I plan to add a forum to my own site soon, and I will probably go with this package, rather than phpBB which is what I have used in the past. The overall impression I get from peoples’ comments online is that SMF is more secure, more flexible, lightweight, easier to configure, easier to theme, etc.
Here’s a very handy site that lets you compare all the main features of various different forum packages: http://www.forummatrix.org
Whether forums are dead or not, I’m not sure. Sites like Facebook have definitely had a big impact on things, but clearly it’s still possible to have a thriving forum-based community - just look at this one.
The thing about wordpress is that it’s amazingly customizable due to all the really solid plugins for it. I thought joomla was customizable until I gave wordpress a shot… now I realize joomla was a joke. Every joomla site LOOKS like a joomla site… but you can’t usually tell when sites are powered by wordpress right off the bat.
if you say so, man. i maintained a number of wordpress sites professionally for a bit and, let me tell you, some people just don’t know how to write PHP…but, even worse in my eyes, wordpress doesn’t provide much of an API. it’s just a whole hodgepodge of functions without much OO design and it gives you plenty of rope to hang yourself. the biggest problem I would see is that plugins would do inordinate amounts of SQL queries because of poor coding. arguably, it could be the coder’s fault, but wordpress doesn’t even try to provide a safety net…i dunno. i have been suppressing rage about this, perhaps!
And I think SMF has this “security through nobody-uses-it”-principle. phpBB has not been hacked or wormed since version 3.0 - which is because the devteam spent a lot of money for a complete security audit.