Use forums rather than Slack/Discord to support developer community

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • GitHub repo Flarum

    Simple forum software for building great communities.

    So what's everyone's favourite forum software? Which of the many packages out there would actually be suitable to replicate the usability of Slack/Discord, without making all of the messages disappear like in a black hole?

    1) Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

    Looks pretty modern and also offers managed instances if you'd like, but i can't help but to feel that it's pretty JS heavy and there is perhaps too much whitespace, which makes navigating longer threads somewhat cumbersome. To me, it seems like a case of UI > UX, which is an upsetting trend that i've noticed ("make something pretty rather than something functional").

    2) Flarum: https://flarum.org/

    This one is perhaps a bit better in my eyes as far as the UX is concerned and seems to have actually been developed as a mobile first forum. It does have that modern look while at the same time being reasonably functional, and the idea of putting the forum structure tree in the sidebar actually works pretty well!

    3) phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/

    Personally, this is my favourite from the "traditional" forum software, since it's really usable, it keeps a good information density, doesn't lose usability and isn't as JS heavy as any of the other alternatives. Also, there are plenty of plugins and even the default functionality provides you with most of the things that you'd like in a piece of forum software and the hardware requirements are pretty low.

    As someone who runs a phpBB forum or two myself, the biggest pain is perhaps updating, since you run into the very same issue of never knowing whether an update will break something or not and you might have to manually alter some config files if things go sideways. Also, admittedly, the admin UX could be better, but i guess that's just the software showing its age.

    That said, old is not necessarily always worse.

    4) Simple Machines Forum: https://www.simplemachines.org/

    To me, it looks like a slightly simpler alternative to phpBB, with similarly good readability, slightly lower information density, but overall a very similar look and feel to phpBB. Can't talk much about its features, but some people have recommended it in the past.

    Also, in regards to the free plan memory limitations, has anyone here experimented with self-hosted IM solutions? Personally i'm running a Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat/) instance which seems pretty nice and functional, for example, for a smaller software developer team, though others also have had good experiences with Mattermost (https://mattermost.com/) or other software.

  • GitHub repo Zulip

    Zulip server and web app—powerful open source team chat

    Yes, the web-public view is being actively worked on: https://github.com/zulip/zulip/issues?q=label%3A%22area%3A+w...

    There’s also a separate zulip-archive project that exports Zulip streams to static HTML: https://github.com/zulip/zulip-archive

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  • GitHub repo Discourse

    A platform for community discussion. Free, open, simple.

    So what's everyone's favourite forum software? Which of the many packages out there would actually be suitable to replicate the usability of Slack/Discord, without making all of the messages disappear like in a black hole?

    1) Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

    Looks pretty modern and also offers managed instances if you'd like, but i can't help but to feel that it's pretty JS heavy and there is perhaps too much whitespace, which makes navigating longer threads somewhat cumbersome. To me, it seems like a case of UI > UX, which is an upsetting trend that i've noticed ("make something pretty rather than something functional").

    2) Flarum: https://flarum.org/

    This one is perhaps a bit better in my eyes as far as the UX is concerned and seems to have actually been developed as a mobile first forum. It does have that modern look while at the same time being reasonably functional, and the idea of putting the forum structure tree in the sidebar actually works pretty well!

    3) phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/

    Personally, this is my favourite from the "traditional" forum software, since it's really usable, it keeps a good information density, doesn't lose usability and isn't as JS heavy as any of the other alternatives. Also, there are plenty of plugins and even the default functionality provides you with most of the things that you'd like in a piece of forum software and the hardware requirements are pretty low.

    As someone who runs a phpBB forum or two myself, the biggest pain is perhaps updating, since you run into the very same issue of never knowing whether an update will break something or not and you might have to manually alter some config files if things go sideways. Also, admittedly, the admin UX could be better, but i guess that's just the software showing its age.

    That said, old is not necessarily always worse.

    4) Simple Machines Forum: https://www.simplemachines.org/

    To me, it looks like a slightly simpler alternative to phpBB, with similarly good readability, slightly lower information density, but overall a very similar look and feel to phpBB. Can't talk much about its features, but some people have recommended it in the past.

    Also, in regards to the free plan memory limitations, has anyone here experimented with self-hosted IM solutions? Personally i'm running a Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat/) instance which seems pretty nice and functional, for example, for a smaller software developer team, though others also have had good experiences with Mattermost (https://mattermost.com/) or other software.

  • GitHub repo Lobsters

    Computing-focused community centered around link aggregation and discussion

    I think Discourse is the first real attempt to bring forums in-line with "modern" UI expectations, which is why it feels like it won. There's probably lots of room to grow here. There's forums out there that allow SMTP-only [1] or SMTP and NNTP reading/posting [2], there's forum skins atop mailing lists like [3], there's distributed forums like Aether or Lemmy like [4, 5]. Unfortunately these are all new/raw.

