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Very interested, but some worries

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Naatan, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    Hi, I've been researching many different forum solutions and have currently boiled it down to Vanilla Forums, IPB and XenForo.. XenForo is definitely at the top of that list but (as with the other ones) I have some worries.

    First, for all the themes I've seen available for XenForo they pretty much ALL seem to follow the exact same wireframe, leading me to believe that the templates themselves are either not very customisable, or customising them would break integration with certain backend features so people opt not to do it. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

    Second, and this is more a question than a worry, I am looking to use Wordpress as the main repository for users to login and register, I then just want to carry over that session to XenForo. Now I'm a senior developer with years of experience in web development so I have no doubt I'll be able to pull this off.. but I'm wondering whether XenForo itself offers an interface for SSO, or whether I'll need to basically hack my way through? In either case, can anyone inform me of the complexity involved in doing this?

    And last, I'm looking for a solution that can scale well, the project I'm on will likely have thousands upon thousands of visitors (millions if all goes well, but they might not all visit the forums) and I'm simply wondering how XenForo can scale with such large communities. Seeing as it's a rather new project I would imagine that scalability might not be on your radar yet.

    Thanks in advance for anyone taking the time to read/answer my questions.
     
  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Try for yourself: Admin Demo
    The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

    There are various WordPress bridges in the add-on releases forum.

    There are several large sites already running XenForo: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/big-bigger-biggest-xf-forums.15638/

    Mike had this to say: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/will-xf-be-able-to-support-my-forum.4008/#post-62243
    The comment related to search is out of date though, as there is a new search solution for large boards.

    By all accounts server resources are much lower than with other forum solutions.
     
  3. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    Wow thanks for the incredibly fast reply :) Much appreciated.

    Yes I did have a look at the templates and it looks very flexible, I'm just wondering why all the themes I've seen use the same wireframe (ie. they practically only change css), am I looking in the wrong places, do people just really like the default layout? Does customizing templates break some backend features? I just have to wonder..

    Perfect, I did have a look already but could only find addons that do the reverse (use XF to logon to Wordpress), but I'll have a closer look.

    Thanks! This is exactly the reassurance I was looking for.
     
  4. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Personally speaking (www.cyclechat.net) I've specifically chosen to avoid as much template editing as I possibly can, so that future upgrades are easier to apply (I can compare old/new templates in notepad++ and manually update them but as I have limited free time I'm just trying to avoid having to do that as much as possible).

    Equally though, I found that most of the cosmetic/branding changes I wanted to make were easily done via CSS and EXTRA.css (I'd previously paid $350 for a custom IPB theme, but this time managed to do the XF changes myself in a matter of a couple of hours [which included finding out what properties and settings affect what elements in the layout] ;)).

    I suppose if you're after creating a completely "unique" look and experience for your own forums then hacking at the templates is the way to go. Sounds like you've got the expertise to do that, and I know there are a wealth of other similarly experienced and talented people here on the XF community forums so I expect you'd get plenty of good advice if you needed some XF specific pointers.

    Cheers,
    Shaun :D
     
  5. Robbo

    Robbo Well-Known Member

    Here is a forum customized a lot more than a simple theme. http://savagerebirth.com. It isn't done but shows that you don't need to use the same wireframe. Anything can be changed.

    XenForo is very powerful. It is actually powering a full auth system and stats tracking system for the game and because of how XenForo handles its views easily returning things with JSON or XML we can easily integrate any part of the site into the game, register from within the game for example (as out forum accounts have been extended to be full game accounts).
     
    Morgain likes this.
  6. RobParker

    RobParker Well-Known Member

    Almost every XF theme designer has stated that XF is the nicest to work with and there are some really nice designs already.

    http://www.xenfocus.com/xenforo_skins.php are some of my favourites but there are lots of other designers as well.

    Customizing or even completely re-designing a style is certainly not an issue.
     
  7. faeronsayn

    faeronsayn Well-Known Member

    To be honest, people actually do like the default theme a lot. Anyways, I have done some template editing without knowing anything about it, obviously on a test installation, and I actually got somewhere, I had changed a thread page to look more like a video / comment page. But mine is not a good example, if you take a look at this addon here http://xenforo.com/community/threads/8wayrun-com-xenporta-portal.7586/ its article system does very much the same thing, and it actually looks good. So definitely the templates are customizable, so much so that even I am able to go and change things on it. (Hopefully this is the answer you were looking for, unless you meant different type of editing)


    I know there are some paid ones as well, but most of them use xenForo as their main thing to get avatars / registrations / and things from.

    There is one where it auto creates a thread in your specified forum when you make an article on Wordpress, something like that, its quite good.
     
  8. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, sounds like the only reason many are sticking to the wireframe is the flexibility it gives you in terms of upgrading and extending from it, which is certainly understandable :) It's just good to know I have the power to customize it fully if I want to.
     
