Oh fiddlesticks
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IP.Board Portal

Posted: March 10th, 2012

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,

 

 

acp_siteacp_newsacp_skin_editacp_skinskin_change_bar
 

 

and the three pages of the installer,

 

 

install_1install_2install_3
 

 

and that’s all folks!