BOB 2.0 project description

This topic will contains information about the BOB 2.0 project. You can ask question on the project here!

The original BOB forum

By the past BOB (aka BusinessObjects Board) forum was a phpBB2 application that have been setup in 2002 (see here for the start of the original BOB forum). This forum use to be a real life-saver for numbers of BOBJ users back in the days, because no other BOBJ community was setup by BOBJ or SAP. Slowly the usage of the forum decrease because of multiple factors, but probably the rise of SCN community network setup by SAP.

The retirement

The owner of the server, Dave expressed the desire to retire the forum by the end of 2020 back in December 2019 on the [BOB is Retiring] topic:

Hello fellow community members! I bring this announcement to you with trepidation, angst, and sadness. After all of these years, the BOB community will be retired in 2020.

The activity level here has dropped substantially over the past few years. Part of this is likely due to the influx of new competitors to Business Objects such as Tableau and Power BI. Part of this is likely the fact that BOB is based on software that is well over a decade old, and is not exactly mobile friendly. There are any number of reasons, but in the end it’s not the “why” that matters, it’s simply the fact that we’ve had a good run and it seems like an appropriate step at this time.

The site will remain open for posting for the next several months. At the end of March, 2020, the site will become closed to new registrations and posts. Essentially it will become a read-only resource which we will keep online until August, 2020. It seems fitting that since we launched the community in August all these years ago (in 2002! :eek: ) that we end it at the same time.

We should all be proud of what we built and maintained over the years. That includes the die-hard posters from the BUSOB-L mailing list, the initial forum testers, your much over-worked moderator team (darn spammers :mad: :mad: ), and every single person who took time out of their day to help someone with a question. BOB would not have become what it is (or was) without any of you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank all of you, for everything.

The BOB 2.0 option

Some long-time users (including me) were motivated to continue to operate a copy or backup or migrated version of BOB forum, because of all the information and cases resolved on Business Objects inside the threads… Dave was completly open to this kind of project. A new topic [BOB 2.0] have been created to discuss on this option.

Multiple technical solutions have been discussed:

  • Move the project as-is (phpBB2 with lots of customisation) on a new host, but it appears very risky to operate on new php version a 18 years old software.
  • Migrate the forum to phpBB3 on a new host, but the migration process have already been tested, and was not working because of the heavy customization of the actual code. And phpBB was not anymore a main actor in the forum software in 2020.
  • Migrate to a different software/tool: Discourse, reddit, Joomla… this was the preferred idea as the goal was to be able to run it for multiple years.

Back in August 2020 I started to experiment a small BOB extract on Discourse application. I was really interested in this option because for me it seems the most advanced forum based software in 2020. It is well established, have a solid reputation, and came as free software so easy to deploy.

The migration steps have been documented on a github repo to allow collaboration.

The community

After some weeks of experimentation I feel OK to test the migration of the whole thing, and Dave provide me the extraction content of BOB forum without private content (user information, staff topics etc…). The import of more than 800k posts was kind of painful but effective. The decision have been made to put live on Octover 15th !

  • Announcement on Dave blog here
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Technical considerations

bobj-board is a Discourse forum.

We are hosting it using the classic docker setup that is well described here. It seems to be the most common way to install Discourse today.
It consume behind the scene an Azure B1ms virtual machine with ubuntu 18.04. This is a 2GB 1VCPU setup that seems to handle the load for now.

Currently there is a 30GB disk on the virtual machine. The content of the Discourse database (a PostgreSQL database) and uploaded files (about 1.3 GB now) is back up on an external storage (AWS S3 bucket) every 7 days, and we keep 3 backups (this is a standard feature of Discourse).

To send e-mails we rely on the AWS SES system. Do not hesitate to adjust your settings if you want more/less e-mails notifications.

The Discourse installation is easy to update (thanks to the Docker system) and I plan to update it every month. There is today no plugin installed but I want to speak of that later with the community, as some options can be very valuable for us.