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#1 Arvy

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:19 PM

At Nuno's request (see this thread) I'll be working on possible site developments with the principal objective of sustaining high performance and usability while also (re-)incorporating as many features and options as possible consistent with the primary functional goals of the Boot Land web site itself.

User input and feedback will, of course, be an essential element throughout the developmental process and, to that end, Nuno has established this new section of the Boot Land forums. Also, with the same purposes in mind, I have created an "experimental" subdomain location on my own virtech.org server where various possibilites (structure, layout, etc.) can be tried and tested prior to implementation here on the operational site.

Interested users can follow the ongoing "experimental" processes at http://bootland.virtech.org/ or http://virtech.org/bootland/ . HOWEVER, any user comments and feedback should be posted here as the testing location is NOT intended to support normal user registration and discussion. In addition to software licensing considerations, the test installation will be subject to frequent updating and structural changes that may interefere with normal use, or may even possibly obliterate previous input.

Insofar as possible, I'll do my best to provide users with up-to-date information on developmental progress by posting updates to this thread as circumstances warrant. To date, the following initial steps have been taken:

- Creation of http://bootland.virtech.org/ subdomain (Pending global DNS propagation, use http://virtech.org/bootland/ )

- Installation of Invision Power Board (v2.3.4) into its own folder with auto-redirect from subdomain home page

- Installation of IPB Widgets for use in sidebar features and as an alternative to mkportal's heavy loading demands

- Creation of "Recommended" and "Active Users" sidebar features per Nuno's initial request

It will be noted that the last-mentioned item is still rough and is subject to "tweaking" of its current positioning, etc. So please don't be too hard on me for the poor initial appearance. :huh: I'll fix it as soon as I can, but I have a medical appointment this afternoon. So it will probably stay that way until tomorrow.* Thereafter, I'll start working on Nuno's other request regarding possibilities for home page layout. (* The sidebar has now been vertically aligned with the main board display panel.)

Note for Nuno: If you have a favourite IPB skin that you'd like me to use as the base for futher experimentation, in lieu of the default IPB Classic Blue that I'm currently using, please let me know.

#2 Arvy

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 06:10 PM

As promised yesterday, work has now begun on the development of the main page structure and layout possibilies on the experimental subdomain set-up at http://bootland.virtech.org/ .

Prior to implementing any specific content requests (and as an essential prerequisite for doing so) the first step must necessarily be the establishement of some fundamental parameters for the entire site. Some degree of consistency is critical to overall usability in such areas as user navigation, for example, which needs to be considered on a site-wide basis from the outset. Not only the home page, but every page, including but not limited to the forums, should allow users to access all other areas of the web site without encountering such radical changes to layout and appearance that the user becomes confused and/or loses any sense of each area being an integral part of the whole.

Having these objectives in mind, I have begun by setting up a page header that includes a navigation menu bar as well as the Boot Land logo, both of which can be made common to ALL pages of the entire web site. In most cases only a one-line PHP include is required. (The forums use a newly created IPB Widget for the same purpose.) To illustrate this possility, I have initially chosen a very simple navigation menu. Many more complex nav menu possibilites (multi-layer drop-downs, pop-ups, etc.) are available, but most use javascript which I have tried to avoid, even although Boot Land's IPB forums themselves use it extensively.

Please consider this an invitation for preliminary comments. At this stage, the basic concept is what matters most. Nevertheless, comments on the overall appearance are also welcome. In particular, I would repeat yesterday's invitation to Nuno to make known any IPB skin preference as the base for further experimentation and "matching" of other page elements.

#3 Nuno Brito

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:37 PM

Hi Arvy,

Sorry for the delay but I planned to search my backup archives and find the custom skin that was created before being modified to work with mkportal last night but I didn't found it.

On this link you find the custom skin that is currently used on the site - http://nunobrito.eu/...ustomWebber.zip - hope it works as expected, I did a direct export of our site theme.

-----

Visited the test site, the block are falling nicely.

- Recommended box is looking good, is it possible to modify the block to add images with respective links instead of the text link for our bootdisk.com case?

- The links on the top will "flicker" to a bigger font size when clicking on the forum link and take a while to be restored back to the usual size, is it possible to keep them on the same size during this transition? This font size difference also occurs on other sections inside the forum - for example on the login page.

- Can the top menu navigation be placed under the logo so that our boot land image can be used exactly as it is on the forum?

Good work so far Arvy, hope these suggestions are somehow possible to implement - thank you.

:huh:

#4 Arvy

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:11 PM

I'll install the theme you exported very shortly. I'm sure it will be fine, but others will be the judge and jury. I'm just the mechanic.

Mainly, I just wanted to have the actual board skin's CSS style sheets available so that the home page (and any other pages added to the test site) can use the same "theme" components as the forums do simply by including a one-line <link rel="stylesheet" /> reference in each page. That way, the entire site's "look and feel" can be changed simply by choosing a different forums skin. I think I already told you that I'm a very lazy developer. :huh: Besides, doing it that way will make it much easier for you to administer in the long run.

I think I've already fixed the nav menu font size issue (#2) and I'm sure we can make those other changes fairly easily too. For the moment, I'm deeply engaged in trying to make everything as compliant as possible with applicable W3C (XHTML and CSS) standards. Doing so doesn't absolutely guarantee complete cross-browser compatibility (they all have quirks) but it helps. In any case, so long as we can get the all of the features themselves working properly, re-arranging their order, positions, etc. should require nothing more than a few trivial adjustments to the layout -- I hope. :huh:

#5 Nuno Brito

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:23 PM

I've installed the new theme on the test site along with the block integration on the board header.

