When IBM Lotus Notes/Domino 8.5.1 was released
on Monday I also released a new open source project on OpenNTF called xTalk.
I’ve talked about it here a few times already but now I want to describe
a few of the features that have been added in the latest build that you
can download from OpenNTF.
The latest build on OpenNTF, xTalk V0.7,
is in my own opinion, a feature complete build for the first version of
the application. There are a couple of minor bugs that I’m working out
but that should not stop anybody from using the application in a test environment.
So what’s been added since I last spoke about the project.
As the application is 100% XPages on
both the web browser and in the Lotus Notes 8.5.1 client I had to make
the application easy to configure. When you first load the application
in your browser you’ll see the following screen
If you then log in it will check the
ACL to see if you have the ForumOwner role and if you do the home page
will change to assist you in creating your first ‘Forum Category’
Once you have created the forum category
the screen will then assist you with creating new forums within the forum
So within a few minutes of download
and deploying the application you can be up and running with your forums
In my initial test builds of xTalk I
had used the XPages Richtext Editor component but I also wanted to support
the BBCode system that is used in all of the web forums that I based the
design of xTalk on. Not wanting to mix both Richtext and BBCode I decided
to move to BBCode only which meant changing the richtext control into a
simple text area.
Above the text area I then added buttons
to give the user who may be unfamiliar with BBCode the ability to style
There are options to Bold the text,
add links, images, email addresses, change the color and size of the font
and even include quote blocks and code blocks.
Edit Your Message.
One feature that somebody asked for
early on in the development cycle was to provide the ability for a user
to edit their own messages. In xTalk I decided to implement a timed approch
to this request and only give the user a limited window in which they can
edit their own posts.
The the lower right corner of each post
the ‘Edit’ button will appear if the viewer is the original author of the
post and it is within 10 minutes of the posts creations date/time.
Quoting A Message.
In the screen snippit above you’ll also
see a ‘quote’ icon. Clicking this icon will take the text of the message
and append it to anyting in the reply area and surround it with the special
BBCode that is required to mark it as a quote.
If you have the ForumOwner role in the
ACL or if you have been designated as a category owner or individual forum
owner then you will see lots of moderator and configuration buttons that
normal users won’t be able to see. Bringing the buttons into the UI means
that here is no need for a separate administration interface. Here’s what
some of the buttons look like.
I’ve tried to select icons that will
be self explanatory. the green + icon will add stuff, like forum categories
or forum areas depending on which level you click the button in. The pencil
icon will edit a forum category or forum area, the lock icon will lock
a forum area or topic, the pushpin will mark topics as sticky.
The red – icon is only visible if you
have the ForumOwner role in the ACL and it will delete items. If you delete
a topic then all the replies are deleted also, if you delete a forum then
all the topic and replies in that forum are deleted and if you delete a
category all the forums and topics and replies within all the forums in
that category are deleted. You will have a chance to back out of doing
the deletion and the warning screen will tell you how many threads and
posts would be deleted.
So there you have it, all the featured
discussed above are available in the xTalk 0.7 build that is currently
on OpenNTF. If you have no yet checked out xTalk then please feel free
to download it and if your going to use it in a live environment for any
reason then I’d love to hear about it.