phpBB is a popular Internet forum package written in the PHP scripting language. The name "phpBB" is an abbreviation of PHP Bulletin Board. Available under the GNU General Public License, phpBB is free software.
phpBB was started by James Atkinson (now a former team member) as a simple UBB-like forum for his own website on June 17, 2000. Nathan Codding and John Abela (both now former team members) joined the development team after phpBB's CVS repository was moved to SourceForge.net, and work on 1.0.0 began. A fully functional, pre-release version of phpBB was made available in July.
phpBB 1.0.0 was released on December 9, 2000, with subsequent improvements to the 1.x codebase coming in two more major installments. The final release in the 1.x line was phpBB 1.4.4, released on November 6, 2001. During the lifetime of the 1.x series, Bart van Bragt, Paul S. Owen (former co-manager of the project), Jonathan Haase (now a former team member) and Frank Feingold joined the team. phpBB 1.x is no longer supported by the phpBB teams, and virtually no websites continue to use it.
phpBB 2.0.x began in February 2001. It was developed entirely from scratch; the developer's ambitions for phpBB had outgrown the original codebase. Doug Kelly (now a former team member) joined the team shortly afterwards. After a year of development and extensive testing, phpBB 2.0.0, dubbed the "Super Furry" version, was released on April 4, 2002, three days later than intended.
phpBB 3.0.x began in late 2002. It was originally intended to be released as phpBB 2.2, and the first planned feature list for 2.2 was announced on May 25, 2003. However, as development progressed, the developers realised that phpBB 2.1.x (the development release cycle for 2.2) had eliminated virtually all compatibility with the 2.0.x line, the version number for release was changed to 3.0.0, in keeping with the Linux kernel versioning scheme. Since then, the development team has seen many internal changes, and many changes to the phpBB3 code have been made. In September 2005, Paul Owen resigned as the Development Team Leader and Meik Sievertsen was promoted as the new Development Team Leader.
In March 2007, the phpBB teams had planned to undergo a short round of server maintenance, however the server crashed during the outage, suffering a double-disk failure and causing phpBB.com to be down for the full week. (The phpBB teams indicated that phpBB, the software, was not the cause of the outage.) However, due to the unexpected outage, the teams decided to change their original plans and launch their brand new website, powered by phpBB3 and the new prosilver theme. This was a big surprise to most, as the theme had been a heavily guarded secret, never before seen by the public, and was originally not intended to be revealed until the final release of phpBB 3.0.0. Initial feedback was split, with many applauding the new theme and others criticising a number of new design decisions, particularly the decision to display the user info on the right side of the viewtopic page (phpBB2's subSilver theme had displayed it on the left).
On April 30, 2007, phpBB founder and co-Project Manager James Atkinson officially resigned from his duties towards phpBB, citing personal circumstances. With the announcement also came the announcement that phpBB was now newly independent, and that the team leaders would be collectively taking charge of the decisions in the future of the project. At the end of May, an announcement was made that Jonathan "SHS`" Stanley, the other co-Project Manager, was stepping down as well for personal reasons.
On July 7, 2007, the teams announced that phpBB had been nominated as a finalist for the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards in the category of "Best Project for Communications". At the end of the month, SourceForge.net announced that phpBB had won the award for "Best Project for Communications", and in honour of the award, SourceForge.net donated $1000 in phpBB's name to Marie Curie Cancer Care.  phpBB also won a "Thingamagoop" from Bleep Labs, and "bragging rights for a full year."
On September 6, 2007, the teams launched the Official phpBB Podcast. The podcast was recorded by a rotating group of phpBB team members with occasional guests, and discussed a number of phpBB-related topics, as well as answering questions e-mailed in from listeners.
The first beta of phpBB3 was released in June 2006, and the first release candidate was released in May 2007. The phpBB3 codebase received an external security audit in September, which was done by SektionEins. Finally, after much fanfare, phpBB 3.0.0 "Olympus" (also dubbed the Gold release) was published on December 13, 2007.
The teams launched a new phpBB Blog in July 2008. The blog will be written by phpBB team members on various topics related to phpBB and provide users with a unique inside look at the activities of the phpBB teams.
The phpBB teams held their first-ever phpBB users conference in London on July 20, 2008, which was titled "Londonvasion 2008." Londonvasion featured presentations by phpBB team members on various topics important to the phpBB community, MOD authors, and developers. Londonvasion provided a unique opportunity to socialise with members of the phpBB teams. The event also represented the first time that most members of the teams had a chance to meet each other in person.
Administration Control PanelphpBB3 is the current release of the phpBB bulletin board system. Following an eighteen-month beta/release candidate stage, it went gold on December 13, 2007 . It contains many new features that are not found in its older sibling, phpBB2. phpBB3 also provides administrators with much more control over every aspect of the forum software, such as how it is displayed to management of user and group permissions. Consequently, this increased functionality makes the administrative interface much more complex, and new users have found it somewhat more intimidating than phpBB2.
phpBB3's default theme is called prosilver. During phpBB3's long development process, prosilver was kept a heavily guarded secret from the public in order to prevent premature copying of the theme and so that it would not spoil the "wow" factor upon the final release of phpBB 3.0.0; however, the unexpected website downtime of March 2007 prompted the teams to change plans and unveil the new theme early. prosilver includes a number of new design concepts over its predecessor subSilver, including a new admin panel without frames and reduced use of tables. One of the more contentious decisions has been to move the user info panel on the viewtopic page to the right in order to provide more focus on the post content. Unlike phpBB2, phpBB3 does not allow the use of HTML tags in comments. A phpBB3 port of the subSilver theme is included with the phpBB3 package and dubbed subsilver2, however an administrator must install it on the board themselves before it is accessible to users.
