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Customisation/Feature Request List

Migrated From Jforum.net
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Joined: Apr 22, 2012
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Hello,

First of all: Thank you to the development team for producing jforum. Truly excellent work.

To business: Several years ago, I was called upon to develop a website that manages student interactions in a quasi-forum environment for our university intranet. At that time I evaluated phpBB and decided that it did not meet our needs (described in more detail below), and because of the basic design was not worth customising directly for our purpose. So I wrote the system we required from scratach using PHP and MySQL.

This year I have a need to revisit that work, and hey presto, what do you know, I stumble across jforum! It is *much* more appealing to have a java based MVC design for the application we have in mind. I have been stalling on getting around to this, basically because I did not want to re-write our current system from the ground up (again).

But with the existing jforum code base it may not be too much of a stretch, even though I am (relatively) new to java.

So now I am wondering whether to attempt customising jforum myself, or to submit the ideas to see if there are others out there who are also interested in extended functionality along these lines.

What we need is basically the functionality that jforum provides but with a couple of additional extras:

a) Secure group-based forums - users will be placed into groups, and *only* members of those groups (and admins) should be allowed to view forums/exchange files assigned to that group. This should not interfere with the ability to concurrently host public forum areas.

b) New users need to be able to assign themselves to pre-existing groups (once) but require admins to transfer them between groups after that.
(Otherwise users can violate the restrictions imposed in a).

c) More structure to the forum hierarchy: At present admins can add Forums to the Index, and categories to the forums. We require the ability to have Forums within categories, and categories within forums. (I suspect this makes the ORM issue complicated...).

d) As the university operates on an annual/bi-annual cycle, the ability to dump all users out of a group (and preferably all users out of groups of groups), is necessary once or twice a year. Forums associated with these groups need to be cleared of all posts and uploaded files. It would be best it if was optionally possible to remove these members from the forum entirely at these points.

There are probably one or two other things but they will be relatively minor.

Very interested to hear what others think. Are these extensions of sufficient interest to warrnt inclusion in the jforum core? Should they be plugins? Is anybody interested in these features at all?

Cheers,
doofus.


PS. A feature I liked from another custom developed forum was the colour coded hits index. See

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-threads.cfm?f=82&g=54

as an example. The whirlpool forum is *extremely* busy, and having the colour code makes it much easier when scanning the list to choose which (of the many similar) topics to dive into.

Perhaps jforum would benefit from something similar?
[originally posted on jforum.net by doofus]
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Posts: 17424
doofus wrote:Hello,


Hi there,

doofus wrote:
First of all: Thank you to the development team for producing jforum. Truly excellent work.


Thanks a lot

doofus wrote:
a) Secure group-based forums - users will be placed into groups, and *only* members of those groups (and admins) should be allowed to view forums/exchange files assigned to that group. This should not interfere with the ability to concurrently host public forum areas.


This is already possible. You can create as many groups as you want and set permissions to these groups, just like you said.

doofus wrote:
b) New users need to be able to assign themselves to pre-existing groups (once) but require admins to transfer them between groups after that.
(Otherwise users can violate the restrictions imposed in a).


Well, looks like an easy task to implement. By default, JForum assigns new users to the "General" group. If you want to allow them to choose from a set of groups when registering, it is just a matter of showing the group list and let him (the user) to choose the group he want to join. Then, when saving, use that group id instead of "General".

doofus wrote:
c) More structure to the forum hierarchy: At present admins can add Forums to the Index, and categories to the forums. We require the ability to have Forums within categories, and categories within forums. (I suspect this makes the ORM issue complicated...).


I didn't understand this one. JForum's structure is "Category -> set of Forums" (A category may have any number of forums).

doofus wrote:
d) As the university operates on an annual/bi-annual cycle, the ability to dump all users out of a group (and preferably all users out of groups of groups), is necessary once or twice a year. Forums associated with these groups need to be cleared of all posts and uploaded files. It would be best it if was optionally possible to remove these members from the forum entirely at these points.


It is something that can be done without affecting the core code... proably as an "extension", "extra feature". I personally would say that messages should be kept in the database, but if your needs say no, then just fine. With a little effort the code for that can be made.

doofus wrote:
Very interested to hear what others think. Are these extensions of sufficient interest to warrnt inclusion in the jforum core? Should they be plugins? Is anybody interested in these features at all?


Historically, I would not change default behaviour of JForum because the needs of new features. I mean, I prefer, just like you said, to add new stuff / new way of doing things as new, configurable features. So, if currently I have only way to do X, and you want it to be a little different, a refactoring could be made to make it possible to say "I want to use Y where X is used by default" by just changing a property in the main configuration file (or anything like that).

doofus wrote:
PS. A feature I liked from another custom developed forum was the colour coded hits index. See

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-threads.cfm?f=82&g=54

as an example. The whirlpool forum is *extremely* busy, and having the colour code makes it much easier when scanning the list to choose which (of the many similar) topics to dive into.


So, this is a situation that I would not change default JForum installation to accomplish it, but yet to make it customizable, so you always can have a choice.

Rafael
[originally posted on jforum.net by Rafael Steil]
Migrated From Jforum.net
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Joined: Apr 22, 2012
Posts: 17424

doofus wrote:

a) Secure group-based forums - users will be placed into groups, and *only* members of those groups (and admins) should be allowed to view forums/exchange files assigned to that group. This should not interfere with the ability to concurrently host public forum areas.



This is already possible. You can create as many groups as you want and set permissions to these groups, just like you said.


Wow! You're right (of course)!!!

Amazing, you knew what I wanted before I knew it myself :roll:

Ok, so I'll do my my homework re: jforum implementation a little more thouroughly before I get back to you on those other points.



doofus wrote:

c) More structure to the forum hierarchy: At present admins can add Forums to the Index, and categories to the forums. We require the ability to have Forums within categories, and categories within forums. (I suspect this makes the ORM issue complicated...).



I didn't understand this one. JForum's structure is "Category -> set of Forums" (A category may have any number of forums).


I guess what I'm trying to get at is: can we have nested categories? To arbitrary depth?

This may already be possible, but I've just managed to uncover a bug (already documented) and broken the category faciltity. I'll patch to 2.1.4 and check this out.

Cheers,
doofus.

[originally posted on jforum.net by Anonymous]
Migrated From Jforum.net
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Joined: Apr 22, 2012
Posts: 17424
Ah.. nested categories and forums.. Well, this isn't complicated to have.. just a new field in jforum_categories and jforum_forums (parent_id) and a bit of code to display it recursively. In fact, I already do that for groups (templates/admin/macros/group_macros.ftl

Btw, the best version to work with is the CVS one.

Rafael
[originally posted on jforum.net by Rafael Steil]
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: Customisation/Feature Request List
 
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