What's Coming in Physics Forums 4.0?

  • Thread starter Greg Bernhardt
  • Start date
In summary, some exciting changes are on the horizon for Physics Forums! This notice is intended to give you a heads up on what to expect in the coming weeks. Plans have now been laid for the coming of Physics Forums 4.0, which will be the biggest improvement to Physics Forums in 12 years. The migration to Xenforo will be done on September 19th, and there will be lots of broken functionality in the beginning. Please be patient and let us know if you have any questions.
  • #1
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Some exciting changes are on the horizon for Physics Forums! This notice is intended to give you a heads up on what to expect in the coming weeks.

Plans have now been laid for the coming of Physics Forums 4.0!

This will be the biggest improvement to Physics Forums in 12 years. I can't tell you how excited we are to make this happen. It will signal a new age for PF. Speaking of which, we plan to start the migration Sept 19th. Note this is not set in stone. Plenty of communication will occur in the coming weeks.

Essentially Physics Forums will be moving software platforms from old vBulletin (4 years old) to modern Xenforo. With this switch comes a host of new features and possibilities. I'll tell you what's in it for you.

1. Loads of new features like:
- Alert System (if you've been tagged/quoted, if your thread has been moved etc etc)
- Highlight text to quote
- User tagging
- Multi user PM conversations
- LaTeX preview
- Like system (replacing Thanks)
- Trophy system (community achievements)
- New LaTeX enabled chat
- Featured Threads
- Improved search (no more using Google)
- hundreds of little improvements

2. Security and Speed
- Moving to 100% SSL
- Ability to use latest technologies
- Advanced caching for speed

3. New style (yet familiar)
- Responsive layout (adapts to screen size)
- Fresh, clean, and professionalOne common question is what data will be migrated. I can assure you, all user, thread, post data is transferred over, along with most other important data.

One matter that I do want to stress is that PMs/VMs will be wiped before the migration. Please download any messages you want to save. This can be done at the bottom of the private message list. Furthermore, blog entries will also be removed. Please save your entries.

What to expect on migration day
The forums will close late Friday, September 19th around 11PM CST -5 GMT. I expect the physical migration to take up to several hours. During this time you may receive a forum closed message, a 404 not found error or possibly something else. Don't fear, I'll be working on it. Overall I would expect PF to be down most of that Saturday. Take the day off and check in on things in the evening.

My main priority will be to get the forums open again for members to be able to login, read and post. This is the baseline functionality I want returned before I open the forums. What this means is that for the first day after migration there will be lots of things broken, misconfigured and plenty of changes needed. I need your patience during this time as we work hard to correct issues. We will also be rolling out features slowly over the following day or two after migration. We do this to ensure baseline functionality is not compromised. So perhaps the new forums might even feel incomplete at first, but after a few days everything should be enabled.

Some common issues you may come across in the first day or two after migration may be; permission errors (I'll be configuring), login problems (Cookie conflicts), SSL security warnings (Might need some tweaking), 404 messages (URL structure will change for everything).Again, the PF staff is absolutely thrilled to be making this change. PF will reach new heights. We just ask for your patience during this time as we work as hard as possible to keep things running smoothly.

Please ask any questions you may have. We'll keep this thread updated constantly when we have new information and notices.
 
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  • #2
I know another forum that changed from vbulletin to Xenforo and what a difference! The alert system reminds me of stackexchange and is an absolute godsend!

Seriously Greg, such a good work! I'm just sad that it's 4 weeks from now, it should be this saturday!

You're probably going to receive tons of comments like "Why change what isn't broken" from the old folks who cannot adapt but this is just awesome.. Thank you Greg!PS: I look forward to seeing Evo screw up! haha
 
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  • #3
It will be great! Hope to see the new forum . I like the trophy system the best. :smile:

Thanks Greg! For PF.4
 
  • #4
I have 3 XF licenses myself, I transitioned away from VB=fail a while back and never looked back.

GOOD DECISION is all I got to say!

I'm working on a rather difficult transition myself, switching from a DotNetNuke ActiveForums site to XF. That my friend is a challenge.