    [1]: https://lobste.rs

    [2]: https://tade.link

    [3]: https://lists.wikimedia.org/hyperkitty/list/[email protected] for example

    [4]: https://getaether.net/

    [5]: https://lemmy.ml/

  • GitHub repo aether

    Aether client app with bundled front-end and P2P back-end

    I think Discourse is the first real attempt to bring forums in-line with "modern" UI expectations, which is why it feels like it won. There's probably lots of room to grow here. There's forums out there that allow SMTP-only [1] or SMTP and NNTP reading/posting [2], there's forum skins atop mailing lists like [3], there's distributed forums like Aether or Lemmy like [4, 5]. Unfortunately these are all new/raw.

    [1]: https://lobste.rs

    [2]: https://tade.link

    [3]: https://lists.wikimedia.org/hyperkitty/list/[email protected] for example

    [4]: https://getaether.net/

    [5]: https://lemmy.ml/

  • GitHub repo Vanilla Forums

    Vanilla is a powerfully simple discussion forum you can easily customize to make as unique as your community.

    (Not sure if the latest version supports digest emails though)

    https://github.com/vanilla/vanilla

  • GitHub repo DiscordChatExporter

    Exports Discord chat logs to a file

    Not true. Good luck exporting the issues, pull requests, comments, discussions, wikis, etc. and bringing those to another platform.

    Ironically (and I am not defending them), Slack[0] is the only one of the three that has an official way to export all messages. GitHub does not, unless you're counting their API, but then maybe you want to consider Discord things like this[1]?

    [0] https://slack.com/help/articles/201658943-Export-your-worksp...

    [1] https://github.com/Tyrrrz/DiscordChatExporter

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  • GitHub repo bevy

    A refreshingly simple data-driven game engine built in Rust

    I cannot agree enough.

    For example, in the bevy[0] discord alone, there's a remarkable about of advice, plugin recommendations, and technical help that's essentially just lost in noise.

    It's a real shame; I can't help but wonder how much effort is repeated, or how much beginners needlessly struggle because they couldn't effectively find information.

    [0] https://github.com/bevyengine/bevy

  • GitHub repo zulip-archive

    A tool for archiving and displaying Zulip chat channels.

    Yes, the web-public view is being actively worked on: https://github.com/zulip/zulip/issues?q=label%3A%22area%3A+w...

    There’s also a separate zulip-archive project that exports Zulip streams to static HTML: https://github.com/zulip/zulip-archive

  • GitHub repo phpBB

    phpBB Development: phpBB is a popular open-source bulletin board written in PHP. This repository also contains the history of version 2.

    So what's everyone's favourite forum software? Which of the many packages out there would actually be suitable to replicate the usability of Slack/Discord, without making all of the messages disappear like in a black hole?

    1) Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

    Looks pretty modern and also offers managed instances if you'd like, but i can't help but to feel that it's pretty JS heavy and there is perhaps too much whitespace, which makes navigating longer threads somewhat cumbersome. To me, it seems like a case of UI > UX, which is an upsetting trend that i've noticed ("make something pretty rather than something functional").

    2) Flarum: https://flarum.org/

    This one is perhaps a bit better in my eyes as far as the UX is concerned and seems to have actually been developed as a mobile first forum. It does have that modern look while at the same time being reasonably functional, and the idea of putting the forum structure tree in the sidebar actually works pretty well!

    3) phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/

    Personally, this is my favourite from the "traditional" forum software, since it's really usable, it keeps a good information density, doesn't lose usability and isn't as JS heavy as any of the other alternatives. Also, there are plenty of plugins and even the default functionality provides you with most of the things that you'd like in a piece of forum software and the hardware requirements are pretty low.

    As someone who runs a phpBB forum or two myself, the biggest pain is perhaps updating, since you run into the very same issue of never knowing whether an update will break something or not and you might have to manually alter some config files if things go sideways. Also, admittedly, the admin UX could be better, but i guess that's just the software showing its age.

    That said, old is not necessarily always worse.

    4) Simple Machines Forum: https://www.simplemachines.org/

    To me, it looks like a slightly simpler alternative to phpBB, with similarly good readability, slightly lower information density, but overall a very similar look and feel to phpBB. Can't talk much about its features, but some people have recommended it in the past.

    Also, in regards to the free plan memory limitations, has anyone here experimented with self-hosted IM solutions? Personally i'm running a Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat/) instance which seems pretty nice and functional, for example, for a smaller software developer team, though others also have had good experiences with Mattermost (https://mattermost.com/) or other software.

  • GitHub repo Rocket.Chat

    The communications platform that puts data protection first.

    So what's everyone's favourite forum software? Which of the many packages out there would actually be suitable to replicate the usability of Slack/Discord, without making all of the messages disappear like in a black hole?

