The coolest forum addition ever. (Page 1/2)
Cliff Pennock MAR 08, 05:33 PM
Well, at least I think so. It most certainly is very unique because I haven't seen anything like it on any other forum, ever.

Anyway, it started this morning, when I wanted to implement a "printable" version of a thread. There are lots of good "How To" threads out there and I can imagine that people want to print those out - it's easier carrying a few pieces of paper with you than a computer when working on your Fiero.

So I did just that. If you look at the top left of a thread, you'll notice a link that hasn't been there before:

If you click that, the system will generate a printable page for you. It's in fact the entire thread stripped from unnecessary information (like member-info and signatures). Also, if the system finds images that won't fit the paper when printed, these images will be sized automatically.

This I thought was quite cool by itself, but it gave me an idea for something else. Something that wasn't as easy to implement, but is very, very cool. I dubbed it VBooks.

What is a VBook? A VBook is shorthand for "Virtual Book" and it's text embedded in a thread. What makes this text so special is that the software treats this text differently than any other text. You can actually tell the system to take all the embedded VBook's text, and print only that. Why is this so cool? Because it allows anyone who has started a thread to create a "virtual book" from his thread. This VBook only contains what the thread starter wants it to contain. This way you can create awesome build up threads, "How To"'s or "History Off" threads.

This is how it works:

To include text of a thread in your VBook, enclose your text in the [booktext] ... [/booktext] tags. Like this:

[booktext]This is text I want in my VBook[/booktext]

Of course, the tags will not be visible after you have submitted the text. Inside the [booktext] tag, you can specify a Chapter Header by enclosing it in the [chapter]...[/chapter] tags. Like this:

[chapter]1: The Beginning[/chapter]
In the beginning, there was void.

You actually have three Chapter levels which only differ in size. Level 1 (the default level) is the largest, level 3 the smallest. You can specify the chapter level like this:

[chapter]1: The Beginning[/chapter]
In the beginning, there was void.

[chapter level=2]1.1: The Void[/chapter]

You can also specify a page break with the [pagebreak] tag.

These are the VBook tags I've created so far. I will add more VBook tags later. Of course, you can use all the normal formatting tags as well.

Now you don't have to put all text for your VBook inside the first message. You can spread it over as many messages you want. This way, you can add to your VBook whenever you like, and actually discuss with others what to put in your VBook. [booktext] tags in messages from someone other than the thread's originator are ignored, so only the originator can add to his own VBook.

When the system detects an embedded VBook, it will add a new link to the top of the thread:

Click that, and the system will generate your VBook. It won't look like much in your browser but when you actually print it, it will actually look like a real book (you can hit "Print Preview" in your browser to have a peek how the printed version looks like)!

I have created a sample VBook in the TO/T section here.

jetman MAR 08, 06:37 PM
The printable version is an exellent addition!
Now I can print up a thread without all of the signatures and other stuff to take to the parts store when I go shopping.
Thanks for thinking about us here Cliff, we appreciate it!

Silver 86 SE 2M6 4-speed, with
"check wallet light"

Fformula88 MAR 08, 07:27 PM
That is cool! I have printed threads in the past, and would have definately appreciated this option then. I am sure it will get put to a LOT of good use! Thanks!!
avengador1 MAR 08, 09:56 PM
Cool idea Cliff. I'll have to stock up on paper now. So much for the paperless society.
2farnorth MAR 09, 07:25 PM
Thanks Cliff. That is very helpful


Jake_Dragon MAR 14, 01:14 PM
Is there a way to make it only show the posts for the creater of the thread?
If I go and add the [booktext] [/booktext] in someone elses thread then its included.
I dont have any control over it at that point.

Its still a great idea!

[This message has been edited by Jake_Dragon (edited 03-15-2006).]

Cliff Pennock MAR 15, 03:14 AM

Originally posted by Jake_Dragon:

If I go and add the [booktext] [/booktext] in someone elses thread then its included.

Someone else's booktext is not included, or at least it shouldn't be.

Jake_Dragon MAR 15, 05:44 PM
Cliff I sent you a PM
84Bill MAR 17, 08:36 AM

dguy APR 21, 12:41 PM
Lost my VBook virginity today, Cliff. Nice feature!