Forum migration tool
bbPress needs to face the fact that most people who want a forum, have already had a forum. The *new* market for forums is much smaller than the *installed base* of forums.
Consequently, most of the people who would want to use bbPress probably are already using another forum script and need help migrating. It is collossal mistake to leave this for community plugins.
If I have a forum software in a production environment, then one of the major factors influencing my decision regarding migration is whether or not there is a robust, stable, tried and tested and reliable migration path to the target software. This is extremely important for me. In fact, I would suffer a somewhat inferior software willingly rather than move to a better software if there is no clear migration path or there is a high degree of risk in migration.
It is a mistake on part of bbPress to leave migration to community plugin developers. Even if there were some plugins out there that did the job, it would be much less reassuring to prospective users compared to a migration/import path created by the bbPress team. As it happens there are only 2 import plugins ( http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/forumconverter/ and http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbconverter/) out there and both of them are broken and not supported.
WordPress does it right in building an importer directly into the core.
Over the next 18-24 months, I expect to see a mass exodus from phpBB as they rewrite the software from ground up ( http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=41583). If bbPress provide a good migration path, it stands the chance to capture some of fleeing population.
I think it would be greatly beneficial to the project if the bbPress team build a bbPress importer that supports the top 4 forum software: phpBB, Invision, SMF and vBulletin.
Such a migration tool, importer or converter will:
i) import topics and forum hierarchies into bbpress
including the relations between forums, topics and replies
and slugs for forums, topics and replies
ii) generate an .htaccess to place in the old forum directory so that old URLs are 301 redirected to new ones.
iii) import users including profiles, passwords, signatures and roles
@jjj You have mentioned at http://bbpress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/1740 that this is more appropriate for a plugin and that bundling that code in the core of bbPress seems needless for many users that are starting off fresh.
I believe that this function is too important to be left to the mercy of others. There is a huge trust issue…if I have to entrust my data to someone, I want to make sure that they are reliable, trustworthy, good enough, and understand the software well.
I take your point about not bundling the function in the core. How about a migration plugin by the bbPress team?
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