AVForums is changing...

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Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
For over a decade, we have used Jelsoft's vBulletin software to run our forums.
We use vBulletin 3.8.2 while the latest currently available version is vBulletin 5 Connect. For a number of considered reasons, we, like many other vBulletin forum admin* have declined to upgrade to the newer versions of the software since 2009, after the key developers left the company following its purchase by Internet Brands.
vBulletin 3 is now very old software, out of date both behind the scenes and in it's functionality and appearance. It does not have Facebook integration or support for many of the standards which have developed over the last few years. For example, its native search engine support is extremely poor and many admin (us included) use an addon called vBSEO which helps make the forum more search engine friendly. What was desperately needed was a complete rewrite.

The vBulletin 3 key developers, Kier Darby, Mike Sullivan and Scott MacVicar, wanted to redevelop vBulletin from scratch as far back as 2007. Internet Brands, however, insisted on working on the vBulletin 3 code to release vBulletin 4 as soon as possible. Kier, Mike and Scott all left Jelsoft in 2009.

In my opinion, Internet Brands has mismanaged the development of vBulletin, producing generally poor code in vBulletin 4, creating security problems and pricing structure issues. vBulletin 5 Connect has received considerable criticism for being a premature release absent many important features, containing old code from vBulletin 2 and being ineptly inefficient.

Because vB3 is so out of date and vB4 and vB5 connect are so poor, we cannot continue using vBulletin to run AVForums.

In 2009 Kier Darby and Mike Sullivan formed a new company and worked for a year to create Xenforo.
I think Xenforo is the best forum software available. While it's relatively new, it is extremely efficient, fast and modern feeling. Check it out here.
However, its development was paused while the Xenforo team were dealing with a lawsuit filed by Internet Brands in 2010.
The baseless claims (including that Xenforo was copied from vBulletin) were dismissed last month, and development of Xenforo has now resumed.

We are aiming to move AVForums to Xenforo in the summer.


[*] Other forums still using vBulletin 3 include:
  1. 5Series.net - Forums
  2. AudiForums.com - Powered by vBulletin
  3. Audio Video Revolution Forum - Powered by vBulletin
  4. DVD Talk Forum - Powered by vBulletin
  5. FlyerTalk Forums
  6. Land Rover Forums - Land Rover Enthusiast Forum
  7. Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums
(and these are all owned by Internet Brands!)
Plus vBulletin.org Forum - the 'community' development site for vBulletin is on vBulletin 3 and the admin have no plans to move to a later version.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Sounds good to me, but I've heard this before that AVF was moving to new forum software. Fingers crossed it actually happens this time.

Never heard of XenForo to be honest, I'm a IPB kid myself ;)
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
This probably comes too early and/or would be a quite big/risky change but did you give any consideration to discourse?
Need a solution which has a larger community in order to ensure longevity and support.
Sounds good to me, but I've heard this before that AVF was moving to new forum software. Fingers crossed it actually happens this time.

Never heard of XenForo to be honest, I'm a IPB kid myself ;)
I did consider IPB but heard bad things about it like inefficiency and bloat. Xenforo is new and lean.
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
The baseless claims (including that Xenforo was copied from vBulletin) were dismissed last month, and development of Xenforo has now resumed.
Considering Internet Brands dismissed their own claims in return for a confidential settlement suggests the claims were far from baseless, more like it was costing too much to progress and Xenforo offered both parties a way out. If the claims were truly baseless and dismissed by a Judge, then you'd get Xenforo crowing about their victory. As it is, a deal was struck to protect both parties.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
I did consider IPB but heard bad things about it like inefficiency and bloat. Xenforo is new and lean.
Not sure where you heard that, the only forum I can compare to AVF is Neowin. They run on IPB (last time I checked).

Both forums have similar sort of traffic, membership numbers, total post count and thread count. I know they had problems early on but that was down to insufficient server hardware. IPB as a software has been solid AFAIK as I know.

