Create completely unique, branded communities
InstantForum comes with an incredibly flexible skinning system allowing your designers to fully brand and customize InstantForum to fit perfectly into your existing web presence. InstantForum offers several unique HTML5 & CSS3 skins out the box to match a variety of designs. If these skins don’t quite fit your needs you can create your own skins or contact us to learn more about our professional customization services.
Reward Positive Participation & Recognize Key Members
InstantForum includes over 80 achievements out-the-box that your users can earn as they participate in your community. This is a great way to reward your most active members and to encourage participation.
You can create custom achievements which can be associated with individual members within your community. For example if you offer a webinar or meet-up and your community members attend you may wish to recognize this by creating a unique achievement for them within your community.
Moderation made quick & easy
A busy community requires the tools to help you bulk moderate and manage posts. InstantForum is designed to make it quick &easy to manage and moderate your community. All moderation tools are inline whilst viewing your forum front-end ensuring you don’t need to jump to a separate area to manage posts. We utilize AJAX to ensure the moderation tools are very responsive.
Encouraging peer to peer support
With InstantForum we really wanted to help users find those one or two posts within a topic that really help.
Both the original topic author and your forum moderators can now mark posts as answers which will highlight those posts to help others quickly identify the right solution.
Similar to Liking posts reputation will be awarded to the user flagging the post as an answer and also the original author of the post being marked as the answer. This offers a strong incentive to actually post helpful replies. Also the quicker you post is accepted as an answer the more reputation you will be rewarded encouraging quick responses.
Search Engine Optimized Out the Box
InstantForum is optimized to ensure your community can easily be indexed by all major search engines. URLs are human-friendly, descriptive and keyword-rich increasing the rank given within search engines. Whilst providing a dynamic AJAX driven user interface you can of course be confident InstantForum will still be indexed by all popular search engines. We use a simple URL structure (no query strings) to ensure search engines can easily spider content.
Every aspect of InstantForum has been written with performance & scalability in mind. All server side & client side code is highly optimized to ensure a minimal server foot print and light-weight responsive page load times for clients. A well designed database schema & well written stored procedures ensure indexes on columns are leveraged for optimal query performance. Data is cached in memory and only requested again from the database if the data changes. Deferred light-weight JSON requests are used for all data exchange ensuring initial page load times are very quick.
Lighting Quick Search
InstantForum offers support for indexed searches to ensure your users are not sat waiting for results. Our indexed search will continue to perform extremely fast regardless of the size of your community. This also allows us to present your search results based on the relevancy of the post and your search terms with the most relevant posts appearing always at the top. All our search queries & database indexes have been highly optimized to ensure the fastest possible search regardless of the amount of data in your system.
Follow the people who matter to you
You can follow individual members within your community. This will notify you via email if your friends post within the forum. We display the number of followers you have on your profile page & the most followed members on your member’s page. Hopefully this will encourage members within your community to fight for the top spot.
Easily control spam in just a few clicks
InstantForum offers several levels of protection to help protect against spam within your community. Moderated forums allow you to review and approve the first few posts from new members ensuring you can validate new members are genuine. Once the new members have been validated by your moderators furthers moderation is not required. You can also of course ban IP addresses. We are never done improving our spam protection. Spammers find new ways all the time however we will always take steps through our release cycles to ensure new measures are introduced to combat spammers.
It’s all about the post – right?
We wanted to make sure our posting experience was great so took the decision early on to develop our own dedicated rich text editor used to compose & edit messages within the community. This allows us to tightly integrate forum specific features directly into the editor. For example uploading images, selecting IFCode (our own mark-up language which allows you to add your own custom tags), attachments and emoticons are all inline within the editor. Our live preview displayed below the editor allows you to see exactly what your post will look like as you compose your message
Share content through social networks or email
You can easily share any post within your community on either Facebook or Twitter with just a single click. You'll find two small buttons below each post which allow you to tweet or add the post to Facebook. If you have the ShareThis.com integration enabled other social sites will be presented.
