Creating a new import script

(Mike Ottum) #1

Hello. I’m working on replacing our existing forum with Discourse, and I need to create a new import script to migrate content. I’ve been looking at the existing import scripts, but I was wondering if there is any documentation on creating a new import script outside of reading through the script code. Any pointers are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

(Régis Hanol) #2

No documentation yet. The source code is your best bet.

(Cafeine) #3

Since I will never be able to code in this life, do you know if someone is working on an importer for IPB?


(Jeff Atwood) #4

The general idea is that you find somone with an IPB forum that is willing to pay us for a year of hosting (required for import), then we import their data, and open source the resulting importer as we always do.

Make that happen and you, and everyone else, gets an IPB importer. So spread the word :wink:

(Cafeine) #5

:smiley: this is actually pretty good. And I may have some candidats. Let’s see what I can do about this. :wink:

(Mike Ottum) #6

So I’m looking at vanilla.rb as a template to use to write my own importer, since it looks like vanilla.rb reads in a CSV file and inserts its data into Discourse.

Am I on the right track here? Is there any chance that an example CSV file exists with sample data? If so, I’m happy to help (try to) create some documentation around writing importers to help future Discourse pioneers.

(Régis Hanol) #7

Yes, the vanilla importer reads a CSV file generated by VanillaPorter :wink:

(Mike Ottum) #8

Thanks @zogstrip! vannilla.rb has been very helpful in creating my own importer and everything is

(Pierre Girard) #9

I’m interested to be on this with you !

(Cafeine) #10

Well, my dev friend finished to port our VERY old IPB DB and we moved everything at We don’t have anything clean enough to share sadly. (and we actually imported twice some stuff to Wordpress). Our DB was very old with tons of probs (UTF8 or not, etc.) but WE DID IT. \o/

EDIT : I’ll check if we can clean the code and contrib anyway of course. :wink:

(Vinlock) #11

if you guys import it via the paid plan. will that include the associations of users to topics?

(Jeff Atwood) #12

Yes, import covers all forum data, users, posts, pictures, etcetera.

(Omri Amos) #13

This is actually not very fair IMHO… If I need to import my IPB forum then I need to pay $2,400 (!) for it, but then everyone else will get it for free?
This is a great idea for everyone else, beside the one that actually have to pay for it…
I bet you could easily find 10 people that would pay $240 for the importer, instead of just 1 person that will pay $2,400.

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Let me quickly update since we discussed this on today’s team call. We can work with @pfaffman on efforts like this and partially fund them, provided people can meet us halfway.


@codinghorror Is the import script only good for people who are presently using an IPB forum?

(Jeff Atwood) #18

Sorry, I do not understand your question? Our list of open sourced importers is at

If we have never done a migration for a customer on a particular brand of forum software, it will be missing from that list.

We do not migrate forum data for our personal entertainment, only when a business hosted plan requests it and the software is common enough to qualify as a “typical” migration, versus custom or bespoke.


@codinghorror Thanks.

I am currently in discussion with @pfaffman about creating an import script for my forum.

My forum is built using the open source platform, it is not on your list of open sourced importers.

How can I find out if Mylittleforum is “common enough to qualify as a typical migration” or not?

(Mittineague) #20

From what I can guess, “common” is not the only factor involved.

That is, there are some forum apps that AFAICT have substantial market share for which no import to Discourse script exists.
And there are import to Discourse scripts for forum apps that fall into the “other 3%” market share.

Putting together an import script is no small task (that’s a gross understatement). It is not something I would want to attempt for “fun”, for “free” even if I had a serious vested interest in doing so.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #21

No, we’ve had a series of misunderstandings here.

  1. We don’t charge $2400 for migrations. In order for us to do a migration for a customer, we require a 1-year commitment to our Business plan. Meaning, you pre-pay for the service that you’ll probably be using for far longer than a year anyhow, plus you get the migration done at no extra charge. The only ones who pay extra for migrations are customers who would have gotten by fine with just the Standard plan.

  2. Every migration is a unique snowflake and will always require some extra labour, so even if we’ve already made the script for the forum that a customer wants to have migrated, the 1-year Business commitment still applies. Which means it’s actually the first customer who gets a significant amount of work done for free, not the later ones.

Of course, if you’re planning to self-host then it doesn’t make economical sense to have your migration done by us. In that case your best option is to find a freelancer in our #marketplace to do the migration for you. We encourage freelancers to open source their code so that we in turn can pay them for further improvements or how-tos for their scripts.

(Jay Pfaffman) #22

Well, I have been having fun with migrations, but I do need to eat and pay for electricity and Digital Ocean.