A fast question.
I have two sites using IP.Board. One of them is still being planned and worked on, the other is small but active community of regulars.
For both of these sites, I had considered many solutions for 'content management'.
I considered using Joomla and bridging it with the forums, although I was not overly impressed with the lack of documentation covering the specifics of their templating system and the relative inflexibility of the article componant, it was still free and easily managed from the browser.
I considered using other content-management systems including Drupal but I found they just didn't quite cut the mustard.
That has me thinking about IP.Content. From what I've been reading up on it since it was announced, it is prettymuch what I would be looking for out of the bag. So what I want to know is this:
Could I have IP.Content running on a seperate subdomain.. or is it too tightly integrated with IP.Board to make this possible?
What I was hoping for was:
www.mysite.com -> IP.Content pages
forums.mysite.com -> IP.Board forums.
I can appreciate if this is not possible to do and it's largely an asthetic thing for me, but I thought I'd ask and see.
Another area that vB has the advantage: Per Forum, Usergroup Overrides
Basically, as with IPB's usergroups, you can configure a number of options/permissions for that usergroup, and they apply globally. On vBulletin however, you can override all of these permissions/options on a per-forum level for every usergroup, and they will apply to users in those groups, only for those forums.
vB's soft-delete feature is quite useful actually. If when deleting a thread, the post/thread goes to the trash as usual, but, leaving a link in the original thread/forum for moderators and optionally members to see, include an undelete button to automatically restore the post/thread back to the source thread/forum, and you have your soft-delete. The main difference being, you can allow regular members to see that a thread was deleted, and the reason given, but not allow them to see the contents of the deleted thread. It also gives staff a fast reference to see why a staffer removed a given thread and if necessary, undelete it or optionally hard-delete it.
As for the edit-history, this would be more useful to have, than a soft-delete. But the rationale is probably.. most members don't have the permission to edit posts older than X minutes, so, it doesnt matter. Still on one of my sites, members do have this ability and it can't be set on a per-forum basis like I would want, since IPB doesnt support yet another vB feature that's sorely needed... per-forum usergroup overrides. With an edit-history, there's accountability.. suppose a member posts a bunch of faeces about another.. then goes back and edits it when the other member retaliates.. with IPB as it is.. it's not easy to see what the instigator posted if he/she removes the incriminating post.. and it makes it look like the other started it.
If I could add these features with a handy modification I would.
There is another feature, that seems to be unique to vBulletin, but should be fairly simple to add to the new codebase.. user ranks, seperate from user titles, such that if a user sets a custom title, it doesnt override/replace their post-count rank. While vBulletin has a strange implementation by keeping these completely seperate, I have seen one advantage to their setup that I would like to see available in IPB 3.1. Particularly with respect to customising the text and having multiple assigned ranks seperate from, but associated with, the user's primary/secondary user-groups.
IPB: A users title, is set according to their post-count rank, cannot be styled or adjusted with HTML, and under normal circumstances only an administrator can change it until they reach set amount of posts. A users title, if changed, overrides the post-rank title they would otherwise have. A user gets rank-pips or a custom image associated with their current post-count rank, which is overridden when the user's primary group is changed to one that has a custom image set. A user's group title can be customised and is displayed below the rank bar, "Group: Admins".
vB: A users title, is initially set according to their post-count, and overriden if a default title is set on their user-group, "Admins". A users rank, is also set, according to their postcount and usergroup, and a user can have multiple ranks, ranks can be images or text formatted using HTML.
Is it possible, then, to have it where if a user and/or an admin sets their own custom title it just slots in above their avatar.
To drop the custom-group image that would override a members rank-pips/rank-image and replace it with stackable ranks.
Stackable ranks being either images or html-formattable text that can be assigned to a usergroup (and displayed for members of that group) or for all groups and shown underneath the users avatar.
This would enable admins to have a standard set of post-count rank 'titles' and optional images for each rank-title (by making the text and image either/or), as well as custom 'titles' that are assigned to the member's usergroup such as having a seperate rank image for Moderators, Admins or General site staff. Admins can also optionally, have no rank-titles and just have images for each rank, and still allow members to have a custom title.
On one site I frequent, this is used to grant an additional title to staff on the main website who may not be staff on the forums while allowing them to have their own custom user titles and seperate rank-title based on their posts.
I think it has the advantage of moving all this related code into the one place, having the one system for managing the whole lot, independent of the usergroup system as well as adding a little more flexibility to the postbit display that could be exploited to good effect.
Trying to stay somewhat impartial here, dispite being a contented IPS Customer.
