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How to Customize the forum - General

 
Author Bobthearch
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 20:17 
If you want a lite, simple and stable message board attached to your existing website at the very high integration level, which may include the full customization of the layout to the look of your website...

Well that sounds good, exactly what I'm looking for. But I could find no customization tools or visual options in the Admin Panel while using the Softaculous Demo.
Upload a header image, add logo, change colors... Nothing.
What am I missing? or what did I overlook?

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#2 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 15:27 | Edited by: Paul 
Bobthearch
This forum supposes you know HTML and have a vision of how to modify its files directly. The deepest level of integration supposes the lowest level. Whatever tools you need to have, is an FTP client to transfer/upload files, and the tool like Notepad2 to modify these files properly. This is the fastest, the most stable and the most reliable way of any modification you can make. There are no WYSIWYG tools, if you are about it.

So, if we talk on how to upload an image, upload it by FTP client to your server or domain. Modify css/default.css file to apply any look you want. Modify templates/main_header.html to put anything you want in the header, the same for templates/main_footer.html.

I couldn't be sure about the Softacolous as it is about their own implementation, but miniBB itself is a standalone package which could be installed on any server. Study more on the Requirements page.

Author Bobthearch
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 19:49 
Thank you Paul. That does answer my question.

Unfortunately I'm a software end-user and not a programmer. Learning HTML or writing CSS style sheets is not going to happen - I simply don't have the time (or skillset).

I was really looking for a forum software with a back-end GUI for basic customization, not manual coding.

Thanks again.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#4 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 23:17 
Bobthearch:
I was really looking for a forum software with a back-end GUI for basic customization, not manual coding.

I understand, but have you at least a skill no install the software on your own, or do you still look for a completely web-based solution with the minimum intrusion from the low-level coding and mods?

Also I'd appreciate if you could spread your vision of how it would look if you'd go to customize it with no HTML knowledge. I understand about uploading a logo and CSS modifications (I have some ideas in mind of how I could code it for the end client), but that looks so limited, at least for me... Also such add-ons open so many ways to hack the layout from behind, I suppose we could call this software "secure" at the moment exactly because it has no such ways to modify critical parts of the code via web-forms.

Thanks for your answers...

Author Bobthearch
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 9 Jul 2018 01:13 | Edited by: Bobthearch 
Paul:
I understand, but have you at least a skill no install the software on your own, or do you still look for a completely web-based solution with the minimum intrusion from the low-level coding and mods?

I installed MiniBB through the Softaculous installer provided by the web host. I assume that's how most people would do it.

Also I'd appreciate if you could spread your vision of how it would look if you'd go to customize it with no HTML knowledge. I understand about uploading a logo and CSS modifications (I have some ideas in mind of how I could code it for the end client), but that looks so limited, at least for me... Also such add-ons open so many ways to hack the layout from behind, I suppose we could call this software "secure" at the moment exactly because it has no such ways to modify critical parts of the code via web-forms.

Sure. There's are a wide range of methods to allow customization from the front end, without coding and without expecting users to manually locate and edit files on the server's backend. IMO, expecting average users like myself to manually edit files on the server is far more dangerous than providing some basic front-end functionality.

Most other forum software I've tested use some sort of Theme functions. Developers can create, download, share, and install community-created themes. There are even theme-creation programs that work independently of the forum installation.

Here's a website for creating custom color schemes for phpBB and Xenforo. While complex, it can be used without any custom coding:
colorizeit(dot com)

And I am familiar with the Weaver Xtreme Wordpress theme. It contains over 600 customization options that cover literally every element of the website. Colors, fonts, text sizes, backgrounds, margins, borders, etc. Additionally it has boxes for manually entering custom CSS and HTML code from the front end. And with the push of a button it can all be reset, or saved as a Sub-Theme for future use. You likely don't want to create anything so complex, but it does go to show what is possible.
I've included a screenshot of one portion of one page of the Weaver Xtreme Admin Panel.


At the least, MiniBB could include a few preset color schemes for forum owners to choose from.

