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Which Forum software ?
I know about phbb and VBulletin but is there a real alternative?

 8:41 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a forum set up already in phbb and its not very busy which to be honest I'm quite glad about.

To me both phbb and Vbulletin look tired and old. EVERY man and his dog has a forum which looks like thier format.

They are also quite difficult to integrate into the look and feel of my existing web site. These forums want websites to change to look like them not the other way round.

What I would like is a a forum where I can say reserve the top 45 pixels or a set % for MY OWN HEADER, say the right and left 45 pixels or % for my own design and then the rest can be the forum.

The aformetioned forums can't be easily changed.

I have also downloaded and started testing vanilla- I like it's clean looks and simplicity but it seems too simple as I can't find out how to moderate for example.

I have read about Phorum but the download does not contain the files they say it should (like config.php.sample) and their support is not very helpful so they are out.

Are there any other easy to install forums which are highly configurable which can be changed to look like my website and not want me to look like their tired old formats?

[edited by: engine at 10:55 am (utc) on Feb. 24, 2009]
[edit reason] No specific forums, thanks [/edit]



 4:39 am on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

OK thanks-I think I will stick with SMF.
I don't think I have the energy to try any more out!

I have downloaded SMF got something working. I will work on it.

All I want is:

- to add a 160 pixel header bar containing my sites logo, name and two layers of nav buttons. Then under this I will start the forum
- To add adsense where I want

Is this difficult in SMF?

Another frustration is the documentation which always seems to be quite light. If I had a good manual showing what template did what I would be fine. They rely on their forum to provide this too much.

People are asking the same questions about customising themes and templates over and over so why can't they dive good doocumentation or make it easy?


 12:19 pm on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think I will become a charter member of the SMF forum ($49 ) , SMF I think will do all I want and at least I will help contribute towards it and get access to the better support (which I need)


 10:02 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

An update.

My host has really sorted our load time problem and our PHPBB forum is now laoding in a few seconds.

After all I said I will stick with PHPBB now.

It's easier to customise as you can put in html in the templates. The templates are understandable by me. I just can't fathom PHP out all those ; and ?> just don't mean anything to me - pathetic I admit.

With SMF (as far as I can tell) you need to know PHP. I tried inserting some code and even learning some basic PHP but all I managed to get was parsing errors which took the whole forum down.

It's in the Too hard Basket and I just can't be bothered to learn PHP (well not yet anyway) so I'll persevere with PHPBB now that its loading OK.


 3:23 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I run 7 (maybe 8?) phpbb forums and none of them have the slow loading times that you used to have. If you want to know who my host is just send me a private message.


 12:48 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

With SMF (as far as I can tell) you need to know PHP. I tried inserting some code and even learning some basic PHP but all I managed to get was parsing errors which took the whole forum down.

Nah. I don't know a single line of PHP. I can't even code html without Dreamweaver. I managed to customise several forums of SMF. It's just a question of copying and pasting into the right place and plenty of threads on the forums provide this information.


 1:44 am on Mar 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have joined the official public SMF forum and asked about customising and adding adsense but no one has responded.

I did a search on the forums and the question of customing is probably the most popular but is never really answered. I did a search as you suggest and came up with nothing. All you get are lists of themes people have submitted but nothing on how to edit the various templates is given (well I can't find it)

I was going to pay $49 and join their private forum but as know one ansered the question I submitted on the public forum I am reluctant to.

I know these are open source and free but I would rather pay and get at least a level of support. Phpbb is free and the support seems sufficiently good to get some basic customisation going at least.

If anyone can point me to a site which tells me how to customise SMF i will gladly read it.

I would like to use SMF as it seems a little faster and I think has a cleaner design (well to me the rounded corners on phpbb look dated but it's probably just me!) than phpbb. I can't find how to insert adesense either.

The support is not as mature (ie developed ) as phpbb and the documentation is brief to the point of being useless for anyone other than a fully fledged php developer.

With phpbb the FAQ is very good. There are answers on how to specifically add adsense in various places eg in topics, threads etc. It is also quite easy to customise the layout (at least to get it looking something like you want)

If anyone has any good pages I can read on how to customise PHPBB it would be appreciated. I have our logo and background image in the header but when i try and add anything else it falls apart- I have tried to make sure I'm using the correct css too.


 2:33 am on Mar 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

No matter what you decide to use, do your experimentation on a development server, not LIVE on the web! If nothing else exclude that folder in robots.txt FOR NOW to keep google and others from snagging it before it is ready for prime time!

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