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What do you like and dislike about Vanilla?

ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator
edited February 2011 in Vanilla 2.1 & Earlier Help
What do you like and dislike about Vanilla? Simply put, what do you like and/or dislike about Vanilla compared to other forum software? What makes you stay or not stay with Vanilla over the many other options online?


  • Oh where to start. Let's start with the likes:
    • The use of Smarty Templates
    • The simplicity in the discussion templates
    • The admin screen
    • The Categories administration
    • The way plugins work inside Vanilla
    I haven't used other forum software for a while, except for a modified version of PHPBB inside a CMS
    And now the dislikes:
    • With some threads, here on the Vanilla forum, I keep wanting to grab the "merge" functionality and it's not there
    • I also miss the "split" functionality
    • I miss the way the other forum software use different forums inside their categories, Vanilla only has categories
  • I like
    Almost not using Smarty or any other templates
    Very good architecture, clear, but not separating view and data too far.
    Yeah, plugins installation is good. But transparent acces to latest version online and noticing of available updates is a must.

    That I do not like:
    Currently oriented at small communities.
    Categories working contrary to normal scheme.
    Plugins making mess of CSS and JS.
    Developer community is small, so errors can last quite long and code quality in plugins must be improved sometimes.

  • edited February 2011
    • simple clean interface
    • embed functionality
    • great SEF URLs
    • clearly an up and coming solution
    • small community, few answers
    • minimal user documentation
    • even less developer documentation
    • html for posts markup out of the box (rather than markdown, bbcode, textile)
    • I think I would prefer an XHTML tag libary to Smarty (probably from my textpattern experience)
  • edited February 2011
    ~ Design simplicity. I know little to nothing about CSS, but frontend face is is more basic than anything else out there so I can still bend it to my will
    ~ Execution - the usability is years beyond anything else ever developed. Only die-hard forum users will ache for the clutter of the past. V show executes the best lessons learned about simplicity in web design
    ~ Development community, I like the fact that I get answers straight from the lead developer.

    ~ Really want a merge/split functionality like @underdog said. I wonder if this function would be pluggable - seem like putting it into core would add a lot of overhead.
    ~ The age of the development forums. A decision needs to be made about removing V1 support, and the older posts in the forums need to be archived or deleted. Doing a search here brings results from 2006-2009. Search results here are sometime useless because of the massive amount of outdated information.

    Comment to @tester13
    The categories introduced in January went a long way toward helping Vanilla support larger communities. Creating a hybrid between the modern discussion list and hierarchical design. However, I've seen recent evidence that the hierarchical layout isn't needed to support larger communities. Take a look at it looks like they built a forum using their own build, or V1. However, it has become a rather large and chatty community. I would venture to say that a lot of the 'support for larger communities' can come from styling and layout changes.
  • @leafboxtea

    Merge and split can't add lot of overhead. And we really need them.
    On provided forum you see one of the flaws of forums with very large categories - very long threads.
    As for usability, I agree that it is better than tranditional forums, but it can be improved very much (believe UX designer :-) )
  • aeryaery Gtricks Forum in 2.2 :) ✭✭✭
    edited February 2011
    Like - Everything thats working smoothly so far :)
    Unlike - Lack of developer support :<

    Vanilla is sweet & support is great, to encourage volunteers, please donate.

  • I think my complaints last few weeks have been a little bit schizophrenic. The basic toolset is fantastic. The downside for me is having to use a forum for support. I posted a help request a few days ago and because it was not very interesting or because I posted it on the weekend, I get an answer.
    When I was threatening to go to another platform, what I was really looking for was a better support model. Yes I know I can pay vanilla for their support package but it looks to be pretty high dollar.
    As a side note, I see the amount of traffic on this forum and it scares me. I think the volume of questions and answers has grown to a point where the quality is actually lower. If my forum ever got as big as this forum I would consider branching it.
  • ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator
    edited March 2011
    That's the thing about offering services to clients. It's really a nice thing to have because the Vanilla developers know their scripts from the inside out. It's one way to make a wage for a free, open source script. If your forum is very big, then Vanilla's disorganized look can get really messy looking. That's one reason why I've been jumping between Vanilla and MyBB but I agree with your complaints.

    For me, Vanilla just does things a little bit better for the users of my community than MyBB. It's more simple and straightforward. I mean, I can probably remove some things through the template set to make it simple and straightforward as well just to have the better administration and moderation tools and hierarchical abilities of MyBB but it's going to take more work than just using Vanilla, however, making plugins is going to take more effort than just removing links and pages via the template set.
  • AdrianAdrian Marketing guy for Vanilla Montreal Vanilla Staff

    ~ The age of the development forums. A decision needs to be made about removing V1 support, and the older posts in the forums need to be archived or deleted. Doing a search here brings results from 2006-2009. Search results here are sometime useless because of the massive amount of outdated information.
    This to me would help a lot for new users in my view and encourage development. For someone new seeing stuff about Vanilla 1 which is not applicable can be confusing

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