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The Code Project Discussion boards

, , 25 Aug 2001
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The Discussion board ASP scripts as used in The Code Project. This is an open source project for the Code Project community.

Sample Image - CodeProject-forum.jpg

Welcome to the CodeProject Discussion board scripts

Introduction

This is the first of the "projects" that inspired the original concept of the Code Project. We have provided these scripts to help developers, and we hope that developers such as yourself will help us in return by testing, submitting bug reports, suggesting improvements, and submitting extensions.

We invite you to use these scripts in your own sites, but we ask that you keep the "powered by CodeProject" logo in the top left corner. We also ask, in advance, for your patience and understanding. These scripts will no doubt change a lot, so we suggest you check back regularly to see the latest developments, or subscribe to the Newsletter to receive notifications of updates.

As of July 5, 2000 we are providing the source code to the ActiveX control that handles the main work of organising the messages into a semblance of order. We would have loved to have commented the code heavily, and even provide a step by step on how the code works, but we simply haven't had the time, and decided that posting as-is is better than not posting at all. If you find bugs or make improvements, please send them in.

August 26, 2001 - Philip Andrew has supplied a PHP version of the forums.

The Boards

The discussion board used at CodeProject was written by Uwe Keim, and comprises an ActiveX control (written using Visual C++) and a set of ASP scripts. The ActiveX control provides low level access to the forum message database and provides functionality to ease the way in which parameters are passed from one page to another. The ActiveX control is released in DLL form only at present, partly because we have not yet finished writing it, and partly because we have barely even started documenting it Smile | :)

New: A new version of the boards has been written by Uwe that are ASP-only, so no more messing around with ActiveX controls. The boards a minimal in implementation but will give you everything you need to get a set of discussion boards up and running. They are Access-only at the moment, but moving to SQLServer is a simple excercise left to the reader. See the download section at the top of this page for the files.

So - onto the scripts. All discussions from here on will concentrate only on the ActiveX version. The non-activeX version is sufficiently similar, though directory structures and file nesting is a little different.

These are divided into a number of categories:

  • Application scripts - these do the hard work
  • Include files - these provide configuration, general routines and plug-in HTML
  • General user interface scripts - these display the forum, provide means to add and edit messages, plus admin and error handling.

There is also:

  • a directory of common images used by these forum scripts, as well as other scripts we will release
  • a directory of common scripts that are also used by other scripts we will release
  • a data directory, containing the forum database
  • a bin directory, containing the ActiveX control

It's assumed that you are running NT4 Server or above with IIS4 or above, or Win9X with PWS. The forum is stored in an Access database and uses the Jet Engine to access.

Quick start

OK, so you've got the files and you want to start playing instead of reading the rest of this article. I don't blame you. Here's what you do then:

  1. Extract the zip file into a directory (say, 'CodeProject') ensuring that the directory structure stored within the zip remains intact.
  2. Register the ActiveX control in the /CodeProject/forum/bin directory
  3. Edit /CodeProject/common/config.asp to suit your site.
  4. Edit /CodeProject/forum/includes/config.asp to suit your discussion boards.
  5. Ensure that your visitors have read and write access to the file /CodeProject/forum/data/forum.mdb.
  6. (Optional) Register an Email component on your system and edit /CodeProject/common/email.inc to suit.

Now simply point your browser at /CodeProject/forum/index.asp and you're away

How it works

The scripts are made up of a set of main user interface scripts (in the root directory) that make use of worker scripts (in the /forum/app directory) to actually do the work. These in turn redirect the browser back to the user-interface scripts.

The guts of the system is in /forum/includes/forum.inc. This file contains the definition of the forum class and is a wrapper for the main forum ActiveX control. This class is the main communication point that contains all forum-related functionality. You never communicate with the forum ActiveX control directly, but always indirectly via this class.

The class not only contains methods that perform the work, but also functions to return URLs to the various application scripts. By doing this we are able to set the names of the various scripts in the /forum/includes/config.asp file which makes it extremely simple to change the directory structure.

Administering the forums

Each message has a password set by the author of that message that allows the author to modify or delete a message. As well as this you can modify or delete messages by using the global password. This is defined in /forum/includes/config.asp and is used by simply appending a "&ad=<password>" onto the end of whatever URL you are currently viewing.

For instance, if you are viewing the index of the forum with ID 1, and your URL is http://www.myserver.com/codeproject/forum/index.asp?forumid=1 then to go into admin mode simply modify the URL to:

http://www.myserver.com/codeproject/forum/index.asp?forumid=1&ad=12345

where "12345" is the password (defined in /forum/includes/config.asp as ADMIN_PW. This then gives you options to administer the forum (set the forum name and description, as well as email address to be emailed when new messages or reply messages are posted).

To add or delete forums themselves you have to physically modify the database. This is just one of those things we haven't yet done...

In admin mode you also get the option of modifying or deleting messages. Also, once in admin mode you will continue to be in admin mode as you move through the forum scripts. Simply remove the "&ad=<password>" to step out of admin mode.

What's new...

The latest version of the scripts has an enhanced user interface, plus some internal changes designed to fix a few problems with the first version. In a nut shell:

  • Message replies at the same level are now sorted in ascending order. This makes the message view more intuitive
  • "Preview" mode has been added, where the first few words of each message is displayed under each message title
  • The ActiveX control has been completely rewritten to be more efficient
  • The user interface has been redesigned and cleaned up

To do...

Too much. This is merely a sketch of the forums and does not even describe what each file does, nor how we plan on expanding the scripts. We will constantly be working on improvng these scripts and all extensions and modifications made to the main CodeProject forums will be included in these downloadable files.

Consider this a work in progress!

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Authors

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.
 
His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.
 
He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.
 
Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.
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Uwe Keim
Chief Technology Officer Zeta Producer Desktop CMS
Germany Germany
Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.
 
In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. Recently he became a father of a cute boy.
 
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Comments and Discussions

 
Questioncan i get c# version of this source code PinmemberRoshani Desai15-Jun-08 20:34 
AnswerRe: can i get c# version of this source code PinmemberNarendra Reddy Vajrala30-Aug-10 0:46 

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