Need some advice on if Discourse is right for my project, which I'm hoping it is!

(Gowiem) #1


I’m starting work on my college ending Capstone project with a group of 4 other team members (3 designers and 1 other dev :tired_face: ). We’ve decided to create a web app which provides some project management features such as events, tasks, and communication for our users.


I heard about Discourse a month or two ago and thought that this would be an awesome time to try it out. Now that I’m looking into it though I’m not entirely sure, which has me kinda bummed. The tech stack I’ve picked out for the project is Ember.js, Rails, MongoDB, and I plan on deploying via Heroku. These are all technologies which I’ve at least poked around with before and therefore I’m not worried about them, but I’m having trouble with getting a mental model of how discourse is going to fit into the picture. Heroku deployment is obviously possible (bit expensive though… :sob: ), but how does Discourse fit in with the rest of my application when I’m using a different database?


So here are the questions I’m having a rough time getting to the bottom of without building something out:

  • How does Discourse work with other databases in play? In my case MongoDB and Discourse’s Postgres.

  • Is it crazy to deploy a single Discourse Heroku app which I then somehow embed into the main project via a sub-domain or some rails routing magic which I don’t yet know? How would sharing my user’s profile data work under this scenario?

  • Is it possible to embed a Discourse forum into one section or part of a web page? I’m guessing so, but I’ve yet to come across an example of this.
  • Is a number of small groups (3 - 10 people) working in their own private Discourse community possible? Our user base is going to be comprised of 3-10 people teams which have one overall admin. I’d like for each of the teams to have their own Discourse topics and discussions.

Any help is much appreciated, Thanks!

– Gowie

(Jeff Atwood) #2

No this is not possible and not a goal of the project at all.

(Except as a static RSS feed, or something like that… but live embedding is off the table.)

(Sam Saffron) #3

I am having trouble wrapping my head around what you are trying to achieve. Can you explain in non-technical terms what you are trying to do and how you see Discourse fitting in?

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #4

What about what you’re doing for WordPress comments? Couldn’t this be done on a bigger scale, i.e. pulling in the 10 latest posts via the API?

But if @Gowiem is looking for something akin to a full-blown iframe embed, I’m glad to hear that’s not part of Discourse’s scope. That being said, I’ve previously posted about a Discourse hosting service that appears to be doing some sort of (Drupal) CMS-Discourse wrap-around, i.e. an embedded forum.

(Gowiem) #5

Sorry for the late response. I just got back from a weekend camping trip.

@codinghorror Gotcha. Needed to ask as I hadn’t seen that explicitly stated, but that makes sense.

@sam sure, heres some more info on the project:
We’re building a small project management tool targeted towards higher education students working on group projects. A teacher would setup their class project and invite their students to use the web app. Groups are 4 to 6 people in size. Our main features right now are task management, scheduling meetings/events, and communication within individual groups so users can facilitate the other features.

I saw Discourse fitting in as the means of communication for the students. We want to move group projects away from using email as their form of communication as it quickly gets out of hand. So basically I would want Discourse to serve as a small (size of each group so 4 - 6 people) community message board. Even without live embedding it might still make sense as I’m not sure what other tool I could turn to, and I don’t think I’ve got the time to brush up on what little I know about websockets and write an entire messenger app :smile:.

Is it possible to limit a group of people to their ‘corner’ of discourse where they only see their topics and topics their other group members posted? I’m guessing not out of the box, but I’m wondering if that’s feasible.

Is hosting Discourse as a standalone app and then pointing a sub domain at it (like from my main app make sense? Is that a common practice?

Again, thanks for the help! Awesome to see you guys respond so quickly!

(Loren Baum) #6

just to follow up on this discussion, it seems that embedding is now possible great example here and how-to here Embedding Discourse in Static Sites - Evil Trout's Blog

and there is a wordpress plugin

(Neal McBurnett) #7

I’m glad to hear that embedding seems like an option now. But how about scheduling meetings?

Is there a meeting scheduler / discussion mashup like Meetup out there that uses Discourse to provide much higher-quality discussions?