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I'm torn...

Not a popular person or anything special happening here but I thought I'd get amongst the community to see if you can help shed some light on this software (this may even be my first post even though I have been a member for quite some time). I have never personally used Vanilla but have used 9/10 of all forum software on the market, both free and paid.

I have a new project I will be developing however want to limit costs as much as possible. Hosting is settled and all I'm after is the forum software. I have a few options in mind including;

  • Flarum
  • FluxBB
  • Vanilla

But I just can't make a decision. I'm a huge fan of the brand new Flarum as it is software developed downunder, and the fact that it is still in its beta stages doesn't bother me at all. My project isn't one of a high level nor is it a business so that isn't an issue for me at all. I would appreciate all the feedback I can get about Vanilla as there are a few aspects that grab my attention. My research has given me a bit of insight already but hearing from those that use it just like you will give me some understanding as to what direction I should go in.

Thanks a lot everyone and I can't wait to read your posts.

Comments

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    whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    Not sure what you are looking for.

    I'd guess pretty much anyone on here has chosen Vanilla as their forum software, but the reasons might be very different.

    I use it as it meets all my needs. I'm not going to puff it up to you, as I don't know what your needs are.

    I can only suggest you draw up a list of your needs, and then compare how Vanilla fares with other forum software you are considering.

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    subdreamersubdreamer San Jose, CA
    edited March 2016

    I run many premium forums (IPB, vB, XenForo and Burning Board). I am also trying on Vanilla. Well, I've been "messing" with it for a few years here and there. I like Vanilla because it is, for the most part, barebones. It follows the "WordPress" philosophy in that if you need a feature you simple download a plugin that meets your criteria to enable a new feature.

    Now, back to your post; I think you need to try all three forum systems and decide for yourself since what I personally like is not what you might like. Also, the answers to such questions or comments on this forum would be kind of biased since most people will say Vanilla is the best since it's probably the only BBS they run. In the end, you need to decide what the best choice for your project is and go with it.

    Oh, and welcome to Vanilla! Have a great day! :)

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    rbrahmsonrbrahmson "You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one" NY ✭✭✭

    I took a quick look at the Flarum Web site and couldn't see anything that Vanilla is missing. In fact I had the feeling that Flarum is a look alike with the caveat that it is still missing many features on account that it is still in its early stages of development. Most importantly from my point of view is that it doesn't yet have plugins and I wouldn't want to have to wait until the underlying forum technology has a mature plugin "store".

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    R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    @Gary said:
    I have a new project I will be developing however want to limit costs as much as possible.

    In that case your research must be as efficient as can be. Make a plan of what features are absolutely needed and compare this list with a list of the available features.

    If you're unclear about a special feature, come back to ask for the availability or the effort it would take to implement it.


    @rbrahmson: Flarum is the baby of the FluxBB and esoTalk core developers. esoTalk had some nice interface ideas and FluxBB is a very fast and robust forum script, so I personally follow the development of Flarum with great interest.
    But as a hobby developer it is of great importance to me how easy it will be to write plugins. I took a look at the code, tried to install flarum on my server and lost my nervs. But that could have been my fault and I will definetly try again some day.

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    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    Flarum looks cool. I didn't like them attempting to kickstart it.

    I did not like fluxbb.

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    noncenonce Necro-on Forensics

    I'm a bit confused...

    you said: I have a new project I will be developing however want to limit costs as much as possible. I'm a huge fan of the brand new Flarum as it is software developed downunder, and the fact that it is still in its beta stages doesn't bother me at all.

    and you said: My project isn't one of a high level nor is it a business so that isn't an issue for me at all

    I would not consider nationalism and location of software developmenr as a factor in picking software unless it where important to the national economy or an important factor to use locally grown software.

    Regarding not fearing beta software or not having concern. Is this because you have faith in developers in timely bug fixes or because of your software skills in fixing things, or a different factor.

    As the others have stated Flarum looks quite promising. The documentation looks top-notch. There are clear instructions for installing with apache, nginx, and lightttpd. The troubleshooting guide looks good. It has a good set of APIs including deletion of discussions and posts, and updating config via api. The Flarum community looks quite good and is active and best of all the chief developer seem to engage in problem resolution quite quickly and actively and provides solutions quickly.

