An Update On xTalk For Domino

A while back I announced a project that

I had been working on called xTalk. It is an XPages Discussion Forum application

similar to the many forums you may find on community websites. The initial

version of the code and basically the core functionality was written in

about three to four days but since then I have been polishing it up, putting

in additional features and generally getting it ready for release when

IBM Lotus Domino 8.5.1 is also released, but I just wanted to give everybody

an update on how things are looking in the app.

The first important aspect of xTalk

is that there is no Notes Client interface. It is designed to be 100% xPages

driven. It has been announced that xPages in the Notes Client will be coming

in 8.5.1 and this is the reason I wanted to do everything in xPages. When

you are logged in as the application owner you will see lots of extra buttons

appear in different places. For example on the homepage you will see the

options for configuring the application and for creating new forums categories.

A picture named M2

Clicking the configure button allows

the application owner to set all the options that they want to enable/disable.

A picture named M3

When you do create new forum categories

and/or forum areas you can set the security for the area which will allow

you to create hidden forums that are only visible to certain people or

groups. To do this I have a nice name picker component and I’m making use

of Reader Fields to provide the security. The name picker still needs a

little css work but as you can see it consists of two lists and a ‘move’

button. Select the name on the left, click the button and it moves to the

list on the right. You can also double click names in the list, kinda like

the name picker in the notes client.

A picture named M4

If you have been setup as the ‘Category

Owner’ you will have full rights to all the forums in that category, even

if you are not set as the owner of the forum area. These top down rights

will ensure that you can manage the forums areas under your control but

no other ones. As the Category Owner you can also Create, Edit and Delete

forum areas in your category. Another nice feature I have added is the

ability to re-order the forums as they appear in the category using the

up and down arrows you can see in the following screenshot. As mentioned

each forum area may have it’s own set of security controls and readers.

This will allow you to create hidden forum areas within a category. The

‘lock’ icon you see will also allow a owner to lock down the forum area

so no new topics or replies can be made.

A picture named M5

Inside a forum area the forum area owner

or the category owner has the ability to lock individual posts or even

make posts into ‘sticky threads’ that will always appear at the top of

the list of topics in that forum area. Again everything is done within

the xPages interface.

A picture named M6

One more feature I’ll be adding before

xTalk is released will be to allow the forum area owner define a list of

people who are allowed create new topics and who is allowed reply to topics.

This would be useful if you have a forum area for announcements where you

want to control who can make the announcements and if people can reply

to the announcements or not.

Another feature I have just finished

adding to xTalk is the ability to use BBCode to format your replies. This

special code is normally found in many other discussion forums and is considered

by some as a better option then allowing HTML to be entered directly as

you can somewhat control what is allowed.

A picture named M7

A picture named M8

The above screen shot also hints at

another feature that is just about finished and that is the ability to

quote replies. In flat forums like xTalk this is an important feature.

The forum area owner will also have

the ability to remove and edit  individual posts within a topic for

moderation purposes. Authors will have the ability to edit their own posts

for a certain amount of time before they become permanently locked down.

I hope this little update has whetted

your appetite for what xTalk will be able to do for you when it is finally

released. I think I have all the basics covered and everything should be

completed in time for the 8.5.1 launch. The code will be released as an

Apache Public License V2 product and if openNTF keep moving in the right

direction it may even show up there as a project.

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9 comments on “An Update On xTalk For Domino
  1. John Palmer says:

    Where do you find the time? Don’t you have a real job?


  2. Ray Davies says:

    Looking forward to trying it. It looked pretty good last time and now even better! Uhmmmm, where will you publish it?


  3. Rob McDonagh says:

    Please tell me I’ll be able to open a topic in a tab, unlike the current OpenNTF forums (and domBulletin has/d this limitation as well, I think?). Pretty please?


  4. Declan Lynch says:

    Rob, the answer to your question is yes.I’m using the URL to pass parameters such as topic/Forum ID so every page will be bookmarkable.


  5. the hands of the master are at work


  6. SWEET!! Can’t wait to try it out.


  7. hej I have a question regarding your XPages tutorialcould you send me an email so I can get in contact with you?thanks in advance


  8. Albert Buendia says:

    Declan, here’s a volunteer for translating the manual into Spanish. You can contact me via email. Thank you.


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