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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) The forum isn't always better on the other side. (Read 10,966 times)
westwegoman
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The forum isn't always better on the other side.
May 15th, 2012 at 11:07pm
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One can imagine that something is better but.... In reality, it may not be so.

Late last month (March) I decided that it would, for some reason, be a good idea to move my forum to another software. My thinking was that once it got big, if ever, that there would be problems. My thinking into the situation way too far, brought me to executing this move.

I won't go into full details on what  brought me back to the light of YaBB but will say that in the end, it's quite simple. Those other forums might install easier and may have easier modification but YaBB has them eating smoke when it comes to features such as template skinning and the ever so awesome backup feature!

I started my forum in late 2007. From what I hear about older versions of YaBB and what I've experienced with the versions that I have worked with, YaBB has come a long way and I believe will continue to improve in the years to come.

If someone is thinking of switching away from YaBB, take more time investigating the complete situation before pulling the trigger. I only wish my firing pin was broken when I did. Cry

Mervin,
Segnette.com
  
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Bill Myers
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #1 - May 16th, 2012 at 12:25am
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WestwegoMan wrote on May 15th, 2012 at 11:07pm:
One can imagine that something is better but.... In reality, it may not be so.
...

I think your statement is a good one to remember; all of it.

The main reason I've continued to use this forum is because of what Corey wrote about YaBB's future; at least its intended future. Also, the YaBB forum that matters to me ain't broke, so there's nothing to fix.

The only reason I installed other forum software on two different domains was to test that other forum out, and really only because my own limitations have kept me from installing YaBB again. I am still getting that dreaded 500 error, but there's no emergency going on here, so I will figure this out at some point on my own.

After all, in 2002 I installed a YaBB forum on one of my sites that is still using it. I subsequently did a fresh install of V2.4 a couple of years ago, and ported all of the data from the old forum to the new one ... same address ... long story.

So yes, I can install YaBB, and yes, I will install YaBB again at some point.

I can tell people firsthand in terms of using another forum that better is not always best.

What!? Think about it.  Smiley

By the way, "better" is a relative term.  Roll Eyes

Edited:
I don't even use YaBB's backup feature. All forums have them.

Instead, I use WinSCP to regularly copy updated files in the forum throughout the day when I'm around, and each evening I use Cobian Backup to backup those files onto an external hard drive.

Not counting our server's backup, the changed files in our forum, and every other changed file on our server for every domain get backed up at least once a day if not more depending on how many files have been changed.

So we have at minimum of at least 3 copies of every file that we have on our server (and on all of our computers). Retrieving backed up files is not uncommon.

Additionally, we keep four or five of YaBB's backed up files on hand in case any of the older files are needed. That hasn't happened too often, but on occasion those older backups have been a big help.
« Last Edit: May 16th, 2012 at 12:41am by Bill Myers »  

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westwegoman
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #2 - May 16th, 2012 at 5:37am
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Just to top things off, I now have album.pl integrated with my YaBB forum now, and that makes me happy, happy, happy:)Smiley
  
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Corey Chapman
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #3 - May 21st, 2012 at 2:39pm
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That's great to hear.  I'm not going to say that YaBB is better or worse than other systems.  But certainly there are advantages to YaBB or it would not have lasted this long with other systems surpassing it in features and setup programs.  And certainly other sytems have their advantages too.  It's all in ones' liking, but it's great (and common) to hear that when people move away from YaBB they wish they hadn't.  I'm glad you came back!
  

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The Boy
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #4 - May 28th, 2012 at 7:11pm
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As Corey and others suggest, sometimes, whilst other products may be (or appear to be) better in some areas, there are many areas where YaBB is very strong.  These strengths (and weaknesses) will vary from forum to forum based on requirements.

If you are thinking of moving to other software, note what you like as well as what you dislike about YaBB, and then make a comparison.
  
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Elfen
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #5 - Jun 9th, 2012 at 6:52pm
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Corey Chapman wrote on May 21st, 2012 at 2:39pm:
I'm not going to say that YaBB is better or worse than other systems.  But certainly there are advantages to YaBB or it would not have lasted this long with other systems surpassing it in features and setup programs.  And certainly other sytems have their advantages too.

I'm going to say it is, Corey.

Before my laptop got stolen at around the time of my mother's funeral last year, I was writing a book about community web software that is out there. Within that book was a chapter on Forums.

There are over 200+ forum software out there, free or not. I tried a good majority of them because I was trying to write this book. Of them all, YaBB stands out on simplicity of design, installation, use of system resources, etc. Only negative which is an actual Plus is its own Database File system.

