Upcoming Site Update!

We’ve been preparing for updating our site, and are nearing the time for the switch!

What Will Change?

  • The front page: We’re giving the front page (and other static pages) a facelift.

  • The forum: The forum, which is currently phpBB, will become a Discourse forum. Discourse is much more modern, and also mobile-friendly.

  • The forum-list bridge: We’re retiring this, as it’s barely used I can’t justify the maintenance burden. You can set Discourse to send out post notifications by email, which should still satisfy the major use case of the list bridge.

  • The wiki (and module library): The wiki will have a current version of MediaWiki and an updated theme, but otherwise will remain familiar.

  • The bug tracker: We’ve already decommissioned Bugzilla and replaced with a new tracker on GitHub. (This shouldn’t technically be listed under what will change, as it happened weeks ago.)

  • The news feed: If you haven’t submitted any news items, you might not have encountered our WordPress install which handles the news; that’s going away, to be replaced by a moderated category in the new Discourse forum. (Rather than submitting news items the old way, one will make a post in the News category instead.)

  • Site registration and login: Registration and login will be via Discourse instead of our old custom login system. This lets us retire our custom system and LDAP, which provided the storage and authentication. It reduces our maintenance burden, but should have minimal impact on anyone using the site.

  • HTTPS: The whole site will be available under HTTPS instead of HTTP.

  • Mobile: The whole site will be mobile device friendly, with a responsive design.

  • The machine and our host: We’ll be moving to a new machine and host at the same time as we update all the parts of the site.

What Will Not Change?

  • Your existing site login will continue working.
  • The wiki contents and module library will remain as-is, other than a new theme. Links will remain stable.
  • All posts from current forum will be migrated to the new forum.

When Will This Happen?

  • We aim to do the migration next week, depending on how long the remaining work takes.

  • The site will be down during the migration (or possibly up, but read-only), which I expect will take around 48 hours. (The last test import of the forum ran for 26 hours itself…) The game server will remain up during the migration, though it will be down briefly at the point when it’s switched over to the new machine. (Sorry, that’s unavoidable.)

  • More specific information will be forthcoming as the date for the migration firms up. The experience of it should be similar to the last time we moved host, back in 2014, if anyone remembers that.

Preparation for the site migration has been a massive amount of work—this has been consuming the bulk of my efforts since April. I’m looking forward to having a fresh, new mobile-friendly website served over HTTPS, with less ongoing maintenance served over. I think you’ll agree it’s a major improvement when you see it, but even more I’m looking forward to shifting my development efforts to V4 after the site migration.

We’re planning to migrate the forum on Monday. This will mean either that the forum is temporarily read-only or temporarily inaccessible. Based on having done a test migration, this will be completed sometime on Tuesday.