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  • Forum comparison questions

    Hello everyone

    I am going to be doing an independent forum comparison of many of the most popular forums that will go along with an upcoming site I will be creating. The problem is figuring out where I should start.

    I've been looking through a few of the most popular forums trying to decide on how I should split things up. Right now, I am thinking of dividing things up into different categories and then picking features in each of those categories that would make one board better then the other (or in some case, outperform the other). For example, I would have a category called "Admin Control Panel" and then options under that such as user management, forum management, and so on. And then for each category I would pick a winner with a brief summery of why this one was picked. There would also be an overall winner of course.

    What I need from you guys is your opinion on what features are most important to the users and to the admins. What do you look for when visiting a forum or setting one up? I am open to any other comments/opinions as well. I understand that replies here will be a bit biased but I plan on posting this on other forums later on as well. This is just a start.

    -Andrew

  • #2
    Hmm...

    That's a good idea... No idea what could be suggested I just now enjoy my vB.

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    • #3
      Look for speed too A board that gives you everything plus the kitchen sink is going to be useless if it takes your server down in the process.

      PS Lucas, didn't you used to hang around IBF?? You had a Counterstrike avatar, right?

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      • #4
        Speed will be included but I don't really want to focus on it. It varies so much from server to server. Plus, I can't usually tell the difference between lets say vB, Invision Board, and phpBB unless they are having server problems or they just don't know how to run a forum.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Darkshines
          Look for speed too A board that gives you everything plus the kitchen sink is going to be useless if it takes your server down in the process.

          PS Lucas, didn't you used to hang around IBF?? You had a Counterstrike avatar, right?
          Hey darkshines, I've noticed you went all through to OpenBB and I came all the way here to BB and bought my licence, yes I am the one with the counter-strike avatar now I'm a vB guy.

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          • #6
            I have attempted this kind of study last year ... suffice to say it's hard to properly gauge the performance of each forum software without reliable stats to back it up ... since most of the tests will involve unpopulated, vanilla forums, there is no reliable way to gauge how well the server reacts to server load, or how to properly measure search speed or loading speed.

            I was about to finish this review last year but I could not come up with a reliable conclusion that will prove unbiased (since I myself was using vBulletin). My memberships in two of the commercial software I tested (UBBClassic and UBBThreads) have since lapsed, so I only have their latest versions from 4-5 months ago ... and since there are revisions and updates coming out for "all" of the forum scripts every few weeks, it's pretty hard to keep up sometimes

            Good luck in your study, though, and I hope you finish it ... I'll probably continue the one I started someday, maybe next year, but not having the latest version of the UBB software will make the results a tad outdated

            Fell free to peruse the interview sessions I had with the creators of the forum software in my somewhat "stunted" review:

            http://www.opentechsupport.net/forum...?s=&forumid=72
            OPEN TECH SUPPORT
            "Tech is our middle name!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Woody
              Speed will be included but I don't really want to focus on it. It varies so much from server to server. Plus, I can't usually tell the difference between lets say vB, Invision Board, and phpBB unless they are having server problems or they just don't know how to run a forum.
              You'd probably want to use some type of script/hack to test how fast the pages load. Put all the forums on the same server, then do multiple tests (pick 10 similiar pages of each forum to load). This still wouldn't really be bullet proof, but much better than judging by the eye. As far as classifying the boards, you might want to have three sub-groups to seperate the big boys from the small ones. For instance, phpbb, invision, vbulletin and uBB compared to each other.... then have 4 other "middle-class" boards compared to each other (like yabb, discuss, burningboard and ikonboard... no offense to any of them). The reason I suggest this is mainly because people are interested in seeing vbulletin VS invision and stuff like that, not vbullletin VS ikonboard (cause we all know who would win )

              Sounds like a good idea though, best of luck to you!
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              • #8
                Also, doing a comparison based on feature-set alone would be a tad redundant, and will not really merit an in-depth study (you can easily just list the features, put em up in columns and do comparisons, like how a webhosting company puts up a list of their services). As I have maintained several times, feature sets alone does not make a forum script better or worse

