Vanilla Forums: Conversations Refreshed
Web forums haven’t exactly experienced the same renaissance as other web tools. They’re built on the old technologies, running the same themes, and offering the same functionality we’ve seen since the early 2000s. They feel dated, mostly because there never was a point in time when they felt modern.
Vanilla Forums is a forum provider that modernizes the offerings. It has the potential to compete with industry heavyweights like vBulletin and truly challenge their claim as “the most powerful forum software available.” With Vanilla Forums, columns and posts are clean. Replies can be voted for with a simple Digg-like button, causing better responses to float to the top (purists will appreciate the toggle to sort replies by date added). There’s also a pretty hefty template system, bringing as much control to the appearance as possible on a WordPress theme.
Once you create an account with them, you can share you blog a few different ways. The easiest is just to grab the embed code and drop it in your site. Optionally, developers will want to dive into the API and add forum calls into existing tools and mobile apps, such as pulling in posts, searches and user profiles. If you want the downloadable version, it’s free on VanillaForums.org.
Vanilla Forums’ service is offered at tiered levels. The simplest option gives everything needed for a forum, but it also includes their ads, and you aren’t given upload disk space. It’s not a bad value considering the product.