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Newsboard Freeware

[1] Overview
[2] Installation
[3] Administering the News Board
[4] Using the News Board
[5] General Notes, Customization Tips, and Suggestions
[6] Credits
 

[1] Overview


News Board is a program that has many uses. This program allows users to share news from outside sources with other members of an on-line community. It is also a great way of displaying new information about any topic or simply keeping users informed of updates to web sites.
 

[2] Installation


I) Requirements

a) Disk space and appropriate access on a *NIX or NT web server.
b) Full Permission/Access to the cgi-bin directory
c) An internet connection and an ftp program
d) System path to your web space
e) HTTP (WWW) Path to your web space


II) Creating a folder for HTML articles and a folder for the Input form

a) DO NOT create either of the following folders (steps b and c) in the cgi-bin directory.

b) In the "docs" or "html" directory of your web server, you will need to create a folder to store the HTML articles that are generated by News Board. DO NOT store other files in this folder. If you have posted no articles to the News Board so far (and you shouldn't have) then the folder you use for the articles should be totally empty. An example path: /home/httpd/html/newsboard/articles/

c) A second folder will need to be created to store the input form. There are no special requirements for this directory, and the input form will coexist happily with any other files. An example path: /home/httpd/html/newsboard/

III) Transferring files
a) First unzip newsboard.zip to an empty directory on your computer.

b) A "newsboard" directory will be created that contains all of the installation files.

c) Connect to your server using FTP.

d) Upload the "newsboard" folder to your cgi-bin directory

e) If you need to upload these files individually, make sure that you maintain the same directory structure **including keeping all folder and file names in lower case letters**. The newsboard will not work by default unless the directory structure is identical between your server and "newsboard" folder. Make sure that you use ASCII file transfer mode with your FTP program. Some do this automatically, others do not.

f) Upload the input form to the directory you created to store the form

g) Upload the icons directory to your server (possibly in the same directory as the directory that holds the input form and articles directory

IV) chmod the Files
Once all files have been unzipped, folders have been created, and files have been uploaded, it is necessary to set the file permissions. You will need to chmod all the files to 755. This can be done from the *NIX prompt as follows:

bash-2.03$ chmod 755 <file name>

This must be done for files as well as directories. If you are using a graphical ftp program you can generally set the file attributes/permissions by right-clicking on each file or folder. Here you would change the permissions to 755. If you are using a graphical ftp program, you should be able to find help on changing file attributes/permissions within the program's help as this is a common task. For further instruction on this topic, please see the FAQ on our web site: http://www.cgi-factory.com/support/faq.shtml

IV) Configuring the News Board
a) To initialize the News Board you will need to know a few things.

1) System Path
2) WWW Path
3) Location of the articles folder
4) Location of the input form

b) To begin configuring the News Board you will need to go to the administration script. This script is stored in the "newsboard" folder that you     uploaded to the cgi-bin directory. Therefore, the address of the administration script should be as follows:

http://www.your_domain.com/cgi-bin/newsboard/admin.pl

You must substitute your domain name for 'your_domain' in the previous example. Also, if your site is not a ".com" website then you will need to substitute the appropriate suffix to your domain name.

c) The first time you login to the newsboard you will be prompted for a password. You will not be prompted for confirmation of the password so please be sure that the one you type is the one you want. At any later time you can change your password by changing it in the administration script. It is recommended that your password be at least eight characters and contain alpha and numeric characters.

d) Once you are logged into the administration script you will see a list of choices.

i) The WWW path is the http path to the designated folders. For example, the path to your articles folder may look similar to this:

http://www.your_domain.com/newsboard/articles/

ii) The system path information in the middle of the form is very important. You should enter the full system path to the requested fields. This is different than the WWW path which is of the format

http://www.your_domain.com

System paths will look similar to this

/username_here/cgi-bin/newsboard/view.pl

iii) It is *very* important that all of your system paths and WWW paths are correct, if not the News Board WILL NOT function properly.


