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 HTML Templates / Custom Forum Templates
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HTML Templates

UPDATE: HTML Templates / Custom Forum Templates have gone into beta testing.

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We have seen developers do amazing things with JFH and JavaScript.  A well-known available script is Black's Custom Forum Structure by Connor Wiseman.

While this popular 3rd party script has done amazing job for JFH users and we're amazed and even grateful at how much work was put into it all for JFH's benefit, it unfortunately did not come without flaws, some of them beyond control of the original author.

As with many things, while JavaScript is fantastic, certain features are sometimes best done from the server side.

Today, we address that by announcing the development of HTML Templates.

HTML Templates will become a section within the Admin CP for each skin, very similar to Board Wrappers, Macros, and CSS. HTML templates will be editable just like the wrappers and CSS as well.

While we are not allowing the ENTIRE board template scheme to be edited, we are focusing on certain areas of interest that will be possible to reshape. These will include the following when the system is launched:





  • The category head container on the index & single view




  • The forum row layout on the index & sub-forum indexes




  • The topic row layout while in-forum




  • The main profiles layout




  • Board statistics layout




  • Mini Profiles layout (see below)




Rather than struggling with JavaScript and the problems that occur with it, you will have the ability to insert your own custom template directly into an editor in the Admin CP. You'll be able to use system-supported variables such as such as <!-- last_topic --> to get a working link to the last topic of a given forum, and many, many more variables that are impossible to even see via javascript because they are hidden within the system itself.

This system will be reliable and fast - your templates will not break, there will be no quirks - everything will be processed on the system's end. You will be able to export HTML template sets and import them as part of skins themselves. A single template set can be used on multiple different skins as well.

Finally, we are also consolidating templates and will be handling mini-profile HTML templates via this new location as well. Everything you're used to regarding editing mini profile templates will not change, and you can still use the old system, however, we definitely believe that keeping everything all in the same area and doing away with some of the awkwardness of the original MP editor is the best course of action. Mini profiles are much more complex now than when we first setup the editor almost 6 or 7 years ago and it's time to make editing and managing them easier.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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Important Links and Notes

HTML Template Variables: http://jcink.com/main/wiki/jfh-html-templates
Converting CFS Templates to HTML Templates: http://jcink.com/main/wiki/jfh-converting-cfs-html-templates

Please note, at this time, topic rows are NOT stable and are going to be rewritten. Do not test them / test them at your own risk ,we are not looking for feedback regarding that section right now.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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Nice development.

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I need ideas to making a better forum .. http://sunchat.jcink.net
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    This is awesome and amazing work. I can't wait for a system that relies on the software itself and not a third party script.

    Just want to put this out there, but if and when you get it totally developed and are ready to test it, I volunteer any site I may have or my coding ability to try it out. I love new things. xD

    Luckily I have a lot of patience, LOL.

    Though I do have a question John. I'm assuming the templates will be editable with custom HTML, like you said, and that will show up everywhere the forum template does? Such as the sub-forums of a forum?

    Will you consider adding a template for custom post layouts, such as what we have here:


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QUOTE
Will you consider adding a template for custom post layouts, such as what we have here:

Yes. I may not do this for the initial release of this feature; but this will happen as long as it isn't technically difficult.

This system is being designed by me in a way that making a section of the forums templateable will not necessarily be a huge ordeal for 95% of the system. I am thinking ahead.

That being said we will not be enabling HTML templates for the entire forum. I want to keep this system relatively simple by focusing on areas that are mainly the most customized. I would class the in-topic post layout as one of these!

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Though I do have a question John. I'm assuming the templates will be editable with custom HTML, like you said, and that will show up everywhere the forum template does? Such as the sub-forums of a forum?

Yes. This is a problem with CFS (I think?) and causes consistency issues. We might add a template called subforum-row though as an option, because there are some significant differences in the template in both areas.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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I know I for one am very excited for this, I agree with multiplicity! that I volunteer my sites as well for play and manipulation during any testing phases.

I know you get a lot of crap for not having a like system, (http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/tongue.gif) I would like this, haha.

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Brent Weeks AU // Modern Fantasy
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    John, it all sounds wonderful. Thank you for considering the custom post layout.

    Another question.

    Would it be possible to create the templates in such a way that on the topic list view, you can move the sub-forums to below the topic list itself if it has one?
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Probably not - that would involve something else. That being said I'm not against creating a little hidden div to clip them to with jQuery. Or straight up creating a setting for it...

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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    Either one of those would be awesome! ^^
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Awesome news; I've been holding out doing much development with CFS (haven't touched it for a few years) waiting for this to come around. Can't wait to get my hands on it and see all the cool stuff people do with it moving forward. I'm already dreaming of stabilized customization and optimizing some of my more specific codes.

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A very basic custom profile example. More to come as this system develops.

CODE
<div class="tableborder">
<table width='100%' border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="4">
   <tr>
  <td colspan="2" align="center" nowrap="nowrap" class="titlemedium">Viewing Profile</td>
   </tr>
    <tr>
       <td class="row4" align="center" valign="top" style="width: 25%;">
     <span style="font-weight: bold;">
                <a href="http://forum.jcink.com/index.php?showuser=1"><!-- |name| --></a>
               </span>
     <br /><!-- |photo| --><br /><br /><!-- |group_title| -->
    </td>
     <td align="left" class="row2" style="width: 75%;">
 <b>Posts:</b> <!-- |posts| --> <br />
               <b>Active:</b> <!-- |last_activity| --> <br />
               <b>Last Post:</b> <!-- |last_post| --> <br />
  <b>Birthday:</b> <!-- |birthday| --> <br />
 <b>Location:</b> <!-- |location| --> <br />
 </td>
    </tr>
   </table>
   </div><br />


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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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I created a wiki page that you will be able to follow and comment on. For starters I have added what I think are definitely the most important variables for all forum-row usage. The other sections will be filled as time progresses with development.

http://jcink.com/main/wiki/jfh-html-templates

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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    Question!

    For this string:

    CODE
    <!-- |subforums| -->


    Are you going to remove the Subforums: text so we can add it ourselves if we want?

    Same for this one, as just a list of names with their links?

    CODE
    <!-- |moderator| -->


    For these variables:

    CODE
    <!-- |topics| -->  <!-- |posts| -->


    Is it going to automatically include posts and topics text? Or is it just going to display the numbers?


This post has been edited by multiplicity!: Mar 27 2016, 04:20 PM
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Are you going to remove the Subforums: text so we can add it ourselves if we want?

Same for this one, as just a list of names with their links?

Yes, I am just going to strip it out.

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    Is it going to automatically include posts and topics text? Or is it just going to display the numbers?

Numbers. Generally when you see a variable especially a boolean or other numeric, it's rarely going to be something annoying like "Posts: #";

So if it's a numeric we will try to just make it a numeric variable. Otherwise that's just a pain in the ass for developers. (I can only think of very few reasons to include text with the post/topic numeric, and not very good ones heh).

Good questions though, thanks!

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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Oh good, I'm glad I won't have to keep supporting this any longer.

Not that it's not been an informative adventure, but wheedling through tables within tables within tables and trying to get content read and replaced in a matter of milliseconds, especially on boards with 50+ forums visible on the front page, was not fun.

A pox upon ye for your poor markup writing practices, Matt Mecham. Still, it's not entirely his fault. 2003 was a different time...

Oh well! I've got a final release to make that should be moderately better than what currently exists, and then I guess I'm done. I'll make a note of this upcoming feature the next time I update the project README, if I can get around to updating before this feature goes live.
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