Tag Archives: vbulletin

IP.Board Keeps Moving Forward

Yes I am still in love with IP.Board. I just can’t wrap my mind around the speed of development as well as how responsive they are to feedback. I remember watching and waiting for phpBB 2.2 (which would eventually become 3) on the Area 51 forum. It wasn’t just the snail’s pace, it was how the support team at the time seemed in utter denial about faults within phpBB 2.0.x. Specifically its being a spam magnet. One needed to some modification to just slow down the speed of spambot registrations. It was this denial and the resistance to consider feedback on features–like the quick reply, something just now being added–that pushed me to vBulletin.

Jelsoft developers spoke of vBulletin 4, but then one day it was revealed that no actual work had been on 4, just talk. New, rather useless and/or ill implemented features were being added to the 3.x line, features that screamed “I want to be MySpace!”. There was the Ad Sense fiasco. Oh, not to mention price raises for both the product and renewal. And of course, the now infamous leak. Not only was vB4’s rewrite going to take years longer than expected, but Internet Brands seemed bound and determined to drive away long time customers.
After seeing version 4 in action I have to say I would be very disappointed if I had paid for that script. And when 5 comes around you’ll have to pay $$$ all over again!

On the IPB side, I recently added my voice to those who wanted a soft delete feature in IP.Board. After a couple of weeks a developer blog update showed that the team had made progress on implementing this into 3.1. That isn’t to say they stick in everything people request, but what they do is give feedback on their feedback. That is to say, if something won’t be added they explain why. They also ask for clarification of feature requests so they have a better idea of what the user is actually asking for, how’d they like it to work within the existing forum etc.

phpBB were, and probably still are, good with talking about their current development. They were just really stubborn and seemed to be focusing on how they themselves would administer a forum and maybe not so much on the end user experience. vBulletin seemed just as focused on trying to attract MySpace users to use VB powered forums, without really thinking things through. IPB seems to be trying to refine what they have before adding onto it, which is also something phpBB did. I guess when it comes down to it phpBB’s lack of spam protection is what makes me not really like being an admin of that software. I would pick MyBB over it. But even so, that free script is able to give better communication than vBulletin PR? I don’t even mean the guys behind the scenes busy coding, I mean people who are supposedly getting paid to talk to the customers.

Oh oh oh oh! I don’t know if it is obvious but I love reading about drama involving scripts! I did the same thing when Joomla! came into being, and now it seems SMF are going through some issues. There is the standstill in development and management issues. I never paid much attention to SMF because I find it ugly and confusing, so a lot of this is kind of “dur” for me, but still…drama drama drama.

Time to leave vBulletin?

Once again I find myself forced to consider converting MW from vBulletin to one of its competitors. With the new license structure being released finally it is clear that customers are getting royally screwed. They currently have a pre-sale going on that makes the suite look like a bargain, but once you are locked into a suite license that is it: when VB 5 comes out you will have to pay whatever the upgrade fee is for the suite even if you decide you were happy with just the forums after all. They company reps are pretty obvious in their desire to get everyone onto the suite path. No pun intended.

The thing that is so horrible about the pre-sale is that there is NO demo, NO live site anywhere that shows this new VB, and you are basically paying for vaporware. Some argue given the software’s history you are purchasing on faith, except the vast majority of the team that made VB what it isĀ are now gone. One former member’s twitter post about watching a train wreck doesn’t really build one’s confidence in the future of the company.

Basically Internet Brands wants me to spend $180 (or more) every couple of years in order to have access to the most stable vBulletin version. IP.Board costs $150 plus renewals, however unlike VB they have this history of honoring previous license agreements. So even if they changed ala VB if you bought your board before the change nothing will happen to your agreement with the company. I find this so ironic because one of the primary reasons I choose VB over IPB was because I felt Jelsoft (which for all intents and purposes is no more) was more of an honorable company than IPB.

To be frank IPB didn’t handle their going from a free script to paid solution very well. Not very well at all, in fact. And yet it seems as this years draws on VB keeps sending new customers their way. Indeed, nowadays it seems Internet Brands is the best thing to have happened to IPB.

But converting isn’t easy. As an end user I am far more familiar with VB than any other board software except maybe phpBB albeit the phpBB 2 series. Not to mention I have no real idea how hard or easy it would be to skin IPB, although I can’t see it being any more of a pain in the ass than the current VB. I’d have to make a new style for version four anyway.

This whole situation is so disappointing. Thank god I renewed VB right when I did because this announcement came out not even a full week later. So if I feel inclined I can download VB 4, but then when next October rolls around I’d have to cough up the $180 to continue to receive updates. I suppose that means I have a year to decide/get used to the idea of converting. Even so, I was semi-looking forward to the new VB. They had some nifty improvements planned, just not nifty enough to justify the increased cost. And a lot of the features they were pimping weren’t even things I cared for, like SEO links and removing valuable info from the HTML title of threads (like the Page 1, Page 2 stuff).

It is becoming more clear as the days wear on that Internet Brands doesn’t give two sticks about their customers.

ETA: Someone has broken down the new pricing plan.

vBulletin 4 On the Horizon (maybe)

For a good portion of this year it looked as if we might see the newest incarnation of vBulletin by year’s end, but now I’m not so sure. The other thing I’m not so sure on is how I feel about the product, or should I say the company behind it.

Back in May there was a mess up with permissions on the official forums and details about future plans were revealed to the public. When this hit I was floored and more than a touch angry. Recently IB has come out and stated that if one has an active license when vB4 is released they can download it under the current terms.

The entire thing is just disappointing because vB4 is not a complete rewrite (yet) so the idea of having to pay for it again was just…ugh. Right before the leak I had been trying to get excited about it, mostly thinking of the new style. I’m still looking forward to an easier way to skin the forum, good lord am I ever. But their SEO features are not really something I care for, especially since one of the changes that has been proposed isn’t really for the better: getting rid of page numbers in the title of threads you’re browsing. Hopefully they have rethought that or at least have made it an option. In general I really don’t care much for SEO dodads, but the sitemap feature will be nice.

All that is to say that vB4 wasn’t all that exciting before the leak and during the three months of IB stalling giving any sort of response, things were looking dimmer. One of the reasons I went with VB over IPB was the attitude of IPB, specifically how they handled going from “free forever!” to a payed solution. IB’s attitude about the leak was almost enough to make me switch, except IPB3 at the time didn’t have its payed subscription manager up and running yet. Not to mention converting can be a real pain in the ass. However the fact that I even went over to their site and checked out what they offered was probably the biggest sign of how much IB screwed up. Plenty of other forum owners just went ahead and made the plunge to switch.

Still, in all likelihood I will be upgrading to vB4, we’ll see about version five when it gets here. I’m hoping IB doesn’t disappoint further when they finally release the pricing info. It really shouldn’t be taking them this long, but I figured when the leak happened they’d wait until the last minute and so far looks like I’m right.