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Topic: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community (Read 1662 times) previous topic - next topic
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The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

I've been committed to SMF in the forums I help with since serving as webmaster for a forum back in '15, but looking around, I have to confess that I'm concerned about the future of the platform.

The release candidate for SMF 2.1 came out the other day, which is cool. As a big fan of how 1 and 2 looked and worked, I can't say I was thrilled about how the new version is laid out, but I figured we'd cross those bridges when we came to them. Then I had a look at ElkArte.

SMF 2.1 isn't even out yet and it's already trailing; it might be years behind. I like everything I've seen about ElkArte as much or more than the main branch. That kinda puts me in a bind. The plan for the sites I'm associated with was to wait until SMF 2.0's life cycle ran out (if it ain't broke don't fix it), then upgrade to 2.1... but now it looks as though it might not be a bad idea to look into some alternatives. Obviously the tendency on any forum system's own board is going to be to say that their system is the best, but as far as I can tell, we're all or have been a part of the 'greater' SMF community here, so I'm hoping that will reduce the natural bias.

There is 'safety in numbers', and even though ElkArte seems to have the advantage in most areas, it's hard to discount the sheer inertia from being as big as SMF is now, when you're planning for the long term. Broad popularity and name recognition is important when you're storing people's data, and know that you'll eventually have to migrate it to something newer. So, I'm curious as to where y'all see SMF and ElkArte (as well as any other major SMF-likes, like "PortaMx", that y'all might be acquainted with) going over the next few years, and, most importantly, which projects (including SMF itself) do you think will actually be active, say, ten years from now?
A classic never goes out of style.

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #1
James, one point I'll add, if you don't mind. Elk's support is second to none. Furthermore, people aren't belittled for asking.  ;)

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #2
which projects (including SMF itself) do you think will actually be active, say, ten years from now?
Weeeeeeell, how the heck should I know? xD
10 years ago was 2009 and I had almost just started playing with php.
In 10 years anything could happen, don't expect me to make plans on such a long terms. xD
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Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #3
In 10 years think any of the "big" or "small" names will still be around.  That does not mean to imply that any of them will be further or actively developed.  There are many examples of software that ended only to be left on life support by their communities.  But any of them will be "around" IMO.  Heck ElkArte's first public beta was over 6 years ago, which is pretty amazing to me.  Smf 2.0 is, I'm guessing 8 years ago and its RC3 9 or more years ago.

Anyway I think your real question was one of becoming "trapped" on a software project that ends, and if its a niche product will a translator be available to something new so you have an escape route.  The good part is that the core of most forums (posts, topics and user profiles) are really not much different from one another, which is why translators are available for most, at least for core data.  So the task of creating the basic translators is not that difficult.  The bad part is who knows what makes it worth another projects effort to do so. 
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Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #4
All I can say is that ElkArte is a good forum software and as a derivative of SMF, most smf users and coders can easily use and maintain it for another 10 years to come.

That said, I do try other forum and cms softwares before and even as we speak but I'll stick with supporting ElkArte.

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #5
Will ElkArte come to an end or it will stay on as long as we have sweet members contributing to it.

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #6
Something some of think about I think it will be around for a very long time, as long as there are good core users and developers to make update. 

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #7
I started with computer bulletin boards back when the transfer rate was 300 baud. I've operated BBS systems with Spitfire, ProBoard and Wildcat World Server before there was a commercial internet. Back then, the closest thing to email was FidoNet or some iteration of BBS-Hub-BBS message transfer.
I started with online forums with Invision in 2003 when IPB was a small decent company to work with, even buying in to the "paid up for life" licenses they eventually destroyed. A lot of former BBS operators, who were still hooked by the BBS bug, took to online forums to scratch the itch they had to serve some function, to fill some need. In my case, in the small community we live in, the biggest area radio station, the only TV station and the only newspaper were all owned by the same family, who used that monopoly since 1950 to get hand picked political candidates elected to local office. They decided who could buy air time and who couldn't.
So when our board went online, we were the only alternative to the local media barons. When we finally shut down in the fall of 2017, we had over two thousand members. Not bad for a rinky-dink operation in a small town of twenty thousand people.
Now the need has come up again for an alternative to the local situation. I had posted messages previously here about my intention to set up another forum, but health issues (I'm almost 70) and work (haven't retired from work as a DOD network admin yet) have gotten in the way. But this is supposed to be my last year at work. So I decided to go for it and Elkarte looked to be the best choice after all my digging.
I say all that to bring up one thing. In the days before we closed our local forum, I had to face a reality and a hard question. What would become of the forum if something happened to me? Given the slings and arrows I and my family had to deal with over the years, from operating what was basically a free speech outlet for local opinions, I couldn't ask anyone to put themselves or their family through that. So we took over a month to advertise the decision and to let the members deal with it in their own collective and individual ways. And it was good, the way it ended. All was well. But still, I know there are people who miss it.
So this time, if I decide to do this, I intend to make provisions to see that the forum continues in perpetuity. Resources will be allocated to see that it will survive in some form if something happens to me. So, that being said what are the plans for Elkarte? If I'm going to devote some of the time i have left in this world to doing this thing, will it be around in another 6 months? A year? Are there any plans? I hope there are because I like what I see. Dedicated users, no drive by bloodshed in the community forums. Kind of calm in a way.

 

Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #8
Please, remember I'm speaking for myself, this is only my own opinion on the matter.

From my side I didn't do any plan with such a long timespan and I do not intend on doing any.
What would have happened if did when you were administering a BBS?
You'd have wasted time and resources for nothing: BBS died and nothing would have changed the outcome.
That's the same for me at the moment: I don't see any reason to invest in a future that is likely to be several decades from now when I don't even know if the internet we know now will still exist in 10 years (and don't tell me the internet of today is the same as the internet of 10 years ago).
The only plans I do is on how to improve the system. Apart from that, it's too big of a scope for too less of a return.
Heck, not even companies do plan for their departure, why should a fundless open source project?
That said, if this is your vocation and you want to plan the future of ElkArte when we all are departed, be my guest. ;)
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Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #9

...

Weeeeeeell, how the heck should I know? xD
10 years ago was 2009 and I had almost just started playing with php.
In 10 years anything could happen, don't expect me to make plans on such a long terms. xD

Weeeeeeell, sometimes you start something like "give it a try" and twenty! years later you still have a community. It started (once upon a time  ;)  ) with YABB and now it needs an upgrade from SMF 2.X to ... maybe ElkArte?  ;D
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Re: The future of SMF, ElkArte and the SMF-like community

Reply #10
Only times will tell I guess! :D
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