Server-Side Forum

1As outlined in the opening introduction entitled 'The Mysearch Website', it was a design decision to adopt a client-side approach within this website. However, a user forum was also added, again primarily for my own education and interest, which is based on server-side scripting. The scripts that run on a Heart Internet server, which hosts the Mysearch forum are written in a scripting language called PHP. The scripts that actually support the forum were developed by a third-party called E-Blah and so will not be detailed in this overview. As such, the focus of this discussion is initially restricted to the following aspects

  • Purpose
  • Look and Feel
  • Discussion Boards
  • Administration


Purpose:

To some extent, updates to the main websites are relatively infrequent and reflect the offline development of a major topic, e.g. cosmology, which requires a lot of time-consuming research when essentially starting from ground zero. However, informed opinion and correction of any of the material developed, so far, has always been invited on the off-chance that somebody might accidentally stubble over this website. In this context, feedback might simply be sent by email: see site services, but a forum offers the possibility, no matter how remote, of an open exchange of ideas between any number of members of the forum. Equally, it was also felt that the forum could be use to highlight material and references that did not readily fit into the format or style of the web-based discussions. Finally, as already indicated, there was simply a personal interest in learning about the operational aspects of running a forum.

Look and Feel:

By and large, the look and feel of the forum can be tailored using standardised templates provided by E-Blah. However, none of the standard templates really matched the style of the main website, and so, a specific template was developed for the Mysearch forum. Access to the forum is via the top menu and this section of the javascript code is shown below, because it shows the mechanism by which the forum is opened in another window, which most browser now display as a secondary tab:

function topMenu()
{
var tbarDiv=document.getElementById('myTbar')
str = '<div id="menu">'

// Forum top menu option
str += '<ul>'
str += '<li><a href=
http://www.mysearch.org.uk/myforum/Blah.pl target="_blank">6:Forum</a>'
str += '<ul>'
str += '<li><a href="'+ '../html/419.SiteForum.html">Introduction</a></li>'
str += '<li><a href=
http://www.mysearch.org.uk/myforum/Blah.pl target="_blank">Goto Forum</a></li>'
str += '</ul>'
str += '</ul>'
str += '</li>'
str += '</ul>
'

However, it is highlighted that while the 'target=blank' mechanism appears to work, it is no longer the accepted HTML 5.0 method, but the alternative appears really messy.

Discussion Boards:

By and large, the discussion boards are relatively self-explanatory and simply reflect the scope of the primary website. Of course, within the defined boards, forum members can raise new thread topics themselves.

1.0: MySearch Website 1.1: Forum Guidelines
1.2: General Discussion
2.0: Life 2.1: Biological Life
2.2: Human Life
2.3: Extraterrestrial Life
2.4: Artificial Life
3.0: Cognition 3.1: Intelligence. Understanding & Thinking
4.0: Artificial Intelligence 4.1: Paradigms & Evolutions
5.0: Reality 5.1: Physical, Virtual & Artificial
6.0: History 6.1: Timelines & Key Events
7.0: Science 7.1 General
7.2: Mathematics
7.3: Classical
7.4 Wave Mechanics
7.5 Particle Physics
7.6 Electromagnetism
7.7 Relativity
7.8 Quantum Mechanics
7.9 Cosmology
7.10 String Theory
7.11 Speculative
8.0: Theology 8.1: Beliefs & Religion
8.2 Secularism
9.0 Philosophy 9.1: Truth & Human Nature
9.2 Philosophers

Administration:

Clearly, running a forum could become a major overhead and given that the reason for establishing it was primarily out of technical curiosity, it has never been promoted. However, as the administrator, there is a fair number of options to control access to the forum plus the scope to control new threads and posts within the boards listed above.

Forum Settings Forum Settings
Boards and Categories
Extra Smiley Code
Censor Words
Message Icons
Portal Setup
Edit Scrolling News
Modification Centre
Forum Templates and Themes Themes Manager
News and Registration Templates
Member Setup and Controls Member Groups
Mailing List
View All Members
Ban Users Panel
Validate Members
Pre-Register Member
Member Maintenance Rebuild Member List
Remove Spectators
Reserved Usernames
Recount Post Counts
Encrypt User Passwords
Board Maintenance Rebuild All Boards
Backup Forum
Prune Boards
Logged Information Attachment Statistics
Ban Log
Click Log
Fatal Error Log
Login - Logout Log
Purge Old Sessions
Referral Logs