Before I get back to working on Behold again, I really feel I’ve got to make those improvements to my Forum like I mentioned on June 24. As I said, I was partially through this. If I can bear down on it, I should be able to get what I want done to it in a couple of weeks.
I have several times in the past researched the various forum software that is out there. There are a lot of different packages, many that are freeware. But, like genealogy programs, they all very much the same with a main view that shows only the topics of each thread. I don’t like this and have never liked this. All the individual messages on that topic are hidden one level deep. It is a lot of work to try to scan through topic by topic to see what the latest messages are. I’m surprised this format has dominated.
Instead, I like the sequential date and time ordered e-mail-like or newsreader-like layout. Everyone is familiar with it. And news aggregators are using it too.
That is one thing I like about BroadBoard. It has all the basic features I want in a forum without fluffy features like smilies/icons/ratings of users. It is written in ASP (Active Server Pages), and I can customize it myself. ASP is a scripting language that runs on Microsoft Internet Servers and is what my host allows. ASP uses Visual-Basic-like commands and SQL (Structured Query Language) to interact with a database (BroadBoard uses Microsoft Access) and outputs HTML (web pages). To develop it on my own machine, I had to install Personal Web Server, so that the ASP scripts could be executed. All of this is quite an infrastucture unto itself and I often shake my head at the complexity Microsoft has made for programmers. And this is being extended to an even greater level of complexity (albeit more powerful) with all the .NET stuff, including ASP.NET. But .NET isn’t quite ready for prime time, and won’t be until the next Microsoft Operating System (after Windows XP) is in use, as then .NET will be supported natively in the OS. How about 2007 as a guess?