version 1.0.6

FlashForum engine documentation


Install img1. Installation
Working img2. Working with FlashForum engine
Working img3. Customizing FlashForum engine
Extending img4. Extending FlashForum engine

Installing forum1. Installation [back to contents]

1.1 Before starting [back to contents]

Before installing FlashForum engine, please check that your web hosting fulfills the necessary conditions (see System requirements). To install FlashForum engine all you need is an FTP program (we recommend that you use FileZilla client | FileZilla's docs) to upload files to your web server.

Now you are ready to go on Installation.

1.2 System requirements [back to contents]

To run FlashForum engine on your host you will only need: To view FlashForum engine correctly (clien-side) you will need: We recommend Apache or Litespeed for running FlashForum engine, but you are free to use any other that supports PHP and MySQL.

1.3 Installing FlashForum engine [back to contents]

Before you start installing, there are a few things you need:
  • Access to your server (FTP or shell) and its directories;
  • A web browser of your choice.

Begin your installation by:
  • Check to ensure that you and your web host have the minimum requirements to run FlashForum engine;
  • Unzip the downloaded archive to a folder on your hard drive;
  • Leave this page opened in browser (or print it) so you have it handy during the installation.

Quick installation:
  • Unzip the donwloaded archive if you haven't done so, yet;
  • Create a database for FlashForum engine on your web server and a MySQL user who has all administrative privileges (accessing and modifying it);
  • Move or upload all file contents of the unzipped "fforum" directory (but excluding the directory itself) to a desired location on your web server (ex: http://mydomain.com/ or ex: http://mydomain.com/forum/). If you have uploaded the whole directory, just rename it from FlashForum engine to a desired folder name (ex: "forum");
  • Navigate to the address, where the forum is located in your favorite web browser (if you moved FlashForum engine to its own directory "forum", you should visit: http://mydomain.com/forum/; if to the root directory, then visit: http://mydomain.com/);
  • When the page gets loaded (see the screenshot below), simply press "Install forum" link to proceed to the installation wizard;

    Install

  • When the install wizard is loaded (see the screenshot below) simply follow the "Install instructions".

    Install wizard

    • Fill in the "MySQL configuration form";
      • Server host (your server host address);
      • Username (MySQL username);
      • Password (password assosiated with MySQL username);
      • Database name (database created for forum name);
      • Table names prefix (prefix for all forum table names).

    • Press the "Check connection" button to verify that the filled parameters are correct and the connection with MySQL is established. Proceed to the next step if you see the "Connection: ok" status after pressing the button. Else - check your parameters and try again;

    • Create an "admin" account for your forum by filling the "Forum admin account" form:
      • Login (desired account login ex: 'admin');
      • Password (password assosiated with the login name [!] remember it ex: 'fl@sHf0ruM');
      • Email (email address assosiated with your account (used for password recovery) ex: 'admin@mydomain.com');
      • Name (your name [optional] ex: 'John Smith').

    • After filling in the "Forum admin account" form press the "Install" button. If all fields are filled in correct you will be informed that FlashForum engine is successfully installed (see screenshot below);

      Successfully installed

    • That's it! Click on the "here" link to go back to forum.

    Note: delete the "install" folder after forum is installed.

Working with forum2. Working with FlashForum engine [back to contents]

2.1 Basic features [back to contents]

This section runs about common basic features which are available for forum users with any kind of group mode (guest mode, registered user mode, moderator mode, administartor mode)

2.1.1 Basic features >> Registering a new user [back to contents]

To register a new user, follow these steps:
  • Open your favourite browser, type in the forum address in the browser's address bar (ex: http://mydomain.com/forum/);
  • Find and click on the "Register" button from the forum main menu (see screenshot below);

  • Main menu register

  • Fill in the required fields (*) login, email, name and press the "Register" button. If the registration is completed successfully, an email with generated password for your account will be send to your email address. Don't panic, the account password can be changed in account settings later (see account settings) (see the screenshot below).

  • Register window



2.1.2 Basic features >> Logging in [back to contents]

Now that you have registered an account you can log in to the forum and start managing forum.
To log in, follow these steps:
  • Open your favourite browser, type in the forum address in the browser's address bar (ex: http://mydomain.com/forum/);
  • Find and click on the "Login" button from the forum main menu (see screenshot below);

  • Main menu login

  • Fill in the required fields (*) login, password and press the "Login" button. If don't want to fill in your login and password every time you come to forum, you can save your account data by checking the "save my account" checkbox (your account data will be stored on your local computer in the SharedObjects).

  • Login window



2.1.3 Basic features >> Users search [back to contents]

The user-search system is very useful when you search for people on forum especially the one in FlashForum engine, which has "active search" engine.
So, how to search for users:
  • Open your favourite browser, type in the forum address in the browser's address bar (ex: http://mydomain.com/forum/);
  • Find and click on the "Users" button from the forum main menu (see screenshot below);

  • Users search

  • The user-search system is pretty simple and powerful at the same time. As you can see there are four (4) checkboxes. Each checkbox filters forum users list when clicked. For example, you can apply a filter to display only "Administrators" and "Moderators", which are currently "Only online". You can also filter results by typing your "request" in the input text field (when a letter is typed the system will automaticly sort user-list letter-by-letter) (see screenshots below).

