OpenForum - A Free Forum for MVC Applications

UPDATE: I’ve changed the links at the bottom. Hopefully that will resolve the issue that some people were having with downloading the source. I’m not sure why the original URLs worked for some people and not for others, but as my friend always reminds me, “If computers just worked, we’d all be out of a job.”

UPDATE: I’m happy to announce that OpenForum is now on CodePlex. Check it out here…

One of the things that I really like about the MVC framework is that it offers some unique possibilities when it comes to third parties developing entire sub-systems that can easily be plugged into existing applications. Recently, I had some “down time” at my work and decided to take the opportunity to experiment with doing just that. Here are the results of that experiment. OpenForum is a forum that can easily be plugged into any MVC application with very little effort. In fact, there are only three steps to get OpenForum working with most MVC applications.

1. Add a reference to OpenForum.dll
2. Initialize OpenForum (via one line of code in the global.asax file)
3. Add an html link to OpenForum in your menu (optional)

Here’s a little screencast that I put together showing the process in greater detail.

This is defiantly still in it’s early infancy, but it’s far enough along that I wanted to put it out there and get some feedback from the community. Notable missing features include the ability to search the forum and a lack of support for any html in posts. The plan is to eventually put OpenForum up on CodePlex once things get a little further along. Until then, I’d really appreciate some community feedback. Here are some links to a few other tutorials on using some of the more advance features of OpenForum…

And here are the links to the needed dll as well as a link to the source

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36 Responses to “OpenForum - A Free Forum for MVC Applications”

  • Travis Says:

    Having problems with the file links in FF. Are they not up yet?

  • Chris Pietschmann Says:

    I am interested in looking at how you are implementing this, but it seems your download links don’t work.

  • Josh Says:

    I find this very intriguing as I have been traveling around talking about something very similar lately.

    I created a simple CMS prototype very similar to what you have right now that provided CMS-style functionality right out of the box. The goal was to show how easy it would be to create lots of “Application Blocks” (e.g., CMS, forums, blog).

    I hope you continue forward with us and I would love to talk with you about your future plans.

  • Dan Swatik Says:

    Uhmm it appears the links only go to a blank page where are the files?

  • herbrandson Says:

    Thank you for the heads up. I just tested it and it seemed to work fine for me (heh, spoken like a true developer). I have had a few others test and they also seemed to be able to download just fine. I’m looking into it right now though.

  • ASP.NET MVC Archived Buzz, Page 1 Says:

    [...] to Vote[] OpenForum - A Free Forum for MVC Applications (6/29/2009)Monday, June 29, 2009 from [...]

  • Bert Says:

    People, it’s real easy to fix those URLs yourself: it’s clear that the download URL is attached to the URL from this post, plus “/wp-content/” is usually a root folder when people use WordPress for their blogs.


  • Travis Says:

    It’s only easy if you are a wp user.

  • herbrandson Says:

    I’ve updated the URL to be the full path. Hopefully that resolves the issue for everyone.

  • Nathan Says:

    Very Nice!

  • William Mincy Says:

    This is a really great bit of code you’re gifting, thanks for all the work that went into this. If we find a bug are you interested in hearing about it?

  • herbrandson Says:

    @William - Feedback of any kind would be great appreciated! Feel free to report any bugs in the comments here.

  • The Technology Post for June 30th, 2009 | Nexo IT - Information Technology News Says:

    [...] ASP.NET MVC – OpenForum – A Free Forum for MVC Applications – Tweeted by Elijah Manor [...]

  • Mark Says:

    Great work, I am more interested in how you did it then the actual application.

    The simple setup is great!

    My only concern is the “DynamicViewEngine”. Having all that html written by code very flexible.. Ideally, you should be able to get it up and running quickly like you do now, however I would want to be able to “copy in” a set of view html files, and change them as I needed.

    I did see some posts where of people using embed resources but I can’t find the link at the moment.

  • Interesting Finds: 2009 07.01 ~ 07.05 - gOODiDEA.NET Says:

    [...] OpenForum - A Free Forum for MVC Applications [...]

  • CarlH Says:

    The “source” doesn’t seem to more than a default mvc project?

  • herbrandson Says:

    @CarlH - I just downloaded it and I see a solution with 3 projects. One is the default mvc project, one is the OpenForum project, and one is a unit test project. Is that not what you see?

  • Eric Hexter Says:

    This is great stuff. This solidifies the ability to create who vertical application modules that can be delivered , scripts, views and all! Great work pulling all of the pieces together. I would love to talk more with you about this approach.

  • herbrandson Says:

    @Eric - - Thanks for the kind words. I’m really glad you like it. You can post any questions/ideas/thoughts you have here, or on the discussion board at Also, you can email me at (eric at herbrandson dot com).

  • herbrandson Says:

    @Mark - Thanks for the feedback. I’ve addressed the issue you raised in the latest build (available on codeplex). The release now includes the default “templates” (as .ascx files) that you can simply include in your project and start modifying. Let me know what you think.

  • OpenForum is on CodePlex | Says:

    [...] latest release includes a few key missing features from my inital posting. Most important, there is now a wysiwyg editor for posts (using nicEdit) and the ability to search [...]

  • Andy Hunt Says:


    Is there any chance we could get a video or some screenshots to look at the moderation features?


  • herbrandson Says:

    In the current version, moderation is done via Sql Management Studio. A better moderation system is coming in a future version.

  • Andy Hunt Says:

    I will certainly be using when that version comes around then :)

    Also, in upcoming versions, will there be added support for multiple forum categories?

  • herbrandson Says:

    Thank you for the feedback. Yes, multiple categories is also on the list of future features.

  • Samir Patel Says:

    This is the best thing I have ever seen… Thank you for this great concept… Can you explain some basic steps to build something like this?

    Anyway, thank you very much for building and giving out this tool…

  • herbrandson Says:

    Thank you for the kind words. Feel free to grab the source code and see how it was built. If there are any specific questions you have, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Mauser Says:

    It looks like not working with MVC 2 RC. It throws

    Method not found: ‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage.get_Html()’.

  • Jason Moore Says:

    Any progress on the MVC 2 issue? I get this error when using it with an MVC 2 site.

    Method not found: ‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage.get_Html()’.

  • ToanLam Says:

    Yes, I have the same issue with ASP.NET MVC 2.
    Method not found: ‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage.get_Html()’.

  • RGardner Says:

    Has anything been updated on this recently as I have just downloaded and get the same error as the two users above.

    Method not found: ‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage.get_Html()’.

    I was really hoping this was going to be as seamless as the little vieo clip made it appear.

  • herbrandson Says:

    @RGardner I’m working on converting OpenForum to MVC 3 which should resolve this issue. Unfortunately, I’ve got a few other pressing things that are making it hard to get to. That being said, I’m very much open to contributions from others. If you (or anyone else) wants to convert the project, I’d be happy to accept the changes as a patch :)

  • Thiet ke website Ban Tay So Says:

    Should you upgrade forum with MVC 3 razor?

  • herbrandson Says:

    I’ve actually started the process of upgrading to MVC3/Razor. You can grab the latest from CodePlex (grab the latest code in Hg).

  • Martin Says:

    Hi Herb,
    Was wondering if you have already a working versions voor MVC2/3.

    tnx in advance!

  • herbrandson Says:

    @Martin - Some initial work has been done to convert to MVC 3. Checkout the latest version of the code in Mercurial.

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