First, again I have been very busy with work and was out-of-town for the weekend. I see from the stats though that the readers have noticed at the number of views dropped off considerably over the last five days to a week. I had more than a few hundred ideas of blogs to post about during my time away, but I am coming up almost a blank right now. I did do that dreaded thing of work all day on hard-core computer technology yesterday at the office only to go home and do five or six more hours of it there for personal web sites.
Granted, it had largely been neglected for the six months prior to making the move from one hosting platform to another, but in the interim of two additional months before getting all of the back-end components in place for eligius.org everything has changed. First a bit of what it is – eligius.org is the home of the Lance of the St. Eligius. That is the medieval mounted group in which some of us ran and participated – including, but not limited to, jousting at renaissance faires.
When the site was taken offline to be moved, it had little access for the previous three months or longer. Regardless of that, it was running a Joomla (content management system) front end – which was also managing all user credentials and such. This was bridged to both a PHPBB interface (bulletin board system that is hard to beat) and an installation of webcal. Of course behind the scenes all three of those were running PHP and talking to MySQL databases.
Somewhere along the line the Joomla code base has changed drastically, breaking the way the bridge to PHPBB was set up and working. In addition, the code was changed to deal with some security issues. Granted, I didn’t spend much time with it, as the really important part of the former Eligius site was the forums anyway, but I could not after more than a couple of tries get the old Joomla code to work. I think the host I have is aware of the security holes and has a block when that kind of code is detected. Upgrading didn’t work any better, and seemed to cause worse problems once I got a little of it to work a little bit, as it broke everything else. After some short amount of time, I quickly dumped the Joomla front end – opting instead to get just the PHPBB code up and running.
Again, when the site went into hibernation it was running PHPBB 2.x. Due to many new developments and dealing with several exploits, there is now the recommended PHPBB 3.0. Fortunately, as the database for PHPBB 2.x was fairly clean – there was a nice install 3.0, convert 2.0 database, and woo-hoo, you have the new system up and running without any problem. This was done with out much in the way of incident and is now ready to be seen. Excepting of course that I was being leery of things and installed it in a sub-directory instead of the root – so there is a redirect from eligius.org to eligius.org/phpbb/ – hardly noticeable if you are not looking though and something I will remedy shortly.
I quickly decided that I really didn’t need the webcal to be installed, at least not from the data that was there. As webcal is a calendar program and the last dates that were actively entered in the old database was from at least back in the late fall of 2007. Since that time, I have largely kept my own calendar in google calendar – which does offer me the same features that I liked about webcal (ability to color code, ability to share with others, and largely i-cal compatible). So I didn’t get into what kinds of things needed to be done there to make that work, but I know it had little support the last few years – so probably full of security holes of not updated lately.
Anyway, the long and short of these is that major changes in at least two of the three platforms that were being ran in a very short period caused no small amount of consternation. Guess know what I know about technology and how rapidly it changes I should not be surprised and I should have tried to stay more top of the game. Here is to cleaning up/out the rest of database garbage and moving PHPBB3 to the root sometime soon.
PS – if you had a user ID there at Eligius you still have it, due to the nature of possibly encrypted passwords though you may have to request a reset on it – your mileage may vary on that issue though.