    1) Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

    Looks pretty modern and also offers managed instances if you'd like, but i can't help but to feel that it's pretty JS heavy and there is perhaps too much whitespace, which makes navigating longer threads somewhat cumbersome. To me, it seems like a case of UI > UX, which is an upsetting trend that i've noticed ("make something pretty rather than something functional").

    2) Flarum: https://flarum.org/

    This one is perhaps a bit better in my eyes as far as the UX is concerned and seems to have actually been developed as a mobile first forum. It does have that modern look while at the same time being reasonably functional, and the idea of putting the forum structure tree in the sidebar actually works pretty well!

    3) phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/

    Personally, this is my favourite from the "traditional" forum software, since it's really usable, it keeps a good information density, doesn't lose usability and isn't as JS heavy as any of the other alternatives. Also, there are plenty of plugins and even the default functionality provides you with most of the things that you'd like in a piece of forum software and the hardware requirements are pretty low.

    As someone who runs a phpBB forum or two myself, the biggest pain is perhaps updating, since you run into the very same issue of never knowing whether an update will break something or not and you might have to manually alter some config files if things go sideways. Also, admittedly, the admin UX could be better, but i guess that's just the software showing its age.

    That said, old is not necessarily always worse.

    4) Simple Machines Forum: https://www.simplemachines.org/

    To me, it looks like a slightly simpler alternative to phpBB, with similarly good readability, slightly lower information density, but overall a very similar look and feel to phpBB. Can't talk much about its features, but some people have recommended it in the past.

    Also, in regards to the free plan memory limitations, has anyone here experimented with self-hosted IM solutions? Personally i'm running a Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat/) instance which seems pretty nice and functional, for example, for a smaller software developer team, though others also have had good experiences with Mattermost (https://mattermost.com/) or other software.

  • GitHub repo Mattermost

    Mattermost is an open source platform for secure collaboration across the entire software development lifecycle.

    So what's everyone's favourite forum software? Which of the many packages out there would actually be suitable to replicate the usability of Slack/Discord, without making all of the messages disappear like in a black hole?

    1) Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

    Looks pretty modern and also offers managed instances if you'd like, but i can't help but to feel that it's pretty JS heavy and there is perhaps too much whitespace, which makes navigating longer threads somewhat cumbersome. To me, it seems like a case of UI > UX, which is an upsetting trend that i've noticed ("make something pretty rather than something functional").

    2) Flarum: https://flarum.org/

    This one is perhaps a bit better in my eyes as far as the UX is concerned and seems to have actually been developed as a mobile first forum. It does have that modern look while at the same time being reasonably functional, and the idea of putting the forum structure tree in the sidebar actually works pretty well!

    3) phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/

    Personally, this is my favourite from the "traditional" forum software, since it's really usable, it keeps a good information density, doesn't lose usability and isn't as JS heavy as any of the other alternatives. Also, there are plenty of plugins and even the default functionality provides you with most of the things that you'd like in a piece of forum software and the hardware requirements are pretty low.

    As someone who runs a phpBB forum or two myself, the biggest pain is perhaps updating, since you run into the very same issue of never knowing whether an update will break something or not and you might have to manually alter some config files if things go sideways. Also, admittedly, the admin UX could be better, but i guess that's just the software showing its age.

    That said, old is not necessarily always worse.

    4) Simple Machines Forum: https://www.simplemachines.org/

    To me, it looks like a slightly simpler alternative to phpBB, with similarly good readability, slightly lower information density, but overall a very similar look and feel to phpBB. Can't talk much about its features, but some people have recommended it in the past.

    Also, in regards to the free plan memory limitations, has anyone here experimented with self-hosted IM solutions? Personally i'm running a Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat/) instance which seems pretty nice and functional, for example, for a smaller software developer team, though others also have had good experiences with Mattermost (https://mattermost.com/) or other software.

  • GitHub repo hyperkitty

    Hyperkitty provides a nice web interface on top of mailing lists:

    https://gitlab.com/mailman/hyperkitty

    All Fedora mailing lists use it and it works well IMHO.

    https://lists.fedoraproject.org/archives/

  • GitHub repo Simple Machines Forum

    Thoughts, Ideas and bits of code for SMF (2.1)

    Do yourself a favor and avoid SMF if possible. It "works", but has terrible code quality (prime example [1]) and the addon/module system operates by diffing the original PHP source file and then patching in the needed changes. As you can imagine, this quickly leads to a lot of issues when updating or using multiple addons.

    [1] https://github.com/SimpleMachines/SMF2.1/blob/release-2.1/So...

  • GitHub repo nimforum

    Lightweight alternative to Discourse written in Nim

    If you like Discourse but want something a bit lighter, check out: https://github.com/nim-lang/nimforum

  • GitHub repo matrix.to

    A simple stateless privacy-protecting URL redirecting service for Matrix

    Yes, matrix is designed as a distributed database and chat is just one application. Check out https://matrix.to/#/#beyond-chat:matrix.org

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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