Is it easier to upgrade yet?

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php_mike
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Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

I've been a phpbb user for a long time but I keep giving up on it mainly for one single reason.
The upgrade process has always been a nightmare. I have a thousand plus things to maintain and each time there is an upgrade, I have to mess with the code to get the banner, top text and those kinds of things working again.

The last time I gave up again was about a year ago. Has anything gotten better in terms of the above?

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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

updating/upgrading has been very easy since phpbb3 came out.

the best way to handle the types of issues you mention is by not modifying the core code.
for styles, you simply create a custom style that inherits from prosilver.
you only include the css files and whatever html files that you have modified for your banner etc.

that way, when you have to update/upgrade you simply edit your custom style files that require it and you are done.

for other custom edits, you should be using extensions instead of any core edits and then you don't have to worry about those core edits.

the update/upgrade process then is simple.
'
1. backup everything first
2. download the full package zip file to your computer
3. remove the blank config.php file from it
4. remove all the files/folders from the server except for the config.php file and the ext, files, images and store folders.
5. upload all the new files/folders to the server.
6. go to yourboard/install and click the update tab, then click the update button, then click the update database only button
7. remove the folder named install
you are done.

also, I believe that phpbb 4 is supposed to have an update system similar to wordpress when it is final.
there is no date set for that yet.


luck,
robert
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warmweer
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by warmweer »

php_mike wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:35 pm
...
Has anything gotten better in terms of the above?
I've used the same procedure very time.
Document every edit properly (which line to edit + the edit)
Apply the edits (using side by side compare)
test on localhost.

You do realise that in the case of an upgrade custom code for a previous major version is not guaranteed to work anyway.
From then on, for a minor version update, keeping a copy of all edited files for reference, and then use the Changed Files package which will allow easy identification of files needing re-editing.
We should embrace problems, without which there wouldn't be any solutions.

php_mike
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

Yes, I've done that in the past but with major changes, the edits usually tend to not work the first time, breaking a live site.
As I said, I'll give it another try, it's been a while and I like phpbb.

I've run all kinds of software that has these things built into some internals so that we didn't have to keep track of all kinds of small edits.
Galacticom from the 80's was one :).

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janus_zonstraal
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by janus_zonstraal »

I have to mess with the code to get the banner, top text and those kinds of things working again.
Best thing you can do is use extensions for that kind of standard things.
Sitelogo or headerbanner will do the job.
Sorry! My English is bat ;) !!!

php_mike
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

Didn't know about those. That might be all I need.

Thanks very much for the leads. I'll install the latest in the next day or two.

KYPREO
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by KYPREO »

Community Team Member Note Editing Core files is not recommended on phpBB.com due to the problems that it can cause to your board and thus making support almost impossible.

Custom Style changes are best dealt with by using a child style, or by using an extension.

All other changes should be applied with an extension.

Extensions are easily disabled whereas core file edits are not.

Should you choose to apply core edits to your board we would be unable to offer support as we have no way of knowing what has been don,

#########################
janus_zonstraal wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:21 pm
I have to mess with the code to get the banner, top text and those kinds of things working again.
Best thing you can do is use extensions for that kind of standard things.
Is it though? Let's critically evaluate that. I understand the rationale of extensions for more complex functionality. However for extensions that provide nothing more than basic styling and you have no reason to switch them on/off at will, you are better using your own custom child style or prosilver, documenting the changes somewhere (so you have a clean record of what you've done) and manually applying those yourself when you update. Why?

1. As the rollout of 3.3 has aptly demonstrated, there is a long lag time between software releases and updates and validation of extensions - if at all, since many extensions go abandoned by their developers, who often aren't regular phpBB contributors. There is currently a grand total of ZERO extensions in the CBD which are validated for 3.3.

2. Yes you can manually make change to 3.2 extensions to make them work on 3.3 or download a patch from the developer. However, the number and complexity of code changes to make a 3.1/3.2 extension work on 3.3 is often greater than if you had to manually apply the changes to code phpBB code.