  • User-search windowUser-search window filtered

    Users serach sample

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    Users search sample

2.1.4 Basic features >> Forum search [back to contents]

This topic explains how to use the "Forum search" system (search for posts and topics).
To use the "Forum search" you have to:
  • Open your favourite browser, type in the forum address in the browser's address bar (ex: http://mydomain.com/forum/);
  • Find and click on the "Search" button from the forum main menu (see screenshot below);

  • Main menu search

  • The "Forum search" system has specific options (see screenshot below):
    • Search by (select the search type "by keyword" or "by user name");
    • The first combobox defines the search-target forum to search in (all forums or a specific one);
    • The second combobox defines the search-method (whether to search only by title, only by messages, or both);
    • And the third combobox defines the display method (whether to display results as messages or topics);
    • Finally the "request" input field, where you define your search request.

Forum search window


2.1.5 Basic features >> User options [back to contents]

"User options" is a submenu with several shortcuts, which allows you to look up user's information, add user to your bookmarks, find user's messages or send him a private message. You can access the user options menu everywhere you see a username actually, by clicking on it (see the screenshots below).

User options

User options menu opened


2.1.6 Basic features >> User information [back to contents]

The user information window which contains user's personal data can be accessed from the user options menu (see screenshots below).

User options

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User information


2.1.7 Basic features >> Bookmarking and ‘My bookmarks’ panel [back to contents]

Wouldn't it be great to have a bookmarks panel where you could put your favourite topics, posts or bookmark your friends for fast access? We thouhgt it would, while developing the bookmarks panel.

The bookmarks panel is 'hidden' on the left side of the forum. To open it, move your mouse cursor to the left border of the browser's window until you see the "open" button (with a star icon), than just press it to open the panel (see the screenshot below).

Bookmarks panel open button

Now, that you have opened the bookmarks panel (see screenshot below) you can access your bookmarks (topic, post, user bookmarks) by pressing the menu buttons on the top of the panel (Topics | Posts | Users). To open a specified topic or post from the "Topics" bookmarks or the "Posts" bookmarks, simply click on a desired bookmark. To access user options menu of a desired user from the "Users" bookmarks simply click on the desired user bookmark. Use the "PREVIOUS" and "NEXT" buttons to navigate through your bookmarks. To close the panel press the "X" close button.

Bookmarks panel open button

To add a new post or topic bookmark simply click on the Bookmark bytton button at the top (see the screenshots below). To add a new user bookmark, open the user options menu and press the Bookmark button button.

Theme sample

Post sample

2.2 User features [back to contents]

This section runs about 'user' features which are available for registered and authorized forum users with 'user' mode.

2.2.1 User features >> Managing user settings [back to contents]

After registering a new user account and logging in you can edit your "account", "personal" data, edit your "sign", change your "avatar" image and manage your "files".

To access the settings dialog (create a new account, authorize if you haven't yet) and click on the "My settings" button in the main menu (see the screenshot below).

Main menu user settings

The "My settings" module contains of five sections:
  • Account - manage your account data and account settings here (such as email, password etc);
  • Personal - manage your personal data here (such as your name, where're you from etc.);
  • Sign - manage your forum sign (edit your sign, manage your sign appereance);
  • Avatar - change your avatar image;
  • Files - manage your file uploads (upload new files, download, delete already uploaded).

2.2.1.1 User features >> Managing user settings >> Account settings [back to contents]

This section runs about "Account" settings and options (see screenshot below).

User account settings

The Email address assosiated with the current account. Account email address is used for retrieving lost password, notifying about new replies, new private messages.
To change your current email address, fill in the "Email" field, repeat the email address in the "Repeat email" field, type your current password in the "Current password" field (to verify your current password) and press the Save changes button button to save your new account email address.

To change your current account password, type your new desired password in the "New password" field, repeat your new password in the "Repeat password" field, type your current account password in the "Current password" field and press the Save changes button button to save changes.

The "Show my email address" option controls the email address appereance. If you don't want other users to see your email address, when viewing your user information, leave the checkbox deselected (by clicking on it) or leave it selected if do. Press the Save changes button button to save changes.

The "Show birthday date" option controls the birthday date appereance. Same as the email address option, if you don't want other users to see your birthday date, when viewing your user information, leave the checkbox deselected (by clicking on it) or leave it selected if you do. Press the Save changes button button to save changes.

The "Allow other users to send me private messages" option allows or disallows other users to send you private messages. If you want to allow other users to send you private messages, leave the checkbox selected (by clicking on it) or leave it deselected if you don't. Mind that even if this option is deselected (private messages sending disabled) administators and moderators will still be able to send you private messages. Press the Save changes button button to save changes.

The "Email me about new private messages received" option enables or disables the private messages inform function. If this function is enabled (checkbox selected), an email will be send to your account email address every time you receive a new private message from other users. Press the Save changes button button to save changes.

The "Email me about new relies in my topics" option enables or disables the new replies inform function. If this function is enabled (checkbox selected), an email will be send to your account email address every time a user leaves a new reply in your topic. Press the Save changes button button to save your account settings.

The "Auto-check mailbox for new messages" option enables or disables the mailbox auto-check function. If this function is enabled (checkbox selected), your account mailbox will be auto-checked for new private messages within a specified interval, defined in the "Auto-check mailbox period" field (in minutes). You can set a desired the auto-check interval by changing the "Auto-check mailbox period" field. Mind that the minimum allowed value is one (1) minute. Press the Save changes button button to save changes.


