Increasing Accessibility of Open Source Forum Software and What it Holds for the Future

GitHub, home to more than 80% of the world’s open source communities, has recently announced to bring the accessibility of their open source code to a staggering 85%. This step has been taken to propel the industry toward a more convenient and accessible experience, for web developers. It is expected to lower the social-technical barriers and make the developer experience more inclusiveness.

There have been several cross-platform improvements done recently to improve the overall accessibility of GitHub. These include Copilot (removed barrier for NVDA and keyboard-only screen users), GitHub Copilot Voice (allows users to code with their voice), Color Contrast (in both dark and light modes), and Code Search (developed for NVDA screen readers).

To get a better understanding, let’s take a glance at what open source forum software is:

What is Open Source Forum Software

Open source forum software enables individuals to hold discussion forums through the internet and communicate with each other, using threads of text messages. Individuals use these forums to post their questions, seek answers, discuss their issues, and offer solutions. As the software is developed and distributed under an open source license, it lets the user modify and personalize its coding, design, and functionality aspects without any restraint. With such freedom, individuals, communities, and organizations can create and host their discussion forums.

The discussions on the open source forum software, are organized in a hierarchal structure of categories, sub-categories, and threads. This lets the users find relevant topics and even create new discussion threads. The administrators of the forum have the privilege of managing as well as monitoring these discussions, in order to remove any irrelevant or inappropriate content. The administrator can also modify the forum’s appearance & layout, and apply various templates, themes, and plug-ins for increasing the functionality.

Types and Applications of Open Source Forum Software

The open source forum software can either be cloud-based or web-based. The cloud-based software offers easy accessibility and helps in reducing maintenance costs. Cloud computing-based systems also have the option to integrate with other cloud services, to provide a seamless user experience. 

  • As per Google Cloud, around 41.4% of global business and technology leaders are planning to make large investments in the development of cloud-based products & services. While 32.8% of executives are migrating their on-site workload to the cloud, considering the current economic climate around the world.

The web-based open source forum software, on the other hand, eliminates the need to install software on a computer or smartphone for its use. It can simply be accessed using any web browser, such as Chrome and Firefox. The open source forum software finds applications in commercial as well as personal setups. Most business organizations prefer to use commercial forum software, due to its cost-effectiveness and additional features, such as advanced customization options that let the businesses tailor the software to specific requirements. 

How Open Source Forum Software is Transforming Internet Communities

The cost-effective and flexible nature of the open source forum software has made it the most preferred choice for organizations and individuals with budget constraints. It eliminates the need to own an expensive proprietary software license, which significantly reduces the cost of running a forum. The transparent and secure infrastructure of this software enables its users to inspect the source code, for any type of security vulnerability and take necessary steps to rectify and enhance the security measures.

The open source forum software is evolving due to the higher user online engagement with organizations through online communities. This is resulting in continuous improvements and updates in the software and the development of advanced features, extensions, and plug-ins. However, several forum software solutions require a significant amount of technical knowledge about database management systems to operate and run the forums. As a result, organizations and individuals that lack the required technical expertise, are often unable to use the software effectively.

A Glance at the Future

Open source forum software solutions have a strong future. They provide the opportunity for organizations and individuals to collaborate and develop ideas and innovations while providing a secure platform for open discussion. Another key aspect in the development of software is the rapid growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). 

The companies pioneering in the field of AI such as Google, IBM, Apple, Nvidia, Microsoft, and OpenAI are continuously pushing the boundaries, redefining what software can be capable of. The application of AI is expected to further hoist the functionality of open source forums to newer heights. 

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