I find it really surprising that the communication pattern has completely evolved over the past few years. With the Internet becoming faster and affordable to more people, communication has essentially been dependent on the World Wide Web to a large extent. And it is not just two persons communicating. A whole group of people discussing on a common topic, sometimes to resolve a issue or just for the sake of discussion – this is the new age of e-communication. And this, I believe where forums comes into.
Forums are basically an application where a particular user can start a topic for discussion with other people chipping in with their views. It may seem very essential for you to replicate such a community in your own web space. It could be either to stay connected to your relatives or probably it could exclusively pertain to your business needs. Simple Machines Forum or simply, SMF is the next-generation online community-builder that might be what you are looking for!
So, how can SMF help you with your needs? Here, we’ll find out five cool features that SMF provides for users to exploit according to their requirements.
- It is simple to use and comes for free! – Simplicity rules in today’s world. Since SMF uses simple yet powerful languages like PHP and MySQL, it is designed for optimal performance with features like an efficient package manager that installs modules easily, extensive template system, multi-language support, comprehensive search options within categories or boards and topics also.
- Secure application: SMF is a powerful tool for the forum administrator. SMF gives high priority to security aspects, as all the actions would require session-based authorizations, while the user’s password would be the only prerequisite to conduct administrative work. Major operations of the applications are IP and time locked, so if the system detects quite a few unsuccessful login attempts from a particular IP, it denies access to the IP completely.
- Organized framework: The internal structure is beautifully organized and yet pretty much customizable. Boards can be grouped into categories, which can either be collapsible or non-collapsible. There are provisions for creating sub boards under parent boards, while the administrator can assign moderators to a particular board. Guest postings could also be allowed if needed and access can be limited to certain member groups. The admin is so powerful that it can even modify permissions for different member groups accessing a particular board.
- Wireless access and external integration: This, I believe is the most interesting feature of SMF and truly makes it the next generation forum builder. It supports wireless protocols like WAP, WAP 2, and I-Mode. So, if you have a high-end GPRS enabled phone, you could have access to your SMF application and browse through boards and topics. Moreover, WAP 2 onwards, logging in to the system is allowed along with the ability to post new messages. So, you could stay connected to the community even while on the move!
- Themes, templates, attachments and many more: These sets of really cool features provide the extra zing to the application. SMF supports a huge variety of themes and templates for you to play with; supports attachments and image postings on topics, quick posting tools like Spell check and rich editing environment, polls and calendar support to name a few!
To sum it up, keeping faith in its name, Simple Machines Forum is taking the online community world to a new level and more importantly in the right direction.
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