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Forum Home > General Discussion > Sticky: A Change is coming - not necessarily for the better, unfortunately :(

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

This website / forum was created in January 2012 using the then current Webs SiteBuilder (SB2) templates with a few tweaks.

At the time, I put quite a bit of thought and effort into creating and hopefully maintaining a clean and uncluttered look.

There's a thread here, which goes some way to explaining how this was achieved, by using custom CSS coding.


In or around June 2012, Webs introduced their SiteBuilder 3 package - software clearly designed by morons for morons. Every time I logged onto the website control panel, since then, I've been met with this:




Its 'enhanced functionality' seems to centre around its new 'drag and drop' (just about everything) facility, indicating to me, that it is aimed at the 'greasy fingered screen smearing brigade' - i.e. mobile device users, rather than old school PC users, like myself.

 

Needless to say, having looked at a few demo's and read further about it, I have studiously ignored their their invitation to 'upgrade'.


September 17, 2016 at 5:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Seems like I no longer have any choice in the matter. On September 8th, I received this email notification from Webs / VistaPrint:




My concerns are mostly about the 'New Page Layouts' and particularly how this will affect the forum pages, as I had gone to the trouble of eliminating all sidebars, to gain more text box width on our current page layouts. Hopefully, the existing custom CSS coding which makes the pages look the way they do today will be carried over. But seeing as Webs don't support custom CSS (or much else, least of all their customers), I strongly suspect it will conveniently disappear during the conversion process. Goes without saying, I have the coding saved elsewhere and will endeavour to restore the site to the 'old look' as soon as possible.


Assuming Webs stick to their stated timeframe, 30 days from 8th September means that conversion should take place over the weekend of 8th / 9th October. Right now I'm fearing the worst case scenario and that conversion will probably mess things up.

If it does, I will lock down the forum until I've got it sorted out to my satisfaction.


September 17, 2016 at 6:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Just been doing a bit of googling (on using custom CSS with SiteBuilder 3) and found this now sadly defunct Webs forum:


http://snedekerdesignz.webs.com/apps/forums/


Look and feel is very much as per our current layout (i.e. no sidebars on forum pages), but with a wider page layout / smaller font.




Unfortunately, the site's creator, amateur web developer, Craig Snedeker seems to have fallen foul of Webs some time ago ....


See: http://snedekerdesignz.webs.com/apps/blog/show/19123796-message-from-craig


The whole site is locked down (for over a year now) and much of the content has been removed by Webs - allegedly due to abuse.

However there are a few useful threads / posts still intact, such as:


http://snedekerdesignz.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/8061049-site-builder-3-css-tutorial-



Let's wait and see if I need it. :/


September 17, 2016 at 7:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Looks like I probably will. :roll:


See: http://webs.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/222242047-All-About-Conversion


What Webs don't tell you about the conversion and the inherent disadvantages of using SiteBuilder 3 can be found here:


http://www.change.org/p/webs-sitebuilder-3-conversion (read on down past the header / petition screen print below).

I'm not sure what difference it may make, but could all members who read this, please sign the petition. Thanks ! 



September 17, 2016 at 8:33 AM Flag Quote & Reply

goodbot
Member
Posts: 2

The best BBS software (and it's still in the same good ol text format just like Seiko7A38's present BBS) is phpBBS... and it's free.  You can instal it on just about any linux based hosting service... so it's also (unlike this present software) 100% portable... As your need arises (for whatever reason down the line) , you can keep moving the site from hoster to hoster. It doesn't look like you have this option here... and not having this capability is a really big drawback!!

The first #1 thing our man needs to do here is get a backup image of the entire site... and get it off this server ASAP!  This bit about the other BBS site being locked down on this service is the writing on the wall... save an image of all the content here and get it off this server ASAP!!


September 17, 2016 at 10:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Thanks for the input. ;)

I am familiar with phpBB (and other Linux hosted forum software, having used YABB2 for a number of years). phpBB is used by some other smaller watch forums like www.philippinewatchclub.org and www.watchfetishforum.com and looks like a logical step.

