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Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

General discussion of development ideas and the approaches taken in the 3.x branch of phpBB. The next feature release of phpBB 3 will be 3.1/Ascreaus followed by 3.2/Rhea.
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worldsight
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Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby worldsight » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:54 am

I have recently completed my PhPBB migration to the Wordpress TwentyTen theme, and I am so incredibly pleased with the results. PhPBB is simply an incredible piece of software, and when I see it running in the twentyten theme, it gets me even more excited. A great thanks to all the PhPBB contributors for such a wonderful piece of software. If you want to see it, go to http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/.

Now it's worth looking at, because it really provokes some thinking around what is a blog and what is a forum. In my opinion, they are identical, but with distinct navigation tools and a slightly modified presentation. My site actually runs both PhPBB and WordPress side by side, but when I see PhPBB running in the TwentyTen theme, I just begin to wonder why I need WordPress to begin with. After all, a blog entry is nothing other than an original post, where the replies/discussion are the comments. So why would one even need another platform to do what really is a forum, but just with a different skin and navigation.

So I thought about how I would code it up in my own installation.

1) I'd add a new forum type called a blog. So you would have a "forum", "category", "link" and "blog" as an option in the ACP to define a blog. Part of the definition of a "blog" type forum is that it would get its own distinct URL, and in my TwentyTen theme, I'd link it to a page. (Here, you really need permalink support.)

2) When opening a forum that is actually a "blog" type, you would see topics that are presented as blog entries, and each blog entry has a "Comments" section. So I would create a new template to present a "blog" type of forum. So far this doesn't seem that hard to code up. In the TwentyTen theme, all the additional blog navigation would be added to the right hand column.

3) Forum "category" types could be added to the "blog" type forum, and they would show up not as separate forums, but as category assignments to new blog entries. The category attribute is a must have in a blog.

4) Then, all that is left to do is to add the ability to create word tags, really this is optional if you're into tag clouds, I don't care for it that much, but some blogger purists would insist you need that as well.

This is such a low hanging fruit for PhPBB that I just can't imagine why this wouldn't show up in a future release. Once you jump to a blog style of look and feel like the TwentyTen theme from WordPress, it's very intuitive to figure out how to implement.

So that would be my request to the PhPBB team. PhPBB is a superior, more mature platform than most of the other systems out there. It really doesn't take much to bring it to the new world of Web 2.0 blogging.

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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby Oleg » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:02 am

Moved to 3.2 discussion as 3.1 is feature frozen now.

While both a blog and a forum have a posting facility they are hardly identical. It is everything else that sets them apart and people do want the distinguishing features of both forums and blogs.

Some of your requests already have their own topics, for example seo urls (what you probably mean by permalinks). Instead of creating essentially duplicate topics please add your thoughts to already existing topics.

For your other requests consider how many communities will benefit from them. It is impossible to produce a single package that would be everything for everyone, which means we cannot tune the software to every user's individual needs. Can you explain the benefits of your proposed features for communities other than your own? If yes you may want to consider writing an RFC. Alternatively, can your proposal be accomplished via hooks?

worldsight
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby worldsight » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:06 am

I don't need you to add this feature for me. I am not that self centered that I would expect the PhPBB community to cater to my needs. However, I've browsed the PhPBB forums long enough and seen enough requests come pouring into both PhPBB and WordPress to realize that what I am trying to do, many others are also trying to do.

In fact, you can see many, many people trying desperately to try to integrate their WordPress and their forum. The WordPress team is creating their own forum platform to add to WordPress.

I am happy to go away and customize my PhPBB installation to suit my needs. But I just don't think it would take very much to get PhPBB to serve as both my forum platform and my blogging platform. The only "usage" difference in between when I "blog" versus when I "start a new discussion" is that a blog requires a more elaborate, lengthy initial post that is presented slightly differently, and with a slightly more advanced editing interface. And then, it's all about how the posts are presented that differentiate them from blog versus a forum.

If one rewrites the requirements in terms of a SCRUM user story, one quickly sees how close both the forum and the blog user stories are. Under the hood, the same engine can serve up both.

What I am suggesting is that PhPBB requires only some "blog" style themes, and some very, very minor tweaks to the software to turn it into a dual forum/blogging platform. Why wouldn't one take advantage of that? I would not ask about this if I didn't think it would benefit others.

The SEO stuff (permalinks) is already available via mods. Personally, I think it should be default and part of PhPBB, but that's another story unrelated to blogs.

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DavidIQ
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby DavidIQ » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:11 am

Not sure if you ran into this but that would be a way to eliminate your WordPress installation ;)
Image

that1dude
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby that1dude » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:11 am

to OP, on your site top, left it says, You are here: home > cafe index

the red text is a broken link, it refers to, http://www.cloudforest/com

;)

nickc25
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby nickc25 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:53 pm

Hi
How was you able to integrate wordpress and phpBB? I need to be able to have my blog users access forum and vice versa. Finding it hard to find a suitable bridge. THanks

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callumacrae
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby callumacrae » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:13 pm

nickc25 wrote:Hi
How was you able to integrate wordpress and phpBB? I need to be able to have my blog users access forum and vice versa. Finding it hard to find a suitable bridge. THanks

/me waves nickc35 over to phpbb.com

Also, a quick google search returns WP-United

~Callum
"In JavaScript, there is a beautiful, elegant, highly expressive language that is buried under a steaming pile of good intentions and blunders"
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still giving
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby still giving » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:37 am

nn- wrote:Can you explain the benefits of your proposed features for communities other than your own?


