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  • PreSales Questions, re integration into existing site

    Hello,

    I am very interested in adding vBulletin to my site. I have some questions though as far as integrating it into my site. I am probably at a good point as I am in the process of making a lot of major changes to the site.

    Site description:
    A dating/meeting site. Currently the only "membership" aspect is for people that actually have a personal ad. I have many thousands of users that use the site without a personal ad. This will change soon.

    Current Site tools/technology
    I currently run on a Mac OS server and my database tool is a product called WebCatalog. It is similar to php but also has its' own databases. It can talk to SQL databases via ODBC. My new servers, that I am in the process of configuring will be RedHat Linux based. WebCatalog also runs on Linux.

    I run all pages through WebCatalog and build my pages dynamically with include files. I can also show or hide content based on various criteria like browser, and username/password combinations or user status (as defined by my code).

    What my plans were, prior to finding vBulletin was to create a membership system and when my users are logged in, based on their user status, show various content to them. e.g. paying members will get more links and content on the same pages as non-paying members. This can be done easily in the code.

    I also was in need of writing a calendar, and message forum and had planned on writing a private site based messaging system as well. vBulletin has all of these features already.

    However, as you can't process pages through both php WebCatalog on the same page, this poses a problem. All of my databases are currently in WebCatalog and as I haven't done any php programming, and it would take some time anyway to accomplish this, I am trying to see if I can work something out to run a hybrid system for a while. At least long enough to make the first round of major changes planned and then possibly migrate to a totally php system.

    So with the background out of the way, here are my questions (I hope I remember them all).

    How difficult do youthink it would be for me to use the membership system thatis part of vBulletin as my overall site membership process? Since it seems vBulletin uses cookies to track, and I can read the cookies with WebCat, and I can access a MySQL database as well, do youthink this would be feasible? (WebCat programming I am good at, the php I would have to learn). Most likelyI would take the info from the SQL database then store it in my own WC database for speed while users are accessing other pages.

    Can I extend the information vBulletin currently asks for for the other features/functions on my site?

    Can I somehow access the private messaging system via my non-php pages? (somehow directly access it in the database using ODBC?) Or would that mess up vBulletin?

    Calendar question, I would like to be able to let my users filter the calendar based on certain criteria, e.g. only display events for user xxx. Is this possible?

    Same thing with the buddy lists etc.

    Doyou think one of the databases you might support in the future might be IBM's DB2?

    I also plan on launching another site in the future with related content. What my orignal plan was is to have an integrated membership system so if you are registered on one site, you are also registered on all sites/domains (eventually 3-4 sites). I would also like to have forums on probably 3 of the four sites, but this is where it gets confusing, I would like to have:

    site a
    section1
    section2
    section3
    section4
    section5 (from site b)
    section7 (from site c)

    site b
    section5 (not on any other sites)
    section6 (not on any other sites)
    section1 (from site a)

    site c
    section7
    section8
    section9

    I am using the term section to refer to for example your pre-sales topic/section and the threads under it. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Would this be possible? All of these sites would at least initially be on the same physical server. I realize there would/might be licensing issues as to number of copies of vBulletin, but thatis not as important as can it be done. This cross site tihng would not be the inital setup, it would be a few months (maybe summer 2002) before I could even start on it.

    The more important aspect for me is the unified login across sites.

    I expect the message forums to be reasonably busy. The current site gets about 3 million page views per month without any forums, just database searches. With other content planned for the site I expect that page views to go up to 4-5 million within about 3 months of the new site. Not sure yet how much vBulletin will add to that, but I expect it will be used a bit. With that in mind, do you think my server will be up to the task? It will be a dual processor, pIII 1 gig, with Ultra3SCSI drives running Redhat Linux. All that will be running on this machine are these 4-5 domains, postfix (for sending confirmation emails and such), WebCatalog, php, perl, imagemagick and MySQL.

    Thanks for any suggestions/feedback you can provide. I hope to get the initial config of server 1 done this weekend, with the next 2 being done over the next 2 weeks. Luckily I will have available to me a development server for testing, which brings up another question. I have my development server (on it's own box) and initially it will be a copy of the live server, but then will be used for development of new features. As a key part of what I want to acocmplish will revolve around vBulletin, is there a problem with having it installed on two boxes? The dev server will be just that, a development server for testing and development of the next version of my site. The url's will be different only in that the live server will be www.xxx.xxx and the dev is at dev.xxx.xxx (the same second level domain).

    Thanks

    Dale
    Last edited by TheBear; Fri 4th Jan '02, 4:00am.
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