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"Static" links to messages

Author Paulus
#1 | Posted: 17 Dec 2007 21:46 

I am wondering if there is any way to create a static link to a particular message (something along the lines of /index.php?action=message&msg=12345 or whatever)? I have read through the manual and didn't find any suggestions...

The reason I am asking is that we are moving the content of an old proprietary forum to miniBB at the moment. All old posts are going to be available as archives and for those archives we would like to keep as much old functionality as possible. The old forum allowed static links to messages as a mechanism of maintaining threads within topics; the mechanism was also often used by experienced users to create links inside their messages to other topics (possibly in other forums), old (sometimes really old) messages etc. I can think of some way of maintaining "thread information" in the archive by creating "textual links" inside message body, this will probably be enough as threaded messages are usually relatively close to each other within a topic. However this is not going to work for arbitrary links (e.g. to old messages or other topics) so a different solution is required.

And the reason I hope to get an answer is the little linked hash ("anchor") sign in the beginning of each miniBB message. First I thought the link to be a static one. Later I recognized it was just an anchor. By the way - consider this as a bug report - that to me completely defeats the purpose of the link. There is no point in linking to a message using this anchor link because, as a topic grows and the message moves to a different page, the link is going to stop working completely! (So I kind of implied that a static linking mechanism was intended but for some reason not yet implemented or disabled.)

Thanks in advance for your help. And, if the answer to my question is "definitely no", I am wondering if it is not too unethical to ask on this particular forum whether someone can point me to a different forum software that is:

- free (that is, free to obtain a basic version and runs on free software like PHP/mySQL); "almost free", say, under $50 license and no ongoing fees, will also be considered
- incorporates features supported by miniBB
- supports "static links" as discussed above
- ideally - supports message titles, other features will be considered a bonus

At the same time I would be more than happy to stay with miniBB since, as I have said, the only real concern is static links to messages. If in your opinion the last part of my message violates any written or unwritten rules feel free to edit it out.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#2 | Posted: 18 Dec 2007 03:38 
as a topic grows and the message moves to a different page, the link is going to stop working completely - I would disagree with that meaning, because topic is "growing" from top to bottom and since you can't post new message between old messages, all messages on a static page will remain on their places... exclusion is only when you cleaning up the topic and for example, if you have message #12345 on the page 2, and it was the first on the page 2 from top, then you delete few messages on the page 1, message #12345 will move from the page 2 to the page 1 and few messages below of it could move as well...

I suppose the thing you are talking about must have a different URL, for example


so when you enter this URL it redirects you to the exact message in the thread with the default URL like


So the script which redirects will always correctly determine the proper page where message is located on (despite it is possible some older messages were deleted or moved like I described above) and this link could be considered as static...

Is this the thing you mean?

If so it would be possible to program an easy custom add-on for it...

However here I see some problems with Google, because two different links in general will point to the same page which is a duplicated content issue... Maybe it would be necessary to send some specific header like "moved permanently" when redirecting; but you may have better ideas regarding this.

Author Paulus
#3 | Posted: 18 Dec 2007 08:52 
Hi Paul,

Thanks for the reply! Yes, you are correct about what I mean and yes, I was wrong about links stopping to work when a topic grows (it, as you point out, may happen only if the topic happens to shrink as a result of deletions).

The important thing, however, is that I need static links primarily for static (archive) content being moved from another forum so there is no risk of topic shrinking. All I really need to do is calculate the page number for any given message and build a correct URL. With the way my conversion script works (2 passes, one to read the structure and another to actually retrieve content) it sounds like a fairly easy job. (But I certainly needed someone to talk to in order to realize that!)

So, thanks again for your prompt help! In case I ever need the static shrink-proof links to messages I will consider the add-on.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#4 | Posted: 18 Dec 2007 13:10 
All I really need to do is calculate the page number for any given message and build a correct URL.

- So if you are sure the topic won't be shrinked, you can point to the anchors at no risk... Anchor letter actually means the POST ID which in database is an unique autoincremental field.

Also like I described you (or we) can program an additional plugin which relocates to the proper thread if previous links to certain messages were posted in some specific format...

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