Thanks for the fixing the font issue - it was something that I wasn't being able to solve by myself.

--

Right now I'm looking on the way how xml blocks are composed, very interesting indeed.

Guess we'll need a new type of link block specifically for images that can hold the path to the image location instead of the title text to display.

:huh:

#6 Arvy

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:46 PM

The XML resource files create PHP source files as each Widget type is installed. I'm sure you're right about needing to create and install a new Widget type for what you want. It should probably provide for both images and text entries to be able use the latter for the "alt=" tag that is mandatory for up-to-date W3C compliance.

Incidentally, you may have noticed that the Active Users widget that is displayed beside the index and the forums is not displayed beside individual topics. That's because it cannot be. The required ActiveUsers() method is not available within the PHP classes included in the IPB topic template. In its absence, any attempt to call that method produces a fatal error.

#7 Arvy

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 12:55 AM

As requested, I have created a new Widget that accepts image source inputs for displaying links to "Recommended" sites. In addition to the link URL and imgae source, it also accepts alt text entries for display (usually on mouseover) in most browsers and is thus in compliance with applicable W3C standards.

Additional pages have been added to the site navigation menu bar. Once again, they are intended merely to illustrate the integration of a site-wide "themed" concept using W3C-compliant CSS stylesheets and common navigation features throughout. They are not necessarily related to any site organization or content categories that may or may not appear in the operational server implementation when finalized.

For the time being, I've left the navigation bar at the top of each page. The very simple PHP menu package that I chose for initial trial purposes does not provide a lot of configuration options. We can change to something more sophisticated, but there are trade-offs involved in doing so.

Note for Nuno: You will note that the nav menu bar now provides direct access to the file manger for convenience during our ongoing "experimental" processes. It's URL has been changed to http://bootland.virtech.org/fileman/ but none of your login details are affected.

I'm nearly ready to begin work on the home page (currently empty) but you'll need to tell me what all that stuff on this site's home page is and where it comes from if you want me to reproduce it all. Most of it is a complete mystery to me. I presume that the IPBWI integration API that you referred to in your original request is the one being developed at PC-Intern.com. If so, I note that the author is saying the upcoming release will not be backward compatible with the current version. Makes me wonder about the advisability of jumping into it at this particular juncture.

#8 Nuno Brito

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:39 PM

As requested, I have created a new Widget that accepts image source inputs for displaying links to "Recommended" sites. In addition to the link URL and imgae source, it also accepts alt text entries for display (usually on mouseover) in most browsers and is thus in compliance with applicable W3C standards.


Good work, about this box there are two visual details:

- Is it possible to center horizontally the boot disk logo image inside the box
- Add some space on the top between the box border and the top border of the image (not much, I think 10 pixels would suffice - look on the mkportal block at http://boot-land.net for example)

Additional pages have been added to the site navigation menu bar. Once again, they are intended merely to illustrate the integration of a site-wide "themed" concept using W3C-compliant CSS stylesheets and common navigation features throughout. They are not necessarily related to any site organization or content categories that may or may not appear in the operational server implementation when finalized.

Ok.


Incidentally, you may have noticed that the Active Users widget that is displayed beside the index and the forums is not displayed beside individual topics. That's because it cannot be. The required ActiveUsers() method is not available within the PHP classes included in the IPB topic template. In its absence, any attempt to call that method produces a fatal error.

IPBWI should hopefully provide the work tools to circumvent this limitation.


I'm nearly ready to begin work on the home page (currently empty) but you'll need to tell me what all that stuff on this site's home page is and where it comes from if you want me to reproduce it all. Most of it is a complete mystery to me. I presume that the IPBWI integration API that you referred to in your original request is the one being developed at PC-Intern.com. If so, I note that the author is saying the upcoming release will not be backward compatible with the current version. Makes me wonder about the advisability of jumping into it at this particular juncture.


If our forum modifications are documented then there shouldn't me much worries in re-applying them as we move forward to future versions so that we can safely leave behind backward support. This has been done over the last two years, the only drawback came in one of IPB software upgrades that broke all links inside the topics - their fault to mess our board that was only corrected after messing things up - I've learnt to wait at least a month to read feedback from other admins prior to install a newer version on the site. (was the only case in several updates to date so far)

IPBWI is the only active development providing a well documented resource of API functions and our code within the next months should already be based on the newer IBPWI 2.0 framework as it was announced today - http://projects.pc-i...mp;#entry172075

Code changes between 1.7 and 2.x shouldn't be problematic as we're only starting the site integration right now.

------

What do we need for a site portal without mkportal?

Currently we need a front page that displays a certain number of last created topics (not topic replies) so that the google bots can better digest our talks with a link to the respective topic.

This method is not very attractive to the visitor but has proven to be extremely efficient for allowing the google crawlers to index much deeper our pages to make them stand out on google search results, this can of course be achieved by IPBWI as they provide a working example on their site - http://ipbwi.pc-inte.../topic_list.php - on this example it's still needed to add back the web link to each respective topic.

----------

We also need to worry about a few things.

- How bots will interpret the front page to classify our page rank and crawl the contents inside each new topic so that it can show on search engines
- As improvement over the current method - use a CRON task to periodically produce a static page with forum contents to allow visitors see it without major impact on server performance and added speed.

