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Offline philfrei
« Posted 2019-07-04 22:13:54 »

While taking a closer look at the task of porting our forum's posts and data to Flarum, I am finding myself thinking that maybe a fresh start would be a better way to go.

By "fresh start" I mean the following:

We make the current forum "read only" and rename it to something like java-gaming-archive.org, and put the new forum on java-gaming.org.

Would it be possible, with new forum software, to link to the archive posts in searches?
Would it be possible on the current forum, to have "Start a new Topic" or "reply" send someone to the new forum?

I think it would be valuable to take the opportunity to update the categories to be more relevant to today's Java.

I think that there have been enough changes to the language that old wikis and tutorials would benefit greatly by being updated to apply at least to Java 8 before being brought over to the new forum.

Thoughts?

Is this a discussion we already had?

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline yboya
« Reply #1 - Posted 2019-07-04 22:55:46 »

Hello,

I am relatively new to this forum, but I like very much the way it is presented and organized.
Sure it is an old style forum, but java is an old style language too.
I don't know about Flarum, but I am not sure that a port will be a gain for the site.

For me, there is nothing to change here. Only increasing the availability so that the site is always up.

Edit : So, if you want to do a "fresh start", maybe it is the best solution, and make the present forum read-only.
Offline hadezbladez

Senior Devvie


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Exp: 2 years


Insert Personal Text


« Reply #2 - Posted 2019-07-05 01:51:29 »

How about "java-gaming-site-legacy"?
Because you guys are legend....  Cool
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #3 - Posted 2019-07-05 09:06:28 »

PLEASE just archive this forum away and get a new one set up, on Linode, for $5 a month. I'll administer and pay for it if someone else takes care of doing all the forum software and database crap.

Cas Smiley

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #4 - Posted 2019-07-05 09:07:57 »

Like seriously, I can get it set up inside a day. I just need someone to definitely agree to looking after the forum part.

Cas Smiley

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #5 - Posted 2019-07-05 13:01:36 »

Don't all rush at once.

Cas Smiley

Offline philfrei
« Reply #6 - Posted 2019-07-05 16:00:20 »

... if someone else takes care of doing all the forum software and database crap.

Cas Smiley

You make it sound so appealing.  Wink

Would it be possible to get more of a description of what would be involved in the day-to-day? I'd like to have a clear idea of the commitment before taking it on. Am stretched thin and have to be careful.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #7 - Posted 2019-07-05 23:25:47 »

Likewise. But essentially, I can pay for a Linode at $5/month+backup, and get MySQL sorted on it and set up Apache etc etc. and get someone SSH access to it, and it just needs someone to set up some forum software. The DNS stuff is another matter.

Cas Smiley

Offline DarkCart

JGO Kernel


Medals: 124
Projects: 9
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It's all in the mind, y'know.


« Reply #8 - Posted 2019-07-06 03:48:30 »

I will run the server and bring JGO back from the ashes, but as your new overlord, I first demand that you all must bow before me and proclaim that Java2D really is better than OpenGL. Then I will consider it.

Really, though, the forums are so dead there's almost no point in trying to start a new one. If you think the reason JGO gets zero traffic these days is because the forum software is outdated, you're mistaken. Even if we were magically able to setup a new server and restore JGO to its glory days (in other words, infested with Minecraft kiddies), without Riven being around to fix the DNS we'd have an unofficial continuation at best.

Nice thought, but would be ultimately fruitless.

The darkest of carts.
Offline Cero
« Reply #9 - Posted 2019-07-06 06:25:43 »

I was thinking that copying all the old content would help with SEO. Where people google all these old things and find solutions and discussions from back then.
If you want to make that separate, that's easier but then it's very unlikely the new forum will get any kind of traction.
But I guess the new page could integrate the backup in some way.
Its just a bunch of text posts. There is many ways of doing it.

Basically we just have to buy a domain, decide on a domain name, decide on which forum software to use.
Maybe some way to have special roles for the old jgo users with link to their posts in the archive... that one might be annoying to make.
We dont need the badges even tho they were cute. New forum might have some system, I havent looked at the latest free ones out there.
And then we have to basically declare this forum deprecated and the new one to be the official replacement, hopefully with links or redirects too.

