Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
Forum Moderators: rogerd
BesTBBS (your looking at it here in WebmasterWorld)
Hosted Solutions, ie: Proboards
Things to take into consideration:
Ease of use (admin)
Ease of Use (end user)
Ease of modification/personalization
Keep it clean, flame free, and don't use this as a means of promoting your own personal obscure BBS software. If there's a major out there I've forgotten about, feel free to add it.
[edited by: rogerd at 9:58 pm (utc) on May 17, 2004]
[edit reason] minor fix [/edit]
Contrasting vBulletin and phpBB, I'd say the admin and formatting features for the former are far more powerful; phpBB seems like a decent package, but requires more "hack" installations to get features standard on other forums.
VBulletin 3 makes fairly extensive use of CSS and control panel format control to reduce the need to hack the code to cutomize the appearance of the board. It also uses templates with a tracking system to find ones you have modified.
All in all, I'd say that one desirable objective in choosing forum software is to minimize the code hacking needed. Not only is changing the code time-consuming, it can introduce problems and affect security. The worst part, though, is that it greatly increases the hassles of version upgrading. If a new version comes out to patch a security hole, you don't want to have to spend hours re-installing all your mods and hacks.
One of the things in favor of YaBB, which is in many ways the oldest and clunkiest of the BBS packages out there, is the sheer number of mods available for it, and the ease of installing them.
Also, its CGI based, and the security issues surrounding it have long ago been ironed out.
Downisde, its clunky, slow, has a high server load.
Having been a user of a few systems, the feature that I would like to see in more systems is the Last x days view in Discus V4. The page layout makes it a lot easier to browse all recent topics and by showing the author and first few words it gives me a better idea of whether I want to read it or not.
As life gets busier, anything that saves me time is valuable. This view saves a lot of going back and forth between different topics etc.
Do any of the other brands have this feature? Discus misses out on a few of my other requirements eg Polls etc.
It keeps a list of admin/mod actions as standard which PhPbb doesnt do.
I do like PhPbb tho, simply because it's an excellent free to use solution - all the basic features are right there in the install and it's easily customisable.
One odd thing about Discus 4 is that it seems to append a short query string to its URLs. I haven't looked to see why it does that, but I preferred the cleaner URLs in 3.x.
I agree about the "recent topics" - I think most packages offer something along those lines now, and it's really handy as the number of forum topics grows.
I'm NOT thrilled with how difficult phpBB is to tweak. Mods are fine.... Until one has 3 or 4 that one NEEDS because they add a decent level of functionality/usability - and one immediately discovers that they ALL mod the same sections of code in the same files, and boy is THAT a nightmare! Yeah. I've actually got boards that have 5 mods all of which have tweaks in the same code and files, and it took me DAYS to get them "right". Of course, I wasn't by any means a php code jockey to begin with (MUSH soft-code, yes - but they aren't ALL that similar!) And THEN guess what? phpBB produces an update (for security reasons, natch), and it won't just leave the mods alone.... *sigh* Repeat above, ad infinitum ad nauseam....
So anyone here know where I can find a not too expensive (not more than $100 US tops) replacement for Delphi forums as seen in about 1999-2000?
But, as I mentioned before, YaBB is probably the most mod-friendly package out there. Its open source, and I just ducked into the boardmod homepage, and there are over 400 mods available for it. There's even a mod installer available, that's 99% reliable, which is great if you're installing multiple mods.
There are a lot of downsides to YaBB, but its endlessly tweakable. YaBB 2 is supposedly going to fix a lot of the speed/clunkiness/server load issues, but if they don't have any visible progress on it this summer, then it could very well qualify for next year's Vaporware Awards.
All in all, I'd say that one desirable objective in choosing forum software is to minimize the code hacking needed. Not only is changing the code time-consuming, it can introduce problems and affect security. The worst part, though, is that it greatly increases the hassles of version upgrading.
You called me a hacker! ;)
Truth be told, I don't care about the upgrades. After a while of working with the same application, tweaking it, rewriting some of it's peripheral functions - and perhaps some of the core functions, sooner or later you'll realize you've got a completely new BBS. Sure you can't upgrade it easily but then why would you want to? You've spent hours modifying the board to suit your needs because the original creators hadn't. Yes, you have to be careful when making edits, especially to ensure security, but it can be done and done professionally.
At this point the upgrades to original board no longer matter. Take WebmasterWorld for example. This isn't the original board Brett started with. It has evolved into what we use today after several years of evaluation, testing, and reworking the code.
I've loaded and played with a couple of the commercial products but wasn't overly impressed. I tried PHPBB and ditched it because I felt it was cumbersome and slow. I looked into a few others but I decided to go with my basic rule of thumb - keep it simple. Primarily because I didn't want to have to start off with an overly complex application knowing full well that I intended to modify it to suit my needs. So I chose a rather simple board based on PHPBB and have be modifying as I need to.
The catch is that I'm comfortable with PHP. For someone who is not, then choosing a OTS board can be a bit tricky and yes, the points rogerd makes with regards to upgrades etc become more important.
So from my point of view, choosing among the major BBS players wasn't an option. I wanted something simple but reliable. A board I could modify easily as I learned what I wanted and wasn't too complex such that I'd have to take hours to wrap my head around another programmers code.
I'm looking at ASPPlayground. The feature set is impressive. It's used to support another forum that I visit and I like its functionality (Outfront.net - another sign of my incompetence - it's about MS Frontpage.)
After a lot of reading I'm inclined to go with it, so I'm asking: Besides all the obvious reasons had anyone heard a bad rap about ASPPlayground? I'm looking for something that can scale and it's configured to run with MSSQL server. I'm concerned about scaling just in case any of those dot org sites of mine every take on a life of their own.
I'm aware of one busy forum that recently switched to ASPPlayground - their volume tanked, but that may have been due to site-related issues. There are a few million-plus post ASPPlayground forums out there, so they must do something right.
If you really want to stick with ASP, Web Wiz is another package that has some big boards.
Don't know what the Delphi look and feel your talking about resembles.
Hiya Grelmar - y'know, I just went surfing again and actually found a board sys that would replicate Delphi. But they want $4k for it. Sorry - WAY out of my league, since all I do is a few small private boards! *sigh*
What that system does (like Delphi) is give one a left "menu frame" of about 175px in which ALL the options appear: each forum as a clickable as well as other selectables like mail to someone; a link to the admin forum; go to chat; etc. When you click on a forum title, all the threads (well, really just the first 20 maybe, with the rest accessible through a "more" link at the bottom) display; when you click one of the thread titles, the complete thread opens in the main frame to the right, and you can scroll down through however many pages it takes to read the whole thing.
The reason I like this sort of functionality is twofold: first, it's clean; second, it's customizable. I looked at page source back when, and it seemed to be js-operated. Unfortunately, I'm not that good at programming. I may still give it a try when I retire again....