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Importing an earlier forum into a current one

Rudy

Well-known member
#1
Right now, I'm battling with an ancient WebBBS forum installation. I contacted *ahem* the "other place" who shall remain nameless, and their reply was that since the WebBBS is considered a "tier 3" Impex module, it would not be supported. (So tell me, just what am I buying with that license, other than more bloat?) The ImpEx module does nothing--it fails without any indication of what is wrong. It also was not really clear on which directory the module should point to. (I would think it's the WebBBS data directory, since it often did not reside in public web space or, IOW, outside of public_html).

I do have a Perl-based converter for WebBBS to phpBB2 but it, too, is far from perfect--we're finding dates and post contents are missing. Since this was a "threaded" as opposed to a "linear" forum, writing my own PHP importer would take a bit more work than I could handle right now. In addition, I would be adding code to assign known long-time users (using email address and/or name they gave in the posts) to actual user accounts in

Anyway, enough venting and on to the question. The WebBBS forum ran from 1997 to 2002, and then we switched to phpBB. During the XF 1.0.0 "release party sale," I grabbed a second license and we're anxious to get on the new forum.

Is there any ill effect to getting our current forum running, but importing the earlier forum at a later time?

I will likely put the old posts into an "archive" forum section as read-only. I am more concerned about timing. I know our post ID numbers will jump by about 35,000 (the number of WebBBS posts we have) which is no problem of course, but other that, I am thinking the original post dates should probably keep everything sorted properly in terms of date and time. Just wanted to confirm this, as I'd rather get off of phpBB2 as hastily as I can, rather than hold up the conversion for weeks while I try to get Impex to work, or roll my own PHP importer.

As with the bbPress import I just did, I'll keep everyone posted here as to progress, hoping it will help someone else down the road.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#2
I haven't tried this but the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the later imported member IDs and thread/post IDs will be out of sync with regards to the new content.

So all the new content will start from a value of 1 and increment, despite it being created later (chronologically) than the stuff you will import at a later date.
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#3
You're correct--any import in an established forum would have "new" IDs after the import, but I didn't know if the forum did any kind of sorting based strictly on post or thread ID, as opposed to post/thread timestamp, that I should be concerned about. I know some astute members will notice a jump in post/thread IDs for new content, but other than that, I am thinking it should not be a problem. It's one thing if I'm just importing two forums together, but I'm doing one import now, getting the forum online as soon as I can, and doing the WebBBS content at a later time.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#4
As far as I am aware, it's all done on the unix time (or alphabetical in the case of the member list) so you should be OK.

Don't quote me on that though, I'll deny it :D

I'll ask Mike for the definitive answer.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#6
There's no reason it shouldn't work. If you're rolling your own, you can probably just skip things like users (if you aren't interested in bringing those over as well), and it will make your life a lot simpler. :) (Otherwise you'll need to handle user merging, for example.)
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#7
I would like to link up users, but only those who are well-known and still active. Back then, email addresses changed almost yearly, unless a person was still using AOL. In phpBB2, I can actually do this via simple queries, mapping an email address to a specific user ID. (We did this when we moved the Yellowjackets WebBBS forum over to phpBB2. For about a dozen accounts, including a couple of the active band members, I was able to attach users to posts. Those now live in an "archive" area.)

What happens if I do not link posts to users? Will the username still appear under the avatar, or do they all appear as Guest? In phpBB2, what happens is that you still get a username to display under the avatar, but it is not actually attached to a "live" account and you can't click on the username to hop to a profile (as there isn't one). The user title shows up as Guest, though, so that is one indication of the post being attributed to the author.
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#9
They show as plain text Guest - name and user title.
Aah, so it would look like this?

[ avatar ]
Guest
Guest

If I were not able to have the plaintext Guest read as the original username, I would probably then insert a first line in the post, saying, "Originally posted by: Joe User". Not ideal but it would work, unless I wrote an add-on that would display it elsewhere in the message or under the avatar as additional information.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#11
Well you can bring the name in too - if we're talking about a custom importer, you can really do whatever you want provided it meets the XenForo "format" in the end.