Announcing xTalk the XPages Bulletin Board style Discussion Database

The discussion database in IBM Lotus Domino
has been around for a very long time getting minor updates as different
versions of Domino came out over the years, mostly just color updates.
When Domino 8.5 was released the discussion database design was given a
major overhaul with a nice new XPages interface and for the future there
may be even more changes with the news from OpenNTF that IBM may be looking
at open sourcing the template.

IBM is considering
open sourcing the discussion template, which would allow the community
to extend it. IBM could then take the extensions back into the product.

Personally I’ve never been a big fan
of the discussion template, mainy due to the way it does threaded replies.
When doing threaded replies ( and replies to replies ) there are two ways
to display them, either just display one reply at a time and show the subject
lines of the threads below, very similar to how the forums on notes.net
currently work, or you can try display all the entries on screen at the
same time and indent the replies, only problem with this is with an active
forum with lots of replies to replies you end up with entries displaying
in about one inch on the side of the screen.

My prefered discussion forum format
is the Bulletin Board style where all the replies to a topic appear directly
below the main topic entry. This format is mainly used in forum software
like phpBB or VBulletin and even the most excellent DomBulletin that you
can currently get on OpenNTF in the projects section.

So I decided to write a phpBB Bulletin
Board style XPages application TWO days ago. I start with a blank database,
pulled in my base oneUI custom control layout design documents, created
FOUR forms with about SIX fields on each one, created FOUR views and FOUR
XPages containing the custom controls for the layout and one of FOUR custom
controls on each XPage to display the contents for that XPage and I came
up with xTalk.

You can try it out here : http://blog.dnaware.net/openntf/xtalk/xtalk.nsf

I’ve granted anonymous access the ability
to create new topics and reply to existing topics however in a production
environment a login would be required to capture the name of the person
posting to the forum.

There’s still a few things to do, add
sticky entries, grant the owner the ability to lock threads or forums and
a little more CSS work to tidy things up. Hopefully once it’s all finished
I’ll be able to release it on OpenNTF and who knows, maybe there will be
two discussion databases in the next Domino release, one for threaded style
and one for bulletin board style.

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11 comments on “Announcing xTalk the XPages Bulletin Board style Discussion Database
  1. Declan, you are my hero. Your Xpages Bulletin Board looks near perfect. Only for your feedback it seems the view column does not work. It is VERY important to know which items are more important. Great job.

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  2. Paul Hudson says:

    Some things you might want to consider adding, that we have on our linear forums that have been quite useful:’This message was a reply to #n’Facility to ‘show the conversation’ – showing only the direct parents to the message you’re viewing.

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  3. Julian Buss says:

    I love XPages… great to see how fast things can be done with XPages. The forum looks good so far! One remark: when browsing with a language other than EN (DE in my case) there are some missing strings, for example in a thread on the right there is “[de| QuickQuote]”.

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  4. Eric Mack says:

    Declan, nice work. When you are ready for serious testers, let me know. We may evaluate this as an alternative for forum.eproductivity.com.Eric

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  5. Ed Brill says:

    Nice one, Dec! Where’s that XPages book?

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  6. John Palmer says:

    Very nice Declan. I’m with Ed, where’s the book?

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  7. Declan, Awesome work man. Great stuff.

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  8. Awesome work! A month ago I blogged about how IBM should update the notes.net to the xpages discussion template, but this actually looks better { Link }

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  9. why won’t you join forces with Nicholas Heidlof concerning updating the discussion template 8.5.1 stylie?Lot’s of your ideas I have directed as ideas to Nicholas.Seems your efforts could be integrated there…

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  10. Thomas Christensen says:

    Great work, hurry up please!Is it possible to acquire a login for more extensive testing?Our wish list:-Loads of configuration stuff like:anonymous access versus loginAccount creationconfigurable names database-Quote/multiqute-Extensive user profiles (Avatars, signatures misc.)What we basically want is domBulletin, but with proper HTML.loveThomas and Christoffer DL2 Sweden

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