This topic has been copied from the thread on our current forums, feel free to continue the discussion here to test the forum:
The OpenEnergyMonitor website and Forum have been running (since 2010) on Drupal 6 (with applied security updates).
As of February 2016 Drupal 6 reached EOL. This does not mean that the site will stop working. (As yet, it's going strong with 9783 users!) However, it does mean we need to look for future upgrade / migration paths.
Web site building tools have advanced a bit in the 6 years since we first built OpenEnergyMonitor. We are considering all options, and will discuss any proposed action with the community. Nothing will change overnight.
Website - building block etc.
One option could be to use a static site generator such as Jekyll to auto convert markdown (stored on github) into static html. I have been using such a workflow to build a new Use Guide website (which is still in development) https://guide.openenergymonitor.org/. The nice thing about github integration is how easy it is for users to submit corrections in the form of pull-requests. For example if you look at the new (in dev) solar PV documentation page on the new Guide website, you'll see a 'Edit on Github Prose' link. This links to a rather nice markdown editor which incudes things like drag-and-drop images etc. All the existing Building block pages could be converted to static html and stored on github. This would have the added advantage of allowing a user to 'clone' the whole site for reference offline. There are no plans (yet) to make the new Guide site I'm working on the main OpenEnergyMonitor homepage. We are just exploring options, as well as building a (hopefully!) easy to follow user guide.
The forums are the most active part of the site, and the part which requires the most attention e.g. fighting the constant SPAM war.
I would like to propose moving the forums to a modern dedicated forum platform and changing the URL to community.openenergymonitor.org.
The open-source platform which has caught my eye is https://www.discourse.org/
Using a platform such as discourse would have advantages such as:
- Better SPAM filtering
- OAuth sign-in to enable users to quickly sign in with their Github / Google / Twitter account - easier, quicker, no additional passwords to remember and more secure. Also imports user profile + gravatar.
- Better support for replying to posts on mobile devices
- Improved search
- Ability to @mention users like on GiitHub issues
- Ability to mention other threads
- Thread tagging e.g. solved, Arduino, Emoncms, etc.
- Write in markdown with live preview
- Forum will auto suggest possible threads to a user as a user starts to write a new post
- Auto saving of responses - never lose a half-written reply again!
- ability to bookmark posts / topics
Another forum software option which caught my eye is http://flarum.org/, it looks very nice but not as established as Discourse.
I propose when we decide to make the shift we archive and freeze the current forum and start from fresh with the new forum. The old forum will be converted to a static site and will be searchable and retraceable.
This would obviously be a big change from the old forums we all love/hate. We are keen to get everyone on board before making any sweeping changes!
I am interested to hear your thoughts, especially if anyone has experience using and administering Discourse forums.