As a teenager I was very active on technology discussion forums, and became the in-house developer for several. Modifying themes for Invision Power Board (now IP.Board), and tweaks to any external web sites or front pages were my general jobs, although I did make a few skins from scratch way back when.
The largest project I ever undertook was for a large community of over 30,000 members – the site had previously had a web site front end linked to their forum, but lost it during some upgrades. I created a new portal for them which linked in to their forums and displayed the top news posts, as well as most recent posts across the whole board, popular downloads, and a custom poll widget. I also created an extensive admin panel allowing admins to control exactly which forums the top/most recent posts were drawn from and set the poll.
I then began work on a stand-alone version of the code, which could be linked to any IPB-forum running on MySQL and customized with a skin, and many removable and user-extendable data tiles. The project – although never officially “completed” – was used in a constantly-changing beta state on a second website with a smaller community of a few thousand, as well as a personal forum I kept on my own site.
- It included a one-click installer which just asked for the location of your forum installation and read all the details it needed from IPB’s config file.
- Theme support was there, and files could be edited from the menus. Doing it now I’d implement it very differently, but the naive approach did work in this instance.
- All the admin options from the original system were there, as well as the poll tile!
Here are some screenshots from the final iteration used on my site,
and the three pages of the installer,
and that’s all folks!