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Punbb -> BBPress

  • I took Bruno Torres’ converter script as a foundation, and re-wrote it to work with the Punbb database architecture. Also, added in a tiny bit of string clean up, since Punbb allows foreign characters in the username field, and BBPress does not.

    Here’s the code to look at:

    And in a handy .zip for download:

    A few important notes, since this is NOT at all pretty –

    1) It uses a lot of memory, so make sure PHP has access to at least 16mb in php.ini. If I had more than 20 minutes to devote to this, I’d look into that and try to improve it, but hey.

    2) If you’re importing a lot of data, you may need to split up the resultant sql file into smaller files less than 2mb in size. Add this to the list of things I would automate if I needed to use this script more than once.

    3) I am using BBPress integrated with WPMU and included lines for importing into the WordPress user tables. After I noted and fixed the problem converting Punbb’s lax, apostrophe-laden usernames to nice and sanitary WP-friendly ones, the script ran like a charm. Seriously, if I’d known it would be this easy I would have done this six months ago.

    4) The forum-parent to forum relationship imported correctly into the database, but displayed a little funny, so I manually re-ordered the forum items in the database and massaged the template a little bit to recognize forum parents a little bit differently, more PunBB style.

    5) A clean WPMU and BBPress install is ideal, but I already had ten existing WP users, half of whom had a user account in the PunBB data I was merging. For such a small data set, it was very easy to manually correct this by deleting the PunBB users and making sure that the imported topics and posts for those users pointed to their current id.

    Hopefully this will be a good start for those of us looking to move existing PunBB forums to BBPress & WordPress. Good luck, and let me know if you use it!

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Beautiful! That is great to know! Thanks for this!




    Every time I see a conversion script I have to ask (and not necessarily in a negative way) “what made you decide to convert to bbpress?”

    There are several well developed forum programs that endusers have now made conversion scripts to bbpress and I just have to wonder why someone would take a working setup and covert it?

    _ck_ : Our PunBB forum dates from the inception of our site, and the nature of our community has sort of moved the interaction out of the forums and throughout the rest of the site. So I wanted to be able to incorporate our past discussions into the latest version of the site and have a little finer control over the data (relating archived forum discussions to archived blog entries and such). Since I am expecting that participation in the forums may continue shifting more toward the blog comments, I am trying to merge the old and the new and a PunBB -> bbPress -> WordPress path has fit perfectly so far.



    Ah I see. It’s the misconception that by name alone, that bbpress integrates easily/well with wordpress. You’ll find several experiences that it does not integrate easily or well by default. Between the nasty cookie issue and the even worse username issue, it makes no attempts on it’s own to integrate. You’ll need a few plugins and some trial and error with members.

    I’ll suggest again to the powers that be that an integration sub-forum might be a good idea to warn/help others. The mini-faq doesn’t begin to cover the issues.

    ck, unless you know how many people run bb and wp integrated, when you know only the number of problems any conclusions you draw from them are meaningless. There’s nothing nasty about the cookie issue apart from that some people have to add two more lines in their config.php. The username issue is annoying but doesn’t apply to everybody and all you need is a plugin.

    It integrates pretty well in that it integrates users. Somewhat more difficult doing that with forums that use a different table structure to wp.

    wp and bb together won’t create a land of milk and honey. But it has its good sides, and it doesn’t just have users because people didn’t know the alternatives.

    I agree with Fel64 here. The cookie problem is just a couple of lines in config.php because they are not in a subdirectory of WP. Most other issues are with getting functions working at the same time and I ask what other forum package runs WP functions in it without any problems.


    _ck_, there was no misconception – I tested bbPress thoroughly with MU before I decided it was the right move for us. I would expect any other user to do the same. And I’ll just chime in and say that the bbPress site and forums made it very clear to me before I began that bbPress and WordPress are two different applications and would need manual integration.

