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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I’m looking at setting up a small forum locally, since I have never done this, I have absolutely no idea on how to go about it, and I need serious HELP.

I’m certainly not the only person on this forum who has had the idea of creating a forum, since we all deal with Macintosh computers, I thought that it might be a good subject of discussion.
If I can get the the right help with this project, other people might want to follow suit and create there own little world.
Why not !
The Internet is a big place, and there is room for everyone.
And no !
It’s not a computer Forum.
I have to keep this forum idea Hush Hush before someone steels it under my feet though, there are so many copy cats out there.
And no !
There is no money at the end of this rainbow, I will be doing this out of my own pocket for the fun of it, to offer information / Care sheets, discussions and buy and sell.
When my Forum is up and running, I will post the link for you to see the work done, and will ask for your comment and input.

I really hope that this thread has wings.

My needs :

A ) I’m suppose to have fun doing this : )
What’s the point in getting involved deeper than what I’m in right now, if I’m not going to have fun.

B ) I use a Mac ?
Since ehMac is a Mac group, I would think that there should be a Mac base software I could use to build and maintain this small Forum with, think WYSIWYGs / Pull Down menu style software please, the dummies approach, rock bottom does the job software, if there is any style sheets with the software, I will go that route for sure.

C ) My audience.
This is to cater to a small group of local Hobbyist, If I " Dream " a little, I would be happy with 25 member. lol, It’s going to be small, but on the other hand, I have no idea where it’s going to take me ( might as well dream right ? ), if it grows into something different I will be back here yelling for HELP !

D ) What do I plan on having on this Forum ?
A Members area will be needed, so the software should allow me to create accounts and manage them, I want to keep a close eye on who posts what, so I need to have people register, have them wait in limbo until they are approved, then set up certain parameters / privileges, I also need to be able to close acounts to maintain a certain order from abusive people.
Any visitor will be allowed to browse the forum as they want to get the information though, but only members will have certain privileges as the buy and sell.
Care sheets / Do it your self area, visitors and members can come in and get information, so I need to be able to add information as I need.
The discussions area, I will need to set up several categories of discussions, and I will need to separate some categories of discussion into subcategories.

E ) Maintenance, I’m certainly not going to be doing this alone, so I need a software that will enable me to create and maintain privileges such as administrative accounts to monitor discussions and the buy and sell.

F ) A calendar of events will also be needed.
I’m thinking front page stuff, I do intend to set up meetings once a month, and of course have some show and tells plus invite guest speakers, so I need to be able to make changes to my calendar and Home page.

G ) Where am I going to have this sit ?
I’m thinking small.
Small on budget, tell me how what I’m in for $$$, am I looking at a computer sitting on my desk, if so what do I need ?, what and how do I set it up ?
I have never had to deal with a server, only stand alone CPU.
Small in potential members who will participate, well ! considering the hobby and where I’m located, if I dream a little, let’s start off with 25 members, yep that small, as for the visitors, since it’s new I have no clue, with time, certainly not the hottest thing on Google. LOL
Small in potential, if it grows into anything bigger than what I’m planing, I will also need to know where to go with all this, such as hosting services, how much money am I looking at per month and so on.

I’m probably forgetting a million things, but I have to start off somewhere right.

All that said, I do hope this flies : ) Because I would really like this to happen.

Thanks in advance for your help and input.

Cheers,
Denis

PS I have asked for help in other places, but most people / forum are so afraid I will be steeling there winds and they won’t even help, what a bunch of scardy cats.
 

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go to http://www.pure-mac.com/bbs.html for a listing of some perhaps appropriate software, especially phpBB, Simple Forum, and Simple Machines Forum.

I don't host a BB myself, so I can't give you any first person feedback, but it sure looks like there is software out there that would suit your needs.
 

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VBulletin is NOT free software
PHPBB2 is.
Regardless, for either of these you will need to install
PHP and MySQL at the minimum.
All of these work on OS X, as OS X belongs to the Linux/Unix/BSD family.
It helps if you are technically oriented to install these. I don't know if anyone
makes a super easy install package although XAMP might give you PHP and MySQL.

