[Design] Is reduced speed an inevitable tradeoff of a more flexible forum ?

Digital Doctor

May 16, 2012
Say you wanted to create a new PHP forum that was very flexible in it's UI design. More flexible than Xenforo, for example. Is there a danger all this flexibility can slow things down ? or does the flexibility come free (no cost) ?

Would it be just dreaming to say you could make a more flexible forum that doesn't sacrifice speed ?

or is the sacrifice in the difficulty ($$$) to customize an already custom UI ? Would it be super hard to support a forum software package that was super flexible (ie. every site is different) ?

Thoughts ?


The AtomBB Overlord
Mar 7, 2010
You mean easier to customize? The problem is that you have to weigh up performance against the time that it takes to implement this "easier customisability" with near no performance drops.
And at the end of the day, most people don't really care anywhere near enough to sacrifice performance for flexibility, as this means that they will have to pay more either way.

For many people, they just tweak the colours on the skin a little and then, they just call it a day. If they do that at all. Content is king, so most people can generally get away with a 90s theme, and I've seen a handful of forums running UBB who have this attitude (if they haven't upgraded by now then, I doubt they will ever).
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Apr 10, 2009
It really depends on a lot of factors. Is what you want flexible dynamic content, or can it be cached.

There are a lot of different reasons for "slow" websites. Is the server slow. Is the html so complex as to slow rendering. Is the code poorly optimized so that the browser does needless re-paints. Is there a lot of calculations on the server which slows down content delivery to the browser. You can't speculate as to what will be slow and which slow parts really matter.

Does it have to be super fast? Then maybe PHP is the wrong choice. Look at the web framework benchmarks to get an idea about the speed of technological choices. https://www.techempower.com/benchmarks/