I used to use an add on called "GARS" for vB3. It did exactly what I wanted. A professional article layout with thumbnails that was also built into the forum. It put the focus on the opening posts rather than follow up posts. Not as much customization but I could work with that. I also used the review section pretty frequently. For reference, here's a photo of the old site with GARS
I moved onto Xenforo a few months ago. Partly because I felt my old forum software, vB3 was getting outdated, partly because there were security vulnerabilities for it, and fixing them costs less than just upgrading. The drawback is now GARS doesn't work. I'm trying to decide how I should manage the articles/reviews.
Most people on the site use the forum, they check new posts and my chat add on posts a link to new threads. It also counts towards their post count. So I've just been making them in the threads section of the articles. If I were to switch to something that isn't on the forums, most of the regulars probably wouldn't notice the articles (few of them did back when I used wordpress/blogger on a separate part of the site) and they probably won't bother comment on them. In addition to that I got a lot of spam from guests/bots. I could enable a separate login system but I don't think my users would want to bother with two separate logins just so they could comment on articles.
Xenforo has an official article system, but it isn't exactly the same http://xenforo.com/community/resources/ . I don't really know if I want to spend the money on something that isn't solution (though I'm not really exactly sure of all the features their article system has or if there's a better way to customize it)
I've also found some bridges that link the Login system of Xenforo and wordpress but I don't know exactly how they worked (and if they'd show up on new posts etc.)
So, now I'm trying to think, what is the best way to go about managing articles? My first thought is to use a wordpress/Xenforo bridge but I don't know for certain if it'd be the same or if it'd be exactly what I was looking for.
Here are the ones I found:
The bolded one is the one I'm leaning towards, since it says it can store wordpress comments as Xenforo replies. Though it's the most expensive and some of the reviews. I'd want something that displays thumbnails like before, and that people can post on the forum with a single login system, and that shows up in new posts, counts for post count etc. I'd like the entire category in the "articles" section of the forum to immediately turn into articles on the wordpress section without having to go back and manually post each article as well.
So, what's the best way to go about this? Can Xenforo's article system do what I am looking for? Is a wordpress bridge the better way to go about it? GARS for VB3 also had a review add on, which I really liked. It would be great if I could get something like that back as well, though that's more of a secondary priority.