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Flarum | Composer Forum Software
#1
Hello all, a while ago we all got onto the topic of forum software and I fell down a rabbit hole trying to learn more about forum softwares that are free and easily accessible to users within the Post4VPS community. I started down the path of FlaskBB, but some of the dependencies are out of date and no longer working, so I found Flarum. Flarum is an easy to install open source forum software installed through Composer. This is thread is going to be a review and overview of the software, while highlighting some of the features found through extensions. Flarum is a beta software, so there are a few bugs that need to be worked out, but I think for what it is, the software is solid and could be a future platform for Post4VPS or those of you with forums of your own.

The interface:
The interface for Flarum is very sleek and minimalistic, while allowing some great extensions to further customize your forum. The main forum page functions much like a timeline and instead of having individual sub-forums, threads are separated out by tags. Allowing for users to subscribe to specific tags and the back end allows for administrators to easily create new tags and set the rules and restrictions of such tags to have moderator and administrator level permissions. This could be used for "Solved, Closed, or Giveaway" tags.


[Image: home-screenshot.png]

This screenshot is of the default forum interface, with free easy to install extensions you will be able to break this page up into forums and sub-forums. Some other extensions I have found that would give us some of the great features we have come to know on Post4VPS would allow an admin to 1) set up a currency per post and 2) create private discussions, but also some extensions would add support for SSO between Flarum and Wordpress.

Admin Panel:
The admin panel is very intuitive and I learned how to use it quickly. With this software still in beta, there are items that still could be worked on, such as the theme customization and some of the admin tools like creating tags (categories) and some of the moderation tools could be implemented in the backend, but it is not horrible all in all. Extensions are installed in SSH using composer so that takes out some of the guess work and everything is neatly organized into categories such as features, themes and other extensions. With this being built on Composer and Laravel everything is minimized and super speedy which is a great feature.

Final thoughts:
Out of the box, this is not a total replacement for MyBB and some of the other forum software, as you need to add in quite a bit of the extensions to get things to a manageable state, but it took me about 4 hours to full get the forum setup in a development state where I could play and test the software. As this platform continues to be developed, I could see it being a big contender in the forum software market especially as more and more developers begin creating for Flarum. I am going to continue to play with this as I am taking about making my CMS in Composer, so this is a great test to see how something like this could work if I change my development path, as my goal is to create something lightweight and easily deployable.

If you are interested in learning more please feel free to comment and I will make sure to answer what questions I can.
Thank you to CubeData and Posts4VPS for the services of VPS 8.
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#2
Update 2.16.21:

So I have been playing with this software for almost a week now and while it has some great qualities, some of the features are not fully realized and have the same star power that MyBB has. For instance, Private Messaging is super clunky and for some odd reason, there is not a dedicated inbox for the extension. Also for the post points system, it does not show you how much "money" you have earned from making posts. So there are a lot of things with Flarum that would need to be developed and worked on before I think it could be a suitable platform for really any forum.
Thank you to CubeData and Posts4VPS for the services of VPS 8.
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#3
(02-16-2021, 04:46 PM)tbelldesignco Wrote:  So there are a lot of things with Flarum that would need to be developed and worked on before I think it could be a suitable platform for really any forum.
I've started playing around with Flarum, and although not as extensive and as in detail by you, I have to agree.  The Forum software feels a little unfinished with lots of room for improvement. For starters, it could do with a better design - maybe you could recommend one to Flarum with your creative skills?  "Look" wise it looks a little like the Wordpress BBPress, although function wise much MUCH better than BBPress.  So far what I've liked since I like to right click on tools, is the way the tools have been set up to be right clicked.  I haven't checked it out on a phone, but maybe @tbelldesignco has.  I'd imagine it would be mobile friendly.  

It's exciting to see a new Forum software.  Thanks for offering the opportunity to participate in a test of the software @tbelldesignco.  I'll try to spend more time on it over the weekend.
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Thank you to Post4VPS and VirMach for my awesome VPS 9!  
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#4
(02-17-2021, 11:53 PM)deanhills Wrote:  I've started playing around with Flarum, and although not as extensive and as in detail by you, I have to agree.  The Forum software feels a little unfinished with lots of room for improvement. For starters, it could do with a better design - maybe you could recommend one to Flarum with your creative skills?  "Look" wise it looks a little like the Wordpress BBPress, although function wise much MUCH better than BBPress.  So far what I've liked since I like to right click on tools, is the way the tools have been set up to be right clicked.  I haven't checked it out on a phone, but maybe @tbelldesignco has.  I'd imagine it would be mobile friendly.  

It's exciting to see a new Forum software.  Thanks for offering the opportunity to participate in a test of the software @tbelldesignco.  I'll try to spend more time on it over the weekend.

You hit the nail on the head! I was trying to equate this to something that I've used before and BBPress is exactly what I was thinking, but couldn't verbalize this! Yeah I think themes are something covered in the extension documentation, so I will have to learn more about that and see what I can figure out! I am also a big fan of reverse engineering, so I will try to break apart some of the themes available and see how they work and then work from there.
Thank you to CubeData and Posts4VPS for the services of VPS 8.
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