Posts Tagged Vanilla

PhpBB in a Windows environment

I chucked in the Vanilla idea. Too much research needed, too much effort. I moved to PhpBB. The best thing about Vanilla, WordPress and PhpBB, they are all collections of self contained code and a MySQL database.

Simply removing the files under Inetpub and dropping the database in MySQL and you are back with a fresh IIS ready for other expeariments.

I have PhpBB working on IIS7, Windows 2008 R2, MySQL and PHP. The installation is well documented and the product worked almost first time. I found the install easy (As the PHP and MySQL was already in place from WordPress).

There are two gotchas for us Windows Guys. You will come accross this when you add Mods and Styles. I even found it during the original install.

Firstly, the Zip Binary, contains the files for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. That means all the additional little files the Mac uses to track the file system, are in the Zip file.

When you uncompress the Zip file, it fails as it tries to extract out the Windows format folder name, but it has already extracted a file with the exact same name. We all know a folder and file cannot coexist with the same name. The folder containing Styles, called Styles, also has a file in the root called Styles. The Zip tools extract files first, then fails on the folders. I simply selectively extracted the Zip file and all was good.

This happens in the installs, Mods and original Intstallation.

The next trick is a bit of a mind bender.

When you open php files in Notepad, they look like wrapped around Gibberish. That is because the Linux/MacOs, uses a different line format/end of line character to Windows machines. Luckily the Php interpreter when plugged into IIS can read either. No big issue unless you are doing a mod. The mods normally need you to edit the Php code and place more text on a blank line preceding or after some existing code. Working this out correctly is the difference between breaking your site, or adding new functions.

Back every file up that you edit !!! 

With the Mod I added, I was able to find the code I needed to edit. I was able to find the last command and make a new line, adding the new code, then adding a new line after. This leaves me with Php code with the Linux/MacOS carriage return and the Windows one, all mixed up, bit it does work. 

Sometimes the install script asks you to places files into folders that do not exist. I just confirmed I had the right path and created the folder. All works.

The last thing that threw me are the install.xml files. Believe it or not, just open then in Internet Explorer. They are a modern readme.txt file. It is the install instructions.

As I find more Linux to Windows weirdness, I will report back.

My Forum can be found at

Tags: , , , ,

Using Vanilla Forums with IIS 7/7.5 and URL Rewrite

I wanted to try out a free forum product. I selected Vanilla. It needs PHP, MySQL and Apache. I was sure I could get this working with IIS. I blundered along, worked out how to add a new MySQL model (Using Workbench) then forward engineer to build my new database, plugged in the details into the newly extracted Vanilla installation and proceeded to set it up.

It all came up and looked great except … the settings don’t change when I change them. Something as simple as changing the homepage or theme, does not work.

I also had the issue where clicking the “Visit Site” button went to “Page not Found” error. Things are not redirecting.

The penny dropped. IIS is not reading the .htaccess file. I then found a solution involving an edit to Web.Config. I still have yet to find the other issues I might encounter however the following page is well worth noting.


We’re running our Vanilla 2 installation on Windows 2008 R2 + IS 7.5 + FastCGI + PHP + MySQL.

Of course, the .htaccess that comes with Vanilla is only going to work on Apache. With Microsoft’s commitment to PHP on Windows, and the highly performant FastCGI, IIS gives a var better experience than the WAMP stack, especially with all the other features we get in IIS 7/7.5.

One such feature we get is the URL Rewrite 2.0:
– URL Rewrite (
– URL Rewrite Module Configuration Reference (

Gone are the old days when we were required to fall back to a commercial solution like ISAPI Rewrite.

URL Rewrite has a *very* nice GUI built right into the IIS Manager. I’m pretty sure URL Rewrite is included with the Recommended IIS configuration that the Web Platform Installer sets up. So this is fairly mainstream now. Also, you don’t have to have access to the machine (or a dedicated server) to do this. Like Apache’s .htaccess, all the Rewrite rules are popped in the Web.Config. Very convenient.

After not having used IIS Rewrite before, I quickly got to grips with the help of the above resources, and after a bit of playing around have Rewrite working very nicely on our Vanilla installation. On we run Vanilla off the root domain, on another domain we run put in a subdirectory. I haven’t yet included screenshots as I figured most people want the quick and dirty “get this working for my Vanilla 2 installation”, and many on shared hosts won’t have access to (or care about) the IIS Manager.

Tags: , , ,