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My Last Girlfriend (aka Upgrade to V4)


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I know its a bit of an odd title, but I will explain the similarity soon. For the really-techy guys out there, if you're confused by this here's a handy link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girlfriend

We have recently created a test site, taking a snapshot of the main site then upgrading to v4.0.11 (from v3.4.8). The process, so it is repeatable, was recorded in detail and the relevant timings, etc taken too. The upgrade main portion itself, including FTPing the files, took about 2 1/2 hours, and there were many little bits and bobs to do so automating this process is unlikely to work or be possible - so it means if we plan to do the upgrade overnight, to save disruption, I'll need to prop my eyes open with matchsticks and will probably make a mistake at 3:30am or something.

The "background processes" took - wait for it - a week, to complete, all the while the server under an amount higher load.  The first few hours denied us pictures in posts, but this might be tolerable. The rest didn't seem to have a massive impact but it might in a busy forum.

We invited a number of the more regular forum members to help us out testing/looking at the new site. We/they noticed many issues, and approximately categorised them into "bugs", "fixable issues", "just the way it is" and "improvements". The list of bugs and fixable issues was worked through, some of the fixable issues will probably end up in the "just the way it is" pile though.

Now, the biggest single issue I have is, that the site is just generally less responsive than before. And thats without 1000 users using it. That's a big negative - just like my ex was a generally negative person and dragged my life down until I saw the light.

There's a sprinking of smaller issues, which will affect us (our forum members) to a greater or lesser degree, our website is about canals, many members aren't massively computer literate etc and struggle with basic stuff at times. So a bunch of changes isn't necessarily brilliant - the vast majority of members just want to post posts, say stuff, and get helped or help out others, or find stuff out. A significant minority use the forum much more, or are much more competent with the features of the forum software - probably more than me.

There's a number of little improvements here and there, most notably it handles mobiles and tablets much better. I am wondering if some of that goodness can be achieved with a custom skin or hooks etc in v3.4.8 though.

EDIT: here is the link to the thread on our forum, listing the issues/improvements etc:

http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=77980

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To speed up the background processes you can manually run them but it's intense on your server and it can lengthen you downtime because you will have to wait until all of the background processes are complete before you can do other things. I have a smaller community so I was able to do this and it worked out fine.

Under fixable issues:

  • Birthdays is a widget and you can add it using the sidebar editor. There is a bug with caching at the moment but you do not need something extra. I currently have the birthdays widget on the front page of my site at the bottom.
  • Recent images is also a widget. It doesn't have the same slider that it did before but this may come with future versions.
  • For the notify of replies you need to check the setting in your settings. Check your notifications settings.

Just the way it is:

  • Same as with the above widgets just add the online users widget.

 

That's from looking over the stuff. To get to the sidebar editor just click the arrow on the left side of the screen on your test board.
 

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