For the first time, the teams will be quietly pushing out release candidates of minor updates of phpBB3 for "quality assurance testing" prior to general release. These candidates are intended to prevent the possibility of significant bugs being produced by minor updates, thus causing a subsequent critical update to be released within days of the original. (This scenario happened twice during the 2.0.x line and once during phpBB's release candidate stage in 2007.) A mailing list is open to anyone interested in testing these "quality assurance" releases when they are available.
The latest in the 3.0.x line is phpBB 3.0.2, code named "Olympus", released on July 10, 2008. phpBB3 requires PHP 4.3.3 or later and is fully compatible with PHP 5.
Some of phpBB3's major features include:
Modular design for the Admin Control Panel, Moderator Control Panel, and User Control Panel
Support for multiple database management systems, including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Firebird, OpenLink Virtuoso, and other ODBC-accessible DBMS
Support for unlimited levels of subforums
Ability to create custom-defined BBCode
Ability to create custom profile fields
The phpBB website includes a non-exhaustive list of phpBB3 features. A comparison page is also available on their website, comparing the features between phpBB3 and other bulletin board systems.
Support for phpBB3 can be obtained in the official phpBB3 Support forum. Full documentation, flash tutorials, and a knowledge base are also available.
A default installation of phpBB 2.0.phpBB2 is the older of the two packages supported by the phpBB teams. phpBB's website currently refers to it as the "legacy release." It contains far fewer features than its younger counterpart, phpBB3, and also includes an older codebase, supporting PHP 4.0.3 and later. Although most users report no problems running it on PHP 5, the phpBB teams currently do not officially offer support for this configuration. However, many administrators still prefer to run phpBB2 because it provides a much simpler administration interface and has a thriving ecosystem of MODs (modifications) and styles that allow admins many options for customising the software to their liking. Some administrators still run phpBB2 because they have installed so many MODs that they cannot upgrade their board without resetting it.
The default theme in phpBB2 is named subSilver, and was designed by Tom "subBlue" Beddard. At the time that it premiered in 2001, it was a revolutionary new design for bulletin boards, and many bulletin board themes since have borrowed many cues and design elements from subSilver.
The latest release in the 2.0.x line is 2.0.23 which was released on February 17, 2008. Releases in the 2.0.x line are restricted to security fixes only.
Some of phpBB2's major features include the following:
A templated style system intended to allow easy customisation that keeps the PHP code separate from the HTML.
Support for internationalisation through a language pack system; 48 translations are available for phpBB2 as of 2007.
Compatibility with multiple database management systems including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Access,
A large community of users providing free support and customisations, including MODs and styles.
Support for phpBB2 can be obtained in the official phpBB2 Support forum and the unofficial phpBB2 Support boards. Full documentation, flash tutorials, and a knowledge base are also available.
phpBB2 is currently in the process of being slowly retired by the phpBB teams, and all official support for phpBB2 (other than converting from 2.0.x to 3.0.x) will be discontinued on January 1, 2009. Security patches will continue to be released, if required, until February 1, 2009, after which the teams will cease all development on phpBB2. The MODs and Styles Teams will similarly be dropping support for phpBB2 MODs and Styles on a similar timetable.
 Future development
The Development Team has begun working on phpBB 3.1.x, the development line for phpBB 3.2. Planned features have not yet been officially announced, however the teams have revealed that the new version will include a new events system, a completely rewritten BBCode system, RSS feed support, the ability to edit the FAQ, and more. The phpBB teams maintain a website for phpBB development at Area51. The teams have also revealed that phpBB 3.2 will be code-named "Ascraeus," named after Ascraeus Mons, the second tallest mountain on Mars. (Olympus Mons, which 3.0 was named after, is the tallest.)
Current developers are:
Acyd Burn - (Meik Sievertsen)
APTX - (Marek A. R.)
DavidMJ - (David M.)
Kellanved - (Henry Sudhof)
naderman - (Nils Adermann)
ToonArmy - (Chris Smith)
Vic D'Elfant - (Vic D'Elfant)
MODs are code modifications created by the phpBB community, often used to extend the functionality of or change the display of phpBB. The term is capitalised to distinguish modifications from forum moderators. Modifications referred to in this manner are not authored by the phpBB developers, and do not enjoy the same level of support as unmodified official code. The phpBB MOD Team accepts modifications from community sources for validation, and modifications which meet the MOD Team's standards are made available for download from the phpBB MOD Database. Other sites also provide phpBB2 and phpBB3 modifications for download. Some of the sites have their own standards which they validate to, and other sites do not do any validation, however the phpBB teams do not offer support for boards using MODs downloaded from sites other than phpBB.com. Documentation for phpBB3 MODding is provided by the MOD Team.