Yet Another Fresh Start (Feature Wishlist)

Good news:

We think we have the speed problem licked. But we plan to test things out on the new version BEFORE rushing to move things over.

Maoman and I would also like to take this as the opportunity to upgrade to the latest active version of phpBB. This will mean nearly ALL the features that we have now disappearing (temporarily, I hope)

I know I’ve done this before (but I like hearing myself type): please suggest features (aka modifications and hacks) that you would like us to prioritize as we rebuild Forumosa

Changes will start to happen in a week or two… and the first change will be dramatically faster performance :slight_smile: :sunglasses:

Cheers.

I don’t really have a wishlist, but I’d like to suggest implementing a set of procedures (change control) in maintaining the server that would make it easier to identify modifications which cause problems. Some things that may help:

  1. Running a separate instance of forumosa as a “staging server” where mods could be applied and regression testing done before putting them on the main server.

  2. Let several mods get some soak time on the staging server and then apply them all at once to the main server to reduce the number of changes made little by little. Wherever possible, copy changes from the staging server to the main server in an automated fashion (e.g. rsync for the php files, foo.sql scripts for the db changes) to reduce fat fingered mistakes. Make these upgrades as infrequently as possible, e.g. twice a month at most, so that problems that only become apparent after several days can be more easily tracked back to a cause.

  3. A log of all mods made and when, and a description of files and db tables they affect, and how to back out the mod if needed.

  4. Conservative selection of mods rather than just implementing everything. The less changes made, the simpler it is to maintain and deal with any problems that arise.

Just some random insights gained from maintaining a 50,000 user system…

24-hr search! 24-hr search! Please! :taz:

(OK, unless there’s some reason like it takes up too many system resources, etc. :slight_smile:)

#1. DE-Priority the Pinyin Nazi. Don’t bring it back. Please.
#2 RSS feed. If it could extract a preview of the comment, that would be cool too. No RSS and my Forumosa fix would go way down. Want to cut traffic? Maybe it just shows new pages added instead of every post.

That’s just about it.

The ability to search the forums for a complete phrase would be a helpful (if not essential addition). At the moment, searching anything more than single keywords is impossible.

[quote=“bobdobba”]#1. DE-Priority the Pinyin Nazi. Don’t bring it back. Please.
#2 RSS feed. If it could extract a preview of the comment, that would be cool too. No RSS and my Forumosa fix would go way down. Want to cut traffic? Maybe it just shows new pages added instead of every post.

That’s just about it.[/quote]
I agree on the RSS feed, if do-able. But keep the Pinyin Nazi. There’s so many idiotic potential romanizations that it’s nice to have something that does the hard work of working out where in the hell people are talking about for you.

[url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/forumosa-xml-newsfeeds/4420/1 have had an RSS feed since May 2003[/url]

Use forumosa.com/taiwan/rdf.php

I agee it’s essential, and I have almost never had a problem searching with phrases (but maybe I don’t use it as much as you do)

Whenever I search for a phrase, I MUST choose “Select for all terms” … I suppose this is equal to an AND Boolean search. There are two options just below where you enter your search term, choose the second one

hope this helps

[url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/past-24-hour-search-is-broken/8841/3 hour searches are a known bug for forums our size (and we aren’t even that big) but I have a workaround solution…[/url]

…I’ll create Last 100 threads pages for some/each of the forums. Or categories, or both :slight_smile:

[url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/forumosa-xml-newsfeeds/4420/1 have had an RSS feed since May 2003[/url]

Use forumosa.com/taiwan/rdf.php

I agee it’s essential, and I have almost never had a problem searching with phrases (but maybe I don’t use it as much as you do)

Whenever I search for a phrase, I must choose “Select for all terms” … I suppose this is equal to an AND Boolean search. There are two options just below where you enter your search term, choose the second one

hope this helps[/quote]

Well, I tried your approach, and it doesn’t seem to work for me. The term credit card, for example brings up 3478 (3475 with this post) hits when “Search for any terms or use query as entered” is used. When I try the same search with “Search for all terms”, it returns no hits at all.

Try searching on google and add “site:forumosa.com” at the end. Unfortunately it doesn’t index all pages but it’s often more reliable than the built in search.

I cannot explain why we are getting different results.

I just tried “credit card” and chose Search for all terms, and I am returned 656 posts (bear in mind that my searches will cover private forums, in addition to public ones – so you should get less than mine, but not 656 posts fewer than mine)

FWIW, when I tried the term “creditcard”, I got 13 results

Just to clarify, my original reply was not meant to say that the search function is all fine and dandy (the 24-hour searches are a case in point). Rather that it isn’t “impossible” to use.

What I’d like to return here is the ability for Google to index the site thoroughly. This will involve converting pages to from “dynamically composed” php outputs into simple HTML pages. There are several phpBB hacks that do this.

This will make reading the website for the normal user faster, since you’ll only be loading simple HTML files. And it makes it highly indexable for Google and other popular search engines.

After we put in the conversation processes, I’d like to put in Google Searches of Forumosa – which may directly address your original concern.

645 results when I search for “credit card” and select “Search for all terms”.

Keep the ‘pinyin nazi’. I know some people don’t like it, but it makes searching much easier.

Would it be possible to have the ‘new posts’ include an option ‘posts since [date/time]’?

The old style ‘merge’ function for moderators.

The ‘url’ function we had years ago, which had a pop-up box for enocding a url into text, instead of the one we have now where you have to wirte the code.

Keeo the ‘new posts’ at the top of every page function. That was one of the best ones introduced recently.

Brian

Great suggestions!

I’m not sure if it helps with searching. I think the Pinyin Nazi only kicks in when messages are displayed, it doesn’t change the underlying text that is stored in the database. I figure searches are made of the database.

Now the Google/Conversion fix I described above would be a different story – because then Google would be indexing hard HTML text

This is the best I could find so far. It would be a drop down list similar to what TaiwanHo’s forums use. I’ll check in with Maoman if he likes it. But this assumes that it will work given our original 24-hour bug

This is the main reason why we even considered starting over with a fresh install. We dig our moderators and any chance to make their work easier is a clear priority.

Yeah, I miss that, too. I throw it on Maoman’s approval list when I find it (pls send me or Maoman the link to it if you find it first)

What jlick said.

Not really on-topic though :blush:

I know very little about this forum software stuff, but Jlick’s suggestions do seem very sensible.

It would be nice if there were some tags or something that you could use to disable it, if you want to write, for example, “Hsinchu”, without it ending up looking like “Hsinchu (Xinzhu)”. Well, you know what I mean.

“Search for all terms” should be the default search IMO. A lot of people don’t realise that the ‘all terms’ search will get the best results for most searches. I used to think the search function was pretty useless until I made this simple discovery.

“Search for all terms” should be the default search IMO. A lot of people don’t realise that the ‘all terms’ search will get the best results for most searches. I used to think the search function was pretty useless until I made this simple discovery.[/quote]
Exactly! I tell people the same all the time. I’ll look to make this change sooner than later.

It would be nice if there were some tags or something that you could use to disable it, if you want to write, for example, “Hsinchu (Xinzhu)”, without it ending up looking like “Hsinchu (Xinzhu) (Xinzhu)”. Well, you know what I mean.[/quote]
Yeah, but if you want to write “Hsinchu” and you know it’ll turn out by default as “Hsinchu (Xinzhu)” then why write “Hsinchu (Xinzhu)” instead of just “Hsinchu” anyway?