Someone the archive should be linked I feel, since its a valuable knowledge base that draws in people who google for java questions.
Also I think very strongly that the new forum should not be about Java anymore. We all had high hopes for Java in gaming at one point, but now any of us do not use it anymore for games, but we still make games. And languages don't matter anyway.
It should be a technology agnostic game dev forum. I feel. Otherwise the focus is too specific to a technology no one uses.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline CommanderKeith
« Reply #10 - Posted 2019-07-06 08:41:08 »

Thanks Phil and Cas for your kind efforts and offers.
I'm quite happy with the current forum. But an upgrade would be nice too if it was more readable on mobile, but that's not a big problem, i can live with it.
Sounds like the down-time issue was just a one-off due to the Linode reset. Thanks Riven for getting it back up and running again and taking care of the site all of this time.
What are the LWJGL guys doing with their forum? Do they have problems that make them want to switch as well or are they trucking along fine?
http://forum.lwjgl.org/

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #11 - Posted 2019-07-06 10:58:30 »

The LWJGL forum is actually a busier place than this one, but as it's almost exclusively focused on LWJGL, it isn't the best place for discussion of any other Java game tech that's out there.

Regarding expanding focus beyond Java... I believe the value of this forum specifically is its focus on Java and related tech. There are plenty of other forums out there that cater to general games programming - this is pretty much the only place, other than LWJGL.org, where you can get specifically Java-centric advice.

Java still genuinely has a place in desktop games development, and remains a pretty decent choice. There are excellent tools and libraries, all free, vast amounts of experience, and performance is exceptionally good, and it's still the most popular programming language in the world. Don't think it's just going to vanish!

Cas Smiley

Offline SugarBlood
« Reply #12 - Posted 2019-07-06 15:46:14 »

Quote
Also I think very strongly that the new forum should not be about Java anymore. We all had high hopes for Java in gaming at one point, but now any of us do not use it anymore for games, but we still make games. And languages don't matter anyway.

In that case, it's name will be -gaming.org Grin
Offline Drenius
« Reply #13 - Posted 2019-07-06 15:57:58 »

As a side note:

Should -against expectation- anybody actually happen to go through with the plan that was proposed here, maybe try to avoid putting the archived forum under a new domain, as that would contribute massively to link rot.

Instead the new forum could, for example, be put under a subdirectory of the current domain (e.g. "/forum" or whatever) and the main page of java-gaming.org could then simply get a redirect to the new homepage.

That way the new forum would not be any less available but links to threads from the current forum that were made in other places or even the forum itself would still work.
Offline philfrei
« Reply #14 - Posted 2019-07-06 20:23:10 »

I'd like to keep it Java-centric, also.

Is Minecraft no longer Java?

I agree with @princec about there being continued interest. It may not be as popular as Unity or Unreal engines/environments, but I think Java remains a good choice in terms of starting a game from the bottom up (compared to C# or C++).

One source of newcomers not mentioned (and a slight advantage to Java over C): many, many college courses and even High School programming courses are in Java these days. And it does continue to get the highest Tioga rating (for whatever that is worth).

I DO think updating the forum would add to its popularity and to Java as a choice for game makers, if the following happens:
  • we give equal prominence to JavaFX (rather than having it as a sub-category of Java2D which makes no sense)
  • we create a category for packaging and distribution, as this is a significant issue, with possible sub-threads for Windows, Mac, Linux, but maybe also attention to matters that come up when distributing on services like itch or steam?
  • maybe also consider something for dealing with the new modularity and/or IDE's and/or systems like ANT/MAVEN/etc. (as they relate to games & game programming architecture), or maybe a topic on new Java developments (as they keep arriving with the new update schedule)

It could also be neat to have a category devoted to "game engines" for those individuals interested exploring and learning more about game-development infrastructure.

With stuff like that more prominently visible, the site might feel more relevant to new-comers that arrive to check things out.

