vBulletin 5 won’t have the same features as vBulletin 4 out of the gate

UPDATE: vBulletin 5.0 BETA 10 was released to the public for purchase on 9/11/2012, with disappointing reviews. Many more features are missing from the original release, and there are restrictive changes to the new license. Buyer beware.

There’s been another leaked communication from a survey that Invision Brands sent to customers of the vBulletin Mobile Sweet. In in, the survey asks customers…

Due to heavy demand for the next version of vBulletin coupled with our commitment to releasing it with the best quality possible, we are considering releasing vBulletin 5 Connect in phases,meaning that not all of its components will be immediately available at launch. If we choose this path, the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite will be one of those delayed components. Were this to happen, which of the following do you feel would be the best option for your situation when vBulletin 5 Connect launches?

  • Upgrade to vBulletin 5 Connect and possibly wait a few months until the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite is ready (your current mobile app will be unusable during this period).
  • Switch to the branded version of the Forum Runner Mobile App TEMPORARILY until the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite is Ready (you will need to invest $299 for setup and your members would need to download the new app). When the new Mobile Suite app is ready, you will be able to switch back. The Mobile Suite’s annual renewal fee, due on the date of your ORIGINAL purchase, is $99.

This rankled up customers who were promised that vBulletin 5 was going to be released by the end of the year, with the same features of vBulletin 4.  In addition, it proves that vBulletin didn’t really think about its recent purchase of the Forum Runner forum applcation, which provides the same features, and can directly compete with, the vBulletin Mobile Suite. Invision Brands is in such a mess, they moved almost all vBulletin 4 development (including the mobile suite) to work on vBulletin 5. That means the buggy mobile suite won’t be fixed for a while, if at all, because vBulletin 5 is to be released within 4 months. On top of that, the next version of vBulletin 4 (4.2.1) is ready to be released, but can’t because it is dependent on the mobile suite changes being released.

It  appears vBulletin customers saw this type of thing coming, even questioning Invision Brand’s intent to keep the mobile suite development going after it had made the Forum Runner purchase.

Lawrence Cole, marketing and operations manager of vBulletin, finally responded with a confirmation that the version of vB 5 won’t have the same features as vB 4 when it’s released….

The following is an update on plans for the release of vBulletin 5 Connect. We are working hard to ensure a high standard of quality for vBulletin 5 Connect. To maintain this level of quality while achieving a timely release of the new product, we will be doing a phased release.
The initial release of vBulletin 5 Connect will introduce many major new features while including most of the capabilities of vBulletin 4.2. The 5.0 release will include:

·Core vBulletin forum functionality including the activity stream, robust moderation tools and blogs

·Site Builder with new page templates, making it easy to set and modify sites

·Drag-and-drop configuration, simplifying page layout

·Modernized User Interface with streamlined content entry (photos, video, etc.), to increase content creation

·Enhanced content search and discovery via various content modules, engaging users into deeper site visits

·Improved social functionality including groups, new user profiles, comments functionality, an integrated messaging hub, social content curation, real-time updates and more

·Integrated mobile-optimized version for use on smartphones, ensuring these visitors stay and return

·Improvements to the photo gallery and better integration of photos with other content

·Simplified admin management with new features such as in-line site editing and customization

·Improved architecture for better performance and easier customization

·Built-in SEO to maximize search traffic

·Easy-to-use upgrader tool for vBulletin 3 and 4 sites, plus importer for other forum software

The primary elements of vBulletin 4.2 that will not be in the 5.0 version of vBulletin 5 Connect are CMS/article publishing, Mobile Suite, the Facebook app, paid subscriptions and non-English versions of the product. These components will be released as follows.

We will release the first update to vBulletin 5 Connect approximately 4-6 weeks after the 5.0 launch. This release will be focused on bug fixes, and will also include various non-English versions of vBulletin 5 Connect and possibly paid subscriptions.

The next piece of this phased initial release will bring to vBulletin 5 Connect article publishing capabilities similar to the current CMS in vBulletin 4 Suite. Tables and content for the current CMS will be imported into a new content channel regardless of whether the upgrade is done before or after this update, but that content will only be usable afterwards.

After that, the next element to be released will be a vBulletin 5 Connect version of the vBulletin Mobile Suite. Sites upgrading prior to this time will still be able to take advantage of the mobile-optimized capabilities of vBulletin 5 Connect, as well as the Forum Runner mobile apps which are free to site owners and integrated into vBulletin. The custom branded version of Forum Runner also will be available at a discounted price during this time. We are currently working through plans for the vBulletin Facebook app going forward, and we’ll provide details on this decision-making as it becomes available.

We recognize many existing sites using these capabilities are eager to upgrade to vBulletin 5 Connect, and our development team will be working diligently to get these functions out as soon as possible. We believe a phased release is the best way to ensure all introduced features are thoroughly tested when they’re launched so their quality is assured.

Helping You Build Better Communities
Your vBulletin Team

This confirms that whenever vBulletin 5 is released, it won’t have the same features as vBulletin 4. If you are a vBulletin 4 customer that uses the CMS, Mobile Suite, Paid Subscriptions, or a foreign language, you won’t get those for “some time” after the core vBulletin 5 version is released.

The secretive “customers only” forum has a lot of vile and hatred in it, and there appears to be a lot of vBulletin 5 development because of Cole’s claim of “heavy demand for the next version of vBulletin”, but everything seems to be pointing to another bad release cycle for vBulletin 5, as it was for vBulletin 4.

Following are a couple of public screens ( “Improved Content Discovery” and  “Site Builder”) or mockups of what part of the admin interface for vBulletin 5 will look like.




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