Forum Software Analysis

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So you see the famous Invision Power Board vs vBulletin debate, or the PHPBB vs SMF vs MyBB going at it but honesty what are the differences. Now again one thing webmasters know how to use better than the internet, is a bias way of thinking. You ask a guy what forum software to use and what would he tell you?Ask yourself?

If you came up with using the one that suites your needs you came correct but then again don’t they all?According to wikipedia every-ones favourite editable resource.An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site. It is the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system. From a technological standpoint, forums or boards are web applications managing user-generated content. A bulletin board (pinboard, pin board or notice board in British English) is a place where people can leave public messages, for example, to advertise things to buy or sell, announce events, or provide information. Bulletin boards are often made of a material such as cork to facilitate addition and removal of messages or it can be placed on the computer so people can leave and erase messages for other people to read and see.

Doesn’t every forum allow you to create,edit, and delete messages Also since your now starting up as a forum, how many features other than this do you think you will need on the spot.The basic features you would want, all of these forums have. Now you want to push your forum to a higher level i.e. more features like adding friends and stuff but really do you want a forum or a social network. Things like this are what IPB and vBulletin are trying to develop on. So I used the Forum Matrix since I’m a newbie and want to choose my forum software.

1) General Forum Type : Flat as it’s the common thing today.

2) Free and Open Source:Well if it’s free great but I have no problem paying.

3) Storage System:Well most servers are MySQL so I’ll go with that.

4) Attachments: Yes.

5) Group Support: I would like to have users in a variety of groups.

6) RSS Feeds: I don’t pay attention to them unless they are blogs or podcasts, so I chose no.

After choosing those options I got 29 Boards filling my requirements as a forum. I f I wanted RSS I would get 24 forums. Since that is the smaller figure I would use it :D. Advanced Electron Forum, Beehive Forum, BurningBoard, dnfBB, E-Blah, FUDforum, FusionBB, Invision Power Board, JForum, Jive Forums, mvnForum, mwForum, MyBB, MyProBB, NextBBS, Phorum, SMF, UBB.threads, Unclassified NewsBoard, Vanilla, vBulletin, Viscacha, WowUltra and XMB are the forums that fulfill my needs.

Now it goes to which is the best forum. People would say go vBulletin all of my forums are that and it never let me down. I never came to the conclusion of who is best whether they were paid or not.I would say there is a bigger hype around paid boards and a huge hype on vBulletin on the whole. There are thousands of rumors around vBulletin legacy some I believe make no sense.

1) You should choose vBulletin because it’s the most popular forum(true, it is probably the most popular). and that people feel accustomed to it so if the forum in now vB members might leave..I have done so already.” Well I have to say whoever leaves a forum due to a powered by sign basically, you my friend are an idiot. You go to a forum for discussions not for it to be xxxxx.You go to a forum to communicate because if you were so interested in vB then you would join every vB community.If a member leaves because what you are powered by he is ignorant and you really didn’t lose any significant member.

2) vBulletin is the best out of the box.Nope to really I think and people may throw 1 or 2 things to prove me wrong, but in a nutshell all vB ad IPB tend to do the same things differently where MyBB, PHPBB, and SMF are trailing by nothing major.

3) The AdminCP or UserCP on vBulletin is better than elsewhere.Well to be honest IPB UserCP has more options than vB’s own if basically the same lay-out and isn’t harder to understand.

4) People find unreliable reasons to differentiate forum software. I tried making a goal to actually find a true difference. These are things I personally believe are facts and some form of bias does somewhat exist but not in a sense to make you feel that one software is better. IPB is professional and vB is more friendly.

This goes from their website to your forum. IPB website sems to have a pitch, watch there existing clients, everything.Tell somebody you want to be a web host and they tell you the look is most important And IPB did the same for there site. You install IPB and everything is in your face.Not in a bad way but nothing hide as anywhere from ACP to Forum. To me I needed a way to differentiate so I gave IPB the professional title. To me it was cleaner and I can’t really say what clean means but I can tell you IPB made me feel like that. If I was to make a site regarding services or that needs a professional feel, I would use it.Matter of fact I was going to make this a forum(using IPB) but I realized TAZ handled that well enough.

vBulletin is more expandable with a crate load of mods.Not all of them you can use or should use obviously.You still may not find a mod you really want, but there is alot. You can get a more community feel out of vBulletin than IPB(not saying it’s impossible).

Now from that last line your saying well I want a community feel so IPB is better but we want online communities so IPB is better. To me it’s like this IPB is a doctors office and vB is a home. If your moms was carrying you to a doctors you would rather go to a office than a home(in the sense as his house is how your actual house is). You can make your house seem like a doctors office and you can make you doctors office seem like a house.

MyBB, SMF and PHPBB are all great. MyBB and SMF pack a lot of mods and PHPBB is really secure.The webiste was hacked but the forum software wasn’t and still there are no vulnerabilities.I think MyBB and SMF pretty soon are going to be running in IPB’s and vB’s league if they aren’t doing it already. It’s just that there is a bugger hype on paid communities.If you go on big boards there are a lot of forum communities that use neither IPB nor vB and seeing that they are the biggest that means they are successful.

Matter of fact hype exists in every software category not eve forums. When using blogging software or content management systems even ecommerce we tend to choose the big manes off hat bat and not test out the little guy.When looking for a system to power this I found b2evolution and Movable type looked great but I came back to WordPress because of the hype and that I used it before and it was good enough.

So sorry for giving you all an essay but all I’m trying to say really is that most forum software aren’t that big of a difference.Maybe somebody can prove me wrong but so far in debates I haven’t seen any reason really to make something much better than anything else. Matter of fact people have forum software pushing into other areas and forgetting what they are a Bulletin Board.

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