Looking for a Good Forum Script

edited January 2011 in Internet & Media
I'm am on the search for a good PHP forum script online. By good, I mean it should have common basic communication features such as private messaging, quoting, and maybe subforums. Any recommendations?

I'm also looking for a forum that can integrate into a blogging platform or has clean globals of which I can develop my own for integrated user bases. I know there are many strategies for making something like this happen such as what Icrontic is doing now with, I presume, separate user bases and synchronous article commenting.

Comments

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited January 2011
    Vanilla.
  • edited January 2011
    Your reasoning behind that choice, Thrax? I have successfully exported a MyBB forum to it. I'm having trouble with the Wordpress ProxyConnect plugin though because all of the users are located on Vanilla now and not WordPress so the login integration won't even work.
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit
    edited January 2011
    Shadowdare, as a co-owner of this site and one of the core developers of Vanilla, I'm currently working on migrating my sites (including this one) to Vanilla. I'm doing this because it's far easier for new users to understand and a developer's (i.e. me) dream under the hood. I know the founders & employees of Vanilla well and am 100% onboard with their vision of where that software is going: easier UI, updated conventions, clear copy, and great extensibility. Conversely, I think vBulletin's trajectory is doomed. I'm bullish on phpBB's future (having met their new lead dev, I think the project is in great hands now), but it's been stagnant for a while and still adheres to old-school forum conventions that I disagree with.

    The drawbacks of Vanilla for you, at the moment, is that it's still relatively new and so it may be difficult for you to find precisely the plugin you're looking for. The ProxyConnect plugin you refer to is for bridging WP users to Vanilla, not vice versa. I'm scheming up a plugin that will borg Wordpress to run off Vanilla users & discussions (in place of WP comments), but it's a ways off yet.
  • edited January 2011
    It's good to know that you're very into Vanilla. I just noticed that you've written about converting over to Vanilla in a blog post a couple years ago on this site. I don't know if Vanilla's main purpose is to reinvent the wheel and provide a more socialized script or not but from what it looks like new users of forums will find Vanilla easy to use in my opinion. For those people who have used the "usual" types of forums before, things can be categorized more in depth and people will find many useful features that Vanilla doesn't have out of the box. That's one thing that "usual" forum users will find different. What can Vanillla do to convince streamline board users to switch to Vanilla and what is its target audience (small websites, everything)?

    I just asked for several opinions and indeed, people find the "usual" forum more organized/categorized and clean looking. People find Vanilla easier to use in general for creating topics. The "latest posts" list makes it look like the forum is meant for a small community and cannot handle large amounts of users and posts. I don't know if Vanilla can handle that and it does seem to load a little slower than my MyBB installation.

    I don't know if you've heard of it but there's a plugin that I believe is meant to allow WP to use an external database authentication that might prove useful. I would love to see your plugin soon as the Vanilla registration system is obviously better than WordPress's and it allows the use of the Twitter/Google/Facebook connect plugins. Speaking of socialization features, I think Vanilla should add a "Welcome Conversation (PM)" for new members for links to rules, etc.

    I would love to see how Vanilla works out on the live environment of Icrontic.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited January 2011
    If you want to see a live install of Vanilla that Lincoln has built:

    http://newbuddhist.com
  • edited January 2011
    Looks very nice and clean. :) What I realized sadly, was that when converting MyBB -> vBulletin, that passwords won't work without resetting them. I thought it was the Vanilla importer's fault but it was indeed vB's ImpEx.
  • MalpercioMalpercio Greater St. Louis Area
    edited January 2011
    I've personally been running Simple Machines for a very long time now, been using it for my communities, and while I don't know where to start as far as specifics on the software, I've always enjoyed using it, and I've found it to be pretty simple to grasp.
  • EnverexEnverex Worcester, UK
    edited January 2011
    I've just setup SMF as well, same as Malpercio and I had no trouble integrating it, although I've done it in a "header and footer" style way (see http://retrotracks.net/forum/)

    It looks like Vanilla is much more tailored to a full style integration though, basically making it part of the site and not a sub-section of it. I'll reserve judgement until I've had a chance to use it for myself though.
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit
    edited January 2011
    Shadowdare, 2.0.17 just introduced better hierarchical categories and some Wordpress integration plugins this past week.

    I think you'll find "forum users" prefer old-school forums because they have specific expectations, while the general public will have an easier time with Vanilla because the learning curve is much lower.

    Also, yes, we've taken great pains to make it so passwords do not need to be reset after migrations.

