NearForums Review

(November 24, 2010 13:45)
Last Version March 20th, 2012 (8.0). Released under MIT License.
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About NearForums

NearForums is a recent forum project, based on the ASP.NET MVC framework, and has been released for the first time in June 2010. Its main developer, Jorge Bay has chosen the GPL to license his work. Since 4.1 release, note that the license changed to MIT, to give more permissive rights to eventual forks.

Review Updates:

  • July 13, 2010: First Review.
  • November 24th, 2010: New features listed with the release 4.1 (Twitter OAuth, Single sign on using OpenId, enhanced dashboard for admins/moderators, Admin status page, Fix potential injections and XSS attacks, Email notifications of new posts, Messages and threads posted by user on user detail page).

NearForums is recommended for Small Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • ASP.Net
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
Databases
How Forum Data are Stored.
  • MySQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server
Operating Systems
Systems Supporting this Software.
  • GNU/LinuxGNU/Linux
  • BSD UnixBSD Unix
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
Browser & Client Requirements
Compatible Browsers
List of Compatible Browsers.
Mozilla FirefoxMozilla FirefoxInternet ExplorerInternet Explorer
Google ChromeGoogle ChromeOperaOpera
Apple SafariApple SafariKonquerorKonqueror
Mozilla SeaMonkeyMozilla SeaMonkey
Required Plugins/Technologies
Additional or Basic Requirements from Client Side.
Javascript, AJAX.
Localization
Languages supported by NearForums.
No.
No.
Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
No.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability
No.

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • Tags
Thread Icons No Topic Tags Yes
Hot Topics - Unread Topics No
Hidden Topics No Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads Yes Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements No
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • WYSIWYG Editor
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
No
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
  • Use BBCode or HTML. Need to type the URL of an already hosted image.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
No.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments No Syntax Highlighting No
Message Rating
No Message Quoting Yes

Note that the post form is based on CKEditor, a really famous and powerful WYSIWYG editor. Note that the forum organization is also done using tags, that help members to look for topics linked to specific keywords.

Stickying threads is something possible when you are an administrator or a moderator. It indeed help to keep important information on top of other topics.

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation No
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
No
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
No
Calendar
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
No
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
No
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
No
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
No.
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
R
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
Yes
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
No
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
No.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
No
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
No.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about NearForums features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
No
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Yes
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
No
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
No
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Yes
Avatars
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
No
Signature
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
No
Ranks
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)
No

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation
Post-Moderation The moderation is done afterwards, if an administrator notices a problem or if a member reports something wrong. Each message is therefore directly published.
Reactive Moderation By reporting any problems, members are reactive against moderation problems. Moderators' main objective is to regularly check user reports, without having to follow each threads.
Distributed Moderation By organizing the forum around moderators, who are usually power and experienced users, moderation is self-powered and only depends on the community.
Moderator per section No
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
Yes
Shadow Topics
When a thread is moved, the previous position is kept in order to inform users of this modification.
No
Close/Lock Threads
Close/Lock Problematic Threads
Yes
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
No
User Registration
  • Free Registration
  • User Account created by Administrator
  • Confirmation sent by email for validation
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
No
Guest Posting No
Multiple Administrators Yes
Send Warnings to Users
Inform users by email or PM that they infringe the board rules, and could be excluded for such behavior.
No
Forum/Section Restricted Access
ACL could be use to determine if a user or a group of users can access (in read only, post message) to some sections and topics.
No
User Banishment No

Administration & Support

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
No
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
No
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
No
Administration Tools
Statistics
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
No Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
No
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
No Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
No
Installation & Upgrading
Installation Method
How this forum software could be installed.
Manual Installation
Upgrading Method
How this forum software could be upgraded.
Manual Upgrading
Updates Notifications
The Admin Panel informs you when a new version is released.
No
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to NearForums.
No.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
CAPTCHA
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
No
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
No
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
No
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
No
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.
No

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
No.
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
No.
Custom BBCodes No Smiley Packs No
Custom
Thread Icons
No Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
No
Integration with Applications, Social Networks, Intranet...
Social Networks
Users can share information from their social network account...
No.
CMS / Blog Bridges
Integration with existing Web publishing tools.
No.
User Accounts Integration
Do users be able to log in with their corporate, Google, Facebook,... accounts?
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).
No.

The account management is only based on Facebook Connect, which means that your users will need a Facebook account in order to log in and post to your forum.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
XHTML 1.0 Strict.
XHTML 1.0 Strict
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
CSS 2.
CSS 2
Click to see if it respects CSS norms.
Accessibility (WAI)
Web Accessibility ensures that the forum is usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.
Conformance to AA level.
AA
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Yes
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does NearForums correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

Final Words


Good.

NearForums looks very promising. Even if it's still a young project, we are quite sure that the next versions and future improvements will make it better and better. It's good to see this kind of Web 2.0 project growing up on other platform than the classic PHP / MySQL.

More over, the choice of open source is well done for this forum engine on the .Net platform.

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Comments (3)

Hi, this review is for v4.1

Hi,
this review is for v4.1 and i just saw that v8.0 is out.
Any chance of getting this review updated?
Thanks

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Software maintenance refers

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michleadam19's picture

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