July 17, 2011 in Feedback
the past decade - every forum I've operated the upgrade process is pretty much the same,
close site, backup, upload, run updates & patches, reapply modifications and other specifics, then dial in the new features.
For administrators and members alike it can be a daunting task - for administrators we typically have to schedule
the time - usually over a weekend and or late nights (pray nothing goes wrong - as developers are all in bed)
Unless we setup a test site and go thru this process two or three times so we can give our moderators a preview
of the changes - they usually get to see the new site along all other members. In the end any settings and tweaks to these all get dropped as you can't really do anything with them as the the corresponding database is obsolete.
In contrast many large sites (google, facebook, twitter) have some mechanism in place to rollout changes and features to groups of people. Some of these are mostly 'design surface' changes some of them are functional.
I have no clue if it's even possible but would hope that perhaps down the road there may be some brilliant code for IPB that will allow admins to install the next version, then can roll it out over time or to different groups of people. I don't know how using the old version on an upgraded database would handle deprecated tables or columns, and features.
They way we do it for big upgrades and testing, is to synchronize the webserver and database to a secondary server/or same server, different location.
Then it's easier to customize the upgrade afterwards, and then just deploy the changes to the live server.
What you are talking about would largely have to be done on the backend. It's not something the software itself handles, generally (outside of perhaps a db flag to say who gets the "new site" and who gets the old version).
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