Hey all, I haven't posted here in a while, but one of my members recently requested a new feature and I think I can do it. I'm pretty familiar with sessions in general, and very familiar with the phpBB tools and code, it's just this particular question gets me for some reason.
What they want is a Meet The Staff section on the site where staff members (mods and admins) can put little descriptions about themselves and their part in our community. I wanted to go a bit above and beyond, and I always get a little carried away, but I've done bigger projects. What I was thinking originally was have a completely seperate (from the forum) page, and have it so that any staff members can sign in (it will use the information from the forum database), but regular members cannot. The user would have to sign in seperately here and at the forum, since session data would not be sent. Then, the staff members will be able to put in their info and it will be formatted and put in a nice little page with that user's avatar and signature text. That, I can do easily.
What I was thinking while browsing around bored was that I could go beyond that, and actually connect the meet the staff control panel and the forum together. What I had in mind is a link that shows up in the navigation bar in the forum for staff members only (I know how to do that), and the staff member can click the link, and it will use his or her session information from the forum to make sure that the person is who they say they are (that way any regular member can't just get that url the old fassion way, whatever that is anymore, they'd have to be validated). The thing that's getting me is how to use the sessions. How does phpBB implement sessions? What session data is transmitted? I know obviously user id is, but what else is sent? What would I need to know to be able to have this page be part of the forum?
Another thing I thought of while I was typing this up was adding a new field to the profile editor page for staff members only (I think I can do that), that says "please enter your "Meet The Staff" description here:". The user could then put that in, and it's automatically pulled out by another display page that gets that user's description, avatar, and sig.
Either way I choose, I have a few ideas for how to set it up. If I choose option 1 or 2, I can make template files that I will parse and let the user choose from different layouts for his "About Me" section, and maybe even upload a picture of the person in real life, if they want. If I go with option 3, I couldn't do this. Either way, I will have it set up so that any changes to their description/picture would have to be approved by me, to prevent abuse, I would have the newest edit go to a row in the database for updates, and when I approve it, it would be copied over to the live section.
I think option 3 would be the simplest for my members, as it's unobtrusive, and clean. Option 1 would be the simplest for me to implement, but would require my members to do a little more work to update it. Option 2 is in between, since the link is right there, and they don't have to log in twice, and they could choose templates.
Since I'll probably go with 2 or 3, for which I will need the session variables, can you guys help me out? What session variables will I need to make sure the person stays logged in over the new pages?
Thank you in advance, I know that if I can get phpBB help from anywhere, this is the best place.