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We just launched a Vanilla-powered forum
for a community theatre company, Circle Theatre
- Getting the forum tightly integrated into Circle's narrow one-column layout would have been a nightmare with most forum packages. The clean separation of markup and presentation, using DIVs for layout, etc. all made using Vanilla the obvious choice.
- The theming system was not as clean in terms of separating code from UI markup. I'm not a big fan of the echos and PHP code sprinkled throughout. I'd like to see a real templating system (i.e. no more echos) in a Vanilla 2 or 3.
- It seems like Vanilla has a more component-driven approach to the UI, which is interesting given my day job in Java. JSF is going the same route. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of that approach, but maybe it'll grow on me.
- Extensions are excellent, but I have some concerns about performance. Mostly I see page size bloating as more and more CSS and JS files get aggregated on. I'm not sure what could be done about that; maybe there could be some standardization among extension authors on JS libraries (ie. Prototype vs. JQuery vs. Dojo)?
- Kudos to the Vanilla community! Definitely one of the more responsive and helpful open source communities I've participated in.
All in all, it was a very good experience. We had the bulk of the work (integration with the rest of the site) done right away. From there on out it was mostly a matter of tweaking (can we get signatures? can we move this link here? etc.) and "fixing" IE.
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