8.1 Customization Basics
Everything displayed to end-users of your Forums is template driven. This makes it very flexible and customizable so that you can customize all text and HTML displayed to visitors. You can literally implement any design and change anything displayed to end users. The templates can also be thought of as skins. To edit these templates or skins you may go to the ‘Template Manager’ in the Control Panel. Note that SiteNet BBS doesn't use any HTML code of it's own. All displays is taken from HTML templates and SiteNet BBS uses the HTML obtained from the templates to construct all end-user displays.
8.2 Template Basics
The templates that is used by SiteNet BBS is just ordinary HTML files. The only exception is that the templates or HTML files contains variable words that SiteNet BBS uses for pointers where it needs to place data. You may open the HTML files with your favorite web editor or with what ever you prefer and edit away. Some templates combine into each other to form an entire page or a table listings the Forums or Topics of a Forum, etc. What this means is that some pages displayed to end users consist of more than one template which combines into each other to form one page.
Important Note: It would be vital that you use a good web editor like Microsoft Front Page or Dreamweaver. In general these web editors are user friendly and easy to use.
8.3 How to edit templates
You can edit the templates from the Template Manager. To go to the Template Manager, go to the Control Panel and click the 'Template Manager' tab. Click on any of the template links in the Template Manager to edit templates.
Templates can be edited by copying and pasting the HTML code directly into your web editor when editing templates from the Template Manager. Once you have changed the template contents, you may copy and paste it back into the edit box and save it.
You may also open the template files directly with your web editor to edit them. The templates are stored inside your ‘data’ directory. You can get the file names from the ‘Template Manager’ inside the Control Panel when you click the 'Template Manager' tab and choose a template set to edit.
8.4 What is the variable words in the templates/HTML files?
The variable words are enclosed by !! (double exclamation) characters. Examples of such variable words are:
!!date!! or !!pages!! etc...
Variable words are replaced by chunks of data supplied by SiteNet BBS when end-users browse your Forums. The location of the variables in the HTML templates acts like pointers where SiteNet BBS substitutes the variable words with data.
!!date!! is replaced by the date of a topic for example and !!pages!! are replaced by the number of pages that contains topics, etc.
Note: It is very important that most of these variable words are present in your templates. Without them your Directory & Search Engine may not function correctly. Only remove variable words if you know what they do.
8.5 How to use images in templates
To make use of images in the templates, you must use a URL link to indicate their locations. For example:
<img src="someimage.gif"> will not work. You have to indicate the entire URL where someimage.gif is located. For example:
8.6 General Template Guidelines
A lot of the templates work in combination with each other and others work independently where they are not combined with other templates.
The moment you open (with your web editor) a template you should know or have a good idea where it is to be used.
The easiest and best way to know exactly how the templates work is to experiment and play around with them. If something went wrong and the Forums doesn’t seem to be working anymore because of template problems, you can just go back to the default templates that were present when you first installed SiteNet BBS. You can go back to the original templates by clicking the ‘Restore Default’ button when editing templates from the ‘Template Manager’.
Also look carefully at the templates that was present when SiteNet BBS was first installed to get a good idea of how they work and what each variable word does. You can find these in the .zip installation file under the 'data' directory.