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phpBB vs. SMF

Advantages and Disadvantages
and my likes/dislikes

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phpBB 3.0.13-PL1

Features of phpBB®

Advantages (45) : 
  • MODs that add topic prefixes like the Quick Title Edition mod have full features. You will see no 'pro' or 'lite' version. You don't need to pay for a pro version to get color on your prefixes. In fact, most mods have all features and you don't need to pay a single penny to get more. Maybe only a few have premium features, but usually it's for a large mod with many features (like the phpBB Social Network mod)
  • Has a really good arcade mod. The phpBB arcade is by far much, MUCH better than the SMF arcade mod.
  • You don't need a mod to create custom bbcodes. And you don't need to create an image for a custom bbcode. Custom BBCodes can also be placed in a drop down list.
  • phpBB's spoiler BBCodes, whatever they look like (can look many different ways), look a lot better than SMF's. SMF's spoilers all look ugly.
  • Ordered list BBCode a lot better...you don't need to put each bullet in li tags. just put [ * ] in front of it (without spaces), whole list still wrapped in list tags of course
  • No mod needed for Global Announcements
  • Can easily backup and restore
  • Excellent blog mod
  • phpBB Statistics mod gives you advanced statistics
  • Banned members have a strikethrough (with a little snippet)
  • Ability to lock forums
  • Forum Rules (default feature)
  • Username is already colored according to default usergroup everywhere. No mod needed
  • No need to install a mod for saving drafts. You can save drafts already.
  • Tabbed profiles mod, really like that one. SMF doesn't have one at all.
  • No need for a mod to show location and join date in posts and profile
  • Better permission system (my opinion)
  • Most mods are compatible with the current version, despite saying that it's made for a lower version. ex. a mod made for 3.0.9 will work (should work) fine in 3.0.11
  • Better topic and forum icons - example: no new/new posts topic icon
  • Topics/Posts in columns by default
  • With a snippet, you can easily create tables
  • Equation Editor snippet
  • Not visited/Visited link look (external)
  • Unless you have the Instant Post redirect mod, you can choose to go to the post or the forum after submitting a post
  • Mods Database - can add a mod whenever you install one
  • Already tells you the date a mod was installed (by clicking Details) - no mod needed
  • phpBB's portal mods - like Board3 Portal or cBB Portal - are a lot better than SMF's.
  • BBCode already enabled in forum description
  • Bookmark function there by default
  • You can easily update a mod without having to uninstall the old version and install the new one (unless of course, it says you have to uninstall it to install a new version). Most mods will have a xml file in the contrib folder, with instructions on how to update.
  • With a mod (Prime Links), you can make local links look different from external ones
  • Although I don't use any of the styles, I think phpBB's styles are a lot better than SMF's
  • phpBB buttons (prosilver) - like New Topic, Edit, have a nice hover over effect
  • Actually has install instructions right in the mod package and therefore you know where to put the mod files and what edits are made
  • You can edit database information in the config.php file, no need to upload a special file.
  • The install instructions when installing by Automod is right there (not in a popup), no need to click on anything (unlike SMF)
  • Good "application" form mods
  • Board Clubs mod
  • Group Leaders
  • Much easier to manage rank images -- just have to upload ranks to the correct folder, then select the image for a group or post rank
  • In adding a rank image, there is a dropdown. No typing needed
  • You don't need a mod to search posts a user made in a topic
  • Don't need a mod to have inline attachments
  • Really good Reputation system mod
  • No need for a mod to order custom profile fields. However, the way to order is a bit lame

Disadvantages (9) : 
  • Need to install AutoMod. Not there by default
  • When you finish uploading a mod there's no "Install Mod". You have to go back to the AutoMod page and then press install
  • No built in moderator notes
  • Need to have a mod to show user local time
  • When you hover your mouse over the website button of an user, it's the url that appears, you can't show the name
  • Using the jump box from Forum X to Forum Y, the url address ends in viewforum.php instead of viewforum.php?f=#. Therefore if you bookmark Forum Y with the address viewforum.php and come back to it later, you will get a message that the forum does not exist. This is the case of going from any forum to any other forum. Only if you click on the forum name from the index page or the forum title in viewforum will the ?f=# appear. You need to use a mini snippet to change this.
  • Seriously, no quick edit or last post topic title by default? :/
  • If you decide to hide your online status, or unhide it, you have to log out then log back in for the change to apply
  • Does not provide indefinite support for 3.0 - EOM will be in May 2015





