I've always been a fan of forums. Ever since I was 12 years old, I was heavily involved in forums and building communities.
Over the years I used phpBB, vBulletin and other solutions I can't even remember now.
The past few weeks I've been looking around on how to build up a community around book lovers, since I already have a good following on Facebook and I could funnel that traffic to a community of my own.
After weeks of thinking what could I do, I started looking around social networks. But I didn't find what I was looking for, so I thought of building a forum.
Problem was that phpBB and all those solutions are old (I stopped coding in PHP since version 3...), I wasn't that convinced on going that route.
After installing MyBB I was convinced I couldn't build a community on that. It looked so 2000. Plus, developing something for it would be a pain in the ass for me.
So then I tried BuddyPress and bbPress... I even bought a $59 theme for it which I couldn't get a refund for it. It was slow and clumsy, I couldn't understand the interface, hell... this wasn't what I was looking for. I almost quit my plans.
But after looking around for modern forum softwares... I found several SaaS solutions which looked wonderful. But I prefer to run things in my own place. You know that saying "Never build your house on someone else's land", well it's true. It happened to me in real life and happened to me in virtual land too (specially after Facebook's last algorithm update which lowered my page's reach).
I searched for self-hosted solutions and found Discourse and it looked very nice to me. I thought "this is it, I think I can work with this". Then I went to see the specs.
Man, that didn't look good.
Installation guide? Awful. I mean, I'm no noob to this world, but the whole process was a pain in the ass.
Then I got this bright idea...
"I've been coding stuff in node.js for the past year, and I feel comfortable on it. I wonder...
Is there a node.js forum software that's modern and I could work with?"
I wasn't sure before asking "know-it-all" Google. My experience with CMS in node is that they are still very basic.
If only there was something interesting...
So I typed... "node forum software". And I hit "enter".
I found nodeBB.
It looked very, very interesting.
Looks modern and felt sharp and crispy. Check.
Responsive theme. Check.
Installation. Bit of a pain in the ass, but fine after tweaking around with the server and other things. Check.
Stability. 290 users registered, 22,000 pageviews in one day. Seems fine so far. Check.
And so far, I've been checking the documents and started to modify some things along the way.
Then I hit a roadblock with one of the plugins. I submitted an issue request in their git plugin. I see it's from one of the coders for this software @julian. He answered a couple minutes later.
Superb. Awesome. I never write so much, but the whole experience has made me write this post.
I hope to be able to contribute with plugins in the nearby future. I'm really grateful.