TX Discussion Forum - Do You Want An Offline Archive?
Last week, Guy Lecomte suggested that we produce a downloadable version of the TX Discussion Forum on a regular basis, as this would remove the need to be online when searching through past messages, thus allowing you to be more productive with your valuable programming time. What's more, having the actual files on your hard disk will also actually increase the searching speed.
We find this a VERY good idea and would like to make available such a downloadable file. However, before we start looking at a way to transport the information from the TX Discussion Forum to your hard disks, I would first like to ask your opinions on how we can do this best. There are several options available:
- By far the simplest is to have a flat file in pure ASCII or HTML. This approach would have the advantage that searching would simply be a matter of hitting CTRL + F to bring up the find dialog box, entering a search term and then hitting the ENTER key. Currently, such a text file would be around 1 MB (not zipped) in size, making the download 100 KB or so.
- Another solution would be to present the data in a database format, such as Microsoft Access. This solution has the advantage that you can create customized search forms based on the data that we provide. However, the disadvantage here would be that you would need to have Microsoft Access installed. Whereas many people will have this on their systems, others may not.
- Alternatively, for those of you who are running a Linux server with PHP3, MySQL and a WWW server (like Apache) in your office -- or indeed at home :-) -- there is no reason stopping you from importing the tables you would require to make the TX Discussion Forum available on your own server. We would then simply send you (or you could download) the current table data information once per month.
We are sure that you have many more ideas, on the ways in which we will be able to get the TX Forum messages to you, and would like to hear from you. Simply hit the reply button and send us your thoughts. We will take all comments into consideration before we create the final solution.
While the proposal of having a local copy of the TX Discussion Forum is certainly an exciting idea, we must also look at the privacy issues raised here. Currently, the full name, e-mail address and IP address of every poster is recorded on our server.
Whereas a user of the TX Discussion Forum cannot use automated harvesting tools to extract these e-mail addresses from Forum's backend, direct access to the database would enable access to this information. Once in the possession of an unscrupulous and irresponsibly person, these e-mail addresses could be used to send unsolicited bulk e-mail.
As such, we wish to make it clear here, that as we are extremely conscious of the privacy of our TX users, all the information from the TX Discussion Forum which we make available, will have been censored, extracting our customer's e-mail addresses. The rest of the information in the downloadable version of the TX Discussion Forum will remain as it is, with nothing added, nor removed.
So, what do you think of an offline TX Discussion Forum? How do you think it can be best implemented? Please, send me your thoughts. The more ideas I receive, the quicker I can get the final solution up and running. Write me today!
Top TX Tip: Dealing with Toolbar Focus
This week's Tips and Tricks is in answer to a question posted in the Discussion Forum on 21 April. The question, posted by Sue Song went along these lines:
"In the MDI Demo for Visual Basic, I changed the tool bar using image controls to command buttons, but the cut, copy, paste buttons are not working. Why not? The code is exactly same. What's going wrong?"
Well, nothing is going wrong. This is not a bug in TX Text Control, as may appear to the casual visitor to the the Discussion Forum. TX Text Control has been designed to act just like this.
This problem usually occurs when you just move code that was fired by a menu to a command button. Suddenly, the clip functions does not working anymore or the find method does not highlight the found word.
This is just a matter of where the focus is. When a menu item is clicked, the focus is set back to TX automatically. A command button on the other hand receives the focus when it's clicked and keeps it. So, you have to set the focus back to TX in code.
A clipboard operation from a command button, for example, could look like the following:
Private Sub Command1_Click()
It's that simple! More next week.
The Newsletter Team