My fisrt impressions of Elkarte after 5 months of using it

radu81

Fan
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
657
Hello everybody.

I would like to share my personal impressions after 5 months of using Elkarte. Waht is elkarte? is a fork of the SMF 2.1 forum. Fist of all I would like to mention that I am not a developer, but just a simple admin so I cannot comment or discuss about the code written in elkarte.

I am using SMF since 2007 and I have to say it is one of my favourite free software for forums. I tried the other free alternatives but always got back to SMF. That was until I discovered Elkarte. I decided to switch to elkarte in november 2014, I did several tests in localhost and at 30 december I did the migration.

Why Elkarte and not SMF if it's just a fork?
I know that some SMF developers/members are reading this forum but after all these years with SMF I have to say I really don't see any future in SMF. It took almost 3 years for the 2.0 to become stable, they released the 2.1 version back in 2013, the first beta in november 2014 and the stable version?? WHEN IT WILL BE READY! Yep, I really hate those words, it's the typical answer you receive at sm.org when asking about release dates or roadmaps. IMO it will take another year until the 2.1 will become stable. As an admin I don't pretend an exactly date, but at least a year. Could be ready this year, or could be ready after 3 years is not the same thing

But let's talk about Elkarte, what this software can offer?

Fast &light

like the old and good SMF, Elkarte is very fast compared to other forum softwares, even paid ones. It is also very light, a database with 50.000 posts, 1300 members is about 40MB in my case. With these numbers you can run it on a shared hosting with no problems.

mentions, likes and notifications in the core.

I know that compared to XF the notification system in elkarte is limited, but the Elkarte team already published a roadmap for the 1.1 version which will be out in a few months and the notification system will be improved.
On SMF I had a Thank you mod. One of the Elkarte developers emanuele was kind to modify the Open Importer so I can convert my "thank you" data. Other 2 SMF mods are supported and can be converted into likes in Elkarte

responsive style

Elkarte cames with 2 different styles in the core and both are responsive. You can also use a custom.css file so you won't loose your custom edits when upgrading. I love this feature

Drafts
in the core, and there is also an auto-save function for your drafts.

Minify css and js files
can reduce some bandwith an speed up your forum

Spam Protection:
In 5 months I did not see any spam post or spam registration. I use only 2 Q/A. In the core there is also the Bad Behaviour Addon integrated.

Font Awesome icons
Into the core, you can also set custom icons for your boards with some small edits to custom.css.

Embedded videos:
from youtube and vimeo

SEO?
I am not an expert in this field, but on SMF I had a sitemap and Optimus Brave addon. I am not using anything similar into Elk, but I did notice this into my analytics (the conversion was made on 30 dicember)
http://www.elkarte.net/community/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2358.0;attach=2272;image
Maybe Arantor is right: "forum Seo is myth"

Some nice addons:

ADS
:
If you are running ads on your forum than the Simple Ads addon is a must. I love it, it is so simple to setup ads, just paste your Adsense code and it is all working perfect, even responsive ads. No media queryes or templates edits. You can set fixed ads or rotating ads. You can sell ads and tracking clicks or setup an expire date. You have different positions availble: header, after first post, inside first post, after last post, left/right, footer..etc or even you can add your own position. You can set permissions for membergroups or boards.You can also integrate it with simple portal. I couldn't find a similar addon even into XF

Portal:
who used or who is using SMF probably knows Simple Portal. That mod was ported to Elkarte. It's a simple but very powerful portal system. I'm pretty sure in the future we will se some nice and new functions into SimplePOrtal

Attachments:
You can set custom foders for attachemnts or use the automatic functions which creates folder per year or month.
There is an addon for setting inline attachments , a Lightbox for images and an addon to resize attachments

Google Member Map
Also availble for SMF. I like this addon, it displays Google map with pins for users who decided to show on the map. Could be useful for some cars comunities

There also some fancy addons like: Favicon near link, Prefixes, Member Awards, Multiple badges, Topic solved. For the rest of the addons I suggest http://addons.elkarte.net/

Before migrating my smf forum I did an analyse of all the installed addons, if you have 5 minutes you can read it here http://www.elkarte.net/community/index.php?topic=2215.0


If I have to descibe elkarte in few words I could say: simple, fast, free, responsive and well supported by the community/developers.

There are other things to say, but maybe later. That's all for now, what are you waiting for? Give a try to elkarte ;)
 

Alundra

SMF Friend
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
854
WOW that is very light!!!! Well done Emanuele!!!! I'm always harping on about the darn size of everything (especially the DB), so this is really impressive to me. I love the responsive stuff too, awesome work!! :D
 

THE_dcoltonbrown

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
13
Migrating to Elkart is easy. Try migrating from. There aren't enough elkart users to tempt those who can to create a script. I have been around the net begging for help..the only response I get is what is Elkarte.
 

