Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?


  • Community Rep

    @macfan said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    If I was to be honest, Id say I prefer nodeBB over Discourse. Why? Many many things. Just to name a few::

    • well-thought UI/UX, much more intuitive than D,
    • simpler to install/manage,
    • without stupid requirements (like mail-service),
    • nice & supportive community

    And many more.

    Yeah, so easy to manage, scales so well, support is so good.



  • I started working with Discourse and nodebb about the same time and I have seen a clear difference in how both platforms have matured, and as well as missing out.

    Discourse went from Jeff's Forum Software to a real product for others. In making this change, they have built IMO far better setup, worked with cloud providers to have one-click options, forked and brought in-house popular plugins to be maintained, broke out of the 'how i want it' to 'you want it, we will build it'. Speed is acceptable. Styling feels limited. Mobile is positive.

    NodeBB still has all the great things that caught my attention in 2014, but it STILL suffers from the same problems I had then. Out of date documentation. Documentation migration. Limited integration with cloud providers. High profile Plugins Abandoned. I love the speed. The mobile implementation is incredible. But I find myself having the same frustrations I had nearly FIVE YEARS ago.

    While Discourse isn't perfect, they have built and matured as a platform, in both polish and reliability. When I get the 'New Version' for Discourse, I am never scared to click that button. I can't say the same about NodeBB. Nodebb still feels like most other open source software, exciting and interesting, but not reliable enough to make me jump in.

    Another good comparison in maturity would be Ghost. I started using Ghost and NodeBB at the same time. Polish, feature additions and ease of deployment have all been things you can easily see that Ghost has improved over time. I don't see that same platform maturity with Nodebb.


  • Anime Lovers

    There is lot of issue in @Nodebb-org is also not working well on Chrome own like nodebb itself.


  • Anime Lovers

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  • @shinyidol said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    While Discourse isn't perfect, they have built and matured as a platform, in both polish and reliability. When I get the 'New Version' for Discourse, I am never scared to click that button. I can't say the same about NodeBB. Nodebb still feels like most other open source software, exciting and interesting, but not reliable enough to make me jump in.
    Another good comparison in maturity would be Ghost. I started using Ghost and NodeBB at the same time. Polish, feature additions and ease of deployment have all been things you can easily see that Ghost has improved over time. I don't see that same platform maturity with Nodebb.

    Not using Ghost so will say nothing, but - for Discourse part - its all way round. Discourse matured over time? Must be kidding! If they wanted to be treated like mature product they wouldn't have implemented three mail providers only, but also all the other mail providers like gmail.....

    And per support: Discourse had just banned me because, lo and behold, I voiced my concerns. Oh yea, just for doing so.

    So no, Discourse is by no means mature. Whereas NodeBB is.



  • for Discourse part - its all way round. Discourse matured over time? Must be kidding! If they wanted to be treated like mature product they wouldn't have implemented three mail providers only, but also all the other mail providers like gmail.....

    In terms of features added, taking control of plugins to build a stable environment AND listening to what people want, yes Discourse has matured. Jeff is very opinionated and can be difficult to work with. I got in an argument with him in 2014 over features we would want if we were to deploy Discourse and he said those features aren't important and would never be part of the platform. Two years later, all of those requests are part of mainline because there was a demand from customers to make that part of the software.

    Sounds like you feel into the trap of Jeff and got burned. Don't be mad, you aren't alone.

    I still stand 100% behind that Discourse has matured. Their setup process is cleaner and more efficient. Their dependency on featured plugins is very low. NodeBB falls far behind on both of those and really hasn't gotten any better in five years.


  • Community Rep

    @shinyidol said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Jeff is very opinionated and can be difficult to work with.

    This alone is a pretty big factor. I've not used Discourse as an admin so not commenting generally. But that kind of view of the person leading the project is all that I would need to know. If he makes using the product difficult and uncomfortable, that's a bigger factor than the other things mentioned.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    This alone is a pretty big factor. I've not used Discourse as an admin so not commenting generally. But that kind of view of the person leading the project is all that I would need to know. If he makes using the product difficult and uncomfortable, that's a bigger factor than the other things mentioned.

    Agree and that is something that has changed, at least from what I have seen. Tags and marked as solved were two things that Jeff was totally against, but the demand was there and they both became so popular that they now maintain the plugins themselves.


  • Community Rep

    @shinyidol said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    This alone is a pretty big factor. I've not used Discourse as an admin so not commenting generally. But that kind of view of the person leading the project is all that I would need to know. If he makes using the product difficult and uncomfortable, that's a bigger factor than the other things mentioned.

    Agree and that is something that has changed, at least from what I have seen. Tags and marked as solved were two things that Jeff was totally against, but the demand was there and they both became so popular that they now maintain the plugins themselves.

    Good progress then 🙂


  • Community Rep

    I do wish that a few more things in NodeBB were built in rather than plugins. Not a lot, just a few.


  • GNU/Linux

    @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I do wish that a few more things in NodeBB were built in rather than plugins. Not a lot, just a few.

    Yep like API access to everything. IMO that's huge for customization for various things. (I'm bias because i need all the api's i can get my hands on.)


  • Community Rep

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I do wish that a few more things in NodeBB were built in rather than plugins. Not a lot, just a few.

    Yep like API access to everything. IMO that's huge for customization for various things. (I'm bias because i need all the api's i can get my hands on.)

