Introduction

The vBulletin (3.x) Comments addon provides Coranto with the capability to generate articles as threads in a vBulletin forum. Versions of vBulletin greater than 3.0.7 are explicitly supported by this addon although I expect that it will work with any version of vBulletin 3.

There are a number of reasons why you may want to do this with the most obvious being the addition of a comments facility to your Coranto driven pages. To assist in this aim, this addon also comes with two different mechanisms for displaying the number of entries for a given thread referenced from your Coranto 'news' database.

Configuration

Database Settings

Enabling this addon in the 'Addon Manager' will add a new 'vB3Comments Settings' option to the 'Administration' menu of Coranto. This page provides access to the central configuration options provided by the addon.

As vBulletin is basically a PHP/MySQL database, the most important information required by this addon is the details of the MySQL database used by vB. The vBulletin DB Settings section of the configuration page provides for entry of all of this information. If you don't have access to enough data to fill all of these fields, the vB Comments addon will not function!

Addon Settings

The second half of the addon configuration page provides for setting up the default behavior of the vB3Comments addon. These are described in some detail below:

  • 'Create vB Post' default action
    By default, vB3Comments will not create a vBulletin thread on entry of news into Coranto. This checkbox allows the modification of this behavior such that vB3Comments will always create a vBulletin thread for each news entry. (Be careful using this setting if you use the ChangeDateNew addon to enter news ahead of its publication date - vB3Comments will not prevent the publication of 'Future News' to your forum regardless of the configuration of the ChangeDateNew addon.)
  • Thread Deletion (on News deletion)
    The content of this text field dictates the behavior undertaken by the addon if a news item is deleted from Coranto. Only specific terms are recognized as valid, these are defined below:
    • 'All' - Any linked vBulletin threads will be deleted when a news story is deleted from Coranto
    • 'Unused' - Linked threads will only be deleted from vBulletin if no forum comments have been added to them. Linked threads with comments will be retained.
    • 'None' - All linked vBulletin threads will be retained on deletion of news from Coranto.
    • Entry of anything else will be treated as an entry of 'All'.
  • Default vB User
    This popup provides access to a list of the Administrator level users on your linked vBulletin forum. All forum posts generated by Coranto will be attributed to the forum user selected here. (The inference here is that you need Administrator privileges on both Coranto and vBulletin in order to use this addon.)
  • Default vB Forum
    This popup provides access to a list of the forums (or boards) on your vBulletin installation. By default, all Coranto sourced forum posts will be directed to this board.
  • Default Thread Icon
    This popup lists the available 'Post Icons' from your vBulletin installation. The selected icon will be used for all Coranto sourced vBulletin posts.
  • Default vB Style
    Not really a vBulletin option, this is probably the most important of the vB3Comments configuration items as it tells Coranto which of your Styles to use for news posts to vBulletin.

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Profiles

Coranto sourced vBulletin comments are not limited to a single board within your vB forum but for each type of comment entry you want to make, you'll need to create a separate profile.

Once created (on the Edit News Profiles page), each profile requires individual configuration before it can be enabled and used. Many of the configuration parameters are identical to those defined in the Configuration section (above) and the values defined there will be used for each profile by default. Any of these parameters may be locally overridden, however, allowing each profile to be configured as required.

  • News Style
    Defaulted to the 'Default vB Style', this tells Coranto which of your Styles to use for news posts from this profile to vBulletin.
  • Display Name
    Defines how this profile will be named when it appears in the profile list (on the 'Submit/Modify News' page)
  • User Name
    Defaulted to the 'Default vB User' this allows you to select which vB administrator will be attributed with all news posts from this profile.
  • Forum Name
    Defaulted to the 'Default vB Forum' this permits selection of the vBulletin forum board to which all news from this profile will be posted.
  • Thread Icon
    Defaulted to the 'Default Thread Icon' this permits selection of a different icon for each profile.
  • User Permissions
    This list box provides the facility to limit the use of this profile to specific Coranto users.

News Submission

Day-to-day, the vBulletin 3 Comments addon makes its presence known by the addition of three controls to the Submit/Modify News pages. It is via these fields that the user may manipulate how Coranto interacts with vBulletin for each news entry.

These controls are:

  • Create vB Thread
    Defaulted to the value of 'Create vB Post default action' this checkbox controls whether a vBulletin thread will be created for the current news article when the 'Submit' button is pressed.
    This control is only displayed for news items 'without' an associated vBulletin thread.
  • vBulletin Thread ID?(If you are referring to a thread from this story, enter its number here):
    As well as allowing the creation of vBulletin threads from Coranto, the vB3Comments addon allows existing vB threads to be associated with (and linked from) a news article. Entering an existing thread ID into this field will create such a link.
    This control is only displayed for news items 'without' an associated vBulletin thread.
  • vB Profile
    ]Selection of one of the vBulletin profiles (defined above) will dictate the form/location of your Coranto news entry in your vBulletin forum.

When editing news that already has a linked vBulletin thread, the controls displayed will be slightly different. The vB Profile popup will still be there (and may be modified), but in place of the other controls will be a single new checkbox:

  • Break vB Thread Link? (This breaks the link with the vB thread. It will NOT delete it)
    Selecting this, then pressing the 'Submit' button will do break the link between the Coranto News item and the associated vBulletin thread.

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News Display

As stated at the front of this article, one of the obvious reasons for linking Coranto output with a vBulletin forum is to use the forum facilities to provide a comments facility for Coranto. In order to make this useful, however, a mechanism is required to indicate the existence of comments for each article.

Two methods of achieving this goal are provided within this Addon package, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

'Build News' Method

The Addon itself contains code that determines the number of comments for each news item every time that news is built. A code snippet is provided that, when inserted into a News Style, will display these calculated counts.

The main disadvantage to this method is that counts are only updated on a 'Build News' action. Unless you have an automated Cron task building news regularly, using this method will require a manual overhead regularly building news to ensure the counters are kept updated.

Live Method

A vBulletin extension is provided that may be called from the news page to determine the current comment count 'live' when the page is displayed. Again, a code snippet is provided for pasting into the appropriate news style to call this routine and display the results.

The advantage of this method is that the comment counts, being live, are always updated whenever a page is refreshed. This is also its main disadvantage, however, as described in the warning below.

Warning: This vBulletin routine is called for each news item on a page, every time that page is displayed somewhere. Thus, it may become a very processor intensive task on sites with large viewing figures

Compatibility

To date, the vBulletin 3.x Comments addon has been tested with Coranto versions 1.24 and 1.31.2Beta. In vBulletin terms, it has been tested with the following versions of vBulletin: 3.0.7, 3.0.8, 3.0.9, 3.5.0, 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.3, 3.5.4 and 3.6.4.

Discussion

Forum Discussion Thread

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Page last modified on January 11, 2009, at 05:37 AM