Topic: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

For the last 3 years or so, I've been running a site that centers around PunBB for a few of my friends. I added some stuff like file uploading and a random headers thing with some crafty integration with WordPress, but that got really frustrating after a while.

Between Jan-May of this year, I started learning Ruby/Rails, and I decided that I should work on a project ? because I think that?s the only real way to learn something. Sure, reading books is great, but I think it?s better if you?re working toward a goal.

So, I started working on an app to replace my PunBB installation, and to bring together all of the bits and pieces I'd been cobbling together around the forum.

Before I say anything else, I want to say a big thank you to Rickard & Co. I would have never been able to get this thing running without PunBB to look to. I also would have never been in the position to try to write an app like this had it not been for the success that was my little PunBB installation. Personally, I think PunBB is one of the best open source apps I've ever come across, if not the absolute best.

Anyway, I had considered trying to work with Beast, the popular Rails forum, but given the 500 line code limit at the time, and the intentionally specific target ? a simple forum app ? I decided to strike out on my own. I don?t intend for this app to be as focused as Beast, or to be a ?rails replacement for punbb,? for that matter. I?m thinking of it more as an app for running a ?community site,? meaning I?d like to add more major features, which you can glean from the future enhancements list below.

So, I got my pet project ? El Dorado ? finished up enough (when is anything ever truly finished?) to launch last weekend. So far, things are looking pretty good. I successfully imported an existing PunBB database from the forum I had running, and I also grabbed all of the user-uploaded files, etc. The resulting database has around 35k rows, and it?s been up and running without any major problems for a week now. The best part is that my ?loyal user base? ? of 15 people or so ? has found little to complain about so far. Rejoice!

You can check the live app out, and you can also checkout (as in ?svn co?) the app if you?re interested in playing around with it. Since I created this app to replace an existing site, you?ll notice right away that there?s some obvious stuff missing ? in particular, there?s no way to create new forums. I suppose I?ll do that when somebody says to me ?hey, Trevor, how do you make a new forum with this stupid thing?? But, until that day?

El Dorado: ? the code
NewAthens: ? the live site running on the code
PunBB: ? the php forum app that the code is replacing

Known Issues:
Future Enhancements:
Refactoring Ideas:

My weblog and support forum:

I?d absolutely love to get some feedback about this. It?s very easy to download and get up and running, simply have a look at the README file.

- Trevor

Re: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

It's nice, but every self-respecting web developer will hate you for falling back to tables in the topic page.

3 (edited by trevor 2007-08-04 18:17)

Re: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

I'm not happy about it either, elbekko! I was wrestling with the topics page for a few hours one day, and then I just gave up and moved on to more important things. I plan on going back and cleaning that page up at some point, though. Honestly, there's definitely a lot of work needed in terms of the html/css. Anyway, I'm more than happy to accept patches!

Re: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

Moved to Programming

5 (edited by trevor 2007-08-06 02:44)

Re: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

Thanks, Smartys. I wasn't quite sure where to put this.

6 (edited by trevor 2008-01-24 04:59)

Re: [ANN] El Dorado - another forum in Rails

I'm pleased to announce the first public release of El Dorado: a full-stack community web application written in Ruby/Rails.

The app features a forum, community event calendar, shared file storage, and a randomized header image gallery.

It can import content from existing sites running PunBB. The forum is somewhat modeled on PunBB, and is nearly feature complete.

I've been using this app in production since late July '07. The setup/administration process still leave something to be desired, but the end-user functionality is quite well tested.

In terms of PunBB features, I don't think the power-user will be fully satisfied. There not much in the way of user administration tools (post throttling, ip-banning) and some major features are still not implemented (subscriptions). However, the basics are pretty solid, and the regular users of my small forum have been satisfied for a while now.

For those PunBB users who are thinking of learning more about Ruby/Rails, I'm hope this will be interesting.

Please have a look and let me know what you think!