Review: InstantForum.NET 3.3
starting at $119
It's been a while since I've written about InstantForum.NET, but as I've
just upgraded one of my own sites (www.logparser.com) to use the
latest version I figure it's a good time to give it another mention.
Of course, we all know how a forum works. You leave a message, some
other user leaves a reply, people converse. But there's a lot more than
that is this ASP.NET and SQL Server package. Here are some of the bells
and whistles you'll find:
- Organization of forums into groups
- A three-level scheme (user, moderator, admin) for security
- Very good administration "control panel" tools
- WYSIWYG editing
- File attachments (which, like many other things, can be disabled)
- Private messages between members
- RSS feeds and e-mail notifications
- A skinnable user interface
- Malicious scripting and naughty word protection
There are plenty of other features as well; visit the InstantASP site
for full details.
InstantForum.NET is quite easy to install. There's a set of instructions
on the Web site to get you started, a well-commented web.config file
that handles all the per-site customization, and a database script to
run. Upgrades have been quite painless as well; I've never had a
problem with one of their upgrade scripts. And the few times I've hit
issues with the software (for instance, recently I got bit by an obscure
target. There are cheaper forum solutions out there, but having torn my
hair out trying to get some of them up and running, I think I'll stick
with this one myself.
You can license InstantForum.NET at several different levels. The
end-user license, at $119 per public URL, let you modify the text and
presentation but not the database and control logic, which are provided
in precompiled assemblies. The $299 (per public URL) developer license
gives you the source code for everything, so you can tweak it to your
heart's content. If you want to try out the application, you can do so
at InstantASP's own site, where it powers the support forums. Or, of
course, feel free to drop by LogParser.com.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.