We’ve always been a huge fan of the Simple Machines Forum (SMF) software that powers our forum, and I’ve recommended it to a lot of other people. This free forum software is about to get even better as they just made the first public version of SMF 2.0 Beta available, and after 18-months in the making it looks pretty darn nice.
Before you go making the upgrade you might want to think about the packages (the things that are like add-ons) that you have installed. It’s highly unlikely that any of your packages will survive the upgrade, and you’ll need to wait until the authors get around to updating them for the new version. You’re good to go if you’re okay about not using any packages at this point.
There are all kinds of things new in this release including a ton of bug fixes, but here is a quick list of the best features:
- WYSWIYG editor, to improve the user posting experience
- Paid subscriptions to allow people to make a payment with PayPal to get additional group access
- OpenID support – to enable users to login and register with their OpenID account
- A moderation center to bring together all moderation functionality into one place for all people with moderation abilities
- Post and attachment moderation – setup through board permissions.
- Additional group management features such as group moderators and joinable and requestable groups
- Comprehensive user warning system.
- Personal message labeling system and new viewing options
- Custom profile fields to enable admins to setup new profile fields in addition to the default
- Ignore boards and ignore user functions – so users only see what they want to see
- Scheduled events and mail queuing systems to add additional functionality to the forum
- Admin and user logs to track who makes what changes to a user’s profile
- Database abstraction including support for PostgreSQL and SQLite
We won’t be upgrading our forum to the new Beta quite yet, but I’ll definitely be setting up a quick test site to tinker with the new features.