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JavaRanch Guide

Howdy greenhorns, this is a guide for you on using all JavaRanch forum features.

If you look at the top right portion of the forum pages, you'll see these options there

Lets go through all of them

Search - As you might guess, this helps you search through our Forums. (More Info)

Java FAQ - This options brings you the Java FAQ page. This is your entry into our huge FAQ.

Recent Topics - This option brings up a page where you can see the most recent topics posted in the forums.

Hot Topics - This will lead you to a page where you can see topics which are "hot" i.e. they have long discussions.

Leaderboard - This shows the users who received most cows or thumb ups.

Logout - This will log you out from the forums.

My Profile - This brings up a page from where you can edit your profile. You can change your password, signature, configure email alerts all from this page.

My Purple Mooseages - This brings up your Purple Mooseages. If you have any unread purple mooseage, then this option will indicate how many unread purple mooseages you have.

My Bookmarks and Watches - This page will let you manage your bookmarks and watch list of the forums. (More Info)

My Posts - From this screen you can see all your posts on JavaRanch Forums. (More Info)



Search Guide 

The search at JavaRanch has very rich features. This is how our search screen looks like

The first text box on the search page is to enter the text that you want to search. The radio buttons below that lets you choose the search behavior. You can search only for posts that match all the search terms, or you can search for posts that contain at least one of the words that you are searching for. The third option lets you to search for the exact phrase that you are searching. For example if you choose this option and search for 'tomcat help', then the search will only find posts which contain 'tomcat help' and not posts which contains 'tomcat has a help'

The second option lets you choose whether you want to search in entire topics or just the subject lines of the topics.

The third option lets you choose which forums to search in. You can search in all the forums or a specific forum. You can group the search results too by forums i.e. the search result would have results from each forum together.

You can also sort your search result by date of the post or its relevance based on your search term.

You can also limit the search results by time. You can search for all posts or posts within last 30 days or 3 months etc.

The next option lets you search for posts by a particular person if you have their member id. If you want to search for your own posts, you can press the "my own posts" link next to the text box.

If you don't know a user's member id, you can search for their posts using their display name. Enter their first and last name in two text boxes provided.

The last options let you decide the behavior of user based searches. You can search for any topic in which a user has posted, filter it further to only topics that you started or you can search in topics that this person started.

There are some more options on the search page which lets you search directly on google (not shown in the screenshot).



My Posts Guide 

This page gives you a list of all your posts. This page also has several options which are described here.

On the page you can see a [+] link before every post. You can press that link to expand that post to see the contents of the post.

Clicking on (Go to) will take you to that topic and that particular post in that topic.

The "Posted On" column displays the time when you made that post.

The "Last Post by" column provides you information about the person who made the last post in that topic.

This page lets you filter your posts by a particular forum. You can select a forum from the drop down box available and press "Go" button to show only posts made by you in a particular forum.

The Last post in this thread posted in by <User Name> option is also very useful. When you press that link, then you are shown the list of topics that you posted in sorted by the time of the last post in that topic. That lets you easily look for topics in which you posted and there was a reply after your post.



Forum Usage Guide

Now lets see the general use of the forums. JavaRanch is just like any other forum so basic usage of the forum should not be a problem. We'll explore some special features of JavaRanch forums which you might not be familiar with.

Resolving a topic

When you start a topic, you can mark it as resolved when your query is solved. To do that, when you view a topic that you created, you get a resolved button . When you press this button, its indicative that your problem is solved. Your topic would then appear on the list of topics with this icon instead of this icon . If you press this button by mistake, then when any staff members notices it, they'll make the topic unresolved.

Appreciating a post

At JavaRanch, if you find any post that is very helpful (to your own question or anyone else's question) or you agree with a comment or you like a funny reply etc, you can like that post. To do that, you have to press the button on the top right corner of the post. To take back your vote, you can press the button. The number of people that like a post is indicated with that post. Like if two people found a post helpful and voted for it, then that post will have this near it.

Bookmarks and Watches 

If you want to be notified by email when there is a reply to a topic, then you can watch that topic using the button. To stop getting notifications of new replies to a topic, press the button.

Some topics might have discussion that you think would be useful in the future. Instead of bookmarking it in your browser, you can bookmark the topic in your JavaRanch profile. Press the button and the topic would be bookmarked.

Cows  What are cows?

Using Code Tags  

Here at The Ranch we always encourage folks to UseCodeTags when posting code to make it nice and readable. The simplest example is this one and defaults to Java syntax highlighting:

[code]
System.out.println("Hello world!");
[/code]
There are a number of configuration options you can apply to your code tags as desired. Most usefully you can specify what language your code is to get the correct syntax highlighting. For example to get C# highlighting:
[code=csharp]
System.Console.WriteLine("Hello world!");
[/code]
The available language options are
C++cpp, c, c++
C#c#, c-sharp, csharp
CSS css
Delphidelphi, pascal
Javajava
Java Scriptjs, jscript, javascript
PHPphp
Pythonpy, python
Rubyrb, ruby, rails, ror
Sqlsql
VBvb, vb.net
XML/HTMLxml, html, xhtml, xslt

There are some other configuration options you can use also

nogutterWill display no gutter.
nocontrolsWill display no controls at the top.
collapseWill collapse the block by default.
firstline[value]Will begin line count at value. Default value is 1.
showcolumnsWill show row columns in the first line

These language and configuration options can be combined together using a colon as the delimiter. For example to show a snip of Ruby code starting on line 24:

[code=ruby:firstline[24]]
print "Hello world!"
[/code]
The firstline[x] option is useful for making the line numbers match up when showing a code snip along with a Stack Trace.

(Source: Alex Gorbatchev's SyntaxHighlighter v1.5.1)

Another neat trick with code tags is to write [code=text] long block of text you want to scroll[/code]


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