Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Battling on with forums and website design | A transients.info Upgrade Update

I’m battling away trying to find a new solution for the community here. I want to create a forum system that draws people in so that they can find the information they are searching for, but also share and socialise in a safe spot, similar to transients Facebook Group, but with much better functionality.
Assigned moderators looking after specific boards dedicated to topics such as remote viewing, horticulture, energy healing, star seeds, sacred geometry, photography & art, past life regression, the shift in consciousness & the new earth, psychic abilities, and so on, reliable information can be collected and stickied/pinned for easy access to the reader.

The system I want needs to be powerful enough, but also user friendly and polished. It needs to be modern as I think it’s important to keep up with the times and what people expect in websites these days. I have ran into many older websites over the years that really detract my attention based on their lack of updates and older designs, and this can be off putting.
I want a system that not only handles the flow of information from people posting very efficiently, but also provides a community feel with an activity feed, detailed profiles for individuals — uniquely as possible.
And I want all of this to just fit within the new site I have been working on, so that it feels like it belongs.

I have tried to use BuddyPress and bbPress, but neither have worked out because of the lack of features. I have tried the free phpBB forum software, but found that the add-ons/plugins I require are outdated and no one has released any recent ones for what I require in terms of integrating wordpress, specifically comments within new posts on the front page. I thought about rolling back to an older phpBB forum system that supports the older plugins, but that doesn’t feel right.
I have spent hours trying to get plugins to work with phpBB and today I decided to give up and look at alternative forum systems.
I came across ajax based Xenforo Forum, which I have done some decent research on now. I have also tried the live demo on their site. It looks like what I am looking for, but it comes at a price. The basic one year licence is $140 with free upgrades for that year. There are additional add-ons that cost as well, both community made and from the forum creators. The support of the community in terms of add-ons/plugins is there, and I have found exactly what plug-ins I need which will work with the latest version of Xenforo.
What is ajax?  
"Ajax is a client-side script that communicates to and from a server/database without the need for a postback or a complete page refresh. The best definition I've read for Ajax is “the method of exchanging data with a server, and updating parts of a web page – without reloading the entire page.” — www.seguetech.com
I hope to create a new space with the input and ongoing support of those who I think have the abilities, experience and wisdom that will add to the content it will contain. There is a wealth of knowledge already that I have posted on this website, but it gets lost and buried. A forum can be a place where it can be kept readily available, maintained and updated when required, as well as being a friendly and safe space to mingle together. I will be reaching out to specific people in the coming months, or perhaps sooner, to join in and look after the boards on this new forum.
With the help of two graphic designers who have volunteered their services, I will hopefully be able to not only provide a new modern looking site that is both easy to navigate and to access the information shared, but will also look catchier to the eye.

As the full moon approaches tomorrow and the rain hits the tin roof just now, I will continue on with the battle here at transients.info HQ in New Zealand.

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