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Customizing Squishdot (Part 1)
Posted by Butch Landingin on Friday July 16, @05:09AM
from the you-gotta-concentrate dept.
If you want more details on how to customize Squishdot then this is the article for you. It talks about all the things you can do with Squishdot so that 1) it fits your news publishing and discussion needs, and 2) it integrates seamlessly with the rest of your website. There are several major areas of customization :
  1. The Add Squishdot Page and Options Tab
  2. The Topic Subjects Tab
  3. The Images and Topic Images Folder
  4. The Properties Tab
  5. The Configuration (Tiny) Tables and Related Folders
  6. The DTML Methods

Each one of these items will be discussed in turn, except the last item -- which has an entire article devoted just to it. Also, the classes, variables and methods that you can use to access/control Squishdot are also discussed in another article.

The Add Squishdot Page and Options Tab

These pages are actually very similar, the only difference being that the id/title fields being modifiable in the add page and the options for the default web site setup does not show up in the options tab (i.e. it's only applicable when you're adding the page).

Aside from the id/title fields (which are fairly self-explanatory), you can set the following:

  • Mail Host - setting this to an actual mailhost object will enable the option to notify by email the article/comment poster when a reply was made to his posts.
  • Moderation Options - there are three available choices :
    • Posting both articles and comments are moderated -- this means that all postings must be reviewed in the postings tab before they can seen by ordinary users.
    • Only postings of articles are moderated -- unlike the option above, comments to articles are not reviewed and are automatically available for viewing.
    • No moderation -- this means both articles and their comments are automatically available for viewing.
  • Maximum posts - the number here refers to the maximum number of articles that are displayed on the main page before they start being moved to the older articles list. Based on this number, the minimum number of articles that are always displayed on the main page (regardless of posting date) is computed as one-third (1/3) of this.
  • Expiration options - these options control if and when articles expire (i.e. get deleted from the database. Articles can either :
    • Never expire - you have to manually delete each article if you want delete the older articles
    • Expire after a set number of days. You can set the number of days in the input box for that option. This way, old articles (along with their comments) always get cleaned up automatically.
  • Default website setup (Add Page only) - these options control what the look and feel of the website that gets automatically loaded when adding the Squishdot site. There are three(3) options available:
    • Plain vanilla web pages - this has the minimal set of features needed to establish a news publishing/discussion site. Use this if you want a very simple interface or plan to design your own look and feel. This option will not load any images, topics, or articles like this one you are currently reading.
    • Fancy demo with a slashdot-like theme - this gives you the same color scheme and look and feel of the Slashdot site. This is just to give ideas on how to implement features on that site. You can select this option even without the TinyTable product but it will not give you the same ease of configuration than if you did have it.
    • Fancy demo with a 'blue heaven' theme - this is like the Fancy demo above, except it has a different color scheme and some of the options are set differently. Both of them have the same navigational scheme and features (including the preloaded messages, subject topics, etc.)

The next parts will discuss the rest of the topics.

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