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Are some of these feature/add-on ideas possible in Vanilla?

edited March 2008 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Hello, I'm looking for forum software to use for a help and support forum. I have some specific features and behaviors I want for this. It looks like Vanilla has add-ons for some of those features, and I can write my own add-ons for others. However, one of the main things I want to do is make it easy for users to start posting without having to go through applying for membership by email or anything. If spam becomes a problem, I have another way to authenticate them (authentication key used on other parts of the website). So if a user is not authenticated, and they click "Start a new discussion", I want as part of the post form places to fill in nickname, password, and other custom information, and to essentially be immediately registered and post at the same time. Is it possible to modify the registration procedure like this in Vanilla? Are there any existing add-ons that do stuff like this? The reason I ask about this thing in particular is that it does seem like it's a key part of Vanilla's design to have email registration with moderator approval, so I'm wondering how hard it would be to add an addon or other modification that changes this. I know there is an add-on to sign in when adding a comment to an existing discussion, but I need the same thing for new discussions. (Then, it would also be good to have a way to remove all user accounts that have been inactive for the past N months too...) A few of the other features I'd like to have are: * Wiki links in a post. E.g. if you put a word in double brackets it turns it into a link to a page by that name elsewhere on your website. [I can write this, i see "mediawiki integration" but why is it mediawiki specific?] * When registering, new users must fill in some custom fields. Looks like this kind of thing is supported in Vanilla, and there's an addon to include those in their profile. I would also want to use those field values to look up other information in a different database. * Sync with an email mailing list [existing addon? couldn't find one] * Search [Vanilla has it it seems] * Ability for users in one group (e.g. the "staff" group) to hide messages they post from users in other groups [i could write this; lower priority feature] * Display some information about a user next to their name (group membership, custom data fields) [Should be easy to write it seems] * Ability to make attachments, and make them optionally only viewable by you or by members in another group (i.e. the "staff" group) [low priority] * A view that shows discussions with no answers in them yet [Existing addon?] * Originator of a discussion or an admin can mark a thread as "closed" or "answered" (maybe that also closes it for new comments too?) [Can write this] * Email reminder if a discussion hasn't had any activity in N days but is not yet "closed" * Button that takes the contents of a discussion thread and posts it to some form elsewhere on your website (e.g. to a Wiki or Knowlege Base or FAQ manager) [lower priority] * Ability for users with some role to post to a forum category that they otherwise wouldn't have access to, but only see their own posts. [can write this. hard??] Thanks, Reed


  • edited March 2008
    if you disable registration approval, (and you don't install an extension for email authentication) then when someone applies for membership, it is granted immediately.

    the mediawiki integration just makes it so the users can "cross authenticate" (if they logged into the forum, they're logged into the wiki) I don't believe it will do wiki links in a post

    the addon that supports default custom fields is "dead" (last time I tried installing it, it blew up my forum). You would have to rewrite this extension yourself (especially if you want to require the fields filled out at registration) May I suggest uploading it to the addon repository?

    as for "syncing with an email mailing list," I'm not sure I know what you mean.

    search is included with vanilla (how could it not?)

    you can create entire categories that will lock certain roles out with a plain install of vanilla, and there is a whisper feature that is to take the place of private messages. (look on the vanilla documentation)

    I believe there's an addon that will display info next to their name. An alternative would be UserInfo (search on the adons site) It displays their info in a javascript tooltip. It should be pretty easy to edit what is displayed.

    there is an attachment addon (be sure to get version 2), although I think the attachments are viewable by anyone that can view the message. (so to hide it from certain users, you would need to post in a category they can't view)

    i don't think there's an extension that will display only messages with no answers. (seems simple, though)

    admin can close a discussion, but the originator cannot. (again, no such addon yet, but pretty simple)

    discussions don't close by default in a time limit, and there are a few addons that send mass emails. they could be modified to do what you need.

    as for taking a discussion and "exporting" it, that hasn't been done yet.

    i don't think there's an extension that does the last thing on your list

    I forgot to add that if an extension hasn't been updated in awhile, it may not be compatible with the latest version of vanilla. there is usually a newer 'branch' of it that may be a better option. (or not) some of the older extensions work perfectly.
  • i don't think there's an extension that will display only messages with no answers
    see UnansweredDiscusions
    discussions don't close by default in a time limit
    see Discussion Expiration
  • thanks for correcting me, Grahack :-P
  • It's a pleasure ;). Your comment was long, so it's less mistakes in proportion than if you just said those two things.
  • Thanks for the info guys! I'll have to look in to how one writes a plugin for Vanilla next week. Reed
This discussion has been closed.