Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

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Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by webmaster » Aug 31, 2019 3:33pm

:cry: On December 3, 2013 a server crash wiped out our database, destroying all forums, topics, posts, and user accounts. With no backups were available due to extremely unfortunate timing, we had to start over from scratch. It was a sad, said day.

:shock: Earlier this month I stumbled upon a local copy of the database prior to the crash that I had used for testing purposes. It was about a year out of date from when the crash happened, but that's still about 8 years of posts I could recover, dating from all the way back in 2004 when the forums were first started.

:-k At the time of the crash we were using older versions of PHP, Apache, and phpBB, so I had to downgrade PHP and Apache and install phpBB 3.0.12, the version that we were using at that time in order get the restored forums up-to-date. Once that was done I had another decision to make, do I upload it as a simple archive or do I try merging it with the existing forums?

[-o< After doing some research, it seemed like merging the forums would be nearly impossible... but I wanted to do it anyway and was able to find someone else who was actually able to accomplish this with phpBB 3.0 and wrote some general instructions on how they did it. Someone else put those instructions into a PHP script which gave me a great starting point.

\:D/ I took that script, made several modifications to fix bugs and make it compatible with phpBB 3.2 forums, and after a couple frustrating days was able to get a successful merge. I then spent several more days getting the merged forums all set up and ready for use. And so on August 31, 2013, we have restoration!

Note: To make the merging a bit earlier, I deleted all user accounts registered after the database crash that had zero posts. User accounts that had the same name and email address as user accounts in the backup have been merged into single accounts.

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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by SASSZAIN » Sep 03, 2019 7:25pm

w00t THis is amazing Webby :3 Thanks so much for the hard work! \:D/ \:D/ \:D/
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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by webmaster » Sep 03, 2019 9:20pm

I got excited when I found that old database backup, which wasn't actually a backup hence it not being in my backups folder. Apparently at some point I had downloaded the live database to import it into a local temporary phpBB I had set up to test some phpBB MODs.

I didn't know if anyone would care since the forums are like a ghost town now, but that didn't matter to me. There have been so many great topics and posts over the years that I couldn't let them disappear forever when I had the chance to restore them.

My only dilemma was deciding whether to make it an archived forum or somehow merging it into the active forums. An archive would have been way easier but I don't think it would have been as user friendly. Plus it would have meant maintaining two phpBB instances which I didn't want to do.

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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by Theo » Sep 04, 2019 11:30am

If you build it, they will come.

People care. This is their history.

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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by RedStar80 » Sep 28, 2019 8:34am

Okay, so that explains the strange distribution of posts, with a cut-off date in 2011 and a couple of new posts in 2019. I'm glad you found a way to bring back the forum from the dead, I remember fondly lurking it back in 2006-2009, and I never registered back then because my English level was barely sufficient to understand what's happening, let alone post by myself!

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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by webmaster » Sep 28, 2019 10:02am

Looks like your English has come a long way then! Congrats!

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Re: Blast from the past: pre-crash forums restored... mostly

Post by RedStar80 » Sep 28, 2019 10:35am

Thanks! But well, I've graduated in it (and German), I'd have been kicked out of university if I didn't! Although I'm experiencing such a nostalgia rush that I'm afraid my English level will collapse so that it will be more in line with the 2007 vibes I'm experiencing :mrgreen:

Edit: I'm not saying this as a bad thing, it's a wave of comfy nostalgia, not a critic about how the forum looks or anything.

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