I was recently looking for a package to implement a discussion board for a group project, and luckily came across phpBB :: Creating Communities.

phpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customisable open-source bulletin board package. phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful FAQ. Based on the powerful PHP server language and your choice of MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL or Access/ODBC database servers, phpBB is the ideal free community solution for all web sites.

It indeed is powerful, slick, fast, and a snap to set up. You need a server that supports PHP (although you do not need any PHP knowledge to run this) and one of the databases listed above (just about any web host offering PHP liekly offers mySQL). The one bit I stumbled on was it seemed a named database needed to be created first for the configuration script to run.

It is rather flexible and provides a nifty editing interface (with more HTML editing controls than MovableType, which is barebones to naked there).

I have set this board up for a project where last month I established a group weblog– thinking that was the ideal tool, but only 2 out of 6 participants used it, so they asked for “a simpler tool” (???), so this is another try.

To be honest, it has nothing to do with the technology or the tools- it is human willingness to take the time to participate in a communti activity.

Anyhow, I was glad to have discovered phpBB… thought you know it would be nice if it generated RSS…

Update (about 30 minutes later) There is a huge community of phpBB codes who share “mods” (modifications) to this system, and in searching the MODS forums, I found a simple add-on that generates RSS feeds from a phpBB site. It was a matter up downloading the code, and uploading one new PHP script and one template file to the site. Wah-hoo!!

The post "Powerful Web Bulletin Board: phpBB (oh and it is free!)" was originally scraped from the bottom of the pickel barrel at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2003/11/powerful-web/) on November 16, 2003.