                Reliability, security, speed, server load, ease of use and customizability top the list of things I wanna see on comparison charts

                But of course, that's just me...
                OPEN TECH SUPPORT
                "Tech is our middle name!"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tolitz
                  Also, doing a comparison based on feature-set alone would be a tad redundant, and will not really merit an in-depth study (you can easily just list the features, put em up in columns and do comparisons, like how a webhosting company puts up a list of their services). As I have maintained several times, feature sets alone does not make a forum script better or worse

                  Reliability, security, speed, server load, ease of use and customizability top the list of things I wanna see on comparison charts

                  But of course, that's just me...
                  Bit off topic, but I just wanted to comment on your site design @ opentechsupport. I've been trying to get a similiar design done for my site for a while and most designers seem to think i'm nuts or something or they just can't do it. It's nice to see a site again that shares the same characteristics as www.cheatcore.com (RIP) did. Looks nice
                  -
                  Visit the Web Scripts Directory @ http://www.scriptz.com
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                  PHP, CGI, Perl, ASP, JavaScript, CFML, Python and more!

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                  • #10
                    Having a feature/forum comparison is always nice, but it also has to be in relation to the job at hand. Some boards are overkill for some communities. Each board serves a general purpose when it is compared to the task at hand.

                    Of course, it is always recommended to keep such comparisons excluded from the source being compared. Otherwise, a certain amount of bias will taint the results. There are various sites to engage in unbiased discussions about forums - SitePoint.com, my site, and others.
                    FASHIONification is all about fashion, beauty, style, love, and life.

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                    • #11
                      Tolitz:

                      Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I read your interviews when they first came out and they are great. I won't focus just on features but I am still trying to think of a way to show things other then the feature set. It will definitely be more difficult but I hope to have that worked out soon.

                      I'm also wondering about many of the paid boards out here. vB isn't bad so I can easily afford a one year license to do the review but I don't think I can buy a license to every board I want to review at this point. The way I am writing the script will allow for me to easily add more forums in the future though. The way I want to do it is that they are given the option to compare up to four forums at each time but that might change as I go along too.

                      BlueBear:

                      I understand that some webmasters will want a different product then the other. I probably shouldn't have said "overall winner" earlier since that is really the wrong word for what I want to do. What I am hoping to do is make a resource for people who will be creating a new board or who are looking at converting to a different one so they can go in, look at the features they need, and then see what board fits their needs best. I agree that to simply say the board with the most features is the best since in many cases that isn't true at all.

                      Also, I won't be basing my opinions only off of what is offered here. I am just starting off on this project so I am trying to figure out what users want and what they looked at when setting up their first board. By posting here I am hoping that some people can offer me feedback on what they looked at and what they feel is most important for the community.

                      BTW, I love your site. I actually found it earlier today in a topic on the Invison Board forums and registered right away. I've been reading the forum and have found a lot of valuable information. I'll hopefully be making a post later on once I have some actual information and questions that you guys can answer.

                      Thanks once again for all of your feedback. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me but it should be fun.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SkuZZy
                        Bit off topic, but I just wanted to comment on your site design @ opentechsupport. I've been trying to get a similiar design done for my site for a while and most designers seem to think i'm nuts or something or they just can't do it. It's nice to see a site again that shares the same characteristics as www.cheatcore.com (RIP) did. Looks nice
                        Why thank you ... the layout is easy to do, the headache is incorporating it with vBPortal

                        BlueBear: That's an excellent forum resource you got there ... just made my bookmarks

                        Woody: Good luck in your research ... the only tip I can give, having been there already, is to stick with the forum versions you have right now, and ignore the revisions and point releases that will come out "while" you are doing the comparisons. Also, it would help to have a random "population" of users to give their own thoughts about the aesthetics of the forum scripts.
                        OPEN TECH SUPPORT
                        "Tech is our middle name!"

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