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Thread: Why a new message board?

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    . MrExcel's Avatar
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    Hello Gang,

    Here it is - the new MrExcel Message Board. Traffic at the message board has really picked up. MrExcel.com logged 1 million page views in 2001 and is on track for 3 million page views in 2002. Thanks to everyone for making the site a success .

    With the increased traffic, we found that the wwwboard script could not keep up. The odds of two people posting at exactly the same instant increased dramatically. This would either cause cross postings, or the occassional "blackout" of several messages. Somewhere, are those lost 6 weeks of postings from July-August 2001, which vanished in a blip when the WWWBoard could not keep up.

    Also WWWBoard showed all posts on the index page. This lead to a board that was 1.5MB to load. Anyone on a modem couldn't use it. Even for those with high-speed, the fact that lots of people were downloading 1.5MB every time they went to the board became expensive . MrExcel.com started with a $10 a month hosting plan. By December 2001, we collectively were using half of a T-1 line and the hosting cost had skyrocketed to $3,600 a year. The ads on the site contribute only a few hundred bucks a year, so the economics of having the 1.5 MB file downloaded over and over had to stop.

    Finally, there were over 40,000 message files in the old board. No affordable search script could return a result from 40,000 files before timing out. I can tell from the server logs that using the search page was a popular thing, but it never could have proven to be very useful.

    Our traffic through the PlanetNet servers in San Diego caught the attention of PlanetNet tech support and they finally moved me to a new server capable of running MySQL and PHP. Both are cool technologies (I actually wrote a little PHP code for the first time this morning - whoo-hoo!) .

    The new board is written in PHP and uses a MySQL back end. It should be fast and be able to handle the traffic. All of the posts are in a single database, so the search capability should be awesome. You only see the most recent 25 posts on a page, so people with a modem should now be able to access the page without a problem.

    One benefit of the old board; there was no registration required. This is a tough call on the new board. For now, I am going to allow anonymous posting in the general Excel section and require registration for the VBA section. I don't like registration because I, in general, don't like hassling people for their private information. It is better to be able to come to the board, post your question and be done. With registration, you have to log in.

    However, there are benefits to registering.
    • You can be notified by e-mail as soon as someone replies to your post
    • Postings by registered users can be edited later by the posting member.
    • It will make it a whole lot easier to award the annual MrExcel MVP awards
    • Your information is protected by the MrExcel Privacy Policy


    So, on the registration issue, I have mixed feelings. If the benefits of e-mail notification are worth it to you, register. If they aren't, don't. If you are hoping to win one of the coveted MrExcel MVP awards, registration will be a big help.

    The old board: It will remain out there as an archive for now. My goal is to get all 40,000 messages, including the numerous "lost episodes" into a comprehensive, searchable archive.

    Use this forum for comments about the new board. Let us know if you think there should be different categories, different topics, or whatever. Report bug issues here or send them directly to me.

    Thanks again for making the message board and the entire site a great success. I have the coolest job in the world - creating custom Excel solutions for the best clients around the world - and I am grateful to every member of the MrExcel.com community for helping to make that happen.

    Bill Jelen
    February 16, 2002

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 06:27 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 06:28 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 06:29 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 07:42 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 13:27 ]</font>

  2. #2
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    Hello Exlted one
    :D:D

    Thought I'd stop by and see if anyone was needing a helping hand; I thought I'd hit the wrong address when all this appeared.

    I must admit that the new board is kinda like excel. Scary to begin with, but it aint that bad once you get started.

    Splitting the topics will definately make things easier to navigate, but not sure yet about where or how the archives will be placed/work. Not used the search facility yet, but if what i've seen so far is anything to go by it will be EXCELent (sorry, it had to be done)

    A wish list may be an idea for one of these topics for users to put what they want/need to see on the boards, but keep up the good work. I think it is safe to say that progress has been made on something I had regarded as near perfect.

    Keep up the good work
    (and keep smiling) 8)

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    MrExcel MVP Aladin Akyurek's Avatar
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    I have serious doubts about having two separate categories of 'Formulas" and 'Excel General Features'. Both Cond Formatting and Pivot Tables, recorded as belonging to the latter caegory, are not free of formulas, so the Adv Filter, Data Tables, etc. Such separation will definitely lead to cross-postings (which I cannot blame) and seriously divide the attention of the replying crew.

    Regards.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Aladin Akyurek on 2002-02-16 09:26 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Aladin Akyurek on 2002-02-16 09:27 ]</font>

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    Mr Excel,
    I am impressed with the functionality. However Do we have to receive email to get an answer, as I login to the board from home and work, scroll thru and bingo, some one has found me the answer.

    Will I now have to access my email all day long, cause its difficult when in work.

    The old system was long winded but it did help me to meet other users and learn how other approach problem solving.
    kk

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    . MrExcel's Avatar
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    Well, here is one bad thing already - it is not as friendly or intuitive to reply to a specific post in a thread, like we could in the WWWBoard script. You have to use the quote icon at the bottom of the message, but your reply ends up in sequence. I will check to see if a hack is available for this. "Hacks" in this sense are not a bad thing. The whole PHP/MySQL concept is built on an Open Source concept. The source code is freely available, and dozens of people have written improvements to this script. A couple are already installed here, and I even wrote one of my own.

    Keith - No need to check e-mail. The e-mail is a "heads-up" that someone has posted a reply. Feel free to come back and check the web site whenever you feel like it. But, if you are desparately in need of an answer, the e-mail notification will allow you to come check the message board as soon as someone has posted.

    Aladin - point well taken, it might be better to have all questions posted to one single forum, so I've combined all General Excel into one forum. I do think the "strange" stuff like XLM and Lotus command line macros belong in a separate forum, because there are really just a few people who have an interest / need / or even knowledge of those topics.


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MrExcel on 2002-02-16 13:26 ]</font>

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    Terrific job Bill!

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