:huh:

#9 Arvy

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 11:21 PM

our code within the next months should already be based on the newer IBPWI 2.0 framework as it was announced today - http://projects.pc-i...mp;#entry172075

That is the same announcement that I referred to in my comment. It's just a matter of timing. The IPBWI v2.0 framework is not yet available to base anything on and, when it is, it's just an intermediate transitional step toward v3.0 that the author is currently working on. If you want the script coding (functions, parameters, etc.) to be based on either one, it will have to wait until there is something later than v1.74 available to work with.

This method is not very attractive to the visitor but has proven to be extremely efficient for allowing the google crawlers to index much deeper ...

Huh? Are you're saying that these IPB forums pages are so crawler unfriendly that you want to use your web site's home page(?!) for that particular purpose even if it repels human visitors to the site's primary address? I would have thought that any IPB deficiencies in web crawler accomodation might possibly be compensated in some way/place that is less costly to the site's visitor friendliness and satisfaction, but if that's the way you want to do it, it's your choice. Just want to be sure that I'm understanding you correctly?

#10 Nuno Brito

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 11:53 PM

That is the same announcement that I referred to in my comment. It's just a matter of timing. The IPBWI v2.0 framework is not yet available to base anything on and, when it is, it's just an intermediate transitional step toward v3.0 that the author is currently working on. If you want the script coding (functions, parameters, etc.) to be based on either one, it will have to wait until there is something later than v1.74 available to work with.

The developer mentioned that it would only require some function name changes regarding the 2.x/3.x framework and the code to produce the front page should be quite smallish and simple to update as necessary.

We can wait indeed but in the meanwhile this could also be a middle step to ensure no more mkportal was needed for anything right now.

Huh? Are you're saying that these IPB forums pages are so crawler unfriendly that you want to use your web site's home page(?!) for that particular purpose even if it repels human visitors to the site's primary address? I would have thought that any IPB deficiencies in web crawler accomodation might possibly be compensated in some way/place that is less costly to the site's visitor friendliness and satisfaction, but if that's the way you want to do it, it's your choice. Just want to be sure that I'm understanding you correctly?


Yep.

Google doesn't like addresses with ? by default since they denote database sites that adds significant payload on the server and may spun thousands of new crawlers to track all pages. IPB has made an effort to minimize this condition by providing a sort of mirror content that would be html based but the result is poor. There is also a hack that allows to remove the ? and mimic the outputted pages as if they were static (called FURL - friendly URL) - this is very well digested by crawlers but the result on CPU/RAM is a bit devastating to the available server resources as more visitors/bots arrive on location.

I disabled these sort of modifications some time ago. The frontpage is currently the only way to ensure that the google bots effectively crawl the fresh topics without having to wait months for a "deep crawl".

A static html page produced from the fresh contents of topics would likely be a good solution to save mySQL/PHP usage on the frontpage. You don't need to do this by yourself, I already have a good idea how this can be implemented and don't really mind doing it soon by myself.

There are also other SEO ideas that could be implemented, for the moment this one is giving very good results.

-------

What we need right now are the fully working widget blocks inside the forums.

:huh:

#11 Arvy

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:53 AM

A static html page produced from the fresh contents of topics would likely be a good solution to save mySQL/PHP usage on the frontpage. You don't need to do this by yourself, I already have a good idea how this can be implemented and don't really mind doing it soon by myself.

Sure, you go ahead with it, by all means. As I said earlier, I only needed an explanation if you wanted me to reproduce it.

What we need right now are the fully working widget blocks inside the forums.

Well I've made the minor "tweak" to the image positioning in the Recommended block that you requested.

The functionality of Widgets in general, however, depends upon what is made available (classes, methods, etc.) by the IPB framework within which they operate. Basically, they're just interface tools, not core extensions. So, as I mentioned above, a Widget call to a resource that the current IPB operating framework (index page, forum page, or whatever) does not make available to it produces a fatal error and I can't change that. I can only stop the Widget call from being made in places where it can't be handled by IPB itself.

#12 Arvy

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:13 AM

As mentioned earlier in this thread, the site navigation menu system that I chose for the http://bootland.virtech.org "experimental" set-up is an extremely simple one. My initial choice was influnced by several factors, including my understanding that at least some users seem to have a very strong aversion to javascript despite the fact that it is used extensively here by these IPB forums themselves.

Nevertheless, keeping in mind Nuno's request for some qreater flexibility in layout, positioning, etc., I've been exploring other site-wide navigation possibilites that might be more satifactory to both users and administrators. So far, the one that looks to me like a possible "winner" is the PHP Layers Menu which does use javascript, but also works (although with diminished capabilities) in cases where the user may disable javascript in his/her browser.

Rather than making alterations to the test set-up (in case Nuno may be in the midst of some work of his own there) I've installed the PHP Layers Menu on my own site's main domain. For those who may be interested, it may be seen there at http://virtech.org/ and most of the other locations accessible from its new navigation menu. If it seems more suitable than the existing bootland test set-up, I can extend it onto that subdomain upon request. For a complete demo showing all available features, go to http://virtech.org/menu/

#13 Nuno Brito

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:45 AM

Hi Arvy.

The menu system seems quite effective.

----

Regarding the widgets - Is there any possibility of correcting the font size scale differences that are noted?

Look for example on the texts placed at the link menu and bottom of the forum on virtech when compared back to the site here.

