Transition from vBulletin to xenForo

Discussion in 'The Hub' started by Jess, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Jess Admin

    Hello there, Kyary & I are here to provide you with an FAQ / manual in order to help you become accustomed to xenForo's features. We recently transferred our database from vBulletin to xenForo, and thus it is only fair for us to deliver a tutorial to ensure your comfort around the place.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    --- Benefits and disadvantages of xenForo
    --- Forum Layout
    --- User Bar
    --- Thread Previews
    --- Mini Profile Previews
    --- Getting to know your user profile
    --- Posting
    --- Rich Text Editor
    --- Creating Polls
    --- [Media] and [Spoiler] tags
    --- Quotes / Multiquoting
    --- 5 Minute Editing Rule
    --- Sharing Files
    --- New Inbox [Private Messaging] & VM system
    --- Miscellaneous
    --- Trophies
    --- Mobile Skin

    The Benefits & Disadvantages of xenForo

    ------ BENEFITS ------

    Alerts System - while we previously counted with a very simple "Notifications" system, the Alerts system expands it by notifying you about things like users liking a post you made, quoting and replying to it, posting in threads you are watching, comments on your albums, gaining followers, along with visitor messages (now called profile posts) on your profile. When you have a new alert, a red box with a white number in it, depending on how many alerts you have, will show up by the top right corner of the page. This will also show up on the favicon for www.kingdomhearts3.org

    Simplicity - with xenForo, customizing your page, avatar and signature, editing your preferences, news feed, content and else only requires you to hover over your username at the top right corner of the site. A menu will drop down, enabling easy access with as few clicks as possible. Shortcuts are a wonderful thing.

    Superior Search Engine - quite an improvement over vBulletin's. The advanced search function even allows you to track profile posts for each member.

    Followers - much like the word itself indicates, you are now able to follow users to keep track of their posts and contribution to the forums. Think Twitter or Tumblr. When someone you are following is online, their avatar will show up as an icon under the "Members Online Now" box, to the right of the page.

    Page Sharing - If you count with a Twitter or Facebook account, you can scroll to the bottom of a page and share it with the click of a mouse.

    ------ DISADVANTAGES ------

    Loss of data - Unfortunately not everything managed to transfer over, and will have to be either earned back or set manually by the Staff. Things as Awards (now medals) must be recreated, for example.
    Viewing posts and threads created by users will provide extremely limited results as well. This can be fixed with a cache repatch, but would definitely come with downtime.

    Member List - vBulletin counted with a very neatly organized member list, arranging each user alphabetically -- [xenForo still does, but you cannot select each letter individually] allowing you to sort them through their post number, and join date. The Member list is a big jumbled pile of usernames contained in 59 pages as of 24/7/2012!

    Cluttered Emoticons - sadly, there is no option to "View All Smilies" on a separate pop up window. Instead, you will get a drop down displaying every single smilie that we have installed. While currently not bad enough to cause pain to the eyes, it is preventing us from having a wider arrange of smilies, due to the page eventually stretching . No plug-in exists to date that allows us to modify this.

    No Online/Offline display - When lurking a thread, there is no way to tell at first glance if a user is currently online, as there is no indication of their current status. However, we believe this might be easy to fix, so we thank you for your patience.

    Forum Layout

    With a new host, comes a new forum layout, with a new skin and completely new quirks.
    Here are the basics, to help you roam around effortlessly!

    User bar - You will find everything related to fulfilling your own personal, selfish, mischievous means right here.

    [IMG]

    The buttons under the forum banner, "what do they do?!" I hear you ask as you put a hand to your head, cartoonish sweat drops splashing against your computer screen.

    Let's take a look.

    1) Home - Takes you to the main site's homepage: www.KingdomHearts3.net

    2) Forums - Takes you to the forum homepage.

    3) Members - Click to be taken to the member list, or hover and wait for the dropdown arrow to appear on screen. Click that, and you will find more specific options.

    4) Help - This one's a biggie. Wait for the dropdown arrow and take a good look at the availabilities.
    You will find a list of Smilies / BBCodes / Trophies / Cookie Usage / xenForo's Terms and Rules.

    5) Mark Forums Read - this will deactivate the icon assigned to "New Posts", as if you had read absolutely everything new since your last login session. To ensure that you're only being updated on New Posts, use the Mark All as Read option beneath "Home", at the top of the main index. Gold crowns means there is unread content.

    6) Search Forums - takes you to an easy to use advanced search. Can choose between options of searching Everything, Threads & Posts or solely Profile Posts. Vast improvement on vB.

