|By Eron Cohen||
|March 11, 2002 12:00 AM EST||
One of the most common database-driven applications on the Internet is the discussion forum.
Internet forums are used for product support, organizational announcements, and corporate discussion areas, and as a place to talk about the theme of a given Web site. They're popular because they offer a convenient way to discuss interests and ideas while keeping a sense of history - something a typical e-mail list doesn't have. They also have the advantage of offering site administrators a high level of control over what's being talked about and how it's discussed.
If you've been considering adding a discussion forum to your Web site, you know there are many competitors. However, one of the best forums applications I've ever used is ColdFusion-based FuseTalk 3.0 from e-Zone Media. FuseTalk is excellent - it's inexpensive, feature-rich, easy to deploy, and a pleasure to maintain.
It took me about 20 minutes to install and configure FuseTalk. The installation comes as an executable .zip file. You get started by unzipping the software to an appropriate directory on your server and then setting up the preferences, such as the data source. I used ColdFusion 5 with SQL Server 2000 for the database back end. FuseTalk also supports MS Access, Oracle, and MySQL; however, if you use SQL Server, you'll have the option of using the full-text search feature.
After you run the ColdFusion-based DHTML installer, simply edit some ini files to finish the initial setup. After that you can use the administrator menus to get your forums going. You can also customize the look and feel of your forums by editing the header and footer files provided in the "\includes\Custom" directory. This is a great place to add your own logos or advertising.
FuseTalk is a secure application that generally requires users to have some kind of account. There are several ways to handle this. The easiest, of course, is the default account management that's built in, but documentation is provided that describes how to use your current site accounts or Windows NT authentication.
Once you have the product installed, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the administrative options.
The e-Zone Media people have really thought of everything. For instance, the moderation and censoring features are very advanced. Moderators can be set up on a per-category basis, and there are levels of moderators that have global privileges. Furthermore, all moderator actions are automatically logged. Administrators can choose which words they want to censor by adding them to a table using the admin screens. If all else fails, ill-behaved users can be banned by IP address, e-mail address, or username.
There are also a few bonus features that put this application over the top. For instance, the software supports clustering. You can even provide a clustering URL in the administrator so the forum cache can be cleared on the clustered server. There's also a chat server in which users can create their own chat rooms, which can be deleted automatically after a set period of inactivity. They even have a "buddy list" feature that lets you know when your friends are logged in to the forums.
Another terrific feature is the ability to post messages to the forums via e-mail. A reverse feature complements this one: users can choose to have all messages posted to the forum automatically e-mailed to them. There's even a survey engine (again, they've thought of everything). But if you feel the forums are missing something, don't worry: this version of FuseTalk takes plug-ins. For instance, e-Zone Media has one available for purchase that allows businesses to use forums for enhanced online support. Others are in the works.
The User Interface
As mentioned before, the user interface is sleek and well designed. Like the administrators, users will be pleased with the features. For instance, individual users can customize the environment colors and see only the categories of messages that interest them. Fun features like "author icons" let each author choose or upload an avatar to convey his or her personality, and insert "emotions" to convey a mood for a particular message posting. Users will also enjoy the ranking feature of FuseTalk - the more they post, the higher rank and credibility they obtain.
The only thing that I feel could be improved, on both the user and administrative sides, is the online help and documentation. It's not bad, but it could be better. To the credit of the FuseTalk developers, I would dub most of the application "self-explanatory"; I configured most of the application without ever needing the docs.
Pricing for FuseTalk is reasonable. If you need only one forum and don't mind encrypted source code, $249 gets you going with the Professional version. If you need to have more than one forum, you'll want to look into the Enterprise version; this allows you 25 forums on one server for $999. As you'd expect, it gets more expensive if you want the unencrypted source code. The Professional version is $369, and the Enterprise version is $1,999. The code is well written and neatly formatted, although somewhat underdocumented, so if you do decide to go with the unencrypted version, you'll be glad to know you won't have to dig through spaghetti code to make your modifications. Demo versions are available for download from the e-Zone Media Web site. You may have already seen this product from a user's perspective - Macromedia uses it to power the ColdFusion forums on their Web site.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,111
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Apr. 27, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,297
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
Apr. 27, 2017 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,465
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Apr. 27, 2017 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,616
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Apr. 27, 2017 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,204
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Apr. 27, 2017 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 731
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
Apr. 27, 2017 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,817
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Apr. 27, 2017 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,033
Cybersecurity is a critical component of software development in many industries including medical devices. However, code is not always written to be robust or secure from the unknown or the unexpected. This gap can make medical devices susceptible to cybersecurity attacks ranging from compromised personal health information to life-sustaining treatment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Fortney, Software Engineer at Battelle, will discuss how programming oversight using key methods can incre...
Apr. 27, 2017 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,960
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
Apr. 27, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 561
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,302
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,464
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,592
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,306
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,232
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,061
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Apr. 27, 2017 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,154
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,232
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,340
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Apr. 27, 2017 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,211