Anon wrote:cherokee red wrote:#2 can possibly be achieved with AJAX
I don't really think AJAX will go well in a forum. For one, it isn't searchable by search engines, so a person can't go a google search and find an answer to a question. In that same way, you can't link to a topic. Flash suffers these same problems. So while it might be useful in shoutboxes, possibly whosonline, I'm doubting it'll become an integral part of forums
What I do think will happen is forums will grow to be the centre of a site. If you look at phpBB 3.0, vBulletin 3.6 etc, they're all growing, having more features and becoming more expandable. What I predict is instead of the forum being just an addon, it'll become the backend, with other things like e-commerce, live chat, CMS and all the other things being addons. You can see this happening already - look how many features phpBB 3 has over 2, and think how 3.2, 3.4, 4.0 and beyond will turn out
If you use a forum and want to create a site using it's user table and sessions, you are already creating your own plugins for it.
Nice thing about forums, is that you can say something as a visitor of the site, like with shoutboxes and such.
But forums are more categorised and I think they will get important for webmasters as there feedback, and to stay in touch with their visitors.