--

Also, one minor detail - the interval spaces between up and lower borders of the bootdisk logo are not equal, this makes the image look a bit out of place, is it possible to make both top and bottom intervals equal to fully center the image inside the box? (or in alternative increase a bit the bottom border space interval)

Thanks! :huh:

#14 Arvy

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 03:05 AM

The menu system seems quite effective.

Does that mean that you want me to install it onto the bootland.virtech.org test site in place of the other one? On my own site, I've inverted the positions of the page banners and nav menus to show it can be done. It's very flexible.

Regarding font sizes, spacings, etc., most of that stuff is just a reflection of trivial CSS style sheet issues. Authors of minor add-ons such as the IPB widgets don't always conform fully to W3C standards and, even when they do, their style sheets don't always identify the HTML elments they use with sufficient differentiation to avoid being overridden by other (main body) styles. My initial focus has been on overall operational functionality rather than on site-specific appearance details. I figured you'd probably want to change at least some of that to suit your own personal preferences anyhow.

#15 Nuno Brito

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:11 AM

Does that mean that you want me to install it onto the bootland.virtech.org test site in place of the other one? On my own site, I've inverted the positions of the page banners and nav menus to show it can be done. It's very flexible.

Yes, we could explore this option to see how it would look.

Regarding font sizes, spacings, etc., most of that stuff is just a reflection of trivial CSS style sheet issues. Authors of minor add-ons such as the ISB widgets don't always conform fully to W3C standards and, even when they do, their style sheets don't always identify the HTML elments they use with sufficient differentiation to avoid being overridden by other (main body) styles.

Interesting, this fact would indeed explain the font size differences.

My initial focus has been on overall operational functionality rather than on site-specific appearance details. I figured you'd probably want to change at least some of that to suit your own personal preferences anyhow.

It's already looking quite good to be added on this site, it's just the font size issue that I couldn't solve.


EDIT


I saw that you changed the menu system to be placed on the same level as the logo - very nice.

Also notice that you fixed the font size differences - excellent work, it's looking great.

:huh:

#16 Arvy

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:30 AM

Glad you like the new look.

I should mention that it required some minor mods to one of the IP Board source files (sources/classes/class_display.php) as well as to the one of the Webber skin templates (skin_global.php). They were necessary to allow three new display items (<% MID_HEADER %>, <% MID_HORMENU %> and <% MID_FOOTER %>) for the navigation menu to be handled properly within the IPB framework. The rest of the required changes were just inserted into the IPB wrapper via the normal skin manager process in the admin panel.

Display class code
/**

* Start Layers Menu Modification

* @author Richard Virtue &#40;Arvy&#41;

* @version 1.0.0

*/

//-----------------------------------------

require_once $myDirPath . &#39;lib/bootland.inc.php&#39;;

$mid_header  = $mid->getHeader&#40;&#41;;

$mid_hormenu = $mid->getMenu&#40;&#39;hormenu1&#39;&#41;;

$mid_footer  = $mid->getFooter&#40;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% MID_HEADER %>&#34;   , $mid_header	  , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% MID_HORMENU %>&#34;  , $mid_hormenu	 , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% MID_FOOTER %>&#34;   , $mid_footer	  , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

/**

* END Layers Menu Mod 

*/

Skin modification (line 323)
<!--ipb.javascript.end-->

<div id=\&#34;logostrip\&#34;><a href=&#39;{$this->ipsclass->base_url}&#39;><!--ipb.logo.start--><img src=&#39;style_images/webber/bootland.gif&#39; alt=&#39;IPB&#39; style=&#39;vertical-align&#58;top; float&#58;left&#39; border=&#39;0&#39; /><!--ipb.logo.end--></a><% MID_HORMENU %></div>
I used an inline float:left style just for the sake of expediency. If the logo image were assigned its own CSS identification (it isn't) its style could also be handled with a CSS style sheet entry, of course. That's what I mean about frequent failures to explicitly identify HTML elements -- in this case, a failure by IPB itself -- but I suppose it could be handled as div.logostrip img. The <% MID_HORMENU %> still needs to be inserted directly into the skin template, however. The others, <% MID_HEADER %> and <% MID_FOOTER %> as well as the additional IPB javascript resources, are handled in the wrapper.

#17 Arvy

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:36 AM

It's already looking quite good to be added on this site ...

I was hoping that we might get a little more feedback before taking the final plunge, especially from Boot Land's regular denizens. I suppose we could take the attitude that no news is good news, although my own past experience suggests that people tend to wait until all the work has been completed. Then they complain loudly about every detail and deny ever having had an opportunity to comment beforehand. Oh well, 'twas ever thus. I guess we can go ahead any time you're ready and take our lumps.

In the meantime, I've expanded the http://bootland.virtech.org/ site navigation menu to show its "layers" capabilities and to provide direct menu access to some of the IPB options (new posts, PMs, help, etc.) that are normally buried within various IPB skin panels, or even missing entirely. Almost anything else can be added to the menus as desired just by editing one very simple text file. Alternatively, they can also use DBMS entries, but why complicate things needlessly.

Also, to demonstrate the ease with which the "look and feel" of an entire W3C-compliant site (not just the forums) can be modified, I've temporarily changed the experimental site back to the IPB Classic Blue skin. You will note that doing that results in absolutely no loss at all in the navigation menu's site-wide capabilities for direct access to the aforementioned IPB features. If you wish, you could even allow logged-in users to select their own skin choice without complicating any of the admin "look and feel" maintenance chores.

