best community / forum integration

Discussion in 'Integration' started by cmireles, Feb 14, 2013.

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best aMember community plugin integration?

  1. Dolphin

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. MyBB

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. phpBB3

    50.0%
  4. SMF

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Vanilla

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. vBulletin v5

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. vBulletin v4

    16.7%
  8. XenForo

    33.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. cmireles

    cmireles New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
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    Hi, we are looking to add one of the forums to our amember install for community type functionality. This is integrated with a wordpress website as well. I'm looking for a recommendation on the best integration between aMember, Wordpress, and the forum. Of these, what will be the best in terms of login integration - we don't want multiple logins, just the one for amember, and keep that part as simple as possible. The features I need to satisfy are:

    member profile (image and bio) (also need to check and display aMember groups here)
    member directory
    news, job postings, general discussion, etc. (forums)

    Dolphin, MyBB, phpBB3, SMF, Vanilla, vBulletin, XenForo?

    Also, is vBulletin v5 supported or just v4 with the aMember plugin?

    Thank, Jon
  2. gswaim

    gswaim CGI-Central Partner

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    IMHO, If you are trying to add a forum to a WordPress install to support community-type functionality the best approach is to add BuddyPress to the site. It can be configured to include group forums using bbPress. All of these are native WordPress plugins and aMember supports BuddyPress.
  3. cmireles

    cmireles New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
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    Grant,

    Thanks for the recommendation. After checking into it, it seemed like the right thing to do and I do have this installed now alongside aMember. My question is now, how do I handle the users tables? All the users are currently in WordPress. I have a bunch of additional profile information that I'd like to use BuddyPress for, except the member groups within aMember are important, as they will control access of course. I know the documentation says to not allow profile updates in Wordpress, so what about profile image and member info and activity within BuddyPress? And, do I leave the users in the wp_users table or do I export to aMember? The other piece of my puzzle here is that I actually have a spreadsheet of users that I can use to setup the member database that really is the definitive list, as this has been maintained manually in the past.

    Thanks in advance, Jon
  4. gswaim

    gswaim CGI-Central Partner

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    When configuring the WordPress plugin on the aMember side, make sure the "Create aMember Users by Demand" option is checked (as documented on this page) Then when existing WordPress users log into aMember, an aMember account will be automatically created.
    Basically, on the aMember side you only need name, username, password, and email. When you add additional profile fields in BuddyPress that info stays on the WordPress side and is not pushed back to aMember. In most cases, there is no reason to push this information back to aMember. The added profile information is mainly to promote the social networking aspect within BuddyPress.
    As covered earlier, you do not need to get involved with the aMember or WordPress DB tables.
    If you have an spreadsheet of users you want to import, you could change the file to a CSV tile and import the users into aMember. That procedure is covered on this page.
  5. cmireles

    cmireles New Member

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    Very helpful, thanks! Regarding extended user profile information. We'd like to use some of that data within aMember for marketing to users within aMember. Is there a way to sync extended profile information within aMember / BuddyPress?

    I guess wherever aMember adds the typical fields to WordPress, is there a way to modify this to add extended profile fields from aMember? Would this be the best way to proceed?

    I supposed I'd have to re-direct the WP edit screen to aMember...

    Thanks, Jon
  6. iexcel

    iexcel aMember Pro Customer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Grant,
    We currently have vbulletin integration with aMember. Unfortunately we are not very happy about the forum. It is experienced as slow, old fashion and not very user friendly. I see that you recommend BuddyPress (we have wordpress). Is that a general recommendation from you even though we had vbulletin for a few years. If so, we wonder what it takes to swap. Is it as easy to manage user level /user permission when its not amember plugin? Appreciate your answer. Thanks.
  7. cmireles

    cmireles New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
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    iexcel, I took Grant's suggestion on buddypress, and it is actually working great. There are lots of additional features for members and the forums that are integrated with it, run by bbpress. I installed buddypress v.1.7, even though it's technically still beta right now, it's slated to be fully released this month, I haven't experienced any problems. The only thing is you'll have to probably rebuild your theme using bp-default to create a child theme, as there is so much functionality and so many additional features you're not accounting for of course in your current theme.
  8. gswaim

    gswaim CGI-Central Partner

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
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    For clarification you are talking about two different features, discussion forums and social networking. BuddyPress is a WordPress plugin that adds social networking features to a WordPress site (extended profiles, internal messaging, friending, groups, etc). BuddyPress also supports group level discussion forums which is powered by bbPress, another WordPress plugin. Also note that bbPress can be installed without BuddyPress to offer site-wide forums.

