Ninja Post Review

(November 11, 2010 22:56)
Last Version 1.0 (November 11th, 2010). Released under Custom License.
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About Ninja Post:

Ninja Post is a very recent project, started in the beginning of 2010, and could be considered as mature even if it is still young. Its architecture based on the cloud (the new marketing name for hosted forum software) and its deep links with modern tools and services (Google Accounts, Facebook & Twitter) are choices made by its main author because this is what most forum softwares lack according to him. And this is quite true, as, most of the times, Facebook and Twitter are just plugged to the forum and the community, but are not centralizing and defining the key features of the software.

Ninja Post could be sum up with the following quote from its author:

Mike Wilt wrote:
Ninja Post combines the speed and simplicity of chat with the structure a traditional message board. Ninja Post doesn't have all the features as, say, vBulletin or phpBB but I think that's a good thing.

Let's see what is behind this good intention!

Nina Post Prices:

White Belt
$50 for Six Months Forum Hosting
Orange Belt
$100 for Custom Design + Six Months Forum Hosting
Green Belt
From $250 for New Website + Six Months Forum Hosting
Black Belt
SSO Integration: Bridge your existing user database with your Ninja Post forum.

Review Updates:

  • November 11, 2010: First Review.

Ninja Post is recommended for Medium Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Client Requirements

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.
HTML, Javascript, AJAX, CSS.
Localization
Languages supported by Ninja Post.
No.
No.

Ninja Post - Setup

To setup your Free Trial, you simply need an available "forum" subdomain, that you could configure to point to Ninja Post servers, a Google Account, and that's it, your forum software is ready!

This is indeed very common, because by default, your forum software is already located at the right URL, and the content is not hot loaded from Javascript.

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
Thread Icons No Topic Tags No
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics No Sticky Threads No
Related Threads No Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements No
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Plain Text
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
No
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
No.
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
Yes Message Quoting Yes

Ninja Post - Latest Threads

Threads and posting are essential features of Ninja Post, and a specific attention has been set to let them be as effective as possible. According to Mike Wilt, new posts come like tweets in your Twitter account: you do not need to refresh manually the page to detect changes, the forum does this for you.

This is particularly useful when your answering on a very active topics, where new posts arrive at a very fast rate. Traditional forum softwares do not use this feature due to a risk of heavy loading, but remember that Ninja Post is not hosted on your servers, so you have all the benefits without the risks!

Mike Wilt wrote:
When viewing a thread there's no need to refresh the page; replies come through automatically. One problem I experienced with traditional forum software is that I'd type out a reply and by the time I pressed "send" the conversation had changed or the original question had been answered. That's why I created a "real time" forum that updates instantly.

This is why Ninja Post could also be considered as a mix between chats and forum: advantages of the both worlds are finally reunified.

About ordering and organizing the forum, Ninja Post uses the new way of sorting data: let the computer does this for you. Dynamic and popular discussions will go first, where useless or redundant conversations are put at the end.

Mike Wilt wrote:

I also did away with sub forums in favor of a "melting pot" approach. I initially created an extensive
tagging/categorization system that allowed users to "drill down" but it added too much complexity for too little benefit. I found it best to rank threads according to two factors: (1) popularity (How many
replies does the thread have?) and (2) decay (How old is the thread?). It's a very "dumb" algorithm but it works pretty well.

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation No
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Yes
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Yes
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.
Yes
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
No.

Ninja Post - New Thread

Polls and Calendar lovers will be disappointed: you won't find them in Ninja Post. Clearly, we really don't care about calendar, but polls are often a good way to start a discussion, and we must admit we miss it a little bit

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Ninja Post 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.
Yes
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

Ninja Post - User Inbox

As Ninja Post aim is to be very simple, some features were sacrificed for this purpose. You will not find either user signatures or calendars.

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.
Moderator per section Yes
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.
-
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,...
Yes
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 Yes
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

Administration Panel is really easy to use and to understand, as we expected.

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...
Yes 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.
Installation Wizard
Upgrading Method
How this forum software could be upgraded.
Upgrade Wizard
Updates Notifications
The Admin Panel informs you when a new version is released.
No
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to Ninja Post.
No.

Ninja Post Administration - Statistics

Database and Additional Tools are not something you have to take into account: everything is managed in the cloud, so stay cool and profit of the remote services.

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

Security is mainly transferred to Google with the usage of Google Accounts. That's a really good thing because the everyday usage of the forum is not polluted with annoying CAPTCHA and security questions.

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...
CMS / Blog Bridges
Integration with existing Web publishing tools.
  • WordPress
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.

Ninja Post Administration - Design

Google Accounts, Twitter and Facebook are available and are very well integrated per default, which is just perfect for a modern "socialized" community.

Ninja Post Administration - Banner and Skyscraper

The "Black Belt" subscription allows your forum to be SSO with your existing website, and therefore, you can delegate to main Ninja Post developer the task to make your website to communicate with the forum.

Theming

It's possible to theme your forum by defining additional CSS rules, defining top menu entries, main logo and so on. Everything is supported through the administration panel, which is perfect when you need to modify something quickly AND remotely.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
HTML 4.01.
HTML 4.01
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.
No accessibility.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Yes
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does Ninja Post correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Ninja Post unique:

  • Highly coupled with Google Accounts
  • Autorefreshing of Threads and Posts
  • Organizing automatically threads

Final Words


Good.

Ninja Post impressed us a lot. This project is young and very dynamic, simple and attractive. Finally, it seems that a new generation of forum software is necessary to make this world from 2000 to evolve to today's practices.

Obviously, some choices made by the main developer could annoy people used with classic forum software (who said "user signatures"? Wink, but these missing features are clearly not the spirit of forum, so you can survive without them with ease.

Additional Resources:

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