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What is YetAnotherForum?

YetAnotherForum (referred to as YAF.NET, and located online at YetAnotherForum.net) is an open-source forum application for the Windows .NET framework. YAF.NET is focused on fostering the creation of digital communities, that’s why YAF.NET is open-source, and supported by a worldwide community. The success of YAF.NET is built on four core features: stability and security, great performance, easy integration, and specific localization.

YAF.NET is stable and secure. YAF.NET has been around for more than a decade, and has always been open-source. So there’s no part of the code that hasn’t been extensively dissected. No stone has been left unturned.

YAF.NET offers great performance. Compared to many other forum solutions YAF.NET can get away with relatively modest hosting requirements. If you expect to build a forum that has a lot of users and posts you owe it to yourself to check out YAF.NET.

In addition, YAF.NET has been designed to be easily integrated in a Windows server environment. YAF.NET has been designed to be embedable into a variety of .Net content management applications such as DNN, MojoPortal, Umbraco, and even Microsoft Sharepoint. This makes YAF.NET implementation much easier in many cases.

Finally, YAF.NET has extensive built-in localization capabilities. YAF.NET is used around the globe, and supports 24 different language localizations including right-to-left layouts where applicable. The built-in localization editor allows designers to fine-tune the design to their unique community.

What is YAF.NET used for?

YAF.NET is software for building communities. What type of community you build, and what you do with it is up to you. Forums are a great way to empower a user community to provide support to other users. They’re also a great way to get people more engaged with your brand. If you have a website, company, or idea that could benefit from a user community, then a forum might be the right solution.

YAF.NET is particularly useful as an add-on feature for existing websites built on the Windows .Net framework. YAF.NET is an ASP.Net project which will ease integration into the .Net framework.

What is unique about YAF.NET?

YAF.NET offers an incredibly full-featured forum and allows an unlimited number of forums and subforums. In addition to standard discussion-type forum interactions YAF.NET also support an instant chat system allowing more fluid interaction between members. In addition, YAF.NET supports the creation of polls in forum discussions. YAF.NET supports rich-text editors including built-in options such as CKEditor and TinyMCE as well as BBCodes and the ability to create custom BBCodes. YAF.NET even allows the use of HTML tags in forum discussions. Users can create posts using either a WYSIWYG or standard (plain text) editor.

YAF.NET is built to be highly localized. One key feature that supports localization is multilingual support for 24 different languages with a built-in language manager. In addition, one small but important feature is that all timestamps within YAF.NET are diplayed in relative time that refresh automatically depending on the forum visitors location.

YAF.NET is designed to be new-user friendly and offers single sign on using either Twitter or Facebook. Automatic user registration can also be completed using single sign on. A built in rank and reputation system is also provided in YAF.NET to lend credibility to long-term forum users. Users are also provided with a customizable profile including an custom Avatar (or optional use of Gravatar Avatar) and the ability to have conversations with other users by way of private messages.

Keeping users engaged when they are away from the forum is also important. YAF.NET supports user engagement by offering RSS and Atom feed for all pages as well as a daily email digests for users who want to keep track of conversations.

Since your forum will hold detailed information for each user security in a forum application is critical. YAF.NET has been around more than a decade, and the open-source code has received ample scrutiny and is considered to be stable and secure. In addition, YAF.NET has many built in privacy and security features such as the ability to assign user roles with corresponding permissions, the ability to completely hide the forums for users without access, SSL compatibility, integrated support for Captcha, email verification, IP banning, automatic “Bad Word Replacement System”, and full support for Akismet and BlogSpam.net spam protection.

YAF.NET offers standard moderator functions such as the ability to move, edit, or delete posts. Administrators have the ability to assign moderator permissions to the users of their choice.

YAF.NET is offered with 10 themes as well as a mobile theme. Themes are editable using CSS and theme files themselves are customizable for those comfortable in the ASP.NET environment.

Support for YAF.NET is available from a customizable help guide provided with the software and also from a support community located as the YAF.NET website.

What does YAF.NET cost?

YAF.NET is open-source and completely free. Adding a YAF.NET forum to an existing website on a Windows server should not cost a dime as long as you can handle the technical aspects of installation, design, and rollout yourself. Depending on your hosting provider installation may be as simple as a one-click option in your hosting account cPanel, or a manual installation may be necessary.

Why choose YAF.NET?

YAF.NET is an incredibly full-featured open-source forum application. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a forum solution built for the .Net framework that is secure, stable, and that offers great performance.

What are some alternatives to YAF.NET?

YAF.NET is the industry-leader for open-source forum software written in ASP.NET. However, there are other options. Two of the more popular ASP.NET alternatives are:

  • MVC Forum: A fully featured opensource ASP.NET MVC forum.
  • Nearforums: Open source SEO friendly ASP.NET MVC forum engine

Most Windows servers can also run PHP applications, and as great as YAF.NET is there are forum applications written in PHP that are more popular. Some of the most popular PHP options include:

  • phpBB: A popular open-source forum application written entirely in PHP.
  • MyBB: Freeware forum software that uses PHP and MySQL.
  • Simple Machine Forum (SMF): An easily-customizable free open-source forum application.
  • Vanilla: Free and customizable open-source forum software - also available as a hosted service (paid deployment).

How do I install YAF.NET?

There are three ways to install YAF.NET:

  • As an add-on module in an ASP.NET Content Management System (CMS) such as DNN Module or MojoPortal.
  • As a one-click installation in your hosting account cPanel (offered by some hosting providers on Windows servers).
  • As a manual installation of the program files downloaded from the YAF.NET website.

Installing YAF.NET as either an add-on module to your CMS or as a one-click installation supported by your hosting provider will be pretty straightforward. Manual installation is a bit trickier and you should carefully follow the instructions provided with the download of the application files.

Server Requirements

YAF.NET should run on any modern Windows server. YAF.NET is designed for the ASP.NET framework, which is supported by all updated Windows servers. YAF.NET also requires an SQL database, so be sure your hosting account can allow for the creation of at least one database. At a minimum make sure your hosting account includes a server running Microsfoft .NET Framework 4.0 or above, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or above.

Question & Answers

How do I know YAF.NET doesn’t have any security vulnerabilities?

No program can guarantee the absence of all security vulnerabilities. However, by using YAF.NET you’re significantly reducing the chances of having a security problem crop up. YAF.NET is open-source and has been around for more than a decade. That means that for more than ten years the source code has been easily accessible, and an army of developers and users have been flushing out the bugs and security vulnerabilities. With that much development in the history of the product it’s unlikely a significant security vulnerability will crop up in the future.

Should I choose an ASP.Net forum package like YAF.NET or a more common PHP application like phpBB?

The answer will depend on your specific situation. Are you already comfortable with ASP.Net and adding the forum to an existing ASP.Net website? If so something like YAF.NET makes a lot of sense. Are you adding a forum to a site in another language and either more comfortable with PHP or ambiguous about the programming language? If that’s the case then going with a more widely used application such as phpBB or MyBB might be a better choice.

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