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Anything I ought to know before building a forum with SMF?

Discussion in 'Content Management' started by amanamission, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. #1
    Title says it all, I've never made a forum before and I'm thinking about it. Any comments on Simple Machines Forum script, reputation for bugginess or vulnerabilities, anything?

    I must say I'm surprised I don't see it more, especially with Vbulletin licenses so steep. What exactly is this free script lacking that makes you pay? The features look pretty complete to me.

    I would especially like to hear from those who went with VBulletin after trying SMF, or admins using SMF with good results. Please post your sample sites.
    SEMrush
     
    amanamission, Jun 28, 2008 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #2
    SMF is a great free solution. No probems. when I tested that stuff it was actually a good bit faster than VB or Invision power board.

    Nigel
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 28, 2008 IP
  3. mistake

    mistake Member

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    #3
    I used SMF for quite some time.. but as my members grew, they just simply wanted more.. and there aren't a lot of mods available. It just depends on what kind of forum you are making. Plus the themes aren't all that great or professional looking (if that matters to you). Other than that, if you're looking for simple & easy, then you should go for it. I actually wish that the other forums were as user friendly as SMF is.
     
    mistake, Jun 28, 2008 IP
  4. amanamission

    amanamission Notable Member

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    #4
    Well, I only need one theme, and I usually customize pretty heavily anyway.
    The forum will be on alternative energy, and I'd like it to be a useful resource for those confused about the various applications of solar and wind technology.

    So it should be pretty simple and not need a lot of features...although I tend to take certain things for granted and I'm pretty used to Vb.

    What kinds of features did your users demand that SMF couldn't supply? This would be helpfu to know before building with it.

    PHBB looks pretty weak, and the exploits are legendary...any other suggestions? Fantastico support is a big plus, so I'm focusing on those two, but I guess I'd like to know if anyone else has a suggestion.
     
    amanamission, Jun 29, 2008 IP
  5. Pixelrage

    Pixelrage Peon

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    #5
    I find the backend and whole process of adding plugins to be annoying...I dont know, maybe it's because I've been using vbulletin for about 8 years. I like the way SMF functions in the front end, though.
     
    Pixelrage, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  6. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #6
    Another thought would be to use Vanilla. I think it would work very well for you as it is way more forwarding thinking than stuff like smf or Vb. As your subject matter is pretty smart and forwarding thinking, it would compliment your audience.

    Nigel
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP
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  7. amanamission

    amanamission Notable Member

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    #7
    Thanks for the suggestion...I'm looking at the demo now. The script looks light and compact, hope it has all the features I would want.
    Does it have forum sigs enabled, or is there a plug-in?

    Keep the suggestions coming. Rep added!
     
    amanamission, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  8. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #8
    ahhck.. I just deleted a huge post. Yes, sigs are a plugin and also search the plugins for "categories" you will want to take a look at categories on main page and the subcategories mod. Sorry I deleted my comprehensive post with links.

    Nigel
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  9. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #9
    SMF is a fantastic solution if you're comfortable with getting your hands dirty and customizing the code yourself. I've been working with SMF for over three years and have created some highly customized forums like this entrepeneur forum which has a custom signature editor, recent blog post in signature and the top posters widget at the top of every folder. I coded all those enhancements and quite a few developers at the official SMF forums have been using the code.

    Here's another SMF install, a baseball forum that has completely customized team folders that are organized by each MLB teams current standings. Doing stuff like that is a snap once you get the hang of SMF's source code.

    The thing I like about SMF is that the code is laid out in a realtively simple manner which allows you to quickly dive into customization. It's easier to work with than Joomla and more logical than Wordpress (although I've customized both of those CMS systems).

    As far as themes go, it's best to start with a simple theme and edit it out yourself. I personally avoid plug-in's after a serious disaster with the SMF-SEO plugin. Another plugin to avoid like the plague is the iTrader knock off plugin (I've helped many a forum owner remove that mess).
     
    Bryce, Jun 30, 2008 IP
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  10. amanamission

    amanamission Notable Member

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    #10
    This is exactly the kind of info I need...thank you, rep added for you as well.

