Future of OpenEnergyMonitor Forums & website

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/

This is used by openHAB forums as well as many othershttps://community.openhab.org/.  Its seems moving to the Discourse forum was well received by the openHAB community. Read thread here. 

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.

ok, first test of this forum I never ever heard of. It feels pretty empty and white. Guess you can change color once you really use it as for now it feels cold

But more seriously on my tablet I can’t see what I’m typing it’s off the top of the screen and I can’t scroll down.

And please set the number of characters for the password to 8 not 10. I can’t work with long passwords. Dementia creeping up!

Hopefully this doesn’t generate the support issues we already have with the hardware and software. Lots to learn.

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A password manager is a good solution to that one. Then you can have a password like this


and you don’t need to remember it - even if you could.

Welcome! Thanks for all the feedback. There will undoubtedly be teething issues as get used to the new layout . If and when we decide to make the move I will do my best to set things up and support the new environment. However since Discourse is quite a popular forum platform the chances are most users will be familiar with the interface.

@Bramco poor @bidouilleur is not a spammer!

Long passwords are secure passwords +1 for password manager. Alternatively you can log in with a Google/Github/Twitter account so you don’t need to create / remember another password. This is also more secure as the only thing that gets passed to the forum is an authentication token.

Another method is to use the first letter (second letter, etc.) of every word from a phrase you make up.

Yes, but then you have to remember a huge number of phrases, one for each website/account that you have, or you leave yourself open to the hackers if you use the same one everywhere.

True, but it’s easier to remember the phrase than a random string.
Here’s an interesting treatise on making a password secure, yet easy to remember.

It’s important to understand the service at the link above is not a password strength meter.
The idea is to help users understand how many passwords can be created from different combinations of character sets (lowercase only, mixed case, with or without digits and special characters, etc.) and password lengths.

1 Like

True! Apologies bidoulier. I meant my comment as a wry observation and should have added a big smile.

We’re talking about a technical forum here not my bank account. 8 characters was fine for the old forum. Surely we need a policy which is appropriate to the situation, not the world’s best encryption.


Agree, I’ve changed settings to accept 8 character passwords. Thanks for feedback.