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joshuag

Forum Software

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I was wondering if you guys could recommend a solution for forums to integrate with a PW site that I am building. 

I have some legacy forums that are currently in PHPBB v3 - very old and slow, not responsive at all and I am looking for something to replace them. These are large forums with about 50,000 users and about 10 years worth of posts. 

I have done some searching on google, but everything that I find is either way to feature bloated, or not responsive or IMO not very well planned out.

I know that here on PW.com we use Invision Powerboard. And they seem pretty good, but also seems like a lot more than I am looking for in terms of features. Any simple and fast forums out there that I am missing? 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by LostKobrakai
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The newest piece of news is that FluxBB is fusing with Flarum :)

So much for FluxBB 2 being built in Laravel? Edit: as a standalone app...

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Thanks for the replies. I have looked over all these options a couple of times. Seems like there is a really huge hole in the forum software space. Any new options I find I will post here for anyone looking. 

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Joshua, what kind of feature set you are looking for?

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So much for FluxBB 2 being built in Laravel? Edit: as a standalone app...

Flarum beeing built in Laravel and Ember.js. That's why Esotalk will be faster than Flarum.  

I think it will be an great and modern alternative to smf, phpBB and other well-known forum software in the future. 

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I liked the speed of FluxBB but the thing with forums is that you need a software that is ideally going to be around in several years' time. With FluxBB's slow progress (due to understandable stuff with the main dev) and the recent change of direction, I wouldn't get onboard with Flarum until it has been out there a while.

Stay away from vB, get away from PHPBB (the purpose of this thread)... maybe try Xenforo?

Personally I'm sticking with Invision Power Board. Partly because it's what I know, but version 4 has just been released and has responsive UI, trimmed down admin interfaces etc and so on. Still, I'm not planning on upgrading the ProcessWire forums for a few more versions whilst the early upgraders work more of the bugs out with the devs :)

I am left feeling the same as you though Joshua - there is a massive hole in the forum market waiting to be filled and I've also been unable to find anything "simpler" written in PHP to fill that void. Unfortunately Ryan doesn't have a clone or we'd have a forum that's easy to integrate into the rest of your site with an awesome API :)

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The newest piece of news is that FluxBB is fusing with Flarum

So much for FluxBB 2 being built in Laravel? Edit: as a standalone app...

FluxBB 2.0 is fusing with Flarum, not the current stable release 1.5.8 :)

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Are there any decent open source choices, which are not half-dead like FluxBB or EsoTalk nor half-born like Flarum? What about SMF? Does not seem to have a mobile version, but scales down to tablet pretty well. Does anybody have any experience with that software? I've seen it being used for some quite large Joomla forums.

Edit: Vanilla is Open Source too and seems to be alive and responsive. Missed your post, Craig.

Edited by Ivan Gretsky
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I use Esotalk in latest dev (bug and security fixes!!!) and it works fine. After Flarum release there will be an upgrade path from Esotalk to Flarum. 

I used smf (and phpbb) in the past and I'm member of plenty of different forum systems. It's good like phpBB and other well-known software. Responsive themes should be available or you could build your own theme, but Esotalk just fit my needs (clean theme, color changable, mobile friendly)   ;)

SMF have a simple api which if fine for a simple integration. 

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I have managed an SMF forum for about 10 years. It's OK, but has definitely had its share of security issues over the years and internal developer squabbles, but feature-wise it is quite nice. For anything new I think I'd like for something more modern though.

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NodeBB could be interesting, but it's NodeJS based. Modern and fast. I prefer a php solution. 

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Looks like quite a few people have been looking and coming to similar conclusions! Few of my random thoughts-

  • Vanilla probably should be favourite but I just can't get on with their website mixing links to the open & commercial versions - you just don't know which version you are reading about.
  • Discourse is lead by Jeff Atwood (stackoverflow etc) and it shows. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is maybe a bit too radical a departure. And a complete resource hog with an unhelpfully non-php backend.
  • There are responsive (or very nearly responsive) skins/templates for quite a few forums (SMF & phpBB for example), although there are still hundreds of table based ones. 
  • There is a distinct lack of integration tools available out of the box for the vast majority of forums.
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After going through everything, looks like it's gonna be Vanilla. It looks to me like the only reasonable PHP option. I have tried every search term I could think of under the sun and even looked at some "Social Site" & "Community" software offerings. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. Vanilla is open source, responsive, & Fast and seems to cover the majority of my needs. Also has a phpBB importer and migration service that I think will save me a lot of time. 

Good conversation - like always on here :) 

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After going through everything, looks like it's gonna be Vanilla. It looks to me like the only reasonable PHP option. I have tried every search term I could think of under the sun and even looked at some "Social Site" & "Community" software offerings. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. Vanilla is open source, responsive, & Fast and seems to cover the majority of my needs. Also has a phpBB importer and migration service that I think will save me a lot of time. 

Good conversation - like always on here :)

I'm interested in why the new responsive phpBB 3.1 is not an option for you.

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phpBB is too big and too hard to customize. I am also seeing a huge amount of resource usage on my server. I have a way larger forum with Vanilla and it doesn't use even half the resources. I also get a sense that phpBB is kind of left-for-dead-ware at this point. I know people still work on it but it sure doesn't feel like it has any momentum behind it anymore. Just my opinion. 

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phpBB is too big and too hard to customize. I am also seeing a huge amount of resource usage on my server. I have a way larger forum with Vanilla and it doesn't use even half the resources. I also get a sense that phpBB is kind of left-for-dead-ware at this point. I know people still work on it but it sure doesn't feel like it has any momentum behind it anymore. Just my opinion. 

They did start using Symfony components, though, so they're not completely immobile: http://symfony.com/projects/phpbb

Also, instead of those awfully hacky mods they now have extensions.

"Unlike modifications, the extensions system for edit-less changes in phpBB 3.1 makes customising phpBB easier than ever." <- that answers your "too hard to customize" worry :)

You can even use Twig for styles now.

AJAX gives perf improvements.

The full launch hyping page.

I didn't intend to start a marketing campaign for phpBB, but somehow it happened! I don't even host a phpBB forum currently!

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There's Luna which might be worth a look. It's active, lightweight and has all the features you'd expect.

Luna is an open source board software app released under the GPLv3 license. The goal of this project is to be light and small, yet fully functional for a good board. Everything else is up to plugins. Luna is the successor to ModernBB, and allows users to upgrade from ModernBB 3.7 just as easy ModernBB-updates where.

https://github.com/GetLuna/Luna

http://getluna.org/index.php

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