Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Stagnation is the name of the game...

...or so it would appear.  We've been watching the progress of the new forum software over the last year (is it really a year since Version 4 came out?), and initially we weren't impressed.  It was buggy, used an awful post editor, and moved through the sub-versions with astonishing regularity.  Then 4.1 came out and we began to get a little more confident that it was usable, and started to test it on one of our backup servers.  We've been using it quite a bit now, but it is still moving through the sub-versions quite quickly, so that every time we're thinking of pressing the big red "GO" button, a new version comes out and we wonder how long before another bug-fix will be due.  We're a big site with over 1.8m posts, so upgrading is not a simple task because some of the jobs require manual intervention as a scripted upgrade would return with a time-out due to the sheer size of the database.  Pressing a button and waiting would be so easy, wouldn't it?

There's a new major-minor version change due soon, and I'm inclined to wait until that is out in the wild before we jump from 3.x, but we'll see.  The old software is quite buggy in the posting department as I think the developers lost interest in fixing the flaws to concentrate on V.4, but they're bugs we're used to, so we're in our comfort zone.  We'll have to leave that zone when the new version comes, but it's not the end of the world, and some of the new features are excellent.  We're going to do our best to keep disruption to a minimum however, so moving slowly will be the way to go.

Watch this space, but not too closely as you might die of boredom.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Times are changing

I'm doing an additional backup of the forum database as I write this, which seems to have slowed the forum to a crawl.  Why am I doing this?  because we're going to have to move our forum to the latest version of the software if we're to retain support from Invision (it is the way of things), so we've been looking into it for a few months now, running a backup server on the new version without bothering you guys with it.

One of the jobs left to do is convert the database to a different character set, which might not sound like much, but as we have over 1.5m posts, and the database is about 3.4gb, that's a fairly large job.  it's also a one-way conversion, which is why I'm doing an extra backup.

I'm over half way through the task now, so it shouldn't be long, after which the server should return to somewhere near normal :)


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Sloth - not the 3-toed variety

We're aware of the site being rather sluggish this morning, and we're looking into the reasons behind it.  We may have to reset the web server, one of the processes or the server itself if we can't get it to stop dawdling, so we might be offline for a few minutes while it reboots.

Meantime, try counting the hairs on your forearm to pass the time :)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Minor version upgrade

We're currently running an FTP upload to install all the files for a minor verison update that cures some of the problems that Internet Explorer users have been having.  IE breaks some accepted internet standards for some unknown reason, so their browser hasn't been working too well with the forum software.  IPS have written some new code specifically for them, so IE users that didn't get sick of nothing working should have a better experience from here on in.

While we're updating there will be the occasional transient error when you click something or refresh a page.  I've had a few already myself, and pressing F5 after a few seconds has succeeded in loading the target page that generated the error.  As soon as the software has finished uploading, I'll run the upgrade process after taking the forum down.

All being well we should be back up soon after unless I've screwed up, in which case I'll keep you updated here :)

EDIT: Apart from our posting toolbars disappearing temporarily, and the drop-down menus not working, everything went fine, and it didn't take long to get them working again.  One of the developers looked into what was happing, and it was an out-of-date cache file that was preventing these things from happening.  Now it has been deleted, we're good to go :)