Site upgrade (12/18/07)

wheat's picture

I plan to perform an upgrade to Drupal, the software that runs Bassplaying.com, tomorrow (12/18/2007). This will result in some, possibly significant, downtime, especially if something goes haywire. I will post a comment to this thread before I take the site down and will wait until none of the regulars are listed as online users.

I hope to have the site back up before the day is over. I'll update this thread when the site is back up and you'll probably notice a change in the theme (as I'm getting bored of this one). You can also use this thread to report any problems you experience after the upgrade. The reasons for the upgrade are several, but security improvements and spam abatement are the most pressing concerns and will be the most significant benefits.

Cheers,

Wheat

Paul Warren's picture

Thanks for the info Wheat.

Thanks for the info Wheat. Good luck with the upgrade. Hope it goes smoothly.

wheat's picture

Starting DB backup momentarily...

Okay, here goes nothing. I'm going to back up the database following this comment. Once the database is backed up, I'll back up all the files and proceed with the upgrade. I'll post an "all-clear" message here when everything is finished. The site will be up and down during the upgrade process. If you post any comments between now and when the upgrade is completed, they may get blown away when I restore the database from the backup. So, read all you want and comment if you like, but don't be surprised if a few comments get lost between now and the official all clear message.

Thanks, and keep your fingers crossed,

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

I'm really liking the layout

I'm really liking the layout so far Wheat. Seems a little faster too.

wheat's picture

back up, but still working on thigns

We're back up, and the basic functionality seems to be there. Now I have to install new versions of each of the contributed (i.e. 3rd party, non-core) modules. So far, I have user points and flexinode rolling. There are several others.

I'm taking a break from it for a little bit. Post and comment if you like. Report back here with bugs. I'll return shortly and continue with the module upgrades. After that, I'll be installing some new modules to help reduce spam issues.

I'll also be installing some new themes to try out. The one right now is just a test.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Dave Magaro's picture

I really like the new look!

I really like the new look! Well done Wheat!

Dave

wheat's picture

Thanks, Dave! Wheat

Thanks, Dave!

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Dave Magaro's picture

Thank You Weat! I appreciate

Thank You Weat! I appreciate your efforts. Merry Christmas my friend!

: )

Dave

Paul Warren's picture

Merry Christmas Dave.

Merry Christmas Dave.

Dave Magaro's picture

That is one beautiful tree

That is one beautiful tree Paul! Merry Chirstmas my fiend!

; )

Dave

Paul Warren's picture

Merry Christmas Wheat.

Merry Christmas Wheat. Thanks for all the work maintaining the site.

jamesnotjim's picture

I just brought Captcha back

I just brought Captcha back online. The new version has some nice options. You'll have to solve a simple math problem to edit your user form (i.e. your homepage). This is to prevent bots from editing those. If it works, I'll be able to turn off admin approval for accounts.

I noticed that "who's new" finally updated. Still not sure what's up with that. Welcome to the site, hipolito38!

Wheat

jamesnotjim.com

Paul Warren's picture

I can't do simple math

[quote=jamesnotjim]You'll have to solve a simple math problem to edit your user form (i.e. your homepage).[/quote]

I can't do simple math. How'm I going to update my page? LOL

Paul Warren's picture

Well I liked the blue layout

Well I liked the blue layout earlier but now this gray layout is up and it's not nearly as nice. It's hard to read and various parts are not fitting together well. There's a lot of overlap and text cut off as well as wasted space. Can you restore the first layout or can we pick our own?

Plus I have to log in twice. First time nothing happens and the second time works.

wheat's picture

Sure. I'll enable the old

Sure. I'll enable the old one and I'll be installing some new ones soon.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

I set Bluemarine as the

I set Bluemarine as the default again. I've enabled one other as well.

There's an issue with User Points not getting updated. I'm working to fix that.

wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Testing user points

Testing user points again...

wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

And again...

And again...

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Seems to be fixed. Let me

Seems to be fixed. Let me know if you notice discrepancies between you points totals as shown right after you post a new comment and the ones under the users by points link.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Quote is now working...

[quote=wheat]Seems to be fixed.[/quote]

Ha ha! Three down (flexinode, user points, quote) and more to go.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

Much, MUCH, nicer layout

Much, MUCH, nicer layout than the gray one. This bluemarine layout is easy to read and seems to use the desktop space much better.

wheat's picture

Updates on the updates. . .

The best part: we're now rolling with Drupal 4.7.10 (up from 4.6.6)! And it was time-consuming but fairly painless. Drupal maintains two branches of their CMS: 4.7.x and 5.x. So now we're off the legacy version, which is crucial for security issues.

