May 2016 work summary

Here are some of the jobs I did for clients in May. All client information has been anonymized.

  • Upgraded a forum from phpBB 3.1.8 to 3.1.9
  • Upgraded a forum from phpBB 3.1.6 to 3.1.9
  • An interesting job in which I added pagination logic to in-house Content Management System.
  • Upgraded another forum from 3.1.6 to 3.1.9
  • Provided advice on moving a forum from MediaTemple hosting to in-house hosting provided by a foundation
  • A client with a phpBB forum was using phpNuke 7.8 as their content management system. phpNuke is a very old and not often used CMS popular in the early 2000s. It was misbehaving. I determined that some or perhaps all of the problem is because of a corrupt /phpnuke/modules.php program. It could not be deleted, renamed or executed with the web interface tools I had access to. It looked like something only his web host support team could fix. I scoured the web for an archive version of phpNuke 7.8. I could only find a phpNuke 7.8 Thai archive, but it had modules.php that should be compatible. Suggested filing a support ticket with the web host to remove the file as root and possibly replace it with the version found in this Thai version.
  • Upgraded forum from 3.0.0 Gold to 3.1.9. Installed the BB3 Mobi style. Customer had to first upgrade PHP to 5.3.8. Since the forum has few posts, there were no surprises during the upgrade.
  • Upgraded a very slow forum running IIS from 3.0.11 to 3.1.9. database_update.php, which converts the 3.0 database to 3.1 took many hours to finish. Added and integrated the Cleantalk extension. I reduced the old logo to 700 pixels in width so the search box to not overlay logo. I moved a Facebook image/link to the navigation bar. I removed the usual dead 3.0 modules from the ACP manually. I advised client to complain to his web host about slow speeds. I investigated whether the issue was due to the database, since upgrading the database took so long and MySQL 5.1 (very old) was the database. I changed the tables’ storage engines to InnoDB in the hope it would improve performance, which it did not. I checked all tables, columns, primary keys and indexes because if they were missing that might cause performance issues, but there were no obvious issues after inspecting all the tables. So I suspected the IIS webserver or the Microsoft operating system was the problem, so the user had his web host move him from Windows to Linux hosting. This solved all performance issues. Later, the client said he could not get into the Administration Control Panel. I purged the cache manually in the file manager and it let me get in, after some delays.
  • Forum and topic icons were not showing. The issue was that the appropriate template markup was left out of the custom style. There was also an issue with the UCP board preferences and friends and foes modules being inaccessible so a custom style could not be set. I implemented a fix found here: Client said that some icons overlaid text for user at narrow screen width. This did not happen in my browser tests. I found issues with avatars overlaying information in the UCP when reading a PM, but user did not want to fix it. Changed a “menu” icon to be the one that gets colored if there are new posts. Additional work: users could not change the board style because not all programs on the forum were for version 3.0.14. User restored two template files and redid styling work. Emulated changes in the forumlist_body.html template to making the icon red found in viewforum_body.html.
  • Consulting on the viability and cost of an extension a client would like developed.
  • I installed beta advertising management extension, precise similar topics extension, adsense extension and auto group extension for a client. I upgraded his forum from 3.1.8 to 3.1.9. Later I removed the autogroup extension and added 24 hour stats extension.

If you administer a phpBB board, you should find my book Mastering phpBB Administration invaluable. Learn lots of tips, tricks and secrets I learned from serving over 400 clients. Paper and Kindle versions available.

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