improve handling of upgrades and updates, PLEASE

RalleRalle

Active member
Sorry. I feel that you need to focus more on the needs of your customers: We forum-admins are your customers. It seems to me that you focus too much on user-experience - with the "user" being the forum-user. But I see too little improvement happening for the ones that pay your bills: us.

e.g. For me as forum admin the biggest pain in the rear is upgrades and updates. You really need to improve your upgrade-process!

Now. There is only one small line in the ACP notifiying me that there is an upgrade/update for xenforo available. When I click on it, I come to a screen with a little bit more info than just the version number and a warning that I have to backup my database first. But there is no "backup"-button, and no "abort"-button, only a "run upgrade"-button. And the forum is already closed! aka broken! So at that point there is no alternative than running the upgrade or reverting to an old backup one has lying around by chance. (I lost 20 hours of content to this last week)
To be frank: this really sucks! you really need to improve the upgrade/update mechanisms to be more admin friendly.
  • give more info on the magnitude of the upgrade BEFORE the upgrade
  • help the user how to have backups done (of the php files and the DB) and how to utilize them. (an oneclick-backup and -restore panel)
  • introduce an "abort"-button before upgrade that reopens the forum again
  • introduce a rollback-procedure for if something went wrong


Also please introduce a built in second dev-installation of the board which I can create with one click - and then test anything on there (upgrades etc)


And, if you like it or not: For us, all the addons are part of Xenforo and part of the reason why we bought into this ecosystem. You really have to get the upgrades of the addons under control. Just like Worpress did. So in the Xenforo ACP:
  • list if an upgrade is available of an installed plugin, when it came out and if there is info on what version of xenforo it is comaptible with.
  • offer one click upgrades of addons from within the ACP


If you get this done, I'll be the first to buy an upgrade-license to v3!


(sorry if I sound frustraded, it's because I am)
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
The thread was moved to feedback as there are too many suggestions in one post.

I suspect that some of these have already been made so you can vote on those existing suggestions.
 

Mendalla

Well-known member
  • give more info on the magnitude of the upgrade BEFORE the upgrade
  • help the user how to have backups done (of the php files and the DB) and how to utilize them. (an oneclick-backup and -restore panel)
  • introduce an "abort"-button before upgrade that reopens the forum again
  • introduce a rollback-procedure for if something went wrong
Speaking as a Xenforo admin myself who has been there since we had to do upgrades by FTP'ing the files, some thoughts.

Bullet 1-The announcements that come out in the announcements forum always have plenty of this sort of information. Put a watch on that forum. Major upgrades will generally have HYS threads, too, and increment the second, rather than third, point. So I am generally feel that I have enough information.

Bullet 2-built-in backup would be nice, but backup is ultimately a server-level function and your host or server admin should be providing a way to do it. My host does automatic backups every day at 3am and provides a relatively easy backup and restore utility via cPanel (which I have used to recover from a messed-up upgrade).

Bullet 3-Amen. If a suggestion is made I will vote it up.

Bullet 4-nice to have and I would vote for it but properly done backups should allow you to do this.

As for including add-ons, I basically like the idea. It would likely put an onus on add-on devs to do things a certain way. So their input would be needed.

Also, I would want to control what gets upgraded and when. I might want to update Xenforo but not a specific add-on that I think needs more testing in my dev. But I think you have that covered.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Now. There is only one small line in the ACP notifiying me that there is an upgrade/update for xenforo available. When I click on it, I come to a screen with a little bit more info than just the version number and a warning that I have to backup my database first. But there is no "backup"-button, and no "abort"-button, only a "run upgrade"-button. And the forum is already closed! aka broken!
This is inaccurate or, at least, not clear.

You can see a video of the process in the thread where we first announced the feature:

On the screen that gives you the warning about the backup, the forum is not already closed, and certainly not (by design, at least) "broken".

What you seem to have actually done is clicked a button that says: "Upgrade now" and then when faced with an explanation of what happens next (the forum will be upgraded) and a warning about doing a backup, you seemingly have ignored this and clicked "Download and upgrade...".

It would be that last click - the second time you have told the software to essentially "Upgrade now" that may have closed your forum and started the upgrade.

