SMF beats phpbb3, WordPress beats Joomla

I hasten to add that the above provocative title mainly reflects my own decision for an activist group I’m setting up, not the actual quality of each product!

Website / blog

In fact, I love Joomla but I am just limited in my design skills for that particular product. But there’s a great and effective Dreamweaver plug-in for WordPress that I’m considering getting. Also, the WordPress TV “how to” website is coming along and so eventually I’ll be able to share the weekly article entry process with my fellow, very non-technical activist friends who are actually the writers/authors/experts/”mavens” in their field… but just not web-experts. WordPress has made this extremely easy with their TV site.

WordPress is very easy to administer. It has a 1 click-upgrade service (unlike Joomla at this stage I’m sorry to say), has an automatic database backup plug-in, and seems very flexible and customizable.

Also, it’s just plain cool and is the “happening thing”. WordPress.com is the big competitor to Blogger, and allows 3 gig of storage and heaps more media and file formats, unlike blogger which has kind of inhibited some of the stuff I would have liked to do for peak oil back in the day I had more time for activism. So as well as learning how to do the “blog of the week” entry for our official activist site, some of my activist friends will finally see the benefit of blogging and might set up their own personal activist blogs. I’ll be breaking in these political and constitutional activists into the oneline world of the blogosphere, WordPress style.

Forum
I’ve started playing with SMF http://www.simplemachines.org/

It seems to be a very well supported forum. And it is very popular, so that means many users on other forums will instantly be familiar with it. And it is supported by Fantastico in Cpanel, which allows very fast installation.!

It is very powerful once installed, has heaps of great plug-ins, and basically upgrades with one click rather than the hugely complicated process I’ve been trying and failing to do for our phpbb3.0.2 to 3.0.4 upgrade! The sheer hours I’ve wasted trying to upgrade phpbb3 to a more recent, more secure version. Blaargh!

SMF also has stacks of themes to use while phpbb3 is limited. (But do check that the themes your are browsing are compatible with the SMF version you are using). Also while phpbb3 plug-ins are scripts, so that admins have to know how to copy and paste into exactly the right area, SMF uses the “Package Manager” which simply selects the plug in file and clicks “install” to add it. Click install, apply, and it’s done! See this review of phpbb3 v SMF for more.

After mucking around with this stuff for the last few months, I’ve finally decided it is probably best and safest to keep the forum and website software separate and as mainstream as possible, in case I want to hand on the administration of it to other fellow activists. There’s far more chance people will know and love SMF than there is “Agora” in Joomla, as much as I love the job Hazza is doing there. Everyone, watch Agora.! You haven’t heard of it yet, but this developer is manic for his Joomla forum plug in, and who knows? With his great service and support, I think Agora is going to explode out into the blogosphere and forum consciousness. He offers unbelievable support, and many have said it is better than support they have paid for. But for now, with my own web skills still in their infancy, I must remain a “late adopter” of very old tried and tested technologies.

Hopefully I’ll be able to link to this new web package I’ve been working on within the next few months!

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