The only reason I plumped for Webs (obviously without doing enough prior research) was that I'd originally intended to build this site as a blog. The forum module was added as an afterthought. Unfortunately 99.9% of the content is now in the forum. :roll:

Hopefully this will just turn out to be a damage limitation exercise, but it may just give me the impetus to move it. :/


September 17, 2016 at 11:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

goodbot
Member
Posts: 2

Thanks for those links to the 2 phpBBS websites... I think they both look very good. The watchfetish site is apparently using a third-party theme... I guess that's prospectively another advantage to going with a popular open platform type system solution - you could have a universe of third party providers offering plugins and extensions (the popular open platform website system "Wordpress" is noted for their big third-party extensions universe)... If you go this route, you could discover a load of new additions to help make your life a bit easier... but the biggest advantage you pick up is becoming host independent.  I vote that you get off this current closed / proprietary system and move to some (compatible?) open systems solution...


September 17, 2016 at 1:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition so far.  This morning I received an update from change.org:



The petition has currently received 359 signatures; that's up over 80 on yesterday. I'd like to think we've helped by doing our bit. ;)

Yesterday, I sent an email blast to all members, asking them to sign. I wasn't sure at first if the message had actually gone out. :/

From responses I've received, it appears it did, so hopefully a few more of you will be adding your names to the petition in support.


As I've written elsewhere previously, we have quite a high percentage of inactive members. I've noticed that since I sent out that email blast yesterday afternoon, the forum membership has dropped from 794 to 787. Presumably, on receipt of the blast message, which some may have regarded as SPAM, they have clicked on 'unsubscribe'. Please note that doing so will not only stop you receiving any further such messages, but will also delete your membership.


September 18, 2016 at 5:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Phil
Member
Posts: 148

I've signed it Paul, obviously no idea of what I'm doing but signed it is :D


September 18, 2016 at 6:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

You've signed up to help a bunch of pretend pussies, Phil. :lol:

See: www.warriorcatsonline.com, forgottentimes.webs.comwww.bryniel.com and www.kugyay.org *

But seriously, the petitioner (owner of WCO) needs our support as this enforced downgrade by Webs will affect our site too. ;)


* If you read the spiel at the bottom of the Kugyay home page, it looks like they've decided to move from Webs anyway ....

But then their website looks rather outdated, compared to the others I've linked. 


September 18, 2016 at 6:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Not that I needed any, but yesterday I received a reminder from Webs.



September 21, 2016 at 4:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Meanwhile the petition started by the owner of WCO has exceeded the initial target of 500 signatures and is now aiming for 1000.

It took them just a week to get the first 500, so the revised target is eminently achievable within the timeframe.

If you haven't already signed up, please help their (and our) cause*.


http://www.change.org/p/webs-sitebuilder-3-conversion


*As our website / forum doesn't use shoutboxes or sidebars, the detrimental effects to our forum should be comparatively less.

That said, there are still potential page width / wraparound / header issues and 11720 forum posts that could get screwed up.


September 21, 2016 at 4:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Over the last couple of weeks, I've tried talking to the Webs 'legacy (insert total lack of) support' team, both via online chat and email - without success. These people, supposedly technicians, even their senior specialists, are little better than call centre operatives. They simply read from a script and quote links and standard pre-prepared replies. I got sick to the back teeth of seeing this one.




None of the tickets I raised was ever satisfactorily resolved.




This was the last typically unhelpful communication I received from Webs.




The most frustrating thing is that they never actually answered any of my specific questions regarding the conversion - simply replying by posting links to their useless standard Q&A's, so I really have no idea how the forum (and the rest of the site) is going look and function from tomorrow. :mad:


I am keeping my fingers crossed that all the content (738 topics and currently 11784 posts) will still be there, intact, post conversion. I strongly suspect that there will be page width / text wraparound issues, because the current (1024 pixel) page widths / text boxes are controlled by Custom CSS, which is not supported in SiteBuilder3. Not that they ever officially supported it in SB2, but at least you could insert the coding yourself. :roll:


October 9, 2016 at 6:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Seiko7A38 at September 18, 2016 at 6:19 AM

You've signed up to help a bunch of pretend pussies, Phil. :lol:

See: www.warriorcatsonline.com, forgottentimes.webs.comwww.bryniel.com and www.kugyay.org *

But seriously, the petitioner (owner of WCO) needs our support as this enforced downgrade by Webs will affect our site too. ;)


* If you read the spiel at the bottom of the Kugyay home page, it looks like they've decided to move from Webs anyway ....

