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Update for critical security issue in PHPMailer included in release Vanilla 2.3.1
Please upgrade to 2.3 here. The 2.2 and earlier branches are no longer being updated.

Vanilla Importer: Phorum

edited October 2011 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.2
Hi folks - killing myself here, but I've had a Phorum message board for 5-6 years and have had to move the database to a new host. I was all ready to upgrade to Vanilla, unfortunately Phorum isn't included as an option for the Vanilla Importer. I'm wondering if there is any groundswell support to include Phorum in the importer or if anyone has found a solution to porting a Phorum database to Vanilla. If not I'll have to stick with Phorum, and I'm very fond of Vanilla! Thanks.


  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    Your the first person I've heard that's requested it so no groundswell at this time.

    We usually program a porter if a customer requests it or if a significant number of people request one. The porter system is relatively simple to extend yourself if you want to do the programming.
  • You might try and see if you can convert to one of the supported forum sofware, and the convert into Vanilla.

    grep is your friend.

  • I'm in an even more challenging position: I have to convert ten years of ListServ archives into a Vanilla Forum.

    Can anyone provide details on how the import file should be formatted? This should at least make it possible for me write my data to a format the Vanilla importer can understand. I've dug through some of the sample export files to try to reverse-engineer a DTD.

    A thorough DTD for the import format might be very useful information for those who are using unsupported forums like Phorum.

    I feel the groundswell...
  • oof! Did you see the sample import file that you can find when you read the theme quickstart? It's a .tar.gz file that has a "demo database" you can import into Vanilla.
  • I did see the sample import file for "demo database". I'm working my way through it to try to understand hot to properly create my export. It's not a difficult task, but it is very tedious and time-consuming. My hope was that Vanilla already had a DTD for the format that could be shared with a few button clicks. If not, then I'll share what I come up with, if I don't get drug off to do another project and Vanilla languishes for another few months...
  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    @CurtisOden, I'd be interested in helping with a listserv import, but I actually don't know what format it's stored in. Can you explain or maybe we can go offline and I can get a sample dump from you to see how hard it might be?
  • @Todd, ListServ archives it's data in a string of appended MIME files. It's tough to actually access these files in "realtime" since the ListServ process is constantly opening and writing to these files. Rather than trying to fight with ListServ, I set up a catch-all email account. My script downloads new messages as them come in and parses the email into database tables.

    The benefit of this approach is that I can use ANY email based discussion to populate my forum. The most annoying issue, however, is dealing with "Reply-to" content embedded in each message. Non-standard HTML or Encoding can be problematic as well. I end up doing a lot of cleanup to make the messages readable.

    If you run your own ListServ or SMTP server, you can also set up an SMTP trap that snags and stores messages as they come through.

    All of these techniques are a bit of a kludge, but I'm hoping Vanilla will help make it an elegant kludge!

    Email me your contact information to, and I'll be happy to discuss some of the challenges I've faced, and those that I'm still trying to overcome.
  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    My email is I'd love to see a the first 200K an archive.
  • This is an ancient thread but the topic is still relevant to some. I need to move 20,000 posts from phorum to vanilla.

    This is ugly but SMF has a converter for phorum.
    Then SMF -> phpbb -> Vanilla .... is at least theoretically possible. This would probably end up taking a whole day. But I have a hunch it would work.

    20,000 posts combined with phorum's lack of phone support makes it worth a try.

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    You can at least skip the SMF to phpBB step, since the Vanilla porter directly supports importing SMF forums

  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited April 24

    If you wanna email me a database dump (lincoln at vanillaforums dot com), we might be able to create one. I'm not sure it'd be fast enough for you, but it'd help the next person along.

    If you do: You can blank/replace the emails before sending. We'd appreciate if you sent us at least 1 valid/working password in the database (including telling us what it is) so we can validate a working password migration too. The rest could be blanked as well. In any case, we'll destroy or anonymize the data when we're done.

  • A couple years back, as an experiment, I used the Phorum->SMF->Vanilla workflow and it went much smoother than I expected. Sorry, don't recall what, if any, snags occurred. Maybe I don't recall any snags because there weren't any?

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