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bbPress versus PunBB

  • I’ve finally narrowed down my forum choices to bbPress and Punbb. I love the speed and simplicity of bbPress but am struggling with this decision. Integration with WordPress is not an issue for me.

    Does anyone have experience with both bbPress and PunBB? Which do you prefer and why? (I’ve compared both over at to no avail)

    My biggest concern with bbPress is the lack of email notification. Many users have no idea what RSS feed is. IMO, thread subscription is critical to forum’s success. I did see there was plugin for email notification. Are there plans to make email notification standard for bbpress? Does plugin do the trick?

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  • I had used punBB for a while and really liked it – except for the really long amount of time that it takes to update the software. They’ve been working on v1.3 for years now. That’s the version I’ve been waiting for.

    punBB seems to be more robust, but the code is a little more sketchy. bbPress is more simplistic but the plugin system makes a pretty good addition. Another thing about punBB that bothered me is that topics aren’t marked as read when you read them – your cookie has to expire before a topic is marked. They have an addon for that, but all the addons rely on editing a lot of files and also is very heavy on the database.

    For right now, I’m sticking with bbPress and seeing how everything will end up.



    Regarding email notification, I would read this for an alternate opinion:

    “Q. Could you make a feature where I check a box that says “email me if somebody replies to my post?”

    A. This one feature, so easy to implement and thus so tempting to programmers, is the best way to kill dead any young forum. Implement this feature and you may never get to critical mass. Philip Greenspun’s LUSENET has this feature and you can watch it sapping the life out of young discussion groups.


    What happens is that people go to the group to ask a question. If you offer the “notify me” checkbox, these people will post their question, check the box, and never come back. They’ll just read the replies in their mailbox. The end.

    If you eliminate the checkbox, people are left with no choice but to check back every once in a while. And while they’re checking back, they might read another post which looks interesting. And they might have something to contribute to that post. And in the critical early days when you’re trying to get the discussion group to take off, you’ve increased the “stickiness” and you’ve got more people hanging around, which helps achieve critical mass a lot quicker.”

    That’s from Joel Spolsky:

    Regarding RSS to email, there are lots of services that will do that if you want. Feedblitz and Feedburner come to mind, but a Google search turns up lots of results as well:

    Or, you could explain to your members how to use RSS.

    Thank you both for the insights. Yeah, that PunBB 1.3 has been in the works for some time. Interesting take on the pitfalls of email notification. Never thought of it that way. That Joel Spolsky article had some great points in it.

    Definitely leaning towards bbPress at this point…

    bbPress looks great on a mobile phone. Well it does on my Nokia N95 8gb anyway :) Downloads quick too. The future is mobile!

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