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Thread: SMF Installation Questions

  1. #1

    Question SMF Installation Questions

    I'm brand-new to Bluehost, and as an old-fashioned handcoding database-illiterate geezer I'm sort of feeling my way with some of the tools here.

    I want to install a new Forum system on our site (ventanawild.org) to replace the 1998-vintage PERL spam magnet we've been using. Judging from what I've read here it looks like SMF might be the way to go, both in terms of features and because of the CPU quota issue. I have two questions (for now - no doubt I'll have more as i really don't know what I'm doing):

    1) I've read here in a couple posts that I should install with Fantastico for test purposes only - for the live install I should do it manually. Anyone here agree with this? Why? How do I go about a manual install?

    2) We currently have our forum set up in a subdirectory (/forum/). Ideally the new forum would come online seamlessly, with no forum downtime, and the new forum main page would have the same URL as the old one to keep google happy. Is it possible to install SMF to a different subdirectory (e.g. /forum_temp/), then once it's installed rename the directory to /forum/?

    Also, if anyone out there cares to post a link, I'd like to see active SMF and phpBB forums in action on BlueHost to get an idea of diferrent deployment strategies.

    Hope I'm being clear and not *too* much the newbie...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Portland, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by philbertine
    1) I've read here in a couple posts that I should install with Fantastico for test purposes only - for the live install I should do it manually. Anyone here agree with this? Why? How do I go about a manual install?
    I tried to install osCommerce with Fantastico and got frustrated because it wouldn't let me do what I wanted to. I don't remember the details now but it seemed to have a certain way to do things and if your preferences don't match up with that you're out of luck. For any open source software, go directly to the source and get the latest (production-level) download and then follow the installation instructions.

    Quote Originally Posted by philbertine
    2) Is it possible to install SMF to a different subdirectory (e.g. /forum_temp/), then once it's installed rename the directory to /forum/?
    It may not be as simple as renaming the directory. Often, there are database entries and/or configuration files that have to be edited to match. If you go through the installation manually (instead of using Fantastico) it is more likely that you'll be aware of what needs to be changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by philbertine
    Also, if anyone out there cares to post a link, I'd like to see active SMF and phpBB forums in action on BlueHost ...
    See my site link below. There's a link to my phpBB forum on the main page or just append /forum to the URL.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    I'm one of those people who suggest using fantastico for test driving only :rolleyes:

    If your ancient perl script happens to be an old Yabb forum then you will want to do a conversion using one of the SMF converters. Otherwise I'd recommend installing the SMF forum in a new folder then placing a link in the old forum to the new one then locking the old one down so all new entries are in SMF.

    If you are doing a basic install of SMF just create a new MySQL database from within your CPanel, then add/or create and add a user with privilege set to "ALL". This whole process can be done in under a minute in cpanel so no worries there. After that just download the latest SMF from http://www.simplemachines.org/download/ and you'll be wanting the "Full Install" the first time.

    Once you've downloaded the archived scripts, upload it to your site, uncompress it, at this point you should rename or move the folder to wherever or whatever you want, then locate and click on install.php

    Just follow the instructions and you will have a nice new forum all ready to go. Then login as "admin" and play ... that really is all there is to it.

    Once you have the steps down you can install new forums in just a few minutes :) So go ahead and play with Mods and templates until you get something that you like and if you kill something just delete the whole shebang and try again :) I like to play with these things and work out the foibles before opening it to members ... and it really is trivial to set SMF forums up :)

  4. #4

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    I could be the only one to recommend easy installation using Fantastico. Thats how I did it, and it works, I never had a single problem.

    Have a look at my forum. http://forums.agcssautomotive.com/


    Id say go Fantastico if you dont want to import your old messages, or if there is no way to import your old messages, or you dont want to import anything.

    Then once you are installed, you need to get a theme: http://custom.simplemachines.org/themes/

    Then customize the theme. Mainly, you want a button that will take users back to your main site. On my forums it is "Home"... Some also integrate their entire forum into the look and feel of their site. That gives you look and feel of the site, but looses bulletin board attitude, if you know what I mean.
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  5. #5

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    Thanks for your replies - very helpful. I think I can figure it out now.

    Quote Originally Posted by agcssautomotive.com
    Some also integrate their entire forum into the look and feel of their site. That gives you look and feel of the site, but looses bulletin board attitude, if you know what I mean.
    Is this integration pretty easy to accomplish with SMF? for example, will I be able to use the same server-side include elements - banner, navbar, footer, etc. - that I use on the rest of the site? As you can see at http://www.ventanawild.org/forum/ , the existing forum (based on an old Matt's script tweaked up with spam keyword filters) is completely integrated, and I'd like to retain that as much as possible.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by philbertine; 02-04-2007 at 11:52 PM.

  6. #6
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    Yeah it's incredibly easy! :) When you do the installation there will be two example files "ssi_examples.php" and "ssi_examples.shtml" which literally show ya everything you need. :cool:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by philbertine
    Thanks for your replies - very helpful. I think I can figure it out now.
    Is this integration pretty easy to accomplish with SMF? for example, will I be able to use the same server-side include elements - banner, navbar, footer, etc. - that I use on the rest of the site? As you can see at http://www.ventanawild.org/forum/ , the existing forum (based on an old Matt's script tweaked up with spam keyword filters) is completely integrated, and I'd like to retain that as much as possible.
    Thanks again!
    Hey, Very cool site... I've backpacked in there with the scouts a few years ago. We traveled up from SoCal just to see some real trees:)

    Anyway, SMF has some very nice SSI support. If you haven't done so, I would suggest the following:
    1) Set up a test server on your home machine. It's pretty easy. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp/ (assuming you're on windows at home).
    2) Download and install SMF directly from the SMF site (http://www.simplemachines.org/) on your test server (home machine). You can fiddle around with it to your heart's content and see how it operates. SMF also has quite a bit of good documentation and a great support forum. I found their installation and configuration instructions quite good.
    3) Try out some of the SSI examples that come with the SMF package. They are also pretty straight forward. Once you see how they work, you can go into the SSI.php code and figure out most every thing else.
    4) Once you've got things going on your test server just install and configure on the production server in the same way.

    For an example of some of what you can do with SMF SSI code, you can check us out at bigtreestech.com. The recent posts, news, upcoming events, forum, login, and event calendar are all SMF or SMF SSI.
    good luck,
    joe

  8. #8

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    Thanks for your comments and examples - I think I'm ready to tackle it now. No doubt I'll have more questions as I go along - if so I'll just add them to this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP
    Hey, Very cool site... I've backpacked in there with the scouts a few years ago. We traveled up from SoCal just to see some real trees:)
    Thanks! I've been the VWA's volunteer webmaster for close to 10 years now, and it's been a priveledge to work for an organization that does so much for one of the world's best places.

    Thanks again, all! :)

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