[MODDB] Email Digests

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MarkDHamill
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[MODDB] Email Digests

Post by MarkDHamill » Sat Jun 21, 2003 5:19 pm

You can find this MOD in the MOD Database here:
http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=187868


This is my first modification so be gentle. This is software that sends email digests to subscribers. It requires crontab or something similar be set up on the server to call the mail_digests.php program once an hour every hour. So it requires a fair amount of technical skill. It also creates two new tables which by default have "mod_" in the table name so they can be distinguised; this can be changed in the digest_constants.php file.

The full message is not sent, just an excerpt at a size you set. Text or HTML digests can be sent. HTML is, of course, much better and contains handy links to take you to the forum, topic or message of interest.

What I like about it is how flexible it is: a user can pick particular forums they want, daily or weekly digests, set the hour they want to receive digest, filter out their own messages, etc. And of course it is easy to subscribe or unsubscribe.

It has been tested with MySQL only since that is the only database I've got.

Created using phpBB 2.0.4.

A zip file is at http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digests.zip

Thanks for your feedback!

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Post by Jaeboy » Sat Jun 21, 2003 5:33 pm

No one gonna download and install your stuffs if you don't provide screenshots :wink:
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Post by MarkDHamill » Sat Jun 21, 2003 6:07 pm

Fair enough. The data entry screen is large enough to require a scroll. Here is a sample of the top of the page:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_1.jpg

and the bottom:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_2.jpg

A sample digest gets emailed, of course, and is rendered by the email client but you can get an idea of how it would look here:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_sample.htm

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Post by PeteBest » Sat Jun 21, 2003 7:54 pm

Looking good there Mark. Congrats on the mod, just a quick question, have you got any plans to make this grab the style sheet to make it look like the rest of the board it orignates from?

For a first mod you seem to have jumped in at the deep end a bit :D

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Post by MarkDHamill » Sat Jun 21, 2003 9:43 pm

I use the Desert Storm theme that I downloaded, somewhat customized, but it tested fine on subSilver. I can't take kudos for that. But I am interested in whether it is as portable as I think it will be, and whether it will be of interest to the larger community.

I see an email digest as another way to bring in occasional users. It keeps them from having to manually go to a site to see if there is something of interest.

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Email digets

Post by houseofstrauss » Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:06 pm

Hi Mark, I am enquiring to see if you have any further developments on the email digest mod. I'm really looking to see an official beta version released ie one that is reasonably straight forward to install and implement. I'm not a coder, but I really want this email digest facility on my board. In fact if it doesn't happen I'll go elsewhere.

Malcolm W and Drathbun have already done work on an email digest, but nothing is finished and good to go. Perhaps you guys can 'talk' and work something out

Regards Richard

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Digest

Post by cisiodon » Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:44 pm

I instaled MOD Digest in 2.06 and works fine, BUT:

It´s instaled also in SubBlack Theme and the Words do no appear in digest.php when called from Browser.

See at: http://www.netforum.com.br/forum/digests.php and see that the Words do not appear because same color as background.

Where can i make changes to display words in White color ?

Thanksm in advaNCE

Mike

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Post by BioALIEN » Wed Sep 17, 2003 5:04 am

I think to fix your problem the developer will find it wise to use the default css style sheet used by that template. Also this should extend to the email itself. It should also use the default stylesheet used by the board. Continue the theme ;)
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Post by MarkDHamill » Wed Sep 17, 2003 11:26 pm

The user's problem was with the CSS, not my modification.

I'd like to move it up to a real mod, but I didn't see any interest in it here until recently. If you think I should I will give it a try. It's a complex mod with a heavy emphasis on mySQL. I'm not sure how to make it more generic. Any suggestions would be appreciated, or should I just submit it as is.

My users like the modification and it seems to be reliable and stable.

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Post by Jaeboy » Thu Sep 18, 2003 5:13 pm

MarkDHamill wrote: Fair enough. The data entry screen is large enough to require a scroll. Here is a sample of the top of the page:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_1.jpg

and the bottom:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_2.jpg

A sample digest gets emailed, of course, and is rendered by the email client but you can get an idea of how it would look here:

http://www.potomactavern.org/tavern/digest_sample.htm


Very nice, worth a try :wink:
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Post by Rae's » Fri Sep 19, 2003 7:01 am

I'm responding to a request by one of your members to comment on phpbb forum running an email digest.

