Extra Comment Control

9th Jan 2007 ¥åßßå

Extra comment control at your fingertips

One of the drawbacks of b2evolution blogs is the lack of finesse when it comes to controling who can read or make comments. You either have to close the door on the whole world, or leave it wide open so everyman and his dog can wander in. There's no middle ground unless you fancy butchering a few of the core files to bend them to your needs.

B2evolution ships with the following 3 possible settings for comments :

  1. Open
    Everyman and his dog can read and make comments
  2. Closed
    Everyman and his dog can read comments, nobody (not even the dog) can leave comments
  3. Disabled
    What comments?

This plugin changes those options so you can specify exactly who comments are open/closed/disabled for. No longer do you have to let in the world just to allow your members the ability to comment. With this plugin you can choose from all of the following levels for each of the open/closed/disabled settings :-

  1. Anybody
  2. Registered users
  3. Blog members
  4. Blog editors
  5. Blog administrators
  6. Nobody

If this is the plugin for you then carry on to the installation instructions ....

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation

Allow Comments

22nd Aug 2006 ¥åßßå

Bypass Comment Moderation for Admin & Members

This is the plug-in that the world's been waiting for with bated breath ... well, two or three people here at AstonishMe, for sure! :p

It's a no-brainer addition to your blog. It'll end hours of frustration, turn you into one happy camper and heck, may even add years to your life. What's it do? Something that comment moderation should do, by default: It allows owners of a blog to comment, unmoderated, on their own blog; It allows members of a blog to comment, unmoderated, on blogs for which they're members!

"Doh!" you say, and rightly so, as it falls into the "Whose-blog-is-it-anyway?" category of feature additions.

Well, by golly, it's YOUR blog (and we make it so) ;)

If you employ comment moderation in the default install of b2evolution v1.8, you'll no doubt, quickly realize that your own comments are moderated, right along with the spamming visitor who's as slimy as green can be. What a travesty. Get this plug-in and correct this moderation faux pas. Allow administrators, members, and authors to comment on their own blogs and posts. Makes sense? We think so.

So much so, that we're making this plug-in free to all b2evolution users!

"Why?" you might ask, because you know it takes time to make these beneficial, valuable and life-extending plug-ins.

Because we're just great people! Because we know that you'll come to think of AstonishMe as your source for making your blog work the way YOU WANT IT TO. Because we're looking for a few good bloggers, interested in making their blog better, stronger, able to leap tall blogs, with high page ranks, in a single bound. Because, we know you want to sign up for membership and add some REAL pizzaz to your blog.

Set a "No-Link" Comment Policy

Oh, we've also included another useful feature, which keeps people from adding a URL to their comment. Whether it's a spammer or some schmoe making silly comments, leaving his URL to boost inbound links for his own page ranking, this setting will slam the linkage door in their self-serving faces. Use it to establish a no-link commenting policy for your blog. You'll know that the comments you get are real and not, in any way, a self-serving promotion, either for profit or page-ranking gain.

This plug-in is easy to install, easy to use. G'won ... you know you want it. Get it by moving on to "Installation and Usage". See you there. ;)

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation (v1.8) & Usage

Google Spell Checker

30th Mar 2006 Danny

Spel rite uzing "Google Spell"

Pre-Phoenix users of b2evolution may remember using the built-in spell-checker, based on www.spellchecker.com. A spell check window popped open, the utility often took its sweet time to load, it often terminated or hung when it encountered certain XHTML tags and it had a clunky interface. It's not surprising that the spell check button has disappeared in the publicly available, alpha version of Phoenix. In addition, the simple (English-only) spell checker plug-in that ships with v1.6 and CVS versions of Phoenix, doesn't work. This prompted us to write our own and make some improvements.

Google Spell

Introducing the Astonish Me! "Google Spell" plug-in. It provides an easy-to-use, multilingual spell checker for the Back Office write/edit pane and (optionally) for comment forms.

It's called "Google Spell" because it uses the Google Spell Check API and functions similarly to the spell checker in Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, then you may already be familiar with the interface.

The API call is made using AJAX, which allows spell checking right in the Back Office edit window (and/or comment form). No more annoying pop-ups or page refreshes. It utilizes a word-frequency algorithm, which means that it will recognize commonly used proper nouns. This reduces the number of words it 'thinks' are incorrect. It also skips over many XHTML tags, attributes and CSS class names, further speeding up the process. Because Google handles the dictionary end of things, technology words are covered. If that weren't enough, Google Spell is multi-lingual, currently supporting eight different languages: Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Français, Italiano, Nederlands, Polski, Português, Suomi and Svenska.

Google Spell was inspired by and is based upon GoogieSpell, written by Amir Salihefendic and released under the GPL. It's been tested in the PC versions of MSIE 6(sp2), FireFox 1.5 & Opera 8.5. JavaScript must be enabled for Google Spell to function. If JavaScript is disabled, the controls never show up, so it degrades nicely. We believe that JavaScript should only add functionality to a page.

Summary of Benefits

  • No annoying pop-up windows.
  • No flicker or waits from page refreshes.
  • Multilingual (8 languages currently supported).
  • Three east steps to get it installed.
  • Intuitive, Gmail-like interface is easy to use.
  • Recognition of many XHTML tags, attributes and CSS class names.
  • Recognition of commonly used proper nouns.
  • Up-to-date checking of technology words.
  • Fewer 'false positives' means less time spent spell checking.
  • Quickly spell-check: scan entry for highlighted, suspect words.
  • Check any length post (no length limit).

Google Spell Demonstration

<-- Controls Show Up Here (JavaScript required)

Don't take our word for it. Go on, give it a test drive. Spell check the text in the box, or be creative and type your own. (Keep in mind that we log everything that gets typed into the window, so no cussing, credit card numbers or passwords. On second thought, credit card numbers are OKAY, just be sure to enter the expiry date and the 3-number security code off the back. ;) )

Like it? Get your copy today, courtesy of AstonishMe!

(Next: Installation for your version of Phoenix.).

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation (v1.6)
  3. Installation (v1.8)
  4. Usage & Styling
  5. FAQS & Enhancements

Paged comments

7th Feb 2006 ¥åßßå

Taming Long Comment Lists

Does your blog receive lots of comments? If so, you're probably tired of scrolling down the screen each time you want see the newest comments. ( We know we are. :p ) Tame your long list of comments by paging them.

This skin modification will help you get control over lots of comments by putting them into pages. You can control the following:

  • Number of comments per page.
  • Sort order (New-to-old or old-to-new).
  • Styling and/or number of page controls.

The way it works is simple. Your comments appear, as normal, until they exceed your "number of comments per page". When they go over, a comment page is added, with page controls (i.e., newer comments | older comments ). The controls appear where you place them and we've added hooks so that you can style them to your liking in your CSS file. The code includes an internal bookmark, so when you scroll through pages of comments, each new page starts at the "top of comments" (rather than "top of entry"), which makes reading multiple pages of comments easier. We have also included an optional, easy core hack to keep view counts from incrementing for comment pages, should this be something you need.

To implement paged comments for your blog, follow the detailed instructions & use the cut'n-paste code on the next page. After you're finished installing, you'll likely want to style the page controls, which is covered on page 3 (CSS Styling), including some suggested CSS declarations. The last page (FAQs and Enhancements) discusses any questions we've received about paged comments and additional ways to make paged comments nicer.

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation instructions
  3. CSS Styling of Page Controls
  4. FAQs & Enhancements