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ASP Forums version 2.1 - February 2nd 2001.


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"ASP Forums" - a web-based discussion forum implementation.
Copyright (C) 1999, 2000 ASP Forums, http://www.aspforums.com/
This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
Lesser General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA
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This is the full 2.1 release of the ASP Forums software. It is a
fully-working, free, componentless discussion forum written for
Microsoft's Active Server Pages.

CHANGES FROM RELEASE 2.0


One minor change. The SCRIPT methods in the htmlobj.asp file weren't
properly closing the tags when they were used. This isn't a problem for
ASP Forums, but it is a problem for some programs based on its code.

GENERAL INFORMATION
ASP Forums is based around a 'discussionengine'. This is a collection of
files, all within its own sub-folder, which contains all the code necessary
to run a forum. The pages sent with this software are quite minimalist,
and are designed to allow you to tailor the forums to your site. The forum
content in those pages is generated by 'tokens' (such as <%FORUM_TITLE_DISC%>)
which are embedded in the page. These tokens are really calls to the
discussionengine file to insert a particular piece of text in this position
on the page. (In the above example, FORUM_TITLE_DISC inserts the name of the
forum.)
You should never need to directly modify the discussionengine files.
Instead it should be configured via the aspforums.asp file. This file is
really much more powerful than you'd expect. As well as containing
configuration switches for the forum (a full list of which can be found at
http://www.aspforums.com/ASPForums/howto/configuring.asp), it allows you
to override the default methods of the forum, meaning you can substitute
your own functignality. If you don't like the way the forum messages
are displayed in the main view, you can write your own function in the
aspforums.asp file to do it your way. The discussionengine files are
nothing more than a collection of default behaviours for a forum. Details
of how to override some common methods can be found at:
http://www.aspforums.com/ASPForums/howto/
CO-EXISTING WITH OTHER SOFWARE
ASP WebLog 1.x and ASP Directory 1.x WILL NOT WORK WITH THIS VERSION OF
ASP FORUMS! ASP WebLog 2.x and ASP Directory 2.x are required.

FEATURES
* Fully threaded discussions, with automatic archiving after a configurable
period of time.
* A completely tailorable look and feel, so the user interface can be
tailored to match your site.
* 'Rich text' WYSIWYG input, where users can safely embed URLs and enter
bold and italic text.
* Users can edit their own posts (if allowed by the webmaster).
* A full database backend for data storage, sorting and searching.
* A filter is applied to all discussion text, so you're not responsible for
any user's bad language.
* The 'discussion engine' does all the hard work. You only need one discussion
engine per web server, no matter how many forums you host.
* You can just extract the files and go! You don't even need to create a data
source (although it's definitely advisable) - a default file DSN is created
for you.
* Database-vendor independent. As long as your database can handle SQL through
ODBC, our forum software can use it. (Note - a bare Access forum database is
included in the distribution for easy set-up.)
* SQL-based administration - a special administration tool lets you perform any
admin task through SQL.

INSTALLATION
Installation should just be a matter of extracting the files into a
suitable sub-directory. Full technical details of how to tailor this
product are available on the ASP Forums web site at:
http://www.aspforums.com/ASPForums/howto/

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS
There are two things that have been said to speed up performance of ASP
Forums in particular and ASP database accessing in general. These tips
are given here for your own information, without any hope of getting
support on them if you try and use them!
1. Use OLEDB instead of ODBC. For example, the commented out line in the
default aspforums.asp file mentions the following:
config.databaseDSN =
'Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0; Data Source=' + config.DBPath
(That should all be on one line.)
I'm told that OLEDB's performance is significantly better than that of
ODBC for the same throughput.
2. Use <%Response.Buffer%> and <%Response.Flush%> at appropriate points
through your pages. This can have a significant impact of how pages
are delivered to your clients, so make sure you understand the
ramifications of this before you do it.
Check out: http://www.learnasp.com/advice/whybuffer.asp for some
reasons to use it.

