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Forum Integration Module


Pete
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I've talked about this at various points over the past year or so and have a lot of code related to the forums software used here - Invision Power Board. What I would like to know from people is what level of interest there is in such a module.

It's ideal for community-driven sites and blurs the line between site and forums.

I'll admit I've gone slightly overboard with my own personal needs on one site and have a list of the following working, but not in a packaged state as of yet until I know if there is interest:

  • Login integration (logins validated against forums, PW account created if one doesn't exist)
  • Member bar (the one at the top of the screen here, but on your PW site)
  • Create new posts
  • Fetch posts from forums
  • Reply to topics - this and the above two points allow you handle comments via forum topics instead of the Comments module - if you have privileges you can also edit and delete comments
  • Access to all member info from the forums
  • Latest topics list (per user-group so members don't see staff topics)
  • Users online list
  • Forum statistics (could be used alongside page statistics to show how many articles are on your site along with members, topics etc - you know, pointless stats that look pretty ;))
  • ...and some others I've probably forgotten

I'm also interested in hearing if you would like the module to be written for other forum software as well as whether you would be happy paying for a small fee. Answers to these two questions will dictate whether I package it so it's easy to configure for other forum software as well and also whether I could afford to branch it out to other software :)

It will have templates for some basic things too like the member bar so I just need to think of the best way to package those as well - probably have them in the module folder and moved to the templates folder during installation would be neatest.

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Hi Pete,

I think PW needs a good forum integration option. My concern with Invision is that it's not free / open source. Ideally I would love to see an integrated PW solution, although it sounds like you have done considerable integration of Invision into PW, so maybe it would be ok.

I have made use of apeisa's basic discussions module. This works well, but in some cases there is a need for something more feature rich, so I am definitely interested in other options. I don't like reinventing the wheel, but a PW specific forum would be cool - might be a good community-wide collaborative project to initiate?

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Full featured forum software is a lot of work. Maybe full integration with http://fluxbb.org/ ?



And to answer Pete's question: not very interested in IP.Board integration (full featured forums like IPB have proven to be too much for our clients), but with some simpler forum software I would definitely be interested.

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Not seen Flux before so will take a look. Vanilla has been around and is good for basic needs, plus it has a good-looking API :)

I could easily look at the simpler ones - I know what you mean Antti and I do find that many forum features are simply not used or useful in larger software.

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An integration with IP.Board Suite would be awesome, because it is more than a forum it is a complete Community Platform and they are developing the 4.0 Framework which is JQuery based also and promise to be a game changer...

In IPS (IP board Suite) you have following apps integrated:

- IP.Board which is probably the best forum software after Xenforo

- A Complete Calendar

- E-Commerce (IP.Nexus) where you can build physical, virtual, downloads and Subscriptions (Memberships), it features an integrated Helpdesk

- IP.Downloads so that you can build a complete file manager portal, sell files and allow your members to sell their files there as well

There are also other apps like IP.Content and IP.Chats.

I understand that if you use it here is because it was worth paying the license, right?

I have used many forums and must say that IP.Board and Xenforo are in a different league, both have very good add-ons and modules and you get professional support.

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I wouldn't do any integration with other IPB apps though - just the core member/forum ones I think as I'm trying to cover the most common needs.

Looking at Vanilla a few times the last few days, it has a very streamlined feature set for more basic needs and the API is good, so I might stand back from IPB and all its bells and whistles, work out the main things I want in my module working with Vanilla and then do the same feature set for IPB. That way there is the option to use either a neat, small forum package or a huge one.

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  • 5 months later...

I have made use of apeisa's basic discussions module. This works well, but in some cases there is a need for something more feature rich, so I am definitely interested in other options. I don't like reinventing the wheel, but a PW specific forum would be cool - might be a good community-wide collaborative project to initiate?

A simple native forum would be great :)

Any progress with discussions module?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

I'm still looking for a decent forum solution for PW. Currently I use IPB (the same as this forum). But I want to stick with open source software now and do things my way. I'd happily pay for a module forum solution that utilities all the PW goodness. A bloat-free commenting/forum solution would be amazing.

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Every time I have ever looked at integrated forums with other CMSs, it always feels like reinventing the wheel - generally, they are so complicated that they need their own team supporting them.

The only integrated forum I have found that was half decent was the one with Liferay. But that is a bit of a beast. 

Generally, I think it is better to find one that is properly supported and then bridge - less worry!

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I think we might one day wake up and realize we have a "forum creation framework": pieces of the puzzle like the UserGroups module will continue to appear and eventually reinventing the wheel will not be such a huge task anymore.

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Oh, by the time you add all the full moderation tools, post reporting, posting via email, lists, and all the vast number of configurations and multiple permissions that you get with things like IP Board or SMF, then that is one pretty big wheel. 

A very basic forum is not a bad add on, but if you have enough users to warrant a forum in the first place, then you probably want something with a lot of configuration and management tools.

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I agree with Joss. A lot of people don't realise just how much stuff there is to consider with a forum.

If I were building one for a paying client I would set aside about 4 months of time to develop it (a basic one) and would be asking many thousands of pounds for it.

Something like IPB has taken a team of developers years of time.

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What about integration with other existing forum systems? Was any progress made in that area?

If I can find a system that integrates well so that my users can't tell the difference between PW and the forum side of things then I'm happy. This would mean I'd need the same global menu, header/footer etc. I'm only really interested in open source options.

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If I were building one for a paying client I would set aside about 4 months of time to develop it (a basic one) and would be asking many thousands of pounds for it.

I'll call you, when the value of litecoin skyrockets ;)

But seriously, it would be interesting to list, which components of a forum or a forum construction kit would be unique and not useable in any other system. There was a guy on the forums offering ~$10k for community site functionality. This has a big overlap with forums. Then there are things like project management, CRM and what have you that deal with users, user profiles and communication.

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I did something a long time ago where I integrated, somewhat, a forum with a website by adding a bunch of Ajax. That way they were separate but communicating with each other and my mods seemed less invasive tha way. I think I had an I frame so they could both be on screen at once. Just a thought.

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