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Forum Index > News and Announcements > Site Downtime - 1/24 @ 6 AM
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Author Thread Post
Krinadon
Level 70
Guardian of the Realm
Site Administrator
Joined: 12/17/2012
Threads: 760
Posts: 11,213
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:48 AM Post #1
We will be taking the site offline tomorrow, January 24th, at 6 AM. The estimated downtime is 1-2 Hours.

Downtime Begins: Thursday, January 24th at 6 AM
Estimated Duration: 1-2 Hours*

* = Pending any issues that have to be resolved after the Upgrade


This downtime is so that we can upgrade our server's version of PHP from 5.6 to 7.2 among a couple other software updates. As has been stated throughout the past 2 weeks or so, I have been updating thousands of iterations of deprecated functions in preparation for this upgrade. I have finally finished updating every operational feature on the Site so it's now time to follow through with the software upgrade.


What is PHP?

PHP is the coding language that controls everything that you see and use on Sylestia. Sylestia is built using probably about 100,000 lines of written code. This code is then compiled through PHP to turn into something visible and usable in your browsers. It's akin to how you use Windows to run your computer. PHP is the operating system, so to speak, for the Site.


5.6? 7.2? Huh?

Going back to the Windows analogy, PHP has versions just like Windows does. There's Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, etc. Well, there's PHP 4, 5, 7, etc (they skipped 6 like Windows skipped 9 lol). PHP 5.6 is just sorta saying like the 6th major iteration of PHP 5. So the core is PHP 5 and it's sorta the 6th major revision to PHP 5. It's kind of like how Windows has its various patches and updates. PHP 5.6 was the last released version of PHP 5. The next upgrade is to PHP 7.0. However, they have released a handful of new iterations of 7 so we will be upgrading to PHP 7.2.

To give a bit more information, PHP 5.0 was originally released back in 2004. If you can think back to the internet in 2004, it was leaps and bounds different than today's internet. There is so much more that you can do in a web browser that wasn't even thinkable back in 2004. So we are basically using an extremely archaic "operating system" to run Sylestia's code that has tried desperately to patch and update to stay up to date with the hundreds of amazing new features released over the last 15 years.

PHP 7.0 was initially released in 2015, so it is relatively new and comes with the latest bells and whistles. While I haven't personally had a chance to play with PHP 7.0 in any real environment yet, it's generally regarded to be 20%+ faster than PHP 5 is. So, if this holds true, this should yield some noticeable performance boosts to page load speed, exploration, image builder, etc.


Why Have We Used 5.6 For So Long?

So, when the Site was built back in 2012, I had no idea that PHP 7.0 even existed and would ever be a thing. Obviously, I knew that PHP would go through upgrades and improvements as time went on, but nothing at all on a specific level. Well, everything originally built then used some functions that very soon were announced to be deprecated - or obsolete. Later, it would be announced that they would not even exist in PHP 7.0. This means that if we had upgraded to PHP 7.0 back in 2015, all of those features would have ceased to function. Up until this point, any webpage that utilizes the old layout used these deprecated functions. That is the reason why there are two layouts on Sylestia. The new layout is built around a bunch of global functions that utilized the newer system. I could not simply load old pages onto the new layout because you cannot mix the old and new functions. Hence, the separation of layouts.

The goal was to just wait to upgrade to PHP 7 (or whatever the newest version would be) when the time came to finally rebuild the website. So that's why I waited so long.


So Why Upgrade Now?

The reason that I have finally decided to upgrade now is that the developers of PHP recently announced that PHP 5.6 is receiving its very last update and that support for it will no longer continue. I believe this update literally just went out a few days ago. This means that if any security vulnerabilities are discovered with PHP 5.6 or as browsers/servers continue to evolve and change and perhaps break something with how PHP 5.6 operates - there will not be any updates to fix it. So this left me with no real reasonable choice but to go ahead and upgrade to the newer version as soon as possible.


Hopefully, all of that helps to answer some questions you all may have about this process and shed some light on what exactly has been going on these past couple of weeks.

I am sure a question will be, "Now that you've updated all of the old pages, will they switch to the new layout too?" To answer that question, it's very possible. It isn't exactly that simple - but it most definitely will be something I will look at once my To-Do List shortens a bit.
Edited By Krinadon on 1/29/2019 at 3:00 PM.
Propopy
Level 63
Joined: 8/28/2018
Threads: 8
Posts: 216
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:49 AM Post #2
wow that's a lot of code
Bsw
Level 70
The Kind-Hearted
Joined: 4/13/2014
Threads: 35
Posts: 758
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:52 AM Post #3
will this affect how some of us are able to view or play on the site?
Krinadon
Level 70
Guardian of the Realm
Site Administrator
Joined: 12/17/2012
Threads: 760
Posts: 11,213
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:54 AM Post #4
Link: https://www.sylestia.com/forums/?thread=72418&page=1#3
Author: Bsw
Time Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:52 AM
will this affect how some of us are able to view or play on the site?