  9. Robbo

    Robbo Well-Known Member

    I'd like to add that a reason you see the same wireframe is it is a good layout and it is so easy to customize and release a theme without even doing any HTML or CSS. So naturally you get a lot of them.
     
  10. Onimua

    Onimua Well-Known Member

    A few clicks in the ACP and you have the same style but in completely different colors. I'm sure several site owners are doing just that with style properties.

    Professional designers, particularly for custom skins, are more elaborate in their designs. Xenique has a few that break out of the default XF style in places where it's familiar yet different.
     
    iTuN3r likes this.
  11. iTuN3r

    iTuN3r Well-Known Member

    Xenique with their latest designs / frameworks are awesome !
     
  12. avi

    avi Active Member

    Sorry for the OT, can you tell me how did you add two different images in the header ?

    Thank you :)
     
  13. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    The Wordpress bridge I use is simple but costs $39. This bridge only allows members to login through xenforo. It sends a redirection script to the xenforo login. You can map xenforo members usergroup to match the wordpress usergroups. You can select what subforms you want a blog post to go to according to the wordpress category you select.

    Once you post to that wordpress category, it creates a blog post on Wordpress and a duplicate thread to the subforum.

    XenDynamic Wordpress Theme by bambua: Free
    http://xenforo.com/community/threads/xendynamic-wordpress-theme.19856/

    With XenScripts Wordpress bridge: $39
    http://xenscripts.com/xenforo-to-wordpress-bridge/


    Examples of Wordpress Integration User Avatars and Comments Automatically updating to both Blog post and Thread replies

    Wordpress: http://www.blackgamer.net/2011/09/29/did-michael-jackson-compose-sonic-the-hedgehog-3s-soundtrack/
    Xenforo: http://www.blackgamer.net/forum/thr...-compose-sonic-the-hedgehog-3s-soundtrack.60/
     
  14. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    IIRC I just added the right-side image in the logo_block template:

    Code:
    <div id="logoBlock">
        <div class="pageWidth" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">
            <div class="pageContent">
                <xen:include template="ad_header" />
                <xen:hook name="header_logo">
                <div id="logo"><a href="{$logoLink}">
                    <span><xen:comment>This span fixes IE vertical positioning</xen:comment></span>
                    <img src="@headerLogoPath" alt="{$xenOptions.boardTitle}" />
                </a></div>
                </xen:hook>
                <img src="@imagePath/xenforo/logobike.png" valign=middle align=right style="padding: 6px 10px 6px 0;">
                <span class="helper"></span>
            </div>
        </div>
    </div>
    
     
    avi likes this.
  15. Saeed

    Saeed Well-Known Member

    Ummm, maybe I'm not reading this right...but wouldn't it be easier to put it in the ad_header template instead. That way, you don't need to make the edit to the template with every upgrade. Just a thought...:)
     
  16. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I have been working on recreating my vBulletin theme in XenForo. My vBulletin forum has an old table layout. Here is a comparison of my vBulletin and XenForo themes so far:

    vBulletin -> Screen shot 2011-12-10 at 3.21.04 AM.png XenForo -> Screen shot 2011-12-10 at 3.18.00 AM.png

    Obviously my XenForo theme is unfinished, but it's a good example of a theme that uses a completely different layout. And I have done all of this without any template edits. It's pure CSS and a couple template hooks. But the html templates are also customizable if needed.
     
  17. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    The XF template system allows you to create whatever you want pretty much, it is very flexible, and very powerful, if you have years of web dev experience, you will have no problems achieving whatever you would like layout wise.

    Most people are sticking more or less to the default layout because it just works so well, it's the best default theme out there by far. There are also a lot of people who no longer want to have major style breaking/rebuilding dramas when upgrade time rolls around like they previously did on IPB or vB.. so are sticking more or less to the default for ease of upgrade.

    That's not to say that there are not others breaking out of that mould, there are :) I have done several custom themes that are not standard layout, as has my partner Forsaken.
     
  18. avi

    avi Active Member

    Thanks a lot :D
     
  19. guiltar

    guiltar Well-Known Member

    I always wonder what has Wordpress that can't be easily done with XenForo? As a user I always notice that integration of Xen with any CMS is very inconvenient. For example, to check forum alerts/inbox user has to open the home page then click to forum. Also if somebody comments your Wordpress article you won't see it in forum. And of course design difficulties...
     
  20. Rob

    Rob Well-Known Member

    The lack of CMS with true integration is a barrier for a lot of forums who would simply switch in a heartbeat should a solution exist. The only viable solution I see that works very well at the moment is xenForo + SubDreamer. I hope the devs can address this highly requested feature, even if only basically, so that forum owners can realise an article driven front end (bit more complex than pages, but not much) - this will remove a big barrier and see a volley of new licenses being sold.
     

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