2.2.1.2 User features >> Managing user settings >> Personal settings [back to contents]

This section runs about the Personal details (see the screenshot below).

User personal settings


In this module you can change your personal data: your name, city, define your birthday date, icq, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Skype, Jabber reference (uin, account, nickname etc), live journal address, personal web-site address, define your home time-zone, write some words about yourself.

To change you birthday date press the Calendar calendar button and select date/month/year (see screenshot below).

User personal settings


To change your home time-zone, click on the "Time-zone" combobox and select the desired time-zone (see the screenshot below).

User personal settings


After you have made your changes don't forget to save your personal settings by clicking the Save changes button.


2.2.1.3 User features >> Managing user settings >> Sign settings [back to contents]

In this section you can change your forum sign, the appereance option (see screenshot below).

User sign settings


To change (create) your forum sign, just fill in the sign field and enable or disable sign appereance by selecting or deselection the "Display my sign in messages" checkbox. If this option is selected, your sign text will be displayed in every your message on forum (see screenshots below).

"Display my sign is messages" is enabled:

User sign settings post example

"Display my sign is messages" is disabled:

User sign settings post example

2.2.1.4 User features >> Managing user settings >> Avatar settings [back to contents]

In the "Avatar settings" module you can change your avatar image (see screenshot below).

User avatar settings


The avatar changing is pretty simple. To upload a new avatar just click on the Select image button and select the desired image from your local computer.

Note: supported avatar file formats are:
  • jpg;
  • gif;
  • animated-gif;
  • png.

2.2.1.5 User features >> Managing user settings >> Files [back to contents]

In the "Files" module you can upload files from your local computer to the forum or manage (delete, download) already uploaded files (see the screenshot below).

User files settings

At the bottom of this dialog there is a capacity-meter Upload files capacity, which indicates the upload capacity (used memory/maximum allowed storage memory) (see managing forum settings).

To upload a new file from your local computer press the Upload file button and select the desired file from your local computer to upload (see the screenshot below).

User files settings upload

Now that you have uploaded the file to the forum, you can donwload your file by clicking the Download donwload icon near the file you want to download. You also now can attach this file to your posts (see managing posts) (see the screenshot below).

User files settings upload complete

To delete a file from your uploaded files simply select the delete checkbox on the file you want to delete and press the Delete selected button. After the file is deleted, you will see an inform message (see the screenshots below).

User files settings delete

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User files settings complete

2.2.2 User features >> Creating topics [back to contents]

To create a new topic on forum, you need to register first and authorize (if you haven't done so, yet). As soon as you do this, you simply select the desired forum (by clicking on its title) and then click on the New topic button, to open the extend topic editor (see the screenshots below).

Selecting forum

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Creating new topic
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New topic editor

As shown on the screenshot above, the there editor contains some fields and panels (see the green circles).

Topic title
In the title field (see the Theme title item) you specify the desired topic title (only plain text supported). To create a topic title simply fill in the title field with a desired text.

Topic message & editor panel
For more information about writing messages and the editor panel (see the Editor panel and Message body items) see managing posts.

Topic tags
You can specify tags (words that summarize your topics content) for your topic so that other users can find topic related to a specific tag word.

Topic icon selector
The topic icon selector (see the Theme icon selector item) allows you to specify an add-on subicon for your topic or to leave the topic without it. To select an icon simply select the radio button near the icon you desire or the "No icon" radio button if you don't want to use an add-on icon for your topic.

While editing your topic title and message, you can preview the composed message by click the Preview button button. As you fill in the title field, create your message and select the topic icon, press the Submit button button to publish your newly created topic.


2.2.3 User features >> Managing posts [back to contents]

Creating posts
Creating posts (replies i.e.) is the main function of every forum. This section runs about creating posts (the editor-panel management, supported bb-code tags) and managing already created posts.

To create a new post (reply i.e.) in a desired topic, you need to register first and authorize (if you haven't yet). As soon as you do this, you simply select the desired forum (by clicking on its title), select the topic you want to reply (by clicking on its title) (see screenshots below).

Select a forum
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Select a topic

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Theme view

Now that you have opened the desired topic, you can start posting a new post (reply i.e.) using the FastReply editor (see the screenshot below).

Fast reply

FastReply editor
The FastReply editor actually is the simple version of the ExtendReply editor (you can switch to the ExtendReply editor by pressing the Extend button button). Type the desired message text in the field, format it using the edit panel (for more info see ExtendReply editor), and press the Submit button.

ExtendReply editor
The ExtendReply editor provides all features of the edit panel for creating posts (also used for creating topics). The editing panel uses specific bb-codes.