If you want to see an example of the PHP,MySQL,PHPBB2 running on a home server you can visit mine :)

http://www.birdbrain.ca/phpbb2/

It runs on an old Beige G3.

Cheers - Terry

Addendum: Installing PHP and MySQL is not all that daunting using Marc Liyanage's packages. Both of the pages below come with good instructions that we won't duplicate here:

PHP: Download from here: http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/php/

MySQL: Download here: http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/mysql/
 

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I'll second the recommendation for phpBB2/MySQL. I use it to host my own forum and it has everything you are looking for. Beyond the initial "copy files to this directory, change permissions on folder" hullabaloo, its got a nice Web-based gui for setup and administration. Let us know if you need help, I'm sure most of us here can get you up and running.

Trev
 

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Got Mac? said:
IMHO VBulletin is clearly the best.
I've used phpBB and just in the past few weeks my company launched
http://CanadaEntrepreneur.ca using vBulletin.

The problem with vBulletin is its not free.
In fact, its quite expensive as I don't really see the benefit of the yearly lease.

That being said, the investment for us to start CanadaEntrepreneur.ca was high.

You need to figure

Domain
Hosting
vBulletin
We added VBSeo another $139 bucks..
Press Release Distribution

The investment is high and there really isnt a motive to turn this into a very profit motivated site. Sure, you can supplement the site with AdSense ads, but any of you who have done Google AdSense know it can be hard to turn a profit. I just always hope for the ads to at least cover hosting/domain expenses.

Good luck
 

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I'll also put in my vote for phpBB2 (hopefully soon to be version 3). UCGrafix, I think you're out of luck if you think you can accomplish this with a simple Mac GUI. I'm afraid you're going to have to get your hands a tad dirty as it's just not that simply, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you. At the same time, it's a very fun and rewarding experience, and you'll learn a bit about web and database serving and php which might come in handy in the future.

For phpBB2, you'll need to learn a bit about Mac OS X's personal web sharing, which is handled by Apache. You can find full documentation on your Mac's hard drive here. You'll also need to install MySQL, and then finally install and configure phpBB2. Documentation and support for each is available from the associated website.
 

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This works and it is free....
http://punbb-hosting.dreamhosters.com/

" PunBB-Hosting! We offer free, quality hosting of PunBB forums. You can navigate around the site using the sidebar on your left.
Creating a new forum is a quick and simple process. Simply enter your forum name below, hit the button, and fill in a few more details. Once you finish, you'll have your own free PunBB forum!"

By creating a forum you agree to the following terms:
- A forum hosted by PunBB-Hosting comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by applicable law. PunBB-Hosting may not be held responsible for any disruption of service, loss of data, malfunction, or other events or conditions that are undesirable to the user, under any circumstances. PunBB-Hosting makes no guarantees of the quality or consistency of service and is under no obligation to deliver such service.
- PunBB-Hosting reserves the right to ban, suspend, delete, or modify users and/or forums at any time for any or no reason.
- There are to be no inappropriate discussions (ie: about warez, porn, etc). As a general rule, if the discussion topic is considered illegal in the United States for someone under 18, don't discuss it. If such a discussion is found on a forum and is not dealt with in a timely manner, the forum may be deleted. If you would like to report such a discussion, you can do so in the Support Forum.
- In general, use your common sense: don't abuse the free hosting and your forum won't get deleted. You may or may not recieve warnings prior to your forum being deleted. If you have a clarification question, please ask Smartys in the support forum (linked to from the homepage)
- Any forums which have fewer than 2 posts for 7 days in a row will be deleted for inactivity.
- No advertisements other than those used by PunBB-Hosting are to be displayed at any point
 

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You might want to look for a web hosting provider. My provider includes access to a couple of different BBS software options that are all managed online. I have set up two different boards. Both options were easy online setups with different features available based on the software. No extra charge beyond the web hosting, easy setup and no install on my own machine. Always up and no dedicated computer on my end. You will need to pay for a domain name and web hosting package.

good luck.
 