    Flarum says: Don’t use it in production. We can’t support you if things go awry. And upgrading to subsequent versions might involve getting your hands dirty.

    so I assume you don't mind getting your hands dirty. if Flarum works for you, use it would be my suggestion.

    It had a nice article in the documentation - http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html

    Can I ask a counter question, you said: I have never personally used Vanilla but have used 9/10 of all forum software on the market, both free and paid.

    You indicate you have used lots of forum software (for a long time I presume), which one do you like the best and why?

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    @whu606 I assumed as much. But I thought it would be best to engage with those that use the software as they are more likely to provide the good and the bad. I want people with experience on the forum software to comment which has been exactly what's happened.

    Good tip. I've had it in my head to get a list of things I want but for some reason aesthetics is a major factor. If a forum doesn't look right for me then I will avoid it. MyBB has some good reviews but I don't find it as nice as phpBB or IP.Board, yet there are things about both of them that don't tickle my fancy. I will take on your tip though. Thanks for your post.

    @subdreamer What I want to do will not require a lot of plugins or extensions so that feature is insignificant in this instance. Thank you for the warm welcome and I appreciate your participation.

    @rbrahmson Flarum does not have an official plugin "store", but there have been quite a few extensions already made by its users. I have been a part of their forum since Toby first started with esoTalk so I kinda have tabs on where it's going. It definitely is in beta though.

    I need to weigh up what exactly I will be doing with the forum software to be able to make an informed decision on what would suit my needs best. Thank you for your input mate.

    @R_J It does indeed.

    Another great tip for my list.

    Flarum can only be installed via Composer at the moment, but the usual download, upload and install method will be available once it is out of beta. Both Toby and Franz (the developers) don't want the software to be used in production to prevent any backfire that would arise without notifying everyone of the consequences should something go wrong.

    I actually hold a position on the FluxBB team (and have various sites using FluxBB forum software).

    @hgtonight I don't know the reasoning behind it but I can only gather it was because Toby wasn't able to fund the project himself. He is a med student and esoTalk/Flarum is all done in his spare time.

    @nonce It isn't often that something I have huge interest in comes out of Australia, hence the comment of it being homemade I guess you could say. Not fearing the fact that Flarum is in beta is purely because I have faith in the developers and if I were to lose something, it wouldn't be a great loss and it can be fixed with backups. The community is quite knowledgeable so I'm sure a solution would be found. If all else fails, what can you do?

    I agree with everything you have mentioned in your description of Flarum. I am a member and as mentioned earlier in this post, I have been involved with it since it's very early days. I guess the reasoning behind me looking elsewhere is to see what else is out there; is there better?

    I don't mind getting my hands dirty at all and have acquaintances that are always happy to help me out should I ever be led astray.

    It is hard to say which I like best, but I guess from this moment in time I can pick a favourite. As it stands, Flarum seems to tick all the boxes for me despite it being in its early stages. And pretty much for all the points you have mentioned too! What I do like is the administrator interface, the overall aesthetics of the forum, the way it works, its simplicity and most of all the community. I have been given a lot of assistance by all members of the team and they possess the 'can-do' and 'never say no' attitude which is refreshing. They will work for a solution rather than give false hope. If it can't be done then they're open and honest about their answers.

    Thank you for your post, nonce. It's good to see that this topic didn't cop any flak.

    I don't mean to promote or compare any forum software. This is purely for me to decide whether Vanilla would be an alternative to a few forums I have used.

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    @hgtonight said:
    Flarum looks cool. I didn't like them attempting to kickstart it.

    Why?

    grep is your friend.

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    whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    I don't mean to promote or compare any forum software.

    And yet you come on and explicitly state why you rate Flarum...

    Sorry for being cynical, but it feels far more like a 'puff' for another forum software than a genuine investigation.

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    R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    @whu606: I disagree. If you are involved into something, you tend to speak more about that than about other things. And I must say I find most of what have been said insightful.

    @Gary; if you a) just need a simple forum and b) you are already working with FluxBB and c) you do not want to invest time, the reasonable decision would be to stay with FluxBB, wouldn't it?

    No forum software could be quicker set up than the one you already know. If you want to learn something about other forum software, you have to invest time.

