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  #21  
Old 07-31-2005, 08:20 AM
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I don't know if I'm too biased but IMO vb and phpbb can not even be matched about anything. There is only one reason to choose phpbb and it is money. If you can't afford vb or have a too small site in which you don't like to spend money for your forum software, phpbb may be the path to go. But if money is not an issue, phpbb is instantly out of the league.

IMO there are only 2 forum software that can be an option for a professional site. It is IPB and vbulletin. Obviously I'm biased about vbulletin so I believe it is much better than IPB and definetely recommend it but still I admit that IPB is also a very nice piece of software that requires respect.

Yet my impression is that IPB is usually preffered by newbies due to its free phone support and free upgrade/installation services but vbulletin is the prefference of professionals who don't mind about such services. You can see most of the large and prominent companies use vbulletin for their forum software like winamp, autodesk (owner of autocad), sygate, abit USA, cpanel, etc.
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  #22  
Old 07-31-2005, 01:17 PM
DataHunter2009 DataHunter2009 is offline
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I don't think the upgrades and installation services are free...

Anyway, I find IPB a bit harder for newbies. I've had to help many people in the past (over MSN... not on this board) get started with IPB becuase of it's entensive configuration features...
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2005, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DataHunter2009
I don't think the upgrades and installation services are free...
I'm not their customer so you'd know better but this is from their website:

Quote:
FREE upgrades and installation
With IPB, you don't need to pay extra to have your board installed or upgraded! All licenses come with free installation and upgrades by our trained technicians. When you've paid for your license, that's all you pay!
http://www.invisionboard.com/?whyuse
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  #24  
Old 08-01-2005, 11:02 AM
DataHunter2009 DataHunter2009 is offline
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Yes, but what they don't say is that the upgrades are only free for one year. After that, you have to pay an extra $30 a year for the upgrades.
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2005, 06:28 PM
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Hello Everyone!

Your feedback has been awesome, thanks so much! I have one question, that's more on the practical end of vBulletin;

- Let's say I purchase vBulletin...so I set it up and configure it...now it's ready to go.

- I then create say...3 private forums (Or maybe one private and two public)..but they are still running off the same single instance of vbulletin

- Does vbulletin keep all of the accounts (username/password) in one central MYSQL database?

I ask because we might be purchasing a 3rd party software and one of it's features is a vbulletin plugin...where it can read the vbulletin's database and create user accounts off the vbulletin database.

Thanks again,

BiggJoe
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  #26  
Old 08-02-2005, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggjoe
- Does vbulletin keep all of the accounts (username/password) in one central MYSQL database?
Yes.
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  #27  
Old 08-30-2005, 06:19 PM
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Hello Kathy;

Thank you and everyone else for all of the valuable feedback and suggestions.

I'm happy to say that after much consideration, my company decided to purchase vBulletin (as of earlier today in fact).

Now, comes the work for the install/setup/configuration and etc.

Since we're TOTAL NEWBIES to this, a few questions:

- As stated, none of us have ever installed vBulletin (or any BB for that matter). However we have even less expertise in planning/building a successful online community.

Do you have any suggestion in this area?

Meaning, is there some kind of 'How to build an online community' HOW-TO or Primer? I know, it's total n00be stuff...but I am curious.

I'll check if vBulletin has anything like this, but since you all have done this and have alot of experience, I thought I should ask.

More specifically, I'm interested in the planning aspect, from suggestions on Field customization to capture certain info (like you stated earlier) to ranking systems, branding/themes and etc.

Thanks again everyone, you guys are awesome!

J.
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  #28  
Old 08-30-2005, 08:42 PM
Ingmar Ingmar is offline
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I have installed both boards...

They both istall just as easy but because vB has so many features it will take 10x longer to learn how to admin them all compared to phpBB.

I think the only reason to go phpBB is if you just don't need or have time for a more complex board. I have seen very large phpBB boards out there so they could certainly handle a simple support forum for a few clients.

I love my new vB board but when I need a quick board for a small community I see nothing wrong with phpBB.

Hope I did not just confuse you more... lol
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:47 PM
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Well, he already bought vB, so I think now is the time to help him with his next set of questions.

1) Installation
The installation of vBulletin is very straightforward, it follows a step-by-step process that outlines all the information you need. The readme/documentation also provides some helpful pointers.

2) Planning
There are many useful hints/tips around these forums as to how to plan a forum/community, but they can differ from what you need, based on what type of community you are building exactly. So, I think if you could more specifically explain what type of community you want to achieve, and what parts you are having trouble with, we can help you better

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  #30  
Old 08-30-2005, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter
Have you owned a IPB or vB liscense or do you just use the free IPB that you got from InvisionPlus.net?

If you have never owned them before, I do think it is kind of hard for you to give your opinion on them considering you haven't used them. I find it funny that you said IPB 2.x series is vastly superior to the vB 3.x series. I have to wonder how many vB sites you have administered at in the past? How many IPB 2.x for that matter?
I for one have used both, but I too prefer IPB. Thanks.
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  #31  
Old 08-30-2005, 10:29 PM
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I think the first place to start might be checking out the articles here at TAZ on "Build your site"....because there are some things that need to be handled pre-launch in order to insure success down the road.

