Integrate PHPBB/Vbulleting etc. into Drupal? Or not?

Huston, we have a problem.

It might be an attitude problem, maybe a communication problem, but certainly a problem.

Nearly weekly we get some question in the Drupal forums about integration of some of these Full featured Bulletin boards. Longer term Drupal users and developers all know that it is a) not as easy as it sounds and b) not necessary in 90% of thee cases. So this is not about integrating those, because there really s no need for that. I am confident that Drupal can do at least 75% of what phpBB can. Plus so much more witch phpBB cannot. The need is not to integrate this, but to offer an easier way to this functionality that people obviously miss, or cannot get working in Drupal.

But still we have a problem. PHPBB; or vbulletin come with bucketloads of features, ready, installed (and work properly together).

In Drupal you need to know first of all that forum.module is not the only forum thing. But that you have to enhance your forums with other modules. This is not clear. We fail to communicate this, it seems.

Even if people know this. They can still not find it. Who could think that it is taxonomy_access to add per forum permissions? Or og.module to allow people to join certain forums. Who knows that it is commentcloser that will close threads after a while? etc etc. The list goes on.

I think that even a recipe will not help much. It is the "out of the box" (OOTB) experience that people need. What we really need, I think, is a dedicated forum distro. Some distribution that offers a nice OOTB PHPBB clone. Should we put money together to get this done? I certainly have no time for this, nor to lead such a project. But I know for sure that this "Drupal forums suck" should end. We have the components. Someone needs to collect them and make them play alongside. That is "all" :).

So We might be able to get this project going, if someone has enough reasons (funding) and itch to start it. Maybe someone sees a nice (commercial?) opportunity here? I am confident that such a distro will be very popular, and that it even makes a nice busyness model to provide Drupal forum services. Lets hope this post brings people ideas :).

About the author: Bèr Kessels is an experienced webdeveloper with a great passion for technology and Open Source. A golden combination to implement that technology in a good and efficient way. Follow @berkes on Twitter. Or read more about Bèr.

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