To let us do things that can't be done with the default Drupal installation, we use a lot of 3rd-party contributed modules. Each of these has to be upgraded separately and tested. There are 4.7-compliant versions of the eleven (11) modules we had installed. Of these, I've got four running on the new version. I picked what I take to be the most important ones: user points, privatemsg, quote, and flexinode. Others will come online this week as I have time to install and test them.

I've installed one new module, Akismet, a spam prevention software popular with WordPress blogs. I hope that will help with our spam signups and (even worse) spam comments(!).

I've been trying out a lot of different themes and have selected a new one, called Amadou, as the default. You can experiment with this one or select from a few others that have been tested (lightly) and found to work. To choose a new theme, click the "My Account" link and then the "Edit" tab. As I write this, there are four themes available. I tested out three or four others, none of which worked (just ask Paul. He was online and suffering through them). Once I test a few more, we'll do a poll and see which is most popular, but I'm pretty fond of Amadou.

Known Issues

1. Images in some reviews aren't showing up.
2. There's some Google Analytics code showing up in the footer.
3. The logo graphic (logo.png) is the default and needs to be something basslike.

Enjoy, and report back with problems you find (there will be many, I'm sure).

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Two more issues...

[quote=wheat]
Known Issues
1. Images in some reviews aren't showing up.
2. There's some Google Analytics code showing up in the footer.
3. The logo graphic (logo.png) is the default and needs to be something basslike.
[/quote]

Two more, but they're biggies:
4. "Who's New" doesn't seem to be updating. Several spam users have signed up but never showed up on that list. I suspect the same is true of the "Online Users" list as well (unless Paul's spending a lot of time on the site today).
5. So far, there's been no slowdown in spambot faux-user signups. So I've turned on the admin approval requirement for new signups. This means I'll get an email for each new sign up with a link to moderate it. The nice thing is, Drupal blocks them by default. So I can just link over and confirm. And, since they're already blocked, I might not have to do anything at all--except for that one in five or so that is a real user. I hate to do this, as it will discourage signups. But there's only so many times I can see those vile ads on the site.

More to come,

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

Yo're right, the OnLine

You're right, the OnLine Users isn't updating either. I logged out and closed my browser. When I came back I was still listed as online. The login is working properly now though. I only had to login once.

wheat's picture

I'll surf around and see if

I'll surf around and see if other uses of 4.7 are having a problem with these lists

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

The online users seems to be

The online users seems to be working now Wheat.

wheat's picture

Groovy! Maybe "who's new"

Groovy! Maybe "who's new" will fix itself as well. :) That would be nice!

All the new "users" so far have been spambot sign-ups. I wonder if 4.7 doesn't list them as new users? If you look at them in the admin side, it will show their last login as "never." Maybe 4.7 doesn't include you in the "who's new" list unless you've actually logged into your account. The bots somehow sign up and edit their profiles but, in a lot of other ways, don't act like ordinary users. I've posted to the Drupal forums about that one. We'll see if they have any ideas.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

#6 editing polls has a bug

6. I tried editing poll on the front page (just to un-check the "promote to front page" setting). But attempting to edit it made options one through four disappear, so I just left it alone. I'll need to test a few more polls. This might only affect existing polls. If so, it's not much of an issue.

Follow-up on #5. Though it has upped the amount of email I get every day, turning on the admin approval requirement for new signups has kept their bogus profiles off the site. I can usually tell by the username which ones I don't even need to bother with. For others, I click over and take a look at the profile. We've had one or two legit new users in the past week, but they're not showing up in the "who's new" block (per issue #4).

I need to get a bug tracking system running!

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

#2 is fixed and the Service Links module is back.

I fixed the Google Analytics issue. I also upgraded the service links module, which lets you bookmark articles with del.icio.us and the like.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

I'm liking the new theme

I'm liking the new theme Wheat. I changed my background color to white and now everything's good.

There's one thing though, I have to log in twice again now. When I log in once I get returned to the login page without any explanation. When I log in again I get through. This was happening for a while yesterday and then it stopped for a while. Now it's doing it again.

It's not really a problem, I don't mind logging in twice. I'm worried that it may stop others from logging in though.

wheat's picture

Issue #7

[quote=Paul Warren]There's one thing though, I have to log in twice again now. When I log in once I get returned to the login page without any explanation. When I log in again I get through. [/quote]

I've yet to encounter this, but I'm calling it Issue #7 and I wil test for it with every browser/OS combination I have available. If anyone else has experienced this issue, please post a comment. I believe you're IE 6/Win98, right, Paul?