An "Abort" button is not required. There are two opportunities for you to not carry through with the upgrade. The first being you just don't click the "Upgrade now" button in the first place if you do not wish to upgrade. The second being you just don't click the "Download and upgrade" button if you do not wish to continue.

In both of these cases you can continue to use the Admin control panel to do whatever it is you want to do instead of upgrading. Or you could just close the tab.

Unfortunately once you have signalled twice that you wish to upgrade and we have already started the process, it is too late to provide an abort button because the process has already been started.

On the whole we don't envisage there is much here we can act upon. One thing we might be able to improve is the overall emphasis of how significant an upgrade is, which is something we have already started to do and talk about. So we'll keep you posted on that.
 

Overscan

Active member
The system is adequate at present EXCEPT for the lack of visual differentiation between major and minor version upgrade. The normal warnings are adequate for minor upgrades. for major version upgrades the wording should be different. The upgrade process is usually pretty smooth, so I don't always do a full backup before upgrade (I have regular normal backups should the worst happen) but this does mean you can get a little blasé about clicking through the warnings, so I can totally see someone not reading the text closely and just assuming its another minor upgrade.

This would also help with e.g. installing minor updates to 2.1 when 2.2 is already released.
 

Rhody

Well-known member
Before doing ANY upgrades, I extensively read this forum. This will have the info about what the upgrades do, how you may have to prepare, and if any others had trouble. (I rarely upgrade on day 1) Then, I check with my add-on providers.

THEN, I try it in a test environment - if it is major. I duplicate the database to a different file, and have a day old copy of the forum in a protected sub folder. (and have a local test machine at home doing the same, too) Then I try it there first, to make sure everything comes out OK. There are some discussions on here that give the steps to do that, if you wish to have a test environment for the future.

I feel that testing and checking with each of my add on providers (and upgrading) BEFORE doing a major upgrade is MY responsibility as the administrator, as is doing twice daily off-site backups of my database and files. The ISP backs it up too, but I don't trust or rely on that to be sufficient. I do extra backups 1 minute before a major update, just to have a third level of protection.

If there is some kind of upgrade problem or error, it is likely due to a third party add-on or code modification that I manually added, and Xenforo included a way to temporarily disable ALL add-ons if you get into a situation like this. (edit config.php to add $config['enableListeners'] = false; ) This allows you to remedy the situation, and get the newest version of whatever add-on was overlooked and/or has a problem.

There are a lot of great option lines you can add to this file for various things, such as changing the ADCP color to purple ($config['adminColorHueShift'] = 55, changing the cookie prefix for a test install, enabling easy add-on upgrades right from the zip file (enableAddOnArchiveInstaller), or disabling outbound email for a test installation(enableMail). The user manual has most of them listed.

It might be cool to have a special reminder for MAJOR upgrades, to remind folks to update their plug-ins and back up first, but otherwise I wouldnt change a thing.

Just my two cents
Rhody
 
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RalleRalle

Active member
Sorry I ghosted you guys while you answered to my call. I simply missed the notifications. You may notice I am short of time. I run a forum and a wordpress site next to my fulltime job and being a father.

And THIS is also the problem I wanted to outline:
While it is easy for me to maintain (aka keep updated) a far more addon-rich wordpress-installation with a couple of clicks every other week, I have no clue how I should keep my xenforo uptodate without having to do ...what? Read this forum here? Why would you make me want to do that?
Wordpress puts all needed info in my backend and nice buttons next to it. And there are one-click-backup-addons and duplicate-to-dev-installation-addons existing (and jetpack even helps with it activly).
I know from your standpoint it's unfair to be compared to what automaticc can offer. but from my standpoint it is simple the truth that a paid software gives me a worse experience than free one. And I wanted to express that with my frustrated sounding post. sorry for that.


...aaaand my Xenforo will stay not updated for another couple of months. Because my 20 minutes I have for my private stuff each day is over. Good night



(and, yes, of course I have a hoster that runs a backup every 24h. that is how I came back from the last crash. But like I said, I lost 20h of content through that. So it would be a great benefit to somehow link a xenforo update to a backupfunction. And I have 6,7+mio posts. So I would need to be a solid solution.)
 
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