The bottom line is that the need for a lot of fancy (and correspondingly slow) IPB skin add-ons can be reduced considerably. In many cases, they do little more than show the same things in other locations and often with highly questionable convenience benefits at significant cost in overall performance. In fact, some of the more convoluted and highly ornamented skin designs seem a bit like using a sledge hammer to kill a gnat. :huh:

#18 Galapo

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:57 AM

I was hoping that we might get a little more feedback before taking the final plunge, especially from Boot Land's regular denizens. I suppose we could take the attitude that no news is good news

I had been checking to see progress, and your hunch here is correct at least in regards to my thoughts: I like the simplicity and tidiness of the site, esp. that created by the new menu system. Great work!

Regards,
Galapo.

#19 Arvy

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 05:36 AM

Thanks for your input and favourable review, Galapo. Much appreciated.

I definitely agree about keeping it as simple as possible. As you are well aware from our other discussions, I certainly don't mind complexity where it's neccessary to accomplish an important goal, but I really don't see the need for much complexity in this case -- especially if we're concerned about performance issues.

In fact, the nav menus could also handle such things as image links to recommended external sites quite easily by themselves without even needing sidebar "widgets". They take their inputs from very simple text files as shown below and they have the added advantage of appearing on every page of the site, not just beside the forums like "widgets". (I was only half joking when I said that people want everything to be available on every page and located at the top.) Also, the menus can go as many "layers" deep as anyone might wish, but more than two levels (or three at most) tends to get increasingly confusing for the user.

Sample nav menu input file with an image link in final item as currently used at http://bootland.virtech.org/. Initial dots control "layer" depths. Complete structure is [dots]|[text or image]|[link]|[title or alt text]|[icon]|[target]|[expanded]:
.|Home Page|/bootland/index.php|Home Page &#40;Experimental Subdomain&#41;|kfm_home.png

..|Home Demo|/bootland/|Boot Land Experimental Set-Up

..|Menus Demo|/bootland/navmenu/|PHP Layers Menu Demonstration

..|IPBWI Demo|/bootland/ipbwi.com/|IPB Web Site Integration

.|Forums|/bootland/ipboard/|IPB Forums &#40;Experimental Set-Up&#41;|ipboard.png

..|Main Page|/bootland/ipboard/index.php|Boot Land Forums &#40;Experimental&#41;

..|Messages|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=Msg&amp;CODE=01|New Messages

..|New Posts|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=Search&amp;CODE=getnew|New Forum Posts

..|Members|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=Members|Forums Members

..|Calendar|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=calendar|Forums Calendar

..|Search|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=Search&amp;f=0|Forums Search

..|Help|/bootland/ipboard/index.php?act=Help|Forums Help

.|WinBuilder|/bootland/winbuilder/|WinBuilder DBMS &#40;Experimental&#41;|virtech.png

..|WB Database|/bootland/winbuilder/|WinBuilder DBMS User Page|virtech.png

..|File Manager|/bootland/fileman/|Bootland Site File Manager

.|External|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=75|External Site Links|zikula2.png

..|Site Feedback|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=75|Boot Land Site Feedback

..|Bootland Forums|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/|Boot Land Forums Index

..|Bootland Blog|http&#58;//boot-land.blogspot.com/|Boot Land Blogs

..|Bootland Wiki|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/wiki/|Boot Land Wiki

..|Bug Tracker|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?autocom=bugtracker|Boot Land Bug Tracker

..|Downloads|http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?autocom=downloads|Boot Land Downloads

..|<img src=&#34;/bootland/images/bootdisk_link.gif&#34; />|http&#58;//bootdisk.com/|Boot Disk Web Site


#20 Arvy

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 07:03 PM

Nuno: In reply to my earlier query about using Boot Land's home page and the IPBWI API to compensate for this board's webcrawler unfriendliness you wrote:

Google doesn't like addresses with ? by default since they denote database sites that adds significant payload on the server and may spun thousands of new crawlers to track all pages. IPB has made an effort to minimize this condition by providing a sort of mirror content that would be html based but the result is poor. There is also a hack that allows to remove the ? and mimic the outputted pages as if they were static (called FURL - friendly URL) - this is very well digested by crawlers but the result on CPU/RAM is a bit devastating to the available server resources as more visitors/bots arrive on location.


I see that Invision is announcing that IPB3 will incorporate what they are calling "friendly URLs" to eliminate the ?s in them without needing any "hacks" added on. Would this accomplish what you want? If so, all that extra work might not be necessary merely to satisfy crawler robots. I know you said that you'd do the work, but it seems a shame to sacrifice all that valuable Boot Land home page "real estate" when it could do so much as a human-friendly welcome to the site instead.

#21 Nuno Brito

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 07:48 PM

Hi Arvy.

It will still take several months until IPB 3.x is released and a little more waiting time until the dust settles over the initial versions to avoid nasty surprises and unawarely become a beta tester for IPB using your live board.. :huh:

We already had the FURL functionality implemented on the board but as seen before it was imposing a significant load on the server to create all the fake-static URL's.

It's as google friendly as it can get, at the time that boot-land.net was using this methods we had accounted around 110 000 pages indexed on google and aftwerward it was disabled we dropped down to 12 500 pages that are sustained by the front page and still provide good results.

---------

I'll just create a similar front page with exists already with mkportal with the difference that it will be a truly static html page so that any crawler doesn't slurp resources with multiple visits to the main page.