EMAIL CAPABILITIES
ASP Forums can optionally email the administrator each time a message is
posted, as well as optionally emailing users when someone responds to a
post of theirs. Both of these features require Microsoft's CDO NTS
library be installed on the server.
If this library is not present, no errors will be generated. However, no
emails can be sent without it.
The CDO NTS library is a free download from www.microsoft.com

CONFIGURING THE FORUM SOFTWARE


Although the forum software should work as soon as you unzip it, you
will almost certainly want to configure it to work on your site and
also make sure it has your site's look and feel. Full information on
this is available at:
http://www.aspforums.com/ASPForums/howto/configuring.asp
To summarise, however, you can freely edit any of the user-visible pages
so long as you do not alter the forum tags. These are the tags between
the <% and %> markers. So long as you leave those intact, you can edit
the HTML layout of the forum however you choose. If you really do want
to edit the tags, a full list of possible 1.0 forum tags is as follows:
<% FORUM_LINK_DISC %>
Displays a link to the main forum page.
<% PARENT_MESSAGE_LINK_DISC %>
Displays a link to the parent message, if one exists.
<% SEARCH_FORM_DISC %>
Displays the full search form.
<% SMALL_SEARCH_FORM_DISC %>
Displays a small version of the search form.
<% NEW_POST_BUTTON_DISC %>
Displays a button to go to the 'New Post' page.
<% NEW_POST_LINK_DISC %>
Displays a link to go to the 'New Post' page.
<% NEW_REPLY_BUTTON_DISC %>
Displays a button to go to the 'New Post' page to reply to the
current message.
<% EDIT_POST_BUTTON_DISC %>
Displays a button to go to the 'Edit Post' page to edit the
current message.
<% ALL_ROOT_POSTS_DISC %>
Displays a view containing all posts.
<% ALL_ROOT_POSTS_THREADED_DISC %>
Displays a view containing all posts in a threaded manner.
<%CURRENT_POSTS_THREADED_DHTML_DISC%>
Displays a view containing current posts in a threaded manner, with
some DHTML code to implement a dynamic expand/collapse mechanism
without requiring another page download from the server. Currently
this works only in IE4 and IE5 - all other browsers see the view
functionality as with CURRENT_ROOT_POSTS_THREADED_DISC.
<% CURRENT_ROOT_POSTS_THREADED_DISC %>
Displays a view containing current posts in a threaded manner.
<% NEW_POST_FORM_DISC %>
Displays a form to create a new post.
<% EDIT_POST_FORM_DISC %>
Displays a form to edit an existing post.
<% SEARCH_RESULTS_DISC %>
Performs a search (based on input to a search form) and displays the
results.
<% POST_MESSAGE_DISC %>
Performs the action of posting a new message.
<% SAVE_EDITED_MESSAGE_DISC %>
Performs the action of saving an edited message.
<% MESSAGE_DISC %>
Displays the current message.
<% THREAD_DISC %>
Displays the current thread.
<% ADMIN_TOOLS_DISC %>
Displays the administration tools forms.
<% STD_MESSAGE_DISC %>
Displays the message, a forum link, a new reply button, an new post
button, and an edit post button, in that order.
<% FORUM_TITLE_DISC %>
Displays the title of the current forum.
<% SUBJECT_DISC %>
Displays the subject of the current message.
<% MESSAGE_BODY_DISC %>
Displays the body of the current message.
<% AUTHOR_DISC %>
Displays the author of the current message.
<% AUTHOR_EMAIL_DISC %>
Displays the email address of the author of the current message.
<% AUTHOR_FULL_NAME_DISC %>
Displays the full name of the author of the current message.
<% DATE_CREATED_DISC %>
Displays the date on which the message was created.
<% SORT_CODE_DISC %>
Displays the cort code of the current message.
<% NUM_CHILDREN_DISC %>
Displays the number of children of the current message.
<% MESSAGE_ID_DISC %>
Displays the message ID of the current message.
<% PARENT_ID_DISC %>
Displays the parent ID of the current message.
<% THREAD_ID_DISC %>
Displays the thread ID of the current message.
<% ADMIN_SQL_FORM_DISC %>
Displays the administration forms.
<% ADMIN_SQL_EXECUTE_DISC %>
Performs the administration actions associated with the
administration forms.

SUPPORT
This product is not supported. Much help is available on the web site,
and many requests placed on the web site forums are answered. However,
no guarantees are given, and due to the increasing popularity of this
software no support will be given via email. Email requests for
support will most likely be ignored.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


For full details of this product, please visit the ASP Forums web site at:
http://www.aspforums.com/ASPForums/
This product is licensed under the GNU Public License, which should be
included in this distribution. If not, copies are available at:
http://www.gnu.org/