Let me know I can help in any way, I'm Floyd R Turbo on XF
 
  • #5
DataGG said:
PS: I look forward to seeing Evo screw up! haha
I want to thank you for volunteering to be my test subject while I become familiar with the new forum. I am sure it won't be too painful and the other members will be forever grateful to you. :smile:
 
  • #6
Looking forward to the transition. Been hearing a lot of good things about Xenforo. Oh how far we have come in the world of forums since the days of Matt's Scripts.
 
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  • #7
Can't wait Greg! good job!
 
  • #8
Will the mobile app be getting updates as well?
 
  • #9
Hi I would like to know whether there will be LaTeX support added for the mobile app as well since the mobile app would be just 100% perfect if this feature would be added. I find it practically unusable without this support.

Thank you
 
  • #10
Xenforo is a responsive design and is 100% mobile friendly by default.

Go to www.xenforo.com/community on your phone/tablet and see for yourself.
 
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  • #11
DataGG said:
I know another forum that changed from vbulletin to Xenforo and what a difference! The alert system reminds me of stackexchange and is an absolute godsend!

Seriously Greg, such a good work! I'm just sad that it's 4 weeks from now, it should be this saturday!

You're probably going to receive tons of comments like "Why change what isn't broken" from the old folks who cannot adapt but this is just awesome.. Thank you Greg!

Thanks for the support DataGG! We feel the same, it can't happen soon enough. However there is a lot to plan out and the style isn't finished yet :)

adjacent said:
It will be great! Hope to see the new forum . I like the trophy system the best. :smile:

Thanks Greg! For PF.4

Thanks adjacent!

Overflowing said:
I have 3 XF licenses myself, I transitioned away from VB=fail a while back and never looked back.

GOOD DECISION is all I got to say!

I'm working on a rather difficult transition myself, switching from a DotNetNuke ActiveForums site to XF. That my friend is a challenge.

Let me know I can help in any way, I'm Floyd R Turbo on XF

Thanks for the support and offer!

Higgs Boson said:
Looking forward to the transition. Been hearing a lot of good things about Xenforo. Oh have far we have come in the world of forums since the days of Matt's Scripts.

I remember Matt Scripts!

Mr-R said:
Can't wait Greg! good job!

Thanks Mr. R!

Shinaolord said:
Will the mobile app be getting updates as well?

The mobile app will be unaffected. There will be downtime for that while the forum is migrated though.

jamesb1 said:
Hi I would like to know whether there will be LaTeX support added for the mobile app as well since the mobile app would be just 100% perfect if this feature would be added. I find it practically unusable without this support.

I understand your frustration. I don't think LaTeX support will be added in the near future.

However the mobile style using your browser can handle LaTeX now and will be able to in PF 4.0 as well.
 
  • #12
Greg Bernhardt said:
Thanks for the support DataGG! We feel the same, it can't happen soon enough. However there is a lot to plan out and the style isn't finished yet :)Thanks adjacent!

Thanks for the support and offer!

I remember Matt Scripts!

Thanks Mr. R!The mobile app will be unaffected. There will be downtime for that while the forum is migrated though.I understand your frustration. I don't think LaTeX support will be added in the near future.However the mobile style using your browser can handle LaTeX now and will be able to in PF 4.0 as well.
Already does display it :) good thing it ain't changing!
 
  • #13
DataGG said:
...the old folks who cannot adapt...haha

OK, watch your language, sonny.
 
  • #14
As a mentor, I have been able to try out the new forum already. And I have to say that it's really great. Sure, it'll take some getting used to, but overall it's a vast improvement.
 
  • #15
Greg Bernhardt said:
a 404 not found error or possibly something else

May I suggest HTTP 418?
 
  • #16
I, too, have used Xenforo before, and it's definitely way better than vBulletin. Looking forward to PF 4.0.

I don't know whether the trophy system will be suitable for PF though, in particular, I don't think that the trophies for posts is a good idea. One of PF's greatest advantages is the signal to noise ratio, and I fear that the trophy system for posts will make it more difficult to moderate.

Wait, did you just say a chat system with LaTeX ?? :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
 
  • #17
This is a Fantastic News!

Thank you
 
  • #18
!Jon Snow! said:
This is a Fantastic News!

Thank you

You know nothing
 
  • #19
montadhar said:
Wait, did you just say a chat system with LaTeX ?? :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
Well, it's actually a shoutbox, but Greg is modifying it. :approve:
 
  • #20
Evo said:
Well, it's actually a shoutbox, but Greg is modifying it. :approve:

It'll have almost the exact same functionalities as the current chat, except (sadly) the private messages.
 