We surely lose in terms of real estate but perhaps later this can be improved as things move forward and we have better things to do with boot-land.net

------

The virtech site is looking better and better, I'll send you the details to log into our server to perform your optimizations.

Maybe it would be a good idea to document all these changes required to do on skins so that this can be reproduced again after a long period of time (months or years) when necessary to avoid forgetting what changes were performed on the original IPB files.

:huh:

#22 Arvy

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:30 PM

Hi Arvy.

It will still take several months until IPB 3.x is released and a little more waiting time until the dust settles over the initial versions to avoid nasty surprises and unawarely become a beta tester for IPB using your live board.. :huh:

We already had the FURL functionality implemented on the board but as seen before it was imposing a significant load on the server to create all the fake-static URL's.

It's as google friendly as it can get, at the time that boot-land.net was using this methods we had accounted around 110 000 pages indexed on google and aftwerward it was disabled we dropped down to 12 500 pages that are sustained by the front page and still provide good results.

Too bad, but I understand. I just thought it might be worth mentioning in case (miniscule possibility) you might have missed that announcement. I'm surprised that FURLs should be such a heavy resource hog. I use quite a few redirects on my *nix/Apache server (not the Windoze/IIS server, of course) and they seem quite smooth. Oh well, as you say, we'll do what we can when the time is right.

The virtech site is looking better and better, I'll send you the details to log into our server to perform your optimizations.

Well, I guess, if you and I and Galapo are happy with it and no one else has objected, at least no one can say that we didn't allow them the opportunity prior to committing it to the operational server.

Maybe it would be a good idea to document all these changes required to do on skins so that this can be reproduced again after a long period of time (months or years) when necessary to avoid forgetting what changes were performed on the original IPB files. :huh:

Don't worry, I won't leave you without complete info on the IPB skin changes. Actually, except for that class_display.php mod mentioned above, there aren't many of those, and the nav menu system has its own complete PDF documentation. I've been holding back just a bit on writing things up because, although it's working, I'm still at the "good practices" clean-up stage. For example, I'm trying to make it so that it's all a "one-click" admin operation and can automatically detect it's own required file locations -- both from the server root and the http root -- as well as automatic detection and site-wide application of user skin preferences using IPBWI, etc.

The final tidying may take another day or two, but I'd rather do it well and properly than too quickly, and I assume you feel likewise.

#23 Nuno Brito

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 09:23 PM

I surely agree with taking each step at it's own time and test things up before writing them and then re-write them over.. :huh:

I'd say that widgets are ready to be included on the forums.

:huh:

#24 Arvy

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 06:05 AM

GOT IT! :huh: Navigation and appearance are now handled automatically site-wide on ALL pages that conform to a few very simple rules of construction. (See below.) The administrator can change the "look and feel" of the entire site just by selecting a different IP Board skin as the default. In addition, an IP Board user (if permitted by the administrator) can also choose a different skin that will be applied site-wide for that user so long as s/he is logged in.

New PHP pages can be added to the site (and old ones can be updated) completely outside the framework of the IP Board itself very simply. Any page that adheres to the following structure will include the above site navigation and "skin control" features and will have full access to ALL features of the IPBWI integration API:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC &#34;-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN&#34;

&#34;&#91;url=&#34;http&#58;//www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd&#34;&#93;http&#58;//www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd&#91;/url&#93;&#34;>

<html xmlns=&#34;&#91;url=&#34;http&#58;//www.w3.org/1999/xhtml&#34;&#93;http&#58;//www.w3.org/1999/xhtml&#91;/url&#93;&#34; xml&#58;lang=&#34;en&#34;>

<?php require_once &#39;bootland.config.php&#39;; ?>

<head>

<title>Boot Land Menu System</title>

<?php print_bootland_header&#40;&#41;; ?>

</head>

<body>

<?php print_bootland_logostrip&#40;&#41;; ?>

<p>Body of web page goes here.</p>

<?php print_bootland_footer&#40;&#41;; ?>

</body>

</html>

Site-wide administration is handled by a single configuration file which, because it tracks IPB admin and user skin changes automatically, should require very little editing after the initial installation. The complete PHP config file code is shown below for information, but only the initial path setting lines and possibly the get_bootland_footer() function are likely to require any modification at any time:
<?php

$myIPBwwwPath = &#39;/bootland/ipboard/&#39;;				// www path/ to the location of your IPB forums

$myDirPath = dirname&#40; __FILE__ &#41;.&#34;/&#34;;				// server path/ to the location of these nav menus

$myWwwPath = &#39;/bootland/navmenu/&#39;;				   // www path/ to the location of these nav menus

$myIPBWIdirPath = $myDirPath.&#39;../ipbwi.com/ipbwi/&#39;;  // server path/ to the location of your IPBWI API



if &#40;!defined&#40;&#39;MY_IPBWWW_PATH&#39;&#41;&#41; define&#40;&#39;MY_IPBWWW_PATH&#39;, $myIPBwwwPath&#41;;

if &#40;!defined&#40;&#39;MY_DIR_PATH&#39;&#41;&#41; define&#40;&#39;MY_DIR_PATH&#39;, $myDirPath&#41;;

if &#40;!defined&#40;&#39;MY_WWW_PATH&#39;&#41;&#41; define&#40;&#39;MY_WWW_PATH&#39;, $myWwwPath&#41;;

if &#40;!defined&#40;&#39;MY_IPBWIDIR_PATH&#39;&#41;&#41; define&#40;&#39;MY_IPBWIDIR_PATH&#39;, $myIPBWIdirPath&#41;;



require_once MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;lib/PHPLIB.php&#39;;

require_once MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;lib/layersmenu-common.inc.php&#39;;

require_once MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;lib/layersmenu.inc.php&#39;;



global $mid, $SDK;



