We have just completed a significant update to the forum software (BestBBS) that we run on WebmasterWorld.
The majority of this update was an internal database format conversion. It took well over 300 hours of labor to convert the system to the new formats. When completed, we have a faster, more secure system than we have ever had before.
The change was necessary to fix a long standing database design issue. The problem was exposed as the shear scale of WebmasterWorld grew to what it is today. I first wrote the database routines for this software in 1998. I felt it would handle 10,000 messages. At the time, that was an enormous amount of messages for a web based bbs/forum system. The system now has over 2 million. The old system consisted of two files for every thread. We have converted that to one file per thread.
I have often been asked why we did not switch to a true database system such as SQL. The issue has always been one of speed. The issue has been negated somewhat due to faster machines. However, the core of WebmasterWorld is still written in Perl - which is notoriously slow at database routines - when compared to languages with builtin C bases SQL routines such as PHP. That said, we have laid in provisions for major future changes (read: SQL) to all the database routines.
Unfortunately in spite of all that effort, there is little to be seen new on the user side for the moment. The majority of these changes were under-the-hood.
The most visible change noticed by members will be the new keyword URL system. We maintain the old files at their existing urls, while at the same time introducing new keyword based urls for the future. For example:
It is significant to note, that your old bookmarks to specific discussions will continue to work. However, the index pages for each forum will slowly be changed over to the new keyword URL based system.
Another thing you will notice, is the spartan look of pages when logged out. By not looking up member info on each message, we remove a massive chunk of overhead on the system.
- Moved to Keyword urls - while maintaining the old urls.
- Members can now toggle off post reply notifications.
- Forum descriptions can be turned/off from the forum index page.
- Threads can now be "pinned" to top of a forum index and/or to top of active list.
- Numerous new system messages for splits, splices, and move threads. This should eliminate the number of erroneous "you deleted me - no, we split/spliced/moved you" point-counterpoint reports almost entirely.
- Individual messages can now be reported to mods/admins. (available to advanced members)
- Report-a-post feature upgraded and now out of beta.
- Enabled print message function for each message.
- Last ip login tracking on user profiles.
- 100% database conversion, resulting in number of files cut in half.
- All messages now serialized with unique number.
- Individual messages can be put on hold or premoderated. No more will a moderator have to put an entire thread on hold because someone spammed it.
- Hundreds of internal fixes and amendments.
- New access system replaces old system. (much easier to add things such as more subscribers forums)
- Updated internal vote/polling code. Not turned on at WebmasterWorld.
- Updated internal ignore code to ignore members. Not turned on at WebmasterWorld.
- CSS divs/classes prepared for "the day when..."
- Ripped down to the bone "logged out" page views. Page view speed on nonLogged in visitors - over 3 times the speed.
- Fixed upload routines for sig files and avatars. Not turned on at WebmasterWorld.
- Internal code for page view tracking at post level. Not turned on at WebmasterWorld.
- Increased default messages per thread.
- Access denial (bot) system updated to final.
- Worked on internal code for search engine.
- Finished internal ranking technology.
- Each and every routine that touched threads had to be adjusted extensively.
- New forum index routines are twice as fast as old ones and fixed 3 date and post count bugs.
- Fixed 4 known bugs with various stickymail routines.
known issues thread: