wpForo v2 - this is the forum software... thoughts please
Currently the site has been using wpForo and has been for a few years now, its been using the 1.x version all this time and until now it has worked pretty well. I have been ignoring all the messages in my WP management section stating all my plugins and forum software has this major update available. So basically at this point there will be no more updates/fixes for the 1.x versions going forward since now the platform and plugins for it use the 2.x forum and plugins are 3.x and will not be back ported from what I can tell.
Will the site run if I don't upgrade at all?
Yes, it should run fine in its present state. But right now WP6.x is out (the site is on 5.9.x) and I haven't updated to v6 because I don't think v1.x wpForo supports WP6 entirely, wpForo v2 does.
This is where it could get hairy for the site... because if I decide not to upgrade in a year or so it might make it almost impossible to upgrade at all without data loss or migration issues and obviously an old site could have open security flaws as well.
From what I have read so far, this new wpForo software probably will break theming and any custom code I have on the site in the backend (kind of expected this). So upgrading could break the theme of the site, so obviously the site might look ugly for a while until I can get it fixed 😉
I cannot find a lot of info on the 'style/layout' of the forums, right now I use there most minimalistic layout they have other layouts that i think are too confusing and cluttered. So layout of the forums could possibly change as well.
But in the wpForo forum there is a lot of complaints of styling and website breaking issues.... basically if your standing up a new install on a new site there is basically no issues.... its only those that have had a site running for years that may have lots of addins and/or custom CSS that are having issues.... hehe that would be SSC 😉
What to do?
Well thats why I am asking for feedback.... I am kind of in a 'damned if you do, damned if you dont' type situation 😉 the last time I was put in this situation I waited and migration was necessary to keep the site running (because of provider), and some of you remember it was rough and I lost data on the migration and passwords got corrupted.... so I would really like to avoid that situation again 🙂 So I am more leaning more on upgrading the site...
But what I might do (if I can), is maybe install a blank site with the software that the site will be upgraded too to see what people think. It will hopefully give me the opportunity to see what the site could possibly look like with the current theme and what breaks or if certain add-ins don't work any more. If I decide to to this step I probably won't have it ready this month but I will keep people posted. I do have to purchase upgrades for all the plugins because the old ones will not work with 2.x .... (hehe figures)
Regardless of the decision, I can't wait too long to make this move because if either WP/wpForo get too far ahead in version upgrades could be difficult. Of course I will backup/download the entire site to my home PC just in case, upgrade awful and breaks too much. But I have to do some research on all the plugins the site uses and make sure they are all compatible with WP v6.x ... so I have a little work to do there.
If people are bored and want to read about forum software you can go here: https://wpforo.com/
This will be a big effort I think, so as always when it is started I will do everything I can to limit downtime and prevent data loss.
Don't worry, SSC been around since 2008 and will continue to be here regardless of what we go through... 👍
If there's no choice but to upgrade at some point, then 'tis best done sooner rather than later.
Oolite Naval Attaché
It might be better to go with the upgrades in the long term if you intend to keep using the same hosting etc, if we lose any themes or layout, then it might be possible to work around it or just come up with a new ones.
After all the site has changed it's look a number of times over the last 14 years.
I will probably do it in stages.... like upgrade WP and all addins first and see how the theme responds. Then perform the forum conversion. I would hope to have it done by Sept and do the work on the weekends so if there is issues I can spend time on them. I have to dive into the CSS code too and look into the color codes I use and stuff like that and write them down (oh fun... haha)