Author Bobthearch
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 9 Jul 2018 01:22 
The forum I am creating is to be part of a larger website. So at the least, I require:

Ability to match color scheme;
Ability to add logos and custom titles to match the website branding.
A button or menu item that can be used to link back to the main website.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#7 | Posted: 9 Jul 2018 15:57 
Thank you very much for explanations. For miniBB there is no need to create such a complex scheme like provided on the screenshot above. Maybe 5-6 options to change truly regulate everything, and I'm not sure if it would be so difficult to change them in Notepad right away or through interface like that. Anyway I have something similar to develop in mind, and I understand your thoughts; still, calling this software as "mini" I didn't suppose it will have a core of 200 Kb and +10Mb of scripted interfaces which I dislike at most in every forum program I know.

As about the integration principles you describe, they look so simple, at least for me, and they could be implemented in the range of our integration/synchronization support we provide. I hope you understand that our interest is not just to supply a free software to the market, but gain at least minimum profit to support its development (else how it could survive). And like in any open source, it is in your hands: either you take it and adjust to your boss requirements on your own, either your hire someone or us, either you choose another product which would eat your time at its best.

But there is one point in all this. If you choose miniBB, you have to upgrade it once in a few years or even not at all :) it has a minimum, but this is quite well secured in years. If you install a huge interfaces beast developed by 100+ coders from all over the world, which couldn't be truly controlled from aside and which is constantly changed, you will spend most of the time to its upgrades. I've passed through it long time ago that's why I've coded the miniBB.

I'll keep in mind the suggestions you've proposed, but I'm still in doubt that uneducated people should be given an easy possibility to the development processes you describe. I don't even have an idea how each individual website could match a 3rd party forum program if it's developer doesn't know HTML. I'll keep my right being awared from such a website, and would prefer to avoid my software from being installed there, so finally it is not a reason to claim.

Author Guest
#8 | Posted: 9 Jul 2018 18:48 
That's a very insightful post.
I've moved to a larger (definitely not "mini") forum software to use. And I find even with it there is no way to upload a logo without manually delving into the server's backside. And while there are built-in options for some functions, the code must still be manually edited. But they do at least provide a front-end access to the code "templates".

On a personal note, the websites I create are non-commercial - no ads, low cost, mere hobbies. Here's an example of what I've accomplished with no manual coding: placesandpics(dot com)

Have a good day, and I wish you and your software the best.

Author fooso
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 10 Jul 2018 20:22 
Thx. this info rly very important for me)

Author KAofStafford
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 17 Jul 2018 09:12 | Edited by: KAofStafford 
I see, yet have you no less than an expertise no introduce the product all alone, or do regardless you search for a totally electronic arrangement with the base interruption from the low-level coding and mods?

Likewise I'd acknowledge on the off chance that you could spread your vision of how it would look in the event that you'd go to tweak it with no HTML learning. I comprehend about transferring a logo and CSS adjustments (I have a few thoughts at the top of the priority list of how I could code it for the end customer), however that looks so restricted, at any rate for me... Likewise such additional items open such a significant number of approaches to hack the design from behind, I assume we could call this product "secure" right now precisely on the grounds that it has no such approaches to alter basic parts of the code through web-shapes. A debt of gratitude is in order for your answers.!

Regards,
Kiddie Academy of Stafford

Author EricBlair
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 28 Aug 2018 05:50 
Hello. I'm new to php (but not to programming) so forgive my questions (a little bit).

The forum is installed and working correctly. Now I'm trying to modify the forum layout. I have reviewed the manual and understand the html files are in the templates directory, and the bb_default_style.css file contains the css properties.

But which php file is the master? index.php? does index.php call all other html files? I thought so, but the names of the html files aren't in index.php, so index.php doesn't appear to call the other files. Any explanation would help a lot - thanks!

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#12 | Posted: 28 Aug 2018 18:42 | Edited by: Paul 
EricBlair:
I have reviewed the manual and understand the html files are in the templates directory, and the bb_default_style.css file contains the css properties.

You are right about templates folder; but my apologies about bb_default_style.css - note on it obviously has left from previous versions, now I've updated the Manual - the file for CSS properties in miniBB 3.3 is located under [css]/default.css.

EricBlair:
But which php file is the master?

The functions which load and parse templates are located in bb_functions.php - resp. they are `makeUp` and `ParseTpl`. They just need a filename with no extension, which is supplied automatically depending on the template file.

You don't have to edit this function (or at least I'm not sure why would you know about how it all works). Everything in miniBB could be done on the add-ons level, and if you modify the core file and some function of it, this means you'll need to re-edit this file each time when you upgrade; this means you lose a chance of easy upgrades in the future.

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 How to Customize the forum - General
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