    So, it depends on what you need. If you want to add a discussion forum to your site just adding bbPress is the easiest route. If you need the social features, then go the BuddyPress route. I would not add BuddyPress to a site unless the social networking and groups was a feature that fits in your master plan. Do not over complicate your site just "because you can."

    These are WordPress plugins. Basically you end up handling your configurations on the WordPress side. I have tested both plugins on several test sites (I worked with Alexander on testing the BuddyPress integration, which is documented towards the bottom on this page.) I does take some tweaking. I plan on doing some more work with these plugins in a couple of weeks.

    IMHO, both plugins just recently got to the point where they are pretty predictable. You want to go with BuddyPress 1.7 like cmireles said. While it is in beta, it will come out of beta real soon. It is the first version that should work with virtually any theme.

    Trying to bring over all the discussions from vBulletin might not be feasible. Here is an article about it, but it looks pretty scary to me.

    Again, before you jump on BuddyPress take some time to read up on it. There are a lot of resources listed at the top of this page. When BuddyPress is done right, it is pretty neat, but it does come with its own learning curve.
  9. iexcel

    iexcel aMember Pro Customer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Thank you for your advice and recommendation.

    If I understand correctly, amember has integration with Xenforo, Invision Power Board, phpBB, SimpleMachines, Vanilla. But if we go for bbPress (on our WordPress site) - it does not have that integration. Is it still possible to set up bbPress with the same password our users have for protected content in amember?. Or is it always a better alternative to choose a forum which has an amember plugin (maybe go for your own choosen forum Xenforo)?

    What we need is a simple (and userfriendly) discussion forum, which is tablet-device-freindly, can be categorized and with features for sharing.

    Thanks
    Tonje
  10. gswaim

    gswaim CGI-Central Partner

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    aMember is integrated with WordPress. bbPress is a plugin to WordPress. It uses the same user information as WordPress. Based on my testing you can control access to a bbPress forum based on a subscription.

    aMember is integrated with WordPress and bbPress is built into WordPress. Therefore when you log into aMember you are effectively logging into bbPress.
    Whatever meets your needs is the best choice.
    Simple and User Friendly (for user): Yes
    Tablet Friendly: No
    Can be Categorized: Yes
    Feature for Sharing: I have no idea what this means.

    You could get a better idea of the look and feel of bbPress by visiting their website here.
    iexcel likes this.
  11. iexcel

    iexcel aMember Pro Customer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
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    Thank you so much for your advice and recommendation. We have used the last days to look at various options and think we are close to choose bbPress.

    I have asked amember support to, but maybe this is the right place to ask: is there someone at amember who can help us to swap from vbulletin to bbpress and if so, can you give us a offer and price estimation for the work please.

    Thanks a lot
  12. dontforget

    dontforget New Member

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    I understand bbPress seems as "the easy way" but knowing what it is like when you start to get deep into it...

    ...I don't understand how someone specially in the aMember forum can recommend using bbPress for any serious project.

    bbPress is ok for really simple things, but you depend on more plugins to get bbPress do some really basic staff already standard on most forums. Besides the important fact that bbPress DOES NOT OFFER SUPPORT, you have an issue in bbPress and start finding yourself the solution, a cumbersome way.

    For serious and not so serious projects the obvious way is something like IPB or Xenforo, you get an amazing forum software, an amazing and dedicated helpful community, and a supported forum plenty off really good add-ons and beside that are supported as I see here by aMember...

    Many users do get bbPress and end migrating to IPB or Xenforo when they start to get into those troubles, and start to see that bbPress was not such "the easy way" as it seems to be at the beginning.

    my 2ยข
    tokazama2 likes this.
  13. blue_vision

    blue_vision aMember Pro Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    79
    Personally I'd never use wordpress for forums. I've never seen one that I care for and most communities I've noticed go with them fail and retreat.

    I hold a license to vBulletin but it was just so outdated and then they got bought out by the worst company ever that finished them off along with the Forum Runner app.

    It would take an act of god to get me away from IP Board. I think it is the absolute best option available for a forum hands down. There is EVERYTHING to like about it and their support is the best in the industry. Period (as is Alexander and the team from aMember!). Just my options and I certainly wouldn't discount any of the opinions above. I haven't read through them and they could have different experiences then me... I'm just trying to relay my own personal experience.
  14. laoniu

    laoniu New Member

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    Mar 14, 2014
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    Is it as easy to manage user level /user permission when its not amember plugin? Appreciate your answer. Thanks.






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  15. jcary

    jcary Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
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    Thanks for that input on IP.Board. I'm currently trying to decide which forum to go with, and this persuades me to go with IP.Board.

    I was looking for a non-WP option (bbPress, etc) and I've heard too many negatives against vBulletin (unfortunately).

    Any update on this suggestion?

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