Thanks for the bug reporting. I'm glad you're liking the new theme.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

Yep, Win98 IE6. Ok you can

Yep, Win98 IE6.

Ok you can all stop laughing now.

wheat's picture

That's cool. We need

That's cool. We need someone on Win98 for testing. And I remember that you have some hardware constraints that require that platform. I have Firefox 2.x, Safari 3.0.4, IE 6, and IE 7 (all on WinXP Pro) handy for testing. And I have a Mac OS X friend who can check things on Firefox and Safari on that platform. So I'm pretty well covered except for Linux. :)

I try to make everything work on Firefox 2.x and then test it on IE 6 and IE 7. The new theme works a lot better on IE than the old one did, I think.

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Taking a quick look at the

Taking a quick look at the last month's analytics data, here's what people are using. I'm only listing those that are used by at least 1%:

Browsers:
IE, 59.75%
Firefox, 30.21%
Safari, 7.35%
Opera, 1.86%

Operating Systems:
Windows, 88.84%
Mac OS, 9.39%
Linux, 1.39%

Of the Windows users, here are the versions of Windows that they use:
WinXP, 83.06%
Vista, 7.38%
Win98, 5.94%
Win2000, 2.73%

bassplaying.com

Spiky1's picture

Sweet.

Stylish and easy on the eye. Sweet!
Thanks for putting in all the effort Wheat.

Fat man, fat bass.

Paul Warren's picture

It is pretty nice isn't it?

It is pretty nice isn't it? I, too, thank Wheat for all the effort.

wheat's picture

All in a day's work. I've

All in a day's work. I've been meaning to do this 4.7 upgrade for months. I'm glad I finally had the time to do it.

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

You bet!

You bet, man. Enjoy it. Let me know if anything breaks. I still have some work to do, but the major part of it is over for now.

bassplaying.com

Hazz's picture

In yer best Billy Crystal

In yer best Billy Crystal voice, "You looooook gooood!" Site looks good with the update there Wheaty.

Hazz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
"WHAT ARE UUUUU DUUUUUING IN MAA SWAAAMP!!
Musicians Collaboration Studio

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Carburetors man!! That's what life is all about."
Musicians Collaboration Studio

wheat's picture

Thanks, Hazzy. Glad you dig

Thanks, Hazzy. Glad you dig it. I'm sure some odd things will still creep up. But, so far, I'm pretty happy with it.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Just tested new user signup...

I hadn't tested new user signups since I started requiring admin approval on all new accounts, so I just created a new test account (called PTC) to see how it looks from a new user's perspective. Here's what it looks like:

1) When new users sign up, they receive an email at whatever address they specified during the sign-up process. This email contains a link to log in and an one-time password but also tells them that their account is pending approval and the password won't work until their account has been approved (odd, don't you think?)

2) I get an email telling me there's an account pending approval. The email contains a link to the new account's "Edit" page. By default, the new account is "blocked" (rather than "active"). I link over, look at the profile, and, if it's not full of spam, I click back over to the edit form, change the status from "blocked" to "active," answer the math question correctly, and submit the form.

Here's the weird part: Drupal doesn't automatically contact the new user saying "your account has been approved." To make that happen, I have to go to the user's contact form and send a PM. The PM will also get sent to the user's email address (assuming it's valid). In the PM, I tell the user that his/her account has been approved and that the password given in the previous email will now work (I could assign a password and mention that in the PM, but I haven't done that). So, since I'm trying to bang out an admin workflow here...

3) I contact the user via his profile contact form (which sends a PM and an email of the same to the user's email address), notifying him that his account has been approved and the previously sent password will now work.

Note: since the user is now a legit user, he can always request a new password via the link right below the login form. In that case, Drupal will send out an email with a new password to the user's email address.

Here's a change in 4.7: Even though the user is now "active," he won't show up in the "who's new" list until he logs in. I guess that's not really a change. But without the admin approval requirement, new users showed up as soon as they requested accounts (since their accounts were auto-approved and they were auto-logged in following account creation).

I'm not super happy with requiring admin approval for new accounts, but it the only effective way I've found to keep the spam user profiles from showing up. Now, all new accounts are "blocked" until I attend to them. That ads some delay for new legit users. But it also ads an infinite delay for new spam users (who stay "blocked" forever).

Wheat

bassplaying.com

PaulPosition's picture

Just tested (... ) A view from the 'other side'

You need to do what you need to do. Keep the forum clean of spams, that's alrightee. The wait for approval wasn't so long that I'd forget the forum's url anyway.

