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  • Brand new forum: version 3.8.5 or 4.0.2

    I have a decision to make. I am a veteran forum administrator. I currently am the main admin for two busy forums: one running vBulletin 3.8.4 and another on 3.7.1. So I have some experience setting these up, customizing them, etc.

    I have just purchased a brand new license for the vBulletin forum software (not the CMS). I just logged in and I can download both 3.8.5 and/or 4.0.2 Patch Level 4. I'm kind of at a cross roads here.

    On one hand, I have much experience with the 3.x series. It works fine.

    OTOH, I'm starting with a clean slate here. I don't need to upgrade an old site, so maybe I should just start out with the latest and greatest.

    Here are my questions:

    1. What have the experiences been for experienced admins using the 4.0.x version of the forum software (not the CMS). Is it sold? Buggy? Ready for prime time?

    2. How often will I need to install patches for the 4.0.x series vs. the 3.8.x series? Is it going to be an ongoing hassle?

    3. What's the long-term support/development model for the 3.8.x series? If I go that route, am I starting with a product that is at the end of its life cycle anyway?

    4. Are there any problems that new users will have? I'm a member (not an admin) on one site using version 4, and it seems fine, but I'm a veteran user with nearly 10,000 posts on various forums. Will the average user who is used to a version 3.8.x forum have a problem with the 4.0.x forum?

    5. Are there any customization limitations on the 4 series? I'm not looking for anything really bleeding edge here.

    6. Are there any key features in 3.8.x that have disappeared in 4.0.x? Am I going to wish I had never made the leap?

    7. Any compelling reasons to recommend one or the other?

    TIA!
    Matt

  • #2
    Originally posted by TLCA View Post
    Here are my questions:

    1. What have the experiences been for experienced admins using the 4.0.x version of the forum software (not the CMS). Is it sold? Buggy? Ready for prime time?
    If you are starting a new forum fresh, VB4.0.2 PL4 will be basically fine. However, I think you should probably wait until 4.0.3 comes out to see what changes they throw at us. You can certainly install 4.0.2 and get a feel of it. The largest issue most people are having is styling with the new stylevar system. Otherwise, the software runs pretty well minus the current bugs.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    2. How often will I need to install patches for the 4.0.x series vs. the 3.8.x series? Is it going to be an ongoing hassle?
    It's internet-enabled software, therefore patches will come as often as they need to to address security and/or bug fixes. The latest patches have caused some hassles with CMS users, but people with just forums only seem to be fairing well.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    3. What's the long-term support/development model for the 3.8.x series? If I go that route, am I starting with a product that is at the end of its life cycle anyway?
    VB3.8 is starting to go End of Life and I believe that the bug fixes and any further actual updates will cease when VB4.1 is released. Essentially, yes, you are starting with a product that is starting down the road to EOL.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    4. Are there any problems that new users will have? I'm a member (not an admin) on one site using version 4, and it seems fine, but I'm a veteran user with nearly 10,000 posts on various forums. Will the average user who is used to a version 3.8.x forum have a problem with the 4.0.x forum?
    People don't like change. That's just the way it is... however, VB4 is familiar enough for users where they don't have re-learn everything over again. It's just a matter of recognizing where some things are.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    5. Are there any customization limitations on the 4 series? I'm not looking for anything really bleeding edge here.
    If anything, there is more freedom in the styling of the V4 series. We just need to get past this stylevars system to fully make use of it.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    6. Are there any key features in 3.8.x that have disappeared in 4.0.x? Am I going to wish I had never made the leap?
    User profile styling has been at the top of the list for some people. So far, we haven't noticed anything that's a deal breaker. It all depends what you are expecting - but it's really best to test it out yourself, kick the tires as they say.
    Originally posted by TLCA
    7. Any compelling reasons to recommend one or the other?
    Sans the sarcastic replies you may get - VB3.8 is proven, stable. If you are willing to experiment with something new, there's no reason not to try VB4. We have not rolled out VB4 simply because of the size of the change it would be for us plus we're not comfortable with the styling system. I'm expecting that we'll look at moving to VB4 when 4.1 hits the market. [Unless things really pick-up before then..]

    This is just my basic view of things, there are a lot of happy users and a lot of not-so-happy users. The CMS seems to have hit a sour not for most people, but the basic forum function seems to be going okay.
    To be updated...

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