Best and most complete importer for existing forum?

import

(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #1

Hey all! So I pulled the plug and installed Discourse to run a few tests. I fell in love with it and quickly decided to migrate our existing community.

So we are currently running SMF2 but I noticed that the official plugin does not support importing private messages, among other features. I would consider moving our current forum to an intermediary software (such as MyBB or phpBB) if that means a more complete migration to Discourse. Which importer would you say is the most mature and reliable?

It’s not a very large community (about 12000) but it’s healthy, friendly, and some categories work as “know how” about game development. Thus, I’d like to keep as much stuff as possible.

Thanks in advance!


(Darix) #2

you could just improve the importer for SMF2 instead?


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #3

Not ruling out the possibility, I guess, but my time is limited these days. Migrating and setting up the new community is already going to take a few days, and I don’t have the luxury of analyzing and improving someone else’s code.

Under different circumstances, I certainly would.


(ĺ±±) #4

I have SMF2. I plan on starting fresh with a clean install for Discourse.

My idea would involve backing up the SMF2 database and host it locally. Any users that request their PMs can contact you. Then you could download their PMs and serve it as a CSV file and email it back to them. This is what I plan to do.

Granted, my install is only about 400 members. It’s an option if you have other hands on board to help with this.

This google search might aid you with your current situation.

The last resort would be to fetch a CSV of your entire userbase, import into Discourse then host the old forum in a read-only state elsewhere, with a robots.txt to deny spider-crawl access.

Your users can log into the old one to fetch what they need, or use it as an archive.

And yes, using a middle man importer to switch to another forum software then to Discourse is also an option. I’ve done it before.


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #5

Interesting, thank you for the suggestion. I’m seriously considering an intermediate migration to phpBB, which seems to be more complete. However, I’ve been pondering about this and losing the private messages isn’t such a big deal, really. Polls… we probably have two or three.

It’s mostly my obsession to make the transition as seamless as possible :slight_smile:


(ĺ±±) #6

PMs aren’t a big deal. That’s why I suggest making a CSV for each member. Or give your members an x amount of time as a grace period before you begin the migration.

Or a combo: make the old site an archive for x amount of time for members to collect PMs. After that time has passed, nuke the site and mysql database. Be sure to add a robots.txt rule for that new archive folder so it isn’t crawled any longer. Push that google juice to the new Discourse digs. :smiley:


(Jeff Atwood) #7

We generally improve the importers as we go for paid customers, so if you can sign up for a business plan for one year we can take on that work.

And of course we always open source our work as well…


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #8

Thanks, nice to know. I’ll keep this in mind!


(Jens Maier) #9

I was in the same place a few months ago, but in the end I decided that importing SMFs private messages and polls just wasn’t worth the effort. Polls weren’t used in my forum and private messages in SMF are just too weird: you can collect a string of messages into a conversation as would be required for Discourse’s idea of PMs, but SMF stores recipients for each individual (private) post.

A generic solution would either have to split an SMF2 PM thread into several Discourse PMs, one for each unique, non-contained set of participants, possibly duplicating messages to achieve this, or make all private messages in a conversation visible to all participants which might break confidentiality… :confounded:


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #10

Yeah, I thought about it and it’s really not worth the effort. I can keep the old website running a bit longer (it’s on Linode but I’ll be hosting the new site on Digital Ocean), so users can retrieve anything that didn’t make to the new forum. Besides the PMs, the importer doesn’t support image galleries, although I might work on that and share it back.

Discourse is pure zen when compared to SMF. Or… shudders… phpBB :scream:


(Jens Maier) #11

Image galleries? Isn’t that an SMF2 mod?


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #12

Oops, sorry, I meant avatar galleries. This means that avatars offered by default won’t be imported, only the ones manually uploaded by users.


(Jens Maier) #13

Sure, but how would you import them? Discourse has no comparable features; default avatars are either auto-generated (letter avatars) or randomly selected.


Edit: D’oh, ignore me. Yeah, if a user has selected an avatar from the gallery, the selected avatar image should be converted into an uploaded avatar for that user. I’ve never ever user the avatar gallery feature, so I didn’t build that and didn’t have data to test it… but if you want to implement this feature, go ahead. If there are any questions regarding the importer, I’ll be happy to help. :smiley:


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #14

Oh right, you created the importer! Sure thing, I’ll give it a shot and stay in touch. Thanks!!


(David Sánchez) #15

@AgustinCordes so did you import SMF to Discourse in the end? Very curious about your experience as I am about to do the same.


(AgustĂ­n Cordes) #16

Yes, @dsanchez, I did and it worked beautifully. Only one to consider (at least in my experience) that I pointed out here: Importer for Simple Machines 2 forums

In my case, I was also taking the opportunity to change the whole URL of the forum, which is why I suggested to rebake all posts. However, that may not be necessary in your case.

Good luck!