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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    forums that integrate well with existing applications

    For all the talk about not re-inventing the wheel on these forums (I've even given this advice to others myself), I find myself contemplating doing exactly that.

    What I want to do is to create forums for the members of a particular site where its really just an important extension of the core site purpose, which is online auctions.

    Previously i've used phpBB2 on a subdomain to relative success, however the fact that phpBB is a standalone system and not designed to integrate well at all made it a bit disconnected from the main site. Not to mention constant spam.

    I see sitepoint building their other sections around vBulletin, that is, I only ever signed up for these forums but I have been able to buy books and use the marketplace with my existing account.

    Of course the big problem with using vbulletin or phpbb is that as soon as you start customising, it makes it way harder to upgrade, which is so vital at least from a security standpoint, given the fame of these systems.

    I guess this leaves me with 2 questions:
    a) has anyone had success integrating phpBB, vbulletin, or any other forum system with a foreign application to any success?

    b) has anyone built their own forums to overlay a site, and was it hard?
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  2. #2
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    a) Yes. I've had more success with vB and ipB than phpBB3 as the first two have APIs to allow easier site integration.

    b) I find it easier to build the site using the forums as a base.
    bLueFrogX's Blog - Random Ramblings of a NEET Techie ★

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheeler View Post
    b) has anyone built their own forums to overlay a site, and was it hard?
    what I meant by this was hand built a forum in php rather than using one of the turnkey systems.

    Perhaps I worded it wrong -
    has anyone had a self-sufficient site and then integrating forums successfully where things like login details, sessions etc are shared?
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    The answer to that would still be a yes I've integrated several sites with phpBB(v1), ipb and vB
    bLueFrogX's Blog - Random Ramblings of a NEET Techie ★

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    When integrating two or more systems, it is usally not a good idea to modify the scripts to use the same user tables. Mainly due to as you said, it makes it harder to upgrade the various systems if a new version is released.

    Instead implent a hook into the system you want the users to login/join through. Which in the event of someone login or join would populate the databases in the other scripts as well. By doing this, all you need to do when upgrading either of the scripts is to add the include hook line to the scripts, perhaps modify your hook slightly if there were any major changes and your ready to go.

    For creating your own forum, its not worth it if its only to get a forum that works with your script. Ive created several solutions for various customers, but there was always a reason for not using one of the "popular" forums.

    If possible I always use vB, the coding in it is not perfect but its one of the better forums out there today imo.

  6. #6
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    I´ve built a complete site around phpbb2 with user management, photo gallery, sessions, extended user profiles,... It is a bit of work but it isn´t that hard once you get the hang of it

  7. #7
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    A hook would be good, but I do it in the database abstraction layer, so when the script *thinks* its retrieving from its own table, its actually doing it from another.

    This way I only have to change (normally) 1 file if I need to upgrade either script.
    bLueFrogX's Blog - Random Ramblings of a NEET Techie ★

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefrogx View Post
    A hook would be good, but I do it in the database abstraction layer, so when the script *thinks* its retrieving from its own table, its actually doing it from another.

    This way I only have to change (normally) 1 file if I need to upgrade either script.
    I see multiple "issues" with this, contra using a hook.
    The scripts need to use the same database layer for it to be effective.
    You would need to make sure that the "global" user table contain the exact same column names both scripts use, else all the queries using the user table need to be updated as well.

    By far it is much easier imo, to use a hook, your only update when adding a new version of the various scripts is to add the one line of code loading the hook.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    hmm that certainly adds some food for thought - but I can see so many problems arising I don't even know where to start.

    This all leads me back to building my own forums, but time is of the essence *sigh*

    pretty much dug myself a hole here
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