What forum software and ideas

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Revenger, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    Planning to create a small 'family' type interest and support forum in the near future and not too sure what to go with I plan to test with someone and then see the pro's and cons of each and see what we may like etc but wanted some opinions here.

    A part of me leans to Composr but its not as easy to use as other things but it does pack a powerful featureset of addons etc.
    It can also be used as just a front end portal to other select forums but not the main ones.

    Theres also MyBB which looks very clean.
    I hear a lot about Xenforo but don't know if its worth it to start.
    Theres also others PHPBB SMF etc but would like something more robust.


    Basically I would want forum to have user blogs, articles news, resources, links and then expand as needed to other things.

    I also want it to look modern and clean and be easy to manage backend.

    So ideas where I should be looking?
     
  2. power

    power Member

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    consider a facebook group - it's really the thing to do these days.
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Good for "what's happening now". Utterly terrible for referencing FAQs or pinning information.
     
  4. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    Yea agreed with Elvis eventually social media integration will be on the cards to some extent.

    But basically its a niche interest community and support site I have been planning for ages and tested a few years ago some stuff then it was put on hold but now looking at it again.

    So just trying to get the ideas down with what's out there, scope, features etc and potential and plan from there.
     
  5. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    Personally for all the benefits, and the small negatives I would have gone with a closed Facebook.
     
  6. decryption

    decryption Member

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    I love Discourse - modern, secure and easy to use.
     
  7. Renza

    Renza Member

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    Small negatives? Try running something like OCAU in a facebook group, even on a smaller scale, and you'll see that it's no where near a forum replacement.
     
  8. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    It doesn't purport to be a "forum replacement".

    User requirements:
     
  9. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    Those are broader scopes for the site MR Chilled.

    Main feature is of course a 'support and interests forum' for users to chat share stuff much like other forums are with chatting and sharing information and replies and showing projects with there threads etc on many topics of select interests.

    Those broader scopes go beyond the forum to allow users to post there own life blogs, support articles members can read in a category, news much like OCAU does and links to various things.

    Social media integration so users can get updates and connect more than the forum (Agg is looking at that with xenforo and has a twitter etc)

    Links and descriptions to help and other resources with information online on its own page.

    But the main thing is going to be a small niche chat community forum much like ocau and other sites but tailored for certain things.

    Really wish people would read my posts more properly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  10. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    I've been playing with various software and here are my thoughts atm.

    Composr is a all in one and while can do everything its lacking a lot in other areas such as:
    - Lack of themes 'virtually none'.
    - You pretty much get the default look not as pretty as others.
    - Lack of plugins.
    - Not as known as other stuff or proven.
    - Complex to manage with its comcode.
    - Free.

    MyBB:
    - Can't do everything like user blogs, articles etc 'no plugins'.
    - Lots of themes
    - Some plugins for various things not as many as Xenforo but more than Composr which has like none.
    - Great selection of themes and styles for a modern look.
    - Super easy to manage 'easiest of them all I think'.
    - Some customizability.
    - Proven system.
    - Basic Portal included as default.
    - Free.

    Xenforo
    - Not as easy as MyBB, forums are called nodes etc
    - Loads of plugins and themes.
    - Most things cost and are 12 month subscription based.
    - No default portal, Xenporta 2 or U.X themes with homepages can do this stuff.

    MyBB can be upgraded to Xenforo I presume, Composr is its own system unless you attach a common forum to it PHPBB SMF etc

    So currently this is a choice between MyBB and Xenforo it seems and learning towards MyBB being free.
    The extra stuff blogs, articles etc can come over time once the site has users so that's no issue.

    I'll be demoing the stuff to someone soonish and we will have a good look and use then decide then as mentioned I'll have someone helping a little when they are available etc

    But here's a chance to add your thoughts into the mix.

    I know Kodi uses MyBB as well as a separate wordpress system as their front site.

    GBATemp uses Xenforo and a blog plugin for user blogs.
    SocialAnxietySupport uses VB4
    Hongfire uses VB5
    Agg has the Xenforo test here.

    All forums are working on major upgrades Composr to V11 'major rework' even though 10 was released this year as a major rework to 9 or was it 8.
    MyBB 2.0 rewrite is underway no eta etc.
    Xenforo 2 is live on there official forum but will be a while before all paid stuff is moved over.

    Most have facebook/twitter logins and stuff.

    So that's where I am so thoughts about things?

    Update: I just looked at Invasions website that has articles and blogs built in and is used by NHL U2 etc for there communities, so mby something to consider also at some stage but its subscription based and costs over double that of Xenforo being 6 month renewal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  11. vladtepes

    vladtepes Member

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    I use SMF very succesfully.
    It has a lot of mods aka plugins also numerous portals etc.
    Don't know why you say it isnt robust.
    The smf community forums are very supportive too.