That is a good question.

Nope! PHP is server-side language. It will only affect how the server compiles the code that your browsers read.

Your browsers read what PHP outputs, which is mainly HTML, Javascript, and CSS.
Edited By Krinadon on 1/23/2019 at 11:55 AM.
Caw
Level 70
The Kind-Hearted
Joined: 3/12/2015
Threads: 64
Posts: 864
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:55 AM Post #5
so what I gather is that if you don't update it could cause a lot of security issues, or it just would cause sylestia to not work at all?

in addition, will this help the progress of the lost grove?

is PHP 7.0 more reliable for sylestia and easier for you to use?

also, will you be ever doing this again in the future? Or is it a one time only thing?


Sorry for so many questions, I'm always curious about the development of the site.
Bsw
Level 70
The Kind-Hearted
Joined: 4/13/2014
Threads: 35
Posts: 758
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:57 AM Post #6
oh wow, thats awesome :) thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question, I am very relieved to know that I will still be able to play Sylestia :D its one of my absolute favorite games :D
Cececat7275
Level 70
The Tender
Joined: 4/25/2017
Threads: 100
Posts: 1,874
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:57 AM Post #7
So, does upgrading the code actually change anything as far as gameplay? Like will it look or play differently?
Edited By Cececat7275 on 1/23/2019 at 11:58 AM.
Ayelaeyairelyese
Level 70
Wondrous Witch
Joined: 5/9/2015
Threads: 267
Posts: 2,040
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 12:00 PM Post #8
I absolutely love the fact you go into details with some of the behind the scenes stuff. Its always fascinating to me...can I learn it? No, not really, Besides the basic HTML. But this is enough to get the basic understanding on how some sites work. Hopefully, with this update it'll make it a lot easier for you to code in new ideas and new stuff for your minions to play with in the future.

100k lines of code...is a lot.
Krinadon
Level 70
Guardian of the Realm
Site Administrator
Joined: 12/17/2012
Threads: 760
Posts: 11,213
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 12:05 PM Post #9
Link: https://www.sylestia.com/forums/?thread=72418&page=1#5
Author: Caw
Time Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:55 AM
so what I gather is that if you don't update it could cause a lot of security issues, or it just would cause sylestia to not work at all?

in addition, will this help the progress of the lost grove?

is PHP 7.0 more reliable for sylestia and easier for you to use?

also, will you be ever doing this again in the future? Or is it a one time only thing?


Sorry for so many questions, I'm always curious about the development of the site.


Honestly, most likely, probably nothing at all would happen unless like I kept running PHP 5.6 for another decade. But there definitely is the potential for something to happen and it really could be anything. Realistically though, I am sure that there are many websites we all use daily/weekly that are using very outdated software and we are none the wiser.

However, it's just not good practice and for something as performance driven as Sylestia, I feel like I'd be neglecting my job as its developer by refusing to upgrade given the present circumstances.


Updating won't really make any difference on my end outside of now being able to more easily update pages to the new layout and start fiddling with new features added in PHP 7.0 to do more fancy things down the road with code. I believe there's some other miscellaneous things like... one of the built in random functions was rewritten to be more random - that was actually an issue I recently discovered a few months ago.


Since it's written not 15 years ago, yea, PHP 7 should run a lot smoother on a modern server like ours as I do keep our server's operating systems up to date. Hence why it's touted has offering a noticeable performance boost - so we shall see. It will also probably give me access to implementing newer extensions and libraries as I am sure if someone were to write an extension in 2019, they'd do so for PHP 7 and not care much at all about making it work for PHP 5.


I am not aware of having to do anything quite like this for the foreseeable future. But just like PHP 5 has become more or less retired after 15 years, I am sure PHP 7 will too someday. But I plan on keeping things more up to date and continually updating our PHP version as new versions are released.
Krinadon
Level 70
Guardian of the Realm
Site Administrator
Joined: 12/17/2012
Threads: 760
Posts: 11,213
Posted: 1/23/2019 at 12:08 PM Post #10
Link: https://www.sylestia.com/forums/?thread=72418&page=1#7
Author: Cececat7275
Time Posted: 1/23/2019 at 11:57 AM
So, does upgrading the code actually change anything as far as gameplay? Like will it look or play differently?


Not directly, no. Outside of potential faster loading speeds.
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