As you can see when you're here, Eilistraee.com
is back up, mostly, after having been down for nearly two weeks.So what happened?
Long story short, it turns out my web host decided to suspend my site because I was using an older version of the phpBB forums (phpBB2) and they were afraid of it being exploited (or it was being exploited already; they weren't quite clear) and that this would endanger the other websites they host. And they neglected to inform me of this fact, taking me nearly a week of chasing up support requests to get them to tell me that.Then
the struggle began to get the site back up again. They had agreed to put the site back online if I upgraded to phpBB3. But they'd wipe the site before they'd do so. Luckily I had a backup of the entire site (and managed to get a backup of the entire database as well as I still had access to that). While I waited for them to put the site back up I set up a local Apache server for development so that I could do the upgrade locally. This threw up a few problems (I hadn't upgraded before because I'd heavily modified the old forums and knew that upgrading would be a pain), but finally managed to solve them. In the meantime getting the site back online took forever, but in the end they upgraded my hosting package (waiving the upgrade cost) so now the site has about five times more disc space and unlimited data transfer.
There's more there, but I'll spare you the details. At least the site is back.So what's the status of the site?
All the "Chosen of Eilistraee" webpages should be back (with one notable exception). The translator should also be back and fully operational again (in fact I fixed a small bug with the mini-dictionaries under the translations).
The forums are also back in an enhanced phpBB3. All old accounts and post should still be there. The documentation for the conversion process did note that passwords don't always convert across properly, so if you find that your password isn't working use the forgotten password feature or contact me for help if that doesn't work.
I've decided to try and keep the number of mods fairly minimal this time around, in an attempt to prevent future upgrade issues. I did install a fairly extensive mod adding new ubbcode (mostly to get the old ubb code tags we had to work again by just installing one big mod instead of several smaller ones, meaning we've got a bunch of new ubb code tags now). I also installed a points mod, renamed it to "experience" and took across all the old experience (which was also done with a renamed points mod) from the old board. The new mod has a lot more features (like giving points per word posted and a banking feature), but for now I'm keeping it simple. Finally I also installed Smartfeed
(link at the top of the forums) which allows you to make custom rss feeds for the forums. This seemed a good way to create a news feed for the news forum without having to do all the added coding myself.
What's not working yet is the news page; when you go there you'll get a "phpBB Fetch All" error... because I haven't installed that mod for the new forums. I have to do some work to get the news page working again; hopefully it'll be as simple as parsing the rss news feed, but we'll see.
You'll also notice that the forum currently has the default phpBB appearance. The biggest task ahead of me yet is implementing the old drowMoon theme for these forums again (starry background, parchment-looking posts, website links at the top, etc). That would also include a fancier display of experience (showing level instead and the progress bar). But all this will take some time to implement again. Until I do at least the forums are fully usable again.
You'll also notice that a lot of your profile options have gone, such as character name, gender, race, classes, etc. phpBB3 offers the option of specifying custom profile fields (i.e. not requiring another mod to do that as the old forums did), but I've yet to decide the best course to take. I could probably easily add custom text fields for classes, for example, so that people can enter whatever classes they like. For other things I can probably specify drop-down lists. But I haven't decided on what the best course is yet and part of it depends on how to display it. I've got a few thoughts in the back of my head as well, but those would require a significant amount of work so I'll probably keep it simple. Either way you'll most likely have to re-enter this information by hand (I might have a look at copying it across from the old forums, but that might be more hassle than it's worth).
I've also noticed that a number of special characters aren't displaying properly. Or rather that they didn't copy across properly from the old board. Probably something to do with character encoding differences. I'll look at whether I can fix these issues, but for now don't be surprised if you see odd characters in old posts. I've yet to investigate exactly what's going on (I only noticed it yesterday).
There might be a few other, smaller issues as well that I haven't noticed yet. Like old ubbcode tags that we don't have support for yet in the new board (I've had to add a couple for which the mod had a different name, like the "center" one). Any issues that you run across, let me know.
This is also the time when I'm most likely to consider new board features that you're interested in (particularly if you can point me to an existing mod that does what you want). I won't guarantee that I take up your suggestion (as I said I'm keen on keeping the number of mods fairly limited), but I'll definitely consider any requests.
Overall I'm hoping that the end experience will be better. A few things might take a bit getting used to (many of those more due to the difference in board theme so should fix themselves once I implement the old theme) and there's definitely still work ahead. But I thought that it would be better to make things available again now instead of waiting for who knows how long until I've got everything perfect again.
In the end I want to thank everyone who showed concern while the website was down and I want to apologize for the inconvenience the downtime might have caused you. And welcome back.