Supported bb-codes:

Button Code Usage ex. Result
Bold button [b]value[/b] [b]Test text[/b] Test text
Italic button [i]value[/i] [i]Test text[/i] Test text
Underline button [u]value[/u] [u]Test text[/u] Test text
Big button [big]value[/big] [big]Test text[/big] Test text
List button [list]value[/list] [list]Test text[/list]
  • Test text
Newline button [br] Test[br]text Test
text
Url button [url]link[/url]
[url=link]value[/url]
[url]http://mydomain.com/[/url]
[url=http://mydomain.com/]My homepage[/url]
http://mydomain.com/
My homepage
Image button [img]value[/img] [img]http://chargedweb.com/images/banner_100x45.gif[/img] banner
Youtube button [youtube]value[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2hzVV2Nwfs[/youtube] youtube
Quote button [quote]value[/quote] [quote]Test text[/quote] Test text
Code button [code]value[/code] [code]Test text[/code] Test text
Hidden button [hidden]value[/hidden] [hidden]Test text[/hidden] [only for authorized users]
Color button [color=hex-color]value[/color] [color=#009900]Test text[/color] Test text
Smile button defined by the "conf/forumSmilies.xml" file (see customizing smilies) - -
Attach button [attach=file-id]value[/attach] [attach=1]tetris_game.zip[/attach] Attached file

The editor panel is created to make text formating using bb-codes easier. To use text formating, select the text, you want to format and press the desired format-button from the editor panel (see the screenshots below).

Extend reply

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Extend reply sample

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Extend reply result

Attaching files
To insert an attachment into your post (reply i.e.) you need to upload one. Since you have uploaded the desired file, open the ExtendReply editor type your message text in the message field, click the Attachments button button from the editor panel and select the desired file you want to attach from your attachments (see the screenshot below).

ExtendReply attaching a file

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ExtendReply attaching a file

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ExtendReply attaching a file

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ExtendReply attaching a file

Managing created posts
To make administrator's and moderator's life easier, registered users can edit and even delete their posts. To edit or delete your post (reply) simply click on the Post options button to open the options menu and select one of the actions (edit or delete) (see the screenshot below).

Post options

2.2.4 User features >> Managing mailbox [back to contents]

This section runs about the forum mailbox. The mailbox allows users to send private messages to other users, manage sent and received messages.

To accesss the mailbox, you need to register first and authorize (if you haven't yet). As soon as you do this to start using the mailbox, simply click on the "Mailbox" button from the forum main menu (see the screenshot below).

Main menu mailbox button

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Mailbox

Mailbox viewer
You can view your inbox messages by clicking the Inbox button button. New messages are marked with bold-styled text. To check for new private messages click the Refresh button button. To access your outbox messages click the Outbox button button.
The capacity-meter displays the mailbox used/total memory allowed on forum Mailbox capacity

Sending a new private message
To send a new private message, simply click the New private message button button to open the message editor. After you open the editor, fill in the "To" field (recepient's login name), the "Subject" field, the "Message" field (see using the editor) and press the Mailbox preview button button to preview the message, the Mailbox send button button to send the message or the Mailbox cancel button button to cancel sending and go back to the mailbox view mode (see screenshots below).

Mailbox new private message

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Mailbox new private message

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Mailbox new private message sent


Managing inbox messages
To access the inbox click the Inbox button button (if you haven't done so, yet). The inbox holds all private messages sent to you from other users. New private messages are marked with bold text and a New private message icon.

To view a specified message select it from the inbox datagrid and press the Mailbox view button button or just double-click on the selected message item. To reply a desired message select the message and click the Mailbox reply button button (see the screenshots below).

Mailbox inbox

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Mailbox inbox

To delete a message while in view mode click the Mailbox delete button button. To reply click the Mailbox reply button button.

To delete more than one message, go back to the view mode (inbox or outbox), select the messages you wish to delete by clicking on their checkboxes (press the Select all button button to select all messages) and press the Mailbox delete selected button button (see the screenshot below).

Mailbox select to delete
2.3 Moderation features [back to contents]

This section runs about the moderation features which are available for registered and authorized forum users with 'moderator' and 'administrator' modes.
2.3.1 Moderation features >> Extended topic, posts management [back to contents]

Topic management
Moderators and administrators have access to the topic management. Topic management includes: topic editing, moving topic to a specified forum, deleting, locking topics.

Moving topic to a forum
To move a topic to a desired forum you need to register an 'moderator' or 'administrator' account and authorized. Since you do this, simply go to the desired forum (by clicking on its title), then open the 'Topic options' menu, by clicking on the Theme options button button and select the "Move topic" action by clicking on the Move topic button button. When the "Move topic" module is loaded, simply select the forum where you want to move the topic from the combobox and press the Move button button (see screenshots below).

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Selecting move topic action

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Move topic module

Editing topics
To edit a desired topic, go to the forum where the topic is located (by clicking on its title) then open the 'Topic options' menu, by clicking on the Theme options button button and select the "Edit topic" action by clicking on the Edit topic button button (see screenshots below). Topic editing is just the same as the post management.

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Editing a topic


Deleting topics
To delete a desired topic, go to the forum where the topic is located (by clicking on its title) then open the 'Topic options' menu, by clicking on the Theme options button button and select the "Delete topic" action by clicking on the Delete topic button button. After clicking on the Delete topic button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm deletion or the No button button to cancel deletion (see screenshots below)

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Deleting a topic

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Delete confirm


Locking or unlocking topics
Locking topic is a useful feature when you want to create a 'News' topic for example and you want it to be read-only (other registered users with 'user' mode don't have access to post replies in this topic, only read).
To lock or unlock the desired topic, go to the forum where the topic is located (by clicking on its title) then open the 'Topic options' menu, by clicking on the Theme options button button and select the "Lock topic" or "Unlock topic" (if the topic is already locked) action by clicking on the Lock topic button or Unlock topic button button. After clicking on the Lock topic button or Unlock topic button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm the lock/unlock action or the No button button to cancel (see screenshots below)

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Locking a topic

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Lock confirm

Posts management
Moderators and administrators can edit or delete every post on forum.

