Viscacha Review

(April 17, 2009 22:57)
Last Version 0.8 RC7 (March 8, 2009). Released under GPL License.
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What is Viscacha?

Viscacha is a free bulletin board system integrating a content management system (CMS). It supports plugins (called 'packages') in order to extend the possibility of the basis system.

Viscacha is recommended for Medium Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • PHP 4
  • PHP 5
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 1.3
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Lighttpd
  • Nginx
Databases
How Forum Data are Stored.
  • MySQL
Operating Systems
Systems Supporting this Software.
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
  • GNU/LinuxGNU/Linux
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.
Localization
Languages supported by Viscacha.
Yes.
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
  • URL Redirection Forum
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons Yes Topic Tags -
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements -
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Plain Text
  • Formatting Buttons
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • HTML
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
-
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 Yes Syntax Highlighting -
Message Rating
Yes Message Quoting Yes

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation Yes
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Yes
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).
Yes
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Yes
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
  • Portal
  • CMS
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.
No
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
-
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.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Viscacha features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Yes
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.
Yes
Ranks
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)
Yes

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation No.
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.
Yes
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 No.
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
-
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.
Yes
User Banishment Yes

Administration & Support

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Yes
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
Yes
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
Yes
Administration Tools
Statistics
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
Yes Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
-
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
- Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
Yes
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.
Yes
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to Viscacha.
-.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
CAPTCHA
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Yes
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
-
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
Yes
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.
Yes

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
Yes.
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Yes.
Custom BBCodes Yes Smiley Packs Yes
Custom
Thread Icons
Yes Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
Yes
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?
No.
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).
No.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
XHTML 1.0 Transitional
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 A level.
A
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Yes
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does Viscacha correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Viscacha unique:

  • Crawler Robots Manager
  • CMS / Portal Manager

Final Words


Good.

Viscacha is a really surprising and interesting forum software. It could appeared as minimalist, but provides tons of features, that we do not see everyday, even on big forum softwares that take main market share.

This bulletin board is a really good software, even if some little bad points prevent it to have a 4 stars level. We could for example notice that the German origin of the software is still present on the main release (usergroups are not translated), or the FTP buggy step of the installer, that require a valid FTP address, even if we already are on the remote server.

Maybe the four-stars level will come with the 1.0 release...

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