Kirby Forum Beta

After I added the forum section to the Kirby website and just added a small hint that it is built with Kirby, I got many requests if the forum software will be available for everyone. Supporting and developing Kirby took too much time to make it happen — until now!

Kirby 2 makes a lot of things a lot easier and I knew that one part of Kirby 2 will be a new version of the forum, which will be good enough to share it with the world.

I spent most of the last two weeks to finalize the first beta of the forum and import all contents from Kirby's current forum installation to give you a first usable demo.

100% file-based

The old version of the forum was mostly powered by MySQL, because Kirby 1 was still too slow with many entries to handle the number of topics and replies. That is no longer true and so it was a lot of fun to finally make the forum 100% file-based. Well, at least 99%. There's a little Sqlite-based index database, which helps to make the search more efficient and show user profiles with all topics and replies by users. Yet it is all driven by the file system and the content structure is 100% transparent and super easy to deploy to any server.

Authentication via Twitter

As in the old version, authentication is completely handled by Twitter. That makes it possible to not store any sensible user data besides the Twitter usernames, which are public anyway. That means that if you want to install the forum on your server, you must create your own Twitter app for it and get a Twitter API key and secret.

Open beta for everyone

The forum software will be launched together with Kirby 2 and will be available for a very low price with the same license model as Kirby itself. The code will always be open on Github for you to check out and test. An open beta for the forum is starting today and anyone who has a need for a small, non-bloated forum can give it a try.

Installation

Installation is super easy. The best way to get it up and running is with Git.

git clone --recursive https://github.com/getkirby/forum.getkirby.com.git

Afterwards only a few additional steps are necessary:

  1. Make sure to create a site/accounts folder which is writable
  2. Make sure that all folders and files within content are writable
  3. Create a site/config/config.php and add the following config variables:
c::set('forum.token', 'random-secret-token');
c::set('forum.twitter.key', 'your api key');
c::set('forum.twitter.secret', 'your api secret');
c::set('forum.users.banned', array('banned-username'));
c::set('forum.users.admins', array('your-username'));

Enter your registered Twitter API key and secret to make the logins work.

Afterwards your installation of the forum should be up and running.

Make it your own

The forum is very easy to customize.

Just add visible main subpages for each thread. You will find Kirby's threads, all topics and replies in the content folder. Feel free to modify them and create your own or delete those, which you don't need. The index.sqlite can be removed any time if you want to refresh the index and will be recreated automatically.

Please don't touch the invisible subpages. They are needed for things like the search or the home page.

The entire theme for the forum is super minimal and can be changed within the assets folder. I will add a less Kirby-branded theme for the forum, once it is about to launch.

Some last words

The content of the forum demo is not 100% up to date with the content on http://getkirby.com/forum. So far it's really just a demo for the beta.

Feel free to send in any issues or feature requests here: https://github.com/getkirby/forum/issues

I'm very much excited to hear what you think about it!

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