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An honest opinion - PLEASE

#1
Hi guys

New to the forum obviously...

In a nutshell, i'm a 30% partner in a new venture, responsible for all things 'admin' which at this point will include everything website/forum based. I would like to add at this point I am an accountant by trade so spredsheets are the depth of my computer related talents!!

Our site will begin as a forum and in time turn into a full site, with the forum being just a part of it. By that time we'd hope to take on someone more advanced in the field but for now it's just me. We're a revenue based forum so will be looking for site sponsors as well as wanting to incorporate an online shop 6-12 months down the line (either our own stock or as a reseller).

On the face of it, I would like:

  • Strong Facebook/Twitter links (although I would ideally like the forum to use the 'flat' format instead of the 'threaded' approach social networking seems to be taking these days as I find it very hard to follow content this way.
  • Blogging
  • Live chat (not essential as wonder if this takes away from forum content?)
  • Full website incorporating an online shop (would want the forum users to be able to purchase direct from the shop so everything would need to be fully integrated)
  • User friendly (both for the end user and for me as the responsible admin!)
I'm sure there is more but that's all I can remember for now. Oh yeah, there's likely to be plenty of pics/vids flying about so a slick way to organise those would be great too.

I was originally all set to buy vBull but version 5 BETA has really put me off and the more I reseach vB in general now the more i'm put off. I'm now edging towards either XF or IPB.

I fully appreciate this is a XF forum but would also appreciate your valued HONEST opinions based on my requirements? I'm not asking you to slag one option or the other, just help me spend our pennies wisely!

Many thanks in advance...

Kev
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
#3
1. What do you mean by "strong links"? There is a lot of integration. Built in is the ability to sign in and sign up to the forum using Facebook. There's also an add-on that allows you to do the same with Twitter. There's also quite a lot of integration in terms of sharing (as you can see at the bottom of this page).

2. There are a few Blogging add-ons. One is free, the other is a paid add-on. I use neither but they do exist.

3. Live chat. There's Taiga Chat which is a shoutbox add-on. There's also Comet Chat which has the ability to plug in to many websites, including XenForo.

4. There is a few shop add-ons.

5. At its core, XenForo is user friendly. I think it's the best forum experience available.

So in summary - well... you asked me to be honest. You have a lot of requirements that just aren't forum related. One of the things about XenForo is they're not going to add a load of first party bloat to it like some other software packages do. They want to get the forum part working the best it can be before even considering the wider website experience. A lot of what you need can be achieved with add-ons, but if you want XenForo to do all that out of the box, then unfortunately it just won't.

But, then again, you might find products that do contain all of that out of the box, but none of them will be perfect in all areas.
 
#5
Guys, thanks for getting on this so quickly and for posting said links.

Chris/KKM - tbh you've already hit the nail on the head there with what i'm looking for from FB/Twitter i.e. the ability to log-in/register, the ability to share status updates across platforms and the ability to share forum topics/posts directly onto your FB wall.

Blogging and chat aren't essential (well, blogging is perhaps) but i'm glad to know the options are there all the same. Some kind of gallery is though...

The shop will be a very important feature at some point so i'll need to take a look at the options. Are there any advertising related add-ons?

As an accountant I fully understand it's very difficult to find a fully tailored out of the box solution but given my level of experience I need to try getting as close as and am determined to get this right from the off - I do NOT want to be switching provider 12 months down the line!

PS this is the first time iver ever posted on a XF forum (always vB previously) and yeah, it's got a great 'feel' to it so far. :)
 
#9
Really appreciate all the answers guys.

I'll be totally honest in saying I posted a mirror image of this over on the IBS board and it's not even live yet because they've pulled it for moderation!! Good start...
 

Andrej

Well-known member
#10
Really appreciate all the answers guys.

I'll be totally honest in saying I posted a mirror image of this over on the IBS board and it's not even live yet because they'll pulled it for moderation!! Good start...
Please note that replies to topics in this pre-sales forum are moderated to ensure that potential customers are given accurate information. Your replies will not appear instantly as a moderator will have to approve them.
It might sometimes also include Threads I suppose...
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#11
[EMAIL said:
Kev@ITK, post: 416048, member: 25762[/EMAIL]]
The shop will be a very important feature at some point so i'll need to take a look at the options. Are there any advertising related add-ons?
Can you explain this bit a little more?
 
#12
Can you explain this bit a little more?
In a nutshell, I'll eventually be looking to implement an online store where I would expect all forum members to be able to make purchases without having to log-in to a separate system I.e a smooth integration from posting threads to online shopping (and then maybe an option to automatically share what products have been bought a) on the board itself and b) across the social networks.

