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SimpleMachines – FINALLY a Community Software to Get Excited About!

Written By: Toby Wolf

Its been a long time since I have gotten excited about a new CMS or forum software to hit the scene. Granted, Mambo was enough to perk my ears up, but the jury is still out on that one.

Last week I downloaded SimpleMachines and installed it for a test drive. Four hours later I had replaced 2 PhpBB Forums and 2 InvisionBoard ones with Simple Machines. Within 24 hours I had also set up 2 NEW SimpleMachines sites for a couple of my clients to test drive. Within 48 hours, one of my clients was already sold and we have begun building his entire website around SimpleMachines. It should be obvious to you by now that SimpleMachines is NOT “just another forum software”.

I won’t go into the whole history of SimpleMachines, (though if you are interested, you can read about it in this message thread, but SimpleMachines is brought to you by almost the same team of developers who produced YaBBSE. SimpleMacines is a LOT faster, more robust and has a ton more features than YaBBSE. It is truly a piece of software that could, (and is), being used to form the backbone of a full-featured online community.

There are many reasons I found SimpleMachines so exicting that I immediately rushed into implementing it and becoming a Charter Member to support the development team. (SMF is free and the developers assure us it always will be, but Charter Members help defray the costs of the developers AND provide a whole list of benefits) Part of the reason was the ease of conversion. I was able to convert both PhpBB and Invision Power Board forums to SimpleMachines in just a few minutes automatically. Part of the reason was this incredible Package Manager that is built in to SMF that allows you to browse, download AND install Mods at the touch of a button! That’s right – even though this software is relatively new, (slightly over a year old & only in release 1.0 RC2), so there are not yet many modules built for it, I was able to install a shoutbox, a buddy list and several other modules instantly!

SimpleMachines also has a great bridge that allows you to easily integrate it into Mambo, (another of my new favorite applications!), and LunaByte is expected to release a full front end portal for SMF within the next few weeks. But honestly, you might not even NEED Mambo or LunaByte to create your own protal. SMF provides very easy to use SSI functionality so you can create your OWN customized front end portal for it. In addition it already has a built in calendar, (a feature about 3/4 of our website design customers ask for).

The incredible list of features being built in to SimpleMachines is too lengthy to list here. If you are interested you can see the feature list on AlphaOne Technology Web Hosting & Design or on the SimpleMachines Website.
Even if you are not currently in the market for a community forum and MORE software, keep an eye on SMF – its developers are definitely forward thinking and have worked hard to develop streamlined code that doesn’t tax your system resources the way many similar, (but lesser!), applications do.

AlphaOne Technology will install and configure SimpleMachines FREE of charge with the purchase of any web hosting plan.

About the Author

Toby Wolf was one of the online pioneers, beginning consulting in 1990 & has done work for companies like Dell, AOL, SBC & Amoco. Toby is the founder of AlphaOne Technology, & has designed, managed, or provided search engine optimization for over 200 web sites since 1997.
E-Mail Toby

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