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Conversion and Migration : do we need a special application or keep the porter plugin? a discussion

UnderDogUnderDog MVP
edited April 2012 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8

So I'm looking into migrating from lots of other forum systems to Vanilla. Just for a Wiki article.

I see that we can migrate from the following systems:

  • Vanilla 1.* and 2.*
  • vBulletin 3.* and 4.*
  • phpBB 2.* and phpBB 3.*
  • bbPress 1.*
  • SimplePress 1.*
  • SMF (Simple Machines) 1.*
  • punBB 1.*

Since lately there have been questions to migrate from MyBB to Vanilla and MyBB isn't on the list, I'm trying to figure out how other systems are handling their migrations.

They seem to have a special 'tab' on their install script that lets them convert from other system to their system, which is fine.

That makes me wonder : Do we need a special application that handles the migration from other scripts to Vanilla, or is the porter plugin doing its job?

If we're making an application we could make the general import in the application and let plugins for that special application handle the delivery of the data from the external forum system (a bit abstract, but hope you're still following me)

Porter Application

  • MyBB plugin
  • vBulletin plugin
  • phpBB plugin
  • bbPress plugin
  • SimplePress plugin
  • SMF plugin
  • punBB plugin

Any new forum system to convert from? Make a plugin. Any new version from a forum system? Update its specific plugin.


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  • last & final bump
    @Lincoln, @Todd, @x00, @peregrine, @422 @PhilAG show your opinions please :-)

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  • I haven't used or looked at the porter plugin or a new one as you suggested, but it certainly seems to create havoc with the permissions table and role tables (based on user responses). Maybe their should be a change there, or a proviso before using it. Maybe it should dump the permissions and role table to a safe place before it executes and restore them after the other processing and have the admin fix things from the dashboard. My first few posts on this board was requesting an explanation of some things dealing with junction tables and a -1 in the permission table (didn't get any specific answers). I did learn that a positive number turns a feature on in the rightmost columns of the table, but not much else.

    As far as an improved plug-in sounds good to me. I don't know enough about it to even attempt the machinations there.

    I may not provide the completed solution you might desire, but I do try to provide honest suggestions to help you solve your issue.

  • x00x00 MVP
    edited April 2012

    You could make the porter out of any framework of your choosing. so Garden is one such framework.

    However you could also extend the existing standalone version, (get the developer version on git hub, which has a make.php), instead of combining all the files with make, you could keep the ExportController controllers file external for new ones to be added in. So that people could put them in the same folder to include them.

    You would have to have some code that check for these and include them. Maybe the simplest is to prefix these file names with something. Or you could go for more advanced detection, but not really necessary. Overkill.

    For an exporter you don't need it to be 100% perfect, becuase it is a conversion tool, that should do the job, but outside the integrity of the data and a the front end interface making sense, the rest of the application doesn't have to tie up everything. Bare bones.

    I would think of what is simplest for a webmaster to use. if they have to set up an application in a framework, it might be going a bit far for something that isn't goign to be used that often, if at all again. Extract folder, point their browser, or use the command line, enter info, done. That sort of thing.

    So standalone would make the most sense, minimal dependencies, or setup.

    grep is your friend.

  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff

    Internally, we are still using the porter to do conversions and I'm always trying to port permissions better as I write a new import. I don't really suggest abandoning it, and honestly I can't see this being a good community project.

    Whenever I've taken a porter from the community it has been about 50% complete at best. Why is this? I can think of three main reasons:

    1. When someone writes a porter they do it for their own community so they write it to a point that is good enough, but not perfect. Then when I grab their work I have to do a lot of re-work.

    2. A porter doesn't need to be perfect because you really only need to port your data once. If configuration settings don't exactly map then you can tweak things once your forum launches.

    3. The task of writing a data exporter is not glamourous work. With no monetary motivation then I can see people getting disinterested with the task at hand and leaving it unfinished.

  • Thanks guys for your input. It makes a lot of sense and I like the inputs.

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  • I haven't told you this but I have created my own version called PorterPlus. I supposed to have released by now, but haven't go round to it.

    Right now it has a lot of phpBB fixes.

    grep is your friend.

  • awesome, but still a plugin?

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  • UnderDog said:
    last & final bump
    @Lincoln, @Todd, @x00, @peregrine, @422 @PhilAG show your opinions please :-)

    Apologies, just logged in for the first time in a while and saw your bump. I'll have to look at my profile settings to see why I wasn't emailed when you asked for opinions...

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