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Vanilla for the blind

edited January 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Hi all, I am a developer of games for the blind, and being a blind person myself I have been looking for a very simple and powerful forum system for my website that my blind clients could use with minimal fuss. I think Vanilla is the answer from what I can tell so far. Most forum software is chock full of links and graphics that the blind person, using a screenreader just doesn't have need of. I have set up Vanilla on my server, and it is working quite well, except for two things: 1. It seems the users have to select remember me each time they log in, or they aren't properly signed in. 2. Is it possible to get rid of the statistics shown with each discussion, such as last post, created by and all that? The less links we have to go through, the better, as a screenreader has to take in everything in a linear fashion, and this information isn't really necessary for us. Personally, I think with a little tweaking, Vanilla could easily become the new standard for forums in the blind community, as it is very close to being just right for us as is. Thanks much for any help, and feel free to email me or MSN off list at: [email protected] Thanks for your time, Che


  • 1. Sounds like a sessions problem with your server, do you use sessions with any other application and do they work correctly? 2. You can cut that out with css (I'm not sure if that would affect a screenreader?) or by doing a theme change (would cut out the html alltogether which i assume must do the trick)
  • You can easily change both of those by editing the theme files.
    1. change the function call in themes/people_signing_form_nopostback.php:ForceIncomingBool('RememberMe', 0)to this:ForceIncomingBool('RememberMe', 1)and the checkbox will automatically be selected.
    2. simply remove whatever you don't want displayed in themes/discussion.php. for instance, deleting the following will show only the discussion title:
          if ($this->Context->Configuration['USE_CATEGORIES']) {
             $DiscussionList .= '
             <li class="DiscussionCategory">
                <span>'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('Category').' </span><a href="'.GetUrl($this->Context->Configuration, 'index.php', '', 'CategoryID', $Discussion->CategoryID).'">'.$Discussion->Category.'</a>
          $DiscussionList .= '<li class="DiscussionStarted">
             <span><a href="'.GetUrl($this->Context->Configuration, 'comments.php', '', 'DiscussionID', $Discussion->DiscussionID, '', '#Item_1', CleanupString($Discussion->Name).'/').'">'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('StartedBy').'</a> </span><a href="'.GetUrl($this->Context->Configuration, 'account.php', '', 'u', $Discussion->AuthUserID).'">'.$Discussion->AuthUsername.'</a>
          <li class="DiscussionComments">
             <span>'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('Comments').' </span>'.$Discussion->CountComments.'
          <li class="DiscussionLastComment">
             <span><a href="'.$LastUrl.'">'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('LastCommentBy').'</a> </span><a href="'.GetUrl($this->Context->Configuration, 'account.php', '', 'u', $Discussion->LastUserID).'">'.$Discussion->LastUsername.'</a>
          <li class="DiscussionActive">
             <span><a href="'.$LastUrl.'">'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('LastActive').'</a> </span>'.TimeDiff($this->Context, $Discussion->DateLastActive,mktime()).'
          if ($this->Context->Session->UserID > 0) {
                $DiscussionList .= '
             <li class="DiscussionNew">
                <a href="'.$NewUrl.'"><span>'.$this->Context->GetDefinition('NewCaps').' </span>'.$Discussion->NewComments.'</a>
          } could also hide things with css, but if you're never going to use it anyway you might as well save yourself the bandwidth
  • Doesn't Pol's Simplified Discussions extension get rid of everything but the discussion's title? I didn't try it but it should be easier to use it than changing some code.
  • Curious - not having used a screen-reader, was that code blog above brutal to read?
  • Hey thanks a ton guys for the info. I edited the signIn.php and now the remember me is checked by default. I haven't tried editing the code for the rest yet, as I wanted to try the add in first. I installed the add in, and checked it in the extensions settings, but I don't see any option anywhere to turn it on, and everything looks the same at this point. Is this something each user has to turn on for themselves, and if so, where is the option found? And nah, I am a game coder, so I am used to lots of lines of code being read to me. Just imagine Stephen Hawking on crack and PCP and that is what I listen to all day basically. :) Thanks again for the info gang. Che
  • edited January 2007
    It appears each user would need to go into their forum preferences to enable the simplified discussions. You probably could get around that by changing the if statement that checks the preference into an if not.

    Another factor could be that the extension hides the fields with CSS, so if some screen readers still read them, you would be better off changing the theme file like SirNot recommended.
  • Yah, I went ahad and modified the discussion.php and that seems to work well. There are two other things I would like to change i possible. The section of text that starts with"Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of... Can that be moved to the bottom of the page, and if so, what file is this contained in? Lastly, there is a link called "Big Input" before the edit box, I assume has something to do with formatting, can I remove that also, and again what file would that be in? Thanks a ton guys, this is nearing perfections for the blind user, something we haven't had easy access to before, as far as I know. Che
  • Dang, I meant to mention in my last post that the sessions thing doesn't seem to be working, as my name isn't filled into the name and password fields when I go to the forum. I'm not much of a webmaster as you can tell, is there a way to fix this or set permissions so the sessions work? Thanks again.
  • edited January 2007
    The Vanilla version comes from line 121 of appg/init_vanilla.php, to move it to a footer you would have to remove the AddString() function and echo the remaining $Context->GetDefinition('PanelFooter'); in themes/foot.php

    Big/small input resizes the comment text box, and it comes from lines 33 and 34 of themes/comment_form.php

    To keep 'remember me' remembering you, don't sign out. Just close the browser and you will already be signed in next time you visit.
  • NickENickE New
    edited January 2007
    nevermind, wallphone beat me to it...
  • Ok, things seem to be working well now for the most part, I am just going to leave the Vanilla stuff in the middle there, as I don't want to screw up anything, and I'm not sure what goes where there. If I use a line in the syntax <a href = ""> Blah blah </a> in a post on my list, shouldn't that create a link for readers? It is just posting the html code as I typed it without creating a link, is this another setting I must change?
  • You'd need to add the HTML Formatter extension for that. Find it here
  • Ok, I got that extension installed and checked, but my line still doesn't work as a link. I notice in your last response that I can click on the link you gave me, but I still see the entire html line starting with <a href = ... Also, I checked to make sure html is allowed in user settings and it is. Anything else I can check here?
  • you might have the "text-only mode" turned on.
  • Or just not selected "Html" as the "Format comments as".

    Off-Topic: Shouldn't the HtmlFormatter really be the HTMLFormatter, and shouldn't the radio box be labelled HTML not Html?
  • I see that option here, but not on my forums, is this another extension I have to put in or something? Also, I installed Notify, and now new members cannot subscribe, they are getting this error: The page could not be displayed A fatal, non-recoverable error has occurred Technical information (for support personel): Definition list of 2 items Error Message = An error occurred while creating a new user. Affected Elements = UserManager.CreateUser(); list end Block quote start The error occurred on or near: Field 'SubscribeOwn' doesn't have a default value Block quote end When installing Notify, I did not make any changes to my dataBase, as the instructions didn't mention it. I posted to the "Notify help" topic about this, but wanted to post here in case it was something I did that we were talking about that might have screwed me up. Nothing is ever easy is it? :) Thanks, Che
  • I believe there are some issues with the Notify extension in general that would probably make it worth avoiding until they get ironed out. And installing the html formatter i linked to you above should have added the HTML formatting option to your forum as you see here.
This discussion has been closed.