Tag content to improve its discoverability
To help improve post discoverability you can add tags to all posts within InstantForum. Users can navigate tags either as a list of most popular or as a tag cloud in alphabetical order. You can also use the forum search to search for posts with a specific tag. If your search term matches any of the tags associated with posts those posts will be ranked above others as it’s likely they are the most relevant.
You can like all topics & posts within InstantForum. This provides a simple way for your members and visitors to identify helpful posts & recognize others within the community.
If others like your post as the post author you'll receive reputation points. The goal is to encourage users to post great content in order to gain reputation from others liking their posts. To encourage users too actually like posts you will also be awarded reputation points for liking posts.
Our permission set feature allows administrates to precisely control permissions for groups of users either globally or on a per forum basis. Permission sets allow you to control what members can and can’t access within your community. For example you may wish to allow one group of members to post within a forum whilst another group to be only able to read the forum. Our permissions can be applied on a per-member group or per member basis for total control.
Role based security ensures complete privacy If needed
InstantForum comes with complete role based security allowing you to create private discussions or display different forums depending on the groups you belong to. The role based security is carried throughout InstantForum so your users will only ever see the conversations intended for them.
Fully Featured, Simple Admin Tools
InstantForum is packed with tons of features to help you easily manage your community. As an administrator you can access the admin control panel to easily build and edit your forums, manage members, achievements, reputation levels, moderators or create and customize skins The admin control panel also allows you to tailor roles & permissions to suite your community.
Complete Cross Browser Support
InstantForum produces light-weight, strict HTML 5 & CSS 3.0 W3C validated mark-up. InstantForum has been tested on all major browsers to offer complete desktop and mobile cross-browser support.
Extend InstantForum through custom plug-ins
InstantForum provides a robust plug-in framework allowing developer’s to add additional functionality without modifying the core code. This allows you to keep your InstantForum installation right up to date without worrying about losing your medications. For example if you wanted to capture unique data during registration you can use our custom registration form plug-in to capture this data. When we release an update to the core product your plug-in will continue to work and you won't need to re-apply any changes to the forum files.
Visual Studio 2012 & 2013 Ready
InstantForum will work great with Visual Studio 2012, 2013 or 2010. Express editions & LightSwitch are also supported. Developers can modify or customize InstantForum from within there favourite development environment.
Ease of Use
- Eloquent Intuitive Design
- Comprehensive Web Based Administration
- Designed from the ground-up for massive performance & scalability
- Customizable data caching (greatly reducing database trips)
- SQL Server parameterized stored procedures, Well designed tables, optimized indexes & fk constraints
- Strongly typed data objects & custom data collections (No heavy, slow System.Data.DataSet)
- Benchmarked paging algorithm supporting hundreds of thousands of pages & millions of records
- Email queuing system, emails are queued and polled in the background at set intervals
- Unique page compression feature (smaller pages, saves overall bandwidth)
- ASP.NET ViewState is disabled for 99.9% of pages (smaller pages, less serialization)
- 100% compiled, managed .NET assemblies (No COM or other dependences)
- Unique SQL Server based state management (no dependency on the session or application objects)
- Well defined architecture (separate presentation, application & data layers)
- Takes advantage of data caching to minimize database requests
- Object Orientated Architecture
- Implements many best practices (singleton objects, data factory, facade objects, custom data collections)
- Over 40 standard server controls (TextBox, DataGrid, Repeater etc) have custom implementations
- Over 70 custom server controls (PanelBar, SimpleMenu, WYSIWYG, BreadCrumb, etc) can be reused
- Takes advantage of the InstantASP.Common base library and shared InstantASP authentication model
- Enhanced error handling, choose if you want to receive an email for errors or simply log exceptions
- URL Rewriting ensures forum addresses are search engine friendly and easier to remember & type
- HTML5 W3C validated semantic markup
- CSS 3.0 W3C validated style sheets
- Web 2.0 fluid CSS based layout - no nested tables, screen reader friendly
- Confirms to W3C web accessability guidelines 1.0
Cross Browser Compatible
- Tested with Internet Explorer 8+, Chrome 12+, FireFox 2+, Safari 4+, Opera 9+
- Integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio.NET 2010 (or above)
- Intuitive API with intellisense support within Microsoft® Visual Studio.NET
- Fully commented, clean structured code with class reference documentation
- Unique naming convention used for database stored procedures & tables.