[3] Administering the News Board


I) Message Strucure



When setting up the News Board it is very important to know the HTML structure of one posting. Each posting is a self contained table. The top portion of each posting contains a row, with a subject cell on the left that includes the poster's name and email address and a date cell on the right. Then there is a row for for the source (if there is a source). And at the bottom of each post, there is a row with one cell for the summary. Aside from each posting (which is a simple summary of a full article), the article is created. An article is identical to a post except for the fact that its last row is the article, not the summary. Articles and subjects share the same background color for the final cell


II) Article Creation

When the user posts an article from the input form an actual html file is created for the full article. This means that if you make a change to the appearance of the News Board, articles (not summaries) that have already been created will not be affected by the new configuration.


III) Messages Per Page

Messages Per Page is the number of messages that are displayed per screen when a user visits the News Board.


IV) Auto Summary

The number of words designated in the Auto Summary field tells the News Board how many words to pull from the full article for the summary if a user wishes to use the auto summary feature when posting an article.


V) Message Count

Changing the message count can effectively erase all News Board data so it is highly recommended that this field be left alone. If you wish to overwrite a certain number of messages then simply subtract that many messages from the messages count. For example: If you wanted to overwrite the two most recent posts and the message count was 96, then you could simply subtract two from the message count and enter 94.


VI) RESETTING the News Board

It is very important to have your System Path information correctly configured before resetting the board. News Board will erase all files in the directories designated by Articles Path and Subjects Path in the administration script. In addition to this, the message count and search information will be overwritten when the board is reset. Once the board has been reset, you cannot recover the deleted files or the files that have been overwritten.

Resetting the News Board erases all files in the System Path: articles path directory assigned through the administration script:

  For example: /home/httpd/html/newsboard/articles/

Also, resetting the News Board erases all files in the System Path: subjects path

  For example: /home/httpd/cgi-bin/newsboard/subjects/

This also resets the message count to 0 and erases all information created for doing searches.


[4] Using the News Board


I) The Input Form

a) The input form is where all the data for an article is entered. This should be located in the folder that you designated for the input form. A sample form exists in the when you unzipped newsboard.zip.

b) The input form contains a submit (post) button at the bottom. In the HTML of this page it is very important that you change:

<FORM ACTION="http://www.your_domain.com/cgi-bin/newsboard/input.pl"

to match the location of the input.pl file on your server. Otherwise all posts on your News Board will be directed to the CGI-Factory server.

c) There is important information in the HTML of the input form. Each field has a specific name that is very important to the News Board program. It is very important to leave this information intact. If you customize the sample input form that is provided be sure to keep the field names in the form HTML intact (all field names are case-sensitive).

d) Feel free to change the icons that are included on sample input form. It is important that each of the choices of icons (radio button widget) be accompanied by a value consisting of the full WWW path to the image.


II) Input fields

a) Name
-------
This field simply allows the user to enter a name or alias to be identified with.

b) Email
--------
This field allows the user to enter an email address.

c) Icons
--------
This field allows the user to choose an icon to accompany his or her post

d) Source Name
--------------
An optional field. This fields allows the user to credit his or her source.

e) Source Site
--------------
An optional field. This fields allows the user to credit his or her source's website.

f) Subject
----------
This is the title that appears at the top of the article and summary

g) Auto Summary
---------------
This feature causes a preset number of words to be pulled from the entire article to create a summary. If this item is not selected then a summary must be entered.

h) Summary
----------
This field is not required if the auto summary check box is selected. If Auto Summary is not selected, the summary field must be used.

i) Article
----------
This is where the full article is posted. If Auto Summary is selected then a summary will automatically be made from the article.

j) Post
-------
By hitting the POST button, the user finalizes the posting. There is no confirmation message given after the POST button is clicked.


[5] General Notes, Tips, and Suggestions


I) Drop the Source if you do not need it

On the input form the source name and website are optional. If these fields are not used, no space is saved for the place where the source normally appears. If you are using this program to display site updates then simply leave the source name and website fields empty, or completely remove them from your input form.


II) Change your icons

Change the icons on the input form. It's very simple and can add character and style to your website. Look for instructions on how to change your icons under section [3] "Using the News Board".
 


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