Only recently joined up - This is a my second post here.
In my introduction (first post), I mentioned that I've been slowly developing a foruming orientated CMS in my spare time at home for the past few years.
I originally developed this foruming CMS software for my own purposes, with no intention of ever distributing it commercially, freely, or really launching it to the public one way or another, other than in the context of a private website that I was operating some several years ago but had since shut down. However, in process of developing the software, I actually found it more fun and more gratifying building the software than operating it, and though the website I originally built it for wasn't relevant any longer, I ended up continuing to develop it anyhow, and ended up eventually opening another website using the same software for other purposes and hosting four other communities using the same software (I'm hosting about five communities at the moment).
Because I'm the only person developing this, and it's pretty much always just in my spare time when I'm not bogged down with other things (like work and etcetera), development has been slow. But it is continuous. Naturally, there are many features which aren't completed yet, but, these features are just bells and whistles, and so far as the actual forum functionality and functionality of the software as an operating CMS goes, it's been complete for a while now.
Anyhow, the reason that I'm actually posting this thread, is partially to show off (and of course, the offer for free forum hosting is always on the tables, and I'd love to see people interested in that, but, honestly, I don't see my software as particularly competitive at this time, don't have any illusions about it, I'm not well known, plus, I can think of a few reasons that people would go elsewhere which I won't get into now because it's mostly irrelevant), but mostly, I was hoping to get a bit of basic advice - General stuff, like suggestions, comments, ideas and the likes, but also, I was wondering - If I was to convert this into an actual proper service and the likes (such as along the lines of Conforums, ProBoards, InvisionFree, MyBB and etc), how exactly would I go about doing that?
Of the five communities that I'm currently hosting, three are private, so I'll omit linking to them here, but the other two are public, so I'll link them below (for the purposes of this thread):
http://www.zyrv.com/ - Zyrv.com Project - Nobody posts there anymore or uses it for anything anymore, so I ended up dumping a soundclick widget linking to some of my original music compositions on the main page (sort of a portal, I guess), but everything is still accessible - If you click the 'Forum', 'Library' or 'Archive' links on the top of the page, it'll direct you to the various parts of the site.
http://www.gamejaunt.com/ - Game Jaunt - Active and on-going community (though suffering from a fair bit of inactivity over the past few months). No portal - Loading the site goes straight to the forums.
I've also noticed that on the front portal of this website (Forum Software .org), that there are some brief specs listed for the top #4 reviewed forum software packages available as per rating at this website. I'll use that as a basis to give a quick run-down of what I've got with mine (minus the user reviews bit, of course, seeing as mine hasn't actually ever been reviewed by anyone).
Technology - PHP/MySQL.
Ergonomy - Not sure how to rate this. Omitting until I understand this.
Themes - Yes, but very limited and restricted - Like I said, I'm the only one developing this, and I'm not particularly graphically minded, so there's only about 4 themes available at the moment, and they all look fairly similar.
Antispam - Yes. Very strong antispam features. Inbuilt honeypot systems and cross-network spambot reporting.
Plugins - Some, but not many. Seeing as it has been for personal use thus far, anything I've wanted, I've basically just built in as a normal feature. Exceptions are things that require Java applets, which I've found tend to run more smoothly as plugins than inbuilt features.
Social - MySpace, Facebook, deviantArt, YouTube, Twitter (additional support for other services planned, but in no particular rush at this stage).
Forum Style - Threaded.
Chat Plugin - Yes.
Post Rating - No.
Polls - Not yet (but planned for the future).
Attachments - Yes.
User Ranks - Yes (custom ranks will appear under usernames in posts, but post ranks will not - Post ranks and custom ranks both appear in profile. Intentionally omitted post rank from posts to avoid having users posting senseless posts purely to increase their post count).
Smileys - Yes (smilies can be customised based on a user's "persona").
License - Propriety License (?) - Privately developed, never released, but not commercial either.
Sorry for the wall-o-text. I'm both a roleplayer and amateur writer, so it's a habit of mine.
Hi (again) Maikuolan,
Indeed, your forum software looks nice, and it's definitely true that it takes ages before gaining popularity and success for the software you develop. Anyway, I can see that you are supporting most important features, so, for sure, you are on the right rails!
I think that the most important is to get feedback from your communities, in order to really see what they expect from your soft, and what you can make everybody happy in the available time you have.
FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.
That is very true - The community (almost!) always knows what it wants, and is generally a fairly good source of ideas and inspiration. It's always nice to be able to get outside suggestions and ideas too, however. Inner community sourced ideas can be lacking or absent, at times, on occasion. But yeah, you're right. XD
Thanks for the compliments! I appreciate it. It's nice to know when I'm on the right track - I rarely get feedback of any kind whatsoever, so something as simple and telling me I'm not completely falling off the rails and going in the wrong direction, does help - Boosts confidence, too.
Indeed, it does take ages. Especially with the younger generation and those caught up entirely in the social networking culture - Forums generally don't seem to hold the same appeal as social networking sites for those sort. But, we keep doing whatever we can nonetheless.
Thought I'd ask, on that note - Would you interested or keen on testing out a demo of my software? Would be great to be able to get feedback from an administrative or operating perspective.
That's really true, forums look like social networks of the last decade, and it's something that look really more complex for a younger public (unfortunately, I should mention).
It would be nice, but, unfortunately, as you can see here: http://www.forum-software.org/next-forum-reviews the list is already quite full. Hopefully, I can provide you a small feedback in the following months, but I can't promise you anything
Too right.. Personally, I prefer sticking to forum based communities. Admittedly, I do use social networking sites - But this is entirely because of peer pressure, and the sheer number of people that I know that I would not be capable of communicating with otherwise. But, I find spending too much time on social networking sites really drives me up the walls - The on-going and wide-spread habit of many to post content without any context (thus leaving their friends wondering what the hell they're writing about), the -expectation- that every one of their friends will instantly know of every last thing they post about on social networking sites (which is fine, if you're actually on there 24/7, but for me and others out there that generally only check their social networking accounts when asked to, or if they check it spontaneously, usually, only skim the first few posts), the general anti-social qualities of social networking sites and the inhibiting qualities it has towards it's user's social capacities, etcetera and etcetera.. I'll stop myself short there, because, frankly, I could easily go on for an eternity. I recognise that social networking is undeniably where the current culture of the internet is at, and that it's likely the future of the internet as we know it.. But it doesn't mean that I have to "Like" it. In any case, I still like spending my time on internet forums. May we both prosper in our ways until we're grey and old.
Ouch.. Had a thorough look through that list. That, is certainly quite a big list - Looks like you've got your work cut out for you! x.x
Some feedback would be really nice - I'd like that, and appreciate it a lot. As for the wait, I don't mind at all - I don't mind waiting, and even if it's a year or two down the track, I still think it'd be nice, and the offer for a demo run stands indefinitely. And, no promises, no worries - Even if nothing happens, I'll still appreciate the sentiment nonetheless - I've got a rather massive to-do list of my own, and I completely get it. It probably would've been just as easy for you to turn around and give the cold shoulder, but, you've offered a courteous reply instead, so I can't complain or anything.
May your to-do list shrink with haste and ease, and be swiftly replaced by a list of accomplishments (or, good luck, in other words).
Yes, for sure, Social Networks are not going to entirely replace our dear forums, so, i also do think our sector will still be interesting and full of perspectives.
Thanks, each day I'm looking at it makes me a bit more desesperate