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Got Mac? said:
http://www.vbulletin.com<iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=*H4hz/ywH9w&offerid=77305.10001570&type=4&subid=0" vspale=0></iframe>
<iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=*H4hz/ywH9w&offerid=99467.10000155&type=3&subid=0" vspale=0></iframe>
the best
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone,

I took a quick first look at your suggestions, and here's what I see.

I have looked into PHPBB2, but since I’m planning on having advertisement to support some of the financial aspect of my forum, it will be problematic to say the least since it does not allow any.
Keeping the above in mind, I doubt that the forum will ever be profitable, but advertisement is one way for me to bring in some funds into it.

vbulletin seems to me the software for me, if I read everything right on there site, I find that $160.oo to buy the licensed software is a reasonable cost, what remains to be seen, is the registration of the name, and having it hosted.
Maybe I’m missing something of great importance with this software, so point me in the right direction please ?

On the subject of cost, I would like to hear of the specifics from “ lindmar “.
You wrote “ the investment for us to start CanadaEntrepreneur.ca was high ".

I would appreciate it if you could give me an idea on the costs involved ?

You mentioned, Domain, Hosting, vBulletin, We added VBSeo another $139 bucks.., Press Release Distribution

madgunde said:
I think you're out of luck if you think you can accomplish this with a simple Mac GUI. I'm afraid you're going to have to get your hands a tad dirty as it's just not that simply, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you. At the same time, it's a very fun and rewarding experience, and you'll learn a bit about web and database serving and php which might come in handy in the future.
I think that no matter what software I chose, this will apply.

Keep the replies coming, I do need a hand with this project.

Cheers,
Denis
 

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Oops, I should have thought of this earlier – Yabb (Yet Another Bulletin Board). "YaBB is a leading FREE, Open Source community forum system (bulletin board, message board) written in Perl" www.yabbbforum.com. Check it out. Under system requirements it lists mac as acceptable.

A community BB I visit daily (because I live there/here) is a Yabb board: www.slocanlake.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl It is run entirely by a community volunteer, the software is FREE, you just have to have a place to host it (web host has to have PERL installed, and most of them do).
 

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UCGrafix said:
I have looked into PHPBB2, but since I’m planning on having advertisement to support some of the financial aspect of my forum, it will be problematic to say the least since it does not allow any.
Keeping the above in mind, I doubt that the forum will ever be profitable, but advertisement is one way for me to bring in some funds into it.
This isn't entirely true. phpBB is fully customizable. If you want ads, all you have to do is modify the appropriate html or css files to do so. It doesn't have built-in gui administration of ads, although there may be a mod to handle this, such as this one. phpBB has a lot of third-party/user contributed mods available.

Keep in mind mods will add complication to the installation/setup of your forum, but usually are well documented and you can find lots of help on the phpbb website. The money you save going with a free solution will reduce the need for advertising. ;)
 

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Personally from a security standpoint I wouldn't recommend phpBB or YaBB. They security track record is fine if you keep updated, but if you don't you can find your forum gone.
Personally the forum software I'm the most impressed with is vBulletin ($$) and Vanilla (http://getvanilla.com). Vanilla is brand new and has a different approach to most forum features, but it may be something worth looking at. That said Vanilla doesn't have the add-ons like products that have been around longer like vBulletin or phpBB. punBB is also pretty functional.
 

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YaBB - thoughts on YaBB

YaBB might be the easiest of the lot to maintain. Other than the YaBB files, everything is already on a Mac. Perl is already installed and so is Apache. If CGI scripts are not "activated" you will have to edit a couple of lines in Apache's main configuration file. What you don't have to do is ...

You don't have to install and then maintain PHP.
You don't have to install and maintain MySQL (or PostreSQL or ?) .

Of course you have to install and maintain the "glue of choice" which would be YaBB.

I hadn't heard of it before and - of course - I installed it on one of my machines just to see what if offers.
I wonder how well it scales though. MySQL is an industrial strength database programme and YaBB might slow down as the bulletin system grows. But I really don't know. Maybe an industrial strength DB programme isn't really needed in this type of application.

- Terry
 
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