The new Philly SCCA Forum is live!

Last weekend I rolled out an upgrade to phpBB3 for my local SCCA region’s discussion forum. That includes a theme customized to match our region color of yellow. I have added on several extra features to extend the functionality of the software. One of which is a Topic Preview that show you an excerpt of the first post when you hover over the link to said post. I am now actually the developer/maintainer of that MOD. I could and should write a few blog posts dedicated to that subject. I place of blog posts you can read about it in my discussion forum.

The conversion went well. We convinced our host to move us to a server with PHP 5 and MySQL 5 prior to the conversion. The old version of MySQL that was used didn’t have UTF-8 support and the developers had to do a bunch of kludging to get UTF-8 support. Although we really don’t need the UTF-8 stuff that is the way the software is written so everything should be on the same page. And unless you’ve been living in a cave PHP 4 will be de-supported in August. So I wanted to start this version of the forum off right instead of having to convert a kludged database. That meant creating a new database. I wasn’t sure if I could do that though. I was under the impression I had to do the upgrade in the old database. The documentation or info in the support forums didn’t help me find the answer I was looking for.

Well after starting the install based on doing it in the old database I figured out that you could make a new DB and still transfer everything over. So I killed what I was doing and started over with a fresh MySQL 5.0 DB using MySQLi drivers. 😀 The overall reaction has been positive. There was of course some growing pains just because it was new. I found a problem with my Topic Preview MOD in that it has a flicker in IE (I knew about that) but also in IE sometimes the preview box covers the topic link so you can’t click on it. That I didn’t know about, but I realized I should be doing more cross browsing testing. I have done a lot of searching for a solution to this problem but can’t find anyone with the exact same issue. I finally recently found someone with a similar situation who figured out the issue happens when text has to be wrapped in the preview box. I consider this a bug in IE because Firefox handles it just fine.

I also found an issue with posted images. There is a section of the Admin interface that allows you to set a max width for images. I thought that the board would use CSS to resize images to a the max size. But what it does is check the dimensions of the image and prevents you from posting if they are larger that the max. That is inconvenient at the least and with so many computer illiterate people on our forums unacceptable. I pretty much have a solution mapped out that involves assigning a class to all images in posts. But after modifying the phpbb template file that deals with bbcode the changes aren’t showing up. And phpBB.com hasn’t been any help so far. I’ll be posting up in my discussion forum once I gt it figured out.