table &amp;#039;sprinter_ozspeed.post&amp;#039; doesn&amp;#039;t exist\nquery: INSERT IGNORE INTO sprinter_ascdp5.dp_node_revisions (nid, vid, uid, title, body, teaser, log, timestamp, format) SELECT vb_thread.threadid+1000000, vb_thread.threadid+1000000, IF(userid=0,0,userid+1000000), REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(vb_thread.title, &amp;#039;&amp;amp;amp;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;amp;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;quot;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;quot;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;lt;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;lt;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;gt;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;gt;&amp;#039;), pagetext, LEFT(pagetext, 250) AS teaser, notes, vb_thread.dateline, 1 FROM vb_thread INNER JO in /var/www/asc-dp5/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172

as well as Pass for all the checks.

and clicking Migrate does this:

   1. Importing users...
   2. Importing forums...
   3. Importing threads...

      Warning: Table 'sprinter_ozspeed.vb_system' doesn't exist query: SELECT * FROM vb_system WHERE type = 'theme' in /var/www/asc-dp5/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172

      Warning: Table 'sprinter_ascdp5.vb_watchdog' doesn't exist query: INSERT INTO vb_watchdog (uid, type, message, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (1, 'php', '<em>Table &amp;#039;sprinter_ozspeed.post&amp;#039; doesn&amp;#039;t exist\nquery: INSERT IGNORE INTO sprinter_ascdp5.dp_node_revisions (nid, vid, uid, title, body, teaser, log, timestamp, format) SELECT vb_thread.threadid+1000000, vb_thread.threadid+1000000, IF(userid=0,0,userid+1000000), REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(vb_thread.title, &amp;#039;&amp;amp;amp;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;amp;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;quot;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;quot;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;lt;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;lt;&amp;#039;), &amp;#039;&amp;amp;gt;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;gt;&amp;#039;), pagetext, LEFT(pagetext, 250) AS teaser, notes, vb_thread.dateline, 1 FROM vb_thread INNER JO in /var/www/asc-dp5/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172
   4. Importing posts...

and that is where it will sit until the cows come home.

The database however appears to have *some* data in it but not all. For example my forum has 16,629 threads and it seems to have imported 16,224 into the forum table. I have 380,175 posts and it seems to have imported 344,736 into the comments table. However nothing else works anywhere.

I have done this about 4 times during the day, all with the same result.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated.

Cheers
Bruce

JeevesBond's picture

He has: 3,955 posts

Joined: Jun 2002

It sounds like the test is causing an error and Drupal is trying to log it (obviously unsuccessfully as it's using the vBulletin database when the error occurs). Could you post a URL or screenshot?

We've got a Drupal table name prefix on this site too, so if that was a problem we should have seen it. Smiling

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JeevesBond's picture

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Ah, couldn't see your post up there due to a weird bug with our input filters (my fault as usual). This is definitely a bug in vbtodrupal.module, I'll get a fix sorted in a few hours and let you know.

It's looking for a table called: sprinter_ozspeed.post which--of course--doesn't exist due to the table prefixes. Silly error, shouldn't take long to track down. Smiling

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JeevesBond's picture

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I've fixed the problem. A new version of the module will be up on the project page within 12 hours. Smiling

Let us know if you get any further problems.

They have: 1 posts

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Quote:
Here is the link: http://www.apaddedcell.com/goodbye-vbulletin-part-1-reasons-switch

Post any questions or comments here. Smiling

Sorry, this goes off topic... Wouldn't it be desireable to have a CMS where blog posts integrate with forums, where a summary of a blog post automatically posts to forums so more detailed discussion can ensue? Above, you have to do this manually... So, maybe you show only the first level of blog comments in the blog but in the mirrored forum, threads can develop. On the other end, if someone posts a new comment in the forum, it appears in the blog. Would this be a desirable feature and is this available with Drupal, or possible with Drupal?

(Can the admin for this forum "split" this topic and move it to a different forum? Sorry, I'm trying to compare the functionality of Drupal forum to common forums like punbb, smf, or phpbb. Oh, another topic split... Sorry. What about spell checking?)

pr0gr4mm3r's picture

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Welcome to the forums, publicme. This article was posted back when we were still on vBulletin. These forums were migrated to Drupal since then. I think that's a good idea though.

JeevesBond's picture

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Would this be a desirable feature and is this available with Drupal, or possible with Drupal?