- Follows many familiar Microsoft patterns and practices examples
- Full product source code provided with Developer Licenses
- Localize every aspect of the forum (UI, Email Templates, Dictionary)
- Drag & Drop Language Packs (automatically detected, no configuration required)
Security & Roles
- Role based permissions provide control over which forums, topics & events are visible
- Unique overrideable "Permission Sets" provide comprehensive control over available features
- Protection on all user input from malicious code (injection attacks, cross-site scripting)
- Ban abusive, problem members or limit their permissions within the forum
- Ban problem IP addresses from any further new registrations or login attempts
- Unique Permission Sets feature offers unrivaled control over board permissions & features
- Over 120 configurable permission set options
- Permission sets can be associated to any member group or overridden when associated to a specific member
- Permission sets can be assigned to member groups within a forum, controlling what a group can access within a specific forum
Skinning & Template Driven
- Portable skinning model
- Each skin can have a completely unique layout and visual appearance
- Drag and Drop Skins (automatically detected, no configuration required)
- Easily create & edit skins within the admin area
- Assign skins & wrappers globally or to specific forums
- Unique EmotIcon & MessageIcon collections can be associated with each skin
- Wrappers can be used to easily wrap header and footer HTML around any skin
- Takes advantage of standard ASP.NET 2.0 master pages.
- Unlimited number of forums, sub-forums, groups, events, posts & polls
- Only forums associated with the visitors current member groups will be accessible
- RSS feeds available for all forums
- Redirect Forums for linking to external information
- Subscribe to forums and receive email notifications of new posts
- Track read forums and topics within the database
- Optional admin defined forum notes, for providing information within forums
- Each forum can be customized using a unique skin or wrapper
- Support for Closed forums (no new posts)
- Auto-complete username textbox making it very easy to send private messages
- Define default sort preferences and display options for each forum
- Optionally exclude forums from searches
- Recent and popular posts options within main navigation
- Easily sort forums or groups within the admin area
- Easily propagate member group, skin or wrapper changes to all child forums
- Each member group can have a unique permission set within any specific forum
- Flat and threaded topic views
- Rate topics within forums
- RSS feeds available for all topics within each forum
- Printer friendly versions of topics
- Support for nested quoted replies
- Posts can be reported to the forum admin or any available forum moderators
- Members can edit or delete existing posts based on admin defined permissions
- Subscribe to topics and receive email notifications of new replies
- Email topics to other forum members or external email addresses
- Message icons can be associated with posts
- Single or multiple choice polls
- Administrators or moderators can easily close polls
- Graphical view of poll results with total vote count
- Familiar Word® like, WYSIWYG editor or standard IFCode editor (based on browser or permission settings)
- Multi-lingual spell checker with ability to preview post before submitting
- Upload images from you hard-drive directly into posts using the WYSIWYG editor
- Multiple attachments supported per post, configurable attachment types and upload permissions
- Expand or collapse posting area when working with posts, have this remembered for next time
- Optional SQL Server Full-Text Search (both FreeTextTable & ContainsTable are supported)
- Boolean or natural language searches with inflectional (drive = drove) and relevance ranking
- Keyword highlighting, Highly optimized TSQL & full-text search queries
- Ability for admin to define ignored search terms and maximum search string length
- Limit the number of possible search results for each member group or a specific member
- Search flood control for each member group or a specific member
- Display search results as topics or posts
- Single Day, Ranged and Recurring Events
- Monthly and Weekly calendar views
- Define colors for events on the calendar to easily identify important events
- Ability to control show or hide events for certain member groups
- Optionally birthdays displayed on calendar
- RSS feed of all latest events posted to the Calendar
- Comprehensive dedicated control panel for each member
