About the web-forum

esoBB is a free, open source web-forum application designed to be lightweight and extensible. It’s a fork of an earlier release of esoTalk.

To the left is a list of topics covered in the documentation. Please note that the documentation is a work-in-progress. The priority right now is to get the plugin and skin making pages completed so that developers can start contributing!

Toby Zerner, one of esoTalk’s original developers, is responsible for writing much of this documentation. Thanks, Toby!

History of esoTalk and the esoBB project

esoTalk was originally designed and developed by the Australian brothers Simon and Toby Zerner, and over a half part of original codes were written by Simon until he passed away in mid-2009 and his brother Toby continued the development. The first public beta version of the software was named esoTalk lime and included a number of unique features. Many features that are now ubiquitous to the forum software were written into plugins and so Lime had 5 plugins: Emoticons, Debug, Currently online, Captcha and Attachments. Most notably, the Attachments plugin was found to possess security flaws in its file uploading routine, thus leading to its exclusion from later versions of the software. esoTalk lime was made available for download around or near 05-01-2008.

The second stage of development for esoTalk brought features such as avatars, language packs and categorial improvements to posts. During the alpha stage, the plugin Currently online was ingrained into the base software while Attachments were dropped entirely.

On 08-10-2009, Toby (Simon’s brother) found out that his brother had passed away and made a conversation regarding Simon three days later.

Simon was not only my older brother; he was also a great friend who I spent much of my time with. I will miss him immensely, as I’m sure many others will, both family and friends, and people he knew on the Internet.

esoTalk was our project, and we were both very passionate about it and realized its potential. I’m going to continue work on esoTalk, and I’m going to make it as great as possible in light of this happening. Simon taught me everything I know about web development, and I’m honored to be able to use these skills to finish something he started.

After Simon passed away, Toby took control of the project and continued its development. After a few months, esoTalk beta was released, contining a large number of changes and it was perhaps the largest single update made to the software by that point. Shortly after this release, Toby took a break from working on esoTalk, however esoTalk continued to receive another beta release (1.0.0b2) and some progress towards a subsequent one prior to ‘Gamma.’ It was during this period that the concept of esoBB was born, which serves as a direct fork of esoTalk beta 2 (actually stemming from the very first beta) and contains many changes that make the web-forum suitable for large communities.

Since then, esoTalk has received some development attention in the form of gamma which is a complete rewrite of its preexisting codebase, thus taking the concept of esoTalk in a whole new direction. esoTalk is currently abandoned in favor of Flarum, which serves to combine discussion boards with responsive web apps. esoBB is still in active development.

The purpose of esoBB

Now that you know all about the origin of esoBB, you may be asking: what’s the purpose of a forum software that’s been forked, succeeded and modified by a handful of contributors? esoBB is designed with a certain idea in mind that stems from the original vision held by Simon and Toby Zerner when they were developing esoTalk beta. It’s super fast (pages are generated in under 0.05 milliseconds!) lightweight and extensible, with plugins that can be easily added to your forum in order to bring powerful features, like the mass moderation of users.

With tags and gambits, users on your forum are quickly brought together and encouraged to discuss relevant topics with each other. There are no categories (though plugins can change this) and the homepage of an esoBB forum consists of recent threads rather than a grandiose assortment of categories or sub-categories. This configuration is particularly suited for enthusiast communities that are centered around a particular topic, or in the case of, may work similar to an image board where recent conversations and posts are brought to the front. Despite the simple layout of an esoBB forum, it has many benefits: moderation is easy to do with this layout and new members can easily familiarize themselves with your forum.

Complicated permissions structures don’t exist on esoBB, however we plan to make fine-tuning permissions something that is possible to do with plugins. Moderators have the ability to moderate posts and suspend users, whereas Administrators may control the settings of the forum. The user that is created by the installer is the ‘root user’ and can’t be suspended by anyone, however the ‘root user’ can be assigned to another user ID in the config file.

Skins are easy to understand with there being a ‘base skin’ that contains styles for skins to build upon, or you can start from scratch! Every aspect of the forum can be configured in order to make it yours or your organization’s because of how extensible the software has been designed to be.

The forum that started it all

esoForum is a topicless web forum responsible for causing a lot of agitation on the Internet, but it was also the forum for which esoBB was developed, prompting the renewed interest in the esoTalk forum software that kickstarted this project. esoForum used to be hosted on this domain ( but has since moved to a new location.

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