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greg_mitch



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 5321



PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Forum software Reply with quote


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I am contemplating setting up a simple forum for my company so our several branch offices can discuss several different issues that appear on the job, and all of these discussion can be archived instead of happening through emails.

I see the AVS and AV123 us vbulletin. I was leaning toward phpBB since it is free.

Any advice?
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kal
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 15674
Location: Ottawa, Canada

TV/Projector: JVC DLA-RS56


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both vbulletin and phpBB are well supported.

Vbulletin's only $160 or so, and $30 for upgrades. Not much - especially if a company's paying.
When we built the forum here it was only as an experiment so we didn't want to spend any money at all. If I knew today it would be as popular as it is, I probably would have sprung for one of the non-free forum software packages.

phpBB has 2 major versions: 2 and 3. I'm not a big fan of version 3. They've done a lot of things that go against what all other forums do. A lot of it makes sense, but it just seems a bit backwards when you're used to other forums.

If all you want is something really simple, download phpBB 2 and install it. It takes about 30 mins to install. Another hour or so to set up as you like. Pretty simple. About the only necessary mod is the "attachments mod" (phpBB doesn't come with anything in the base install for doing attachments). You can get the free mod here: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=74505

If this company forum's to be available on the public internet, you'll want to use the phpBB feature where the administrator has to accept people registering so that anyone can't just sign up. You'll want to make the entire forum private as well so that guests can't read stuff or even see that certain forums exist. You could also disable registration completely and just have the admin set up the users.

The one good thing about phpBB is the mod support: If there's something you want to do, odds are there's a mod for it.

Let us know what you end up using!

Kal

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ecrabb
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Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 15909
Location: Utah

TV/Projector: JVC RS40, Epson 5010


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg, have you ever looked at the 37signals stuff? Specifically Basecamp? It's an awesome project management and collaboration tool. It's not free like a forum would be (assuming you already have a server), but it's pretty reasonable - even for a small business. It goes way beyond simple threaded discussion with file attachments. It's a real collaboration and project management tool - online.

I used it with some partners when were researching a new business venture, and it was awesome to be able to collaborate remotely. We had ongoing discussions about various issues, Excel and Word docs, PDFs, Project files, links, To-Do lists, relevant ideas, etc. Everything relevant to the business was in there. It was all in one place and easy to find instead of being spread out over months' worth email mixed in with other work. It's the sh*t!

Basecamp:
http://www.basecamphq.com/

Messaging in Basecamp:
http://www.basecamphq.com/demos/messages/

Also, check out Campfire:
http://www.campfirenow.com/

Or, you can just start here and check out all their collaboration tools:
http://www.37signals.com/

SC
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kal
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
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TV/Projector: JVC DLA-RS56


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point. If you're needing real collaboration software, don't look at forum software.

Kal

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Zebu Fellenz



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2567



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll add that PHPBB is pretty simple to install and setup, I'm working on a very simple forum for our family farm and even with no previous web design, networking knowledge me and my Dad were able to get it up in running in a few hours (although I'll admit I had a little help from some forum members here) Very Happy

http://www.fellenzfamilyfarm.com/forum/phpBB3/
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kal
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

TV/Projector: JVC DLA-RS56


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zebu Fellenz wrote:
I'll add that PHPBB is pretty simple to install and setup, I'm working on a very simple forum for our family farm and even with no previous web design, networking knowledge me and my Dad were able to get it up in running in a few hours (although I'll admit I had a little help from some forum members here) Very Happy

http://www.fellenzfamilyfarm.com/forum/phpBB3/

Nice! This is phpBB3? Interesting. It doesn't look at all like the phpBB forum itself which is run on the newest phpBB v3 (which I don't like). I figured phpbb v3 was pretty much forced to look like this thread for example: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=760385

(Maybe it's just me, but I hate how the poster info's on the right and how it's hard to tell when one post ends and the starts).

Kal

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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25396
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zebu Fellenz wrote:
I'll add that PHPBB is pretty simple to install and setup, I'm working on a very simple forum for our family farm and even with no previous web design, networking knowledge me and my Dad were able to get it up in running in a few hours (although I'll admit I had a little help from some forum members here) Very Happy

http://www.fellenzfamilyfarm.com/forum/phpBB3/


I get a 404 error.

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MikeEby



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 5236
Location: Osceola, Indiana


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Works for me!

Mike

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AnalogRocks
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Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25396
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh it works for me now too. must be that 206.4 error Wink

Wow it's fast too!

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Zebu Fellenz



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2567



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the wrong address the first time I posted, but it does go down every now and then when I hit the wrong button Wink
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greg_mitch



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 5321



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Both vbulletin and phpBB are well supported.

Vbulletin's only $160 or so, and $30 for upgrades. Not much - especially if a company's paying.
When we built the forum here it was only as an experiment so we didn't want to spend any money at all. If I knew today it would be as popular as it is, I probably would have sprung for one of the non-free forum software packages.

phpBB has 2 major versions: 2 and 3. I'm not a big fan of version 3. They've done a lot of things that go against what all other forums do. A lot of it makes sense, but it just seems a bit backwards when you're used to other forums.

If all you want is something really simple, download phpBB 2 and install it. It takes about 30 mins to install. Another hour or so to set up as you like. Pretty simple. About the only necessary mod is the "attachments mod" (phpBB doesn't come with anything in the base install for doing attachments). You can get the free mod here: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=74505

If this company forum's to be available on the public internet, you'll want to use the phpBB feature where the administrator has to accept people registering so that anyone can't just sign up. You'll want to make the entire forum private as well so that guests can't read stuff or even see that certain forums exist. You could also disable registration completely and just have the admin set up the users.

