Migrating from PhpBB to Xenforo. Need to check some things first.

Aorus

New member
I have a fairly large forum with over 18,000 members and around 60,000 visitors per month. The forum is running on Phpbb 3.3 and there are a number of extensions installed which I am not sure have equivalents in Xenforo?

The main things I am concerned about are videos and photos. We have a lot of embedded YouTube videos via the media embed extension. This allows users to simply post a URL to the video and it appears in the thread. Would we lose these?

We also have thousands of images uploaded to threads as attachments. Would these be preserved on migrating to Xenforo?

I think I am right in saying that user names and passwords would be retained on migration?

I need to be absolutely sure about these things before purchasing a license. I made the mistake of buying into Vbulletin a while back. I asked about migration before purchasing and was told that it would not be a problem. Once I had bought the license and then attempted to migrate I discovered that none of the user passwords came across. All attachments were missing and every post had the same date. When I asked about this they simply said "it's nothing to do with us, we no longer support the migration script" and washed their hands of the whole thing.

So if anyone has already migrated from PhpBB to Xenforo please let me know how it went?

The other thing I am curious about is the benefits of a paid forum over the free PhpBB? What does Xenforo do that PhpBB does not? Does it have more options? Better admin? Does it run smoother? Good support?

Thanks in advance.

Saul
 

Aorus

New member
Thanks. I understand that XF has a feature to embed videos but my concern is about all the videos already embedded in my forum. If it was just a few then I could, of course, edit them manually but there are hundreds if not thousands of them. What I don't want is to migrate to XF and then have blank spaces where all the videos should be.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
How are those videos represented in the post content? Is it some sort of BB code? What format does it take? It may be best to view this from within the database directly if you can.

It’s unlikely to be natively supported in XF but it may be possible to, after import, convert the BB code to a format we support. We have an add-on that can do this.

Alternatively you may wish to modify the importer code so it gets translated at import time.
 

Aorus

New member
The videos are just the URL to it on whatever platform it is on. So for a youtube video, it would look like this
Code:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCTYQJtr6G0

There is no visible bb code in the post. The media embed extension enables the use of normal url's.

I notice that you are able to post the url in XF and it renders in the thread so that is good. I wonder if it would be the same when migrating?
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
This poses difficulties to which there isn't really an ideal solution.

When a user submits a post containing a YouTube link it is converted into a [MEDIA=youtube]gCTYQJtr6G0[/MEDIA] BB code. When we import the content we'll import it, with some exceptions (we convert some BB code to the XF-style equivalent), entirely as-is.

This would mean that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCTYQJtr6G0 would literally be imported as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCTYQJtr6G0. Unfortunately, it wouldn't even be a clickable link.

The issue is mostly with the source data. Presumably the phpBB extension tries to render these out to their respective embed HTML at runtime. This isn't an approach we'd ever support as it's not really an efficient way to do it.

But the fact that there's no visible marker in the content to say that these links should be processed like that only serves to make converting them even more difficult.

There's nothing out of the box or built into the importer that would fix this for you, but there may be other approaches that might work but they would require custom development.

One approach might be to modify the importer to run each imported post through our "autolink" BB code filterer. That's the process which the software uses to convert messages (at save time) to have the relevant [URL] or [MEDIA] BB codes which would result in having clickable links and embedded media.
 

Aorus

New member
Ok I am a little confused now...not unusual I can assure you ;)

If I post that same link here on the XF forum without the code tags it works.


So given that the plain url works here on XF and it is just a plain URL on my forum too then surely it should just work in the same way?
 
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Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
No, it won't.

The difference is that we convert that link from the original YouTube link to a special BB code tag, as I mentioned:
Code:
[MEDIA=youtube]gCTYQJtr6G0[/MEDIA]

Your posts don't have that, or anything similar apparently, so we'd just import it as a plain link.

You'd be able to edit each post, and click save, and then we'd catch it and convert it to the appropriate BB code but that solution wouldn't be scalable to more than a few posts, as you noted before.

We don't already handle that during the import because we have no expectation that the default phpBB software actually supports embedded media. We aim to support the vanilla software and it isn't practical to support various extensions that may have different ways of working or formatting the links.

So you'd need custom development in order to handle that at import time.
 

Aorus

New member
Ok sounds like it might be more hassle than it is worth :(

Are there other benefits to XF over PhpBB? I like the look of XF but I don't want to go alienating my members if there are not enough tangible benefits to the move.
 

Lee

Well-known member
Ok sounds like it might be more hassle than it is worth :(

Are there other benefits to XF over PhpBB? I like the look of XF but I don't want to go alienating my members if there are not enough tangible benefits to the move.
Security would be the main reason to move.
 

Aorus

New member
Ok but I have never had any security issues with PhpBB and the forum has been online for 20 years. I always apply updates and fixes as they appear. There has only ever been one admin, me. The admin panel is protected by 2FA as is the hosting account and the server it sits on.

It is a popular forum and for most content is either on page 1 or 2 of Google. It is also listed as a news site with Google. And traffic varies between 60 to 100,000 visitors per month, depending on the time of year so it is not exactly low profile.

I really like the look and feel of XF but unless I can migrate with the minimum of disruption to site members and visitors or, there is something particularly compelling about XF that makes the move worth any of the downsides, I will have to stick with PhpBB :(
 

btmgreg

Well-known member
I get that this is the meaning of 'custom development' but in my head, what's needed is a search + replace function run on all youtube.com links extracting the video id and placing within the correct bbcode. This across all posts. For someone who works within this field - I wouldn't think it would be a huge amount of development. I might be wrong. Just my hunch.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
As Chris said, it would just require running the post content through the autolink bb code - it wouldn't be too difficult to knock something like that up.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
I get that this is the meaning of 'custom development' but in my head, what's needed is a search + replace function run on all youtube.com links extracting the video id and placing within the correct bbcode. This across all posts. For someone who works within this field - I wouldn't think it would be a huge amount of development. I might be wrong. Just my hunch.
Well, indeed. That is actually an option.

I mentioned this earlier. We have a "Post content find and replace" add-on that can be used to search for posts containing content and replace that. It works using regular expressions.

But this would still be preferable:
As Chris said, it would just require running the post content through the autolink bb code - it wouldn't be too difficult to knock something like that up.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
I suppose I should add, we actually do autolink post content coming in from MyBB. We do this because MyBB otherwise would have plain text links and we expect that so we know to handle it.

This is almost exactly the code that is required, but added to the relevant place in the phpBB importer:

PHP:
$bbCodeContainer = $this->app->bbCode();
$parser = $bbCodeContainer->parser();
$rules = $bbCodeContainer->rules('import:mybb');

$processor = $bbCodeContainer->processor();

/** @var \XF\BbCode\ProcessorAction\AutoLink $autoLinker */
$autoLinker = $bbCodeContainer->processorAction('autolink');
$autoLinker->enableUnfurling(false);

$processor->addProcessorAction('autolink', $autoLinker);

$content = $processor->render($content, $parser, $rules);
 
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