Nabble Review

(December 8, 2009 14:01)
Last Version Hosted (Daily updates). Released under Proprietary License.
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What is Nabble?

Nabble is mainly known on Internet for providing Mailing List archiving. Many mailing lists are available and browseable from Nabble website, that everybody has a day encountered, for example when searching something on Google.

It was supposed to be a forum software, not a mailing list...

Don't worry! In addition to mailing list management and archiving, Nabble also provides a collection of embeddable applications: photo gallery, news, blog,... and obviously, embeddable forum software.

These embeddable apps are all web applications, that include the following features: classic search, user profile, ACL, email notifications, XML feed, moderation, CSS customization, unlimited uploading of pictures and files, threading, cataloging, Youtube video embedding with Javascript,...

The embeddable technology provided by Nabble is more advanced than a classic frame widget. With them, you won't have any problem of content underflow or overflow (frame scrolling is your only option), because Nabble embeddable app adjusts its height automatically and always fit seamlessly into a site.

Review Updates:

  • April 8, 2011: Additional Update.
  • February 15, 2011: Update of Nabble Forum.
  • August 12, 2009: First Review of Nabble Forum.

Nabble is recommended for Large 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.
Languages supported by Nabble.

New Languages will be soon supported.

As usual with Hosted Forum, server architecture is always really simple because everything is compatible with web based applications. You just need to integrate the embedded HTML code that Nabble provides to put a new forum to your website.

Here is an example of the HTML script you have to import:

<a id="nabblelink" 
  Nabble Forum reviewed by Forum Software Reviews
<script src=""></script>
Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat/Threaded Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons No Topic Tags No
Hot Topics Yes Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads No Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements No
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Plain Text
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
  • Preview Button
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • HTML
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
  • Upload via Classic Attachments. Images are all at the end of the post.
  • Upload via Advanced Attachments. Images can be placed in the flow of message text.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box No Smileys Yes
Attachments Yes Syntax Highlighting No
Message Rating
Yes Message Quoting Yes

Nabble is still really connected with mailing list, so the Post by Email feature is of course included.

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation Plugin
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
  • Website Home Page
  • Blog
  • Pictures Album Manager
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).

Thread icons are limited to the avatar of the person who creates the topic.

There is no user ranks, but you can consult the profile of each user, and this profile could inform you about the activity of this user. A major point is that you are able to see the activity of a specific user on any forum that rely on Nabble.

Online users is an option that the administrator needs to enable (disable by default). Note that polls are supported through the PollDaddy service, which provides an embedded view of a poll, with nice statistic charts and look.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Nabble features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)

All forum created in Nabble are public. That means that Nabble will not satisfy your needs if you want to create a private forum, for your friends for example. Please note that even if you integrate your forum on your website, it will still be accessible from the Nabble Forum Directory.

Private messages are replaced by a email sending, that is, actually, really more simple and convenient.

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
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 Yes
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
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
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
User Registration
  • Free Registration
  • Registration needs Approval
  • Confirmation sent by email for validation
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.
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.
User Banishment Yes

Administration & Support

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

Nabble allows you to backup and export your database if needed, which is particularly useful if you want to migrate your data to a new forum software. For this, simply go to Options and Download archives.

For people interesting in monitoring their forum, Nabble has a way to embed the Google Analytics script to your forum by simply entering your Google Analytics Identifier.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Complexity: [++[ Normal
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.

Customization & Social Networks

Add new features to your forum installation.
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Custom BBCodes No Smiley Packs No
Thread Icons
No Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
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.
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Mambo
  • Plone
  • Dotclear
  • WordPress
  • eGroupWare
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,...).

Creating a forum on Nabble is really really simple, because you don't even need to create an account for this! Attaching a forum could be done after creating an account. It proves the simplicity and the public form that Nabble wants to assume to its software.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML 4.01.
HTML 4.01
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
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.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does Nabble correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Nabble unique:

  • Easy to integrate, easy to create, really everything is easy with Nabble.
  • Nabble Embeddable Forum is just a part of what Nabble provides (pictures, news, blog, mailing lists,...)

Final Words


Nabble is really useful if you need a forum software immediately, and that you don't care about advanced features and manage your own forum solution,... If this is not a problem, it is clear that Nabble is the perfect tool to add forum facilities to any website.

The simple style provided by default by Nabble ensure a fast page loading and an easy way to theme the forum (no need to first revert default style behavior). Pages load really fast and you have more chance to increase the loading time because of the site that integrates a Nabble forum.

Nabble forum software is clearly service oriented, in the point that it will provide you a good service, and in a really short time.

Additional Resources:

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