Many forums out there uses MySQL as its database. But MySQL has its weaknesses if set up minimally, among other things, being hacked so easily. Thus a forum that uses MySQL has that as its weakness. YaBB's data file system ensures that the files are not so easily found, though they are in the CGI-BIN/Messages folder, they can be put elsewhere on the system to make it that much more stronger in security and harder to get too.

But this data file system has a weakness not forseen. It takes time to access when files get too big. This is not a problem within YaBB it self but the system which YaBB is on. If one simply replaces the Hard drive with a much faster one, or I recommend an SSD (Solid State Drive) or a RAM Drive, then YaBB will blow out the water what forums are out there, no matter how big it gets. The Laserpointer Forum used to be on YaBB, but because of this problem, his ISP forced him to go to phpBB and rent out a high end server using an enterprise version of MySQL. If he would have gotten an SSD for his YaBB Data Files, he would not be in this problem of paying through the nose. At the time, his YaBB was processing over 100 logged in users posting a few hundred posts at once. Now he's paying through the nose for the system he has now.

I did this search engine for this (now dead) Search Engine. With the SSD System I had, it accessed 30GB of Data in .010 seconds and processed that information in .0725 seconds for a total access and display time of .0825 seconds. Now image YaBB Running on that! And it was from Over the shelf hardware, not fancy custom made stuff! In fact, it was on an old G5 (2.0Ghz dual Processor) Xserve by Apple doing this. The only thing that made it so wickedly fast and powerful was the SSD.

In working with other forum software (phpBB, myBB, SimpleMachines), in order to put mods on it, you need to be a phpBB and MySQL programmer. Installing such mods can take hours where YaBB takes minutes. It includes making modifications to the database, in YaBB you do not touch the database, it does the work for you.

The few Perl Forums out there are just as bad. Like vBulletin, a couple of them you must pay them so they can put the modifications on the site for you. PAY?!!! darn! vBulletin and Simple Machines have their programs encrypted in Hexadecimal so that you cant modify the code! (But they will for you for a fee...)

Vanilla and a few forums out there like it, is so small and simple, its not even a forum. Its a Post Up Bulletin Board like those you see in your supermarket! It lacks

YaBB is supported by a community, is very secure, easy to install and modify. The problems most people have with YaBB is not following the instructions carefully and to the letter exactly. Then they come here for help and they get it. I give it when I can. In the 10+ years I have tinkered around with YaBB and comparing it with others, I can say that it is the best forum system out there.
« Last Edit: Jun 9th, 2012 at 6:57pm by Elfen »  
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The Boy
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #6 - Jun 9th, 2012 at 9:19pm
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Sorry Elfen, a Crucial m4 SSD did not make my YaBB usable. Yes, it was quicker than the HP P400 hosted R1 mechanical disk setup, but it wasn't the solution.

For me, Simple Machines was the answer. And its open source, and not encrypted as you hint above.  I've made a fair few mods to mine.

I have to run my site on a shoestring, and without doubt, for a forum my size, SMF needs far few resources, and runs far faster and more reliably (YaBB itself is reliable, but its resource requirements can sink the OS). Since September, when I migrated, I've had far better uptime than under YaBB.

BTW, vBulletin is php, not perl.


I like YaBB. It has a very clean, clear interface. It just doesn't scale without throwing masses of hardware at it.
  
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Elfen
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #7 - Jun 13th, 2012 at 8:12pm
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Mistakes noted and I'm sorry for posting them.

I see the problem, the drive you stated: Crucial m4 SSD; is a low end consumer device. But that still would not answer the issue if it were one of the high end ultra expensive units like used by NASA for its Mars Rover, other robots and satellites. What I am talking about is a drive based on RAM. This can be done 2 ways - software, which takes away from your system RAM or hardware, a physical drive made from RAM. The second is not a cheap option but it is viable and makes webservers run like sound barrier breaking cars on their race runs.

HyperOS is one such system - http://www.hyperossystems.co.uk/07042003/hardware.htm
It used to cost $1600, a few years ago, but its now 1/4 the price today, but that does not include RAM, Backup Battery of External Power Supply. But the speed you can access your site with it.... Oh... Boy...!!!!

I'm assuming that you run and own the LaserPointer Forum. Great place, even though its huge. I remember before you switching it, it was a YaBB Forum. But hardware issues could not keep up with your demand. You sir, own a high end forum. Not that many people here will achieve that ranking in user access, members, and postings. but to take YaBB to where you took it proves that is can handle quite a bit of traffic as long as the hardware can handle it.

