Telligent Systems’ Community Server is a full-featured forum system that has blossomed into a content management system (CMS). It includes a gallery, file management, blogs and a portal system, all running on .NET.
Having move my own sites to PHP over a year ago, I haven’t had a need to really check out Community Server thoroughly. Until now. I’m helping setup a forum in a Microsoft environment, and it offered the perfect opportunity to give Community Server a try.
Having cut my teeth on Snitz Forums running ASP, and used both phpBB and Invision Power Board before settling on vBulletin, I’ve had experience with a number of forum systems. How does Community Server compare? Let’s just say, I’m impressed.
Community Server provides excellent integration of blogs, image gallery and file library functions — three of the most popular components of an online community. The portal features inline editing akin to Google Page Creator. The UI for both users and administrators is the best I’ve seen, although a bit slow on a shared server. But what really impressed me is the presentation. Blogs are presented with Digg-like comment and read stats; the portal features cotent in well-designed, Web 2.0-ish rounded-corner-modules; and everything has a clean, polished look about it.
Of course, there is a downside. First, you’ll need to be running on a Microsoft IIS web server with .NET 1.1 or 2.0 and Microsoft SQL Server. Generally speaking, monthly web hosting costs for this setup are slightly more expensive than the typical LAMP solution. But if you’re running on a Windows server platform, or comfortable programming in .NET, you should definitely check it out.
Oh, and a note to the vBulletin developers, definitely check out Community Server’s tagging, blogging, and stream-lined administrative interface. Please?