Having a "jam" or two might be nice, too. The 4K rule always seemed kind of stringent a requirement to me. I know others liked the challenge, but I worry more about speed of development and making something that looks and plays well, and not so much getting something to work in such a small code base. Besides, if we are mostly going to be packaging JVM's with games via, JLINK, adding 4K to a code base of, say, a 75MB JVM is kind of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #15 - Posted 2019-07-06 22:43:50 »

Hand-wavy things! Never mind all that. Shall we make it happen?
Sum total outlay for me for one month will be $5. I think I can afford it. Somebody sort the domains.

Cas Smiley

Offline philfrei
« Reply #16 - Posted 2019-07-07 02:59:19 »

I really don't know much about DNS.

We have a domain now, called java-gaming.org, right?
Who is currently hosting? Who is paying for it? (Is there actual revenue coming in from any aspect of this site?)

My experience is limited to paying a monthly fee to startlogic and they host my primitive web site, where I don't know if I could install something like Flarum if I wanted to. All I do there is html/css/js. I've dabbled with servers on my laptop (java-enterprise, mysql) but I've never tried being an internet host with them.

If this forum were moved to java-gaming.org/jgo-legacy or java-gaming.org/jgo-archive, and a new forum started at java-gaming.org with slightly revised topics, perhaps using Flarum, and with lots of references back and forth between the two, would that work?

That is basically what @Drenius suggested, right?

 Clueless

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline VaTTeRGeR
« Reply #17 - Posted 2019-07-07 09:46:04 »

Quote
Linode

I'm currently using a VPS for Teamspeak and my toy website, specs are here: Contabo VPS S SSD

This is definitely more value than Linode, i could successfully run a Minecraft server on this thing, which was previously not really possible with other 5$ VPSes like Digital Ocean because they were lacking the horsepower.

Downsides are 100 MBytes/s disk transfer speed-cap despite using an SSD, only 200 MBit/s networking (but no data cap!) and a more lenient up-time policy (better in practice of course). For a few dollars more you can get even better specs in terms of ram, cpu and networking. Another downside is that there are no automatic VM backups available, only snapshots saved on the same host machine or an external ftp backup space (monthly fee).

They use tower cases and desktop/workstation-hardware to achieve this price point as far as i know: Contabo Servers

tl;dr: Don't waste your money on an expensive and slightly more reliable but completely under-specced vps for this hobby forum.
Offline orange451

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Your face? Your ass? What's the difference?


« Reply #18 - Posted 2019-07-07 16:28:24 »

As long as the new site still has a medal system I'm all for it.

First Recon. A java made online first person shooter!
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #19 - Posted 2019-07-07 20:23:39 »

The $5 Linode happily runs puppygames.net, and for some reason, is way faster than the $150 Rackspace VPS.

Cas Smiley

Offline philfrei
« Reply #20 - Posted 2019-07-08 00:18:23 »

We want to go to another host because of the host being unreliable?
Or are the problems with reliability related to the SMF software?

The last few days, JGO has been stable, yes?
But I still think the forum categories need a redo.

If @princec sets up an Apache server and MYSQL as offered, will the current SMF run on it?

Maybe the thing to do is install the new forum as a sub-domain, at least for now, while we set it up with the proper categories and the like, and see if people like it? If/when it gets a thumbs up, we can give it the java-gaming.org url and make the SMF a read-only sub-domain?

Or just set up the sub-domain and new forum for Java9+ related Java-gaming?

@SHC has written code to import much of JGO into Flarum, but has some issues with it that I am having trouble grasping.
But I'm not clear if we really need to follow through on that, if we can manage to have a "legacy" and a current version coexisting. (I'm not wanting to install apache, PHP, composer, flarum, and learn how to code PHP and run the various components, that is a lot of work to take on for a task that may be moot.)

Meanwhile, Flarum just released version 0.1.0-beta.9 a couple days ago, for what that is worth.
What is the a reason some are preferring Flarum over SMF2 as new hosting software?