I'm unsure what your community will be based on, but be sure and develop a TOS that meets your needs. Don't forget the legal department and your privacy policy. If you plan on making a premium (paid) membership tier, consider which features you will give for free and which you will provide for premium members.

You will find that once you get over the initial panic of feeling overwhelmed by vbulletin (not because it is hard but because it is jam-packed with great features) the admin cpanel is easy to manage.

Add to that the vbulletin community is very helpful to answer questions and vb's support team is awesome.

A plan is good...but there is no substitute for learning as you go. One step at a time.... and before long you will be wondering why it took you so long.
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  #32  
Old 08-30-2005, 11:21 PM
Ingmar Ingmar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Death Reaper
Well, he already bought vB, so I think now is the time to help him with his next set of questions.
oops... have no idea how I missed that as he said it in the post right before mine... DUH!
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  #33  
Old 08-31-2005, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
- As stated, none of us have ever installed vBulletin (or any BB for that matter). However we have even less expertise in planning/building a successful online community.

Do you have any suggestion in this area?
IIRC Jelsoft provides a installation service you can use. You can also hire people from this site or vbulletin.org service requests forum for installation services. However believe me installation of vbulletin is a piece of cake even for a newbie so IMO you don't need any professional service for installation. Besides during installation you don't have any board to disturb so even making mistakes is tolerable. I'd say try to install it yourself by following vb manual and ask for help in vbulletin.com if you are stuck instead of hiring smb.
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  #34  
Old 08-31-2005, 03:09 AM
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The installation instructions that come with VB are pretty straightforward and simple enough to follow but if you do have problems you have two communities (here and vb.com) full of people who can help you out. Hell, if you really get stuck I'll help you (and there's an offer I don't give out every day )
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  #35  
Old 08-31-2005, 04:28 AM
jonathanyates jonathanyates is offline
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Go for Vbulletin forums because there are more better and not many bugs as phpbb has also have loopholes. I am so glad that I moved to vbulletin.
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  #36  
Old 09-01-2005, 10:01 PM
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Hello Everyone!

Thanks for the quick response to my questions! Here's an update to what's happened thus far as well as my attempt to clarify the type of community/forum we want to create:

------------
Installation
------------

As you guys had suggested, the installation went great! I even did some slight modifications to the config.php for security concerns...nothing major though.

As far as I can see however, everything was indeed straight forward and very easy (Maybe I just lucked out)!

It's pretty neat, that they offer a .chm version of the manual, to compliment the online and single page printable version of the manual.

So the creation of the MySQL database (including all of the table structures), the editing of the config.php file, uploading to the webserver and etc., went great!

Once uploaded, I followed the instructions step-by-step and completed the browser-based (online) installation.

I hope this was the hardest part, if so, then the rest should HOPEFULLY be smooth sailing.

I made sure to turn off or 'disable' the forums for now, so we can continue to work on and finalize the configuration of the forums.

------------
Planning
------------

Oh the fun of planning (not really)!

My goal here is to provide you fine folks with as much relevant information as possible on exactly the kind of community that we want to build as well as any questions and concerns that we may have.

That way, everyone has all the info necessary to present any ideas/suggestions that will help us during this process, as well as point us in the right direction.

Some of the information isn't totally 'set in stone' yet, so if you have any suggestions on a particular way or direction to go, bring it on! With that said, here we go:

Our company manufactures a variety of exclusive products for several different companies, that are in direct competition to each other.

We just launched a new product with our biggest customer, let's call them XYZ Corp.

XYZ Corp. has two different types of sales channels (whereby they sell their products through), one is a direct sales channel (wholly-owned subsidiary that has branch offices across the country), lets call 'em XYZ-Direct.

The other is a dealer sales channel (independently owned businesses across the country), let's call 'em XYZ-Dealer.

XYZ Direct & Dealer are in direct competition to each other, funny huh!

Both sales channels sell our products.

Aside from your standard sales rep, both sales channels have technical analysts that function in a pre-sales role and help sell the product.

Naturally, both sides also have an 'after-the-sale' IT support staff that install the product (like those with MCSE's etc.).

The goal of these forums is to basically offer 'before-sale' and 'after-sale' support for our product for this company.

Originally, were were thinking (and still might consider) of having two separate forums, both private/locked.

One would be for the XYZ-Direct channel and the other for the XYZ-Dealer channel.

One major reason for this is because XYZ-direct and XYZ-dealer are in a direct (and somtimes heated) competition with each other.

So by giving the XYZ-Direct channel a place where only they are allowed, we thought the chances of them utilizing our forums would be better.

Another reason is because the XYZ-direct channel stretches through-out the entire country, so it's pretty wide-spread.

We were thinking of having them register and maybe somehow having the forums only allow those with pre-defined domains (the domain for xyz-direct is the same for the entire country) have access to the forums, specifically for this 'direct channel'.