3. Many extensions add to the number CSS and JS files deployed in every page load, adding to bloat and load times. For example, I have an extension to swift profiles from right to left. It includes 2 CSS and a JS file. It would have been simpler to just tweak a few lines of code save the overhead of those extra hits - I intend to do this manually in future so I don't need to rely on the extension (which is no longer supported). Sitelogo extension is a good case study of this. It relies on Javascript to replaces the standard logo with a different logo on the fly. In the time it takes for the JS to load and execute, you can often see the old logo flash up and disappear or there is a lag time for the logo to appear. I already have 23 CSS files and 10 JS files every page load, not including ads. Loading a single viewtopic page usually involves 80+ requests. It all adds up. If I just change one line of colours.css and responsive.css, then I get my custom logo where I want on both desktop and mobile devices and there is no additional overhead or worrying about extension compatibility for future releases. I can also set up my own child style with all my custom changes in one spot, so that whenever phpBB is updated I get the prosilver released with that version and then review the child style for any necessary changes.

Extensions are great for added functionality, things you want to be able to change regularly within the ACP, anything complex or for users who really don't know what they're doing. But I disagree that basic style changes are best done through extensions.
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php_mike
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

LOL, that's one of the reasons everyone I've introduced to phpbb ended up leaving it. I would set it up with a custom banner and colors, just two files to edit if I recall and an image to maintain BUT it was constantly broken with every update. That alone ended the use of phpbb.

You can hate me for saying this all you want but like I said, I've been playing with phpbb since it's very early days and not being able to maintain simple customization without having to use extensions is why people moved away. Everyone I've introduced to it ended up going with something else due to the frustration of updates breaking things and extensions that aren't very well maintained.

I said thanks for the mention of using extensions but to be honest, any time I've used this forum, I would avoid extensions in every way possible because they are too often abandoned or not updated so end up being a pain later. Extensions to be honest are awful to use unless the author charges and has been around for a long time so there is history that they will maintain it.

I'm surprised these things are still the same exact issues that have been around this forum for many many years.

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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

well, like most open source programs, phpbb was really designed mostly for people that were willing to learn a bit about how to use it.

phpbb has not been a problem to update since version 3.1 came out. That is also when extensions became the way to add new things to the core instead of having to edit code.

now, changing a banner and/or a logo can be done with an extension.
you simply go into the admin panel and make the change you wish and it is done.
it requires no editing of files. it only requires knowing how to use ftp to upload the relevant image files.

so far, you still have to upload/download files using ftp to do an update/upgrade.
but even that is supposed to change in the next major version.

luck,
robert
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david63
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by david63 »

KYPREO wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:10 am
There is currently a grand total of ZERO extensions in the CBD which are validated for 3.3.
Whilst that is true, in fairness to extension developers there are no statistics on the number of extensions that have been sunmitted for 3.3 and also that many 3.1/3.2 extensions work with 3.3 without any changes.

It is also not the extenion policy to just submit an unmodified extension just for a version change.
David
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php_mike
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

Personally, I have always been fond of this project and have recommended it to many people and I keep coming back to it when I have our own projects and I need some forums, even if just for a while.

What I see over the years is what I've explained and which could make this board even more interesting for non technical people to use.
Most people do not want to have to keep editing files only to have updates break the site until those edits are done again. In fact, I recall a version where I thought it would be as simple as editing those files but the files themselves had changed and two of the people I had started on this found themselves so frustrated they eventually left for something else.

I also like how devs listen to the users (mostly) and let users help out, come up with ideas. I recall coming up with ideas on how to handle spammers and it turned into a great discussion and some of those ideas were implemented or at least considered.

The one single thing I'd like to see with phpbb is being able to customize themes in a way that is DB based so that updates don't keep breaking things and so that we don't have to use extensions.

In fact, a vetting system for extensions so that they don't have unknown lifetimes. When those extensions suddenly stop working, users become very frustrated. I would be happy to pay for great extensions if I knew they were going to be maintained ongoing. On the other hand, I would not be interested in paying for a bunch of costly extensions because for myself at least, I already have many dozens yearly payments and this silly subscription model for software is really adding up a lot.