Editing posts
To edit the desired post, go to the topic, where the post is located (by clicking on its title) then open the 'Post options' menu, by clicking on the Post options button button and select the "Edit post" action by clicking on the Edit post button button to open the ExtendReply editor (see the screenshots below). For more information on editing posts see posts management.

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Locking a topic

Deleting posts
To delete the desired post, go to the topic where the topic is located (by clicking on its title) then open the 'Post options' menu, by clicking on the Post options button button and select the "Delete post" action by clicking on the Delete post button button. After clicking on the Delete post button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm deletion or the No button button to cancel deletion (see the screenshots below)

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options

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Locking a topic

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Post delete confirmation


2.3.2 Moderation features >> Categories management [back to contents]

Forum users with 'moderator' or 'administrator' account modes can create new categories.

Creating categories
To create a new category you need to register a 'moderator' or 'administrator' account and authorized. Since you do this, simply click on the New category button button to open the 'Category editor'. Then simply fill in the "Title" field with the desired title text and press the Save changes button button (see the screenshots below).

Selecting a forum

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Open topic options


2.3.3 Moderation features >> Forum management [back to contents]

Forum users with 'moderator' or 'administrator' account modes have access to the forum management. Forum management includes features: creating new forums, editing created forums, deleting forums, locking (unlocking) forums.

Creating new forums
To create a new forum you need to register an 'moderator' or 'admin' account and authorized. Since you do this, open the 'Forum editor' by clicking on the New forum button. When the 'Forum editor' module is loaded, simply fill in the desired forum title text in the "Title" field, select the category where you want to move the new forum from the "Select category" combobox, fill in the forum description text in the "Description" field and press the Move button button (see the screenshots below).

Creating a new forum

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Forum editor

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New forum sample

Editing forums
To edit a desired forum, open the 'Forum options' menu, by clicking on the Forum options button button and select the "Edit forum" action by clicking on the Edit forum button button to open the 'Forum editor'. Edit forum's title, category location, description and press the Move button button (see screenshots below).

Creating a new forum

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Forum editor


Deleting forums
To delete a desired forum, open the 'Forum options' menu, by clicking on the Forum options button button and select the "Delete forum" action by clicking on the Delete forum button button. After clicking on the Delete forum button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm deletion or the No button button to cancel deletion (see the screenshots below).

Note: when deleting a desired forum, mind that all topics in the deleted forum will be also deleted.

Creating a new forum

Next step

Forum editor


Locking and unlocking forums
To lock or unlock the desired forum open the 'Forum options' menu, by clicking on the Forum options button button and select the "Lock forum" or "Unlock forum" (if the forum is already locked) action by clicking on the Lock forum button or Unlock forum button button. After clicking on the Lock forum button or Unlock forum button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm the lock/unlock action or the No button button to cancel (see the screenshots below).

Note: when locking (unlocking) a forum, mind that all topics in the desired forum will be also locked (unlocked).

Creating a new forum

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Forum editor

2.4 Administrator's features [back to contents]

This section runs about administrator's features which are available for registered and authorized forum users with 'administrator' account mode.
2.4.1 Administrator's features >> Categories management [back to contents]

Creating categories
See creating categories.

Editing categories
To edit the desired category, open the 'Category options' menu, by clicking on the Category options button button and select the "Edit category" action by clicking on the Edit category button button to open the 'Category editor'. Edit category's title and press the Move button button (see the screenshots below).

Creating a new forum

Next step

Forum editor

Deleting categories
To delete the desired category, open the 'Category options' menu, by clicking on the Category options button button and select the "Delete category" action by clicking on the Delete category button button. After clicking on the Delete category button button a confirmation window will appear. Click on the Yes button button if you confirm deletion or the No button button to cancel deletion (see the screenshots below).

Note: when deleting category, mind that all forums in the deleted category will be also deleted.

Creating a new forum

Next step

Forum editor

2.4.2 Administrator's features >> Managing forum settings [back to contents]

This section runs about forum settings management which is available for registered and authorized forum users with 'administrator' account mode.

The forum settings module gives access to the forum parameters such as: avatar size params, allow user file-upload disk quota, user mailbox quota, allowed forum file-upload file extentions and the forum time-zone. To open the 'Forum settings' module, simply click on the "Forum settings" button from the main menu (see the screenshots below).

Main menu forum settings button

Next step

Forum settings module
  • Avatar max width allowed (px) - the maximum allowed avatar-image width value defined in pixels ('0' zero value ignored);
  • Avatar max height allowed (px) - the maximum allowed avatar-image height value defined in pixels ('0' zero value ignored);
  • Avatar max size allowed (kb) - the maximum allowed avatar-image size value defined in kilobytes ('0' zero value ignored);
  • Allowed user file-upload disk quota (kb) - the maximum allowed file-upload disk quota value defined in kilobytes (per one account);
  • User mailbox quota (max messages stored) - the maximum allowed stored messages (total for inbox and outbox);
  • Forum file-upload file extentions - the list of allowed file-upload file extentions (split by commas, no dots, no whitespaces);
  • Forum time-zone (GMT) - select the default forum time-zone from the list.
Note: mind that all forum timestamps will be corrected accoring to the selected 'Forum time-zone' while users use 'guest' mode account.
2.4.3 Administrator's features >> Managing user privileges [back to contents]

Only users with 'administrator' account mode have access to the user privileges management and the ban status management. To manage the ban status or to change the user privilegies of a desired user account simply open the "User information" window (see user information).

