Discourse: an Open Source Discussion Platform (Forum) : A newbie's guide / introduction

Digital Doctor

Tazmanian
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,693
Bad news first ?

(1) Not likely to install well on a shared hosting platform. (what most admins use)

If you saw the install directions or tried it before they packaged it in Docker, it was a nightmare, welcome to using RoR.

Anyhow, it is now literally a 10 minute process, and 6 of those minutes you are waiting for the environment to be installed. I am not sure this will work on a shared hosting platform (cPanel or Plesk) though.

If you have a full root VPS at DigitalOcean or Linode, either of these should work:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-install-discourse-on-ubuntu-14-04

https://github.com/discourse/discourse/blob/master/docs/INSTALL-digital-ocean.md

Tom
 
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tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
I like Stack Exchange. I don't really like Open Source projects ... as they seem to perpetually languish.

Agree for the most part, but Jeff has taken investment (outside?) money, so I assume there is a revenue generating plan that will kick in at some point. Maybe more features in a commercial paid release, maybe just revenue from hosting Discourse sites, paid support, whatever, but I'm certain somewhere in the "business plan" there is a goal to generate revenue and $$ return to investor(s).

You may not like Discouse, it is different, might be ugly, might not like the arrogance of what he said, but you have to give the guy credit for at least trying to think outside the box and change what forums are today. Not many are doing that.
 

Azareal

The AtomBB Overlord
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
1,141
Agree for the most part, but Jeff has taken investment (outside?) money, so I assume there is a revenue generating plan that will kick in at some point. Maybe more features in a commercial paid release, maybe just revenue from hosting Discourse sites, paid support, whatever, but I'm certain somewhere in the "business plan" there is a goal to generate revenue and $$ return to investor(s).

You may not like Discouse, it is different, might be ugly, might not like the arrogance of what he said, but you have to give the guy credit for at least trying to think outside the box and change what forums are today. Not many are doing that.
He has some expensive "enterprise" priced hosting packages. That's probably how he intends to make money.
 
A

AWS

Guest
I put the demo because I plan to convert to it at some point before the year is out. There is no convertor for xenforo so I've been taking some time to learn Ruby by using the base import script to create a xenforo import script. The test forum will be the proving grounds.

Since I have 3 sites I am also learning Discourse multi-site protocol. From what I've seen so far that shouldn't be too hard. I plan to have a second test site up later in the week.
 

tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
Since I have 3 sites I am also learning Discourse multi-site protocol. From what I've seen so far that shouldn't be too hard. I plan to have a second test site up later in the week.

AWS have you taken a look at "taking apart" the components? IE, HAproxy/LB's in front of the web tier, with a scale PGSQL back-end? I did about a year ago, and it was super complex, not sure if it is any easier now.
 
A

AWS

Guest
AWS have you taken a look at "taking apart" the components? IE, HAproxy/LB's in front of the web tier, with a scale PGSQL back-end? I did about a year ago, and it was super complex, not sure if it is any easier now.
Yes I have. When Discourse first came out I did an install the old fashioned way. I installed all the dependencies and then built the package. I had it online for a couple weeks and then decided I just convert from IPB to xenforo. It was a major undertaking. Now with Docker it's much simpler to deploy. From what I read to connect to external sql servers you only have to make ports available outside the app so it should be no problem using external servers for the database.

One thing I am having a hard time getting used to logging it to the app itself to do any work on the components. You have to start a shell in a shell. It gets confusing when you are working on something on the server when you're in the app. I wanted to install mariadb on the server and inadvertently installed in the app.I was scratching my head when I couldn't find any trace of mariadb on next log in to the server. I connect to the app and there it was.
 
A

AWS

Guest
I've made some changes to the default style of my test site. Getting good feedback from staff. I have only let them know about it since they will ultimately be the ones that will have to approve the move or not. I will let users know once staff feels comfortable with it and let them give their input.

I am in no rush to switch. It will take a while to get importers done anyway.
 

tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
AWS What do you think so far? If you were launching a new forum (no conversion, etc), would you use Discourse? Why or why not?
 
A

AWS

Guest
AWS What do you think so far? If you were launching a new forum (no conversion, etc), would you use Discourse? Why or why not?
Absolutely. The more I get into it the more I like it. I seem to find something new every time I log in. I document them on the site.

The site is also getting a lot of pageviews. Considering the only people know about it are my staff and the links in this thread I can only guess the Discourse coders have done a great job with SEO in the app. I have done no PR or special SEO. Google and Bing seem to like it.

I am definitely converting my tech site. It will be a while before it's done, but it is happening. Staff and I are in discussion now. They like it and suggest we switch after we open it to the users. I told them there is no way I can have an importer done that soon and they said they would be OK with archiving the old, starting fresh and then importing when the conversion scripts are done. I am making progress on the import scripts, but, still a long way off.
 

tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
AWS just curious if you had more drive time on Discourse and any new feedback? Have you upgraded to any of the recent beta's?
 
