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What's the compelling reasons to use Askbot over its competitors?

  • retag add tags

It seems to have a smaller user base than OSQA and Shapado. So, what positive things are going for Askbot that its competitors lack?

ripper234's avatar
updated 2010-12-04 09:04:53 -0500, updated 2012-04-05 12:32:33 -0500
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4 Answers


Askbot versus OSQA

  • Askbot's code seems to be much more stable, well-written, and easy to understand than OSQA.
  • OSQA seems to have a lot of old code laying around that seemingly does nothing or has just been forgotten about.
  • The development on OSQA has been significantly reduced -- I haven't seen any changes made since April, probably due to my next point...
  • The team working on OSQA is now working on a new product called "Qato". It doesn't have a website yet, but it's supposedly everything OSQA is and a lot more, but you have to pay for it.
Bill's avatar
answered 2011-01-20 14:01:38 -0500
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added a self-serving upvote :). Thanks, development in askbot will continue at the same pace as before.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-01-20 17:24:39 -0500) edit
If Qato is going to be closed that is a fatal flaw as far as I am concerned. Closed leaves you completely at devs mercy.
graeme's avatar graeme (2011-01-20 22:03:43 -0500) edit
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Most comparisons below are with OSQA. I've never tried to install Shapado so never compared it with askbot on the same hardware.

  • Faster response time (well under 1s for most pages) because I rewrote all templates in a speedier rendering engine - Jinja2. Template rendering time decreased at least five-fold. Those templates will also help make custom skins - this is the plan for the rest of December.
  • More reliable code, there are ~350 test cases in the automatic testing suite. Last time I've checked there were none in the other projects.
  • Easy to install and instructions do not depend much on platform. Askbot installation uses standard Python packaging solutions.
  • Active development - activity in the repositories can be easily compared. I've translated the Chinese CNPROG in the summer 09 and kept improving the program ever since.
  • Easier to deploy with other Django apps for those who are interested.
  • More of valid markup. I went through all pages I could with the W3C validator.
  • Bugs normally fixed on the same day and support is less formal. You can report bugs right here on the forum.

Features that are probably absent in OSQA:

  • Search by multiple tags and text query. The query can be modified while tag selection is kept. Also there is a "search as you type" feature - more of a toy but is kind of nice.
  • inbox feature - the "red envelope" that pops up when there are new responses or flagged posts (for moderators)
  • command line tool to merge, split and rename tags (will be added to UI as well)
  • probably finer grained user level - admins, mods, regular users, suspended and blocked. All tested.
  • ajax retag

Features absent in Askbot:

  • re-posting comments as answers and similar
  • no votes for comments yet.

There of course will be more good features, but I think it's better to get things done first and then talk about them. However, starting next week there will be a redo of templates and related things to make site customization easier.

As for the smaller user base - you see the project is still very active. Larger user base will only add motivation.

Evgeny's avatar
updated 2011-01-28 20:52:57 -0500, answered 2010-12-04 11:47:44 -0500
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It no longer seems to work as well. Did it not previously mark messages unread automatically when you viewed the answer?
graeme's avatar graeme (2010-12-06 05:44:54 -0500) edit
ajax retag, search as you type and tag management are all very nice IMAO
graeme's avatar graeme (2010-12-06 06:22:03 -0500) edit
Thanks, the messages were actually intended to behave that way from the beginning because their function is to tell what is new to each user. The messages are marked as read when you visit the related page. Also, the envelope in the header turns red in sync with the presence of any unread messages (and consequently - any unseen updates on the site). Maybe there is a better way though.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-12-06 13:47:50 -0500) edit
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I will not repeat my answers to your question on the Shapado and OSQA sites, but I will add one thing: Evgeny is very helpful and responsive. I reported a number of bugs and they were all fixed quickly.

The community has a better feel to it. Not as big, but helpful.

Shapado did one thing very clever, they sent me an email asking me to answer your question (thats how I saw it, I no longer check those sites). How they identify that (I do not get any other email from them) I do not know.

graeme's avatar
answered 2010-12-06 05:42:56 -0500
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Askbot doesn't alert when question is answered

ac's avatar
answered 2011-01-28 20:37:31 -0500
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To clarify - receiving email alerts is optional - users have to opt in to receive them, there are settings available in the user profiles. Also there is a "red envelope" as a form of an on-screen alert, and email alerts are of two types - instant and delayed (daily or weekly)
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-01-28 20:44:18 -0500) edit
Since you have selected not to receive emails, you will not get them unless you change your mind, but the red envelope will light up in the site header and there you will get a link to the exact point where the update is - including if it is not on the first page or even a comment that is buried under a bunch of other comments - so there are some more advantages.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-01-28 20:48:34 -0500) edit
This should be configurable in admin settings so that if I want to default to sending email alerts instead of it being a option during sign up, I should be able to do that.
mether's avatar mether (2011-08-03 03:31:57 -0500) edit
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