We use vBulletin 4 for our forum software. And we’re going to be honest, it sucks. So you’re probably wondering why we are sticking with it? The answer is simple: There’s simply no competitor at the moment. But what about IPB? Yes, we acknowledge IPB offers a great product but the community support behind it is currently no where near vBulletins in terms of modifications and third party support. Most of the times when it comes to modifications and third party support with web applications such as forums the community is definitely the biggest driver.
So what are our gripes with vBulletin 4? Well, first of all we believe the default design sucks. We’re not specifically talking about the colours we’re talking about the layout of objects. There’s no consistency. Not only this but the design is full of errors and shows signs of being coded by an amateur. We can’t say that it was coded by an amateur for certain however mainly due to the fact that we realize and accept the complications of getting a theme to work correctly with vBulletins flawed StyleVars system. Rather than go on and on all day about specific reasons of why we dislike the current product we’ve compiled a list of things that we believe will concern most webmasters.
1. • The styling system is simply not easy to use. We’ve spent months designing out OTAU forums and are still faced with issues.
2. • StyleVars are partially complete. A lot of values for design colours for instance are still hard coded.
3. • There’s no use of CSS sprites. I can’t really comment on if this is good or bad, but it seems the future.
4. • The CMS has upwards of 200 MySQL queries on pages. Thank god we use WordPress.
5. • The “Gold” release was made with over 2,000 active and known bugs. It was simply to please the accounting staff.
5 main reasons why you shouldn’t purchase vBulletin. Do we hate vBulletin? No, we do not. We have used and used their previous products (such as the 3.x branch) without any major issues. We simply wish vBulletin would pull their act together, and fast. This doesn’t seem likely though. Internet Brands are a money hungry company that focuses on their accounting department rather than their marketing department, the result of this being they care more about money than their customer satisfaction.
Our prediction is there will be a vBulletin competitor and market leader in the next 18 months, whether this is IPB or not is yet to be seen.