this afternoon, i’m chatting with Allan, and he just asked me a simple question: do you think you can write a script that can be better than vB?
the answer was quite simple, but i never wrote it nowhere, so here it is:
… end of answer!
nah, seriously, what i see in this market may be something most people does not evaluate, because they do not know the whole story of the web. So yes, it is simple to beat vBulletin. What makes it so popular and so respected?… when it started in 2001, there was no real solution for communities, because it was a new concept, and the only real solutions were costly and for schools or groups, like UBB which vB is a branch of btw.
So, vBulletin was quite alone on the market, there was no alternative at that price, and they worked pretty well on it for the first 3 years, until 3.0. IPB was there, but at first it was a volunteers project where i was involved, and the goal was to beat other projects without looking at vB. when IPS called the shot and moved to a paid product, their goal was then to beat vB, and the competition raised with the arrival of some forums like phpBB and MyBB etc in the course… but they are all from volunteers, so they can not be raised commercially.
What is the future of vB?… if they are not moving to a larger market, touching webmasters and multi-sites owners, they will stop evolving. A forum is a forum, no matter what feature you add to it. 50% of the job is made by the designers and the admins, so the software itself is atop of comparaisons when we list user-friendly points, nothing more.
vBulletin, IPB, phpBB, they are all competing among themselves, but none is trying to invade other markets like the classified ads, advertising, auctions etc… because it would branch their market wider and they can not loose the chance they actually have to sit on a solid ground. If they make an error, they loose.
That is where we have the advantage; we start anew, we have no barriers, we have no solid ground, we will be the ones writing it, and we will grab all the markets that they are not touching yet. to have such ability, IB would have to have a secret group working on a vBulletin 10, with all the named features… which is complicated in that kind of business because they have a business plan to follow, and their stock holders would be shocked to see such move.
So, with IPS, it is different, IP.Board is multi-levels… nope. their biggest part of the cake is commercial, they deal with companies, big names, and small clients for fan sites. If they add a feature, it is due to clients requests… the more they add, the more staff they need to support their script and their clients.
It is easier for a new project to make plans like this, because we will be able to evolve on due times, instead of breaking a beat to flip on side. We do not have to maintain an old backward compatible script like vB is… we do not have to recode our entire core to fit with the new PHP or LAMP structures… we’re building it ahead of the demand… what we code today is to be compliant with the servers of tomorrow, so we’re taking a leap nobody can right now.
And what about the other softwares, like the Esvon suite? i have these codes in hand — developer key, a privilege. most of these big projects aside of the communities are driven by old codes, to be easier to install on anything. their codes are obsolete, not designer friendly, not compatible with new servers securities etc… and they usually encrypt their codes not for secrets, but for hiding their horrible codes. Esvon suite is coded in PHP 4.2, updated on the flow of bugs. same for phpAuctions, a great engine for auctions that i had to entirely recode 5 years ago… was coded in PHP 3, i recoded it to 4.2… and their versions did not raise that much, so i suppose it is still the horrible code. *(would you pay 1000$ for a non-encrypted version?… they have more than 3000 clients who paid the 400$ script, that’s only an auction, not even community integrated)
Imagine that we could beat them all because we will have a great marketing plan with ads and resellers that talk about our product… We can build something, we’re not stupids, and we know where we go… do you think IB know where their vB 4.0 goes?.. they do not even have a roadmap for 4.1…