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  1. #121
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Yep, and the random photos are a nice touch
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  2. #122
    The latest hack was to install a links page.

    http://www.smokstak.com/links/

    Aint this fuunnnn? I can't believe that I lived in the dark ages for so long!

  3. #123

    I think this may be the place I was looking for :)

    Want to say hello, and tell you I've read all the pages of this thread

    I belong to a volunteer county history group and we have a WebBBS board that the server administrator has run for us for years. Now apparently that server is going *away* and we don't know when. None of us are programmers, hell, I wrote in COBOL, so that's about where I'm at....

    I have no idea how to run one of these bulletin board systems, but we have over 17,000 messages, some threaded, that need to go somewhere. As the volunteers increase, the data comes in faster. Our boards are mainly used for records: birth, death, bio, obit, etc - and then they are threaded with corrections or other people looking for the same information.

    We don't need anything fancy because we don't use very many "bells and whistles" to begin with, but the option that is being considered is converting all the bbs records into htm files and basically archiving them with maybe a search engine to look things up with. And then we have no more boards... Needless to say, I don't want things to just dry up, if I knew how to do it, I'd try to use webbbs on our new webspace, but the truth is that I have no idea how. It is currently just "available" on the server we are on.

    Could anyone point me in the right direction? I can post or email the link to our site if that would help. Thank you in advance~

    Gina

  4. #124
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Hi Gina and welcome. Good effort reading this thread, I don't think I'd want to take it on again

    First of all, I think it would be a good idea to archive your message boards as HTML pages, whatever you decide to do. If you do it now you'll have a useable record forever. Otherwise anything could happen and you might find yourself with no practical way to reconstruct the information. Do you know how to do an HTML backup?

    If you could show us the URL it would probably help us recommend a solution. There a few important things like the structure and frequency of messages which it's easiest to see if we look at the board.

    If you do decide to keep going with the forum option, you must choose whether to stick with WebBBS or use a different forum package. It's no secret that I don't see any future in WebBBS but there are certain advantages in using what you already have. I can let you know what I'd recommend after seeing your site.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  5. #125
    Thanks for your reponse Dave. Seems I have been kind of designated to solve this problem

    No, I don't know how to do an HTML backup. I have downloaded the 17 folders of 1000 posts each. Then I ran a rename program on each folder to convert them all to .htm, but there is formatting and such in there, and the threaded links don't work. I didn't know what else to do, so if there is a better way to back up - please share.

    The URL is http://www.usgennet.org/usa/wi/count...ords/index.cgi

    As far as staying with WebBBS or going with something else, it doesn't matter to me, as long as I can *gulp* understand it enough to implement it on our new server. I've never run anything more than a website's guestbook before. I have some programming knowledge, but nothing that is applicable in a windows situation.

    I'd really appreciate your recommendation.

    Thank you,

    Gina

  6. #126
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    The way WebBBS works is to store a specially-formatted file for each message. These files can only be made into HTML pages by the WebBBS script being run from a server. That's why I think it's a good idea to make an HTML backup - otherwise in the future you would have to install and run WebBBS just to be able to access the files in a reasonable way.

    The easiest way to make a backup is to use a website download tool. I recommend HTTrack (free, http://www.httrack.com). The idea is that you point this program at your forum and tell it to make a copy. Because it sees your forum as HTML pages (already put together by WebBBS on the server) it treats it like a normal website, following all the links and making copies of the pages as HTML. It will take quite a long time (probably an hour or more) to make a copy of your forum but I think it's worth it for safety's sake.

    I'm in two minds about whether you should stick with WebBBS or go for a better forum solution.

    If you stay with WebBBS you will be able to transfer your existing files to the new server and pick up where you left off relatively easily. This would be the best short-term solution.

    For the long term I have no doubt that a better forum package would be preferable. The problem is that you won't be able to easily import the messages you already have. You will either have to spend time learning how to import/convert the WebBBS messages, or have all the old WebBBS messages as a separate archive and start the new forum afresh.

    If you have WebBBS available on your new server, I think my suggestion would be to use that first. Transfer your files over and get WebBBS going, so at least you're in business. Then you'll be able to spend a bit of time learning about other forum packages and deciding which one to use.

    On the other hand, if you're game to start with a better forum straight away, I would say go for it. I recommend vBulletin (http://www.vbulletin.com) - it's miles better than all the others I've tried but it is pricey. For a volunteer organization you might want to go with something free like phpbb (http://www.phpbb.com).
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  7. #127
    Thank you SO much for reminding me about HTTrack. I used it last year to download a complicated site for a comedy club who didn't have the original files

    This is awesome if it will connect the links- I'm in process now.

    Do you think there will ever be an easier way to convert to new forum packages? Of course, if HTTrack will save this and leave it accessible, I could maybe implement a search engine and do as you say and leave it archived.

    I will definitely look into vbulletin and phpbb. The ones I've seen so far don't look anything like our current boards, but I'm guessing they can be customized. We don't need all the "bells and whistles" of a logged-in member type board. I'm uncertain how to proceed as far as setting it up to be similar to what we have.

    I don't think WebBBS is actually on the new server. I'd have to put it there myself-- is that a crazy notion?

    Dave, I can't say how much I appreciate your replies. I was feeling pretty alone out here in confussed-BBS land.

    Thank you

  8. #128
    Senior Member Lynne's Avatar
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    I agree with everything Dave has said.

    One thing you might think about, if you convert it to html pages, it will probably be indexed by the big search engines, like google. That could be a plus (or minus, depending on what you want).

    that way, a person could pick up what is on the site using google. Plus, there are quite a few searches available for searching all the html pages on a site.

  9. #129
    Senior Member Lynne's Avatar
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    Dave, btw, your article is being brought up again on the v6 forum by a user.. same old questions, and same lack of answers.

    enough said.

  10. #130
    Thank you Lynne,
    HTTrack spent 3 hours last night working on the website. So much nicer than running renames and then search/replace after search/replace on everything. And they even link Awesome. The only part that kind of stinks is that we're in process of converting everything on the site to "htm" rather than "html" files. Not sure if I can change that, but definitely a minor detail.

    I wouldn't mind if the big engines picked it up. The problem I see is that the HTTrack pages will contain outdated links as soon as that server is down. I *think* with some of the search/replace programs out there that I could at least change the major things. And probably delete the area that is slated for someone to post a follow-up, because that looks deceiving. Right now, it takes me back to the internet rather than gives me an error from my hard drive.

    Anyway, I made some people very happy with the results of HTTrack - thank you Dave. Now to figure out what on earth to do on the new server... any ideas are very much welcome (and needed!)

    Thanks much-

    Gina

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