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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.

ocPortal vs MKPortal – conversion guide

Conversion guide
The process of converting an MKPortal website to run ocPortal is easy, thanks to our import tool.

Where should I install ocPortal?

ocPortal can run from any directory, so it's just a question of whether you want your visitors to see (for example) in the url.

We recommend installing ocPortal in your root directory, but realise that if you currently have MKPortal installed there, you need to move MKPortal to another directory first. This will also cause MKPortal to stop running unless you put it back.

You can also install ocPortal to another directory, complete the import, and then move it up to the root directory at a later time. To do that, just edit the base URL setting in the base configuration editor, and then clear your caches using the upgrader.php script.

Before you begin, please make a backup of your MKPortal database. While we strive to avoid problems, the huge variety in configurations makes it very difficult to guarantee complete compatibility. This can easily be done by doing an “export” or “dump” command in a program like phpMyAdmin.

For starters, you need to download and install ocPortal to the same server your MKPortal website is installed on (see the sidebar to help you decide where to install it). At step 3, you need enter the path and database information used by your existing forum system.

Choose a forum driver
If you have any questions at this point, look in our installation tutorial.

After finishing the installation, we highly recommend you follow the link to the Setup Wizard. This explains the fundamental choices you might want to change, giving you a head-start.

At this point, you should have a fresh install of ocPortal. Now it's time to import the MKPortal data.

Login to your ocPortal website using your administrator password. Navigate to Admin Zone > Tools > Import. From this list, choose “MKPortal” and click proceed. Choose “Create a new import session, and delete any old sessions”, and click proceed.

Choose a forum driver
On this screen, enter the path and database information that MKPortal uses, and click proceed. Now you will see a list of features to import. You can select several at once if you like, but we recommend doing them one at a time because it's more stable this way.

After clicking “import”, you should see a success message and the option to continue importing the next feature. After finishing, the final step is to clear the caches. To do this, go to Tools > Website cleanup tools, select everything under “de-cachers”, and click proceed. Then, make yourself at home!

If you installed ocPortal alongside your third-party forum (such as AEF), then you're finished at this point. If however, you chose to take advantage of the integration and features of our forum, OCF, then there is a little more to do.

Importing forum and member information to OCF

If you want to keep going, and import the data from your existing forum into OCF, then there is a little more to do. Go to Admin Zone > Tools > Import. Choose “create a new import session, and delete any old sessions”, and click proceed. Select the manufacturer of your old forum, enter its path and database information, and click proceed.

Again, choose which data you want import, bearing in mind it is best to work one at a time, top to bottom. After you finish, empty your caches again: go to Admin Zone > Tools > Website cleanup tools, select all of the options under “de-cachers”, and click proceed.

Congratulations! Your website is now fully functional using ocPortal. The final step which we strongly recommend is to double check that your permissions settings have been imported correctly. Unfortunately every software has very different permissions models, making it difficult for them to import perfectly.

Go to Admin Zone > Security, and look in both “Global specific-permissions”, and the “Permissions Tree Editor”. Make sure that your members don't have access to any permissions that could be dangerous.

Please let us know if you encounter problems by posting a bug report.

What now?

Below are three 'mini-tutorials' for things you may want to do next.

Show forum within website

ocPortal supports integration of your forum into the portal, so that it fits between your menus, and your header and footer.

Go to Admin Zone > Setup > Configuration > Site Options. Under “Enviornment”, tick “Show forum within website”.

Finally, we need to update the “forums” link on the menu. Navigate to your home page (click the logo), and under the “forums” link click “edit menu”. Change the URL to _SEARCH:forums.

Managing blocks

In MKPortal it is very straightforward to create custom “blocks” and arrange them on your side panels. In ocPortal, the same is possible, though it is a little less intuitive, yet far more powerful.

Firstly, understand that in ocPortal, a block is something built by a programmer, meaning there is no way to create a custom block within ocPortal (allowing people to write PHP code in the interface is a security risk). Secondly, ocPortal blocks are very powerful, and most can accept parameters to change the output slightly.

What does this mean for me?
It means that if your only intention is to add content to your side panels (e.g. embedding an Amazon wishlist), then the best way is to create a custom comcode tag to embed in the page.

Go to Admin Zone > Setup > Custom Comcode > Add. Give it a tag and title (like amazon_wishlist), and for the replacement text, enter this: {+START,box},  then your custom HTML, and end it with {+END}.

Save it, and then go to your main website. At the bottom of the side panels, click “Edit in zone editor

Click the "edit" tab at the top of one of the panels, and use the custom comcode tag that you just made. For example: [amazon_wishlist][/amazon_wishlist].

This process is longer than MKPortal's equivalent, but has far more advantages. Namely: it can be re-used in different areas of the website with different parameters. If you have several wishlists on Amazon, you could re-use this block with different parameters. For example:
[amazon_wishlist]technology[/amazon_wishlist], or [amazon_wishlist]books. To find out how to do these things, read our blocks tutorial, or just play around (which of course, is the best way to learn anything :))

For more power ideas,

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Convincing your community

Of course, the challenge to updating any community website is that members can often be resistant to change. Here are a few sure-fire ways to excite them about the new ocPortal website:

  1. Points and point store. Your members can earn points by using the website. Sell fun products at the point store.
  2. Personal topics/whispers. Keep personal messages organised, and "whisper" to other members inside public topics.
  3. Improved chat. ocPortal has a side-wide chat system.
  4. Friendships. Users can be friends with other members.
  5. Club management. Members can be allowed to start their own clubs, with an exclusive forum and site privileges. Other members can request membership.

And a few things you might want to play with, yourself:
  1. Invitation-only websites. Allow members to each "invite" a limited number of other people.
  2. Custom profile fields. Express your community's uniqueness.
  3. Punishment. Temporarily revoke access to a topic,  forum, or other privileges.
  4. Post-edit history. Never let a “he-said/she-said” go south again. Track any edits users make to their posts.