Most beautiful FORUM **design** you've seen? (any software)

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by eclipse, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. eclipse macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #1
    OK,
    I'm trying to get my head around Joomla, and they have an EASY 1 click install forum called Agora. Problem is, it's dog ugly (but today I got Dreamweaver so hopefully will have some help with my CSS editing... trying to learn everything at once here OK? AND the kids are home on holidays still! :confused:)

    Anyway, Agora. It's ugly. It's got GREAT support for a Joomla extension, it seems quite powerful, but... eewww. (I've GOT to learn my CSS FASTER!)

    So I got to wondering, what makes up a beautiful forum, and what's the best integrated forum design you've done/seen/been involved in, and what software did you use to integrate it into the rest of the site? Or... just what have you seen that you just found beautiful (as beautiful as forums can be... they do have to cater for all those threads and that usually means a grid).
     
  2. Elixer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    #2
    I never heard of agora before. The forum software I use is Simple Machines Forum with Tiny Portal installed. Here is a link to my forum that I created to give you an idea what can be done, http://www.petgrowth.com. I recently did a redesign and there are a few minor things I still have to work out.
     
  3. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #3
    Wow, that's really nice. I was just about decided on SMF when only last night I discovered that styling it requires knowledge of php. Now, I'm only at this 'part time' and am having trouble devoting enough time to XHTML / CSS and dreamweaver, so learning php is a bit too much. Also, I have an activist group waiting eagerly for me to tidy up the site. So it looks like Wordpress has a Dreamweaver bridge, and bbpress of course then plugs into my Wordpress theme. :D

    The sad thing about bbpress is that it just requires so much extra work in setting up all those plugins. Both Agora and SMF, once it's installed it's all there! But even with 15 to 20 plug ins to install, that's easier than trying to learn phpb!:eek:
     
  4. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #4
    SMF is an awesome board, I've spent a while getting quite handy at it, problem is I'm pretty damn lazy these days and haven't gotten the energy out of myself to make a theme for the heck of it..

    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg311/OoTLink/Picture2-2.png?t=1232615933

    I'm totally confident I can make the top (current actual SMF theme) look like the bottom (my Photoshop concept of said theme :)) - I just haven't finished it yet!

    Here's an old one:
    http://ootlink.deviantart.com/art/playing-with-forum-design-57701756

    Wish I had more screenshots of that, sadly the machines I had this code on got stolen :( IT SUCKS!! I had just finished making a new "post reply" forum and it was SA-WEET!
     
  5. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #5
    Is there an easy way to say, just pick a theme and then change the header? I agree that SMF seems great, even this review sang it's praises.

    http://www.a3webtech.com/index.php/compare-forums.html

    It's just I'M not that great... I don't know php, and can't get my head around what they mean by themes, templates, and sub-templates. I just want 1 CSS file to edit, a bit like Joomla, but this forum theme tinkering seems whacked out.
     
  6. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #6
    If you go to tinyportal.net you'll find a lot of themes. It's funny because by default SMF is really ugly but the guy that did it makes themes for it that are pretty nice :)
     
  7. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #7
    Thanks for that. Does TP keep a separate database for the blogs and the forums? Our group is new, and I suck at all this... but hopefully as our activist group grows we'll attract some new super-Geeks.

    So future flexibility and migration is something I'm keeping in mind.

    Do themes for SMF easily incorporate into TP, or does TP design themes for the whole TP/SMF integrated package?

    I think I'm starting to really like SMF — you may have a new convert here. ;)
     
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #8
    Just to answer your simple question with a simple answer. Invision Power Board. Just check out Neowin's forum for an example of what can be done. It not only looks fantastic (the default IPB theme is good looking itself), but it's quite powerful for the user end. The downside is that it isn't free. SMF looks like a good (free?) copy though.

    I don't know much more than that as I don't admin my own forum. I just know what I like as an end user. So far IPB has yet to be beat in the form/function dept.
     
  9. Chedam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #9
    I personally use the MyBB Forum Software, and love it. Extremely simple to set up and use, and the themes from their site (in particular the "Afresh" series) make it look beautiful. Take my forum for example.

    MacFeats

    It uses the Afresh Pearl theme with a custom banner. I've never had a single issue with the system, and it's updated regularly. Hope this helps.
     
  10. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #10
    I like it, especially the nice banner at the top. Is that easy to update, just in the CSS?

    I only vaguely know CSS, and am utterly intimidated by systems that need php or whatever to edit the theme. I'm just looking for a clean integrated forum theme, possibly with a blog plug in that acts as the "home page" for the "forum" but doesn't interrupt the banner. Does your software have that? What's the support like? SMF forums have been a bit slow to answer questions, if they answer them at all.
     
  11. Chedam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #11
    Lets put it this way. I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to CSS. But the code sheets were quite easy to manipulate, and the custom banner is as simple as replacing the default in the theme folder with your own.

    EDIT - Sorry for not answering all questions. As far as I know there is a bridge between Joomla and MyBB, but it's currently in Beta. I use the Portal plugin from the MyBB site and it's enough, as it has the latest announcements on it as well as Board Statistics. Support is great. Have a look through the plugins section of their site and see if you can find any additional components that would help.

    MyBB Site/
     
  12. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #12
    But for manual archiving, it looks like it has everything SMF has... except the big thing is support. SMF may have just been busy on the tail end of the "silly system".

    http://www.forummatrix.org/compare/MyBB+SMF
     
  13. Chedam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #13
    Looking at the comparison you linked to, it seems MyBB is rather similar, but has a few more features. It's up to you.
     
  14. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #14
    I haven't checked out MyBB yet, but I wouldn't pay for Invision when SMF is free (and allows, at least compared to IPB 2x, a lot more customizability). Invision is a bit more like Drupal where SMF is more like Mambo/Joomla (in terms of flexibility).

    It's not a bad board, it just doesn't take to hardcore theme editing that well. Seriously though, there's a lot of decent SMF themes out there:

    http://custom.simplemachines.org/themes/

    The nice thing about SMF is the possibilities are damn near endless. Invision tends to store its code in the database which is REALLY irritating >_>
     
  15. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #15
    Does this affect how we backup... SMF doesn't have an auto-backup yet does it?
     

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