    Agreed, that is totally needed and should definitely not be a plugin. That and a TON of more reporting.


  • GNU/Linux

    @scottalanmiller Yeah, im in the middle of writing a system that would love to utilize the API, but the write API and having to manually update other plugins for their routes and all that, along with trying to figure out peoples coding stack is too much. So I'm prob just going to end up writing/searching the mongodb instead. But API would be awesome.


  • Community Rep

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    @scottalanmiller Yeah, im in the middle of writing a system that would love to utilize the API, but the write API and having to manually update other plugins for their routes and all that, along with trying to figure out peoples coding stack is too much. So I'm prob just going to end up writing/searching the mongodb instead. But API would be awesome.

    Yeah, that's a bit of a problem.


  • GNU/Linux Admin

    Hm... I made the conscious decision to develop the Write API separately mostly because it's not a feature that many people use. Those admins who want deeper integration would, certainly, but I think at the time, I wasn't entirely sure how much it'd bulk up the codebase were I to build it into core itself.

    That said, I try to keep on top of it in terms of compatibility... and the Write API's RESTful interface is much more organized than NodeBB's read API, simply because it was designed that way, instead of organically grown. Was there anything specific you wanted me to address in the Write API?

    With regards to documentation, I realize we really need some sort of auto-generated doc tool to show API responses. Having to "code it first and see what the responses are" should not be the way to develop...

    So many things on our backlog 😄


  • GNU/Linux

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Hm... I made the conscious decision to develop the Write API separately mostly because it's not a feature that many people use. Those admins who want deeper integration would, certainly, but I think at the time, I wasn't entirely sure how much it'd bulk up the codebase were I to build it into core itself.

    That said, I try to keep on top of it in terms of compatibility... and the Write API's RESTful interface is much more organized than NodeBB's read API, simply because it was designed that way, instead of organically grown. Was there anything specific you wanted me to address in the Write API?

    With regards to documentation, I realize we really need some sort of auto-generated doc tool to show API responses. Having to "code it first and see what the responses are" should not be the way to develop...

    So many things on our backlog 😄

    I'm sure we all understand the effort you guys put in everyday. Just do what you can, I've noticed many "newer" more modern forums such as Discourse for example utilize some type of built in API system for integrations. Basically would love to see an API for read/write built into the core.

    Pre-context: I been a user of Nodebb for a while, I waited like 2 years and came back still not much in terms of average user QOL changes. Not saying you guys havnt done anything im sure theres lots of core fixes and so forth let me explain in more detail below.

    A bunch of small QOL changes would be nice to see as well, at least from the small time that I've started back into Nodebb development for a project i'm working on. I've had to custom build some plugins just to modify things that should be also written into the core system. It's kind of out of reach for your average person cant expect them to write plugins to fix specific things like these.

    Example: GDPR modifying the text would require a plugin to modify the lang output. Would be nice where in the settings section where you can enable / disable to modify that with a modal popup etc. I'm sure theres others but this is only from what ive came across.

    But I love nodebb. AS in terms of this thread "Which is better?"

    I look at it from another point of view..
    NodeBB is more of a developer board and Discourse is popular and has more developers for consumer usage. Nodebb just isn't user friendly enough for changes for users just my 2cents.


  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I look at it from another point of view..
    NodeBB is more of a developer board and Discourse is popular and has more developers for consumer usage. Nodebb just isn't user friendly enough for changes for users just my 2cents.

    Yes, that is the sad reality of it, is that we're not as large as Discourse nor do we have as much money, but I still feel we've come up with a competitive product that holds a candle to it.

    The unfortunate part is that that last 10% to even out the rough edges requires money, or developers, and often both, and while we're around, many thing pull at us in many different directions 😄

    Seems to be an issue with many open source products in general...


  • GNU/Linux

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I look at it from another point of view..
    NodeBB is more of a developer board and Discourse is popular and has more developers for consumer usage. Nodebb just isn't user friendly enough for changes for users just my 2cents.

    Yes, that is the sad reality of it, is that we're not as large as Discourse nor do we have as much money, but I still feel we've come up with a competitive product that holds a candle to it.

    The unfortunate part is that that last 10% to even out the rough edges requires money, or developers, and often both, and while we're around, many thing pull at us in many different directions 😄

    Seems to be an issue with many open source products in general...

    Yep, Nodebb is great problem with it getting more people to use it is tied directly with the type of plugins/features available to users. Have you got statistics data on the type of person who uses this board of is it varied? I my self use mostly for gaming communities. So things like Discord/Steam integrations are hugely popular things. - Just a thought of focusing on the groups and making some popular plugins for attracting those users may help. I personally hate Discourse due to their docker wrapper. but thats me.


  • Community Rep

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I personally hate Discourse due to their docker wrapper. but thats me.

    Oh gosh, that would pretty much turn me away right there. Docker is great for devs, but makes little sense for production operations. Tends to come from shops that are run by devs and have little operational knowledge or experience. We just had a discussion about that last week in our forum: https://mangolassi.it/topic/19577/docker-for-production-use-of-third-party-software/


  • Community Rep

    @Joykiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I my self use mostly for gaming communities.

    We use it for professional communities, mostly. Peer to peer career development, peer review, etc. Two of my big ones are in IT and insurance fields.


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