My Move to WBB - A Review

Horizon

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Apr 16, 2017
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76
I thought WBB was gaining penetration into the forum market. Their software seems to keep evolving, but where are all the WBB forum admins?
Me, as of about a month ago. Switched from vb5.
Thoughts so far?
I am a new admin and have the technical ability of a donkey, so....

The negatives first:

A lack of a manual has been a major hindrance to me. It's taken and still taking an excessive amount of time to set things up. The attitude of Woltlab appears to be, its easy to use, you just need to get familiar with it...

There are some functions which are impossible to know how to use them without a manual, ie when I switched software, something went wrong and some data was lost including member passwords. There was no function/button visible to automatically reset passwords, so I had to do everyone's manually and send members emails manually too. (BTW It's quite hard to send just one member a email, very basic function missing...) Woltlab told me there was a automatic password reset function and once they told me how to activate it, it is easy to use. But how could I know this, without a manual, as said there is no visible button. It took me a lot of time.

The other major gripe is there appears to be a "German" way of doing things that is different from the English way of doing things, or perhaps this is specific to Woltlab. What Woltlab consider minor or irrelevant to them, I do not, aka members being able to see a list of their own posts. Someone has just made a plugin to sort this out, but it should be in the core. There are lots of basic things missing, ie no "contact us" page, poor mod features and other things.

The Germans, due to their history and current law, have a issue with IPs and not wanting to show them. I have no way to identify members coming onto my site because their IPs do not show in the very very basic member area.

There are other things, like right at the moment, things are ust getting stuck in their software like quotes and I can't even bold text. Not having a basic cancel button in the editor box is a BIG pain in the arse.

The last negative and one I have just become aware of, I purchased WC3 - Wolt Core 3 software and I had assumed that all WC3x series of software updates would come as part of the initial outlay cost, but I understand that a major update to the forum, which I need, may come in Autumn and Woltlab intend to charge for that! I've just paid for the software, I shouldn't have to pay for any updates for at least a year. Buyer beware on this!

The positives:

It's gorgeous. I loved it the minute I started using it and so did one of my staff members who helped me test it. Care and attention has been put into the software and it shows. The Germans are just bloody good at making things and making things that look nice too.

The ACP looks great and although not perfect, compared to the mess of vb5, it's an absolute dream to use. Most options have a simple green cross to activate features, or red cross to turn things off. Even I can work "some" of this out myself, which without a manual, is just as well!

Powerful quote system. I have barely used XF, but it's either similar or better than XF. It's a dream to multi-quote from any text anywhere in the forum, into a single post. Hopefully this "sticking" issue will get sorted out and it will be perfect.

It has a calendar, blog, gallery, forum, you have to pay separately for all these options, but you don't get a blog, calendar on XF and the calendar on vb5 was useless.

Their Woltlab forums are pretty good. A few comments like, "well, you just need to learn the software" but otherwise very helpful. They all speak English!

My members love the dashboard feature which is a page of all activity on the site, very social media like and like XF, you get red notifications of new posts, blog article etc. One member has commented, that is addictive!

Lots of plugins and you just install them right from inside the software itself. A breeze. They just need to show a live feed of plugins available like what Joomla does and it will be the perfect system to use for plugins and to do software updates. It's a major plus point for Woltlab.

If the German developers are willing to shake off some of their inherent baggage on how things should be done and listen to members a little bit more, (especially me:)) they are a serious contender to be the number one forum/cms for the English speaking world too, especially if they nick all the best features from IPS and XF that they don't currently have.

I waited for XF2, my patience ran out. I am very happy overall with Woltlab, they just need to sort out some basic things out, bugs, improve things such as mod features and get a bloody manual and then it will be truly brilliant.
 

ozzy47

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
9,007
Thanks for detailed review. I am sure it will help other admins looking to switch platforms.
 

The Sandman

Administrator
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Jan 1, 2004
Messages
29,148
Hmm... for a long time vBulletin was successful in Germany thanks to an intermediary site. I wonder if WBB needs one as well. :whistle:
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,371
Realy nice review thank you for sharing. I think WBB can benefit of a native English speaking forum and support site.
 

Horizon

Participant
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Apr 16, 2017
Messages
76
Thanks chaps.

I can't speak from experience of the differences between forum software from an admin point of view, as I've only been a admin for five months, but my forum experience as a user goes back to the beginning aka usenet, and I can say that Woltlab ticks boxes.

Unlike IPS which only gives you a demo for five days, well three, before they ask you if you want to keep it for the full five days (why??) and vb, which didn't work at all for me, Woltlab gives you a demo for two weeks. And once the demo expired, I created more demos. So, rather than read my ramblings, people should try it out for themselves..

From a purely forum point if view, the features may be lacking, but from having a complete website out of the box, Woltlab do a pretty good job, in my opinion.

I didn't mention in my earlier post, that there is another module (which I never paid for) which is for files. So, if you have a commercial site and want to sell things on it, that module would be for that.
 
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Splinter2

Aspirant
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
47
I'm glad I found this review as it echoes my thoughts pretty much. Like Horizon, I'm new to WBB and yes, it's very slick and looks great.
But those manuals need to be written and the help guide needs to be more specific.
Other than that, it blows away what I used to use without even breaking a sweat!
 

VoXX

Participant
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
61
Horizon You summed up my thoughts on WBB in your review. Great forum software despite the little issues..
 

Horizon

Participant
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Apr 16, 2017
Messages
76
Just to update the review a tad bit, with the latest version of the software 3.1, reg IPs and a contact us page are now there.
 

Splinter2

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Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
47
How about guides?
The guides haven't been updated for a while as far as I can see and are sadly lacking any really useful content. If I had more time I'd submit content to their guides, but it's task that needs dedication.
I expect I'll mull it over, although the forum is the best place for hints, especially if you use the search function.
 

VoXX

Participant
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
61
Just to update the review a tad bit, with the latest version of the software 3.1, reg IPs and a contact us page are now there.
How was the upgrade? I'm still on version 4.1.20 and haven't upgraded (partly due to the current theme not being updated).
 

Horizon

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Apr 16, 2017
Messages
76
How was the upgrade? I'm still on version 4.1.20 and haven't upgraded (partly due to the current theme not being updated).
Sorry for belated reply, I don't have much time for forums at the moment, but the upgrade went without a hitch. The next version should be out within the next few months.
 
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