My day job.. I deal with customers all the time, and there is a fine art, in dealing with an unhappy customer. Some people have it, some people just don't.
IPB was recommended to me, when I was looking for a good forum system to replace phpBB and I was also considering vBulletin at the time.
I never liked the feel of vBulletin from an end-user perspective.
I didn't wish to have to keep paying $80 every year, just to be allowed to use it.
vBulletin's owned licence was more expensive than IPB's then perpetual licence.
IPB's Yearly licence gave me the freedom not to renew, and still be allowed to use the software.
When I did get a copy of vBulletin, to play with.. I found the requirement to enter your customer number, before the installer would work, reminiscent of XP's Product Activation.
I found vBulletin's ACP to be horribly laid out and awkward to navigate.
IPB's was nicely grouped under the different tabs, with the main options neatly listed on the left navigation bar, which made managing my forum a great deal more intuitive.
vBulletin has some features that I would like to see in IPB.. like per-forum overrides to usergroup permissions.. but having used both systems, as a user, as a moderator and as an administrator, I have grown to prefer IPB.
The few times I needed to phone IPS to resolve issues with billing, the staff that took my calls have always been very friendly, and very polite. IPS has got good customer service skills, and this is as important as having good products.
I would love the ability to override a usergroup's permissions on a per-forum basis the way you can with vBulletin.
Example: You run a company board, with a "help desk" forum, you want to give members the ability to open/close their own topics in that section, but not across the entire board. At present this cannot be done with IPB3, but it can with vBulletin.
I would also love a "changelog", such that when a member or moderator edits their post after so many minutes the edited-by link would bring up a post comparison option. This would be very useful, if a moderator edits a members post, as you could see what was edited out and compare the versions. It is also useful if a member tries to delete their posts by editing them as you could see what was previously written.
I would like to see the reputation system expanded to include the 'standard' features present in other systems, including the mods for IPB 2.3 and vBulletin:
When giving a member rep, member should be required to enter a reason.
Members should be able to list in their profile, the different reps given to them by other members.
Require members to rep X number of other members, before being allowed to rep the same member again (useful to prevent someone neg-repping the same person over and over).
Okay, with the first problem I have been having, it seems to be an issue with Squid 2.6, and these forums using GZip encoding, so Im happy I figured that out.. but I have no answer for the other problems I have experienced, and I can only hope they are bugs that will be eliminated.
Okay.. just a few things.
First, is there a reason these forums go down every evening/night (British Time)? Yesterday, the previous few nights, when I tried to browse these forums to report issues I have had with IPB 3 Beta 4, Im presented with an error message from Firefox telling me that it could not open the page, because the site was using a compression/encoding scheme that Fx didnt understand. I couldnt open the page in IE either.
Has anyone else noticed this issue, or is it possibly a result of using a transparent proxy (I run my own local caching proxy server)?
Second, IP.Board Beta 4 wouldnt work, nor install on my local testing server: CentOS 5.2, PHP 5.1.6
I had hoped that I could upgrade from a backup copy of my forum, but all I got were blank pages when I tried to access the upgrader. I got no error messages, just those blank pages. I uploaded and upgraded a copy on my main server instead, using a subdomain. THe upgrader gave me errors but otherwise worked. There are a few glitches though... There is no "discussion" tab showing where the other module's have their tabs on the top of the page. I cant access the Private Messages/Conversations as I get an error message instead. The app installer in the ACP still doesnt work quite right, when you go to use it, your left with blank options. It doesnt seem to be finished yet. The forum in question is here: http://beta.everything-dragon.com/forum
Hopefully these issues will be fixed... though CentOS 5.3 will be out before then, so PHP 5.2 will become standard-place.
Im happy to wait, though Im putting off any serious work on my site in terms of mods and the like, until the release of the unencoded version and some decent developer documentation, what was released with IPB2 was rather lacking.
I've been hearing a lot of good things about PostGreSQL myself, but I hear a lot of conflicting information, particularly over which RDBMS is the best solution, since both PostGreSQL and MySQL are open-source and freely available, unlike MS-SQL and Oracle.
One person told me, MySQL is closer to Standard-Compliant SQL, that PostGreSQL has a lot more "isms" that break's compatibility.
Another person has told me, that PostGreSQL is closer to the standard, and scales better.
Another, the project manager for a very popular bittorrent client, finds that MySQL scales badly and isnt multithreaded.
I have noticed that on any site that gains a reasonably large amount of traffic, MySQL buckles under the load on a single server, though that could easily be a result of running Apache with prefork, which is rather inefficient, especially on servers that have multiple CPU's.