Phillyman

Massive Upgrade Starting From January 9th-16th

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Retromags will be going thru major upgrades and changes starting January 9th and continuing for about a week. We currently run the Invision Power Board suite and the version that we are on at the moment is no longer being patched or provided support. The newest major revision of this software came out back in June of 2015 and I have kept us back to let all the bugs get worked out. I also kept us back to allow the third party developers time to port their modifications to this new version. So what does all this mean? Well whenever we do a major upgrade, we usually lose a few modifications. When I last did a major upgrade it was back in 2009 when we moved from version 2.x to 3.x. For those of you who have been with us since that time, you will probably remember that we had an arcade, casino and battle system. Unfortunately when we upgraded those features went away. So what may disappear this time?

 

Statistics - The tab at the top of the site for statistics will disappear. This is a third party modification and I am trying to contact the author of this mod and see if he has plans to port this functionality to the newest version.

 

Shoutbox - The current Shoutbox that we use is a free one and unfortunately doesn't seem to be around any longer. I have found another Shoutbox, but this one requires a one time fee of $100 and $45 per year to continue to receive support/updates.

 

Classifieds - The classifieds system will most likely not be brought back. I have never really seen it take off in terms of use. We will just continue to allow users to link to their eBay auctions from the designated section in the forums.

 

Credits System - Another system that we really never used. I had hoped that the author would have expanded the functionality to suit our needs. This system was supposed to give credits for posting, adding images, contributing to the databases, and in turn....those credits could be used to download more magazine releases. The hang up was that we needed an exclusion for Staff, Team Members and Patrons, and it seems as though the author is no longer developing this mod.

 

Then we have non facing items that you guys probably don't know are mods, like the Welcome message that gets sent to newly registered members, the inactivity mod that emails members who haven't visited in 6 months. So that is everything that will be going away when we upgrade, what will we gain?

 

 

18 months - Worth of patches, upgrades and improvements. I don't believe I could even list them all in this post without making it a mile long. So in short....

 

New Embeds

LeaderBoards

Personal Messenger Improvements

Search Improvements

Notification Improvements

Editor Improvements

 

Database Fields - The current version we run for our databases does not really allow for customizing who can edit certain fields. I had to really jump thru hoops to allow Team Members and Staff to edit the Year and Month fields for our Magazine Database, but not allow standard members to edit these fields. With the new version of the databases, this functionality is finally built in. Not only can I set fields to be edited by certain member groups, but I can also allow a field to only be editable if it is currently blank! Another improvement is relational fields, where we can now start cross linking between databases. Another great improvement is the ability to turn off fields in a database. Why turn off a field? Let's say we don't want to use fake issue numbers in the DieHard GameFan section, we can now turn off that field and instead use the alternate issue field to define the August 1994 issue as Vol 2, Issue 9.

 

So what to expect?

 

On January 8th I will be contacting our hosting company and have them do a complete snapshot of Retromags. If anything goes sideways and we can't upgrade, I will have the ability to contact them and ask them to restore that snapshot. This may make the website a bit slow on January 8th and I would ask that you hold off adding new releases, Gallery images, blog posts, forum posts, etc. Once the snapshot is complete, the first order of bushiness is to collapse Retromags back to 1 domain. Years ago I thought it would be a good idea to have the databases and home page run from www.retromags.com, and the forums, blogs, downloads run from community.retromags.com. This choice has just made things more complicated over the years, and I swear that Google penalizes us for doing this. Once everything is collapsed back into www.retromags.com, we will set up redirects so that pages that point to community.retromags.com, will forward correctly.

 

This part of the process will take a couple of hours, and afterwards we will bring the site back online. Then I am handing over our database templates to a freelancer that is familiar with this suite of products. He will work on converting those templates so that once we upgrade.....the records in our databases will still display correctly. The Retromags website will continue to be available for use while he does these conversions. Once he is finished converting the templates, we will again put the website into offline mode, contact our webhost to perform another snapshot......and then the real fun begins. This is where we will upgrade the website to the most current version, and once that upgrade is complete, we will put the newly converted templates back in place, and then test out everything before bringing the website back online.

 

 

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Man upgrading invision is always such a pain. I've been part of whole communities who didn't survive and Invision upgrade gone wrong.

 

Which is why I am doing a backup at each step of the process, and I have hired a freelancer to assist me in this process. The upgrade from 2.x to 3.x back in 2009 wasn't too painful, but back then we were much smaller. This is less about the new features and more about me protecting this site. The longer we sit on an older version, the more likely exploits will be found.

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Are we really need in this headache?) I talk about update)

 

Yeah we need to do it, otherwise any issues you guys run into I would need to hire freelancer to fix. As such paying $200 per year for unlimited updates/support is a drop in a bucket when you compare it to hiring someone by the hour.

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