Toby Toby Waterhole Founder May 23, 2023

Introducing Waterhole

I’m incredibly excited to introduce Waterhole – a modern, Laravel-powered discussion platform.

Waterhole has a simple, extensible architecture; an inclusive, customisable design; and thoughtfully crafted features that streamline building healthy communities. It's made for brands, creators, and teams who want to build bespoke and tightly-integrated communities.

Waterhole is open source and free to try locally, but you must pay for a license to run it in production. This business model allows me to focus on developing and supporting a great product, and creates an opportunity for the wider Laravel ecosystem to provide hosting, customization, and consulting services.

🌏 Visit the website to learn more
📖 Read the docs to get started

The Philosophy Behind Waterhole

Waterhole is the product of years of experience building forum software and custom communities. It doesn't try to reimagine what online communities are supposed to be, but it puts the focus back on the things that matter: healthy discussion, tight integration, sustainable ownership, and inclusiveness.

For community managers, Waterhole integrates best practices for growing healthy communities directly into the core product. You can easily set up your community Structure with channels tailored for discussion, ideation, support, and more.

For developers, Waterhole is refreshingly easy to work with, from setup to deploy. It has a powerful, well-documented extension API, a modern design system with CSS variables, and it's built on familiar open-source technology including Laravel and Hotwire, without any of the complexity of a JavaScript framework.

For end users, Waterhole has a lightning fast, inclusive, and resilient user experience, optimized for slow connections and older hardware (unlike many modern competitors). The design is clean and content-focused, and it's easy to navigate around the community and within discussions.

For business owners, Waterhole is a much safer bet than many other alternatives. Waterhole licenses are perpetual, meaning that you can keep using the version of Waterhole you paid for, forever. You are always in full control over your server, your code, and your data; the fate of your community is not tied to the whims of a large corporation, or the fortune of an unprofitable SaaS company.

Read more about the Waterhole philosophy

About Me

I'm Toby, the original developer of Flarum. Years ago I departed the project to take a different approach to building forum software.

It's been quite a journey since then, involving a lot of iteration to work out exactly what I wanted to build. I'm very proud of the product that I'm releasing today and I can't wait to keep making it better. Let me know your ideas!

🎉 18 Hooray Loading... ❤️ 8 Love Loading... 👍️ 5 Like Loading...
17 ⁨17⁩ ⁨comments⁩

⁨17⁩ ⁨Comments⁩

I'm really digging the project, Toby! It looks fantastic!

It has come a very long way since the good old esoTalk days. I'm looking forward to where you take Waterhole and have no doubt in my mind it will have a very positive impact on the whole forum scene. Well done!

Toby Toby Waterhole Founder May 26, 2023
In reply to Subarist Subarist

From the Software License:

  1. Free Trial: Any person may use the Software in an environment that is purely for the purposes of development and client preview, and only accessible by a restricted number of users (like on a personal computer, on a server in a network with restricted access, or when protecting a staging website with a password that only a restricted number of users know).

In other words, trialling Waterhole in a staging environment (whether it's local or not) is permitted ✅ Note that the license validator will yell at you because it can't tell between staging vs production, but otherwise the software will function nominally.

In reply to Toby Toby

I was quite happy to have my question answered by a legendary figure. I have a relatively inactive Flarum and I think I'll perform a test migration to see how it will look on Waterhole. We are a non-English speaking community, and I believe it will take some time before we can use it in actual production. However, it seems that Waterhole already has the basic elements that I believe a forum should have at the moment. It's just for fun and curiosity, so I'll give it a try.