Do either/both offer the ability to customize things like we've done (e.g., profile pictures, a form of "appreciations")?

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #21 - Posted 2019-07-08 11:55:43 »

Totally happy if we just archive this entire forum under /archive, then start completely from scratch with brand new forums and get everyone interested to register again. There are only a handful of active posters and a slightly larger number of regular lurkers for whom this will be the most minutest issue to do, and then we can go from there and see about asking Riven to transfer the domains.

First things first though, choose forums software. I can set up a $5 Linode with SSH access for someone, and that'll be my contribution. Whoever has the SSH access will have root, and will be able to do what they want regarding setting up Apache, MySQL, forums, etc.

Side question: are there any forum software out there that doesn't use PHP and MySQL? Because frankly both suck in various facepalming ways... if I had my way it'd be running as JSPs on Jetty with a Postgres back-end.

Cas Smiley

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #22 - Posted 2019-07-08 12:04:57 »

Hmm https://sourceforge.net/projects/jforum2/

Cas Smiley

Offline philfrei
« Reply #23 - Posted 2019-07-09 18:18:34 »

Makes sense to me to use Java-based programs for forum and servers. "Eat your own dog food."

If we went to JForum2, would we use Tomcat? I have actually used Tomcat before, though only for dev, locally.

IDK about switching from MySQL to PostgreSQL. It adds another opportunity for  surprises/unknowns to enter the migration process. @princec: what would be the benefits that would make adding a bit more risk/effort worth it? MySQL has a rep of being faster and easier to use and code (justified?).

SHC made a good argument in an email to me for migrating the entire forum vs. leaving two running. Changing it would require some coding (e.g., to make it read-only, or add links to the new db). And it is reportedly already pretty iffy in terms of being able to make ANY changes whatsoever.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline princec

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2019-07-09 20:25:32 »

Postgres is better in most ways than MySQL... I've used both pretty extensively. But I couldn't care less tbh Cheesy Jforum2 seems to work with whatever database engine you point it at.
As for migration... what is the actual point if we want the old site archived? Just create a brand new site, start from scratch. Simply disable all the logins in the old forum and delete the user signup page.

wrt Tomcat - I've used it, it's a PITA, but it works. Jetty will also work, possibly less hassle. Either of them can be used exclusively - no need for Apache, which might be another blessing. I've just spent a few days configuring a brand new Apache installation and it's quite a crapfest.

Cas Smiley

Offline Drenius
« Reply #25 - Posted 2019-07-21 15:40:10 »

@philfrei: Nope that is effectively the opposite to what i suggested.

My suggestion was that if the forum was somehow renewed, the old forum should not be moved to a new subdirectory like "/legacy";

doing so would mean that you could no longer reach any thread or post from the current forum under its old exact URL, meaning that almost every link pointing to one of those (be it cross-references between old forum posts or even links from other sites pointing to this site) would no longer reach its destination, thus: link rot.

My suggestion was to take any action only while keeping that in mind and trying to work around it.
Specifically, leaving the old site where it is, putting a new site in its own location and only forwarding from the old to the new one.


And then again I would like to note the absence of any contribution to this from Riven who, AFAIK is the only person ultimately having a say in this.
Offline philfrei
« Reply #26 - Posted 2019-07-22 00:21:18 »

@Drenius Thanks for setting me straight on that. That makes another good argument for porting over all the existing posts to a new forum, assuming we can maintain urls while doing so.

I'm trying to create some sort of map with pending decisions and actions, based on what I've learned from this discussion so far. Given that we are doing this by something even less organized than a committee, it is going to take some time to hash things out. But I think it would be good to push forward, even with the site staying accessible this last couple weeks, rather than waiting for it to crash again.

The numbering is mostly to make it easier to refer to specific steps. My understanding is full of holes, and the outline is VERY rough. I am hoping for corrections and fill-ins. Also, ideas for where to put this worksheet and make it more readable. Maybe give it a topic on Discussions/Gaming Wiki, so anyone can edit? Or let me know things and I will edit here on this page.

