First Look: vBulletin 5 beta demonstrated today

While we no longer support versions of vBulletin from 4.0 and up, we still keep an eye on the major players in the market.  Today marks the release of a beta version of what the folks at Internet Brands are calling vBulletin 5 Connect.  We took a cursory look…or tried to, anyway, but the new version appears to even slower than the bloated vB4 which it is bound to replace.  We gave up trying to use it after awhile, as page loads took forever.  We realize part of this may have been an initial rush of visitors, and that the product is still in beta, but IB should know better and have adequate servers to demonstrate what is likely to become their next flagship product.

As expected, the new vB5 copies a lot of the clean look and feel from a certain competitor they are trying to run out of business via lawsuits (who shall remain nameless here).  But more confusingly, you can now comment on individual posts within a thread.  As if it is hard enough to follow a single conversation in a long-running thread, there will now be even more tangents to follow and completely derail discussions.

At times, we here at CWS shake our heads at the stripped-down offering of a system like Vanilla (which we could never use for any of our “big board” customers), yet Vanilla is so clean and uncluttered that it is actually a wise choice since discussions are easy to follow…with few distractions.  That is also why XenForo gets so many customers from systems like vBulletin: the system is powerful, yet more conducive to the simple task of reading and contributing to conversations…with again, few distractions.

Therein lies the problem: distractions.  vB3.7 and 3.8 both added more social features to the aging vB3 series, and vB4 piled even more clutter on top of the ancient code base; all of that clutter managed to slow down the system to the point where big board administrators decided to stay with older versions just to avoid the code bloat.  vB5 removes some of the “noise” from the postbit, yet the new post comments add a new series of distractions (which most members posting on the new beta vB5 are hoping can be turned off).

We are less than impressed for now, but are still keeping an eye on vB5 since it is so early in the game.  For those who must stay with vB, we are hoping that vB5 removed all the bloat and streamlined their product so it does not hammer on our servers so hard.

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