December 2016 work summary

December was a fairly slow month for incoming work. Likely the holidays had something to do with it. All client information has been anonymized. Among the work I did in December were these jobs:

  • I upgraded forum from phpBB 3.1.9 to 3.1.10. I also updated the forum’s English, Danish and German language packs. There were no phpBB 3.1.10 language pack updates for Swedish or Norwegian, which were also available as language options.
  • My digests mod (version 2.2.26) installed on a phpBB 3.0.14 forum, but digests did not appear to be going out. To troubleshoot, I sent output from the cron to my email address and it reported that digests were going out. Digest logging was turned off so there was no evidence that digests were going out. I turned on logging. I then upgraded digests to version 2.2.27. The client chose not to upgrade to 3.1 because the Boardwatch mod had not been converted to an extension.
  • I upgraded forum from phpBB 3.0.12 to 3.1.10. The default prosilver style was used. However, there were issues during upgrade. I had to add database columns to various profile tables and give some columns a default value so the database_update.php program could complete. I manually removed a number of dead module links, some via the database. I reapplied the logo. Then there were issues with too many redirects. Changing the redirect in cPanel to point to index.php worked and was acceptable to the client. Cleantalk extension installed and enabled.
  • No users were able to login to a forum. My investigation found that the forum had malware on it, and all .php files were affected. There were PHP eval() statements at the top of all the .php files. I spent much time working with the web host simply to get FTP access. Then I overwrote files with a 3.0.8 reference to remove the malware. However, lots of language packs were installed that were still infected with malware. I deleted all of the language packs except for British English, changed the database so all users and the board used British English and I was then able to login, with some errors due to PHP 5.4 on host. I was then able to upgrade forum to 3.1.10. I installed the prosilver instead of the previously used subsilver2. I reapplied the logo. File backup archives were left in forum root folder.
  • Client wanted to upgrade their forum but could not because Joomla was being used to serve most of the site’s content. Client is using an old version of Joomla but wants to move it to WordPress because a Joomla upgrade was problematic and the current version of Joomla would not work if PHP was upgraded. The existing phpBB forum is version 2.0.21 and the client wants to upgrade to the latest version: 3.1.10. Can’t upgrade to phpBB 3.1.10 as it requires PHP 5.3.3 or higher, so Joomla must move into WordPress first. I installed WordPress in a /wordpress directory. I found a plugin that will convert Joomla posts and images to Wordpress. I installed the WordPress Slovenian language pack. Client has friend that will take care of styling in WordPress. Tried various times to import the Joomla posts into WordPress with option to import media with duplicate names. It worked eventually with some back and forth with the WordPress plugin developer. This work is still ongoing.
  • I upgraded forum from phpBB 3.0.12 to 3.1.10 using the default prosilver style, no logo. I was careful not to delete some special images folders.
  • Finishing a project that went through a proof of concept phase in September. Work was to move the production forum to new host in the process moving from Windows hosting to Linux hosting. I moved folders for files, images, and store from phpBB 3.0 Windows production host, all other 3.1 files can from a test instance that was set up. I uploaded install folder to upgrade the database. I then ran database_update.php. However, there were issues. I had to add columns to two profile tables, create a login attempts table, and code around a migrator program so prune users would work successfully. I wasn’t able to login to new forum due to the proprietary CMS to check things out. Default prosilver style applied. The next day client redid the upgrade and it did not have the upgrade issues I had. Work seems to be done.
  • A client encountered a baffling white screen attempting to update forum to 3.1 on Windows hosting. Initial problem was I had to change database to use default prosilver style to make an error message go away. Then I discovered the cache folder was not writeable. Could not change file permissions in web host control panel. Error when trying to do so. The underlying problem is that Windows file permissions work differently than Unix file permissions, and the web host control panel would not allow them to be set the way phpBB requires them to be. I suggested moving to Linux hosting or I could file some support tickets. Likely an older version of PHP was being used on the Windows hosting, and that was causing the upgrade white screen since the older version does not support PHP namespaces, which would trigger an error during the upgrade. Client ordered Siteground hosting at my recommendation. I rehosted the forum, website and database once Siteground login issues were figured out. I then upgraded the forum from phpbb 3.0.12 to 3.1.10. I renamed index.php in web root folder so static page was served. Reapplied logo. Everything is predictable and faster and the client is glad to be off Windows hosting.

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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