esoTalk Alternative (Again)

Over the years there have been a few threads about the current forum software (esoTalk) and possible alternatives. Whilst I love the people on the forums, I’m not a big fan of the esoTalk platform. For instance, it’s slow to post, doesn’t support Markdown or even syntax highlighting and its search functionality is poor. Toby (the creator of esoTalk) has been working on a new product for several years now (Flarum) but that is not yet out of beta and is certainly not ready for production.

I have no doubt that there is a lot of glue code holding together esoTalk and Xojo’s backend in terms of account management but I wonder if it’s time to have an open discussion about a more robust forum software? Personally I think Discouse is the clear winner in terms of features, security, ease of use and maturity but I’m curious to know what current forum users thing about the state of the forums.

We looked at Discourse at the time and decided on esoTalk. Geoff and I had some fantastic ideas for something custom, but investing the time wasn’t really in the cards. I think esoTalk is good enough that it’s not worth migrating from yet. The right time to switch is when there is something significantly better available. I don’t think anything in the landscape right now fits that description.

Writing something custom seems fun from a dev point of view but forum software is probably one of those “re-inventing the wheel” things. If migrating away from esoTalk is unlikely then perhaps at least we could look at polishing it a bit. For instance - adding proper syntax highlighting for Xojo code. I can’t imagine that’s too big a problem to solve. Heck, I’ve even written language definitions for Xojo for a bunch of open source JS-based syntax highlighters.

I am in the minority here but I like esoTalk. most of the other “forum” software is a PITA to use in my opinion. but then again I am an odd one.

I am also a fan. There’s room for improvement, but that’s true for everything.

If you’re going to add syntax highlighting then why not also add code awareness which would automatically put code into a code block?

I like esoTalk as well. It’s got quirks, but nothing worse than any other forum software.

Forum is well enough I think. Very risky to change it when the community here is humming along nicely.

esoTalk works as well as any other for my purposes. But then I don’t tax the system much.

Not in the way we were thinking…

IMHO esoTalk is as good or bad as any forum software.

However I still think it would be a huge marketing asset both for Xojo and the community if the forum was not written in PHP but in Xojo. It would prove what Xojo is capable of… I thought this like 12 years ago, when the old RB-Forum was running on PHP-BB and I still think this now.

Just sayin’.

Long threads get slower and slower. When ignoring people you still see that they posted. When trying to post there are errors or the post get lost. And so on.

esoTalk is the product of a hobby developer. The newer forum software like Discourse all look like clones and waste too much white space.

You’re thinking Xojo Web right?

It looks like people like the the forum software then. That’s good. I’m happy to investigate writing some code to properly highlight syntax if Xojo would be open to using it.

No actually. It would be required these days, but at the time we’re were just thinking of features, not necessarily the tech we’d use to make it happen.


I recommend using esoTalk plugins to do the work. The forum code is completely unmodified, all the customization happens in plugins. And there is PHP code for the coloring already: GitHub - thommcgrath/XojoSyntaxColorizer: PHP library for converting Xojo code into colored HTML

Oh if that were still true…

You know, I almost included “when I was still with Xojo” but took the gamble… and lost :stuck_out_tongue:

To be fair, plugins still work… mostly. It’s just that over the years we’ve run into things that esotalk couldn’t do and that required digging into the base code.