A

AWS

Guest
I upgrade to each release. Haven't opened it for members to take a look yet.

I myself think it's just about right. There isn't anything that I would miss with the switch. The staff has some good input.
 

Brite Doctor

Neophyte
Joined
Feb 21, 2015
Messages
1
I also agree with the obvious statement that: it's not going to work on shared hosting, and you're going to need a little bit of tech-know how to install and get a discourse server running.

I think this difficulty is what they are more or less "hoping for", so that people who see their forums around and see how nice they are, they will look into it and see that it's not something they can easily install, but want, and will go for one of their packages (although the prices of hosting on their site are a little outlandish for "smaller" - non "enterprise" users.

A suggestion for those who wish to use it, and don't have too much tech. background, look into the Bitnami VMWARE/installer they have up for free (I'm not sure the current version they are using), but installation this way is a lot easier (however you definitely still need some tech known-how to do it).

Regarding the actual forums, I think they are great! I have used a couple big site that use the software and that's where I first learned about it, and realized how great of a tool/forum it was (and after looking into it I'm surprised it's not more popular, especially because you can get it for free, unlike all lot of inferior forum products - imo, and obviously depends on your needs.

I love all the current features, and think the way that things look, and the way you can organize things, are superior to most forums.

People should definitely check it out.

If anybody wants to look at a much older version (not the most current version) installed as a "demo-type" site you can check out: http://discourse.hookedgamer.com ->> feel free to mess around all you want on there.
-This site may be slow due to lower processing power (although not THAT low at all, I believe it's a 2 core ~3gb RAM installation)
but mainly more because of
-the fact that the version is a little older than the current available version.
(I'm actually curious how slow it runs for people, etc. if anybody messes around let me know).

**oh, only reason I posted the above link was because I thought the above post meant that you didn't have a demo discourse sit up yet for public people to use but I now see you do have a link in your profile; definitely a different look and I like it, nice job**

I think the way that threads are organized, the thread response/typing area (With live visual of what you're posting), the "similar threads" that appear at the top, and a bunch of other things I can't think of right now make DIscourse a great forum (Open source too!).
 

Azareal

The AtomBB Overlord
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
1,141
Brite Doctor
Your post feels like a bit of an advert (first post is jumping in and praising Discourse, linking to a site, picking some less controversial features to pitch, etc.). Honestly, you're probably doing Discourse a big disservice by linking such a slow site while promoting them.
And honestly, forums cost money. A big leap in hosting expenses might be one thing for a big corporation who can drop thousands on just about anything, but not for hobbyists.
As you yourself have shown, Discourse can be fairly intensive.

http://discourse.hookedgamer.com ->> feel free to mess around all you want on there.
-This site may be slow due to lower processing power (although not THAT low at all, I believe it's a 2 core ~3gb RAM installation)
but mainly more because of
-the fact that the version is a little older than the current available version.
Slow is an understatement. Had to wait 15 seconds for a page to load on an average computer on that linked site. Loaded a few pages and gave up testing after that.
Am I supposed to boot-up my high-end computer to use this tiny forum? Assuming that my specs have something to do with it?

I think the way that threads are organized, the thread response/typing area (With live visual of what you're posting), the "similar threads" that appear at the top, and a bunch of other things I can't think of right now make DIscourse a great forum (Open source too!).
Similar threads isn't really something that's exclusive to Discourse. It's mainly that other software haven't really seen the need of putting that in the core, and I would agree. And here I thought that the main selling points of Discourse were the endless scrolling and real-time everything, I'm not sure what's important about Similar Threads.
 
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davemacc

Fan
Joined
Jun 23, 2014
Messages
978
I honestly haven't seen anything about discourse that would persuade me to use it, even if I did have the money to pay for the high spec server's required for it to run effectively.
It seems to be nearly as bad as a certain other software who's recent upgrade requires resources to be thrown at it to run effectively.
 
A

AWS

Guest
I honestly haven't seen anything about discourse that would persuade me to use it, even if I did have the money to pay for the high spec server's required for it to run effectively.
It seems to be nearly as bad as a certain other software who's recent upgrade requires resources to be thrown at it to run effectively.
This is wrong. Minimum requirements is 1 gig of ram. That's hardly going to break the bank. My test site runs on an Ubuntu VPS in Hyper-V with 2 gigs of ram.

I don't know where you got the information about it being a resource hog. On the contrary it easy on resources. It is built to be fast and use less resources than a comparable site running on any other platform.

Now if you had said it was hard to install then I'd half agree with you. Now it's pretty easy if you can follow the simple Docker install guide. If you want build it then yes it's a bear.
 
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