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Vanilla vs the future

edited June 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Is it a bad idea to start a community project that will potentially last several years around Vanilla? If Vanilla is discontinued at some point, it wouldn't be practical to keep using it for any longer period of time. Any kind of major change to someones "internet living room" will make some people really upset, whether its a major design change, a major change in functionality, or anything else. Changing forum software is usually not a good idea, I find that it's a fool proof way to make people run away from a forum. So... if I want to be sure to avoid that situation, should I ditch Vanilla?



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    Yes, I'd say ditch it today, buy a commercial solution, then wait for that to die because
    better open source tools make the business not viable ;-)

    But seriously... 5 years is a VERY long time in internet-years. It's even a long time for
    a community (speaking from experience in both cases). I would not worry about this
    software becoming defunct anytime soon, and even if there were no more updates,
    would you really need any? FWIW, I ran a forum on the SAME code base (YABB SE Gold)
    and never changed a line of code until spammers overwhelmed it last year. That's how
    ended up finding Vanilla... so it's alllll goood.
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    Vanilla is opensource. Even if Mark abandons it, the community will continue to improve it, as long as there is still interest in it.

    U can ask this question to every single forum software out there. I dunno why ur singling out Vanilla.
    If PunBB or phpBB is abandoned, will the situation be different than If vanilla is abandoned.

    If u worrying about design changes then keep using existing version. But seriously there WILL be design changes or change in functionality, u cannot hold that against vanilla.

    Look at the Social networks. people move from one social network to another all the time. whatever is currently in people switch to that. there is no such thing as "Internet Living Room". Facebook made some really big changes to their social network I don't see people leaving Facebook.
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    I strongly believe Vanilla and the future are not foes, they are complimentary.

    Granted, Vanilla may not scale very well for a monster-sized community, but that doesn't mean it can't. If you are afraid of upsetting your users, then Vanilla may be the best choice because the core will always be a slim skeleton without bloat--like user ranks, signatures, etc--unless you specifically install them.

    Big changes are best done in little steps--i.e. Flickr is always adding things but not upsetting anybody. Years back Ebay suddenly changed their background color, everybody lashed at them, so they turned it back and toned it down a twinge of a shade at a time--and nobody noticed. Extensions can be added or removed one at a time to keep the masses happy.
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    wallphone, interested to see you say: "Vanilla may not scale very well for a monster-sized community" I heard this aspect mentioned a few days ago re most dating and social networking scripts that are available i.e. they won't scale. And I was not totally sure that this referred to. What does 'scale' mean in this context regarding Vanilla? Forgive my web/computer ignorance.
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    Vanilla is better suited for smaller communities. It means that as the range of topics increase, it becomes harder to keep on top of whats being posted. Imagine the large forums such as Glocktalk, Bladeforums, or Digitalpoint being on Vanilla. So many categories over many broad topics with many users would turn the discussions page into a jumbled mess.

    On those types of forums, if a category becomes hard to follow because of many posts, they simply branch off a sub-forum to help divide the load. For Vanilla, each user would have to actively block every category he is not interested in, and guests would have no choice but to get the full brunt of posts.
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    u can always make the category page the default page.
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    You never know which pieces of software would survive, however with open source you have a real opportunity to ensure it does.

    If you purchase vBulletin and they went bankrupt through bad cash flow (it's possible), then you couldn't take their software and improve it to keep it running. You are at risk.

    If you use Vanilla and the key developers decide to give it up and have a life again, then you and the wider community will be able to continue improving and evolving the code. There is much less risk as legally you are allowed to fork the code and continue the work.

    In all scenarios though, the data is in a database. It is not that much work to write export/import stuff for any software, and forums have very similar structures so are even more trivial to migrate between (though testing of the routines take up loads of time).

    Don't let this king of fear prevent you from using open source, it's unfounded and smells like the kind of bullshit that Microsoft uses to prop up their suite of Office applications.
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    I was actually thinking as opposed to developing everything from scratch (which would be nice and a pain at the same time). Even if I end up using Vanilla as a base I will probably have to make a lot of tweeks to make it fit my pocket anyway.*

    One problem that is special for Vanilla is the fact that it is vanilla. Don't misunderstand me, I love the idea of removing all the pointless and ugly clutter that is covering all "regular" forums - but the problem, I think, is that what is "essential" and what is pointless can probably tend to be different for different communities/forums - or even for the same forum at different times.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    * if I ever get around starting this project - it's probably a few years away.
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    - but the problem, I think, is that what is "essential" and what is pointless can probably tend to be different for different communities/forums - or even for the same forum at different times.

    which is exactly why there are addons... and if there is an appropriate addon there will usally be someone who also thinks its a good idea and also has the skills to develop it.
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    MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    Vanilla will be around for a long time coming. I have no plans for discontinuation at all.

    As a matter of fact, I've already got a huge list of changes for Version 2 (no release date, beta date, or start date decided yet).

    After my next project is complete, I'll get back into heavy development with Vanilla and the community site.
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    that sounds good mark.
    I'm assuming you have bookmarked all the feature request posts on vanilla :)
    I guess if u give us a time when ur project will be complete. so we can leave u alone till then. so u can work in peace. :)
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    MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    Mmmmm. It's a work in progress and I'm actually having a really hard time with it. I know it will kick some butt in the end, though.
This discussion has been closed.