.Joel wrote:I sometimes find it hard to distinguish between people who enjoy plottering around with forum software as a hobby and people who use forum software as merely a tool to get a job done.
I am of the latter, and phpBB2 was never up to the standard of vBulletin, and the growth of Invision Board during the phpBB2 stage showed just how quickly a commercial piece of software could develop. For me vBulletin has been the right tool for the job, until now. I feel vBulletin is not developing in the direction in the direction that suits my website, it is becoming the wrong tool for the job. So now i'm back here playing with phpBB3, as it is seemingly increasing to become the right tool for the job.
People with active websites that serve an audience or a purpose choose the right tool for them, not because they are ill-minded, or uninformed. In most cases these people know their own needs better then you do and choose the right tool to cater for those needs.
Just because phpBB3 works for you, doesn't mean it works for everyone.
Keep an open mind, criticising others for their choice in forum software that clearly suits their purpose makes you no better then them, it just shows your immaturity and inability to live with someone else's informed decision. They don't loose sleep over what you think about their choice, why do you?
I totally agree. There is a lot of factors that can influence the choice of a forum platform.
On my side, here's my story : the first forum where I registered was first an ikonboard (a Perl-coded board) who migrated to phpBB2 later. Then I registered to another board who was a phpBB2 as well and one day, I had an idea of forum project (the idea never actually worked because of rookie mistakes), so I asked the admin about running a phpBB forum, but since I had so few computing knowledge, he suggested me a free forum host (Forumotion) who looks like phpBB. So I created my first board (who doesn't exist anymore) with FM and learned about administration and I had my loads of rookie mistakes. And as I was seeing other people making styles, I began to learn the basics, but it's only when I began using GIMP (and following tutorials) that I began to make decent styles and then, I improved my level (so much that I started making self-serve styles) and began to learn some CSS basics (to customize a bit), then some HTML (to correct mistakes), but I really learned these languages when I read the French newbies paradise's XHTML/CSS tutorials when I began to build my GFX website that I finally decided to start on a forumotion (I couldn't find a free FTP host that fitted my needs, and the HTML module had just come up) and so, it turned into a GFX forum with a website. The tutorials helped me a lot. Then one day, the French FM went into a big internal crisis and since almost al mods were leaving, I decided to leave, knowing that it wont be the same once alone with only rookies and paid staff members. Then I decided to move my board to a independant FTP host (this meant sacrifying my database) and this time, I looked in the FTP hosts list someone made on the French NP and I had less problem finding a free host who fits my needs. From the day I decided to move my board, I began to learn the basics of PHP and to test a phpBB2 on my computer.
I chose this platform because its layout was the nearest from FM's phpBB2 version layout, and adapting my style was easier than I expected and I modded the forum and had to secure it against bots, then I adapted my other FM styles. Then when I began to think about a new version of my website, phpBB3's final version was already out. I was thinking about this, but I had a very hard time getting used to phpBB3's ACP (especially permissions), and two of my friends had trouble with phpBB3 as well. So I looked at another open source platform I heard about and decided to test it and found out that it fitted more my needs, as I found it simple to use, to CSS skin and to use its sessions for the website, it's valid xhtml 1.0 strict and it got a lot of features, and it didn't matters to me that its current version is 0.8.x. My board is now under this platform since April and its captcha hasn't been broken yet. I'm still on the free FTP host I chosen and it has a good service (it's more community-oriented than commercial-oriented)
I already made 2 self-serve skins for the platform I use while I still hasn't finished my first and only self-serve phpBB3 style (IE6/IE7/Opera compatibility issue regarding PNG folder icons on a gradient background). I doesn't master prosilver yet.
I stayed in the open source side since I know that when an open source solution suits your needs, you don't need to spend bucks for a paid one. I understand this fact since I'm using Firefox and VLC for 4 years, and GIMP for 2 years and half, and I won't change back to their proprietary equivalents (is this word correct ?).
That's my experience.
There is a lot of factors that must be taken into consideration to explain the choices :
- The boards system you were used with as a user before you start your first board
- Ignorance or "a priori" (I don't know if you know this expression) about open source and paid softwares
- The kind of website you run (for a personal or associative website, I don't see the need of a paid software unless it's for a special feature who's not present in open source platforms)
- The platform you're the most at ease with
- The needed features