Is WBB admin-friendly for unexperienced admins?

  • So, I've owned a few forums in the past few years. I have used phpBB and IPB so far, and I'm thinking about starting a new community on WBB. From what I have read around here, on the support forums, WBB doesn't look like a very admin-friendly script for admins who have no experience on the server administration side. I mean, things that come as default in most other scripts require certain things to be installed on the server in order for them to work on WBB (e.g.: ImageMagick and the imagick PHP extension to be installed on the server for gif avatars to work), and from what I have read in the tutorial on how to take and restore backups of your forums, it is really difficult from the simple procedure in which this task is done for other forum scripts. "Add a .htaccess password protection, maintenance mode is not sufficient." I've run forums for almost 3 years and I don't even know what a .htaccess is. The way I've done it so far was to generate a full backup from the cPanel and then - in case I needed it restored - I would just send the full backup to my hosting provider and they restored it. The tutorial written by Tim Wolla here ( Backing Up Your Community ) discouraged me a lot from purchasing WBB. I have no clue what half of the terms he uses there even mean. I mean, come one, how is a person who is not experienced with coding supposed to understand this?

    https://asciinema.org/a/3zi4ar1rtw070hr2sp2tw85d2

    My question is: is WBB a forum script made particularly for people with advanced webmaster skills, and beginner admins who don't know much about coding should not venture to use it? Is the advanced degree of difficulty of WBB part of the reasons why it is less popular than IPB and XenForo? I can't imagine why else it would be so, considering that design-wise it looks just as good as the two previously mentioned forum scripts.

  • Hello @Mistah J,

    there appears to be some confusion behind some of the advice we're giving and I would like to briefly explain you the background.

    ImageMagick and the imagick PHP extension to be installed on the server for gif avatars to work

    This is only half the story, it is about automatically creating scaled version of a user's avatar. This is an important task for visitors accessing your site from mobile devices, as their bandwidth is usually pretty poor and the total bandwidth limits are rather low. Scaling down images to a more appropriate size increases the speed of your site and decreases the used bandwidth - two things that really benefit these users.

    Resizing images takes place once and the software will store these created thumbnails on the disk, so that these can be used without burdening the server (working with image is pretty expensive). Animated gifs on the other hand are somewhat special because they are in fact made of a series of images compiled into a single file. Lets say you have a gif images that displays a counter from 9 down to 0, it actually consists of 10 different images, each displaying the corresponding number.

    This is an issue for PHP because resizing animated gifs takes place by extracting each contained image, resize it and afterwards assemble them again. This process is rather slow and requires a huge amount of computer memory to work with or in other words PHP's "memory_limit" will be a show-stopper.

    To circumvent this limitation, we've added support for ImageMagick which works differently and bypasses all these limitations imposed by PHP and thus easily allow scaling of animated gifs. In short this means that we're offering a solution for these cases, but the problem is caused by PHP's limitations and not our software itself.

    and from what I have read in the tutorial on how to take and restore backups of your forums, it is really difficult from the simple procedure in which this task is done for other forum scripts.

    There are a whole lot of things that can go wrong during a backup and the blog article is an attempt to provide a rather "bullet-proof" solution to create reliable backups. Of course you can use your cpanel backup function and you should always have working backups.

    The article aims for two specific goals:

    • Creating reliable backups for those who don't have an easy backup solution in their CPanel
    • Users with own dedicated/virtual servers that need to create backups for large forums in the most efficient way

    Long story short: You cpanel backup will do the job just fine, we're just offering ready solutions for all the possible edge cases we could think of.

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