$mid = new LayersMenu&#40;6, 7, 2, 1&#41;;

$mid->setDirroot&#40;MY_DIR_PATH&#41;;

$mid->setLibjsdir&#40;MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;libjs/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setImgdir&#40;MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;menuimages/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setImgwww&#40;MY_WWW_PATH . &#39;menuimages/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setIcondir&#40;MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;menuicons/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setIconwww&#40;MY_WWW_PATH . &#39;menuicons/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setTpldir&#40;MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;templates/&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setHorizontalMenuTpl&#40;&#39;bootland-hormenu.ihtml&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setSubMenuTpl&#40;&#39;bootland-submenu.ihtml&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setMenuStructureFile&#40;MY_DIR_PATH . &#39;bootland-menu.txt&#39;&#41;;

$mid->setIconsize&#40;16, 16&#41;;

$mid->parseStructureForMenu&#40;&#39;hormenu1&#39;&#41;;

$mid->newHorizontalMenu&#40;&#39;hormenu1&#39;&#41;;



function get_bootland_css&#40;&#41;

{

  require_once MY_IPBWIDIR_PATH . &#39;ipbsdk_class.inc.php&#39;;

  if &#40;!isset&#40;$GLOBALS&#91;&#39;SDK&#39;&#93;&#41; || empty&#40;$GLOBALS&#91;&#39;SDK&#39;&#93;&#41;&#41; $GLOBALS&#91;&#39;SDK&#39;&#93; =& new IPBSDK&#40;&#41;;

  $ipb_skin_id = $GLOBALS&#91;&#39;SDK&#39;&#93;->get_skin_id&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_css  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_css .= &#39;<link rel=&#34;stylesheet&#34; href=&#34;&#39; . MY_IPBWWW_PATH . &#39;style_images/css_&#39;. $ipb_skin_id . &#39;.css&#34; type=&#34;text/css&#34;></link>&#39;;

  $menu_css .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_css .= &#39;<link rel=&#34;stylesheet&#34; href=&#34;&#39; . MY_WWW_PATH . &#39;bootland.css&#34; type=&#34;text/css&#34;></link>&#39;;

  $menu_css .= &#34;\n\n&#34;;

  return $menu_css;

}



function print_bootland_css&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_css = get_bootland_css&#40;&#41;;

  echo $menu_css;

}



function get_bootland_scripts&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_scripts  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#39;<script language=&#34;JavaScript&#34; type=&#34;text/javascript&#34;>&#39;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n<!--\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= file_get_contents&#40;MY_DIR_PATH.&#39;libjs/layersmenu-browser_detection.js&#39;&#41;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n// -->\n</script>\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#39;<script language=&#34;JavaScript&#34; type=&#34;text/javascript&#34;>&#39;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n<!--\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= file_get_contents&#40;MY_DIR_PATH.&#39;libjs/layersmenu-library.js&#39;&#41;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n// -->\n</script>\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#39;<script language=&#34;JavaScript&#34; type=&#34;text/javascript&#34;>&#39;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n<!--\n&#34;;

  $menu_scripts .= file_get_contents&#40;MY_DIR_PATH.&#39;libjs/layersmenu.js&#39;&#41;;

  $menu_scripts .= &#34;\n// -->\n</script>\n\n&#34;;

  return $menu_scripts;

}



function print_bootland_scripts&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_scripts = get_bootland_scripts&#40;&#41;;

  echo $menu_scripts;

}



function get_bootland_header&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_header  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_header .= &#39;<meta http-equiv=&#34;Content-Type&#34; content=&#34;text/html; charset=iso-8859-1&#34;></meta>&#39;;

  $menu_header .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_header .= get_bootland_css&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_header .= get_bootland_scripts&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_header .= $GLOBALS&#91;&#39;mid&#39;&#93;->getHeader&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_header .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  return $menu_header;

}



function print_bootland_header&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_header = get_bootland_header&#40;&#41;;

  echo $menu_header;

}



function get_bootland_navmenu&#40;&#41;

{

  $navmenu  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $navmenu .= $GLOBALS&#91;&#39;mid&#39;&#93;->getMenu&#40;&#39;hormenu1&#39;&#41;;

  $navmenu .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  return $navmenu;

}



function print_bootland_navmenu&#40;&#41;

{

  $navmenu = get_bootland_navmenu&#40;&#41;;

  echo $navmenu;

}



function get_bootland_logostrip&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_logostrip  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#39;<div id=&#34;logostrip&#34;>&#39;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#39;<a href=&#34;index.php&#34;><img src=&#34;/bootland/images/bootland_logo.gif&#34; border=&#34;0&#34; alt=&#34;&#34; style=&#34;float&#58;left&#34; /></a>&#39;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_logostrip .= get_bootland_navmenu&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#39;</div>&#39;;

  $menu_logostrip .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  return $menu_logostrip;

}



function print_bootland_logostrip&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_logostrip = get_bootland_logostrip&#40;&#41;;

  echo $menu_logostrip;

}



function get_bootland_footer&#40;&#41;

