NodeBB is better - Discourse is better



  • I saw another discussion "DISCOURSE IS BETTER" but that's not very productive. Instead let's look at what each does better than the other.

    I'm posting this under feature requests because that is where I hope this conversation leads.

    NodeBB is better

    • Front page. Hands down, it's more fun to browse the magazine style front page. Is it more usable? I don't know but if it keeps time-on-site up and click-throughs high, I don't care if it is less usable if it increases engagement.
    • Setup. Have you seen or followed the instructions for Discourse? Yikes.
    • Scalability/Performance. It's not religion, it's just true, Node.js scales better and more easily. Yes, Rails is scalable but it just takes more work and ops time. I want to run my forum not worry about running Rails.
    • Topic list page. There area similarities between the two but NodeBB leave more space in the side bar for other information about the site. And potentially plugins or ads?
    • Tags. Last I checked, the Discourse team was vehemently against tags. I like them or at the very least the option to have them.
    • Ease of theme modification. I actually cannot confirm this but it is supposed to be a core tenet of NodeBB so it wins for at least trying. I did look at Convoe and it looks great!

    Discourse is better

    • Email integration. No question here. The Discourse digest is superior. NodeBB doesn't even have email alerts. Discourse even allows you to respond to an email alert and have it post directly to the forum.
    • Posting a new message/topic. I think Discourse has a slight upper hand here. The help tab in NodeBB is not very helpful. In Discourse, when posting a new topic you can change the category. I think the NodeBB transparent background is distracting.
    • Title bar. This one might be contentious but I don't understand what or why all of those buttons are at the top. I never touch them.
    • Ease of reading. Fixed width posts are easier to read. Browser edge to browser edge is not comfortable on the eyes. Period. (I guess you can customize this but I think the default should be fixed/responsive.
    • Meta-data about posts/links.etc. I think this is very interesting differentiator for Discourse. It's almost like Github issues when you link between different issues. The number of clicks for a link is also really nice.

    Neither is better

    • Search. Discourse search in the toolbar is nifty but I like search results page. The search result page on NodeBB isn't as useful as the results you get from a Discourse search. When I search NodeBB I rarely understand the results.
    • Mobile. It's good enough on both.

    I don't know

    I haven't explored all areas of both. Any thoughts on

    • Plugin development? I suspect NodeBB wins here.

    What is preventing me from installing NodeBB right now.

    1. Email integration
    2. Titlebar

    Update 12:10pm PDT: Added customizability to "NodeBB is better"



  • To show off the customizability, I think it would be great for NodeBB to ship with at least two themes. Similar to Ghost or Wordpress. (Unless it already does then I'll have to eat my 🎩) I haven't tried setting it up in many many 📆


  • Admin

    Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    Posting a new message/topic. I think Discourse has a slight upper hand here. The help tab in NodeBB is not very helpful. In Discourse, when posting a new topic you can change the category. I think the NodeBB transparent background is distracting.

    I think we will add the category selection into the composer so we can also put the new topic button on other pages like /recent /unread etc. The composer is no where near done it still needs plenty of work. https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB/issues/1719

    Title bar. This one might be contentious but I don't understand what or why all of those buttons are at the top. I never touch them.

    Open to ideas as where to put them,

    Capture.jpg

    Maybe the icons in the blue can be combined into a dropdown like the user dropdown.

    Ease of reading. Fixed width posts are easier to read. Browser edge to browser edge is not comfortable on the eyes. Period. (I guess you can customize this but I think the default should be fixed/responsive.

    You can use the toggle button on the bottom right to set fluid or fixed width and it should be saved in localStorage, I prefer to use the fixed width as well because its easier to read.

    Agreed on other points.


  • Global Moderator

    @baris Them MS Paint skills! 😆



  • @baris said:

    Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    😄

    Posting a new message/topic. I think Discourse has a slight upper hand here. The help tab in NodeBB is not very helpful. In Discourse, when posting a new topic you can change the category. I think the NodeBB transparent background is distracting.

    I think we will add the category selection into the composer so we can also put the new topic button on other pages like /recent /unread etc. The composer is no where near done it still needs plenty of work. https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB/issues/1719

    Okay, noted. Thanks.

    Title bar. This one might be contentious but I don't understand what or why all of those buttons are at the top. I never touch them.

    Open to ideas as where to put them,

    Capture.jpg

    Maybe the icons in the blue can be combined into a dropdown like the user dropdown.

    I think a hamburger icon (fa-bars) would work and have it drop down with the various options.
    <i class="fa fa-bars"></i>

    Ease of reading. Fixed width posts are easier to read. Browser edge to browser edge is not comfortable on the eyes. Period. (I guess you can customize this but I think the default should be fixed/responsive.

    You can use the toggle button on the bottom right to set fluid or fixed width and it should be saved in localStorage, I prefer to use the fixed width as well because its easier to read.

    Very nice, but I didn't notice it until now. The only idea i have for this is a bottom toolbar with a few options like that. I've never seen another site do something like that so it might be a horrible idea.

    Agreed on other points.

    😎


  • Admin

    @a_5mith Where is @trevor when you need him 😆


  • Anime Lovers

    Discourse has a pretty cool achievements system that allows you to award achievements based on various factors. Other than that, I didn't see anything that makes it better than Nodebb on my forum adventures.

