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Forum / Blog Software to use with CI - El Forum - 07-30-2012

[eluser]brad13x[/eluser]
Hello CI Forum

I'm new to CI and looking to build a site that would have a Blog / Forum / User area created with CI.

I don't want to have to manage 2-3 separate User tables if possible. I have done this before with Dolphin and PHPBB and it was a nightmare.

I was wondering what you guys suggest or have used to accomplish this.

I have looked into CI solutions.

https://www.pyrocms.com - Forum is lacking. May have to buy full version to white label.

http://www.doveforums.com/ - Forum is not that great.

Also looked into

PHPBB3 - Great Forum difficult to intgrate

Wordpress with http://bbpress.org/. Might be the easiest solution for me because WP is so easy to use but have never used BBPress before.

Any help for a newbie would be appreciated.

Brad


Forum / Blog Software to use with CI - El Forum - 07-30-2012

[eluser]Daniel Moore[/eluser]
I have used Simple Machines forum 2.0. SMF2 is a great forum, with an extensive feature list. It is quite stable and fairly secure. It is also free to use, and you can grab a copy, fork it, and create something of your own if you like under it's license.

That means it's legal to change all the copyright notices if you want, and market it as your own. However, once you do, you'll no longer be able to get support from the community, and you're on your own. That shouldn't be a problem for an experienced developer.

There are also modifications that allow you to use it as blog software, which, if you want your entire site to have the same "look and feel", would probably be the best way to go, as it can be difficult to integrate almost any forum software with a 3rd party blog software and have them "look and feel" the same.

It was quite easily to integrate CI and this forum software. You only need to include one file from the forum root in your CI application, and you have access to the entire forum database, paths, images, CSS, etc.

I will show example sites, but not from any real clients, because of my agreements with those clients. One is my site (and I'm retired), the other is a "hobby" site of mine that I keep around for kicks.

To see simplified examples of working sites using this concept, take a look at the following:

http://insaniquariumguide.com <- This actually looks like it is built into the forum as its landing page, but it was completely written in CI. Notice it pulls information from the forum's database to build what is displayed. The theme displayed here depends on the user's selected theme in their profile, if they are logged in, or they get the default theme if not logged in. There are nearly 100 themes to choose from, and the CI portions of the site display them all without any flaws and without having to make any adjustments to the code to accommodate more than one theme. The actual forum is under the Community Tab. I plan on integrating the forum's theme capabilities to Media Wiki for other parts of the site at some point, but hey, I'm pretty much retired now, and I do things when or if I feel like it, and I just haven't felt like it. The Theme that SMF is using here was designed by myself, so you won't be able to obtain any of the 57 themes there anywhere else.

http://www.danielwmoore.com <- Another set of pages built on CI, but using a theme from SMF. The forum is under the Extras tab at the top. The "community" part of the forum is disabled, and it is pretty much used as a place for listing downloadable software or articles. There is an integrated help desk system for clients, but you have to be logged in to see it. There is also a "community" section you can't see, because you have to be logged in, but it is also intended for clients, as is the live chat feature, which is also integrated.

There is a lot you can do. The chat program (which, unfortunately I don't have an example for you to view live) was easily integrated to the forum's database and themes as well.

SMF allows you to integrate pretty much anything you can edit. I have bridged MediaWiki, chat software, blogging, file download centers, and even content management systems. I use CI to bridge the gap between programs or for customized software where needed.

The reason a smart developer uses CI to start with is because it helps him/her to finish a product quickly. If you've already got a product that you have the rights for modification and distribution of, and it can be made to do all you need it to do, then why reinvent the wheel? Get a good set of items and fix what you need to do to integrate them, so that they can be installed in a modular fashion, and you'll find yourself setting up complex web sites in days instead of months. Turnaround on clients and payments is key if you don't want to work 80 hours a week for the rest of your life.

Part of why I'm retired at 48.

If you're interested in doing it like this, I can show you how to do the integration.