But then their website looks rather outdated, compared to the others I've linked. 



As far as WCO's petition is concerned - thanks to all our members who signed it, but it appears to have been a waste of time. The petition has amassed some 641 signatures to date, but in the meantime, the owner of WCO appears to have abandoned the protest and started a new WarriorCatsOnline forum using VBulletin, rather than continuing the seemingly pointless fight with Webs.

Like I wrote - a bunch of pussies. :roll:


I'm hoping that we don't need to move. Both WCO and Kugyay were mostly protesting about the lack of Sidebars and Shoutboxes in SiteBuilder3, which affected the way their juvenile roleplay communities operated. As we don't use either, we will be affected to a lesser, but unknown extent. That said, if we do need to up sticks and re-build the forum elsewhere (probably using phpBB software on a UK based server), we are prepared. Yesterday I received some good news by email, from a work colleague in IT. :)


"I think I’ve managed to get an offline copy of most / much of the site now using a crawler. I’ll have a look over the weekend to get it onto a USB stick so that it is browsable. If things do go really wrong, at least there is a copy of the forum content… I think it has got all of the forum pages."


October 9, 2016 at 6:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

I'll be making a couple more posts on the forum later today (Sunday 9th October) prior to the conversion. Anyone else who wants to squeeze one in today, please feel free. However, I would please ask that nobody starts any new topics - simply reply to existing threads. I could lock down the forum from tonight to stop any later posts getting trashed in the conversion, but as I haven't even had a preview of the SiteBuilder3 control panel, I'm concerned that I might not be able find where / how to unlock it, post conversion. :/

Please use common sense. I suggest that we cease posting at midnight tonight (Eastern US Daylight Saving time). ;)


October 9, 2016 at 7:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

So, here we are, Wednesday morning, 9:15am - 48 hours after Webs supposed deadline for the conversion to SB3 - and the website / forum looks exactly the same ! :roll: Having this ethereal 'Sword of Damocles' hanging over the site is really beginning to p!ss me off. :mad: I don't know whether it's advisable to continue posting or not - or whether to start making plans to move the site. :/ 


In that respect, although it will involve some considerable work on my part, we are prepared - the forum content is safe. :)

Here's another extract from an email from my work colleague:


I did kick off another download overnight last night and it ran through quite a bit of today (I wasn’t sure if it would finish before they fiddled with the site), but it looks to be right on this version. I had to write a convertor to get a lot of the images to display and interpret properly after Teleport Pro did it’s magic. Let me see if I can make today’s download visible…


This is a screen print of the bottom half of the forum home page from his 'mirror image' copy. It's all there. :)


October 12, 2016 at 4:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

selfdater
Member
Posts: 53

What's the scoop? Are we posting new topics yet?

October 15, 2016 at 11:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

I still don't know what's going on with Webs conversion, Lindon. :roll: As you can see, I've made a couple of posts myself this week.

I'd suggest that for the time being (as we've already effectively taken a 'final' back-up), we restrict posting to the existing threads, rather than creating any new topics, which might complicate matters. (I'm saving copies of my own 'extra' posts in HTML ;) ).


October 15, 2016 at 11:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Well, that's now one week past Webs supposed conversion date - and still no change. :roll: I guess I should be thankful. :/


My buddy in IT just emailed me something topical - yesterday's Dilbert cartoon: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-10-17




I wonder how long it will take them not to change anything. :lol: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-10-18


October 18, 2016 at 6:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9407

Seiko7A38 at October 12, 2016 at 4:26 AM

So, here we are, Wednesday morning, 9:15am - 48 hours after Webs supposed deadline for the conversion to SB3 ....


So, here we are, Sunday morning, 9:15am - ONE MONTH and 48 hours after Webs supposed deadline for the conversion to SB3 ....

You all know what I'm thinking, but I'm going to be polite (for once) and not put it into print.

November 13, 2016 at 4:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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