THE_dcoltonbrown

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
13
Wait...way too negative because Elkarte is very, very good. I do, however, become frustrated because of the lack of documentation and a small community (they respond quickly, but I think the priority isn't the end user).

In the end...7/10
 

DanielGarneau

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
156
Well, I have been prototyping the future micro-forum I am envisioning for an extension of my current WordPress based site, and at the end of every setup I end-up wondering if something else would not be a little better at this or that aspect. So, Vanilla was easy to setup but not responsive out of the box. I loved FluxBB, and the community was very responsive when I needed help. Anyhow, I decided to delve into PhpBB and do whatever I needed to understand its outworking, I loved the result I got, but I figured, who is going to be able to help me out if I need someone to help or who will be able to take over. The community I want to develop a forum for are typically not technically oriented, nor the would-be helpers. I took a similar approach with MyBB, which was indeed much easier to grasp than PhpBB, but I was still not quite sure of the best course for my would-be community and myself.

In parallel to prototyping, I read all I could about forum software and management, which led me to do a fresh install of ElkArt just a moment ago now. Having traveled the aforementioned route in the past few weeks makes me appreciate the structure with which everything is presented and motivates me to further investigate ElkArt.

So thank you radu81 for your OP, which is still quite actual to me a year later, and THE_dcoltonbrown, for mentioning the side-effects of choosing a less established forum software. I'll be reading-on and testing-on, but, as far as my first impression is concerned, it would seem a lot easier to find my way around this software than it has been with some of the others I examined, of which, only PhpBB had a responsive user interface out of the box. :ninja:
 
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THE_dcoltonbrown

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
13
Well, I have been prototyping the future micro-forum I am envisioning for an extension of my current WordPress based site, and at the end of every setup I end-up wondering if something else would not be a little better at this or that aspect. So, Vanilla was easy to setup but not responsive out of the box. I loved FluxBB, and the community was very responsive when I needed help. Anyhow, I decided to delve into PhpBB and do whatever I needed to understand its outworking, I loved the result I got, but I figured, who is going to be able to help me out if I need someone to help or who will be able to take over. The community I want to develop a forum for are typically not technically oriented, nor the would-be helpers. I took a similar approach with MyBB, which was indeed much easier to grasp than PhpBB, but I was still not quite sure of the best course for my would-be community and myself.

In parallel to prototyping, I read all I could about forum software and management, which led me to do a fresh install of ElkArt just a moment ago now. Having traveled the aforementioned route in the past few weeks makes me appreciate the structure with which everything is presented and motivates me to further investigate ElkArt.

So thank you radu81 for your OP, which is still quite actual to me a year later, and THE_dcoltonbrown, for mentioning the side-effects of choosing a less established forum software. I'll be reading-on and testing-on, but, as far as my first impression is concerned, it would seem a lot easier to find my way around this software than it has been with some of the others I examined, of which, only PhpBB had a responsive user interface out of the box. :ninja:
I was a little frustrated when I posted my last comments. I really do like Elkarte. I really wish they would create a comprehensive theming tutorial. Lol...Emmannuelle and the rest are so smart, they don't know how to dumb it down for people like myself!
 

radu81

Fan
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
657
I'm glad my review was useful to you DanielGarneau if you have any questions just ask in this board or on elkarte.net

One thing to keep in mind is that for now there is no convertor from elkarte to other forum so take your time and test all the functions before switching to elk. For me and my community elkarte is a great solution, but not all the communities are the same
 

DanielGarneau

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
156
Hi radu81,

I created a prototype using ElkArte, and I loved the results I obtained. I also realized that if I had questions about how ElkArte worked, it was helpful to load SMF, and read its backend documentation, as they share much in common, ElkArte being a fork of SMF.

Is it possible that the translation for the French language package has not been completed yet? This appeared to be the case as far as I was able to observe from the prototype I built using ElkArte. For example, such labels as "next" and "previous" popped-up in English even when the French language was working with most other labels displayed by Elkarte.

Thank you very much for what you wrote in your last post. This sort of spontaneously provided input from your part is a great way to build trust from those of us following the ElkArte Community. :einstein:
 

emanuele

Bugs Developer
Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Messages
450
because of the lack of documentation
Can't deny that.
There isn't a lot of people that like to write documentation. Yes, of course I wouldn't be writing code I could try to write some (even though I'm not good at it), though I like more writing code than docs. :azh:
 

DanielGarneau

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
156
Not long ago, I developed a forum prototype using ElkArte. At one point, when I needed guidance using some of the administration functionalities, I was able to find the explanations I needed by searching through the less elaborate SMF prototype of my forum.
 
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