{

  $self_uri = &#39;http&#58;//&#39;.$_SERVER&#91;&#39;SERVER_NAME&#39;&#93;.$_SERVER&#91;&#34;PHP_SELF&#34;&#93;;

  $menu_footer  = &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;<div id=&#34;logostrip&#34; style=&#34;text-align&#58;center; margin&#58;auto&#34;><p><br />&#39;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;&bull; &copy; 2008 <a href=&#34;&#91;url=&#34;http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/&#34;&#93;http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/&#34;>Boot&#91;/url&#93; Land Community</a> &bull; All rights reserved &bull;&#39;;

  $menu_footer .= &#34;\n<br />\n&#34;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;<a href=&#34;&#91;url=&#34;http&#58;//validator.w3.org/check?uri=referer&#34;&#93;&#39;&#34;>http&#58;//validator.w3.org/check?uri=referer&#34;>&#39;&#91;/url&#93;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;<img src=&#34;&#39;.MY_WWW_PATH.&#39;images/xhtml11.gif&#34; style=&#34;border&#58;0; margin-top&#58;3px&#34; alt=&#34;W3C XHTML&#34; /></a>&#39;;

  $menu_footer .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;<a href=&#34;&#91;url=&#34;http&#58;//jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=&#34;&#93;&#39;&#34;>http&#58;//jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=&#39;.$self_uri.&#39;&#34;>&#39;&#91;/url&#93;;

  $menu_footer .= &#39;<img src=&#34;&#39;.MY_WWW_PATH.&#39;images/css.gif&#34; style=&#34;border&#58;0; margin-top&#58;3px&#34; alt=&#34;W3C CSS&#34; /></a>&#39;;

  $menu_footer .= &#34;\n</p></div>\n&#34;;

  $menu_footer .= $GLOBALS&#91;&#39;mid&#39;&#93;->getFooter&#40;&#41;;

  $menu_footer .= &#34;\n&#34;;

  return $menu_footer;

}



function print_bootland_footer&#40;&#41;

{

  $menu_footer = get_bootland_footer&#40;&#41;;

  echo $menu_footer;

}

?>
Im still playing with some details of skin management within the adminstration framework of the IP Board itself. I should be able to document that within a day or two -- perhaps a little longer if the sun keeps shining. I think my tired old brain needs a short outdoor break. :huh:

#25 Arvy

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 09:39 PM

Okay, here are the basics of the IP Board admin skin handling. VERY IMPORTANT: Please note that the following instructions use a relative path based on the assumption that the new Boot Land Layers Menu has been uploaded to a folder named "navmenu" at the same tree level as the folder in which the IP Board is located. If not, that relative path entry will need to be altered accordingly.

Step 1:
Save a backup of the original IPB sources/classes/class_display.php file for safekeeping and then edit to insert the following near the end of the do_output($output_array) function after the other wrapper str_replace lines (around line 356):
/**

* Start Boot Land Menu Modification

* @author Richard Virtue &#40;Arvy&#41;

* @version 1.0.0

*/

//-----------------------------------------

require_once &#39;../navmenu/bootland.config.php&#39;; //Modify this path as may be necessary

$bootland_header  = get_bootland_header&#40;&#41;;

$bootland_navmenu = get_bootland_navmenu&#40;&#41;;

$bootland_footer  = get_bootland_footer&#40;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% BOOTLAND_HEADER %>&#34;	, $bootland_header	  , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% BOOTLAND_NAVMENU %>&#34;   , $bootland_navmenu	 , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

$this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93; = str_replace&#40; &#34;<% BOOTLAND_FOOTER %>&#34;	, $bootland_footer	  , $this->ipsclass->skin&#91;&#39;_wrapper&#39;&#93;&#41;;

/**

* END Boot Land Menu Mod 

*/

Step 2:
Using your IP Board admin panel's "Look and Feel" tab, modify each of the installed skins as follows:

{a} Edit the board header and footer wrapper to insert the following between the <% JAVASCRIPT %> and </head> items
<% BOOTLAND_HEADER %>
{b} Edit the board header and footer wrapper to insert the following just above the final </body> and </html> items:
<% BOOTLAND_FOOTER %>
{c} Edit within the template's Global HTML the global_board_header's <div id="logostrip"> item to add float:left to the logo image style and <% BOOTLAND_NAVMENU %> after the </a> so that it reads as follows:
<div id=&#34;logostrip&#34;><a href=&#39;{$this->ipsclass->base_url}&#39;><!--ipb.logo.start--><img src=&#39;style_images/1/bootland.gif&#39; alt=&#39;IPB&#39; style=&#39;vertical-align&#58;top; float&#58;left&#39; border=&#39;0&#39; /><!--ipb.logo.end--></a><% BOOTLAND_NAVMENU %></div>

Step 3:
There is no Step 3 except for any "Widget" items you may wish to add in accordance with the documentation that is included in their own author's package. I've created a few new ones, but they work exactly like all the others in the original package. I'll upload them along with the new Boot Land Layers Menu, which also includes its own complete documentation, when I have access. Or I can make everything available in a ZIP file for you to download/upload yourself if you prefer.

I've deliberately tried to keep the IP Board mods to an absolute minimum so that upgrades don't involve any major re-editing and extra admin chores. Basically, all of the "heavy lifting" is handled within the PHP configuration file that I've already described above, and it doesn't require much manual labour either other than simply uploading it with the rest of the nav menu package which is now complete and ready for use.

Hope that sums it up well enough "for the record." If I've inadvertently overlooked any details, please let me know.




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