Creating complex web applications is no more a big deal. However, few years ago, the scenario was completely different. Creating a web application like an Online Community would take months of perfect planning, and then a group of experts implementing them in complex programming language, and coming out with test versions, which would eventually take long time to mature into a stable version.
However, now if you ask me to manage a community of my own, I would just turn to an Online Community builder, like phpBB and customize it according to my needs. And that is ALL that I need to do!
However, the application that has made it easy for us is loaded with interesting features. phpBB, as the name suggest, is written in PHP and is widely used forum builder. The fact that it is Open Source Software gives it an extra edge with developers, as they can modify the application to any extent and redistribute it without any legal hassles.
However, I would like to highlight the key features of this application that makes it so popular.
- Easy Installation, Upgrade and Plug-ins: The application comes with an installation wizard that guides you through the process. Similarly, there is an update wizard, which would help you address your upgrade issues. Besides, there are plug-ins and expandable modules that enhances the application beyond its standard features. Add to it the fact that, all this comes at no cost, as it is free software.
- Admin features: phpBB provides a host of special services and permissions for the admin. Besides manipulating the site and the module settings, the admin can manage groups, users, forums and attachments. The admin can assign moderators, which could be global or for certain forums only. Moderators, within their powers, can manage the topics and the posts, while having full freedom of deleting or editing a particular topic or post.
- Application Structure: The overall structure is quite simple. There are forums where any particular user can create a topic, and other users can post in that topic to complete the discussion. Posts may have images, attachments, smiley, HTML content, as long as they don’t cross the moderation limits. However, as users, we can make member groups and post private messages to other members too.
- Security and Efficient Data Management: phpBB takes high precautions in the security aspects, and actions ranging from permanent bans to suspensions can be taken if necessary. Password hashing is another approach it takes to ensure a secure community. PhpBB has an extensive support for many kinds of database software. You name it, and they support it in their application, along with database backups and restore options.
There are plenty other features that are sure to attract you if you are planning to have an online community site of your own. Online Community is the happening thing in the web now, and so is phpBB!
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