BBoard documentation

Release Notes

Version 4.0.2b6 of BBoard is Yet Another Attempt to get 4.0.2 released. This version requires ACS 4.0.1 but has been tested against 4.1 as well. A lot of bugs have been fixed and minor features implemented: For improved functionality you should upgrade to the latest version of ACS 4.1 and the latest version of ACS Messaging (as of 2/13/01 4.1.1 NOT included in ACS 4.1).

For more details on bugfixes and improvements, visit the bboard section of the ArsDigita SDM.

Note: This documentation has not been reviewed and is not considered up to standards. More comprehensive and more refined documentation will be available in an upcoming point release. If you have further questions, feel free to ask on the applications bboard.


BBoard implements a system for persistent asynchronous web based discussions. A BBoard instance as configured from ACS-Admin can contain some number for discussion forums. Each forums provides a context for users with appropriate access to read and post messages. Messages may optionally be tagged in a list categories to facilitate sorting and searching.


Using bboard requires an operating ACS 4.0.1 installation. If you haven't upgraded, do so first! Installing and enabling the bboard package should be relatively painless: just go to your server's /acs-admin/apm/package-load page and enter "". If you're reading this on your own server, you've already done this.

Once the package is installed and enabled, a subsite administrator can then mount instances on their subsite. If you're the lone über-admin of your site, you can just go to your site's /admin/site-nodes/ page and create a new subfolder under the "/" directory. Pick a creative label for your subfolder like "bboard" or "dg". Select "new application" for that subfolder, and choose BBoard from the pulldown menu. It is probably best to label the application instance the same as your subfolder; do otherwise if it helps you keep your site straight.

At this point you should have a BBoard instance mounted in the subfolder directory, let's say you chose "/bboard". Before delving into configuration, let's run over BBoard's permissions model.

Initial Configuration

Once mounted, you can surf over to /bboard as an administrator, create some forums, and start discussing that crazy U.S. election! The following parameters are configurable on a package instance basic from the appropirate node in /admin/site-nodes/.
This enables or disables threading indentation on a single thread basis. "t" enables threading and "f" (the default) turns it off.
This enables the option for users to mail copies of a bboard posting to a friend (or themselves). Since this functionality can be abused, consider disabling the functionality.
This grants users privileges to edit their own message. Note: toggling this parameter will not change the ability of user to edit existing messages. This parameter only effects whether users are granted rights to edit at the message's posting time. This must be enabled for attachments to work.
This lets users who have edit capability on a message upload file or image attachments.
This specifies the maximum size in bytes to accept for binary attachments. The default is 1 megabyte.
This parameter controls how many days worth of recent messages are displayed on the forum overview page by default. 0 specifies that all messages should be displayed.

Advanced Configuration and Permissions Overview

The ACS 4.0 permissions system is about hierarchies and in particular hiearchical containment. There are three important hiearchies: the user hierarchy (users, groups, and parties), the object hierarchy (objects nested in the contexts of others), and the privilege hiearchy (privileges can entail other entails). This complexity of mechanism is designed to allow for simplicity of use for programmers and administrators. Unfortunately, interfaces to facilitate this simplicity of use are not here yet. Until then, sophisticated control and configuration of BBoard necessitates an understanding of these details.

The first hierarchy is straightforward. There are users and groups (or together parties). Privileges granted to groups inherit to their members.

Unless explicitly disabled (see below), privileges granted to parties are inherited down an object hierarchy. The nature of the BBoard hierarchy is as follows: subsites contain bboard package instances; bboard package instances contain forums; forums contain both categories and messages. Privileges granted to parties on the package instance are inherited to all the forums nested within and so on.

The third hiearchy is the least clear. Privileges can be nested into other privileges. This lets us group related privileges like those for reading a message and reading a forum together to allow us to easily grant "read access" on a hiearchy of objects to a party even though there are separate notions of "read a message" and "read a forum". All the bboard privileges are nested in one of the following system level "super"-privileges: "read", "write", "create", "delete", and "admin".

The full set of self explanatory bboard privileges is listed here:

Permissions on package instances are controlled through the "set permissions" options on the appropriate folder in the admin site map (/admin/site-map/). While in principal, the system should allow you to grant permissions on lower level objects like forums or even individual messages and categories, right now the UI is limited to granting permissions on the application instance. SQL*Plus users or even URL hackers can probably figure out how to do this if they're so inclined.

The default set of permissions granted in a bboard system are those inherited from the main site:

Granting additional privileges to parties is fairly straightforward. For moderated forums, creating a moderators group and granting them "bboard_moderate_forum" (or "admin" if you're feeling lucky) will let you delegate more of the discussion culling.

For significantly different configurations you might need to revoke privileges already granted by the defaults. In this case you must configure the package instance not to inherit permissions from the main site and then add back any permissions needed. Granting "read" to registered users and bboard_create_message to "Elite d00ds" will give you a pseudo-private forum.

Note: To facilitate usability in the common case, BBoard pages present the option to post or reply even if the user doesn't have the bboard_create_message privilege. If you remove posting ability from registered users, you may wish to alter the templates to appropriately display options.

Miscellaneous Notes

Text searching requires the maintaince of the content repository cr_rev_content_index index; either by hand or by context.

As usual, please file bugs and feature requests in the bboard SDM.

Engineering Documentss