    The other thing Vanilla has? Momentum.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited January 2011
    I was searching through the features and couldn't happen to see an answer, but does Vanilla support PM's?
  • edited January 2011
    @Enverex: Nice forums, and awesome footer image! :D

    @kryyst: Yes, Vanilla does support PMs as I have found out. It's called the "conversations" feature. Same thing basically. I might be able to setup a forum soon using the WordPress SSO plugin with Vanilla if you guys would like to try it out.

    SMF is pretty good but I dislike how their development team was falling apart last year and how their development is extremely slow.

    Lincoln, that's amazing ! I'm going to give that new hierarchical category update a try soon. Also, I just found out that Vanilla's SSO plugin doesn't synchronized usernames, passwords, and emails correctly for WordPress which makes me disappointed.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited January 2011
    Good to know. Now it's time to start looking at the data migration from webwiz forum to phpbb to vanilla and then in coping with the impending aneurism.
  • edited January 2011
    Sounds like a plan. :) Be careful though, depending on the type of encryption used on passwords on Webwiz, your users might have to reset their password. If phpBB's Webwiz converter has a custom auth_webwiz.php file, then your users would have to login manually to get their passwords to be converted to phpBB's encryption standards. If it doesn't have an auth file and passwords don't work, that means they have to reset via the reset form. If passwords work, then you're in the clear to convert to Vanilla. That's a problem I had, and that's why I'm considering starting my forum from scratch, though it could be a good or bad idea.

    Either way, what made you choose Vanilla over other big board solutions? Are you going to use the WP integration?

    Lincoln, I'm curious to if your WordPress/vB glue plugin keeps emails, usernames, and such synchronized automatically since obviously, you're using a glue plugin for Icrontic, which has a huge community. ;)
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited January 2011
    I'm not to concerned if users have to reset passwords from time to time, that's really the least of evils I'll be looking into if I try and do a conversion.

    I haven't completely made up my mind yet to switch. But the reasons going ahead are that I like the look of the forum software, it seems more natural. WP integration is certainly a big benefit as is the simple forum drop in script to plug it in anywhere. The fact that it's free, that it seems to actually be a progressive concept as opposed to most other forum software that's all feeling rather stagnant and generic. The the other media plugin tools for FB and Twitter could be handy.

    I may also skip trying to do a conversion and just restart the forum from scratch. I do that every several years as a purge process. Good for me, good for cleaning up deadbeat users and just good to sometimes restart discussions that have grown stale and bring in the new blood without bogging them down in 5 years of old messages.
  • edited January 2011
    Interesting. Best of luck, kryyst. :) Would love to see your new Vanilla forum when you've finished setting it up. I agree with your reasoning. Vanilla's main index "latest posts" output will really push it to users that new activity is happening on our websites.

    I installed Vanilla on a live environment yesterday and it has been up for two days so far from scratch. I think having no conversion from MyBB will hurt my users feeling a little bit, but really only a few people were active. Everyone I've asked said that they didn't like it, including the design, but when they tried it out first hand they completely changed their minds and loved it. My host doesn't have the PHP PDO extension enabled, so I had to jury rig Vanilla to use the "phppdo" library, which works just as fine except Vanilla will load way slower than normal, so I hope to switch to a another host soon.

    I had a lot of trouble with the WP Vanilla Embed plugin because it uses an iframe which sometimes causes links to fail and lead to confusion for the visitor of the website, so I created my own Vanilla design and copied my web design's essentials into the template. Things seem to be working better now. I also hardcoded my own "Sign In/Out, Your Profile, and Create an Account" links into my WP navigation bar (using WP session functions) and forum (using Vanilla session functions).

    I've also ran into a couple other problems and the first one involves the ProxyConnect/SSO plugin. If I press the Sign In button on the forum, it logs me into WordPress but not Vanilla. I would have to press the same Sign In button twice to log into the forum. That's weird... and I even have the cookies set the same to ".mydomain.com".

    This is a HUGE problem. People who are already registered on WordPress on my website have display names different from their username but when they link it up with Vanilla, ProxyConnect uses the display name, not the username. I'm not exactly sure if the world will explode if the user changes his WP display name but let's hope not. I don't think it will be a major deal because people are logging into WP's database, not Vanilla's... I'm not sure.

    I am also annoyed to how after setting first level categories to show up as category headings that people can post in them if they select the forum from the dropdown on the create a discussion page. And you might ask, why use category headings? I use it because my website has two main topics and it makes staff area forums look separated.
Sign In or Register to comment.