That being said, looking forward to this Xenforo! :thumbsup:

Had a quick go on it: http://xenforo.com/community/ As long as it can be skinned properly (that defailt theme makes my eyes bleed). It seems snappier enough certainly. It does look very similar to VB.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Considering Internet Brands dismissed their own claims in return for a confidential settlement suggests the claims were far from baseless, more like it was costing too much to progress and Xenforo offered both parties a way out. If the claims were truly baseless and dismissed by a Judge, then you'd get Xenforo crowing about their victory. As it is, a deal was struck to protect both parties.
My business is running this forum and planning our strategy forward has been something I have spent a lot of time on over the last 3 years. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. I read every public document pertaining to the IB vs XF case. Even the Internet Brands expert witness said no code had been copied. No, Internet Brands launched this suit only to remove a competitor with a better product from the market.
Internet Brands have a vast wealth of cash behind them, so money is not an issue for them. Whereas Xenforo is three blokes in the UK with a new business.
NewsXF
The Judge ordered a magistrate to oversee a settlement between the two parties and the judge then dismissed the case.
Internet Brands filed, Xenforo defended, the Judge dismissed. Sounds like a win to me.
Internet Brands have form when it comes to filing frivolous lawsuits : Internet Brands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia scroll down to Wikitravel and Wikimedia.

Not sure where you heard that, the only forum I can compare to AVF is Neowin. They run on IPB (last time I checked).

Both forums have similar sort of traffic, membership numbers, total post count and thread count. I know they had problems early on but that was down to insufficient server hardware
:) I rest my case :)

Had a quick go on it: http://xenforo.com/community/ As long as it can be skinned properly (that defailt theme makes my eyes bleed). It seems snappier enough certainly. It does look very similar to VB.
From the point of view of the layout of forums, threads and posts, there is a world-wide accepted way for doing it across virtually all the platforms which is good for people to feel familiar with and recognise. It's why all McDonalds restaurants are decorated the same.
But we will be applying our own identity to the website, of course, and Xenforo is very flexible and easy to style.
But in terms of functionality, Xenforo is better. And if you look at the horrific mess that is vB5, I think it's rather insulting to Xenforo to say they are similar :)

I will say at this point that I learned some time ago that it's a waste of time trying to please everyone. So I am employing the services of qualified, experienced designers and one coder, overseen by myself (with 34 years computing experience), the editorial team and selected non-technical people to produce a site which is as good as we can make it.
On the basis that opinion is subjective, input from anyone else will not significantly influence our decisions.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Will all the history of av forums be transferred to xenforno, i would assume both software are not compatible.
Yes.

Well the database of one forum will not work on another, so from that point of view, no two forums are 'compatible'.
But forum developers put significant resources into creating importers in order to make it easy for people to migrate to their platform.
When I first tested the importer from vBulletin 3 to Xenforo some years ago, it failed after 48 hours. Obviously having the forums offline for 48 hours is a non-starter.
But there is a new importer nearing completion which imports the data in a significantly shorter time. It was tested with our database this weekend. Here are the results :

exporting posts...
[forking process for posts]
post IPs (18,111,496 records in 609.45s)...
likes (0 records in 0.22s)...
post edit history (1,617,112 records in 1,937.58s)...
reported posts (0 records in 199.25s)...
reported post comments (0 records in 165.70s)...
reported profile posts (0 records in 0.37s)...
reported profile post comments (0 records in 0.08s)...
reported private messages (0 records in 32.06s)...
reported private message comments (0 records in 0.74s)...
Total time for posts: 2,945.54s

exporting users...
[forking process for users & user authenticate]
user external auth (0 records in 0.17s)...
user follow (21,831 records in 0.23s)...
user ignored (1,071 records in 2.73s)...
user notes (15,532 records in 1.51s)...
user options (321,850 records in 8.48s)...
user profile (0 records in 0.05s)...
user privacy (321,850 records in 0.92s)...
user warnings (24,460 records in 270.18s)...
user bans (0 records in 0.67s)...
warning action triggers (0 records in 0.45s)...
skipping user fields (0 records in 0.07s)...
user registration IPs (321,850 records in 17.25s)...
user account confirmation IPs (0 records in 2.46s)...
user change log (0 records in 0.05s)...
user change log IPs (0 records in 1.70s)...
profile posts (32,141 records in 0.39s)...
profile post IPs (32,141 records in 1.68s)...
user upgrades active (0 records in 0.06s)...
user upgrades expired (0 records in 0.04s)...
user upgrades log (0 records in 0.07s)...
Total time for users: 309.16s
*** Don't forget to rebuild user cache ***