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david63
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by david63 »

php_mike wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:14 pm
In fact, a vetting system for extensions so that they don't have unknown lifetimes. When those extensions suddenly stop working, users become very frustrated.
I am not sure how you could future proof extensions when nobody knows what the future holds. There are two issues:

1. Changes to PHP which cause errors in not just extensions but in core code.

2. Changes in phpBB or its vendor applications which necessitate changes to extension code. Where possible extension authors are given prior warning (sometimes years) of most changes.

The only way to achieve what you are suggesting would be to have to re validate every extension for every version of phpBB and that would put a massive (probably impossible) load on the validation team.
David
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warmweer
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by warmweer »

php_mike wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:14 pm
What I see over the years is what I've explained and which could make this board even more interesting for non technical people to use.
Most people do not want to have to keep editing files only to have updates break the site until those edits are done again. In fact, I recall a version where I thought it would be as simple as editing those files but the files themselves had changed and two of the people I had started on this found themselves so frustrated they eventually left for something else.
First of all: this doesn't apply to unmodified installations and updates and upgrades on unmodified installations are as easy as can be (unless the requirements have changed - with is applicable to any software)
Secondly: there is never a guarantee that code (whether it's php, or html or css, even js) which works on version x, will work on version x+1 and since we're talking about non-official phpBB custom edits, phpBB has no responsibility in maintaining any custom code - that's up to the customcode writer himself.
And in third position: the custom code writers have no obligation to continue supporting or developing until the end of time.
php_mike wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:14 pm
I also like how devs listen to the users (mostly) and let users help out, come up with ideas. I recall coming up with ideas on how to handle spammers and it turned into a great discussion and some of those ideas were implemented or at least considered.
This still happens: see the Ideas forum
php_mike wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:14 pm
The one single thing I'd like to see with phpbb is being able to customize themes in a way that is DB based so that updates don't keep breaking things and so that we don't have to use extensions.
And as mentioned before: making a child style in many cases avoids the need for re-editing. Customisation in the database doesn't solve the problem of custom edits if/when they don't function as for the previous version: it probably even makes adapting the custom edits more difficult.
php_mike wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:14 pm
In fact, a vetting system for extensions so that they don't have unknown lifetimes. When those extensions suddenly stop working, users become very frustrated. I would be happy to pay for great extensions if I knew they were going to be maintained ongoing. On the other hand, I would not be interested in paying for a bunch of costly extensions because for myself at least, I already have many dozens yearly payments and this silly subscription model for software is really adding up a lot.
Ongoing maintenance can never be forced in the case of non-phpBBteam extensions, and even when there's a major version release, it's reasonable that sooner or later some of the phpBB extensions have no use anymore.

The bottom line is that phpBB is delivered as is, all the extras are ... well ... extras, and that is applicable to VBulletin (not free software + the extras aren't free either) and to SMF and to a couple of others I check on now and then.

The other thing is that when an update or upgrade is available, there's is no obligation to switch immediately, I never do: 1. because I like to test the new version first (on localhost and even on a host copy) and 2. I test any extension or custom edits before using them on a live board.
We should embrace problems, without which there wouldn't be any solutions.

php_mike
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by php_mike »

Yes, I understand all of the points and you are all correct.
I'm just trying to stir things up... in a positive way maybe. Sometimes when you do that, it leads to some new ideas :).

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chanlon1
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Re: Is it easier to upgrade yet?

Post by chanlon1 »

Best advice on upgrading I can give is to document everything.

Make a note of those special extra things that you need to remember to perform.
Maybe you have a slight change to a htaccess file?
Maybe you have added a one line change to a file for Google Adsense?
Do you have a different logo that you need to copy over after upgrading?

I have a word doc with about 15 steps that I use. As I upgrade I go through each step, knowing that the upgrade will be okay if I follow them all.

Oh and the other thing. Get a working test board.
That way you can make the upgrade there first before hitting your main site.

It may take a bit if time getting the above together, but once done makes the upgrade process a lot more fluid.

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