This is remarkably powerful given its price. A lot of forum requirements have been taken into account thus provided …
AB Forum add-on
- NEW option to bulk add users from Forum User group in Forum > Users
- Plain or rich text editor (see Notes)
- Intuitive setup
- Extensive options to add posts, topics, users
- Dashboard pages with lots of features and fine tune settings and options for each post and global forum settings
- Comes with blocks: forum post lists (normal, recent), forum post, forum post topics (with sidebar templates)
- Advanced detail filter, search and sort
- Search by topics, users, content, dates, between or in last periods
- Inline or popup forum post form with secure validation
- Forum user pages with extra options for moderators
- Add/edit/delete/activate/deactivate users, assign moderator rights
- Add/edit/delete/approve/refuse forum posts and messages, make posts sticky (for period or untimed) and/or locked
- Turn on/off info to display in blocks
- Responsive design
- English and Russian language
- Verified to work with C5 8.4.2 - 8.5.0
- Option to install sample content
HOW TO INSTALL
1. Unzip add-on file in your site's packages/ folder
2. Login to your site as an administrator
3. Find "Add Functionality" page in Dashboard
4. Find this package in list of packages Awaiting installation
5. Click "Install" button
HOW TO USE
See this AB Forum Howto for more detail.
- After clicking the "Install" button, an option to install sample content can be selected. This will pre-install some forum topics and posts to make it easier to navigate and test functionality and blocks.
- After installing the package, go to Settings.
2. Forum -> Settings
- Forum is structured in a way that there is a Forum page (installed by default) which has a Forum Post List block and Forum Post pages which you create in the package, the latter have a Forum Post block and are placed under the Forum page.
- Page to Publish Post Pages Under is where all post pages will be published. It can be changed any time (you can create your own other page or rename the Forum one), but all post pages will have to be regenerated to point to the correct parent page.
- Only full post page template is provided. All post pages are regenerated with this page template.
- Use Random Unique String will append unique character string to the page name for new posts, e.g. forum-post-page-5e635c9af3fa1. To do this for the existing posts, pages must be regenerated. If not selected, all pages have a standard date-time string appended, e.g. 20200203115510-forum-post-page.
- All Submitted Forum Posts Approved by Default makes all new forum posts to be published right after submission. Otherwise all submitted posts made by normal forum users (except for administrators and moderators) will be marked for moderation and will only be visible after activation by moderator or administrator.
- Update Forum Post Timestamp on Each Save changes post page publish time after each saving. Otherwise later forum post savings will keep the original creation date and time.
- Popup Forum Post Instead of Inline makes the post and reply forms pop up. Otherwise the forms are inline with the forum post(s).
- Delete All Forum Posts will do just that. ALL forum post only data will be lost, all topics and users will not be affected.
- Delete All Content will do just that. ALL forum data will be lost. Good idea after playing around with sample content and prior to making a clean forum site. Or if you want to start from scratch for whatever reason.
- You can Install Sample Content to help you get started with the package, even if you have not selected that option during the package installation. Note: you can uninstall and reinstall the package without loss of database content as many times as required. However, after this all post pages will have to be regenerated.
- Clear Anti-Spam Table will delete all IP addresses used for preventing frequent forum post submissions.
- Front End Editor Options lets you choose between plain text and rich text entry for forum posts and replies.
- Forum Posts Only allows rich text only for posts, not for replies.
- Convert Rich Text to Plain Text strips all HTML tags from all forum post and reply texts.
3. Forum -> Topics
- Topic Icon image selected for the topic will be used in blocks. It's optional but the Topics block will be empty without it and the main forum blocks will not be as pretty.
4. Forum -> Users
- A Forum User group is created during the package installation. At least one site user - administrator (whoever has the rights to install packages) is added to the Forum User group during installation. The site administrator has all rights in the Dashboard, this is standard in concrete5. Forum posts can only be made by registered users AND belonging to the Forum User group. Thus to enable a user to be able to make posts and to access the account page, the user has to be added to the Forum User group and activated. Adding a user in the Members area to the group does not activate them.
- If the Activate/Deactivate button is red, this means that user is not active and cannot use the forum. When a user is activated, they are also added to the group at the same time. Deactivating the user also removes the user from the group.
- A user can also be made a forum moderator. The moderator can approve/withdraw forum posts, make posts sticky for 1 week or locked - no replies can be made. NOTE: A moderator can't edit posts or messages, a moderator can only moderate the whole post. Individual replies can be moderated and edited by the site admin only in the Dashboard.
- A user name can be entered to be shown on forum pages. Otherwise the user's site username will be shown.
- Users can be added/edited/deleted here.
- Forum post list can be filtered by the Title, Forum User, Site User or User Email. It can also be ordered by the table column names.
- If the Approve/Withdraw button is red, this means that post is disabled and not being shown. To make it to be shown, press this button, it should turn green. All green posts are generally shown.
- Press the "Add Post" button for a new post editing.
- Title should not be too long. It is displayed in the Recent Post List and can make it look ugly if made too long.
- Forum Post Unique ID is optional. If left empty it will be set in accordance with the option Use Random Unique String selected in Settings.
- Replies to the original forum post can be added/edited/approved/refused/deleted.
- The detail page is where all post info with a post block will be displayed - it's created automatically after saving the post. Note: post page can be deleted and recreated without loss of data.
- The Topics block always links to the Forum parent page.
7. User Account
- A registered site user can apply for a Forum User account in My Account -> My Forum. The account will be activated only after the site administrator approves the user in Forum -> Users or if the user is added by the administrator to the forum.
- A normal forum user can only view their forum posts.
8. Moderator Account
- A registered user can be made a forum moderator by the site administrator. The moderator will have more functionality over the forum as described in Forum -> Users.
- A site moderator can moderate forum posts either from the Account page or from the forum post's page.
- After clicking the "Uninstall Package" button, an option to delete all package content can be selected.
- Add-on is styled for use with Bootstrap theme.
- Sometimes after numerous post updates, installs, uninstalls and sample content installation:
- if some posts turn disabled, press the post Approve/Withdraw button on the Forum page to enable them;
- if some posts show no published page or if page names or addresses changed or you simply want to go back to defaults, either delete and regenerate the post page in post settings or regenerate all post pages in Forum Settings;
- if for whatever reason too many posts are created and need to be removed, either delete all posts or all content from Forum in the Forum Settings.
- Save Settings before regenerating pages for them to take effect.
- Global Settings override individual post ones.
- Multilingual support is not provided out of the box and is not included in the package cost. Multilingual setup is possible, however it requires changes in code and can only be provided as paid support.
- Switching the editor from plain text to rich text poses no risks. However as rich text has HTML tags, switching back to plain text will leave all those HTML tags in the texts. You can switch back to rich text again any time unless you convert rich text to plain, then all tags, images, formatting etc. will be lost.
- Converting rich text to plain can potentially and occasionally leave some artifacts, i.e. there is no guarantee this operation will be 100 % successful. This operation cannot be undone. Back up your database prior to the conversion just in case you change your mind later and want to restore the previous state.
- Please realize that giving users the ability to save forum posts and replies in rich text will consume much higher database server space and reduce the site processing speed. Use rich text if you understand the consequences.