The one good thing about phpBB is the mod support: If there's something you want to do, odds are there's a mod for it.

Let us know what you end up using!

Kal


I might offer to them downloading the current version of the phpBB software.

I don't need a huge feature list:
subscribe to forums with email notification
subscribe to threads with email notification
standard mod controls
standard user controls
searchable forums and threads
user configurable interface/appearance

More than likely the forum would be on the intranet internally and not available outside of our network.

Quote:
Greg, have you ever looked at the 37signals stuff? Specifically Basecamp? It's an awesome project management and collaboration tool. It's not free like a forum would be (assuming you already have a server), but it's pretty reasonable - even for a small business. It goes way beyond simple threaded discussion with file attachments. It's a real collaboration and project management tool - online.

I used it with some partners when were researching a new business venture, and it was awesome to be able to collaborate remotely. We had ongoing discussions about various issues, Excel and Word docs, PDFs, Project files, links, To-Do lists, relevant ideas, etc. Everything relevant to the business was in there. It was all in one place and easy to find instead of being spread out over months' worth email mixed in with other work. It's the sh*t!

Basecamp:
http://www.basecamphq.com/

Messaging in Basecamp:
http://www.basecamphq.com/demos/messages/

Also, check out Campfire:
http://www.campfirenow.com/

Or, you can just start here and check out all their collaboration tools:
http://www.37signals.com/

SC


Those all look very robust. Fortunately we don't need anything like this for this purpose. We have already experimented working toward Microsoft Project for its scheduling and sharing tools. Doesn't really work with the wide computer experience base and fast schedules we have.

We are a consulting company and have several branch offices. We often email everyone in the company to ask for advice on a certain situation. The problem is that once a few people reply back with an answer, it is never relayed back to the entire company. Then if the situation comes up again, it must be asked again. I want to archive and track these questions with a simple forum.

Thanks for all the responses. I will suggest implementing phpBB and let you know where it goes. Hopefully I will be just the idea guy and not the guy that is tasked with implementing it! 8)
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Zebu Fellenz



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2567



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal,

I'm running the forum with a skinned interface, I tried to find something that was similar to the pbpBB2 forums that I read on and I think I got it reasonably close.

I'll agree however that the standard interface is unusual and a bit of a pain to get used to when you have used the older style for so long on other forums.

I'm kind of using this forum as a model to build ours on as I think you've done a phenomenal job making the forum easy to use and just work "right"

Erik
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mrbud



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Mo.


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject: My 2 cents worth Reply with quote

Throwing out my 2 cents worth of info on this topic..

1. PHPBB either 2 or 3 - good stuff but is at risk to lots of hacks...
2. Integramod ( another free forum pack ) - Good stuff, fairly easy to setup, very managable and customizable .. check here www.rgnhq.com for example.
3. E107 ( another free forum pack ) - Good stuff, way customizable, very secure if setup correctly. check here www.nhbproclub.com for example... although to see much of this site you will need to register first...


I have used all of the above.. I finally decided to stick with E107.. very stable, good support, very customizable, so far very secure. Of the 3 options above I like it the best....

Hope this helps...

MrBud...

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Last edited by mrbud on Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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greg_mitch



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 5321



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: My 2 cents worth Reply with quote

mrbud wrote:
...snip...
1. PHPBB either 2 or 3 - good stuff but is at risk to lots of hacks...
......snip....


But if we located it behind our firewall on our local intranet this shouldn't be an issue right? I don't pretend to know this stuff...
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mrbud



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Mo.


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are only going to access it from internal locations.. then no it shouldn't be an issue.. If however you want to access it from anywhere on the net, then yes it can still be hacked...
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greg_mitch



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 5321



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use a VPN to access our intranet from anywhere. I am guessing the forum could also be accessed via this VPN?
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mrbud



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Mo.


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes.. it can.. If you use a VPN you should be safe.. you can't get into the VPN without having the correct info to do such so.. I would think you would be just fine....
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kal
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 15674
Location: Ottawa, Canada

TV/Projector: JVC DLA-RS56


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrbud wrote:
1. PHPBB either 2 or 3 - good stuff but is at risk to lots of hacks...

Why do you say this?

phpBB is no more or less secure than any of the other forum software out there. It's more vulnerable to attacks since it's the most popular forum software out there. Sort of like how Windows XP machines are more vulnerable to trojans and viruses than other OS's but it's not because it's less secure, it's just because there are more trojans/virus's written for it because it's more popular. Keep it up to date and you'll be fine.

mrbud wrote:
2. Integramod ( another free forum pack ) - Good stuff, fairly easy to setup, very managable and customizable .. check here www.radicalgamingnetwork.com for example.

Link doesn't work. But the company's forum is here: http://www.integramod.com/forum/

Kal

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greg_mitch



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 5321



PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

does phpBB do an autosearch to make sure a duplicate question isn't being asked again? I could see this being a problem for a company full of forum newbs.
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kal
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Posts: 15674
Location: Ottawa, Canada

TV/Projector: JVC DLA-RS56


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greg_mitch wrote:
does phpBB do an autosearch to make sure a duplicate question isn't being asked again? I could see this being a problem for a company full of forum newbs.

No software does that. How could that possibly work? There are a million ways to ask the same question.
The only way that could work would be with very complex fuzzy logic and AI, something you're never going to find in something like forum software.

The only way to do that simply would be to search compare entire posts word for word (ignoring punctuation and case) but there are a million ways to ask the same question.

Example:

What's your favourite food?
What is your favourite food?
What food do you like the most?
What do you like to eat the most?
Tell me what food you like to eat more than anything else?
What is the one food you like more than anything?

Etc.

Kal

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