- Assign members a primary group and multiple secondary groups (controlling which content is visible)
- Assign a dedicated permission set to any member to override any other permission set
- Define permission sets for member groups or a specific member (controlling which features are available)
- Members activity displayed throughout forum (optional anonymous login feature for members)
- Easily configure which member group new members or member awaiting activation should be placed into
- Ability to define custom member level tags and / or images for each member group or a specific member
- Easily activate any members awaiting approval within the admin area
- Members can customize board language, skin, time zone, daylight saving time & many other options
- Personal Avatar, Signature & Profile Photograph
- Fully searchable, sort-able members list with ability to restrict access
- Who's On list displays anonymous and registered visitors with current board activity
Private Message Features
- Private messaging with attachments between members
- RSS feed for each private message folder showing latest posts
- Send private messages to multiple recipients
- Organize and store private messages within custom folders
- Buddy and ignore list for private messages
- Private message storage limit defined within permission sets
- Ability to limit access to private message features or option to completely disable
Login / Registration Features
- Easily configure registration mode (Automated, Confirmation Email or Admin Approval)
- Configure default member groups for new members or member awaiting activation
- Optional COPPA support during registration
- Optional Terms & Conditions during registration
- Username or email-address can be specified as primary login detail
- Implements ASP.NET forms authentication with encrypted authentication ticket
- Well designed, documented reusable authentication model
- Support for moderated or un-moderated forums
- Assign members as moderators to specific forums
- Comprehensive control over features available to moderators within each forum
- Inline post approval for moderators (see how a post relates within the thread)
- Inline Ajax based topic editing within forum indexes, no need for post backs
- Easily bulk Move posts from one forum to another
- Easily bulk open / close topics within a forum
- Easily bulk pin / unpin topics within a forum
- Easily bulk delete topics & posts within a forum
- Moderators can optionally close Polls
- Easily enforce or bypass moderation for any member group or specific member
- Edits are optionally tracked & logged
- Optional email confirmations during moderation process
- Comprehensive control over every aspect of the forum (over 600 admin options)
- Manage Forums, Categories, Members, Groups, Application Settings, Skins, Attachments & much more
- Bulk email or private message forum members, refine mailing list with various search filters
- Edit over 20 optimization options to further enhance performance for very active boards
- Scheduled Tasks allow custom server-side code to run at scheduled intervals (automatically prune messages etc)
- Easily recount topics, posts, forum, members or private messages if you manually import or change any data
- Ability to execute TSQL statements against the database or shrink the transaction log & indexes if required
- Preview & delete emails sent from the board waiting within the email queue
- General diagnostics information & database table statistics
Licensing & Support Features
- Simple to understand, low cost licensing
- Unlimited ticket based support via our My.InstantASP customer portal
- Unlimited online support via our community forums
- Comprehensive installation & product documentation
To access the admin control panels please login using the account details below. Once logged in a small "Admin CP" ink will be available in the top right corner.
Our products are written in strongly typed, object orientated 100% managed.NET code
Programming Language: C#
Developed using ASP.NET 4.0 web forms
Windows Server 2008, 2012, Windows 7 & 8 (32 or 64-bit)
.NET Framework 4.0 or above
Internet Information Services (IIS) 6, 7 or 8 (Classic or Integrated Application Pools)
Microsoft® SQL Server 2012, 2008 / 2008 R2, 2005
SQL Server Express Editions are also supported
In order to modify source code within our products we would recommend Visual Studio. Microsoft® Visual Studio 2010, 2012 or 2013 are supported. Visual Studio is not required to customize the look & feel, create new skins or modify the HTML contained within the MasterPage.Master file. Visual Studio 2012 are only recommended if you intend to modify the product source code.