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 Post subject: Site Work
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:00 am 
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I will be working on the backbone of the forum this weekend-- started about an hour ago, and will be doing a couple more things tomorrow. There has been a drop in performance the past couple months, related in part to the size of the database after ten years.... and also because the site isn't being directed through a cloud service that was supposed to be speeding things up. When the internet settings are changed (the DNS settings, in case techies read this), it can take time to propagate throughout the internet-- meaning slower page loads and sometimes no page loads at all for up to 24 hours.

Please be patient... and don't all run off to another forum!!

Jeff J


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 Post subject: Re: Site Work
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:23 pm 
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Cool. I do have trouble with this site from time to time but eh, no big deal.


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 Post subject: Re: Site Work
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:47 am 
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Hey Dr J,

Check out seekanddestroys thread where I was certain you posted a response to jennjenn but your author and icon shortly changed from suboxdoc to 1234subwar. I was online and I saw your posts hit last night. I read your post to jennjenn. Your talking about jennjenn popped your bubble and the methadone tapering you do/see in the methadone clinic you support. it was you and your icon. then it changed to 1234subwar. Just an fyi if it matters... Best! P

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Did well on Suboxone. Stopped May 2011.
Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
Coming here 'keeps recovery green'.


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 Post subject: Re: Site Work
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Thanks Pelican! I posted the comments below in the thread you are referring to, but I'm going to copy it here (as a violation of protocol!) because it responds to the problem you pointed out (which I appreciate!). I also want it in a 'site work' thread in case someone reads this who knows how to code phpBB, and knows the answer to some of the issues I'm working on.

As you'll read, I think the swap came from the merging of two posts while I was working on the site. I think that a new caching program stored the page, and then I purged the contents of the cache, causing the program to store another version of the same page. I go into more detail below.

I don't know if people care about the computer issues, but lately I've been playing around a bit to try to speed up the forum-- reduce the time it takes for pages to appear and load. If one Googles 'page speed' you will find resources like 'gtmetrix' that show all of the parts of a web page, and the order that they appear (some page speed sites are very cool- they display in milliseconds where each process starts and ends. You can get a sense of how complicated web sites have become).

Feel free to run the process on the forum; you will see that many of the measures are pretty good at this point. I recently signed up with a CDN (I'll leave the definition to interested people to look up), and I'm now compressing images with gzip, and 'caching' much of the code that runs the site (essentially storing the code on multiple servers around the country, so that it gets delivered to each user more quickly). The remaining problems are harder to fix, and I've been sending many emails to people who work with phpBB about them, but haven't found a solution yet.

This gets boring, but someone may be interested- or better yet, someone may have an idea that helps. So feel free to read on- and if you Google any of the terms (like I have done over the years!) you will learn about how the web works...... The first problem is that web sites can tell each user's computer to store parts of web sites in their browser-- another form of caching that happens on the user's end. I want the forum to set the expiration date on headers so that user's browsers will cache them. That is usually done by adding code to a file called .htaccess, on the server where the root of the site resides. I've made that change using different code recommended to me and sometimes altered a bit-- and it won't work with phpBB, the format of the forum. I've found other ideas from people who work on phpBB and customize it, but the ones I've tried have so far just crashed the forum (which is why I usually do it late at night or on the weekend). So if anyone knows how to set expiry dates on headers for phpBB 3.0.14, let me know!

The other problem is related to the number of 'round trips' necessary to load a page. When you open a web site, your browser sends a request, and then servers around the world respond to that request. Each 'request' requires a 'DNS lookup'-- i.e. your browser sends out a question, with the i.d. code for where the answer is found. As a web page opens, your browser sends a number of requests for each little part of the page. The more parts, the more requests- and each request takes time. That's why pages open in pieces- sometiems you will see on part before another. The forum is in phpBB, which requires a separate DNS look-up for every image-- e.g. every tiny little icon or symbol or logo on each page. Each bit of information is tiny, and takes very little time to open--- but the look-ups happen sequentially, one after another, and that takes time. When you open a page of the forum it takes about 120 DNS look-ups, on average, each time. Those page speed sites will show you every one of those steps, and the order that they happen.