As pr0gr4mm3r said, that articles site was built when the forums were still on vBulletin. So when we posted an article before the move we just started a new forum topic to match, we've moved the forum site over to Drupal but haven't done much integration.

Getting back to your question: yes Drupal can do that, but we haven't worked out the best way to share users across the two sites. Basically it's a matter of priorities, and we've got lots of other stuff to do before we worry about integration! Smiling

Oh, another topic split... Sorry. What about spell checking?

Most decent browsers have spell checking built-in, or easily available, these days. There are a bunch of more interesting and worthwhile features we'd rather install. Advertising in return for posting/inviting new users is one.

Welcome to the forums by the way. Don't worry, you weren't really off-topic there at all, we're not strict with our members anyway. Conversations usually wander a bit. Smiling

a Padded Cell our articles site!

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Liam,

I've been running a website since late last year. It has a modest 20,000 visitors a month however pace is picking up fast, and the site is an unscalable mess, being an unintegrated mix of Mediawiki and vBulletin. I am hoping to move the site across to Drupal, however am considering various options. The most important thing is scalability for the future, and integration now can avoid many headaches later as the site grows.

I have the following questions. I understand this could be quite useful to a lot of people, so if you would rather I repost this on another forum thread, let me know where and I'll do it!

Here goes:

It has been a while now since you moved from vBulletin to Drupal - what are your thoughts on the matter in retrospect?

How have your SEO and SERP rankings been affected? (I've been using vbSEO on my forums and it has proved a much needed adrenalin shot for the website.)

Have you worked out how to do sticky threads?

Have you worked out how to show updated posts that have not been read in bold, like it does on vBulletin? How does the 'New' tage work

Subscriptions are an important part of any forum - how have you fared with Drupal?

Did you ever take a look at vbDrupal before making the move across?

Any regrets? Anything you particularly miss?

I really appreciate your input, and is likely to form a key part of the decision for going forward.

Chris.

JeevesBond's picture

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It has been a while now since you moved from vBulletin to Drupal - what are your thoughts on the matter in retrospect?

Overall we're happy, the one regret I have is trying to mix and match BBCode and HTML, it's still not working properly. The forums in Drupal still suck in many ways, but then there are many ways in which they don't. It's really a matter of whether you can live with the shortcomings in order to reap the benefits. Smiling

How have your SEO and SERP rankings been affected? (I've been using vbSEO on my forums and it has proved a much needed adrenalin shot for the website.)

We didn't see why we should pay twice to get a single product, so didn't splash out on vbSEO. Yahoo! now loves us and we're getting a lot of traffic from them, Google is still massively confused but seems to be slowly picking up changes.

SEO was one of the primary reasons for our move, you don't have that incentive and I doubt you'll get much of a boost from converting. In fact you'll probably lose rankings for a while as Google re-indexes your site. Smiling

Have you worked out how to do sticky threads?

Publishing options -> Sticky at top of lists

Weird, I've seen other people ask that question. Laughing out loud

Have you worked out how to show updated posts that have not been read in bold, like it does on vBulletin?

No, although we don't miss it. If we did I'd write a theme for our 'Recent posts' view. This wouldn't be particularly difficult.

How does the 'New' tage work

Well, on the front page it shows how many new threads there are in each forum, and on the 'Recent Posts' View it shows how many new posts there are on each topic.

Subscriptions are an important part of any forum - how have you fared with Drupal?

Very badly. The Subscriptions module sucked when we tried it, I have a horrible suspicion it hasn't become any better in the meantime. I started trying to patch the RSS feeds and was told to 'upgrade to the latest version' (and the bug was then closed_ even though my patch was for the latest CVS version and it was only a one-line change. Later I discovered that whoever is running that module has ripped-out RSS feeds altogether. At that point I gave up.

Having said that: 1. the module may have improved greatly since then 2. am pretty sure I've seen some decent alternatives on the Drupal modules page, but haven't investigated them; 3. we use the commentrss module, which generates an RSS feed for every node, so people can keep track that way. It's a kludge (and the module seems to be dead), but we've got more important stuff to worry about for now. Smiling

Did you ever take a look at vbDrupal before making the move across?

Yes, was not impressed. Bridges are a problem as they can never truly integrate two pieces of software. They're an official kludge, and even with vbDrupal would our SEO problems have been fixed? Smiling

Any regrets? Anything you particularly miss?