    Prior to bbPress, I tried integrating PunBB directly with our WordPress install, and while I wouldn’t call it difficult exactly, it was unnecessary: the features that separate PunBB from bbPress went largely unused by our community, so why not use forum software that uses a similar table structure, takes advantage of the wp_users table, and is supported by the same community of interested users that brought us WordPress?

    I’ll admit my needs are very specific, and that the alternative to using open source software is writing it myself, which means I can get pretty excited that bbPress ONLY requires a certain amount of integration. Also, as specific as my needs are, I posted the conversion script I used for the one or two other people who find themselves in the same position. I don’t know that it’s a common request, and I imagine that anyone who’s in the position of converting already has a bbPress install they’re happy with, whether it’s integrated with WordPress or not.



    I guess part of my concern is how casually it’s either told or assumed that BB integrates with WP, and that BB is ready for primetime. There’s good reason why it’s set at a pre-1.0 version number.

    Many people here are integrating micro-forums with a handful of members, never more than a few people on at the same time. If there’s a problem, it can wait as it’s not an active website.

    But my experience with BB was that tried integrating BB with several hundred members on a WP site. I eventually had to take it offline a week later. Here’s why:

    First it took a day or two to find the plugin to fix spaces with usernames. Eventually I found out spaces were not the only problem, dots were not covered so I had to patch that.

    Then I found out that many people had their cookies set to “remember me” which means even when you fix the cookie path so it off the root, it’s useless because the old cookie will never delete. Had to deal with dozens of emails and complaints and give them all individual instructions. Then there’s the problem of hundreds of people making hundreds of posts without any mods.

    Unlike WordPress, the bbpress moderation tools are non-existant. It’s a non-issue for a micro-forum because you’ve literally got a 1 to 10 mod to user ratio. But now multiply that by 700-800 very active members. You’d then need 70 to 80 mods since every message posted has to be read by hand, by going into the thread and dealing with each one!

    The ideal ratio is maybe one mod to 100 users or higher would be better, but you can’t do that without the right tools. There’s no way to browse through all posts at once and moderate immediately or setup some kind of automation process.

    There’s no working badwords filter, there’s no way to limit posts that are too short or too long, there’s no post merging tool, there’s no adjustable posting rate per user, there’s no way to keep in touch with moderators. All this has to be added in with plugins, many not fully debugged yet or working correctly with Some of them were not improved until just recently after I made feature requests after trying to use them.

    It was exhausting and depressing so I took bbpress offline. But I am trying to help improve bbpress, not just complain. I think it’s about to hit critical mass with the growing number of people using it and more powerful plugins available and it has a lot of potential.

    If I had a commercial forum with ads and made money off it, I’d go buy vbulletin as it’s the king and has years of trial and error and getting it right. But most people who use bbpress won’t be doing it for commercial reasons.

    So that’s why I’m curious when I read that someone walked away from another forum program and switched to bbpress…

    the old cookie will never delete

    bb logs you in for a week, wp if you set it to ‘remember me’ for a year I think.

    If you take the forum software online before really knowing what it can do and what you need to do, that’s also your problem.

    For the moderation tools, something you may have found useful is doing what all the automattic forums do – keeping an RSS feed of threads tagged, by members, ‘modlook’. But I don’t want to get into a debate on the relative merits of moderation mechanisms, this is just an aside.

    I guess part of my concern is how casually it’s either told or assumed that BB integrates with WP, and that BB is ready for primetime. There’s good reason why it’s set at a pre-1.0 version number.

    It _does_ integrate. It _is_ ready for a lot of primetime; look at and .org, 9rules and technorati. But if you think that means that it toasts your bagels too, you’re wrong (and it’s your fault for assuming or believing that). It _is_ a pre-1.0 release, and if you use it and expect a 1.0 feature set, you’ll inevitably be disappointed. I don’t really get your bitterness about it – or at least, what comes across to me as bitterness.

    Thanks for the excellent script.

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