BBCode History

The history of the past interests us only in so far as it illuminates the history of the present.

Ernest Dimnet

Back to 1998

The history of BBCode goes back to the time when forums were just beginning to gain popularity on the Internet.

At the time, although most web users were technology enthusiasts (less than 4% of the world population used the internet), the demand for usability improvements was already remarkable. Having a tool that facilitated people’s engagement by reducing the amount of HTML code to be inserted in posts would have no trouble gaining acceptance.

It was in this context that BBCode (spelled like this, not bb code or BBCODE) emerged. BBCode was created in the Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) software in 1998, written in the Perl language, becoming the PHP package UBB.threads. Some people even refer to BBCode as UBBCode because of this.

Not long after, in the year 2000, two popular forums added BBCode support: the phpBB forum and the XMB forum. Since then, BBCode has been growing in adoption by communities all over the world.

BBCode is not only a simpler way to format content than HTML, it is also a more secure way. Forum developers have tried to allow users to have as much capability in their posts as possible (using HTML markup), but this created potential vulnerabilities. The problems are various such as improper execution of JavaScript scripts and unreadable markup on the page for spamming purposes.

By using BBCode you have a well-defined limitation and structuring, minimizing unwanted impacts. These advantages have contributed to more and more forums and blogs implementing BBCode. Over time, different implementations of BBCode have emerged, with variations in syntax.

Check out our guide to using BBCode to familiarize yourself, or consult this quick reference table.