Vanilla Forums

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Vanilla (forum))
Jump to: navigation, search
Vanilla Forums.png
Vanilla Forums Standard.png
Standard installation of Vanilla 2
Original author(s) Mark O'Sullivan
Developer(s) Todd Burry, Tim Gunter, Matt Lincoln Russell, Klaus Burton
Initial release 1 July 2006 (2006-07-01)
Stable release 2.1.8 / January 15, 2015; 32 days ago (2015-01-15)
Preview release / January 28, 2015; 19 days ago (2015-01-28)
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross Platform
Platform PHP / MySQL
Size 3.8 MB
Available in Official support for English, Multilingual
Type Forum software
License GNU GPL[1]

Vanilla is a lightweight Internet forum package written in the PHP scripting language using the Garden framework. The software is released under the GNU GPL.[1] Vanilla Forums is Free Software [1], standards-compliant, customizable discussion forums. Since 2009 there is also a cloud-hosted version (offered by Vanilla).

Vanilla's open source project was released on 1 July 2006, and has since undergone many changes; the most notable being the complete rewrite between Vanilla 1 and Vanilla 2, the latter of the two became the primary product and Vanilla 1 was passed into the hands of other developers.[2] Vanilla is designed to bring forums back to their roots, providing core functionality with additional features such as emoticons available as plugins.[3]

Business Model[edit]

Vanilla 1 is unfunded, and supported by other developers, it is not supported by the original core team.

Vanilla 2 is currently funded in part by a custom, non-distributed hosted implementation of the software run as a commercial SaaS, by Vanilla Forums, Inc. offering various plans with support options.[4][5][6]

Plans offer many features from the open source version with additional premium add-ons supported by the core team.[7]


Vanilla is a free,[8] FOSS, extensable and multi-lingual forum system. The following items describe the open source version:

  • Users can easily set up and maintain a full-featured discussion forum with unlimited categories
  • A variety of community made themes and add-ons are available.[9][10]
  • Single-Sign On[11][12]
  • Social Media Login[13]
  • Embeddable forums[14]
  • Import from other forums[14]
  • Commenting System for a site[15]
  • Integates with other FOSS projects, like WordPress.[16]


Mark O'Sullivan created an early version of Vanilla to support his own online graphic design and programming community.[17] Between 2002 and 2005, this alpha version of the forum went through many revisions, and the core theming and plugin engines were built, culminating in the release of Vanilla 1.[18]

Vanilla increased in popularity and was invited to TechStars 2009 in Boulder.[19] At the start of 2010 Vanilla received 500,000 CAD in series A funding.[20] In July 2010, Vanilla 2 was released, which was a complete rewrite of Vanilla 1.[21]

Vanilla 1[edit]

Vanilla 1 has a very lightweight core with a number of optional plugins, including chat, private messages, "Who's Online", and attachments.

The most recent version (1.3.0) was released on February 17, 2012.

Vanilla 1 is no longer maintained by the Vanilla team, and has been transferred to another development team.

Vanilla 2[edit]

Vanilla 2 is a complete rewrite of Vanilla using the Garden Framework, a MVC, object oriented, modular, extendable framework.[22]

New core features in Vanilla 2:

  • <embed> Vanilla (embed forum anywhere via JavaScript)
  • Social Connect
  • Vanilla Mobile - Configuration required
  • Vanilla Connect (Single Sign In)
  • Themes
  • Banner
  • File Upload - included as a plugin
  • WYSIWYG Editor - included as a plugin
  • Emoticons - included as a plugin


Garden is the PHP framework on which Vanilla 2 is built, and deployed with, but can also be used as an MVC framework in its own right, and has a convention-based folder structure.[24][25]

When downloading a Vanilla release, it is packaged in Garden as an application.[26]

Garden can be developed on via 'Addons' of applications, plugins, themes, and locales.[27]

Each application follows the MVC paradigm, and applications are typically placed in the applications folder, pluigns in plugins folder, and so on.

Applications can be extended by plugins and themes, these mainly use a combination of convention based file structure, configuration, and event hooks.

Pluggability is a core feature of the framework, as is OOP, so the application and core is mainly extended via plugin classes using a public method naming convention to denote event hooks, 'magic event' hooks, 'magic methods', and occasionally method overrides. Some general functions in the core can be overridden by predefining them.

In addition, locales can be used to translate into different languages, or variations of text, which are replaced by reference.

Release History[edit]

Release cycle since Vanilla version 2.0.1

Color Meaning
Red Pre-release beta versions
Green Supported stable branch
Blue Future versions
Version Release date Notable changes
2.0.1 [2] August 2010 Bug fixes[28]
2.0.10 [3] September 2010 Security fixes[29]
2.0.12 [4] October 2010 Bug fix for 2.0.12[30]
2.0.14 [5] November 2010 Adds Social Connnect
2.0.15 [6] November 2010 Bug Fixes
2.0.16 [7] December 2010 Bug Fixes for 2.0.15
2.0.17 [8] January 2011 Statistics, homepage, Wordpress connect, improved update functionality[31]
2.0.18 Beta 1 [9] May 2011 Improved tools for moderation[32]
2.0.18 Beta 2 [10] June 2011 Bug fixes from last beta version
2.0.18 Beta 4 [11] September 2011 Bug fixes from last beta version
2.0.18 Release Candidate 2 [12] October 2011 Bug fixes from last beta version
2.0.18 Release Candidate 3 [13] November 2011 Bug fixes from last release candidate
2.0.18 [14] November 2010 Improved moderation tools, major bug fixes, improved notifications [33] [15] January 2012 Bug fixes from last release [16] March 2012 Bug fixes from last release [17] April 2013 Security Update [34]
2.1 [18] April 2014 MeBox, Improved social features, bug fixes, improved embedding of forums, support for WordPress plugins, /me action
2.2 Beta [19] May 2013 Bug fixes from 2.1 Beta[35]
2.3 [] After April 2014 Advanced Editor, TBD.

Hosted Forums[edit]

The hosted version of Vanilla runs on the newest version of Vanilla. It also provides features that are held back from the community edition (usually people who are self-hosting their forum). The features held back are Reactions[36] & Badges, Polls, Pre-Moderation (available in self hosted Vanilla since 2.1 Beta), User Ranks, Profile Extender (available in self hosted Vanilla as a plugin) and others. This leads to ongoing discussions in Vanillas own community forums. There has been numerous discussions in the past about the business model and why certain features have been held back.[37] The community version of the software, has seen developers replicate much of these functionalities.[38][39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Vanilla 1 Site". 
  3. ^ Gunter, Tim. "Vanilla Emotify Plugin". 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Miles, Stephanie. "App Vita". 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Burry, Todd. "Vanilla Community Forums". 
  29. ^ "Vanilla Commnity Forums".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  30. ^ "Vanilla Commnity Forums".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  31. ^ "Vanilla Commnity Forums".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  32. ^ "Vanilla Commnity Forums".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  33. ^ Russell, Lincoln. "Vanilla Commnity Forums". 
  34. ^ Burry, Todd. "Vanilla Commnity Forums". 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Stubbs, Ryan. "App Storm". 
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^

External links[edit]