exporting threads...
[forking process for threads]
watched threads (2,107,481 records in 2.42s)...
thread user post (7,122,379 records in 11.33s)...
polls (514,585 records in 18.27s)...
thread read (311,621 records in 1.52s)...
Total time for threads: 33.58s
*** Don't forget to rebuild poll cache ***

exporting private messages...
conversation master (950,553 records in 25.32s)...
conversation message (950,553 records in 103.26s)...
conversation recipient (1,496,769 records in 20.87s)...
conversation user (1,084,521 records in 19.94s)...
skipping private conversation IPs
Total time for private messages: 169.40s

exporting forums...
nodes (368 records in 0.31s)...
forums (0 records in 0.04s)...
link forums (19 records in 0.04s)...
forum read (43,712 records in 0.11s)...
watched forums (4,044 records in 0.07s)...
Total time for forums: 0.56s

exporting micellaneous stuff...
deletion log (264,618 records in 2.67s)...
moderator log (186,761 records in 23.39s)...
daily stats (24,852 records in 0.88s)...
Total time for micellaneous stuff: 26.94s
Grand Total For Everything: 58 minutes, 08 seconds (35,562,499 records)
***Avatars and attachments skipped***
Importing of avatars and attachments is currently being worked on.

Note that there is no iTrader functionality in the core product, though there is an add-on. So those records would also need to be imported separately. I anticipate that a few features we have added will take a small amount of time to start functioning after the main migration. But it won't be anything to worry about as the old data will be available until we are 100% satisfied that we have everything running.

We have a few months to organise all this.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Are we going to have an early preview at this? Maybe something like beta.avforums.com? Is it feasible to run it alongside the current implementation of AVF? Before we jump ship entirely?
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
We will, of course, have a sandbox version with a large, temporary copy of the forums on it. Whether members will have access to it or not has not been considered, yet. AVForums will function reasonably closely to the Xenforo forums because I don't want to add too many customisations. So you can get a reasonable idea of how it will work by looking there.
 
I don't usually take any notice of what software forums run on, the only one's i usually recognise are vbulletin, but since the talk of changing to xenforo and it looking very poor indeed, i have been taking notice of what other forums use and the only other one that impresses me is something called ip board, it looks miles better than xenforo, i just thought i would mention this incase xenforo doesn't work out.

Xenforo looks old and unfinished like something from the early days of the internet, but ip board looks fresh and modern, i might even go as far as to say it looks better than vbulletin.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Invision powerboard is the other major player in the paid forum platform market. I have discounted it because of my findings with regard to it's server requirements and back end. Basically (and I have said this on here recently) it is somewhat bloated.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing forum software for AVForums including what is going on in the background. While IPboard is much more mature than Xenforo, the latter is much leaner and more modern. I disagree with you on the subjective analysis of its appearance.
But don't forget that forums are often styled very differently. Our current design is modified to look more like Xenforo in advance of moving to it.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Looks aren't a big deal, most decent forum software can be skinned heavily, I'm assuming Xenforo has extensive customization features.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Looks aren't a big deal, most decent forum software can be skinned heavily, I'm assuming Xenforo has extensive customization features.
Yes

Will there be any impact on the android app - could certainly use an update.
This is a different topic. We are moving to Tapatalk.
 

kav

Distinguished Member
I just realised that one of the mods of XenForo is an old mate from the Xbox forums here, Brogan. Good for him.
 

John

Moderator
Wasn't it Brogan that lived in an apartment in Docklands overlooking the Thames ? Sure i saw hi set up in the gallery at some time
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Just had an update in the newsletter - all looking good! The new design looks epic too.
Wow - the first feedback from a regular forum member.
Good that it's positive.
We have our tin hats on, though.
Only newsletter recipients have seen that information about the forthcoming changes.

Sounds good to me, but I've heard this before that AVF was moving to new forum software. Fingers crossed it actually happens this time.

Never heard of XenForo to be honest, I'm a IPB kid myself ;)
By the way, according to this page (near the bottom), Xenforo already has 50% more market share than IPB.
 

w3dal

Distinguished Member
Wasn't it Brogan that lived in an apartment in Docklands overlooking the Thames ? Sure i saw hi set up in the gallery at some time
Indeed, I bought one of his pioneer screens - amazing apartment.

Looking forward to seeing the new look av forums :thumbsup:
 
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