Ideally all of the images would be in one file, requiring one look-up- at least for the images that appear every time a certain page opens. Images can sometimes be combined in 'sprites'-- files that contain the image and also information to tell the browser where, on the page, each image appears. But I have not been able to find a way to use sprites with phpBB. The program opens a page and when an image is needed, it triggers the browswer to ask for that image. If they are all combined, we end up with images popping up in the wrong places, not matched correctly to the correct location. I suspect that has to do with how forums are laid out, since the size changes as the length of comments change (as opposed to other web sites, where the page always has the exact same dimensions).

So again- if anyone works with phpBB and knows how to reduce DNS look-ups or combine images as sprites, let me know!

I suspect that the username swap (for 1234subwar) occurred because the CDN was caching (storing) a page, as the page was being altered, resulting in two posts being merged together. Maybe it was something else-- this site started out as a basic skeleton for information, and now has become much more complicated.... but whatever happened appears to be rare at this point, and occurred at a time I was messing with things, so I'm not too concerned about it.

Other odds and ends-- I removed the little snowballs from the logo. They were initially just part of the basic theme used to build the forum, and I left them in for fun.. but every time a page loaded, they required 'shockwave' to run-- which is a plug-in on most browsers. Shockwave is used less often as other video formats take over, and the plug-in is liable to crashes, causing web pages to freeze up- so it had to go. Frankly it was hard to remove; when I just removed that part of code, the entire header would not appear, which is why some people might have noticed a distorted page for a short time a couple days ago... you will also note that the dark background of the site, that used to load in horizontal sections, now it loads as one piece... and the new CDN (at incapsula.com) makes the whole loading process smoother and faster.

A faster site creates a better experience, of course. But it also leads to better ranking in searches. Google uses page speed as an important factor in determing whether a search for 'Suboxone' pulls up this forum or instead pulls up 'suboxsucks', and pushes us to page two!

Everyone please feel free to 'pm' me if something acts up!


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 Post subject: Re: Site Work
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:26 pm 
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Good afternoon, I do really care that this site work well and as efficiently as possible but in all honesty, you might as well be speaking Chinese in your previous post! I am so not a techie! I will say Thank You for making this so important to you! This forum has been a life saver for me and I love having the opportunity to give back! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


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 Post subject: Re: Site Work
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:07 am 
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Location: Southeastern US (Alabama)
Seems as though with the problems embedded in phpbb that are abhorrently consistent ...and the time spent trying to solve them...along with money spent for licensing (for those unaware, the owner has to pay for a license to use PHPBB usually for a year, 2 years, or 5 years...)..

Just seems it would be less of a headache to convert to vb?
I know you've looked into it...and the biggest hurdle is the .db file...
converting the .db either won't turn out correctly, or it will work with some losses...

But Vbulletin runs so much more efficiently these days. I'm still a member of several VB sites and it's so obvious the difference between a site running phpbb and vbulletin. The layout is usually easier for users to maneuver as well...along with both the modcp and admincp.

I've managed a site from modcp and admincp on vbulletin...the control you can give as admin in the control panel to mods, supermods, etc...or just keep it simple and have 1 admin, and mods only with smod control...same as what is here with mods.

And there is usually a bigger support and following for VB versus phpbb, because of that efficient use of resources. That, mixed with the ability to add modded plugs as you see fit (where not that many will work, or exist for phpbb).

A few things I think would be great here would be a chatbox (shoutbox)...maybe an arcade...

As a for-instance, check out a couple of these to see how vbulletin works, (these are vbulletin sites..which does work better with bigger numbers of users than phpbb does in my experience)..

The largest VB site that I'm a member of is this one:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/

They have 544,000 members. Half a million people...

Another site with basic VB is

http://www.satfix.to/forum.php
with only 35,000 people...still a lot though.

Just some ideas of how others look and feel, as examples.

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Adam Wayne P.
DOB: July 1, 1985
October 8, 2013

RIP little brother. Gone, but not forgotten.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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