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Author Topic: Major Site Update News  (Read 1558 times)

Chaos

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Major Site Update News
« on: August 20, 2021, 11:16:53 PM »

As you may know, this site is running on really old software and the host is forcing updates to the operating system and the mySQL database. In addition to that, both this board and the fiction archive scripts are written with a version of php that is not only depreciated, but now is considered to be past "End of Life" and will not be supported by the new OS or DB (or PHP version). That's the bad news.

Now the good news: 

After some finagling, I have successfully copied the current fiction archive to a new server to try to get it to work with php 7 and a new database. It seems to be working as expected. So, I think I should be able to upgrade it on this site before the server upgrade and it should work. Worst case scenario, I have a working copy of it on a temporary site and can share a temporary URL until it can be fixed on this one.

Similarly, as of this evening after even more finagling I was able to copy this forum to a temporary location and successfully got it to upgrade to the latest version of SMF. The theme we're using right now is not available for that version, so the site's look will change. I found one that should work pretty well, but if anyone is interested in going on a theme search (or want to modify an existing theme) I'm happy to install/update that.

So...there's still a chance that this site will be in chaos for a short time, and don't be surprised if you stumble on the site in "Maintenance Mode" off-and-on over the next couple weeks. But I'm pretty confident that it'll get worked out (or at least should be recoverable up to today's fiction and today's forum messages...)
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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2021, 10:28:19 AM »

Thanks for taking the time and effort to save the site and forum!
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~Julie

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nicksgal

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2021, 03:26:03 PM »

Thanks Ash for the time effort to keep the site and forum going! I appreciate you.
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Chaos

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2021, 02:23:55 PM »

Thanks, guys! 

I think the forum has been successfully upgraded. So, this message also doubles as a test.  :broccoli:

Please let me know if you run into any weird issues...
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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2021, 07:40:39 PM »

Yay!!  So far so good!  The only weird thing I've noticed is the URL of the forum has a string of numbers in the front (looks like an IP address?), followed by ~ac/fictalk/index.php.  Is it supposed to be like that?
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~Julie

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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2021, 09:06:22 PM »

Ooh, now we have spammers starting porn threads. :(
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~Julie

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Chaos

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2021, 08:05:04 AM »

Yeeeeah.  Those have been removed. I didn't notice that with the upgrade to the new forum version it removed the membership verification questions for registering.  I reinstated those and banned the new memberships from the past day. 

The other thing I noticed was that apparently something in the upgrade caused all the avatars to be unassigned.  It looks like they're still on the server and you can go back into your profile and add avatar(s) again. You should be able to find and assign your old one, or can take the "opportunity" to upload a new one. Note: I haven't tested new avatar uploads yet, so if you try it before I do and it doesn't work, let me know...

Hmm...looks like the smileys are also missing. No more dancing :broccoli:? I'll work on that, too...

Edit: ...And the dancing broccoli has returned. Fortunately, that was an easy fix.  :party:

Edit2: And the avatar issue, I think, is fixed.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 05:40:14 PM by Chaos »
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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2021, 10:30:32 PM »

Thanks for all your hard work!  Just popped on for the first time today, and everything looks good!
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~Julie

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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2021, 05:22:15 PM »

Has anyone tried updating a story since the site upgraded?  I just tried posting a new chapter, and I keep getting an error message that says "A fatal MySQL error was encountered."
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~Julie

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Chaos

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2021, 06:43:02 AM »

Well...that kind of sucks.

I had updated a story, but not added a new one or a new chapter to one. But I tried now and did get the error.  I'll start working on a fix, but unfortunately will likely not be able to get it completed today unless it turns out to be an easy fix. :crossing fingers:

Edit: Alas, not a simple fix. I can't find a reason for the error. I re-set up the site on a backup server to see if the problem replicates there...and it did NOT replicate. The good news is that since it didn't replicate, it should be fixable. The bad news is that since I can't get the reason for the error it's going to be a bit like finding that pesky needle in a haystack, so it may take a while...

« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 09:41:40 AM by Chaos »
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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2021, 10:10:23 AM »

No worries, thanks for trying to figure it out!
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~Julie

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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2021, 04:14:14 PM »

I'm sorry to be the one who keeps reporting issues, but I noticed there are all these strange characters (’) in place of certain punctuation marks (apostrophes and quotation marks, maybe others as well).  We had a similar issue on the old site, which seemed to be worse with stories written in Microsoft Word because of the way it automatically formats certain punctuation marks (flipping quotation marks so they curve the right way, turning three periods into ellipses, converting hyphens into em-dashes, etc.).  At some point, AC stopped recognizing those punctuation marks, so I had to do a lot of editing and reposting of my old stories to get them to look right again.  Now it's doing it again with newer stories I wrote in Google Docs and posted as plain text to attempt to remove any weird formatting that might cause an issue.

It sounds like it's a problem with the character set.  Here's an explanation I found: https://blog.codeasite.com/weird-characters-like-a-are-showing-up-on-my-site/  Hopefully this is something that can be fixed easily.  Thanks for looking into it when time allows!
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Chaos

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2021, 12:19:28 PM »

Don't feel bad for reporting the issues--it's really appreciated!  Now getting them fixed may take some time, but it definitely helps to know things I need to look at! (Of course this is all hitting during moving week for 2 of my nephews, so my time is limited this week to work on getting these issue fixed.)  I believe I should be able to run some code in the database to update the story summaries and notes to correct the encoding, but am looking for a way to mass update it in the text files for the story text as well, which may take longer. Or I may see if restoring from the backup taken right before the upgrade might undo whatever happened, too.

By all means, if you spot any other issues, please let me know and I'll keep plugging away at it.  :cheers:

(Edit: That link you provided was really helpful, too! Easy fix. I think it should be good now, I am still going to make sure the character set gets updated in the text files just because I think it'll make future upgrades or conversions easier, but the code from that link I believe will mask the issue in the meantime.) 
« Last Edit: August 30, 2021, 01:21:39 PM by Chaos »
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RokofAges75

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2021, 05:50:28 PM »

Yay, my stories look normal again!  Thanks for looking into it; I'm glad it was a quick fix for now.
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Chaos

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Re: Major Site Update News
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2021, 05:41:15 PM »

Alas, the overall issue where it won't allow new chapters to be added remains elusive.  I rebuilt the site (again) to one of my other websites to try and duplicate the error and it's not getting that error (or another error that was causing me to not be able to delete some of the obviously "spam" members without going and editing the database directly.) 

The good news is the new chapter problem doesn't seem to be affecting the database itself at all because I was able to use it in the alternate location without having the same issue(s).  The story directories seem to have the correct permissions since existing chapters are able to be updated. So, that seems to indicate something weird in the efiction scripts. To get archive functionality back, I suspect that I'll need to uninstall/delete it off this server and reinstall the efiction software. That shouldn't be too bad (unless it doesn't work...) so hopefully I'll be able to get it back up and running this weekend. Don't be surprised if you stumble on the site and it appears to be down. Most likely that's when I'm working on the reinstall and it should be back up shortly...
« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 05:43:06 PM by Chaos »
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