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SMF or phpBB... that is the question?

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Do you honestly think any of these technologies will still be viable in 10 years time - let alone 50 years?

Think back 50 years - what was computer technology and the internet like in 1960 ?

Change is still accelerating so what is it going to be like in 2060 ?
-Carol Haynes (November 06, 2010, 06:28 PM)
--- End quote ---

Yep, Carol, you are astute in your observation, but any technology that won't allow a backward compatibility of keeping valuable data (personal or otherwise) will not be acceptable to the Internet public.  

Think of the progression... consider these recent(?) "permanent record" technologies... we have gone from vinyl, reel-to-reel tape, 8-track tape, cassette tape, CD, flash drives, DVD, etc.  Even the most advanced technology can still hold data from the earliest record, especially once it is rendered in biinary.  Any data that starts in binary (offline or on the Internet) can be propagated by copy, presumably forever.

I have to start somewhere, regardless of what the future holds.  Maybe this isn't a safe bet, but I am counting on being able to "migrate" to whatever would present itself in the future give whatever hosting company I choose will still want to get a monthly payment.  :)

What do you think?

Carol Haynes:
There are lots of formats of 20 years ago that aren't easily transferable any more - at least not without resorting to programming skills and the hacker skills necessary to decode the old format. As for internet consistency over a long period I think that is highly unlikely. My personal belief (admittedly cynical) is that the internet as we know it won't even exist in 50 years time - there are many governments and multinationals who want to kill off the open nature of the internet and I suspect that despite strong opposition they will probably succeed in shutting down the current system and forcing a locked in proprietary format. We are already seeing this starting with themove to cloud computing - largely free t the moment but also mostly proprietary formats. Once they have a lot of people locked in watch the free services die and the prices ramp up - also the proprietary nature of a lot of what is going on behind secure connections will start to become the backbone of the internet and servers will begin to be optimised for those services not general internet usage.

If you want to use an online system like SMF or phpBB then you will need to be good at SQL coding to extract stuff in the distant future.

I wouldn't rely on import/export functions being readily available - and certainly not for transferring stuff from one platform to another if your chosen project dies.

Personally I suspect that phpBB is likely to be better supported when it comes to exporting to another forum - but that is only on my experience with the lack of integration options available for SMF.

Why do you think Vanilla would be better than SMF or phpBB?-CodeTRUCKER (November 06, 2010, 04:52 PM)
--- End quote ---
I was considering that your users are probably going to be a non-technical bunch - so a clean and uncluttered interface (which Vanilla has) would probably be a benefit. OTOH, as I also mentioned earlier, it is pretty Vanilla OOTB, so you'd need a bunch of plugins to add some of your wanted functionality.

Given phpBB's security track record, I'd definitely stay away from it. SMF is better in that regard.

As Carol points out, technologies are going to change - so you definitely want to stick with an open forum/whatever system, so you'll have a chance of migrating your data. Whatever software you choose, this is not going to be a 100% automated process, you'll need some hand-massaging of data.

SMF is pretty great right out of the box and has proved very stable, and has a wonderful feature set and organization that just makes sense.

However the one thing I will say, and i think i've said this in another thread, is that SMF is part of the past-generation of web applications, where "add-ons and extensions" are not handled through hooks and signals, but are instead handled by actually *modifying* the code.

What this means is that addons and mods are not easy to maintain, and can be a bit hairy to deal with when applying updates to the core forum.

So SMF is a great forum system for someone who wants a powerful and easy to maintain forum system, but who isn't planning on installing lots of addons.   Although there are some great addons for SMF, if you are the kind of person who will want to install lots of addons and modifications for your forum, you should look elsewhere, in my humble opinion, because of the difficulty in maintaining and upgrading in the presence of addons.

Wow!  Three different opinions, but not just opinions.  You folks are no novices when it comes to technical savvy.  No easy answer, especially if one wants to establish anything of a permanent archive.  Even if I was to become a master of SQL there is no way to ensure 20, let alone 50 (100?) years from now anyone will take up the mantle.  How tragic it would be to generate TBs of rich familial heritage (data) only to have it scattered to the Van Allen Belt decades (or less) from now.

Hmmm... food for thought, indeed. 

You know I once calculated how many pages 2GB of *.txt data would be.  I came up with the equivalent of 26 sets of an exhaustive encyclopedia. 

It may be that some hybrid form of forum, email and and a *.txt file that copies can be kept on individual's hard drives (and print) might be the best path.  At least in the event of an Internet takeover (I'm in sync with Carol on this one) each branch of the family would have a viable copy which should ensure the best possible chance of perennial retention.  I don't want to ignore the benefits of the status quo as far as Internet technology goes, but I need to find a way to dovetail the present exertions with the needs of my future heritage. 

I have often wondered what life on this Earth would be today, if a thousand years ago every father carried a burden for their future progeny for the next millennium like I do?  I am persuaded the only reason bad men have succeeded is not because good men have done nothing, but that good men did not do enough.  I will have to cogitate much on an appropriate architecture and plan to move my vision forward.         

Thank you, gentle folk.  You have enlightened my pathway.  :)


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