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Old 09-11-2006, 09:50 AM   #2
ktinkel
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Originally Posted by Andrew B. View Post
This appears to be a better choice than phpBB. It seems easier to set up and it comes with an attachments feature. On the front page is a link that says "Show new replies to your posts," which leads me to believe it might have a read waiting feature. Unfortunately, no threading. But phpBB doesn't have threading either. Does anyone have experience hosting one of these boards.
Not hosting, but since you posted this I have had a chance to visit and play around with an SMF setup and it is very interesting.

It took a little while to get used to its look and feel, which is not only quite different from phpBB but from vBulletin. It isn’t bad, right out of the box. Kind of recessive, in color and style. But I assume much of that can be altered via CSS.

Then it tends to hide its virtues in innocuous little text “buttons” — so it took quite a while to discover that it had the equivalent of our Get Posts / New Posts built in (labeled Show unread posts since last visit). (In fact, I think it behaves even better, as it has never timed out on me as ours does here).

And it has a second function (Show new replies to your posts), so it at least recognizes posters and relates them to the threads.

I had moderator powers, but have scarcely played with them. But the controls to split a thread on right there in the edit window, which is convenient. I have not seen how well they work.

This is free software, like phpBB. Unlike the latter, though, SMF has a decent online manual (which seems to be steadily under construction). There is also a user forum, which I have not explored.

If you pay the developers $50/year, you can have early access to new versions (dubious benefit!), help with installations and upgrades (so long as you haven’t applied any modifications), and faster/better tech support. You also support the ongoing work, of course.

I have not done enough on this to say whether it is elegant and stable when it has hundreds of members and thousands of messages, but nor have I seen any particularly painful things (well, except for an unreadable CAPTCHA image, accompanied by a non- or dis-unctional audio backup).

Oh, and the ability to make smilies or text (or who knows what else!) scroll across the message screen. We here of course would be too dignified to mess around with such things, but it is very easy to do in the SMF software. (I bet the admin can turn it off.)

I have no idea how easy it is to edit the templates and/or CSS. Nor what sort of difficulties changes raise when it comes time to upgrade. But on a fast look, I would say it leaves phpBB in the dust in every aspect except size of the user base.

   
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