As you may have noticed (or not), I am a little less active on the user-facing side of the forum right now. While that has a lot to do with challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have also slowly started work on a core update of WSL.
Core updates aren't new or rare, but this one is a little different. In fact, it's been no less than 5 years since we last made a step as large as this, so I wanted to let you know about it in a separate topic...
What is going on?The forum is working fine, no? Yes, it is, but here's the thing - the forum core is written in a language called PHP. The latest version of PHP that the forum supports is reaching its end of life in November of this year. When that happens, the webserver hosting the forum will stop supporting that version as well (host policy) and then WSL will stop working and then this entire fun run will be over.
That is, unless I do something to avoid that, of course. Luckily, a new version of phpBB was released in January with support for PHP 7.3 and 7.4. This update would cover WSL for years to come, so hurray!
All sorted, then?It's not quite that simple. WSL is not what you would call "standard phpBB", which pretty much looks like this:
That looks pretty meh.Indeed. There are over 70 distinct customisations and integrations running in WSL covering everything from custom code boxes over thanks functionality to how the forum looks and feels. Some of those are compatible with the new PHP "out of the box", but many will not be. Some won't even allow the forum to run at all. Even figuring out which is which will take some trial and error and a whole lot of testing.
These additions were implemented incrementally over the years and a fair amount of them aren't officially supported at all today, as developers opt to pursue other things or disappear altogether, something that is not that uncommon with open source software. Or I've customised the customisation to the point where I'm basically on my own
So I have my work cut out for me, and it will take me the next couple of months at least to get everything done. On top of that, I may also have to hire someone every now and then to do some custom coding or bug fixing, or there may be functionality that has to go away if it proves too difficult or too expensive to maintain.
Can I help?Well, if you would be willing to buy me a beer for my efforts, that would be much appreciated!*
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In any case, I won't let WSL go to waste and I will keep you updated on the progress. Just think of me every now and then while I'm at it
Thank you for your attention, and wish me luck!
*also covers server and maintenance costs, and improves mental health, mood and motivation