Software Maturity


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We're getting to that stage where the software is going to become mature enough for public beta, at which point, I assume will be the feature-lock stage.

To what extent though, do you feel that this software is a competitor to others, given its early stage in product lifecycle, and, given that other competing software have had years of experience, 10,000s lines of code etc.?

Obviously, the staff team will need to grow to sustain the produce: support, business development etc.

In 5 years time, how do you envisage XenForo to be?


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Industry leader... Hands down.

This is exactly what a lot of people have been looking for. They are doing almost everything right, and have laid the groundwork for a flat out superior system in almost every fundamental way. Yes, it needs a heavily integrated gallery/media/attachment managing system, and a CMS solution (which I would greatly prefer to see as a full bore integration with #1 Pri Wordpress, #2 Pri Joomla!, #3 Pri Drupal ), and for those that really must, a Blog, though I'd really prefer to see that leverage the multi-user functions now rolled into Wordpress 3.x. But those should rightly be separate products (though I can't stress enough how much benefit the Gallery/Media/Attachment system will benefit from deep functionality integration).

But the really important things in a forum, engagement, highly semantic html output/SEO optimization, intuitive functionality: it's all there. And more importantly, they have built a best of breed platform that will be a dream for building modifications and theme/styles/skins. Their timing couldn't be too much better either given the train wreck that's going on with one of their primary competitors. :)


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Not to write an essay but I feel it'll be top of the industry (if they continue at their current standards and update as new technology becomes available).

Basically what Tigratrus said!


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Seeing as it's being built correctly from the ground-up, I think it has a very positive future. I wouldn't go as far to say that it will be the "industry leader" in 5 years time (that depends a lot on factors out of the hands of XenForo), but based on what I'm seeing now, I do think it'll be the best all-around forum product out there. :)


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Seeing as it's being built correctly from the ground-up, I think it has a very positive future. I wouldn't go as far to say that it will be the "industry leader" in 5 years time (that depends a lot on factors out of the hands of XenForo), but based on what I'm seeing now, I do think it'll be the best all-around forum product out there. :)
Aaaaaand given that forum software is their industry... I say "industry leader" ;).

Given how fast a sea change can hit with web site software, I think 5 years is a long time, ample for XF to prove itself and do to IB/vB what vB did to Infopop/UBB. IPB is a bit of a variable, as they have been doing a lot of innovation too, but I'd take XF over IPB any day of the week. IB/vB doesn't even enter into it ;)


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I took industry leader to mean "most used product." vBulletin still has a huge installed userbase, and for most of those sites XenForo may not offer the the features required to move. But I definitely think it will be the most innovative and forward-looking software by far. :)


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Agreed. :)
Don't underestimate IB's ability to create enough FUD to drive away a lot of that userbase though... ;)

Let's look at the classes of Admin/site owners.

As I see it, we have 3 main groups:

  1. Hobby and or entry level sites where cost is very much a factor.
  2. Sites that are run by folks that make some or all of their living by owning/running forum based communities
  3. Sites that have grown large enough that they have forked off and no longer bother with upgrades from the parent software.
  1. If IB continues to drive prices up, they may very soon (if they haven't already) reach a point where this class is uncomfortable with the barrier to entry.

    1. If XF is priced below vB/IPB, and is easier to install and run, integrates well with popular free systems like Wordpress (there's a lot of Wordpress blogs that want to have a forum, witness the multiple projects like buddypress and simplepress etc), they could do very VERY well with this very large group of customers.
    2. If XF is a lot easier to upgrade (which is highly likely) than the competition, that will have a huge impact on the decisions of novice admins.
  2. "Pro" sites will be looking very hard at things like stability, easy upgrades, scalability, hardware requirements, ability to create mods and steady reliable improvement and vulnerability fixes.
    1. If I can take a site that requires a very expensive dedicated server using vB or IPB, and by moving to XF I can seriously reduce the hardware requirements, that has an immediate impact on my bottom line expenses esp when multiplied by the number of sites and servers I have to pay for. This will carry a lot of weight with migration decisions.
    2. The ability to easily maintain multiple sites is a major issue for those that run networks of forums. Upgrading for bug/vulnerability fixes is a fact of life, but anything that makes it take less time will mean more time that can be spent more profitably.
    3. Theme development and maintenance is a major issue for those pro sites that don't go with a strictly stock look in the interests of efficiency. If the theme development and maintenance is sufficiently easy, it might temp them to do more customization.
    4. SEO optimization and SERPs are second only to great content. If XF's SEO is as much better than the competitions as I think it is, this will be a major factor for the professional admins and forum owners.
    5. A huge scalability issue with vB has always been the search system that takes exponentially higher resources once you hit a certain critical threshold. The announcement that there will be Sphinx integration coming for XF is a very big deal as it will have a major impact on hardware requirements as well as improving the user experience.
  3. Bespoke sites that have forked off will be hard sells, and frankly may not be interested no matter what given how much they have invested in custom development. Their numbers are vastly lower than the first two groups though, and even some of them might be interested in true innovation and reduced operating and maintenance costs.
Well, actually, i think there's a 4th group: the nullware users. But they aren't really of interest here for obvious reasons. ;)

Have to admit part of the reason for the novel above was to play with the outlining... Nice :).
I would have to agree with you guys. I can easily see XF being an industry leader in less than 5 years. I mean think about it. It's already gotten massive amounts of attention since it was first introduced and I don't see that changing with all the innovative thinking that Kier and Mike are doing on the development of the software. It's gotten many of the things that I have been waiting to see in a forum software. As long as the development on this software continues the way it is now(with the developers listening to the customers suggestions) it shouldn't even take XF 5 years to be an industry leader.


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Very interesting comments and I'm very excited at swing the prospect. Is there anyone who is slightly worried that competitors will outdo XenForo?


I am glad Mike and Kier aren't rushing things, take their time, and do things well. I don't care if it takes another month or another year. As long as the end result is done well. Rapid development and maintenance releases will allow them to increment their tweaks and features and their options, etc.


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The way I look at Xenforo is that already from a starting point Xenforo outshines all products when they first started. To compare xenforo to a mature product isn't giving you a good insight what they have developed already. Again, can not be stated enough, and if you look back, if we look back when all products where in their infancy I think xenforo pips them all with the features they have already and I'm betting there are still some surprises to come before it's released.