Perl itself is too system dependent. If the system is slow, so will your Perl and anything connected to it, like YaBB. The opposite is also true - if the system is fast, so will your Perl and anything connected to it, lke YaBB. The problem here (Not just on YaBB) is people are putting up forums on either a cheap or found on the street PC they converted to a webserver and tied it to their cable modem or bought the $1.99 GoDaddy special and expect it to run without problems.

Being a forum admin in these cases means you have to give a lot to get a lot. That means: upgrading RAM, HD and CPU Power on that PC you are running as a webserver at home, and also upgrade your Cable Modem Connected to a Partial T1 line. If you are doing the Go Daddy $1.99 Special, you need to dish out some real dough and get a dedicated server connected to one of their fast lines.

Being and doing Cheap will only get people problems and they will blame on the software when it is the hardware that is at fault. Like you say, you do have to throw some hardware to get YaBB going. But the same applies to everything else. I can guess you are not running your forum on a rinky dink PC you picked up off the street. That SSD you have I can guess is part of the system. It is a dream system that most others wants but wont do the work for. You have and I salute you for it.

Hell - I do have YaBB 1.Gold running on a Dell Latitude P100 Laptop (Pentium @ 100MHz) with a 4gb HD running Windows 95 and 32megs of RAM! That just shows that you dont need much to get YaBB going. But would I put that forum online? Not today. Back in 1999 when I created it, yes but not today. The system is not powerful enough to handle large amounts of traffic that would go through it though it can do 20 simultaneous connected users.
  
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The Boy
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #8 - Jul 9th, 2012 at 7:07pm
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Any cache drive needs to be big enough to hold all of the forum files, along with any other frequently accessed file. Linux's own caching does a reasonable job of this, given enough RAM. (If not enough RAM, Linux struggles to handle its resources, and invariably falls over).

On the same hardware, my SMF site loads pages in approx 0.8s, and YaBB site in approx 4s.  I think that shows, once the site gets to a certain size, flat files are not the answer.

My site is not the laserpointer one, mine is www.omegaowners.com Smiley
  
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Dandello
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #9 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 4:20pm
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I'm very familiar with Perl, less so with PHP/mySQL but I suspect that part of the load difference between SMF and YaBB on large sites has to do with splitting the functions between two programs and process areas instead of just of having just one - no matter how many children/forks/etc that can be supported.

There's also the matter of data optimization - with mySQL there is a certain level of forced optimization in that there are certain data structures it simply won't do so you have to plan for it and think about it and come up with a decent solution.

Of course, I could be wrong.
  

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depablo
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #10 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 5:02pm
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MySQL ease of backup and ability to run queries for all sorts of stuff, way to go  Smiley
  

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Dandello
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #11 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 6:07pm
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Well, Perl can do that as well - but also I know there are newer and better ways for Perl to do those things than what's currently being used in YaBB. (However, properly updating and optimizing would require some major changes in how the data is structured.)

But with mySQL there's a program that's dedicated to just the data handling and so (I think) would be in a different processing space than the http server or Perl or php compilers. Also, simply putting the data within the constraints of the mySQL data structure requires the data to be properly configured before storage rather than 'fixing' obsolete structures on the fly as they are accessed (but not necessarily fixed in the data itself).
  

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Bill Myers
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #12 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 6:35pm
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From a layman's point of view, mySQL seems to be a better structure for data to reside, but I have no idea if that means it's the better way to optimize a membership database.

I guess what might make the better point as to what's best is to see what trend there is in managing membership databases. In other words, is this what the webmaster community at large is doing?

I'm personally more leery about mySQL than I am with a straight file structure, but in truth that's simply because I'm largely ignorant about how mySQL actually works. The result is that my inexperience about mySQL makes me fearful of it because I don't understand it.

I'm actually using mySQL now with another forum software ... testing it ... but I'm so old school about being able to touch and feel straight files that I wonder what I could do, or would do if a mySQL database got corrupted.

But then, I guess I'd be okay because of backups. Still. I'm behind the curve on this stuff. Undecided

  

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depablo
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #13 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:42pm
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Keep backups and when you need to carry something out usually someone will suggest running a query.

If it fails or messes up, just drop the database and reinstall backup (all done in a couple of minutes).
  

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Bill Myers
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Re: The forum isn't always better on the other side.
Reply #14 - Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:47pm
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depablo wrote on Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:42pm:
Keep backups and when you need to carry something out usually someone will suggest running a query.

If it fails or messes up, just drop the database and reinstall backup (all done in a couple of minutes).

Good to know. Thanks!
  

Morning, noon, or night, have a great one!

Note: This forum doesn't allow for us to freely edit our posts or topics to make corrections as needed, so please remember to look for subsequent posts if you see any mistakes or outdated information. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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