Help the users to backup the topics

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zenchip
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Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:41 am

Help the users to backup the topics and to make a local copy for offline reading.

Too many times the forums go offline and valuable information is lost. Sometimes the people just don't have enough time to read the valuable information and they leave it for later. And when they come back.. the forum is gone.

So it would be really great if the phpBB developers would help the users to backup an entire topic.

A) The best solution would be to implement a button for downloading the entire topic in a .zip archive.

B) Another option would be to implement a Firefox extension or a Chrome extension to help to make a backup of the topic.

C) At very least, there should be some minimal help for the users so they can properly make use of the copy they get by downloading the topic pages using utilities like wget by indicating to the users:
- which extra files they have to download (images, icons and .css files)
- where and how to replace in the source html file the absolute urls with relative urls (so the thread backup makes use of the downloaded icons and .css files
- where and how to replace in the source html file the links to next and previous page so it points to the local copy of those pages
Last edited by HiFiKabin on Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to General Discussion

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HiFiKabin
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by HiFiKabin » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:08 am

The ability for the user to download and/or print the topic already exists
screenshot_104.png

zenchip
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:21 am

Thanks but this is really not the kind of help I was asking for. The print view is worse because it removes the links to the next and previous pages.

The users should get help to build scripts like this:

Code: Select all

mkdir styles\prosilver\theme
wget -O styles\prosilver\theme\print.css https://www.phpbb.com/community/styles/prosilver/theme/print.css
wget -O styles\prosilver\theme\bidi.css https://www.phpbb.com/community/styles/prosilver/theme/bidi.css

mkdir images\smilies
wget -O images\smilies\icon_e_wink.gif https://www.phpbb.com/community/images/smilies/icon_e_wink.gif
wget -O images\smilies\icon_razz.gif https://www.phpbb.com/community/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

wget -O "F-496-T-2419181-P-0.htm" "https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=496&t=2419181"

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stevemaury
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by stevemaury » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:29 am

File/Save page as/Website complete
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zenchip
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:17 am

stevemaury wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:29 am
File/Save page as/Website complete
That's a lot of manual work when the thread has 300 pages, isn't it?
On top of that, for each such saved page, the backup contains a sub-folder containing exactly the same things: css, icons and avatar image files - that's a huge waste of disk space.
The users need a solution to download the entrire thread with a single click - like a zip file.
Or to get some scripts for downloading the pages and the sub-folders with .css, and .gif files. And then a script for replacing in the html files the links to the next and previous pages (and to the first and last page).
Last edited by zenchip on Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:37 am

considering that the pages you see when viewing a board are not really html pages and considering that the whole thing works from php and a database, what you are asking for would require a way to create a web server on the user's computer so they could even view it if there was a way to copy it.

in all the years I have never seen anyone ask for something just like this. I have seen them ask for a way to recreate the whole board on their computer, how to just save a certain topic for read only etc. but not a way to recreate a topic that had all the links working etc.

like I said, the only way to do that would be to install php and a database server etc. and then figure out how to save the actual php and html and css etc. etc. etc.




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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:38 am

Sorry but installing a database is not the only way to backup a forum thread.

Some years ago I was downloading entire forums using wget scripts like the script I presented above.
But it's too much work for finding everything you have to download and then a lot of work for replacing the links to the other pages.
Give me an example of a thread on a forum using phpBB 2 (the phpBB version 3 seems to be more complex) and I will send you a .zip file with the backup of that thread, for offline reading. A thread with just a few pages, so the .zip files won't grow too large.

You can even use programs like Teleport Pro for doing that. There are more than one way to download and backup a forum into static html pages

The users are not asking for such a feature because:
- they don't realize that too many times the forums simply disappear - or
- they don't know it's possible to do it - or
- they think the developers will reject or will ignore their request - or
- they think the developers will tell them that it's impossible to do this
Last edited by zenchip on Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by david63 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:02 am

Are you perhaps approaching the problem from the wromg anglr?
zenchip wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:41 am
oo many times the forums go offline and valuable information is lost
In my experience boards very rarely go "offline" these days - it may possibly have been a bigger problem in the days of phpBB 2.

