Allaire Forums is a flexible conferencing system that enables on-line discussions via the Web on Intranets and the Internet. With Forums you can create web-conferences where people communicate and share information using a Web browser. Forums gives you a wide range of options for configuring on-line discussions and managing access and security. Because Forums is totally web-based, administration functions can be carried out from vritually any web browser.
Threaded discussion has great appeal as a web-based application. As web content matures and evolves, more people rely on web resources not only for static information, but for sharing information with other people. Forums is an excellent way for Cold Fusion sites to create discussion forums for end users, customers, potential customers, or anyone else.
Forums can help you collect better information about your clients or customers and can help your customers support each other in the use of a particular product. With Forums, you can set up a conference for a specific product or service and within that conference offer forums that help narrow discussions to specific subject areas.
Create more than one conference on the same system. For example, create one conference for the marketing department and another for manufacturing.
Create any number of discussion groups around general topics within an individual conference. Share discussion groups between conferences.
Allaire Forums uses an intuitive system of threaded discussions which facilitates interaction and increases the effectiveness of on-line communication.
Forums uses color-coded graphics to help users visually navigate through on-line discussions. In addition, you can change the default graphics library to use different graphic objects in your conferences. You can also build your own library of graphic objects.
You can easily customize conference graphics, background, and text color to integrate the conference with the look and feel of your existing Web materials. Administrators can add annoucements as well as additional header and footer HTML to conference pages.
Users can search an individual forum for messages containing a word or phrase and sort postings by author, date, or keyword.
Individual users can customize their view of a conference by filtering messages or displaying messages by the date they were posted. Users can also make font size and color changes.
Forums security options allow you to control access to conferences and forums by defining user and group access rights. In addition, you can define a number of options for handling new users.
Administrators can enable an advanced option that allows users to add HTML to their messages.
You can administer your conferences using a web browser with the easy-to-use Allaire Forums Administrator.
In addition to Forums core features a number of new features have been added for this release.
Several options are available for authenticating new users who attempt to enter a conference, including requiring users to register prior to entering a conference and requiring all users to be approved prior to entering a conference.
End users can elect to receive notification by email of any new messages posted to a specific thread. In addition, when composing a new message, end users can choose to send the message to everyone who has posted a message in the current thread.
Forums messages can now include MIME attachments like graphics files that can be embedded in a message. Conference administrators can enable or disable file attachments for any conference.
Administrators can enable, and end users can choose to view conferences using frames. Several other frames options are available to end users for customizing their conference interface.
Searching Forums messages is now fueled by the award-winning Verity search engine. As a result, searches are substantially faster and yield better search results.
Users can select an option that helps optimize performance for dial-up and other low-speed connections. This option greatly improves the speed at which pages are loaded.
There's no limit to how Allaire Forums might be used. Some examples include:
Forums is a Cold Fusion application. It consists of Cold Fusion templates containing a combination of HTML and Cold Fusion Markup Language (CFML) tags. These templates process all administrative functions and interact with several databases used to store everything from conference IDs to messages, user names, and passwords.
Warning: Do not edit either the template files or the database tables. Doing so can corrupt your Forums configuration causing loss of data, and force you to reinstall.
Forums documentation consists of the following components:
You are encouraged to give your end users access to Forums documentation by incorporating the Allaire Forums End User Guide in your web site. Using the Conference Administrator, you can easily place a link to the documentation in your conference header or footer.
To place a link to the Allaire Forums End User Guide in your conference header or footer, read about Conference Layout in the Administrators Guide, then place the following HTML code or some variation of it in the conference header or footer:
<A HREF="/forums/docs/user/index.htm">Forums Documentation</A>
You can set up the Forums interface in several different ways. The following example shows Forums using frames to divide available forums from threads, and messages from threads.
You can also view Forums without frames if you prefer, giving your messages a bit more room using separate pages to contain forums, messages, and threads.