Changing user privilegies
To grant to 'user' account moderator's or administrator's rights open the user information window and simply change account group to 'user', 'admin' or 'moder' by selecting the desired group from the 'Group' combobox and press the Save changes button (see the screenshots below).

Main menu forum settings button

Next step

Forum settings module

Next step

Forum settings module

Changing user ban status
To ban or unban user account open the user information window and simply change the ban status by selecting the desired status from the 'Ban status' combobox and press the Save changes button (see the screenshots below).

Main menu forum settings button

Next step

Forum settings module

Next step

Forum settings module

Warning Note: we strongly DO NOT recommend you to grant 'administrator' rights to any other users except your account (do it on your own risk) !

Customizing FlashForum3. Customizing FlashForum engine [back to contents]

Files used for customization:

File Description
conf/forumFaq.html FAQ data file. This document is used for the "Faq" module (main menu >> "Faq" button).
conf/forumFonts.xml Fonts configuration file. Used to register external fonts, used on forum.
conf/forumPlugins.xml Plugins configuration file. Registers plugins for FlashForum engine. For more info read the extending forum section.
conf/forumRules.html Forum rules file. This document is used for the "Rules" module (main menu >> "Rules" button).
conf/forumSmilies.xml Smilies configuration file. Contains information about registered smilies.
conf/forumLang.xml Localization file, contains all forum messages, alerts, titles etc.
conf/forumSettings.xml Main settings file. Holds configuration parameters needed to run the FlashForum engine.
conf/forumIcons.xml Icons configuration file. Contains information about registered icons.
conf/forumStyle.css Global forum style sheet. Contains all styles information.
base/ff_confParams.php Holds your server params. If the installation proccess was successful, you won't probably need to edit this file.
base/ff_config.php Global server-side params. See the comments inside the file.
3.1 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Configuration [back to contents]

This section runs about the "forumSettings.xml" file which is located in the "conf" folder. The "forumSettings.xml" holds main UI (User Interface) parameters. You will need to edit this file when customizing the UI. To edit this file you will need a xml editor or a text editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Open XML Editor, Textmate, Notepad etc. any will suite).

All descriptions are given as comments in the "forumSettings.xml" file. But before editing the settings file you should know the basics of the UI parameters. The settings file holds global params like (fps, enableCacheControl etc) and UI parameters to style forum graphics properly.
For example, here are the "Forum" parameters and the representation screen so that you understand the basics of all UI parameters.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<settings>
...
<!-- Forum -->
<forumPaddingWidth value="10" />
<forumPaddingHeight value="10" />
<forumMarginLeft value="10" />
<forumMarginRight value="10" />
...
</settings>


Settings sample UI
3.2 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Localizing forum [back to contents]

The FlashForum engine is localizable. All forum messages, alert, titles etc are changeable and are declared in the "conf/forumLang.xml" file. To edit this file you will need a xml editor or a text editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Open XML Editor, Textmate, Notepad etc. any will suite).

The file structure is pretty simple to understand.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<root lang="en">
<row id="ALERT_LOGIN_SUCCESS"><![CDATA[Hello, $name !<br/>Nice to see you back.<br/><br/>Logged in as <b>$login</b><br/>Account group: <b>$group</b>]]></row>
...
</root>

The "lang" attribute of the "<root>" element simply describes the current language (ex: 'en' for english). This parameter is optional (you can leave it blank).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<root lang="">
...
</root>

Every "<row>" element actually refers to a certain alert message, title, text, label through a specific "id" attribute value. So all you have to do is to change the element's value defined in the "<![CDATA[value]]>" (where value - your desired text).
For example, let's change the "on-login" alert message (the row refered to this type of message has the "ALERT_LOGIN_SUCCESS" id value):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<root lang="en">
<row id="ALERT_LOGIN_SUCCESS"><![CDATA[Hi there, $name!<br/>We missed you sooo much :)<br/><br/>You logged in as <b>$login</b> ($group)]]></row>
...
</root>

Now that you have changed the message text, save the file, open your desired browser, open the forum (type address in the address bar) and authorize to test the result (see the screenshots below).

Login before editing

Next step

Login after editing


Things to know about the "forumLang.xml" file:
  • The document should have the "<root>", "</root>" elements (do not change/delete them);
  • Do not change the "id" attribute values;
  • Always use this "<![CDATA[value]]>" construction to define the element's value (value - html supported).
3.3 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Changing style [back to contents]

The FlashForum engine just as other web projects uses a simple Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file to style all text messages and labels. To edit forum styles you will need a css-editor (of your desire). Go to the "conf" folder, open the "forumStyle.css" file and start customizing forum styles.