I currently run a large Yahoo group and I find the email digest facility especially useful. A digest is a far more convenient way for me to retrieve and view posts. I would also like to see a common email posting address to the forum as part of this setup.

This would be a great addition to any forum software

GRade
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email digest add-on

Post by GRade » Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:36 am

I would like to express my interest in the e-mail by digest post that is proposed here.

I run an advertizing company with agents working remotely from central offices. I currently use MOJO mail to despatch details to field operatives. I have tried using forums, as we need the interactivity of feedback, however, I have found that some people are more likely to open an email than use a forum as it is less cumbersome. We also tried email notifications from a forum, but found this to be unsuitable with several posts arriving to an inbox. One daily digest would centalize communication and enhance a community identity.

I ceratinly think that an email digest would appeal to my users and also encourage them to come to the forum for followup. I agree with "Rae's" letter that a forum email posting address would be an essential feature for complete connectivity.

Regards Gavin Rade (highgrade coms inc.)

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Post by MarkDHamill » Fri Sep 19, 2003 4:49 pm

Thanks for the positive feedback. I was a little surprised it didn't generate more buzz when I first put it out as a Beta, since it seemed like an essential feature for BBS software. My approach though is to spit out a highly customized digest unique for each person and that could put a lot of strain on the database for large sites.

One concern is that email clients vary and are very picky. The text digest is very ugly. The HTML one is much nicer, of course, but certain email clients will screw it up or handle it weird. I tried to keep it as generic as possible and that's why I didn't use background colors, images and the like.

But since I have a long weekend I'll look into a mod to add the forum's default template stylesheet and then puzzle through the official mod process. It looks like the developers get a lot of mods and no one will be in a hurry to process this one.

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CSS'd your digest.php and .tpl

Post by gregentin » Fri Sep 19, 2003 8:45 pm

Hey,hey,
I downloaded the digest MOD a couple of days ago, and added it to phpBB 2.0.6, mySQL 4 and PHP 4.2 on my Linux Server at work.

First off, its a great MOD and should definitely create some excited once its fully implemented as a MOD (I think people are looking for a plug n' play solution mostly). I did have to do some debugging and there is a path error (at least for my system) in your instructions.

Second, I've done some work on the digest.php and .tpl to bring it up to speed with the general style sheet. Mark, I'm not sure what the protocol is on helping out with MODs...should I send the update to you, post it here, maybe you don't want it...just let me know. I'm new at this :)

Third, I'm still having a little trouble with accessing my php interrupter. If anyone has any tips on how to do this in Linux...I've poured over the php support site, but to no avail. I'm running PHP4.2; do I have to use a CGI script or something?

Mark, great MOD...I was surprised to find it hadn't been incorporated already. Well done!
gR
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Post by MarkDHamill » Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:01 am

I'm glad you like my mod.

Unless the changes are major please copy and paste the code here and I will review it. If it looks good I'll add it to the next version and submit it as a request for an official modification with credits, of course, for contributors.

I'm looking at how to add the stylesheet to the HMTL version of the email digest right now. That shouldn't require any major work. It will need to be tested on some major email clients.

I too was surprised that I was the first one to come up with this digest mod. It's one of these things that makes all the sense in the world and I wonder why no one ever worked on it before. (Perhaps the reason is it requires command line knowledge of UNIX for most people, and that may be a leap.) I do have concern that on a big site it will chew up a lot of CPU time. But it is very flexible.

A future enhancement might be to add search word criteria, e.g. send me digest with posts containing certain words. Perhaps that can be in version 2. This version needs to get in the hands of more developers and go through a more formal testing process than I can give it.

As for the location of the PHP interpreter there may be a "where" or "wh" command -- I don't do much UNIX so I don't remember. I believe you can do echo $path or something like that and it will show you the default directories that are searched. Then you can look into each of these folders for the php program. When you find it that will solve the location of the absolute path to PHP on your server problem.

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