    Nodebb will eventually get that as a plugin sometime. 😛 And I thought it was supposed to be soon (like a month or two ago).

    Of course, I thought .5 was going to come out a month ago too.

    Nodebb is soooo much better for every other reason.

    Of course, I'm waiting for a Dart Forum to come out. I think out of all the languages being used, Dart might come out on top.


  • Plugin & Theme Dev

    @djensen47 Well, a little more or less but that pretty much sums up the pros and cons of both NodeBB and Discourse.

    I used Discourse before I used NodeBB, but found them both at the same time. I was going to originally use Discourse for my community (Convoe), but changed my mind pretty quickly. I had a hard time trying to customize Discourse to make it as unique as possible as to show its capabilities. Yet, this involved so much gutting of the handlebars (template system used for Discourse) and when it was time to update, the site was so broken, it was like a waiting game.

    NodeBB uses a set of templates that are easy to understand and modify and even though Convoe speaks for itself as an example of NodeBB's capabilities, I'm sure it can go further - out of this world, as far as customization goes.

    Discourse is slowly reminding me of a more refined supercharged vBulletin and I can definitely bet most sites that use Discourse will all look alike. We will attempt to jump that "same-look" hurdle most forums suffer from because of the difficulty in their customization. 😉 - We all want familiarity, but most of us want a unique aesthetic look - something fresh, new, and bold.



  • @trevor It's funny, but the last time I took Discourse for a spin and dug around to see what I had to do to theme it, I found I had to store images in a thread on the forum. That's right. You store your Discourse theme images in a forum thread. And working with Docker is a real pain, even though it's supposed to make running Discourse easier.

    Despite those issues, I do like Discourse's fixed-width design, NodeBB's full-width design is only good until up to 1000px or so, then it really needs a max-width attribute or I have a hard time with it, especially on my 1080p monitor. I know about the super hidden button on the bottom right to change it to fixed-width too, but that isn't very useful because the homepage looks awful at whatever that button sets the width to. And it's not intuitive to click that button because you'll never known it's there until you accidentally mouse over it one day or someone here tells you. That's when a design has failed, it's when things aren't intuitive.

    Discourse also takes 3-5 seconds to show anything the first time you visit a Discourse forum after the DNS resolves. You just sit there spinning for a bit on a blank white page. Really irritating to me, but they're working on that.

    Notifications in NodeBB are also pretty messy as well, especially if you're following several people, because you get this:

    2014-07-10_20-16-48.png

    I think a lot of those could have been truncated into "User made 5 new posts" and then you could click to expand or view a page like the Unread tab listing those posts the user made, or something. And it's not just with new posts either, watched topic notifications are just as messy.

    Anyway, I think when it comes down to it NodeBB is definitely better than Discourse. I like the stuff Discourse is doing and it does feel more refined, but the setup + VPS requirements just aren't worth it. I think NodeBB could use some inspiration from that project in some areas though.


  • Admin

    Thanks for the feedback @luke 🙂 I think that a lot of our criticisms are down to our current default theme, and are things that could be solved (ie. the faults are not down to the engine per se). Good point on the notifications.

    We've worked really hard on the plugins/widgets/themes side of things - we don't want to be locked down to a certain style or look... so hopefully, that methodology will work out for the best in the long run 🙂


  • Admin

    @luke Really good points... to be honest, I didn't even notice that the notifications got annoying that way, because I don't follow anyone... but when I think about it, I don't follow anyone because I didn't want to get (what I considered) to be pointless notifications. 😆

    So... do we really need a notification every time someone you follow posts something?



  • @julian said:

    So... do we really need a notification every time someone you follow posts something?

    Well, not if we had like a stream page where we could see all that. Then, you could just show a notification that says "New posts from users you follow" and it goes to that stream, showing the full posts from those users. Just an idea, anyway.


  • Plugin & Theme Dev

    @luke said:

    @julian said:

    So... do we really need a notification every time someone you follow posts something?

    Well, not if we had like a stream page where we could see all that. Then, you could just show a notification that says "New posts from users you follow" and it goes to that stream, showing the full posts from those users. Just an idea, anyway.

    I like this idea a lot. More like a 'feed' page a la Twitter would get even better, with a timeline format to boot. Would make it real nice to see posts from people you follow.



  • This post is deleted!


  • +1 for a Twitter like Notification Feed 👍



  • This is definitley better 😛 I kinda like NodeBB extremley 😛


  • Admin

    Alright, feedback received 😄


  • GNU/Linux

    You know i really like to try nodebb unfortunately it doesn't have installation based on docker for easy upgrades.

    Since i failed at installing nodebb via digitalocean and successfully installing discourse following the beginner docker guide -> +1 discourse

    Any up-to-date tutorial for newbie non developer hobbyist to install nodebb on digitalocean?


  • Translator

    @Nur https://docs.nodebb.org/en/latest/installing/cloud.html

    The site that holds the digitalocean step by step tutorial seems to be down, but may be temporarily since is owned by @psychobunny . I think theres docker support too for nodeb now.

    Edit: https://docs.nodebb.org/en/latest/installing/docker.html?highlight=docker


  • GNU/Linux

    Weird upvote button should be at the bottom and bigger.. what if it is a long post.

    Also will be cool when i'm composing a reply,i can view the thread as well - discourse style 😅


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