Supported properties:

Property Description
bgColor Only hexadecimal color values are supported. Named colors (such as blue) are not supported. Colors are written in the following format: #FF0000 (supported only for ".code", ".quote" styles)
color Only hexadecimal color values are supported. Named colors (such as blue) are not supported. Colors are written in the following format: #FF0000
embedFont Only "true", "false" values regonized (see using external fonts)
font-family A comma-separated list of fonts to use, in descending order of desirability. Any font family name can be used. Define the className of a embed font (see using external fonts)
font-size Only the numeric part of the value is used (see also using external fonts)
font-style Recognized values are "normal" and "italic".
font-weight Recognized values are "normal" and "bold".
lineColor Only hexadecimal color values are supported. Named colors (such as blue) are not supported. Colors are written in the following format: #FF0000 (supported only for ".code", ".quote" styles)
margin-left Only the numeric part of the value is used.
text-align Recognized values are "left", "center", "right", and "justify".
text-decoration Recognized values are "none" and" underline".


Using external fonts
What are external embedded fonts? When you specify a specific font in the FlashForum engine, Flash Player will look for a device font (a font that resides on your computer) with the same name. If it doesn't find that font on your system, or if you have a slightly different version of a font with that name, the text will display using default fonts "_sans" or "_serif".

If you want to use an extraordinary font (your own for example) you will need to create an external .swf font library file, register external fonts library in the "conf/forumFonts.xml" file, set the "useExternalFonts" param to "true" in the settings file "conf/forumSettings.xml" and define that the font is "embedFont: true" in the CSS file.
Difficult, you'd say? Here is an example so that you make sure that it's pretty simple and fast.

Using external fonts >> instruction
First of all you will need Adobe Flash CS4 to create an external .swf font library. Launch Adobe Flash CS4, go to "File" >> "New..." and select "Flash file (Action Script 3)".

Adobe Flash CS3 new file

Now that you have created a new "Flash file (Action Script 3)", save it as "MyFont.fla" (for example). Select "Frame 1" of "Layer 1" and open the "Actions panel" ("Window >> Actions").

External fonts

Copy and paste the following code into the Script window:

[Embed(systemFont="Trebuchet MS", fontName="MyFont", fontWeight="normal", fontStyle="normal", mimeType="application/x-font")]
var font:Class;
Font.registerFont(font);


In the highlighted code above, the following parameters inside the [Embed] metadata tag are used to embed a "Trebuchet MS" font:
  • systemFont: This parameter specifies the font name you want to embed;
  • fontName: This parameter specifies the name of the embedded font, which serves as an identifier so you can call the font by name when you wish to do so (use in the CSS);
  • fontWeight: This parameter specifies the weight of the font, such as "bold" or "normal";
  • fontStyle: This parameter specifies the style of the font, such as "italic" or "normal";
  • mimeType: This parameter describes the MIME type for the embedded metadata. Since you are embedding a font in this example, you can set the MIME type to "application/x-font";
External fonts

Now test the FLA by choosing "Control >> Test Movie". The Flex SDK Required dialog box appears (see screenshot below).

Using external fonts

Click the "Update Library Path" button to add the flex.swc file from the Flex SDK to the Library path of the FLA file. After that choose the "Control >> Test Movie" to preview the SWF again, and you'll see the "MyFont.swf" file preview:

Using external fonts

That's it. Now that you have your external fonts library created place the "MyFont.swf" in the "fonts/" folder. After go to the "conf/" folder and open the "forumFonts.xml" file and register the fonts library file path ("MyFont.swf") like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<fonts>
<fontFile url="fonts/MyFont.swf" />
</fonts>

Where the "url" parameter defines the path to the .swf library file.
Now open the settings file "forumSettings.xml" from the "conf/" folder and edit the "useExternalFonts" parameter, set it to "true" in order to tell the FlashForum engine to load external font libraries from the "forumFonts.xml" file like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<settings>
<!-- Globals -->
<key value="00000-00000-00000-00000-00000" />
<fps value="31" />
<cacheControlSize value="50" /><!-- in mb -->
<cacheControlDelay value="60" /><!-- in seconds -->
<enableCacheControl value="true" />
<useExternalFonts value="true" />
...

Now that you have created your library, registered it's fonts and defined the "useExternalFonts" parameter, you can use this font in the CSS file ("conf/forumStyle.css") for example, let's change the Post message text style:

.postMessage{
embedFont: true;
color: #000000;
font-family: MyFont;
font-size: 12;
margin-left: 0;
}

warning Note: embedded external fonts don't work properly with input text fields on Linux (see it in the official bug list)
3.4 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Changing icons [back to contents]

FlashForum engine's icons are located in the "skins/icons/" folder. To use icons in the forum you need to register icons in the "conf/forumIcons.xml" file which almost the same as the localization described previously. Open the "conf/forumIcons.xml" with a desired xml editor.

The file structure is pretty simple to understand.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<root>
<row id="ADD_CATEGORY"><![CDATA[skins/icons/ico_add_category.png]]></row>
<row id="ADD_THEME"><![CDATA[skins/icons/ico_add_topic.png]]></row>
<row id="ADD_FORUM"><![CDATA[skins/icons/ico_add_forum.png]]></row>
<row id="ABOUT"><![CDATA[skins/icons/ico_about.png]]></row>
...
</root>

Every "<row>" element actually refers to an icon through a specific "id" attribute value. So all you have to do is to change element's value defined in the "<![CDATA[value]]>" (where value - the relative path to the desired image).