SMF 2.0.7

Features of SMF

Advantages (48) : 
  • Quick Edit is already implemented. No mod needed whatsoever.
  • Records total time you've been logged in (with a mod)
  • Dropdown menus (in ACP too)
  • Global headers & footers --> Rainbow links
  • AJAX Instant Quick Reply - one of the best mods EVER, one I will ALWAYS install
  • Toggle View - this is WYSIWYG, when enabled
  • AJAX Preview when creating a topic (no mod needed)
  • More BBCodes already there by default, like horizontal rule, subscript, superscript
  • When you click "Quote" on a post, the quote is applied to the Quick Reply box
  • When uninstalling a mod, the files that came from the mod are deleted
  • News at the top (no mod needed)
  • Able to (Un)Sticky, (Un)Lock, move, delete a topic on view board page (no mod needed)
  • Built-in calendar - no mod needed
  • Font BBCode works really well
  • No need for a mod to show local time
  • When you hover your mouse over the globe in profiles (user's website), the website's NAME shows up, not the url
  • When viewing a section or topic, the tab (of Chrome, for example), says the topic name or section name, instead of the site's name then "View forum" or "View topic" then the name of the section or topic after that
  • You can quickly change the topic icon in viewtopic. Doesn't reload when you change it. No need to go to advanced edit.
  • NiceToolTips mod shows a good preview, bbcodes are parsed
  • If the option is enabled, you are able to see, besides yourself, who ELSE is viewing a topic.
  • Registered users list on index page organized by last active time, not alphabetical order.
  • No need for a mod for expand/collapse button
  • No need for a mod to show last topic title
  • When you hover your mouse over a subforum name it tells you the number of topics and posts in that subforum
  • Seems to be easier to replace forum images - example: I was able to replace online/offline images and the ones I wanted appeared after refreshing
  • File Management Tool - able to edit files in Admin Panel, without going into host's file manager
  • Better forum ordering than phpBB; there's an option to put a new forum (or existing one) before or after another
  • Lock on submit (no mod needed)
  • "Register a member" already a feature (no mod needed)
  • New versions of SMF come out much quicker
  • No mod needed for uploading multiple files
  • The way the menu is coded is much more simpler and easier to customize. With the Menu order mod, you can easily rename and/or move around a button in the ACP without touching the code at all.
  • Pretty good Multi-Quote mod
  • Users can choose whether or not to show the quick reply box by default
  • Automatically detect DST setting is there by default
  • You can lock polls without affecting the topic...(poll is locked but not the topic)
  • Edit poll button
  • No mod needed to show both the group-based ranks and post-based ranks. There is a setting to hide post group titles for grouped members.
  • Recent posts feature already there by default -- you can set the number (and 0 disables it)
  • You can take an image and then type in the number of times it repeats. Example, you can use a simple star image and for a post group, like "Newbie", for example, and have it repeat one time -- and then say the next rank is "Member" -- you can type in '2' to have the star repeat two times.
  • Even though I said that not having the mod instructions in the package is a disadvantage, and that you have to go to the mod's page, the fact that you can view instructions without needing to download the mod is an advantage. You can easily view the instructions.
  • Attached images/files "style" looks a lot neater/cleaner
  • Larger version of attached images appear in a pop up when clicked instead of a whole new page
  • No mod needed to see # of members/guests viewing a section - is also more accurate
  • Don't need to log out if you choose to hide or unhide your online status
  • Can allow/disallow ranks (post groups) access to a board
  • Gender options built-in
  • Continues to provide support for older versions - like 1.x

Disadvantages (13) : 
  • Don't like the ordered list BBCode, and how you have to wrap every bullet in li tags.
  • None of the spoiler bbcodes are good
  • Don't like the way permissions are set up much
  • You can't create custom BBCodes
  • Need to install a mod to make every username colored according to the group the user is in
  • Have to install a mod to show the location and join date in posts and profile
  • Most mods are compatible with current version, even though it might not be listed in the versions that the mod is compatible with, BUT you have to emulate to a previous version for you to install the mod (and no longer see the message that the mod is not compatible with your SMF version)
  • Mod installation instructions not included in package; you have to go to that mod's page on the SMF site.
  • If there's a new version of a mod, there's usually no update instructions...
  • In adding a rank image, you have to type the name of the image. There is a mod to use a dropdown instead, which I think should be in SMF by default
  • The expand/collapse is awful on SMF - the page refreshes when you click on it.
  • Need a mod to put an attachments in a post (inline)
  • Need a mod to order custom profile fields. However, way you order when you install it is pretty good -- it uses AJAX; you can just drag and drop.


I will always like phpbb more than SMF, however, as you can see, there are still lots of things I really, really like about SMF.

There may be some repeats.


COMING SOON: ADDING IN 3.1 FEATURES TO PHPBB LIST

last updated 4/9/15 @ 7:02 pm
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