Sunday, February 12, 2006

Top 70 Resources for Creating a Forum

Among the frenzy of MySpace clones, let’s not forget good old forum software. Geeks use them for tech support. Businesses use them for collaboration. Here’s our take on 70+ forum engines, hosts, and tools.

Forum Engines (Free Software)

Advanced Electron Forum – Easy to use PHP forum engine.

aterr – Simple multi-threaded board engine.

bbPress – From the creators of WordPress and Akismet comes an elegant bulletin board.

Beast – A Rails-based forum written in only 500 lines of code.

Beehive Forum – PHP forum engine with support for mobile browsers.

Blursoft MetaForum – Has a ton of AJAX features, but manages to stay search engine friendly. And yes, the back button does work.

bttlxeForum – Basic ASP board.

Deluxe Portal – All-in-one portal solution.

DeluxeBB – Speedy engine with database optimization and GZIP compression.

dnfBB – 3-tier C# forum that works with Firebird and MySQL.

E-Blah – Basic BBS with Akismet spam protection.

Elite Bulletin Board – Light and customizable board.

eXtreme Message Board (XMB) – On the outside, it appears to be a basic forum engine. Until you download the mods for it.

IceBB – Beautiful board with feeds, calendars, and much more.

Ikonboard – Popular forum software. Unique in that it can use both a database or a flat file as a backend.

JForum – Great board with karma, phpBB migration, and search-friendly URLs.

MegaBBS – Fully featured ASP board engine. Note: only free for personal use.

miniBB – Minimalistic board powered by PHP.

mvnForum – Powerful JSP board under the GPL.

mwForum – Great Perl forum with a wonderful look.

MyBB – Plugins and an easy-to-use admin system make MyBB a keeper.

MyTopix – Great forum with a unique design.

nextBBS – Popular board with a ton of features and integration with Mediawiki, Coppermine, and Zoints.

Orca – Nice forum engine with tools like a live post tracker and a WYSIWYG editor.

OvBB – Lightweight vBulletin clone.

Phorum – Popular forum engine that powers boards like the MySQL forum.

phpBB – The granddaddy of Internet forums, phpBB sports a modular design for the control panels, support for almost any kind of database, and a host of plugins. No wonder it won the SourceForge Community Choice Awards’ Best Project for Communications.

Pocoo – Never heard of a Python-powered board? Neither did I, until I found Pocoo. It’s WSGI compatible, and has an advanced plugin system.

PunBB – With XHTML-compliant pages, simplicity, and speed, what’s not to like?

Quicksilver Forums (QSF) – Based on the now dead MercuryBoard, QSF has grown into a mature engine sporting features such as 3D permissions or skinning.

RForum – Strong forum with mailing list integration, powered by Ruby.

Simple Machines Forum (SMF) – Originally a fork of YaBB SE, SMF features WYSIWYG, powerful groups, and much more. Note: there is some dispute about whether SMF is free software or not, since you are not allowed to redistribute the forum/software itself without written permission.

Snitz – Basic ASP forum.

txtForum – Tiny forum that stores its information in TXT files instead of a database.

Unclassified NewsBoard Forum (UNB) – Easy to use forum engine with Jabber notification.

UseBB – Lightweight, clear, and efficient board package.

Vanilla – Terrific AJAXified forum with a really nice look you won’t find anywhere else.

Vikingboard – Minimalistic board engine for high performance.

Viscacha – Board with integrated CMS and conversion from CuteCast, Vision Board, phpBB, and WBB.

YaBB – Easy to install and easy to use, YaBB is more than yet another bulletin board.

Yazd – Basic forum engine under the Apache license.

Forum Engines (Commercial)

AspNetForum – Clean and powerful ASP.NET forum engine. $85-$169.

Burning Board – Easy to set up board that will import existing Invision Power Board, MyBB, phpBB, PunBB, Simple Machines Forum, or vBulletin forums. $139.99-$269.99.

FuseTalk – Powerful forum software used by big-names such as Adobe, Boeing, NASA, NBC, US Airforce, McAfee and Lonely Planet. But the names will cost you. $649-$4599.

FusionBB – Calendar, photo gallery, PayPal, article templates, and much more are available with this great piece of software. $425 flat fee or $149 flat fee and $39/year.

Ideal BB – ASP/COM board with a nice revision feature. $299-$2099.

Invision Power Board (IPB) – One of the most popular commercial boards of all time. $149.99-$299.99.

Jive Forums – Powerful board used by companies such as EA and ESPN. Unfortunately, very expensive. $14950 flat fee, $1950/1000 users, $4950/5000 users, or $9950/20000 users.

MyProBB – Powerful anti-spam features makes this one a keeper. It’s cheap, too. $25/year.

UBB.threads – $725 flat fee or $229 flat fee and $125/year.

vBulletin – Extremely popular board with tons of features. $160 flat fee or $85/year.

WowBB – WYSIWYG, internationalization, and much more available with this PHP board. $99 flat fee or $55/year.

Forum Hosts

Blursoft MetaForum – Has a ton of AJAX features, but manages to stay search friendly. And yes, the back button does work. Free.

Conforums – Unlimited categories, boards, and posts with HTML and JavaScript customization. Free.

CuteCast – Basic forum hosting. Free.

GoBoardz – Nice forum with photo sharing and a nice interface. Free.

Hyperboards – A big hosting provider with global login (one Hyperboards account logs you into every Hyperboards forum), skins, pages, and unlimited posts and boards. Free.

Invision Power Board (IPB) – One of the most popular commercial boards of all time. $10-$75/month.

ProBoards – A well known host powered by YaBB. Free.

Sudden Launch – Forum host with unlimited posts, replies, and boards. Free.

WowBB – WYSIWYG, internationalization, and much more available with this PHP board. $99 flat fee and $3.95/month or $7.95/month.

Forum Integration

bbPress and WordPress integration – Official howto on integrating the two sister projects.

FireBoard – Joomla component that adds a powerful forum.

Integrating Vanilla and WordPress – Official guide to integrating the two popular CMSs.

IpbWiki – Connects Invision Power Boards and MediaWiki.

Joomla!Vanilla – Bridge between the Joomla CMS and Vanilla.

Forum Tools

BBCodeXtra Firefox Extension – Context menu to insert BBCode or (X)HTML. Freeware.

Bulletin Board/Forum Code Converter – offers a simple HTML>BBCode or BBCode>HTML converter in JavaScript. Freeware.

HTML To BB Code Converter – Basic HTML or website>BBCode converter. Open source.

Text Formatting Toolbar Firefox Extension – Formatting toolbar for BBCode, HTML, or Wiki code. Freeware. (via)