Supporting the Cause

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Supporting the Cause

Postby CJY » Fri May 25, 2018 5:17 pm

I know that forum software is not inexpensive. How can we help support the site? Paypal or...?

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Re: Supporting the Cause

Postby CJY » Sat May 26, 2018 10:15 am

Well, guess I will answer my own question - here is the donation link
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 2:52 pm

Re: Supporting the Cause

Postby hennesse » Sat May 26, 2018 11:14 am

CJY wrote:I know that forum software is not inexpensive. How can we help support the site? Paypal or...?

Hate to burst your bubble, but the phpBB forum software is FREE. A competing commercial product, vBulletin is $250, or $400 w/mobile. vBulletin has a few more features, but phpBB does everything we need, and you can't beat the price.

However - we never turn down free money or free beer. So if you'd like to donate to the cause, you can click the PayPal button here

History of the Hummer Exchange
Years ago, probably about the year 2000 (remember the Y2K scare?) I got the idea of adding a bulletin board to the Hummer website. I checked out phpBB as a possible way to go. The one thing it couldn't do was to send everyone an email when someone posted a message. This is a great idea for a site like ours with a small membership, but where everyone is interested in almost every message. Not too good for a large site with thousands of members and hundreds of messages posted every day!

I roughed out a plan to modify the phpBB software to add the capability. But then I realized that if I ever had to upgrade to a newer version of phpBB, my modifications might have to be totally redone. So I wrote my own BB software. I made various improvements over the years, but the core programs stayed pretty much the same.

In 2014, I launched the Harley K-model website. I re-investigated phpBB, and found that one contributor had written an easily-installable add-on that did the mail to everyone when a new message is posted thing. So I used phpBB on that site, and it works rather nicely, I'd say.

Unfortunately, phpBB did a major re-write of their software at the end of 2014, and at that time, the add-on contributor called it quits. The add-on won't work on the newer version of phpBB, or on a subsequent complete re-write. So we're kinda stuck with an old version of phpBB. But it doesn't matter - phpBB has never had any big security problems, and the newer features really don't do anything for a site like ours, so heck, if we can ride 50 year old motorcycles, we can ride 4 year old forum software.

So - all I had to do was to download and install the old phpBB software and the old add-on, create a new mySQL database, change the words and pictures from K-model to Hummer, and poof! everything would work just fine. If you believe that, we can probably sell you unicorns, ocean-front property in Arizona, etc.

For some reason, the old email add-on just wouldn't install properly. The useless error messages didn't give any indication of which way to go to attack the problem. So I spent three 8-hour days groping in the dark, uninstalling, and reinstalling, and scratching the few remaining hairs left on my head. I have no idea just what I did, but whatever it was, it worked.

If you can find a way to send beer via PayPal, I could certainly use a cold one right about now.

Brent, bless his pointed little head, spend several more days playing devil's advocate (or perhaps the devil himself), pointing out nit-picky little things that would look or feel better on the site. (He was right about them). We tusseled back and forth, and finally pleased both our selves.

The Hummer Club upgrade from the old Hummer Exchange to phpBB was ready to go. But the old Hummer Exchange was working fine, people were used to it, no registration or painful trick questions to answer. So the New Hummer Exchange just sat on the shelf for awhile.

The SSL / HTTPS Debacle
HTTPS has been around since the 1990s. Websites with something worth stealing (Fort Knox, banks, PayPal, nuclear weapons sites) have been using it for years. I'm not sure why every website in the world needs it - and just who started the recent push for all websites to be HTTPS anyway? Obviously, the HTTPS/SSL certificate issuers stand to make money out of it. Website hosting services can mark up the prices of the certificate issuers. Why are Google and Firefox pushing it? I guess they're getting a cut somehow.

The cost of adding secure HTTPS was $17 for two years. There were some more expensive options - some running into hundreds of dollars per year. None of those expensive options did anything more than the $8.50/year option, so we chose frugal. That's all there was to it.


The stupid HTTPS upgrade broke the old Exchange, and you couldn't post new messages or respond to old ones. I got the post new messages working, but couldn't get the respond to old ones working. After pfutzing around with it for awhile, we decided "Why not roll out the new one?" since it was ready to go. And that's what we did.

Dave and Brent
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