    It sounds like you already worked with the source code of some other forum solutions. In that case I would really recommend to spent some time with Vanilla. The code is very well documented and when you look at some plugins, you will be able to see how easy and clean it is to extend Vanilla.
    You might not need that for your project, but as I've said above: the fact that you are investing time although you have a quick solution at hand shows that you were not really focused on that project, when you opened this discussion ;)

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    unixherounixhero
    edited March 2016

    Vanilla is a very good forum engine, your users would enjoy it.

    Other than that I'd look into:

    • Discourse
    • NodeBB
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    whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    R_J

    We'll have to agree to disagree.

    The claim of the OP was that they wanted to know why people used Vanilla, but the reality is they have come on and 'puffed' another forum software.

    If people want to discuss alternatives to Vanilla, fair enough, but be honest about it, not underhand.

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    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    @x00 said:

    @hgtonight said:
    Flarum looks cool. I didn't like them attempting to kickstart it.

    Why?

    A few reasons:

    • Universal logins
    • They planned on creating a business out of this and then open the source
    • Being able to view content in a single place from multiple sites
    • I don't particularly care for laravel
    • We built this other thing, but we want to restart

    The actual software they have right now is looking cool.

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    Sorry maybe I'm missing something but what is the problem with creating a business?

    You are saying that they were going to be close source for a while then open source.

    Or were they going to set up a non-distributed SaaS, get it working then open source, becuase that sound logical after all they can't keep goign back to kick starter, they need a source of funding.

    I can understand that kick starter is unconventional source of initial funding for something of this nature. However they may need it if they are starting a business.

    Even Vanilla would have had to seek investment.

    Perhaps it is not a good deal given the time frame. Any investment is a risk though.

    OS doesn't just ride on the back of those who sleep in their university labs, or front foundations. It has to have a serious funding model.

    grep is your friend.

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    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    @x00 said:
    Sorry maybe I'm missing something but what is the problem with creating a business?

    You are saying that they were going to be close source for a while then open source.

    Or were they going to set up a non-distributed SaaS, get it working then open source, becuase that sound logical after all they can't keep goign back to kick starter, they need a source of funding.

    I can understand that kick starter is unconventional source of initial funding for something of this nature. However they may need it if they are starting a business.

    Even Vanilla would have had to seek investment.

    Perhaps it is not a good deal given the time frame. Any investment is a risk though.

    OS doesn't just ride on the back of those who sleep in their university labs, or front foundations. It has to have a serious funding model.

    I have no issue with businesses being built on OS software. I have a big issue with Kickstarting most businesses. The problem with Kickstarter is there are no repercussions for failing to deliver. They would be getting the benefits of investing without the downsides.

    They were selling, to the "investors" (via kickstarter), names that were being reserved for use on every cloud flarum install. Then, they were planning on pulling content from all cloud flarum forums into a central location. This is essentially freebooting and is a huge issue for content creators. On top of this, the software wouldn't be made open source until they released it (which isn't even required for them to do).

    They have since pulled the plug on this plan. They stuff they are doing now is cool as far as I have looked into it.

    Again, I have no issue with businesses making money on OS software. I know I personally do.

    I disagree that OS software needs to have a serious funding model. I know that OS projects that do have funding generally succeed over those that don't.

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    noncenonce Necro-on Forensics

    Gary,

    Thanks for your reasoned response and insights into forum software. When Flarum is out of beta, please let me know. Since I like to keep an open mind on what I think is the best. Often times the best may not be what I know best. The best may be the best after I learn the tricks of using the best.

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    x00x00 MVP
    edited March 2016

    @hgtonight said:
    I have no issue with businesses being built on OS software. I have a big issue with Kickstarting most businesses. The problem with Kickstarter is there are no repercussions for failing to deliver. They would be getting the benefits of investing without the downsides.

    Many investments carry this risk. Few investment are risk free.

    However I see your point.

    Kind of like Anita Sarkeesian raising a $1million in total, only delivering 2/5 of the videos she promised and is 3 years late. Also why does it cost so much to produce 5 videos ($150, 000 allocated)?

    Now wants another $200,000 to produce 5 videos.

    Also declaring 40K just asking for more money.

    grep is your friend.

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    noncenonce Necro-on Forensics

    you said: The problem with Kickstarter is there are no repercussions for failing to deliver. They would be getting the benefits of investing without the downsides.

    but there are downsides if you fail to deliver, it just might not be as punitive as you might wish.

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