In previous blogs I discussed the User Control Panel and the Moderator Control Panel. Now, it is time to discuss the Admin Control Panel. I spend a decent amount of time using the admin control panel. The reasons for this vary, from me being the developer who tests this most, but also I am responsible for the administration of several sites that use the module. Most things in the admin control panel don't change once they are set, however, you should always review the control panel and all options when you update the module or just installed a new version (or instance on a portal).
One Note: Because not much has changed in terms of configuration options and the amount of configuration options is rather large, I will simply focus this blog on the new configuration options and only touch on the various menu sections if nothing new is contained in a particular sub-section (ie. I will not dive into great detail, instead I will update the user documentation).
For the same reasons discussed in the previous blogs, the admin control panel was built using a DHTML menu that loads a control, via Ajax, to it's right side. In this "Control Panel" group of the menu, all sub-sections contain the same options the former module version had, all that has changed is how it is loaded (before there was an icon list, then a post back which is now gone).
The forum manager is far from new. Some form of it has been around ever since the module started. One thing that has changed, recently, is that there is no longer a separate page for group edit/creation. Instead, all group editing is done inline (as shown below in the image) or created right from the same forum manager page using the "New Group" area and the add button next to it. This change, as well as removing post backs on group or forum order change, I found as necessary as using it here on www.dotnetnuke.com where there are many forums it was just painful. Now, you can jump around and do things much quicker than before.
One thing you may have noticed two images above is the support for Parent and Child forums. This is a new feature. While the support has been in the data store the entire time, it was never exposed in the user interface or as an option when editing a forum. One thing that should be made clear right now about sub forums is the following: A Parent Forum cannot contain any posts. The user interface prohibits posting in a parent forum, it also prohibits administrators from setting a forum as a parent if it contains any posts.
Outside of support for sub forums, not much has really changed in the edit forum area (besides Ajax support and UI changes). The only thing that is really new are new fields available when the module configuration permits per forum emails addresses (which will be discussed in the "Email" section below, and accessible via the "Email" link in the tab-like interface within the image above). If available, each forum can contain its own "From" email address and display name for outgoing email notificaitons from that forum. By default, these values are taken from settings stored under "Email Settings" (which will also be discussed later). Additional fields are displayed (email server, user, pass, port, ssl) and can hold information, but these are for extensions of the module and change no functionality within the module itself (or the email queue scheduled task).
Most configuration options within the "Users" group of the DHTML menu have been around for years. The new addition that comes along with 4.5.3 is Role Avatar support. Role Avatar support is enabled from the "Avatars" sub-section, where you can also set a path for the upload avatars to be stored (within your Portals/[PortalID] directory). Once set, administrators can navigate to the "Role Avatars" section as shown above where they can upload and assign avatars to roles. If a user is in multiple roles that contain the same avatar image name, only one will be displayed when viewing posts by the user. Also worth noting, with all avatars, permissions on the folder are controlled via the DNN File Manager and the specified folder. By default, the module will set these permissions for you the first time you save the folder path.
The other new features worth noting in this group:
- "User Settings", where User Banning can be enabled/disabled. (defaults to disabled)
- "User Settings", where Post Edit time can be set (defaults to 0, thus infinite)
- "User Interface", where max post image width can be set (defaults to 500 pixels)
Nothing has been added in this area, all configuration options previous existed. The main change, besides the grouping, is adding filters for post bodies and subjects should be a faster experience than before. Similar to the add/edit group changes of the forum manager discussed above, there is no longer a separate page for adding filters and all editing and additions can be done from the same view.
Administrators can now permit per forum email addresses (as shown above). They can also enable/disable edit email notifications (when a post is edited). Although not shown, within the "Queue" sub-section, Super Users (ie. hosts) can determine the number of days to retain task history and email history when using the scheduled email queue/send task.
That wraps up the admin control panel and thus, all three control panels that are now part of the forum 4.5.3 release have been discussed. I hope you found the posts useful.