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Migrating forum from phpBB 3.0.14 to xenForo (2 perhaps?) - some initial questions

#1
I've been informed by my service provider that they are removing PHP 5.6 from their shared servers in a month's time, so as I'd have to re-code a ton of stuff to upgrade my forums to phpBB 3.2.x anyway (as that supports PHP 7) I thought now might be a good time to look into something better. I rather like xenForo's ability to Control-C paste pictures directly into posts in other forums that I use, so this seemed a good place to start.

My non-commercial site's forum needs are very limited - probably only a few questions a week - but I also use the forum system to create and manage news posts and comments. However I have a few questions that hopefully someone here can help with:
  1. Just to check, the $140 fee is a one-off purchase fee with one year of support, not an annual licence? Currently I use phpBB which is free, but a relatively small one-off fee would be OK.
  2. Can I easily migrate my entire phpBB 3.0.14 forum onto the new system, including existing users, dated posts, attachments, etc. What about any saved links that users might have created within their browsers, will those be auto-forwarded to the newly located xenForo posts?
  3. Can easily I integrate the new forum into my existing HTML website layout, as at http://www.portorleans.org/forum/ ?
  4. I use a specific phpBB subforum as a news/updates repository, and I have some PHP code on the Homepage and the News Page to display very simplified content away from the direct forum layout, with links at the bottom of each article to the actual forum posts should users want to comment or ask questions. For example, the right-hand column on the homepage www.portorleans.org and the entire news page at www.portorleans.org/news.php are both populated using some PHP code (they are generated server-side from my posts in http://www.portorleans.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=8 ). I would need to do the same with any new software.
  5. Related to (3), on the News Page I use some server-side code to display news posts based on their posting date, so for example I can use direct links on Facebook/etc to a specific news post using a "news.php?first=ddmmyy" parameter format (such as http://www.portorleans.org/news.php?first=300717, which calls up the news page with starting articles dated 30-July-2017 and older).
  6. For registered and logged-in users, I present some limited information on the site homepage and on the drop-down menu showing if there is any new content/etc, and also allow non-users to register directly from the homepage rather than having to enter the forums first. Would that be simple to implement too? For example:
    1504277372523.png
    1504277442266.png

Sorry for all the possibly-dumb and certainly noob questions, but before I start down this route I need to know if I can create something pretty close to what I have now, with my fairly limited HTML and PHP coding abilities (I tend to look stuff up as I need it, write the pages in Dreamweaver, but am anything but an expert!). Oh, and I use an offline testing server hosted on my home Synology NAS, I assume I can install a test/watermarked version on there too for local testing first?

Many thanks for anyone's help,

Andre
 

ŽivaAkcija

Well-known member
#2
Just to check, the $140 fee is a one-off purchase fee with one year of support, not an annual licence? Currently I use phpBB which is free, but a relatively small one-off fee would be OK.
When you purchase Xenforo you pay 140$ its lifetime license, after one year when your license expire, you pay additional 40$ for support and new version of xenforo.
 

M@rc

Well-known member
#3
Just to check, the $140 fee is a one-off purchase fee with one year of support, not an annual licence? Currently I use phpBB which is free, but a relatively small one-off fee would be OK.
You just need to pay $140 for an xF license. After a year, you can optionally renew for an additional $40. If you do not renew, you just wouldn't get access to later versions of xenForo or ticket support, but you can still download and use versions of xenForo before the date your license expired.
Can I easily migrate my entire phpBB 3.0.14 forum onto the new system, including existing users, dated posts, attachments, etc. What about any saved links that users might have created within their browsers, will those be auto-forwarded to the newly located xenForo posts?
That's what I'd assume. There should be a phpBB 3 to xenForo importer. As for the links, you'll need to set up redirects.
Can easily I integrate the new forum into my existing HTML website layout, as at http://www.portorleans.org/forum/ ?
Depends on your HTML/CSS skills. You'll also need to learn your way around the xenForo template system.
I use a specific phpBB subforum as a news/updates repository, and I have some PHP code on the Homepage and the News Page to display very simplified content away from the direct forum layout, with links at the bottom of each article to the actual forum posts should users want to comment or ask questions. For example, the right-hand column on the homepage www.portorleans.org and the entire news page at www.portorleans.org/news.php are both populated using some PHP code (they are generated server-side from my posts in http://www.portorleans.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=8 ). I would need to do the same with any new software.
You might be able to set this up with an add-on using the RSS link. I think Widget Framework has an option to create a widget to display posts from an RSS link but I have to double check to confirm. Otherwise you'll need an add-on developed to have it done.
For registered and logged-in users, I present some limited information on the site homepage and on the drop-down menu showing if there is any new content/etc, and also allow non-users to register directly from the homepage rather than having to enter the forums first. Would that be simple to implement too? For example:
View attachment 156715
View attachment 156716
You should be able to use conditional statements to display content to logged in members only. The first screenshot looks like the visitor panel in xF 1. I don't think there is a visitor panel in xF 2 (what's currently being used on this xenForo.com support forum but no stable version available yet).

And yeah, you can install xF locally for testing purposes ;)
 
#4
Thanks for the replies, so there's no ongoing annual fee other than for beyond-year-one support and for downloading newer updates beyond the end of the first year, which would cost $40/year. That's good to know.

My biggest concern is being able to simply integrate xenForo within my own site layout rather than it looking like a separate page (I currently simply put my own site's CSS file in front of the phpBB CSS and make a couple of minor changes to the phpBB CSS to allow for height and my site's drop-down menus - as in www.portorleans.org/forum/ .

The other need is to easily display a selected series of posts within other webpages on the site when xenForo is not active (i.e. same website, but not inside the forum pages). Currently I basically do a SQL search in PHP and then display and format the text that I want from the returned array (using some modified code that was posted in the phpBB forums).

The panel of user info and welcome message line in the drop-down menu are a niceties that can wait to be honest.

Is an offline test version available for installing on my local NAS, as I really want to find out if this will work before shelling out cash on it. Or if it doesn't do what I need, before I've uploaded it to the online live website can I get a refund?

Andre