I just finished the initial trial migration of a Discus v4.x based board over to vBulletin.

Now, I’d like to write a few words on Discus. I cannot see why anyone looking to set up a new board would choose this software. It’s actually file based (!). Yes, you heard me. The posts, users and threads are stored in (plain) text files. I was quite surprised the first time I got around to checking out what I was supposed to migrate. If you head over to their site and check out a demo-site or two you’ll notice that the whole board seems a bit … unprofessional. It currently sells for 149 USD, which is quite amazing when you can get vBulletin for 180USD, or even phpBB for free. I went with vBulletin because they supported (at least partial) import from Discus, as well as the email based service in case I got stuck.

Now, the data migration. Upon purchasing vBulletin I got a migration utility called ImpEx which supports quite a number of boards to import from. Discus is listed as a tier 3 board, meaning it’s not actively supported anymore.. not a good sign, but still worth a shot.

Here is a quick recap of the required actions:

1. Download vBulletin and ImpEx from vBulletin.com
2. Create a new database for vBulletin
3. Install vBulletin as described here.
4. Install the ImpEx tool as described here.
5. Configure ImpEx as described here.
6. Run the ImpEx tool for Discus

Now, in step 6 there are some modules to import. Some of them runs in a matter of seconds, while others takes up to 10 minutes in my case. I’m not sure if the script actually refreshes, so one might want to up maximum execution time for PHP to be safe.

To my surprise everything went absolutely fine. Not a single hickup in the migration scripts. After the data was imported I followed the post-migrate instructions and did some data verification. Everything seemed to be present, but I was not able to see any threads in the forums. I could find them with searching, and when I opened a thread it clearly stated that it was belonging in the correct forum. After looking around for some time I discovered that the forums from Discus was now configured to act as categories. I solved this by going to Edit Forum -> Act as Forum and set it to Yes for each forum. When I got back to the forum listing everything was in order.

The only things left is to move the forums around some, get a proper language pack and some other minor adjustments. All in I’m quite satisfied with the whole process. Kudos to vBulletin.