The advertising query was merely asking if there are specific add-ons to aid in running banners and general campaigns.
 

Jeff Fuqua

Well-known member
#13
If you are someone with little experience setting up everything you are looking to have, one of the best parts of xF is the community here. This has been one of the most supportive environments I've had the pleasure to take part. There are usually numerous answers to any questions I bring to the forum no matter how n00b they probably are.

If you need more help, there are experienced people here who will assist you in setting things up for a reasonable fee. I am biased but, as a former vB user, the switch to xF has been the best thing I've done for my site.
 
#14
Do you know what Jeff, I woke at 4am and saw I had a reply on here. I didn't read it but I thought to myself straight away, what a great community! I've only had one reply so far over on IPB...

I did think of one other thing though: is there anything that can be done to make it mobile friendly? Because compared to vB and IPB it falls short and I don't really want to point my users towards Tapatalk if I can help it.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
#15
Do you know what Jeff, I woke at 4am and saw I had a reply on here. I didn't read it but I thought to myself straight away, what a great community! I've only had one reply so far over on IPB...

I did think of one other thing though: is there anything that can be done to make it mobile friendly? Because compared to vB and IPB it falls short and I don't really want to point my users towards Tapatalk if I can help it.
The next version of XenForo (1.2 - currently delayed with development being paused) is apparently going to include a mobile style.

In the meantime, you've mentioned TapaTalk (meh) but there is also a third party mobile theme available in the Resource Manager.

So first party support for mobile is non existent, with a promise to add it in a future version, with some third party solutions available in the interim.
 
#16
Why the delay? Or would I rather not know...

Thanks again for yet another informative post. I can see you coming in very handy, especially with just being at opposite ends of the 69! ;)
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
#17
Why the delay? Or would I rather not know...

Thanks again for yet another informative post. I can see you coming in very handy, especially with just being at opposite ends of the 69! ;)
You should be aware of it before you decide to buy, really.

Most people already know or come across the information but in case you haven't seen it, I'll post what I said to someone else a few days ago:

Currently XenForo Ltd is going through a lawsuit which has been filed by Internet Brands (the owners of vBulletin). You will find lots of information about the lawsuit if you search for it. A trial date has been set for January 2013. XenForo is widely expected to win the case if it gets to court and some of the complaints against XenForo have already been dropped.

As a result of this impending lawsuit, the development of the next version of XenForo (XenForo 1.2) has been delayed. We were originally supposed to see a beta in June. It may be unlikely that we see the next version before the lawsuit is over.

In the meantime, you'd be buying an incredibly stable piece of software which performs great and is a pleasure to use and work with. Support tickets are still being dealt with by the community moderators here, Slavik and Jake Bunce. The developers have confirmed that any security updates and urgent bug reports will be resolved.
 
#18
Ah yes ok, I did know about that - my apologies.

Putting your personal feelings to one side for the mo: as a newbie, would you still invest in XF at this point in time?
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
#19
Ah yes ok, I did know about that - my apologies.

Putting your personal feelings to one side for the mo: as a newbie, would you still invest in XF at this point in time?
We only invested in XenForo 6 months ago when we moved a 9 year old vB forum (4.x at the time) to XF.

I discussed this recently with some colleagues on that site.

The conclusion was, even if there was never another XF release (personally, I'm sure there will be), we'd stay with XenForo and would not regret making the move.
 
#20
This reply I received on another board just now pretty much sums up my feelings:

"Xenforo is fantastic at doing the job it's designed for - forums. People love its ease-of-use; the workflow, alerts, simple and reactive layout all help to make it a great user experience and draw people in to chat at your community.

I moved CycleChat from IP.Board to XenForo and have seen nothing but growth since (and the inline modding tools make things quicker and easier for me and my moderator team so we're much more productive).

However, you're unlikely to see any of the "extras" added to the core anytime soon (if at all) and if development of XF doesn't pick up in the coming months you will find add-on developers rethinking their XF time/input and run the risk that any add-ons you do use will become unsupported. They may not, but it is something to consider.

So, a very solid and likeable forum product that will stand you well for a good while as you develop your community, but which may not be able to support the extra site elements you want in the longer term; ergo, if they're absolutely essential, IP.Board would be a safer bet (but is more clunky TM)."

This time yesterday I was all set to go with XF, up to about an hour ago I'd started to lean the other way and now I'm undecided again!!!