I’m looking for some forum software. Some open source forum software (as we have a budget of approximately nothing …) to be more exact. I don’t know what direction to go in so I thought I’d offer it up for the consideration of the crowd …
Let me give you some context to help you think.
A department in the University is considering setting up a new web site – lets call it www.newsite.co.uk for now as I’m feeling rather short of imaginative energy this morning. Now … newsite is to have several purposes in life, several target audiences, hopefully many contributors (from within and without the University) and a smaller handful of editors / moderators.
The primary role of newsite is to engage. It is being set up to engage:
- professional and academic bodies
- generally all interested parties
and then to mix them all up together.
Students and researchers could get invaluable contact with industry, and their professional bodies. Industry would get exposed to new research and work being done in the Uni. It is hoped that ultimately this might become an additional revenue stream.
So it has to look good ! It has to look professional !
Initially the site will be just a forum which will be accessible both on and off campus to staff, students and industry. However, it is envisaged that ultimately the forum will just be a focus for the site, rather than the whole site, full stop. There will be other parts offering information and resources and connecting directly with current research and industry sector databases.
If I was going to be doing it all, I’d probably have phpBB as the forum and then hand code the pages that surround it, as and when the need arose (as I am a bit of a pillock in that respect …). However it won’t be. There will be others involved who aren’t into code. So it needs to be a more user friendly solution. A forum that sits (or can sit) within a CMS of some description …
I thought of WordPress (I like WordPress) with bbPress as the forum within it. bbPress integrates seamlessly with WordPress (it was written by the original WordPress developers, so it should !), but it is a little lacking in features – not majorly lacking, just not as featured as phpBB for example. But as it is really part of WordPress, it adopts the WordPress theme and just looks good.
Or it could be phpBB, sitting alongside WordPress. But how seamless would it be ? Tacking open source solutions together is not always as straightforward as it could be and can be downright messy … Would it have that clean, tight look and feel that this project would benefit from ? Joomla ? Drupal ?
I just don’t know …
There are many conversations which have not been had yet regarding this project, some of which could ultimately change the whole thing in one fell swoop, but it would be nice to at least take something as a possible recommendation …
Any suggestions ?