HomePHP Page 2 - Talking The Talk (A phpBB Primer)
The Big Picture - PHP
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.
First, a little background. The project that prompted me to look at phpBB involved setting up a Web site for one of our customers, a company involved in the Web hosting business. This Web site was supposed to offer detailed descriptions of their UNIX and Windows server hosting plans, corporate information, customized solutions and the like. One of the more important components of the Web site was a discussion board for the company's technical support staff to interact with customers, answer questions and build an interactive community of users.
Needless to say, our customer was very excited about the discussion forum, looking at it as a great way to post announcements to their customers, to create a searchable repository of commonly-asked questions and their answers, and to build a sense of community between their customers. I was therefore tasked with putting together a full-featured bulletin board, one which was stable, full-featured and simple to use. My initial thought was that I'd be spending the next few weeks coding it, until I came up with the bright idea of first Googling the term "php bulletin board"...which gave me a list of options, all of them meeting (and in some cases, exceeding) the customer's requirements.
One of the more interesting options on the list was phpBB, which, in the words of its authors, is "...a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customisable open-source bulletin board package [...] based on the powerful PHP server language and your choice of MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL or Access/ODBC database servers." It provides a simple, user-friendly discussion board for portal members, and includes support for features like message posting and replying, message threading, subject/body search, themes, private messages and many others.