phpBB announced the second release candidate of version 3.2.0 of the popular forum software on Friday. This version has been long delayed past its expected release date of November 2015 and is much anticipated because it adds PHP 7 compatibility. PHP 7, as benchmarked, greatly improves performance of PHP applications and reduces the hardware necessary to operate at the same level of performance. The forum software’s incompatibility with PHP 7 at the stable 3.1 version can keep many servers from being able to upgrade, impacting other applications running on those servers as well.
The release of phpBB 3.2.0-RC2 is a good sign that development is still proceeding with the software and the release notes actually announce full PHP 7.1 compatibility. Version 3.2 has a bigger announcement with it as well that warranted its own clarifying post. An extension has been written to incorporate VigLink into the forum software and it will be included with the installation of phpBB 3.2. VigLink is a service used to automatically convert existing links to outside websites into affiliate links. For example, somebody on a forum might post about Amazon’s Echo Dot being on sale for $39.99. VigLink would update that link on the fly to add affiliate tags to support the phpBB development team.
Rather than being something controversial, the implementation seems to be rather level-headed. You have to pick between disabling or enabling the extension upon installation of the forum software or you can enable the extension and configure it to your own VigLink account. If you would like to support the phpBB team, you might enable the extension with no behavioral changes to your community while creating affiliate revenue for the developers of the software you use. Of course, a stable revenue stream might also help keep development of the software on track with timely releases.
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