Also to prevent someone from simply making up an address, we were thinking that by having them 'confirm' their email address...this would take care of that issue.

Then were also considering having a 2nd forum mainly for the XYZ-Dealer channel. Since they're accustomed to being treated as part of a 'national dealer' base to begin with, this would be ok.

Since this XYZ-Dealer channel is made up of many different and independently owned business throughout the coutry (internationally as well) we couldn't pre-define domains for them. However, I guess we could simply 'ban or filter out' the xyz-direct domains instead.

This might not be worth the hassle however, since theres no way we can stop someone from the xyz-direct side from simply using their personal email address and confirming that way, so your suggestions here are needed.

If we do go this route, then we would have to basically 'replicate' the forums, meaning they would have the exact same categories/sub-categories and etc.

So that's basically it.

We'd like to ban the domains for our competitors if that's possible.

Hell, I think I'll ban them from our site too...hehe.

Since I'm a member of several forums, I have some sort of an idea on what needs to be decided on, just taking a few from this forum...such as; categories, sub-categories, a theme of sorts, ranking systems and etc.

As far as a 'Terms Of Service' I'm not sure if this is necessary, or if it is...what we should put?

Also, these forums aren't intended to be the only or even the official source of support for our product, they can still call us directly as they already do.

The goal here, is that instead of answering the same/similar 'before-sale' questions asked about our product...hundreds of times, someone can post a question for all to see.

When an answer/suggestion/idea is given from our staff...everyone see's and learns.

I guess we can even make forum 'stickies' that answer alot of the faq's.

I suppose we could even serv/host some of the literature on the forums in PDF format, if vBulletin offers that kind of support.

One other thing worth mentioning is that we're also going to be using another php-based script for our web-support center. This will be on it's own sub-domain.

The nice thing with this, is that our customer can officially 'open/create' support tickets online or email them to us. They can also login and track the history of their tickets, whether submitted to us via online or by email.

Also, instead of having our customers have two different sets of username/password accounts (one for vb and the other for the support center), this php-based script has a plugin that will read the vBulletin's MySQL database.

So that way, when someone registers on our forums their username/password will also work for our support center.

So somewhere on the forums, I'll need to put a link w/ a description to this support center.

In case you all are interested, here's a link to the company that makes this support center that I'm referring to and you'll also get the idea of the 'look n' feel' of the support center as well:

http://www.cerberusweb.com/support.php

We're going to end up 'disabling' the 'registration option' on our support center, so that way they can only register via vBulletin.

I guess we're probably going to have a link on this other page, to the registration section of the VB forums.

The nice thing is that some of the features offered with both VB and Cerberus overlap.

The challenge now is to decide which features will be used in both solutions, as to offer our customer a smooth and easy-to-follow area for information and support rather than confusing them.

Anyway, I've typed all I can type for now! I hope this info gives you more insight into what we're trying to accomplish.

AzhriaLilu, I'D LOVE to take you up on your offer. Other than technical issues, your help with this whole planning aspect would be awesome!

As always, your feedback and suggestions are sincerely appreciated!

J.

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  #37  
Old 09-02-2005, 03:24 AM
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I also think this is a no contest situation. If you have money, chose vBulletin. If you have time to mod phpBB , chose that. I have spent my last days with installing a lot of hacks and mods in my phpbb community. Still, should I have money I'd buy vBulletin
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  #38  
Old 09-02-2005, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dojo
I also think this is a no contest situation. If you have money, chose vBulletin. If you have time to mod phpBB , chose that. I have spent my last days with installing a lot of hacks and mods in my phpbb community. Still, should I have money I'd buy vBulletin
Umm... he already did.. and installed it lol
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  #39  
Old 09-02-2005, 03:54 AM
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OKay... slight information overload there - that'll teach me for reading forums when not fully awake - but on first read I would say that yes you should have a Terms Of Service document, if only to cover your own backs for any eventuality. VB has a FAQ system in place which is not used enough, in my opinion - and you could utilise this for your TOS, Company information and any other FAQ information your site may require.

With regards to having specific people posting in specific forums, all that really requires is usergroups and permission setups - not hard to accomplish at all

Domains can be banned via the admincp, but of course that would only work if they tried to register a username with the banned domain name. You could, of course, have guest viewing in specific forums switched off and an open forum explaining that people need to register and join whichever usergroup to be able to view the forums they need.

You would need the set up the usergroups so they are not public and fully open (ie, they click a button and are automatically assigned to that usergroup) these need to be joinable but have a team leader who has to accept each request before they can view the forums specified - this should stop any competitor from joining the wrong forum and causing disruption.

And on that note, I'm off to find caffeine..... I need to wake up
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  #40  
Old 09-02-2005, 03:59 AM
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It's a case of what you can afford, theres three ranges

Low Cost/Free - PHPbb
Mid Cost - IPB
Highest Cost - Vb

Also... maybe chuck invisionfree in on low cost but i'm not a fan of that at all!

The more you pay, the more you get with those three softwares
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