If your host is continually going offline then I would suggest that you find another host. I have been with my current host for the past six years and in all of that time my board has only gone unexpectedly offline once.

Also I do not understand what you mean by "valuable information is lost" when the board goes offline. If the board is offline then how can information be lost? Or do you mean that whenever it goes offline then the board has to be restored from a previous backup? Again I would class this as a major hosting problem.
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by John connor » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:28 am

Go to webhostingtalk.com and find a new host. I would NEVER pay for that crap. Unless of course you're using a free host so there you get what you pay for.

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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:35 am

david63 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:02 am
If your host is continually going offline then I would suggest that you find another host. I have been with my current host for the past six years and in all of that time my board has only gone unexpectedly offline once.
Sorry I meant going offline forever. They simply disappear. For example some 10 years ago there was a host named eamped.com - all the forums on that website are gone.

Finding another host is not really nice when you have an big forum and the providers are not providing backups. Also when migrating to another provider that is using another forum software instead of phpBB
John connor wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:28 am
Go to webhostingtalk.com and find a new host. I would NEVER pay for that crap. Unless of course you're using a free host so there you get what you pay for.
I'm not using any host - paid or free.
I've found some great forums with great information and they might go offline anytime their providers or their administrators decide so.
I would like to save a few threads because they contain extremely interesting information - before it's too late.
How many forums disappeared from the internet until now?

And yes, many forums are hosted for free. The people who started those forums don't have 10$ or 5$ and not even 1$ to pay every month because their money are counted. Imagine a guy living in Bangladesh and making 200$ per month paying 10$ or 20$ per month just for hosting a forum!
They are very poor. Does that mean they should have no opportunities to use the internet??
There are many providers hosting forums for free and they actually give opportunities for the poor people in Bangladesh to build a forum even without paying anything for that.
Or sometimes the people are simply losing interest into keeping a forum. Are you going to pay forever for the forums that you have? Nobody lives forever - or at least that's what I've heard. That means one day your forums will also disappear from the internet. Unless you find someone else to take over but that happens very rarely.
In time, such a forum can accumulate valuable information. And too many times the forums simply disappear.

That's why it's good to have an opportunity to easily make backups of entire threads.
Last edited by zenchip on Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by KevC » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:56 am

zenchip wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:35 am
I'm not using any host - paid or free.
I've found some great forums with great information and they might go offline anytime their providers or their administrators decide so.
Would have helped to have said that at the very beginning.

You're talking about a way for you to download entire topics from someone else's site.

That requires the person who owns the site to install the extension you're requesting, assuming they're using phpBB 3.2.x and they're willing to install something you're asking them to put on their site.
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by david63 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:00 am

So what you are saying is that you want to "scrape" other people's boards without their permission and extract potential copyrighted material?
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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by HiFiKabin » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:37 am

Moved to General Discussion as this is not a phpBB question

Please remember that we do not support 'scraping' other peoples websites or Boards without their permission.

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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by zenchip » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:32 pm

HiFiKabin wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:37 am
Please remember that we do not support 'scraping' other peoples websites or Boards without their permission.
On the forums where I participate, I've got their permission to download those threads. I've found forums where the people are very happy to be able to make a backup of the forum for offline reading - they are also interested to to have such a backup, in case the forum disappears. Most of the time the users don't care if you make a backup containing their post or they are even happy to make such a backup.
The situations when a writer comes and post a part of their book on a forum (or similar situations) are extremely rare.
On top of that, there are threads where I'm the only one who posted in that thread. So I really can't believe that I will ever not give my permission to myself to copy my own work.

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Re: Help the users to backup the topics

Post by david63 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:43 pm

zenchip wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:32 pm
So I really can't believe that I will ever not give my permission to myself to backup such a thread.
I would suggest you read the T&Cs of the board before you post in that case as when posting on some boards you grant the board owner all rights to whatever you post/upload.

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