Upgrade Discourse from Version to current on good karma basis

(Smoke Free Cyclist) #1

What would you like done?
I host a German project to quit smoking / to overcome nicotine addiction. The project is today(!) 14(!) years online. Since January 2013 we offer with a sub-domain in a DigitalOcean the discourse forum: http://forum.smokefreeproject.org/

So far it is poorly adapted. I am sure with the current version it would do much better.


  • Login is on the projects page (which is Ruby on Rails based, too)
  • Some links to external pages in the menu bar on the top right
  • That’s it. There is not even a third point. The integration shall be as KISS as possible.

When do you need it done?
I am ready when you are.

What is your budget, in $ USD that you can offer for this task?
Do you accept good karma? We are operating for 14 years totally independent of any organization, any lobby and any advertisement. The project is financed by my dad and me, as well as donations from happy participants.

I am looking forward to read you replies on this post, even if you have nothing to offer directly but a valid comment. If you want to e-mail, I’d be happy to hear from you!

And one more question! Is this a good nest to find freelancing coders for RoR? Or is there another page to be recommended, such as upwork, ect. I am considering to find sponsors to invest (again) a 5 digit number to keep up the good work and the SmokeFree community. If you are interested to do some more jobs (paid jobs at a later stage - even if the salary is not as high as for commercially oriented pages), I would like to hear from you too!

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #2

It’s worth a shot, but it’ll be tricky. Updating an outdated Discourse instance isn’t the type of work most developers would consider “a fun time” :wink: Maybe you could try do a donation run specifically targeting the forum? If you put up a decent amount yourself it might get some traction.

For general purpose RoR development you’re obviously better off with more general purpose sites like Upwork. But for Discourse work, absolutely, #marketplace is monitored by a solid bunch of Discourse developers.

(Smoke Free Cyclist) #3

Hey Erlend,
thanks for your feedback!

Is there any experience out there, that would suggest an estimate how many days it might take to upgrade?

In no way I want to sound disrespectful about the work of integration and upgrade of discourse. I value the time and expertise. It’s just a tough call at the moment to keep the community running as the budget is down for the moment and when donations come back in during high season (Christmas and new year resolution), it should be up and running.

(Kane York) #4

From my past experience doing this, it always varies.

If you can take backups and throw away the current server, then that’s all you need to do. Set the site to read only, take a backup, switch DNS, restore the backup to a new server.

If you need it to run on the same physical server at the end, it’s a really, really “fun” time cleaning up all the traces from Bluepill and friends.

(Daniel Gagnon) #5

What I suggest you try is to make a backup of the data in the admin section. Then create a new DigitalOcean droplet and install the latest version of Discourse. Restore your data there. If you are lucky it’ll import fine. If you are less lucky then you might need to upgrade to an older version of Discourse first as a stepping stone.

When you confirmed it works, then announce on your forum you’ll be down for maintenance for at most a few days. Make the forum read-only. Make your final data backup. Transfer it to a fresh install on a new DigitalOcean node. Make your DNS point to your new server. Test that it works fine. Delete the old one.

Don’t be too hasty in deleting, test for a few days at least before.

Once you delete a DO server, you cease to pay for it though, it’s pay per use.

It’s much easier and safer than fixing that old RoR gunk.

(Smoke Free Cyclist) #6

Thanks Kane,
I have checked with my friend who had initially (suggested and) installed Discourse. He said max 3 days. He’s very busy in a new job, so he said it would need month for him to take some time for our forum.

“I guess there were some customizations to the discourse related code that was done for logging in and some JavaScript related modifications. I am yet to follow what a version upgrade would mean at the moment. I am guessing at the worst it should not be beyond 3 days of effort.i will have to take a better look at it for a certain estimate.”

I am very doubtful if I want to be up for fun time. :non-potable_water:

(Smoke Free Cyclist) #7

Hey Daniel,
I have a droplet for the production and one for development, even I have not used the dev since it’s original set-up.

It sounds like a good plan. However, I do not make so much fuss about the data. The users themselves are stored in a separated database. The beta-discourse was more a sandbox and if the data does not import easily, the data is excluded. In case there is a delay due to the data, we just start blank again. That’s alright. The SmokeFreeProject has much more content and user content on the actual application. In short: The data import shall be no problem, or it is no problem.

The only thing is the automatic login from the original database.

(system) #8

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