Beside, delay is one thing I could live with, I just kept thinking to myself : "One Of These Days I'll get in." ;-)
________________________________
Wanted : Schrödinger's Cat. Dead or Alive.

________________________________
Wanted : Schrödinger's Cat. Dead or Alive.

wheat's picture

Thanks for the feedback,

Thanks for the feedback, PaulPosition. The holidays slowed down the approval process a bit (I just haven't been online as much as I usually am). But I'm glad that it didn't keep you from logging in and joining us here at BP.

We've been lucky to have very little spam in the forums. But spambots love the user profiles. I get many spambot sign-ups every day and, before, those were showing up in the list of "who's new." I've got an Akismet module running now which should take care of any bots that find a way into the forums proper (I hope).

Wheat

bassplaying.com

is it possible....

to modify the email that gets sent telling the new user their account will have to be approved so that it explains that this is done to keep the amount of spam on the message boards to a minimum. that might make it easier for them to accept the wait and make it so you don't fell like you have to drop everything else in your life just to approve new accounts. after all this is a free site and i for one appreciate the effort you put in and understand it takes up time in your personal life too.
just my .02 worth

------------------------------------------
Greg
Http://www.myspace.com/kybassmaniac
Http://www.upthecreekstudios.com

*and it harm none,do what thou will*

------------------------------------------
Greg
http://www.youtube.com/user/BroknDreamsBand
Http://www.facebook.com/brokendreamsband
http://www.reverbnation.com/brokendreamsband
*and it harm none,do what thou will*

wheat's picture

Good feedback, GR. I do

Good feedback, GR. I do have the ability to customize those emails. So I will do that and make it clear that we're not trying to be difficult. I'll also let them know that they'll get a second email once their account is approved. To make it really work, I have to make sure I check my new account cue every day and swiftly approve all legitimate requests.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

I wanted to point out that a

I wanted to point out that a real advantage of requiring admin approval for new accounts is that you regulars can once again trust the "who's new" block. We used to welcome new users (via the shoutbox, mostly) but that dropped off once the spambots hit. No worries now. If you see a new user listed, it's a legit user.

BTW, some sort of shoutbox/chatroom application will be implemented at some point. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Wheat

bassplaying.com

wheat's picture

Issue #8, #9, and #10

Greg R. identified a few things:

#8) A strange SQL/Akismet error appearing upon posting new forum posts (but not new comments). GR & I identified the problem as an issue with the Akismet spam-prevention module. The solution has been to disable that module for the time being.

#9) An issue with signatures not showing up consistently (they show up in comments but not in new posts). I'll have to do some checking on that one.

#10) Drupal pagination issue. When using the recent posts link (a.k.a. "the tracker"), users are always taken to the first page of the thread, even if the new comment appears on some other page (usually the last one). This is a long-standing issue with how Drupal handles comments. Keeping track of comments and pagination has, so far, been deemed too much of a database hit. The solution is to up the pagination threshold or turn off pagination altogether. I've chosen to bump it up to 200 comments (for now), to see if that helps w/o being too much of a performance drag on the site.

Happy new year!

Wheat

bassplaying.com

Paul Warren's picture

Doesn't seem to be much

[quote=wheat]The solution is to up the pagination threshold or turn off pagination altogether. I've chosen to bump it up to 200 comments (for now), to see if that helps w/o being too much of a performance drag on the site.[/quote]

Doesn't seem to be much of a performance hit to me Wheat. The whole 'I'm a bassplayer' thread loads in mayby 3 seconds instead of 2. I think I can live with that. hahahahaha

Paul Warren's picture

Have you noticed that the

Have you noticed that the subject line in a reply is no longer filled out automatically since the upgrade Wheat? Is this something that can be turned on again? It was very convenient not to have to enter a subject when replying.

i've alwasy had to....

add the subject line myself

------------------------------------------
Greg
Http://www.myspace.com/kybassmaniac
Http://www.upthecreekstudios.com

*and it harm none,do what thou will*

------------------------------------------
Greg
http://www.youtube.com/user/BroknDreamsBand
Http://www.facebook.com/brokendreamsband
http://www.reverbnation.com/brokendreamsband
*and it harm none,do what thou will*

wheat's picture

Since the upgrade, it seems

Since the upgrade, it seems sort of inconsistent. When I use the "quote" feature, the subject line doesn't get automatically populated. On a comment, it does. I haven't tested it much to figure out when it works and when it doesn't. But I have noticed it and I think it's a bug, not a setting (though I'll look for a setting).

What's that, issue #11?

Wheat

bassplaying.com