We anticipated our last post being our last on this topic, but we have enough information for an additional post.
First we discovered that the first topic id had not been correctly set up. Not quite sure what went wrong here, but the topic title had the wrong name and pointed to a non-existing category, even though the topic text (message) was our submitted text. We edited the the table entry directly to correct the category and title and this seems to have resolved the problem.
Much more of a concern has been the relentless number of ‘invalid URL addresses’ we have encountered that have required redirection since we moved forums. These links seem to have a number of variations as follows:
- index.php/link_name/cat id/thread id
- index.php/components/discussions/cat id/thread id
In addition sometimes the category id is expressed a numeric values, sometimes as a text string and sometimes both are included. Likewise the thread id is similarly expressed is a variety of forms although usually the thread id and title text are provided, separated by a hyphen.
Sometimes the menu id is provided (we changed our menu title from ‘Macrotone Forums’ to ‘Forum’), sometimes the language string ‘lang=en’ is also in the link.
Sometimes the link seems to have the index.php missing completely and consists only of a cat id/thread id.
Most do not have any ‘calling’ URL to check. Look with a tool such as Google web tools for a registered website sometimes show calling web links, and often the referring links are ‘unpublished’ or invalid.
This is despite us removing all ‘old’ existing SEF entries on our site.
We had expected a few since it can take a while for ‘robots’ from the likes of Google etc. to get up to date, but some six weeks after we moved, they are still being found on a regular basis, often > 10 a day.
We have created ‘redirect’ links within Joomla but the wide variety is something that we had not expected, and are sure we are not alone in this. When could one safety remove these ‘temporary’ redirection links, since one would have expected at the most a few weeks.
We ourselves have a ‘modest’ number of forum entries, but for a large site constantly creating redirection links would become a major headache. Yes one could modify the ‘.htaccess’ file to place a 301 redirection pattern, but the number of patterns required seems to be more than an odd one or two, and is not something I have ever seen described in detail.
Definitely something to be aware of for others migrating from one forum to another, not just for the Discussions forum.
Whilst on the subject of SEF, there doesn’t seem to be a definite solution or suggestion as to how one should really deal with items such as ‘old’ articles. If the ‘article’ is ‘unpublished’ then any existing links immediately become invalid. How long should one wait (or expect) to see these invalid URLs? Should the articles be ‘archived’ instead and would this be a better approach? Any item whether it be a web article, a forum entry or whatever has a useful life, so what is the best way to handle their expiry?
Perhaps this is the suggestion for a new definite work on the topic. It definitely seems to be one of the ‘black arts’.