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Need Some Advice


schmuck
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I'm back! (after a lengthy exam and a relaxing vacation :P )

 

There are three questions that I would like to have some advice. The common background for the questions is this: I need to construct a new website combining a weblog, an existing phpBB forum and a new picture gallary. There will be around 60 users using the website, all of whom want it to be absolutely private. In other words, the pictures and the forum messages should all be password protected, although it may not be strictly necessary for the weblog. Preferably there should also be a download section in the website.

 

Another important fact is that the creator of the website, I, a schmuck if you like me to be so called ( :P ), is a total newbie to web construction and have no knowledge on any computer programming. I am however capable to follow instructions of basic to medium level difficulty. I've already installed phpBB (with MODs), MT and Gallery on my own without much difficulty.

 

My questions are as follows:

 

(1) Given the need of password protection, is it possible for Gallery and PhpBB forum to share the same member database so that the website can be configured in a way where users just need to login once, either in Gallery or phpBB?

 

(2) Given the background information, would it be better to use MT or Postnuke in terms of ease of integration? I reckon that there are existing modules to integrate other applications into Postnuke, although Postnuke itself is more difficult to manouver than MT, especially in view of my kindergarten level on programming.

 

(3) Does it make better sense to use a general password to log into the website instead of having login requirement in Gallery and phpBB forum? What I mean is, it is possible to ask the user to key in a password when he/she types www.myurl.com.

 

Thanks in advance! :lol:

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Hi schmuck,

You made very interesting questions. Not able to help much. However this is what I've learned:

 

Just over a year ago I made a site using postnuke. Then I followed the integration of phpBB2 into postnuke - surprisingly difficult task: how to sync the time! From that experience:

 

1) It could be possible. Someone has to write the integrating code though. Some changes have to be made either to the Gallery or to the phpBB2 code (unless you go 3) route below). Take a look at phpBB2 mod pages - someone could have done it already. One must be careful from which program to erase the 'proprietary' login routine. Postnuke and phpBB2: phpBB2 was modified but some argued it should have been done the other way around. And look at OSsuite.org: they integrated fast developing osCommerce into a 'static' Nola (noguska.com) package. OSsuite was outdated when it came out...

General point: In my opinion this is a big problem with opensource programs. They are great alone but integration is a pain. One needs to be able to do PHP. I recall there is/ (was?) a general attempt somewhere to make the datatables of different programs 'work together'. Does anyone know where it was?

 

2) Have no experience with MT. Postnuke is good at integrating. And it is a bit heavy - I hear on heavy use sites it needs serious horsepower. Security system is extremely flexible (e.g., you can lock out a specific article from a specific user) but -many say- difficult at first sight.

 

3) Logging into a website:

Yes it is possible. However it might be a bit intimidating. It might be a good idea to have some content available to all. A kind of tour of the premises. Beyond that you could have a whole website protected by one login script. There are tons of them at hotscript.com. Also look at aMember on TCH help pages.

 

Easy way? If each application lets the user to choose his/her password (and username) then you could ask your customers to register once for each application. Present this to the customer as a security measure. If everything is private they might buy it. :lol: - The benefit of this is easy program update. As no changes have been made to the code it can be updated with minimum of effort. In the long run this becomes more and more important. :P

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Thanks very much for your sharing, Stoneage! :lol:

 

I figured out that there is a phpBB2 plugin specifically for Postnuke. The name is somewhat like pnphpBB. The forum software is modified to be able to integrate and work with Postnuke. The drawback is that, I guess, some of the phpBB MODs may not work with this plugin. :huh:

 

I really don't know whether multiple login systems will actually impress or disturb users. I guess it might be the latter. But you're perfectly right in saying that the advantage of having multiple logins is to lessen the burden on the site creator. Wrapping the applications into MT is already a daunting task for newbies - sharing a member database is virtually an impossibility. :(

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Schmuck,

 

I can answer your question with specifics, but first, you are attempting a rather large project for a self-described newbie.

 

I have a rather large membership site that starts off with login through phpBB. I integrated the code so that phpBB inserts user data into the tables that the other php scripts on the site use.

 

It's really very possible for you to modify scripts so that they all run off the same database table. Not that hard if you know what you're doing.

 

That's the way I would go if I were you.

 

Absolutely do NOT require login when homepage loads... just my opinion.

 

I would stay away from Nuke and postNuke for two reasons:

1-complicated to change and modify versus phpBB

2-dynamic urls make it harder for some (not all) search engines to index your pages

 

To sum up... what you're looking to do is possible and I've done similar projects before... but if you're new to coding... you're in for a lot of learning and work.

 

Best of luck.

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