1) princec has offered to pay for and "administer" a hosting site (recommends Linode, under $10/mo)
Correct me if I am wrong: administration refers to making sure the host gets paid on time? Might also include setting up the server (if Apache or Jetty--princec's preference over Tomcat).

I am unclear on the administration/cost required for retaining the url ("java-gaming.org"). DNS registration costs something like $20/year?

2) We can get a "dump" of the current forum when the time comes.
I'm not clear how a new snapshot might be created. Perhaps a request is made to @Riven? Perhaps the code to do this is already written and just needs to be executed.

3) We can create a MySQL database from the forum dump. It is a single command (LOAD SQL) executed at a command shell level. I've run it on the snapshot of the forum taken a year ago and it works fine.

4) Decision 1: forum software.
Two main candidates:
a) Flarum
b) JForum2

Some pros and cons:

a1) Flarum can use the "same" back end as currently exists, which is PHP based and uses Apache.

a2) Code for importing has been given a good start by @SHC on github. Due to limitations of SQL, importing is very slow (one record at a time) and the code does not complete even after 6 hours of running. But there are two strategies that can used to significantly improve performance. https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.6/en/insert-optimization.html One is to take advantage of a MySQL feature: the ability to INSERT multiple value lists in a single statement. An example. I think someone who already knows PHP and has a dev environment for it would be able make this code change pretty easily from the existing github project. (I do not know PHP, do not have dev environment for it.)

The second strategy is to import from a delimited text file (using LOAD DATA). The text file could either be created from the MySQL database created from the forum dump (using SELECT...INTO), or perhaps the code which does the forum dump could be tweaked to create a delimited text file that could be used with "LOAD DATA" rather than "LOAD SQL".

a3) Flarum is not stable yet. A new beta (version 9) was created a couple weeks ago. They are not yet to 1.0. The code on github imports to beta version 7. Unclear what modifications would have to be made or if the makers of Flarum have provided reliable upgrade path. I think we did spot material for upgrading from one beta to the next. One just doesn't know how well it will work.

b1) JForum2 is Java-based. A benefit is that we would have more candidates to help out, do customizations, than with a PHP-based back end.

b2) I don't think anyone has scoped out the initialization tasks involved with JForum2 yet, or the coding we would need to do the importing. It is possible that there exists some SMF to JForum2 code already written--this would have to be researched.

b3) JForum2 can run on a Tomcat or Jetty back end.

A feature comparison of the two Forums would possibly be helpful.

IDK. My weak attempt here at project management, is it better than nothing or is it inhibiting people with more initiative and ability?

Maybe I'll just download Jetty [DONE] and JForum2 to my laptop and see if I can set them up [Jetty's "Demo-base" working--that was too easy] and then set up a replica of the current forum sections. I'd rather do that than learn PHP. I hope dealing with Jetty isn't as much of a learning curve as it was to get Tomcat running (something I did for myself several years ago). So put me down for doing some investigation on 4b2.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #27 - Posted 2019-07-22 12:38:57 »

I agree about trying to keep the old forum at the same URL, it'll make finding legacy posts that much more likely to work.

The new forum could be at www.java-gaming.org/forums for example, and the index page could redirect there.

As far as administration is concerned, I'm proposing to pay for the Linode, set up SSH, and then let someone else loose on it to do the dirty work. The domains is owned by Riven and you'll have to ask him nicely to point it at the new server when everyone's good and ready.

Failing all this... javagaming.org (the original url!) redirects to java-gaming.org, and it wouldn't be entirely beyond the realms of good sense to take that domain instead, leaving java-gaming.org exactly as it is, and have www.javagaming.org just be the new forum. Which is arguably much simpler than all of the other solutions as it doesn't involve any migration of the old stuff, just leave it be.

Cas Smiley

Offline elect

JGO Knight


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« Reply #28 - Posted 2019-07-22 14:06:46 »

Sorry if I didnt follow the last developments, but has Discourse been ruled out?
Offline princec

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2019-07-22 15:21:24 »

I don't think it has, go for it.

Cas Smiley

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