More success converting from CommunityServer to vBulletin

Back in July, I wrote about my initial experiences converting from CommunityServer to vBulletin. At the time of that post, I was importing users, forums, and threads, but had issues importing posts. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve had more success since then.

Together with the help of Jerry (a member of the vBulletin team), we’ve improved the import scripts a number of ways. Prior to this effort, you were only able to import users, forums, threads, and posts. Now…

  • Performance has been improved by rewriting some SQL queries, and in some cases optimizing them for SQL 2005. (SQL 2000 compliant queries are available, but commented out in the code.)
  • Private messages are imported, however they are not threaded (by design; vBulletin doesn’t thread private messages).
  • Forum groups are imported as top-level forums, so your CommunityServer group/forum structure is preserved.
  • SQL scripts are available to clean up post formatting differences between CS and vB.
  • Not a fix, but an important note: If you have lots of posts, you definitely need to increase your timeout periods in your php.ini. I set mine to 600 seconds before things started working reliably importing posts.

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Converting from CommunityServer to vBulletin

I’ve been using CommunityServer to power the forums at CSFBL for a few years now, with mixed results. The version I am running (2.1) is a bit buggy and a poor performer in some respects, but it is serviceable. Still, with hundreds of thousands of posts, I really need something more reliable.

The obvious choice was to upgrade to CommunityServer 2008, but problems with the upgrade script and stickershock at the new price tag pretty much put this right out of contention. I went out and bought a license for vBulletin — one of the most widely-used bulletin board products available — for $160, about 1/50th the price I’d pay to upgrade CommunityServer.

vBulletin offers some support for converting from CommuntyServer via their Impex utility. Unfortunately, the current implementation they had was quirky and unreliable… but vBulletin gives you the source code (everything, including the import/export scripts for dozens of other forums), so I began to tinker.

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