As noted in my WordPress write up, Joomla! also does not ship with a forum component it does have various components and plugins that allow for such but none are developed by the core team and more important they are again not distributed with Joomla!
The original article did include Joomla! so I will also but I'll only be looking at a handful of available options.
According to the Kunena offiical websites about page Kunena came from the frustrations of waiting for another project known as Fireboard to put out a stable release.
Kunena hasn't changed what Fireboard is any wild way other than making it far more stable and ridding itself of some of the horrid bugs that plagued Fireboard. Kunena is probably the most widely used forum component for Joomla!
Install went smooth via the package uploader and depending on your needs it's a one-step or 3 step process, post-install you get the option to install demo data and/or Kunena menus - however, you can progress without doing either. I could not get the demo data to install, see notes for further information (TLDR: Kunena 6 is in beta)
Kunena hasn't changed its configuration in quite some time and is based on the fact the yes/no options are a weird dropdown option rather than the usual Joomla! slider I suspect this will be changed before going final
Some cleanup is still needed but as a user of the previous version for Joomla! 3.x and below the configuration are well laid out and easy to find, although again the beta is clearly not ready. Other options are buried elsewhere in the system such as Kunena template options which are listed within the template.. speaking of templates on man the front end sure is weird looking!
Permissions are handled for the most part at "category level" I'm not a huge fan of this method as it does tend to be a lot of in and out of categories.
Extensions / Themes
As Kunena 6 is in beta it does not have a lot of extensions or templates and the ones that may be compatible will change from commit to commit - so in fairness to all others on the list in its current state it has very few extensions, Kunena 5, does have plenty of them, however.
Kunena is one I always want to use, I'm a fan but I always run into some issue or another and tend to have to compromise either the template, a plugin or Kunena itself, however, the project has come a long, long way since the Fireboard days and has put out consistent releases - it's a good forum platform but you may need to put some work in to get just what you want.
- Reliable, dependable and very flexible.
- Consistent releases of a stable nature
- Can look great with custom template support.
- Joomla! 4 version is currently in beta
- Default template tends to be picky
Install was straightforward enough, the only kicker if it bothers you will be that you need to register to download the component, from here it's a simple upload component and installed.
It would be wrong of me to say I instantly clicked with TF Forum, despite it using a very normal Joomla! method I am so used to component dashboard including a small configuration link I never thought to check the obvious place.. the default Joomla! configuration button (top right in almost every core component)
TF Forum is very untraditional or at least that was my experience, it doesn't make use of categories and everything is done via topics, topics have replies and also labels, so far as I can tell a label is a tag.
Once you create all the menus you need to create, you will need to go over the options and configure things and once done you are left with a simple yet effective forum.
Extensions / Themes
So far as I can tell, no specific extensions of templates exist for this specific component.
TF Forum is different, unique and a clever way to get some basic forums into your site, it's smart and would be fantastic as a support platform - tho it's still a little quirky I couldn't get the in-component "new topic" to actually work, while the menu item for creating a new topic worked fine.
- Lightweight & Different in a good, fun way.
- Offers a fresh approach to support forums.
- Backend topic creation and responses is a great idea.
- Documentation is locked behind a subscription, not a complaint we all deserved to get paid for our work, just a point of note.
- Little awkward to setup
A few items of note
- Despite being a Joomla! user since the Mambo days, I do not really like Joomla! 4.x all that much, it's weird but it is the latest version so while 3.10.x is the last of the 3.x branch and is still supported and widely used 4.x is the main branch and the future of Joomla! like it or not so all tests are done against that release.
- If a forum fails against Joomla! 4 then I have not included it due to the fact it is still early doors with Joomla! and I think it's only fair to give developers a little more time to port over to Joomla! 4
- I likely will miss a few great ones for example Easydiscuss by Stackideas, [CjForum](https://.com/products/cjforum/) by Shondalai and various other popular forums found on the JED - while they offer complete demos, I'm not buying a license for a quick download and install and they do not offer any form of free, lite or trial version.
- Kunena 6 which is the version of Kunena that will be compatible with Joomla!4 is still in beta so you cannot use the simple (slow) web installer and will need to visit the Kunena downloads section to grab yourself a copy, also as it is in beta any issues could be fixed before going live and thus far it's the only beta forum component being tested.
This post is part of our "best forums 2022" series, you can see the hub post here and you can also use that post for suggestions on other forums we should look into.
Otherwise, let us know what you think of our review of this forum in a response below, did we make a mistake? has it evolved in some massive way so needs a re-review?