Oops, I see that I should stop and read the manual sometimes too…
So phpBB or SMF will provide a discussion board. A lot of sites get along with just that. They set up a news forum where the admins post news and such, allow photo uploads and such. I don’t see many databases implemented on top of forums, but certainly it would be straightforward to link to other software providing that functionality.
An alternative is a more integrated Content Management System like Joomla! The general pattern of Joomla! use is that you have a front page that provides news and then link to other areas that provide a forum, photo galleries, etc.
When I have to choose between a simple forum and a Joomla! site, I think about why people are coming to my site. If I’m primarily trying to create a community where the important thing is the interaction between the members, I create a discussion board. If I think that people are primarily looking for news and that discussion is secondary, then I use one of the bigger content management systems.
I find CMS’s much harder to configure than a phpBB. Most of this is because they are so flexible and have so many configuration options. I also find it hard to keep up with providing timely and relevant content for the front news page of a CMS. It’s much easier for me to throw out some forums and let the users provide their own content.
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