Oh, for God's sake nn-, be a little more sweet and joyful and less turgid.

The poster is correct both in their analysis of a market demand and the technical possibilities (i.e. pulling the required information out of the database).

What is the market demand? 99.9% of forums need - or would be improved by having - a seamless front end on them ... not a stylesheet hack, not a soon to be neglected and forgotten lash up MOD - like phpBB portal or WP-United - but a solid, built in front end. Already a high proportion do.

Pleased do not be ignorant of that. Remove the blinkers off the side of your head and face reality. The argument that "we cannot provide everyone with everything" is a tired, straw man argument.

What the hell is a forum without a front end? How can people tell? How does it look to the world? How many sites do not need half a dozen static pages to define them? Wordpress is overkill for that and a disconnected element. The Blog MOD does not act as a front end.

I entirely concur with this poster. I faced the same problems and went through the same struggle, and am still laboring with a failing lash up of Wordpress + phpBB + Mediawiki.

The primary benefit would be in search facilities because there are no good, overall, search solutions for lash-up sites. Theming would also be made much easier reducing duplicated work for community builders for whom our work is really for ... to enable them not belabor them with endless css hacking.

The world has moved on and demands more of us, look at how Ning, Facebook, OpenScholar, Drupal Commons and a dozen other platforms have developed. Auttomatic (Wordpress) ... forget it. They are never going to get around to a decent discussion forum. bbPress is Matt Mullenweg's poor, deprived, underfed love child and God knows why he keep Buddypress going. It desperately needs some UI input.

It would be one hell of a lot easier to do what Wordpress does with phpBB than what phpBB does with Wordpress and it would certainly be my choice to stick with phpBB as the underlying engine if it was available.

worldsight
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby worldsight » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:20 pm

Here is the way you do this until PhPBB decides to enter the Web 2.0 world: (They may resist, and the platform will dive into obscurity in the shadows of wordpress and Elgg.org, the new social networking platform. I like PhPBB because of it's superior moderation tools and advanced security and user management - this is missing in the other platforms.)

1) You need a new layout - I used twentyten, very compatible with blogging and social networking. The layout plays a big factor to be able to introduce the other features.

2) Install PhPBB SEO - that's 90% of the features that WP provides.

3) Create a layout for Blog versus Discussion: the only difference with the blog is that you would have the main post, same as before, but at the bottom you have comments, and the button says "Add a Comment" instead of "Post Reply". The replies start with the most recent and go down from there. This can all be done using the templates as opposed to coding anything.

4) Write your own index.php based on the newsfeed from PhPBB SEO. You just need to make a few modifications to make it look like the WP home page.

That's all you need.

Regarding PhPBB, IMHO, to stay competitive with all the other platforms, it will need to integrate the following mods as part of its foundation:
- PhPBB SEO
- Social Mod (now at 0.5.2 release)
- blogging support
- new Web 2.0 layouts

There is an incredible resistance in the PhPBB community to move forward, simply because many PhPBB community members don't understand how end user behavior has changed as a result of Web 2.0. For example, there is no default E-mail notifications in PhPBB. You have to hack it yourself. THis was my end users number 1 complaint. Yes, they WANT to be notified by default when someone replies to any of their contributions. This is new behavior - thanks to Facebook, Twitter and the likes. Users need this, otherwise, they will never come back to your site, because thousands of pieces of content on the web are calling them for their attention. WP has this by default, but the PhPBB old timers resist this simply because they "don't want to be spammed". It's just a very different culture from the Modern Web 2.0 world of blogging and social networking.

PhPBB could use some solid Web 2.0 product management to bring it into the 21st Century.

still giving
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Re: Can I throw away my WordPress installation?

Postby still giving » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:36 pm

worldsight wrote:Here is the way you do this until PhPBB decides to enter the Web 2.0 world: (They may resist, and the platform will dive into obscurity in the shadows of wordpress and Elgg.org, the new social networking platform. I like PhPBB because of it's superior moderation tools and advanced security and user management - this is missing in the other platforms.)

Thanks.

I agree entirely with what you say above regarding phpBB "diving into obscurity", especially if it is ruled by the nn-umbskull attitude of "its only a discussion forum and it will only ever be a discussion forum". I have not looked at Elgg for a while but check out Harvard's "Open Scholar" built on Drupal to see how good the cutting edge is.

Will have a look at your recommendation.

A blog front end, to a discussion forum, should be as simple and default as a option to click. Who does not want half a dozen pages telling folks what their site is all about?


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