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Some Modern Forum Software You Should Know

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Sanjay Ojha, May 18, 2016.

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  1. I was looking for some forum software. While searching, I came to know some modern forum software

    1. Flarum looks awesome with all modern features (http://flarum.org/features/). See how it looks https://discuss.flarum.org/ . It is made using PHP

    2. NodeBB, as it name suggest it is made on NodeJS (Same platform as Ghost blogging software ) . See how it looks https://community.nodebb.org/

    3. Discourse, probably the most famous among the above names. It is made on Ruby. See how it looks https://meta.discourse.org/

    There are many other forum software, I would like to see your list
  2. My current favourite is Xenforo, which should be no surprise as that is what Rise Forums uses.

    I used vBulletin for around ten years before Xenforo. vBulletin 4 was horrendous. They took the best forum software in the market and totally messed it up. They also made it extremely expensive.

    I love the minimal look and feel of the ones you recommended above. They all have a clean professional look.

    What kind of forum are you looking to launch?

  3. Offcourse, Paid forums are better. Xenforo is best. I also like https://invisionpower.com/ when it comes to feature but it is too much expensive.

    I was looking it for a friend, he wants to lunch forum for ISP related discussion

    One more, I found. http://codoforum.com/
  4. That looks nice too.

    Flarum is probably the coolest one you mentioned. I like the way that looks.
  5. We use Discourse at KeyCDN and have been very happy with it. +1 for Discourse.
  6. Not knowing anything about these software titles, I can only comment on their underlying technology:

    Flarum: Something seems to be buggy with their own site (never a good sign). I click on a link and I get a loading graphic, nothing more.

    NodeBB: gross. Node is awful to develop in, as the de-facto package manager (NPM) is perhaps TOO open-source (see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/23/npm_left_pad_chaos/) and yet too dictatorish (see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/23/npm_left_pad_chaos/ again). On top of that Node is still in its very early stages of development. If you'd like to include socket technology in some small aspect of a website, go for it - but to build the entire site on Node seems silly.

    Discourse: The JIT thread loading looks nice. However, running off of Ruby screams scalability issues (Twitter was originally written in Ruby, they switched to Java because Ruby couldn't handle it).
    Brian Jackson likes this.
  7. Discourse was created by Jeff Atwood, the founder and creator of Stack Overflow. He definitely knows a thing or two about building big platforms. But time will tell I guess as it grows :)
  8. @Kevin Muldoon , Ya I also like Flarum. It is newest among all and coded by 2 developers who already have experience of coding good forum software.
    @k06mars , I don't know why flarum website didn't loaded. But it is working great here.
    I agree what you said about NodeJS, Currently it is in middle of its survival. (read this - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4495101)
    One of the programming language which could replace NodeJS is Golang by google. It has got good feedback from developer community.

    I guess current language for twitter is Scala (I am not sure though). Ruby when launched, got lot of attention from web developer community and lot of tutorial popped during that time. I also started learning it, but then I realize, this will keep happening with every new language introduced in market. Still I believe ruby is better compared to PHP in many cases but as you said scalability is huge problem in ruby.
    After release of PHP7, I guess I can stick with PHP.

    @Brian Jackson, Discourse is most stable and mature forum software when compared to other similar forum software like flarum and nodebb
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  9. So is discourse free, or do you have to pay for it?
  10. It is free if you are using your own server
    Heather likes this.
  11. @Sanjay Ojha , did you try SMF (simple machines)? I've used it. Had a private forum for a few weeks, still have it though no one is active. I loved it. I say, try it out.

    I don't know how it'd compare to Xenforo, other than being free, but it has a lot of customization options, and plugins, and skins and anything you can think of.
  12. I have seen it and it is one of the popular forum software among free ones. Though I like mybb (free category) becasue I have developed my wildfact forum using it and its upcoming version is going to be super cool (like, mention, social login, seo freindly url and responsive these will be in core and free).
    There is another forum software which is developed using the SMF, http://elkarte.net/ but it is has many modern features likes liking post, login via openid and responsive theme by default. If you are fan of SMF try it also. One thing which i didn't find in it is seo friendly url structure.
    Raspal likes this.
  13. I have spent the last year developing GrokBB, a modern, online forum alternative. It is based on PHP / MySQL, built to scale and we are in Beta right now. It's free to try out if anyone is interested ...