    7) Watched Threads - This is a list of the 10 most recently-updated threads with unread replies that you are watching.

    8) What's New? - A list of all unread threads. By clicking on "You may also see what members have been doing recently", you can see a forum-wide activity stream of replies & liked posts.

    · · · · ·

    Thread previews
    Roll over a thread to view the first 150-odd characters of the thread. This will give you a clearer outline of what the thread consists of, perhaps clearing any doubts!

    Mini user profiles

    [IMG]

    When clicking on a username, you're taken to this miniature user profile. This allows quicker access to Starting a Conversation with somebody, as well as giving you the option to follow or go to their profile page. Furthermore, you can see a member's last status update. A nice little feature that allows you to check up on a member without leaving a thread!

    Getting to know your user profile

    [IMG]

    Most things we'll discuss here have been covered more in-depth in this helpful thread by Bekki —http://www.kingdomhearts3.org/threads/xenforo-for-newbies.39047/

    The left column consists of things that we are used to using in vB - but let us look none-the-less.

    1) Personal Details - This is where you can edit your profile for everyone to see. Your gender, your location, occupation etc.
    A feature that is new to xF, however, is the ability to add BBCode to your "About Me" section. This includes media & images, so get creative! This could be used as a replacement of customisable profiles in vB. To prevent the overzealous, however, 1 video would suffice. Images could be used in a similar way to profile pictures.

    2) Signature - Easy to use, easy to preview. No worries. Similar to vB. Signatures remain limited to500x300px in size.

    3) Contact Details - email address / messaging prefences / instant messaging preferences. xF has built in fields for Facebook, Twitter & Google Talk.

    4) Privacy - Much more options than vB, allows you to limit who & how people get in contact with you on the forum, as well as how much others can track your posts using built-in features like the News Feed.

    5) Preferences - Here, you can edit your time zone, the forum skin as well as whether or not you use the rich text editor (if this is chosen, you cannot switch between rich text & back, so you'll have to input all BBCode manually).

    6) Alert Preferences - Allows you to hone down your alerts with simple checking of boxes. Another new feature that is easily customisable.

    7) Avatar - Avatar uploads on xF do not include uploads from hosting sites (you cannot input a URL, rather you must upload from your computer).
    To explain avatar sizes: When posting, your avatar will be displayed as 96x96. However, you can upload an image as big as 200x200. When one clicks on a person's username, a full-size version of their avatar can be seen. It is up to you as to which sizing you cater to. Also, avatars can now be .GIFs!

    8) Password - Self explanatory, very easy to use.

    Now, the features on the right are xF features. Let us explore!

    Your News Feed - an activity stream for all the members you follow, á la Facebook or Twitter. This feature highlights all posts made by those you follow, as well as displaying all replies & profile posts you leave.

    Your Alerts - lists all alerts you have received, all timed & dated. You can track your conversations or make sure you haven't missed any messages!

    Watched Threads - similar to Subscribed threads in vB, this feature allows you to be updated on any threads of interest. This is a list of the 10 most recently-updated threads with unread replies. To view the rest, click on "There may be more to view."

    Likes You've Received - keep a track of your posts that affected people most!

    Your Content - Your posts & profile posts, listed from newest to oldest.

    People You Follow - A list of those you have chosen for follow. Similar to the "Buddy" system on vB, except now you can be easily updated on their activity on the forum. Usernames are searchable so as to find your friends easily.

    People You Ignore - A list of those you have chosen to ignore.

    Easy access to invisibility status! You can switch between showing "online" and being "invisible" simply by checking the box.

    Status updates - another Facebook-esque xenForo feature. Allows people to remain up-to-date with your current activities or, er, general musings.

    Posting

    xenForo's use of AJAX allows this to be really quick & easy to do! When you post, it is automatically added to the thread without having to refresh (or for vB to "take you" to your post).

    Rich Text editor
    Unlike vBulletin, xenForo's posting system automatically updates when using BBCode. For example, you can experiment with colours & the like whilst being in the process of posting, without having to press "Preview". Though this is helpful in some ways, it can also mean code gets a little tangled.
    You can switch between the Rich Text Editor and the BBCode Editor by using the button in the top right-hand corner of the Rich-Text editor. [IMG]

    Quotes / Multiquoting when Posting
    Unlike vB, xenForo does not have a specific "Quote" button. Rather, when you press "Reply" on somebody's post, it is automatically quoted. Furthermore, this makes multi-quoting much easier. Simply press the "Reply" button on all the posts you want and each one will be quoted in your reply!

