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Louis Kessler’s Behold Blog » Blog Entry           prev Prev   Next next

Sunday, August 1, 2004 - Sun, 1 Aug 2004

As I check the Behold discussion forum page-by-page to set it up the way I want, I come to a few places where I have a decision to make about the wording or the setup of the user interface. For that I check to see what other forums use. Snitz is a good free forum written in ASP, and it has a nice list of its “competition”. The ASP Index also has a nice list of ASP forums, both free and non-free.

When you look at all the various forums (and there must be over 100 of them), they are all remarkably the same. Each has slightly different features but they are based on the same overall model. I would have picked one long ago, but found I hate using those sorts of forums, whereas I love using e-mail and newsgroups. Somewhere, this concept of showing only topic indexes at the top level has taken over and that’s the way it is. It is so similar to the plight of genealogy software, which are also all basically the same - with forms-based input and ancestor/descendant/list-based output.

Looking around to see which forum software now includes RSS: I see that phpBB has a “MOD” add-on for it, and InstantForum.net includes it, and at Snitz there is talk about it in one of their threads. The latter talks about it backwards: generating it as an ASP script upon request. I think it should be the opposite - generated when a new message is added so that the RSS file itself is static and that will reduce load on the server (which is agreed to by one reply in the thread). So only a handful of them so far have it. It hasn’t really caught on yet.

For forums, RSS seems like such a natural thing. It will give any forum newsgroup-like functionality. And with a link back to the message, replies are made easy. No more need to go online to the forum everyday to see if there are any new posts: your RSS reader can do that for you.

At any rate, it shouldn’t be too difficult to add an RSS feed capability to my Behold Forum before I’m done with it in the next week or so.

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