  • #21
It doesn't have the Jetson's theme song. :cry:
 
  • #23
...

Other than lost PM's, will all my valuable bookmark URL's still have a way to eventually find the original thread references? Maybe a title search?

I'm old. Still a Win ME fan. :smile:

Wes
...
 
  • #24
Wes Tausend said:
...

Other than lost PM's, will all my valuable bookmark URL's still have a way to eventually find the original thread references? Maybe a title search?

I'm old. Still a Win ME fan. :smile:

Wes
...

You could create a folder named "bookmarks" or whatever in your subscribed threads and add those bookmarks to said folder.

I don't think we're going to lose our subscriptions, will we?
 
  • #25
Evo said:
Well, it's actually a shoutbox, but Greg is modifying it. :approve:

micromass said:
It'll have almost the exact same functionalities as the current chat, except (sadly) the private messages.

I see, we will see how it turns out.

By the way Greg, there is a way to save all the PMs (and maybe the VMs too) manually without the need to copy them, can you edit the main post to show the method ?
 
  • #26
Wes Tausend said:
Other than lost PM's, will all my valuable bookmark URL's still have a way to eventually find the original thread references? Maybe a title search?

Old forum/thread URLs will be automatically redirected to the new URLs.

DataGG said:
I don't think we're going to lose our subscriptions, will we?

Thread subscriptions should transfer. In Xenforo they are called "Watched Threads"

montadhar said:
By the way Greg, there is a way to save all the PMs (and maybe the VMs too) manually without the need to copy them, can you edit the main post to show the method ?

For PMs there is a download PMs function at the bottom of the PM page. You can export to txt, xml or csv. :)
 
  • #27
I'm a little surprised a little surprised that PMs are not going to transfer. I know that in (at least, standard) VB the PMS are all "separate", meaning each message is stand-alone (and there is a "sent" and "inbox" folder) while in XF they are essentially like a private thread. When I converted VB->XF it basically combined the two and it looked pretty messy, but it did bring them over.

Converting the VB PM structure to conform to the XF structure would be extremely difficult to code.
 
  • #28
Which vB version did you use Overflowing? vB3 and 4 have quite a messy structure where the PM texts and the sender/recipients data are spread out over several tables to allow multiple recipients. vB2 was much easier in that respect.
 
  • #29
Thanks for the hard work Greg, much appreciated :)
 
  • #30
WannabeNewton said:
Thanks for the hard work Greg, much appreciated :)

I do it for you guys! In PF 4.0 I would be Liking your post :) Reward me with patience as the first few days might be a little rocky.
 
  • #31
I was using VB4.2, whatever the latest service release was around Sep-Nov 2013.

I never looked closely at the database structure for VB but I had to dig pretty deep into how DNN7.0 was set up, and compare it to XF1.3.x and those were somewhat similar from a table structure perspective (and on the UI as well - PMs were "threaded" rather than all individual messages)

I doubt I have a backup of my VB hanging around but I might.

XF's structure is across multiple tables as well but when you figure it out, it makes perfect sense.

The conversation master which defines/tracks quite a few things, mainly the conversation ID, title, user ID that started it, etc.

The message table holds all the individual messages and who generated them & when

the recipient table tracks who is part of the conversation (and who has left it, in XF)

The User table seems to track most of the same info as the Recipient table plus a few other things

They are all sort of intertwined in an odd way but I'm sure there is some logical reason for it.

We had gConverter do it for us and they nailed it for super cheap. And that was for 2 generations of PMs, we had an older database that didn't convert on an upgrade and was barely still accessible.
 
  • #32
I haven't stopped in here for a while now, but I'm very excited to see the new PF! I hope you all are well, and I hope to be around more in the future. :)

- Warren
 
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  • #33
Exciting!
 
  • #34
chroot said:
I haven't stopped in here for a while now, but I'm very excited to see the new PF! I hope you all are well, and I hope to be around more in the future. :)

- Warren

Good to see you Warren! Don't be a stranger :)
 
  • #35
Greg Bernhardt said:
- Like system (replacing Thanks)

So the thanks-badge will no longer exist?
 

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