    I like the idea of a recent blog post and custom sigs...do you have a link to that code?
    What can I do for SEO if the plug-in is such a trainwreck? SEO-features are pretty important, especially SE friendly URLs.
    Do you have an alternative for this?
     
    amanamission, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  11. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #11
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  12. amanamission

    amanamission Notable Member

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    #12
    amanamission, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  13. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #13
    http://lussumo.com/addons/index.php?PostBackAction=AddOn&AddOnID=30

    yes, they work... and for the record... its my birthday, and I have no business running around DP being a stick in the mud, but, I have had long day and it makes me happy to help people for free. I have no vested interest in anything, including vanilla. I took what I know and applied it to this thread. If you want to provide something to someone out of the box that is unique, I just told you how to address it for free.

    So, you will have to excuse me, but I find your demographic universally important. Not just to me, but the world..
    Nigel

    Edit: Sorry,I sound like pot smoking hippie, but I speak from some code experience, and I am not afraid of the pot that killed elvis. :) You know what I mean.
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  14. muncle

    muncle Guest

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    #14
    SMF forums are very table heavy. Unless your site is already PR7, you're gonna have hard time getting your pages properly indexed.
     
    muncle, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  15. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #15
    Here's the skinny on SMF in regards to SEO.... SMF has RSS feed capabilities built into the basic design. That's all you need these days for SEO. I hope I'm not cutting any SEO "experts" out of their day gig but onpage SEO is all but a peaceful corpse if you have a properly formatted RSS feed . RSS is an intrinsic feature of SMF (as with most open source CMS).

    As far as the customization code goes, if I just pushed it onto some webpage for people to download it would not only dilute the uniqueness of my forums but it would also make me responsible for maintainence of the code which is something I don't want to deal with. However, I have no problem posting some code for anybody who wants to apply it to their installs.

    btw, another piece of code I added : my forums post a legitimate Wordpress trackback when somebody posts the url of an article from a Wordpress blog. It feels out the url and sees if it's a blog, then if it's a Wordpress blog, it uses the proper trackback rdf to leave a blog comment that the article url was posted on the forum.
     
    Bryce, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  16. amanamission

    amanamission Notable Member

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    #16
    Thanks for the link, and I'm glad you think this is an important topic. I couldn't agree more, which is why I'm looking for the best script.

    I will be looking for moderators who are enthusiastic, let me know if this sounds like something you'd like to do.

    ETA on launch is a month or...first we have to settle on a script. I'll be taking a close look at the options and their merits.

    Happy birthday!
     
    amanamission, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  17. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #17
    I guess so... Seems it Google 29 minutes to index this post on my forum. I guess that is pretty slow. 29 minutes, that's an eternity in SEO-land.

    I would beg to ask some the "experts" here to follow the OP's request and "please post your sample sites" instead of knocking somebody else putting their money where their mouth is. :eek:
     
    Bryce, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  18. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #18
    I am a bit loopy but I see nothing in your thread that links to this coversation.
    In fact, I only see one link repeated because its crap code.
    Nigel
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  19. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #19
    Why does every site in your signature say "New site is coming soon!" ??? Got any examples of working sites you've developed ? RE: Crap code? Once again show up one example of your working code.

    If you're too wasted to dig those url's up, have a look at this...

    http://validator.w3.org/check?verbose=1&uri=http://forums.digitalpoint.com

    I guess DP forum "doesn't validate"... maybe somebody should send Shawn a PM and tell him so he can fix it...Hurry up, maybe you can be the first and maybe Shawn will let you touch the holy grail of SEO and then you can pass down the wisdom of the ages to all the newbies. :rolleyes:

    Once again, RSS=SEO and that's all you need if you're pushing dynamic content. In the case of a static site, maybe onpage SEO is necessary or maybe html validation matters, but guess what...


    Google.com doesn't validate ...

    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://www.google.com

    :eek:

    Hurry up, call Sergy and Larry !!! Heads are gonna roll at the 'Plex !!!
     
    Bryce, Jun 30, 2008 IP
  20. Nigel Lew

    Nigel Lew Notable Member

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    #20
    Because I am rebranding myself and my business. Here is a link to one of my sites running my cms built by us..

    http://www.roadsidegallery.com/ do you have any other questions? show me a shopping cart you are running that is standards compliant before you chime in again please. I am not in the habit of airing my laundry to the peanut gallery.


    Nigel
     
    Nigel Lew, Jun 30, 2008 IP