Resources for building a custom importer


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I'm the webmaster and creator for a web forum and content platform that's been around for almost 25 years. The entire system is custom software originally written in a custom framework in PHP3. We're in the process of planning a significant migration of the entire platform, and I'm strongly considering XenForo2 for the forum component. I'm familiar with XenForo as a platform having managed XenForo 1 & 2 forums before.

I've written several small plugins for XenForo 1/2, so I'm mildly familiar with the platform and development process, however I've never had to import data at the scale that will be required for this migration. The old forum has about 300K members, 900K threads, 14M replies, and over 1M media assets including photos, animated GIFs, and encoded streaming video. In addition to the thread discussion there are extensive user profile, friend relationships, block/ignore lists, and user DMs we'd like to maintain. The thread & reply data spans more than 2 decades and includes a mix of plain text, full HTML, restricted HTML, and ultimately BB code with custom attributes and tags. Being entirely custom there is no existing method to export any of this data in a sensible format with correct associations.

XenForo has a number of importers available for various software. Given the scale and complexity of what we wish to migrate, is it worth trying to modify or create an importer that can export from our old system? Or are there intermedia export formats we should consider, or possibly other tools available which could simplify this in any way?
Your best bet for something like this is probably @MySiteGuy - he has done many custom imports from bespoke systems.

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