    Some highlights ...

    - Create Sticky and Private Topics
    - Send Board Announcements To All Subscribed Users
    - Built-In Category System for Organizing Topics
    - Use Tags To Create Your Own Filtering System
    - Extensive Moderation Tools (including banning users)
    - Users Can Subscribe, Search, Sort and Filter Topics
    - Create Badges and Award Reputation Points
    - Customize Your Own Branding
    - Access to User / Board / Topic Analytics

    It's still in the early stages, but it's quite usable right now and works on mobile too. I am also willing to give out free lifetime subscriptions to anyone who provides valuable feedback or bug reports at this early stage, or is willing to move their existing forum community over to the platform. You can also see the roadmap I have planned out or suggest new features in the GrokBB Dev board.

    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  14. That looks very interesting Snocrash.

    It looks different to other options in the market. The columns displaying different threads on the home page is a great idea.

    Is the platform a fork of another forum script or did you create this from scratch?
  15. Thanks Kevin!

    Those columns are actually displaying the different boards users have created, not threads. It is similar to Reddit in that way, where users can create their own board and moderate users/content how they see fit. The difference being we don't aggregate news/content from all boards on the homepage, but instead display a way to find the popular/new/rising ones so you can browse/subscribe to them individual. I am trying to get away from the Reddit hive mind with this approach and focus more on supporting the uniqueness of each community.

    An example of threading can be seen if you click into the GrokBB Dev board, or you could create a community, configure some categories and post some test topics too.

    It is not a fork of any software. I created it from scratch. It started out as a hobby in my spare time, but the featureset has grown so much over the last year I decided to make it public and try to start a business with it. I have been doing this kind of development professionally for over 16 years, and so I have a lot of experience with software like this.

    The main issue I am running into is getting an initial user base and boards created. Except for a handful of users, it's pretty empty right now :) So I'm willing to give out free subscriptions or even do custom development / content imports as an incentive for people to start using the site or bringing over their user base from another platform.

    Let me know if any of you guys have any questions or if there's features you think the site is missing. I would love to hear any feedback you guys have! :)
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  16. Ahhh ok. Wow that's very interesting. It will be great to see how users use the script to build websites.

    Have you given a thought to pricing yet?
  17. Hello @Snocrash
    I saw the forum, What I learned is that you are not giving downloadable script for GrokBB ? Instead people will pay you $3/mon or $30/year and will make A board for them on https://www.grokbb.com/ The board they will make may be public, moderated or private ? Right ?
    So if I make a public board say "abcxyz" (Subject to availability ) Then members (from entire GrokBB) will able to Make threads(topics) and post in them ? and url of my board will be something like https://www.grokbb.com/g/abcxyz

    Let me know if I am wrong or I need more explanation related to grokbb ?
    Between I like this new approach and if possible I will give my feedback and suggestion.
  18. It's not a script per say, because it's not something you can download. It's a SaaS solution, similar to how a business would have a Twitter or Facebook account. All forums our hosted on our servers.

    Pricing will be $3/month or $30/year. I will be using Stripe to manage the subscription plans. It's pretty reasonable. I'm just looking for enough to cover the server costs and a salary for myself eventually. Right now there is no cost because we are still in Beta, and I imagine we will be for some time, until we gain more momentum and users.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  19. Yes, that's right Sanjay. Everything you said is correct :)
    Sanjay Ojha likes this.
  20. Hey @Snocrash, some questions about your service:

    • What sort of uptime are you guaranteeing? Even on shared hosting plans that cost <$5 month, some sort of guarantee is made. Let's say grokbb is subject to a DDOS attack, and as a result you are down for 3 hours during what is normally peak traffic for my audience - what gets done at that point?
    • Let's say I start a forum, and (for whatever reason) I decide to leave your platform. What data would I have access to after the final billing period has ended (in other words, would I be able to download an archive of the board I created and maintained for X months/years)?
    • If a forum is "abandoned" (that is, the owner stops paying $3/month for it), could a third party come in and take that board - what about the name? If Allen stops paying for /g/abcxyz, could Bob come in and get that exact url? If so, would he have access to all the board members (and prior data, cultivated by Allen)?
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