Note: supported icons formats:
  • gif;
  • jpg;
  • png;
  • swf.
Things to know about the "forumIcons.xml" file:
  • The document should have "<root>", "</root>" elements (do not change/delete them);
  • Do not change the "id" attribute values;
  • Always use this "<![CDATA[value]]>" construction to define the element's value (value - relative path to the icon file).
3.5 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Changing smilies [back to contents]

FlashForum engine's smilies are located in the "skins/smilies/" folder. To use smilies in the forum you need to register smilies icons in the "conf/forumSmilies.xml" file which almost the same as the localization described previously. Open the "conf/forumSmilies.xml" with a desired xml editor.

The file structure:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<smilies>
<smile id=":)=" width="15" height="15" url="skins/smilies/icon_dummy.gif" />
<smile id=":)" width="15" height="15" url="skins/smilies/icon_smile.gif" />
<smile id=":}" width="15" height="15" url="skins/smilies/icon_razz.gif" />
...
</smilies>

Every "<smile>" element has four attributes:
  • id - the text representation of a certain smile (text to be replaced with a certain image);
  • width - the width value of the image;
  • height - the height value of the image;
  • url - the relative path to the certain smile image.
3.6 Customizing FlashForum engine >> Changing forum UI skins [back to contents]

You can also totally change the FlashForum engine's UI design, by editing the UI skin file. All UI skin files are located in the "skins/ui/" folder.

You will need an raster image editor (Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe FireWorks, Paint.NET, etc). Things to know about the skin files:
  • Skin files should be exported in "PNG32" file format;
  • All skin files work with a specific 9-slice scaling;
  • The 9-slice scaling color is predefined as "#9FD3E7";
  • All skin files have a specific states order:
    • size rectangle [necessary]
    • UP state [necessary]
    • OVER state [optional] *
    • DOWN state [optional] *
    • ENABLED state [optional] *
    • SELECTED state [optional] *
    • SELECTED_OVER state [optional] **
    • SELECTED_DOWN state [optional] **
    • SELECTED_ENABLED state [optional] **
* used for 'active' components like: button, category button, forum button, main menu buttons, bookmark's buttons, topic button, settings button, combobox, datagrid, scrollbar.
** used only for checkbox and radio button.
All other UI skins (such as top bar, forum etc) use only the size rectangle and the UP state.

Scale 9 grid

Here is an example to help you understand how to edit skin files. Say you want to change the button skin. Launch your desired image editor (mine is Adobe FireWorks CS4), open the button skin file "skins/ui/ui_button.png" and draw 5 states for the new button and place them in the necessary order (UP, OVER, DOWN, ENABLED, SELECTED):

UI button skin sample

Then export the image as "PNG32" file format and replace the existed "ui_button.png" file which is located in the "skins/ui/" folder. To see the result, open your desired browser, type in the address of the forum (where you have it installed) and for example open the login window (press the login button from the main menu).

Button skin old

Next step

Button skin new

Note: as you can see the new skin made for the button is pretty 'light' so it is better to change the font color from white to another color. To do that open the "conf/forumStyle.css" file, find the ".button" style and change the "color" property to "#AC6802" (for example). Save changes and open the forum again (also see changing forum styles).

...
.button{
embedFont: false;
color: #AC6802;
font-family: Tahoma;
font-size: 11;
font-weight: none;
text-decoration: none;
}
...


Button skin new


Note: source files of the sample ".button" skin PNG or PSD.
Extending img4. Extending FlashForum engine [back to contents]
4.1 Extending FlashForum engine >> Plugins [back to contents]

FlashForum engine is extendable, which mean you can add donwloaded (or purchased) widgets or even create your own and add them to the 'Plugins' module. A 'plugin' could be anything you wish (a game, an application, a web service etc) - any ActionScript 3.0 based .swf file.

To view the list of installed plugins and launch the desired one, open the 'Plugins' module by clicking on the 'Plugins' button from the main menu (see the screenshot below). To launch a desired plugin, simply click on its icon.

Main menu plugins button

Next step

Plugins module

4.2 Extending FlashForum engine >> Installing plugins [back to contents]

To install a new plugin follow this simple instruction:
  • Copy plugin's swf file to the "plugins" folder (put a png thumbnail icon file if you have one);
  • Open the "conf/forumPlugins.xml" xml file with a desired xml editor and add the plugin like this:

  • <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    <plugins>
    <plugin>
    <name><![CDATA[Tetris game]]></name>
    <author><![CDATA[<a href='mailto:author@domain.com'>Author's name</a>]]></author>
    <description><![CDATA[Tetris game - is a brain-relaxing app, that...]]></description>
    <thumbnail><![CDATA[plugins/your_plugin_thumbnail.png]]></thumbnail>
    <link><![CDATA[plugins/your_plugin.swf]]></link>
    <sizeable><![CDATA[false]]></sizeable>
    <width><![CDATA[0]]></width>
    <height><![CDATA[0]]></height>
    </plugin>
    </plugins>

    • <name> - the name of the plugin;
    • <author> - author's name (html supported, so that you can specify an url or email address);
    • <description> - application description (plain text);
    • <thumbnail> - thumbnail icon (png);
    • <link> - relative path to the swf file;
    • <sizeable> - regonized values are "true" or "false"; wether the plugin's window should be resizeable or not;
    • <width> - plugin's width size value (if '0' value used, auto-size enables);
    • <height> - plugin's height size value (if '0' value used, auto-size enables).
4.3 Extending FlashForum engine >> Creating own plugins (dev) [back to contents]

You can build your own flex/flash plugins for the FlashForum engine. Here are some useful links for developers:
Email:
Password:



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