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Discussion Forum Software

After several weeks thought, I'm so impressed by j's arguments concerning the (lack of) features of the JoS discussion fora that I want to implement a clone on my site to replace a slightly-too-shapeless guestbook.

Can anyone recommend any free/cheap packages that offer this type of cut-down functionality?

I'd prefer to avoid starting with bloat and stripping out IF I can, like, start slim and graceful.

Thanks

Mark Sanders
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Mark,

The functionality is so simple, is there some reason why you couldn't just  throw it together in a couple hours like Joel did?

Chuck
Saturday, March 22, 2003

a) Several years out of programming practice
b) Sloth

Mark Sanders
Saturday, March 22, 2003

a) start programming again
b) buy some coffee

Matthew Lock
Saturday, March 22, 2003

c) Lose young children

Mark Sanders
Saturday, March 22, 2003

c) Teach your kids to program, then sit back....

Matthew Lock
Saturday, March 22, 2003

i just feel that code re-use is so much more environmentally friendly... 8--}>

Mark Sanders
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Given the number of occasions "where can I get some discussion board s/w like this" comes up, I'm really surprised that Joel or FC haven't started selling it as a "You get what you pay for, unsupported" $25 package.

There must be some commercial reason for it that we're not seeing - presumably admin costs outweigh sales revenue or something.

Justin
Saturday, March 22, 2003

PHP / mySQL version:

http://www.johnsadventures.com/backend/DiscussionForum/APHPDiscussionForum.html

Alex Chernavsky
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Yes! Get the kids to do it - that is a fantastic idea!

optimistic coder
Saturday, March 22, 2003

I disagree with Joel's assertions regarding conference software in a couple of ways, and one relates to having a "preview" of your post: Joel's assertion is that by removing the preview people will write better posts in the first place, however I disagree if "preview" offers some tools to make it genuinely useful. Plastic.com offers a brilliant preview where they actually spell-check your posts (and yes most of us appreciate a spell check. My spelling has humorously gone to hell BECAUSE of the net: After reading gross misspellings on Slashdot time and time again, pretty soon it becomes the norm in your mind), as well as offering a reading index on the "level" of your writing. Very cool little tools.

Jimmy Chonga
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Mark,

You should really sharpen up those skills and you'll feel better doing so. Go ahead and make it a project where you teach the kids some Perl or whatever and you'll all have fun doing it too!

It's really not a big project - I added a similar forum to a web site for a friend in a weekend, writing it in Perl in scratch. I am not a web guy and did not know any Perl but it was pretty easy to pick up.

Go for it and have fun. Your question is kind of like 'where can I find a string reversal function'. The answer is always that its a simple thing and the fastest route is  to write it yourself if it is taking you more than a few hours to find one you like.

Chuck
Saturday, March 22, 2003

I have hear people beg for this discussion forum software enough times!

Gonna go write one over the weekend and sell it.

-- David

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, March 22, 2003

I have written an ASP page using VBScript that is similar to this forum,  except it does'nt support e-mail.  (I'm using WinXP and CDONTS does'nt work on XP.)

The asp page and the MS-Access database can be downloaded at http://dbehnke.users5.50megs.com 

(Note: That link has banner ads.  Sorry it's a free site.)
(Note: I used Jet 4.0, Visual Interdev, MS-Access 2000, WinXP Pro, IIS 5.1)

Anyway download the ssw.zip file, unzip it, ad the files to a Visual Interdev Project, update the connection string with the correct database path and away you go.  Modify it to your hearts content.

It would'nt be hard to add e-mail support and/or upgrade to SQL Server.

Dave B.
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Dave B: Take a look at CDOSYS, also called CDO for Windows 2000, which is the email interface that works in XP, but is backwards compatible to 2000 as well.


http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/cdosys/html/_cdosys_about_cdo_for_windows_2000.asp

Jimmy Chonga
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Dave B.: Nice work. Now I know how the red highlighting was done. Thanks for sharing your knowledge (and code).

BJ
Saturday, March 22, 2003

There is an extra space in the address above try:

- http://dbehnke.users5.50megs.com -

Hope that helps.

Jimmy,

  Thanks for the link.  I'll look into it.

BJ,
 
  Thanks for the compliment.  I'm glad the source helped you out.

Dave B.
Saturday, March 22, 2003

my final post probably - at least re. this:
alex - yes, that'll do the trick beautifully; thanks very much-like the forum + home pages' b/w-colour toggle - subtle;
chuck - i was on the verge of (almost) agreeing 'til I saw alex's post; btw, kids are 8 and not quite 3. pedagogic suggestions?
for now
thanks
bye
peace

Mark Sanders
Saturday, March 22, 2003

http://www.darkbeast.com/files/wccsbbs.zip
http://www.darkbeast.com/files/wccsbbs.pl.txt

Straight Perl implementation of a slightly cloned version of Joel's board.

Andrew Burton
Sunday, March 23, 2003

After several weeks thought, I'm so impressed by j's arguments concerning the (lack of) features of the JoS discussion

Yeah, He could sell ice to the eskimos.


Sunday, March 23, 2003

To those who have emailed me or are interested,

I have 'cleaned up' the source.  The site is also displayed in a cleaner format. You can download the ASP page, the database and the style sheet at the link above.  It is VBScript - not Perl or PHP.  As I said earlier, modify it to suit your needs, it should'nt be that difficult.

Dave B.
Sunday, March 23, 2003

Once again for those interested:

I finally got around to putting in a cache mechanism for the topics page and also disabled the html posts.  Cleaned up some code and added more error checking.  I have uploaded the entire Visual Studio project to the address listed above.  Feel to download and modify or do as you please with the source code.

I'm going to look into the help for CDO and see if I can implement the email on WinXP.  I also hope to port this to ASP.NET.  It might be a cut and paste operation, but I think it will be worth the time to learn some more about ADO.NET and ASP.NET features before doing so.

Feel free to email me your comments or suggestions.

( I should mention that I am not an ASP programmer and simply undertook the project as more of a 'can -I- do that' type thing.  In fact this is the -first- ASP application that I have written.  I know folks say that 'It's so simple it only takes a couple hours', but I found the contrary to be true and that is probably because I am still learning. )

Dave B.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Does anyone recommend some well supported commercial discussion forum software that runs on Windows and utilizes MS SQL Server?  (I am willing to pay for it.)

Hans Yeager
Monday, August 02, 2004

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