    Www.gsx1400owners.org/forum

    Cheers
     
  12. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    I've used SMF in the past as my 'go-to forum' but I'm seeing that some people don't like it nowadays.
    Also people are moving away, development has slowed and some things are years old.

    I can add it on my list to test here and see what's what.
    Overall my thoughts are steering towards modern designs and stuff.
    Something with that VB, Xenforo or similar look etc.

    In the end it's a support site for people with select intrests and various social and other things anxiety etc to come together share there intrests, hobbies etc and support each other going forward.

    Eventually I want to promote the site around do various other things for it etc.

    So needs to be something modern and capable of potentially being a mainsteam style forum.

    What are people's thoughts here on SMF etc?

    The more I learn MyBB the more I'm happy with it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  13. treblid

    treblid Member

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    You can try b2evolution. It has blog, forum and gallery features all built into one.

    Personally I find the forum part of b2evolution a bit lacking so I'm using MyBB for forum features. The downside is no common sign in for both systems (I'm sure that can be done but havn't bothered doing it).

    If you just want MyBB alone perhaps you can try this plugin? https://community.mybb.com/mods.php?action=view&pid=221
     
  14. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    Yea found that and have it installed on my test site.
    From what I saw it's a single blog but may be good for some stuff.

    Composr is a front end also but no MyBB integration has phpbb and SMF though as well as it's own forum system.

    Looking at page manager at the moment.

    If anyone wants a look and had suggestions my MyBB install is here

    Test page manager page im working on
    The goal is to create a seamless page with no blank spacing around the centre content but need to work out how to do that.

    This is all a testing setup just to see what's what so everything is changing constantly.

    Bah can't put links in spoilers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  15. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    Depends on the user group. I've found big forums have survived - albeit with fewer active users - and as you say just couldn't be replaced with facebook groups. small forums die completely (I used to run 2 with ~1000 user count, both gone to failbook many years ago), yes there's less features but the millennials like it better.
     
  16. treblid

    treblid Member

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    It's a multi-blog engine. You can set up say X number of blogs (called collections) on a single site. And then set a type for each collection, e.g. the first is main portal, the 2nd as a normal blog, the third as a forum, a fourth as a gallery and so on.

    Basically if you set the type as a forum, your posts will be displayed like a forum, if you set the type as a manual it will display like a wiki. And so on.

    There's also a common sitewide header to navigate around.

    You can check out what I did here: https://snakeoil-os.net/. I'm using b2evolution for portal, blogs and manual, and finally myBB for forums.
     
  17. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    I'll have to have a look at it sometime and see.

    Kinda need common sign-on though.

    Making a test php frontpage to see whats what.

    Update: Testing my own template now you can see here.
    This means I can do those cool layout front pages you see on sites then users can go to the forum from there.
    Update2: Forgot to set Square as default theme so your all were probably thinking what the seeing messed up stuff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  18. vladtepes

    vladtepes Member

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    Firstly just let me be clear - I don't care what you use. If you don't use SMF it makes no difference to me BUT I think I have to address this statement

    "some people" don't like any given software you care to name,. That means nothing.

    Also "people" might be moving away from SMF but on the other hand the engagement in the 'converters' section also indicates that 'people' are moving away from various other forum types and into SMF.

    Some things are years old... yes because it has been around for a while. That doesn't make it worse, by any means.

    I think SMF - with relevant mods installed, such as TinyPortal for example - is capable of doing all you need.

    You should definitely consider it as one of your options.

    But ultimately that's for you to decide. Good luck.

    Edit:
    I'm very comfortable with SMF but I did do a lot of investigation prior to setting up my forum, and I have to say that if I were going to move away from SMF the only one I consider potentially 'cleaner' is Xenforo. Having said that - every great looking Xenforo site I have seen mentions that there ahs been some special programming done to alter it.. so I'm not sure what's "core" and what isn't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  19. Revenger

    Revenger Member

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    I have all forums installed locally to evaluate and test.

    Still leaning towards MyBB for its templating system and ease of use.

    At this stage I am kinda looking for someone who could be a second voice with decisions to help flesh out ideas and ways which the site can be initially setup.

    As well as anyone with a knack for layouts who could help me design a clean front page in the layout template.

    Also looking for branding help with a logo and chance to talk the site and domain name with anyone who can have a look and recommend a good free MyBB theme, preferably to start with.

    As the site is a niche community for Anime and Japanese die hard fans and related gamers who may have various social, emotional, or other things going on people will have to be understanding and respectful to the project when helping.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

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