Reviews

Review: InstantForum.NET 3.3

InstantForum.NET 3.3
starting at $119
InstantASP, Limited
www.instantasp.co.uk

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 JavaScript bug), their support has been quite responsive and right on 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.

About the Author

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.

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