Upgraded to XF2.1 - Our Experience


Well-known member
After a long time waiting for it, finally upgraded 1 of my main sites to XF2.1! In this thread I want to talk a little bit about our journey to XF2.1, which will include:
  • how XF2.1 made the life much easier
  • what add-ons we no longer use, and why
  • what add-ons we still use and why
  • what add-ons we may keep using, and why we are not using for now
  • what to do before upgrading to XF2.1
Disclaimer: This post is neither to advertise anyone nor to attack some others. It's an honest experience sharing and the goal is to help forum owners have an easier, better and safer upgrade.

What We Had?
In the last moments of our XF1.5.x, we had ~160 add-ons (from the known major add-ons to the small ones, and to some private major ones as well). The main reason we needed that much features were that our website although is using Xenforo as the core, but it's not just a forum, it's actually a social network (a Legal Social Network,) and the funny thing is that as we have some other sections added by some big add-ons by @Bob, so the Forums are almost useless in our case (we keep them just in case).

The number of add-ons was decreased to around ~60 by replacing a lot of small add-ons with some other big add-ons. (I'm not going to talk about all the add-ons that we had, but I'll talk about what big add-ons we removed after upgrading to XF2.1 and why we removed them)

The style that we were using was Elegance designed by @Arty (The most reliable style designer in XF1 in my opinion who pays attention to details)

The website is a Legal Social Network (Law Students, Lawyers, Judges, Law professors, etc... Thousands of articles, books, outlines, courses, and any other legal resources, provided by dozens of thousands of members)

What We Have Now?
Style: @Arty suddenly stopped designing styles for XF2 (although he was in the middle of developing an awesome framework for it). Still, full respect for him for a great time we had with his works in XF1. Best wishes to you. (So, we started using Nova by @Russ! Great work is done. Stable, and nice, with a ton of features)

Add-ons: We kept all the add-ons by @Bob (actually main activity is our site, is in his add-ons: Showcase - Article Management System - Users Blogs System - Review Management System) I have to appreciate Bob for his quick and as-always-stable updates for XF2.1 version of his works which were all every-day-work for years. We also kept the Official XFRM and XFMG as they are important for us. We also kept Chat and Ads Manager by @Siropu as he kept bringing stable works that we can trust and we see an even better result in the XF2 version of both of his works.

@au lait suddenly left everything, which is sad. We needed some of his works as they were great, but he just left everything. Too bad, but that is what it is. We removed all his works and we probably won't get his works anymore if he comes back one day, as we can't be sure if he will stay around. That's totally fine. Life changes. (full respect to him as well. He did a great job in XF1 time)

For Social Group, we were using @truonglv (Nobita)'s add-on as it was bringing a real feeling of Social Group, comparing to other alternatives. It was buggy and the bugs never finished until the last days, but still a good add-on. Its XF2 version looks good, but lack so many features. We upgraded it and we have in our XF2.1 now, but because the developer dropped some very important features and seems like there is no plan to come back, and as there some important bugs still around, our decision is: we'll keep using it for now, as it is fully upgraded and running now, but as soon as an Official Add-on or a 3rd party add-on by either @Bob or @Xon or @Siropu for Social Group comes out that offers similar or more features, we definitely will move on to that option.

We had Conversation and Tags Essentials in XF1, but not anymore. Chances are very high we add some of @Xon 's Essentials add-ons to our XF2.1. He was/is a solid developer and we can rely on his works, as he also showed in XF1 time.

We had @DragonByte Tech 's Donate, Credits, Shop, Mail, Security and Optimise. (we had issue upgrading every single one. I'm not going to blame the add-ons. Maybe there was something wrong in our sites; Something wrong that only affected these add-ons, not any other ones) In XF2, optimize never came (it looks like the developer believes XF2 doesn't need optimizations. all good. he knows better). So, 1 is out. Shop dropped the user shop feature, and some must-have features after 2 years are not implemented and seem like there is no plan for them (right, we paid for what exists, not for what we dream). also, the upgrade process for Shop add-on caused my site to be down for 3 days and we had to fix the database a few times and test again and it never completed and the developer believes it is normal in our case! (again, all good). So, we also said goodbye to the Shop add-on for now. Donate works pretty much as it must, so we kept it for now. Security is working fine as well (but if @Xon develops a "Security Essentials" one day, I won't think twice and will immediately replace it). Mail add-on never reached the point where WE can use it. It lacks a lot of important features (although it also has a lot of good features already). So we decided to finally turn it off for now, after about 2 years of hoping to get it officially announced as a service in our site. Credits was running fine, and still running OK although it needs some important features and supporting of major add-ons like @Bob and @Siropu and @Xon 's add-ons, as they are important add-ons and a lot of people are using, and usually are important parts of their sites just like how they are in our site. (so, chances are we turn Credits off too very soon if we don't see full support of major add-ons. Just like the Mail add-on). So, as a conclusion, although we had planned to keep using all great works by Filip, and we also add his eCommerce and InfoPanel to our sites, but unfortunately we may end up finishing the usage of his works in our site, although we see a lot of potentials in those add-ons (they have a ton of features but all lack some important ones too which in our case, they stop us from using them. Again, ITS JUST OUR CASE. IT MAY BE THE BEST ADD-ON EVER CREATED FOR SOMEONE ELSE) -> Again, I really hope he finds some time to bring some features to the add-ons so that we can start using them, as they are potentially great add-ons with a lot of features. (for now, they look like "Bugatti La Voiture Noire" but without the Exclusive Wheels. We can't start using them until some features are implemented and supported in the core)

We also stayed +2years to be able to use the Tickets add-on by @NixFifty but unfortunately it never reached to the state to let us use it. (Another potentially great add-on that we decided to forget about it) we use LiveAgent (we got a killer lifetime deal for it) for now to support users until we find a better solution.

We removed a lot of other add-ons as XF2.1 is offering those functions in the core. Things like Reactions, Bookmarks, Widgets, Support of Audio in XFMG, Payment Processors, Multiple Files in XFRM, Push Notifications, Advanced Editor, Advance Embed System, Advanced Add-on Installer, API, Advanced Smilies, and a lot more (Thanks a lot XF Team, for your Awesome work. Best of luck for all you guys)

We had ~60 back in XF1 time, but now in XF2.1 we have 11 add-ons activated, and with a few more tools that we need, I don't think we'll pass the number 20 anytime soon. It's a huge difference.

Again, Thanks @Bob @Siropu @Xon @Chris D @Mike @Kier and @Russ for all your great and stable works. Keep up the good work. Best wishes to all you guys.

P.S 1: I hope this post can help some of you out there, to better plan for your journey to XF2.1. (and make sure to have secured and working backups before you proceed with the upgrade, just in case)
P.S 2: This is the experience so far. The opinions that I shared are all based on my past experience. They are subject to change in the future if related things get changed.
P.S 3: add-ons we hope to see from Solid Developers, or Official Ones: Marketplace - Newsletters - Social Groups - Wallet (+Points system)
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