    BBCode Changes
    BBCode is similar to that of vB, but with some improvements on specific codes. BBCode is clearly explained here: http://www.kingdomhearts3.org/help/bb-codes
    • Media - [youtube][/youtube] no longer works. However, we have much more freedom to what we can embed now. Introducing the [media][/media] tags! Embeds media from approved sites into your post. It is recommended that you use the media button in the editor tool bar. Approved sites: Dailymotion; Facebook; Liveleak; Metacafe; Vimeo; YouTube;
      Example: [MEDIA=youtube]oHg5SJYRHA0[/MEDIA]
    • Spoilers - easily used just like in vB, just wrap text in [spoiler][/spoiler] to conceal information. This could be done so as not to spoil other members with images & narratives from media [games, books, television, films etc] or to keep a post more concise & short.
    • Image - the [img][/img] BBCode now resizes any image that potentially stretches the skin. This prevents page stretching [which we all know is o-so infuriating] & generally improves the running of the site. Just click on the image to view it full-sized, and click it once more to return it to it's smaller state. This prevents spoiler tagging all large images (unless you want to, of course).
      Beware, posting a series of large images may actually mean when all full-size, they overlap. Experiment with line space!
    • Shadow - [shadow][/shadow] is back to stay! Casey is a pretty little girl.
    Creating polls
    Creating polls in xenForo has never really been easier. A poll can be created when posting the thread, with the 10 choice slots. Easy to edit to your taste, one can set a closing date, whether or not the poll is public or if the voters can select multiple selections just by checking some boxes. Simple to use, easy. One draw back is the inability to post BBCode (such as images) within the poll choices.

    5 Minute Editing Rule
    Unlike vB, xenForo has no "Last Edited By..." feature. This makes it increasingly difficult to ensure members have not edited punishable things from their posts (for example, if a member is flamed, the offender could edit out the offensive material before a moderator can see and act accordingly). The 5 minute editing rule ensures that at the very least, Staff can accurately see what has been going on without worrying that it's been "tampered" with. Subject to change when xenForo releases update.

    Sharing Files
    Users now have the option to upload multiple files at once directly from their computers in the form of attachments, included but not limited to, images and txt files. If the file exceeds the size limit allowed, however, you will receive an error message. Simply locate the ''Upload a File'' button at the bottom right corner of your Post Box and select it from your computer. Once uploaded, you will be given an option to edit or delete the uploaded file from the post you are about to make.

    New Inbox & PM system

    New VM system - Profile Posts
    This could be likened to the previous VM system, and allows members to post directly onto one another's profiles.
    Unlike the vB "Visitor Message" system, profile posts are not collated as one long conversation. There is no "View Conversation" button -- however, one can comment on a Profile Post, which is somewhat reminiscent of the VM feature. This encourages short conversations rather than long, continuing ones. You can also Like a profile post!
    Unfortunately, smilies/emoticons as well as images are not supported by this feature, and a profile post cannot exceed 42 characters. This, however, brings me onto the Conversations feature.

    New PM system - Conversations
    Can be found next to your profile page link, in the top left of the forum. Look for your [IMG] Inbox!
    Conversations, like Private Messages on vB, allow you to exchange directly with any member from the forum privately. This new system is much more efficient, allowing you to read an exchange with a member as a full conversation, rather than having to switch between "Inbox" and "Sent Mail". This'll ensure you not missing out details in your reply! A conversation can be edited, the topic changed and can have multiple participants. Not only, a conversation can be "left", à la an instant messaging client or email system! Here, you have full access to all BBCodes/emoticons.

    Miscellaneous

    Usertitles & the Trophy System
    If you received a sudden influx of "Trophies", you're probably wondering what it means exactly. Well, in attempt to recreate the old usertitle system on vB, we are using Trophies.

    Unlike the old vB system, usertitles are not allocated due to postcount, but rather to points. Thus, we have creating a similar system to allow usertitles to be kept interesting and fun! Utilising the xF Trophy system, a member will gain a new usertitle (unless the member has a custom usertitle) everything he or she makes a certain number of posts. When that post count is reached, one will also receive a "Trophy", notifying you of this usertitle change.

    This has been set up for you all - a throwback to the old system on vB. However, the trophy system allows points to be given for other reasons, as well as other prizes, so this will definitely be used in the future for other things, too!

    Mobile Skin
    A simple, darker Mobile Skin is being worked on currently. By no means is it as attractive as the current Destati skin, however it should run without any faults. It is rumoured that xenForo is bringing out an official mobile skin, which will be much easier to work with. Bare with us in this respect, we hope to have something that is the equilibrium between attractive & functional soon.
    Cocaine and Misty like this.

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