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discussion forum design - PHP Development

I cannot see why it is necessary to use XML. The template class in PHPLib is good enough to seperate program from webpage design. Prodoc wrote: > I'm going to create a php/mysql database driven xml/xslt (server side) > based discussion forum but before I start programming I would like to > know what your view on the following design matter is. > > This is just the rough sketch of the complete idea, I want to improve my > existing php/mysql based forum which I created because it contains some > serious code design flaws. That's why I decided ...

  1. #1

    Default Re: discussion forum design

    I cannot see why it is necessary to use XML. The template class in
    PHPLib is good enough to seperate program from webpage design.

    Prodoc wrote:
    > I'm going to create a php/mysql database driven xml/xslt (server side)
    > based discussion forum but before I start programming I would like to
    > know what your view on the following design matter is.
    >
    > This is just the rough sketch of the complete idea, I want to improve my
    > existing php/mysql based forum which I created because it contains some
    > serious code design flaws. That's why I decided I might as well go to an
    > xml/xslt solution while I'm at it anyway.
    >
    > Personally I think it should just go 3 levels deep (like the current
    > forum):
    > - Main (with display of last post info, mod's, etc.)
    > - Subs (with display of last post info, etc.)
    > - Threads (with display of starter info, nr. of responses, most recent
    > reply, etc.)
    > - Posts (with display of post user info, message, options, etc.)
    >
    > I want to offer the ability for users select the following display modes
    > (which the current forum doesn't have at all):
    >
    > First page:
    > - Show only Main categories (clicking on a main category brings them to
    > the second page)
    > - Show Main categories with underlying Sub categories (with clicking on
    > a sub category brings them to the third page containing the theads)
    > - ...eh, why not... Show Main categories with underlying Sub categories
    > and underlying Threads
    >
    > Same goes for the second page:
    > - Show only Sub categories
    > - Show Sub categories with underlying Threads
    >
    > Now, the way I look at it I can create the xml file from the database
    > three different ways:
    > - Create an xml file with only the data needed for display depending on
    > the selected display mode
    > - Create one and the same xml file containing ALL the data
    > (Main-Subs-Threads) no mather what display mode selected throughout the
    > forum
    > - Create an xml file with containing only the data need for the current
    > level and underlying level(s) no mather what display mode selected
    > throughout the forum
    >
    > Because the xml part is only being done server side it doesn't realy
    > matter for the client side what way I create the xml file. For each
    > display mode a different xslt file will be used to transform the whole
    > lot to xhtml.
    > Creating one xml containing ALL the data throughout the forum makes the
    > php coding easier though I'm not sure what the con's will be for the
    > server load.
    >
    > What is your view or experience on this?
    > Am I overlooking something?
    >
    > Prodoc
    >
    hj Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: discussion forum design

    I'm currently working on a system for lanparties. We also have a forum
    included and we work with XSL / XSLT.
    Seen from your programmers point of view it is surely the best method to
    render everything in one XML file (because it is easy, and good to
    implement), but I guess this would be the server's death :).

    We are haveing 3 levels:

    - Category overview
    - Threads overview (shows all threads in specified category)
    - Post view (shows all posts assigned to a thread)

    We first planed to do all this in one XML file. We used javascript so the
    user was able to close or open a category, thread, post without reloading
    the page (the javascript made <div>-tags visible and invisible). But the
    load is extremly high because you have to grab the *whole* database with
    maybe serveral thousend postings, and you don't know how long the users
    stays on this page. If he writes a new post or thread you have to reload the
    whole thing again and again. So we are now showing the categories as a
    seperate page, when the user clicks on a cat this will be openend and the
    threads and posts in this category will be shown (with javascript
    open/close). This is much nicer for the server but even this is a real
    load-peak.

    But there is a dark site. If you are planning that your XML-output is reused
    by other (external) software it would be much better to have just one
    xml-file that contains the whole board. So this should be implemented as
    well.

    Hope this helps. Mfg Chris


    Christian Weyer Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: discussion forum design

    hj wrote:
    > I cannot see why it is necessary to use XML. The template class in
    > PHPLib is good enough to seperate program from webpage design.
    >
    I am not familiar "The template class in PHPLib" would you care to
    enlighten me on this one? What is PHPLib and what does the template
    class have to offer me?

    There are several reasons why I want to use XML. I want to make the
    forum as flexible as possible, not only being able to display it the
    normal way a forum should look but also to be able to offer serveral
    (future) alternatives by changing just the xslt file without having to
    touch the core code. e.g. showing just small snippets of recent posts on
    the mainpage of the website, changing the layout to usable mobile phone
    content, etc.
    Also a reason is because of the "technology" itself, attending a
    multimedia education at Uni challenges me to investigate the options
    available.

    Prodoc

    Prodoc Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: discussion forum design

    Prodoc wrote:
    > hj wrote:
    >
    >> I cannot see why it is necessary to use XML. The template class in
    >> PHPLib is good enough to seperate program from webpage design.
    >>
    >
    > I am not familiar "The template class in PHPLib" would you care to
    > enlighten me on this one? What is PHPLib and what does the template
    > class have to offer me?
    >
    > There are several reasons why I want to use XML. I want to make the
    > forum as flexible as possible, not only being able to display it the
    > normal way a forum should look but also to be able to offer serveral
    > (future) alternatives by changing just the xslt file without having to
    > touch the core code. e.g. showing just small snippets of recent posts on
    > the mainpage of the website, changing the layout to usable mobile phone
    > content, etc.
    > Also a reason is because of the "technology" itself, attending a
    > multimedia education at Uni challenges me to investigate the options
    > available.
    >
    > Prodoc
    >
    PHPLib is the "PHP Base Library". It's website is at
    [url]http://phplib.sourceforge.net[/url]. It includes some very handy classes for
    session management, templates, user, authentication, and permission
    management.

    I think XML is best for information exchange. But as far as a forum is
    concerned, you just want to have everything nicely displayed on the web,
    and from a programmer's view you want to seperate the logic from the
    page design, so the template in PHPLib is sufficient. Check it out
    before you go. Hope this helps.

    hj Guest

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