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-   -   Forum Extensions (http://p2p.wrox.com/showthread.php?t=55201)

plb March 10th, 2007 12:41 PM

Forum Extensions
I have begun making some improvements(?) to TBH forum and comments features. At least some of these changes will be put into production next week. In the meantime I have written an article and posted it on my site under technical. It is a little too long to post here. Also I want to amend it as I go along.



englere March 11th, 2007 03:26 AM

I see you're using the Telerik controls in some places. They are outstanding and highly recommended for anyone who's considering third party controls. They also have a good forum to ask questions when you can't figure something out.


plb March 11th, 2007 02:51 PM

Yes. When I first started with telerik they were pretty obscure. I have been gratified to see that they are now considered one of the two or three top .NET tool makers.


plb March 11th, 2007 03:31 PM


Do you think spending time on TBH forum is time well spent? If the site is just an illustration of programming techniques that are only good enough to make a teaching point then elaborating the forum is pointless. If however TBH sites are intended to grow and prosper, the forum needs to be more full featured.

If one expected to use TBH code base as a Starter Kit for some web development contracts, paying customers are likely to expect something more than TBH forum. One could make up a site with a Community Server or an ASPPlayground license for only about $1K in license fees. That would only be a part of the total fee for a custom web site project. Maybe that makes more economic sense.

Right now I'm just doing some cosmetic work on TBH forum to make it actually look like a forum. I also have added some thread IDs to the article, poll, video, and singer tables. I have begun writing the PROCs and DAL too. I think I want users to post remarks into a forum thread rather than a comments table. This should yield better seachability.

IMHO the articles orientation of TBH is blog-like with approved authors making formal pronouncements to which the readers only comment. A portal or a participatory site should be more egalitarian with reader/members writing informal articles without prior approval. This requires a forum orientation.

Advice, reactions?



iPagan March 12th, 2007 04:59 AM

I have been looking myself at doing something similar, and also adding sticky topics and the likes, so I will be watching with interest


404 real life user not found

plb March 12th, 2007 03:41 PM

I did the first minor update of the forum on my site. I substituted a Data Grid for the stock TBH forum Data List. Obviously this isn't hard to do but I think its worthwhile because the forum now looks more like a forum. The stock TBH forum also requires a custom or semi-custom graphic for each forum topic. Most successful forums have dozens or hundreds of topics.


englere March 15th, 2007 09:44 PM


It's hard for me to respond to you. I don't want to minimize the value in TBH, but I also have to point out that there are other options, also.

I've just recently had a similar conversation with someone about forums in particular. If you're very serious, and I can see from your site that you are, you should at least consider the Community Server project. That has the best forums of any ASP.NET solution going now, and it can be used for free if you mention their name at the bottom of the pages.

You can also check out YetAnotherForum software. This is much simpler than the Community Server, but still pretty cool.

The TBH forums are basic and they illustrate a lot of good points. I stop short of calling them full-featured, however. Is is worth your time to add dozens of new features, or is it better to start with a more complete forum solution? That's your call.

The Articles are indeed a form of blog. The main disadvantages in a blog that allows responses are that it's a pain to stop the spam robots, and you have to filter inappropriate comments. I prefer making people log in before they reply because that fixes most of the problems with an open blog system.

But the Articles module is probably intended more for publishing than for blogging, so there again it's not a good fit. The Community Server also has a good blog module worth considering.


plb March 16th, 2007 12:06 PM

Thanks Eric. In fact I had implemented a Community Server forum site a couple months ago. As you know the Community Server software evolved from the ASP Forums that was open source a few years ago. At that time I integrated a forum based on that code into a larger site I was developing. A lot of that site was based on the IBuySpy architecture.

The advantage of writing your own forum is you get a single security/login subsystem. The Community Server forum site I made required a separate login, identity, and password. I know that Community Server sells a module for $600 that integrates logins. Maybe that's the way to go for heavy duty forum sites.

I was intially attracted to The Beer House because it seemed like a very flexible code base with a lot of modules that would allow me to make up a wide variety of sites including "think tank" sites. I am interested in The Beer House as a model for portal web sites on abitrary subjects.

Most of the logic in most forum products resides in the set of stored procedures that inserts counts and totals into thread or forum tables with each post. Therefore it seems easy to enhance a basic forum like that in TBH to something like the behavior of an advanced forum product like Community Server. That's what I'm doing. I'm using my five year old open source ASP Forum based PROCs and database design not the current Community Server design although they are remarkably similar.

I will document these enhancements. I only ask that no one ridicule my somewhat primitive coding style - I'm not Marco.


jimibt March 20th, 2007 10:41 AM

hi all,

i've created a couple of very basic stored procedures that allow for quite a flexible Articles and Posts search facility. it doesn't use full text search (some hosts don't provide this) but is none the less pretty quick. i've posted the .sql files up onto one of my sites and perhaps someone can have a crack at creating the visual interfaces to display the results. I've also amended the tbh_Forums_GetForums sp to return the number of Topics, Posts and lastposter etc, etc. From this, i've modified the visual interface and quite a few parts of the ForumDetails.cs so that i now display the forum listing similarly to the forum layout here at wrox. altho i'm not 100% finished with the listing view that i've created, i've put up a zip file of the changed code for all to access.



and here's an image of how i've now got my forums listing:


and here's the amended files to get you to that point


jimibt March 20th, 2007 11:53 AM


quick tip (this may have been covered before but it bugged me for a few hours). to get the breadcrumbs to 'follow' from forum to threads, you have to do 2 things:

1. amend the web.sitemap as follows:

      <siteMapNode title="$Resources: SiteMap, Forum" url="~/ShowForums.aspx">
        <siteMapNode title="$Resources: SiteMap, Browse_Threads" url="~/BrowseThreads.aspx" />
        <siteMapNode title="$Resources: SiteMap, Thread" url="~/ShowThread.aspx" />

2. open the App_GlobalResources\SiteMap.resx and add a new entry:

name: Browse_Threads
Value: Browse Threads

thats it - rebake and your breadcrumbs should now be complete!! :)

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