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Is there a consensus on the best forum for integration?
I don't care about SE friendliness. The forum will be only for members and not for search engines.
Current sites are coded in perl. (and would be nice if users could move seamlessly from forum to site and site to forum.) I'd like to user current login information, and avatars.
I do care about ease of integration and ease of moderation.
Will I be able to integrate the php forums like phpbb and vbulletin?
Anyone integrated a forum into an existing site? Problems or concerns?
Given that current sites are coded in perl, does a winner emerge as far as integration goes?
Since you have existing user management and features, it might make sense to create some code to keep the data in the forum user database in sync with your existing user data.
I'd talk to your coder about the degree of difficulty in working with different forum packages. One good thing about the two you mention, phpbb and vbulletin, is that they are common enough that if you have to hire a new coder you should be able to find one who is already familiar with the forum code.
if you have to hire a new coder you should be able to find one who is already familiar with the forum code.
Yeah. I have some coders I work with fairly often, but they are mostly the "tell me what to do type" instead of the "tell me what you want, and we'll figure out how to do it together" type. I can still see what they come back with.
You should look as YaBB as a potential candidate too:
YaBB is written is Perl, so has a good chance of easing the integration process, unlike phpBB or vB which are both PHP-based.
None of the current boards are ideal for retro-fitting into an existing site, although you can often get systems to build a site around the forum software. You're always going to need some recoding.
One thing to check is the software license: both YaBB and phpBB are open source (thus giving you the rights to reuse the code), whereas vBulletin has a closed license that risks limiting your customization options. This is not to exclude vBulletin as a possibility, but you need to be certain it can be adapted legally.