No and no. I Love, ahhhhh. Drupal. Laughing out loud

There's one other thing to look out for: http://drupal.org/node/148849 this bug makes some pages slower than a tortoise with all it's legs tied together. And is your site on a fast machine, with an optimised MySQL/PostgreSQL? If you switch that bug means you will need these things. Am hoping this is fixed for seven! Not that I blame Drupal as such, those tables are to work around the lack of row-locking in MyISAM. Am seriously starting to think of MySQL as the Internet Explorer of the database world. Laughing out loud

Hope this helps!

a Padded Cell our articles site!

They have: 3 posts

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Marvellous Liam thank you! That's a real help. It's a shame that subscriptions still falls short- it's something that's both essential and relatively simple. My limited experience of the other subscriptions modules (other than 'Subscriptions') is that they are not particularly well suited either. I'm not sure I have the drupal coding experience to solve the problem, but I may take a look at it later this year.

I concur with you about vbDrupal - good intentions but still misses the point.

I would like to make one point about vbSEO- I set in up in sort of 'black box' mode (just agreed with the default settings and let it be) and the difference was staggering (50% increase in 3 weeks). Moving to drupal is quite a risk- it would be criminal to move over it ended up costing us visitors in the long run. I imagine

clearly the drupal forums are beginning to pick up in pace- it looks like they might be useable out of the box by D7- we shall have to wait and see!

As for my strategy based on what you've said- I'll be moving the content part of the site first, and look at doing the forums once I've got subscriptions etc working right.

I tested your plugins in the last few days and they were absolutely spot on. Well done!

Thanks very much for your help - much appreciated!

Chris

She has: 70 posts

Joined: Nov 2007

Have a look at http://drupal.org/project/notifications . I hesitated to abandon subscriptions out of loyality to chx but the fact is that it's buggy and kept crashing my site. I finally decided to check notifications out today and I must say I'm impressed. It's complicated to set up and desperately needs docs but it's powerful and I think it will work well for forums. I'm going to work on integrating it with advforum.

Michelle

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Michelle you're angel. If it works I'll be so delighted- as I'm sure many will be!

JeevesBond's picture

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Nice find Michelle! Shame we're stuck on PHP4 for the time being. I'll be looking at that once we move hosts (not for a while yet). Sad

I get the feeling chx gets very excited and zooms around pumping out code, but then loses interest very quickly. Am quite sure he wouldn't be nearly as brilliant a developer if he wasn't like that and it takes all sorts! However, whilst these qualities seem to work really well for core development where you can 'patch and run,' contrib development requires more stamina. Contrib is harder (in some ways), and much less glamorous! Smiling

*** EDIT ***

clearly the drupal forums are beginning to pick up in pace- it looks like they might be useable out of the box by D7- we shall have to wait and see!

Think wait and see might be the best approach for the moment. You don't stand to gain much by moving to Drupal, I'm hoping seven will have a much improved forum too. Smiling

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She has: 70 posts

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Yeah, contrib does require stamina. I have two modules, now, and keep getting tempted to write "as is" on the project page. LOL

We'll see on forums in D7. I'm hoping we can get started in May. Depends a lot on when Earl is ready.

Michelle

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Joined: Jan 2008

I'm back! Laughing out loud I tried again using the very latest V5 module to transfer my VB forum (3.67) to Drupal 5.7 but still no luck. It looks like everything is there, it just does not show in the forum. The node table has 18,000 plus nodes, comments table has 420,000+ comments, users table has 6500+ users. etc etc...it is just when I click on forum nothing is tied together. Is something missing in the conversion... like the table that joins them all together? Any ideas JeevesBond?

Cheers
Bruce

JeevesBond's picture

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Seems you're not the only one with this problem, Bruce! There's a bug report: http://drupal.org/node/235196

Basically the table name prefix stuff needs better testing and debugging. Smiling

a Padded Cell our articles site!

santox's picture

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I like vBulletin because their rules aren't stuck up on the Support forum, unlike phpBB, who believe they have the right to boss everyone around simply because their software is opensource.

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I always use Phpbb, its improved a lot and easy to use and free.
{links removed}

JeevesBond's picture

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Finally got part two out! Link: Goodbye vBulletin, part two: how we got away.

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This was a great post, glad I came across it. vBulletin has always been assumed to be the best and although I have never realized the problem with it, I'm glad this post made me aware of all the issues

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