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Where do we go now ?

K17K17 Français / French Paris, France ✭✭✭

Excuse my french if my post isn't clear. I'm still learning.

Welcome here to Vanilla's death. It's sad to say as I was using it since 2012 and was even devlopping addons for vanilla (with variable quality one might argues) but as we know today, the last stable pre-compilled released of Vanilla is 2021.009, wich dosen't support PHP 8+ at all.

Security

These concerns are multiple, as Vanilla OSS can't be counted as maintained anymore. Why ? Because all new "releases" on github are not pre-built and and there's no real release in sight. So most forums will have to stick to 2021.009 (or even older releases) wich means no security update, breaches not covered etc. Third-party security is also important but it leads to my next point:

Longevity

PHP 7.x is on it's way out. Yes, PHP was late to this fast-releases paradigme BUT now they're going fast with security in mind, while implementing breaking changes to also improve performance. On many hosts, you can't really choose wich PHP version you can use (most will limit you to supported PHP versions plus the most recent unsupported one). It may makes a lot of forums down like the "mysql_connect isn't defined" plague we faced when PHP 5.5 was released.

Vanilla was a great forum software but was doomed as an open source software. It seems that some persons in VF, Inc. wanted to ditch the open source version for long, and work on expensive af hosted service only. They were in their right of course, but it can feel kinda deceptive in some ways, for the OSS users. The final nail in the coffin might have been the acquisition who put Vanilla OSS in the bin, for good.

So where do we go, from now ?

I used Vanilla and helped non-profit organisations to migrate from old forum software to Vanilla: now I'm making them using more promising software, with a clearer business model oriented around it's open-source core.

Fortunately for us, many forum and community softwares do exists but a lot don't support migration from Vanilla. As @Linc seems to work on a porter version that can be used to go all steam to Flarum, it isn't all lost. The "Porter" format might be a great way to grant communities portability. Let's keep an eye on it. See post below;

To use it and follow developpement, I might advise you to check out the project website: https://nitroporter.org/

If you want to create a community from scratch, you may want to choose something other than Vanilla. The future of this software seems dark, except if some "community edition" pops up from a volunteer like what happened to the WebsiteBaker CMS.

I'm really sad to see this software dying and would like to help maintain it as a free and open source software but that's beyond my capabilities. Vanilla has a great features set.

Comments

  • BleistivtBleistivt Moderator

    If you have a fairly standard community setup & your community can tolerate a complete UI changeover, then you should probably switch to Flarum, yes.

    But there are communities that have build up deep technical integrations into other CMSes, Apps, APIs etc. with lots of custom code and entire applications based on Garden/Vanilla. These won't be able to make such a switch. @phreak and I are running/managing some of those and we are commited to supporting them for the forseeable future. If you are interested in cooperating on patches and maybe even a helping on a fork, please contact us!

    We can not make any promise that there will be a "community edition" with PHP8 support ready next month, but I since Vanilla Cloud will want to run on PHP8 themselves, I suspect the newer GitHub release branches may already be compatible albeit unbuilt.

    K17Linc
  • phreakphreak Vanilla*APP (White Label) & Vanilla*Skins Shop MVP
    edited October 23

    Thanx for raising the issue again @K17.

    Yep, many of us have seen this coming and there were some public and some non-public conversations between users, developers, with Vanilla team members around this issues in the last two years. The ones who let us down the most were from my opinion the Vanilla C-levels. The attitude, ah man.

    But we kept plugins working (@Bleistivt), some left of course (@x00), some returned as free man (@Linc) and many others kept helping (@R_J) or moderating in the last years (just naming a few, there were roughly a handful more people steering this tiny OS ship).

    @Bleistivt and I are working a lot with Vanilla, developing, designing, the iOS and Android native app we made and of course with our own communities. We are open for what comes next when its OS driven.

    But before we come to any conclusions whats next, lets ask for more voices on this thread regarding:

    Who is still here and would support a more community driven Open Source Vanilla?

    • VanillaAPP | iOS & Android App for Vanilla - White label app for Vanilla Forums OS
    • VanillaSkins | Plugins, Themes, Graphics and Custom Development for Vanilla
    K17
  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    Where do we go? Well, I don't have a community, I was just someone who was learning PHP by working on an open source project. But if somebody asks me "What forum script should I use?" or "What should I do with my Vanilla forum?" I'd say "Try Flarum or MyBB, but for Flarum you will need at least a basic understanding of software development and some Linux skills."

    Flarum has the Nitro Porter and MyBB has a "merge system" which supports Vanilla, but I do not know how well that works.

    K17
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin

    When you're comfortable with that release, feel free to make it the "official" one in the Addons directory and announce it as you see fit. I'm sure it would be appreciated. Happy to answer any questions or troubleshoot if there's a problem with the upload process.

    K17timme2707
  • Interesting observation .....

    I have gone ahead and built a release for each build from 2022.014 through to 2022.021 (after finally working out how to setup a functional development environment, which was a challenge!)

    2022.014/015/016/017/018/019 all work without issue.

    2022.020 and 2022.021 (both my own compiled version + the build posted above) only display a blank page on the Admin Dashboard - the main forums load, just no Dashboard access? This is in the same development environment that the previous builds up to 2022.019 worked fine on, with no changes.

    In regards to PHP 8 unfortunately even 2022.019 still doesn't work with it - in my somewhat limited abilities to work out why it stems from the following deprecated function which is still used in the vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php file (and probably elsewhere?)

    https://www.php.net/manual/en/reflectionparameter.getclass.php

    I wish for PHP 8 support :)

    pioc34K17
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin

    Vanilla Cloud will want to run on PHP8 themselves

    I don't think they've even made it to 7.4 yet.

    pep_oliveras
  • I also thought about this, surely with some of the big enterprise companies that are on Vanilla Cloud they wouldn't be left on 7.4 when it goes EOL?

    I've seen a few things on GitHub which suggests/confirms that PHP 8 is being worked on.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    Linc
  • AoleeAolee Hobbyist & Coder ✭✭
    edited November 4

    Started using Vanilla since 2010 and till now I think my version is still on an old 2.4 version. Sad, there is a popular saying in my country "There's no forever". Quite difficult to move as I'm also considering my google ranking. Question now for me is... should I shift to a different platform like Flarum? but i heard SEO Sucks as it's a javascript generated engine, so Is it really worth moving to? Plus the fact that Forum in general is dying. Thanks to Facebook groups 😡. Perhaps if Facebook group dies then internet forums might come back (again there is no forever).

    K17
  • Who knows? There might be use case still!

    I am looking into Flarum as a possible alternative but if Vanilla ends up working under PHP 8 then tlit gets my vote (have a large forum I'd like to migrate, the only thing stopping me is PHP 7.4's upcoming end of life in less than a month

    K17
  • For those following this thread I have managed to get 2021.009 working under PHP 8.1!

    https://open.vanillaforums.com/discussion/39227/vanilla-2021-009-modified-for-php-8-support#latest

  • manticore789manticore789 Australia New

    From what I have seen on Free Flarum (at least), the platform does not support HTML code in any content copied and pasted into the Composer tool. I tried looking in all their add-ons and inquiring on the Net, without much luck.

    Has anybody managed to get HTML to display correctly on their Pages? If not, this could be a show-stopper. I prefer hard coding by hand rather than using a toolbar and icons to change the content of bold, italics, headers and lists.

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