Looking for a full-featured message board to add interactivity to your site, or to communicate with your customers or users? Look no further than phpBB, a robust, open-source PHP implementation that is both easy to use and simple to administer. This introductory tutorial discusses the process of installing, configuring and using phpBB, explaining how to create discussion forums, add users, assign moderators and administrators, and post and search for messages.
One of the nicest things about PHP is the huge support the language enjoys in the developer community.
This developer support is one of the prime reasons for the language's increasing popularity, and for its rapid incorporation of cutting-edge new technologies. Since PHP development is handled by a team of programmers spread across the globe, and they in turn are supported by a worldwide community of users and developers, it's no surprise that support for new technologies appears far more rapidly in PHP than in many of its competitors.
PHP's base in the developer community has also given rise to a huge number of very successful open-source projects - among them, the Smarty template engine (http://smarty.php.net/), the phpMyAdmin MySQL database administrator (http://www.phpmyadmin.net/), the ADODB database abstraction layer (http://php.weblogs.com/ADODB) and the PEAR code repository (http://pear.php.net/). These open-source applications play an important role in helping regular developers (like you and me) speed up their development cycle, by offering a rich, robust and feature-rich code base that can be used as the foundation for new projects.
Why my sudden fascination with the PHP code pool? Because I've been playing with the language a lot lately, and one of my recent projects involved implementing a PHP-based portal which included a discussion forum. At first, I thought that I would have to design and build this forum myself from scratch - until a search on Google turned up a very neat little PHP application named phpBB, which offered all the features I needed. Installation was a snap, the package was stable, full-featured, and easy to customize, and - best of all - it worked like a charm, allowing me to add Slashdot-type discussion boards easily and transparently to my PHP-based site.
If this is something you've always wanted to do, but never known where to begin, this is your lucky day - over the next few pages, I'm going to guide you through the process of installing, using and customizing phpBB on your PHP-based Web portal. Keep reading!