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SnitzTM Forums 2000 Version 3.4.03
Installation Guide and Readme


Table Of Contents


Introduction

Thank you for downloading Snitz Forums 2000!  If you downloaded our software from any site other than http://forum.snitz.com, please check there for the latest official release.

This version again has many bug fixes, several new security related features, and has been greatly optimized for use in heavy traffic situations.

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Installation Instructions

NOTE: If you know that your server supports ASP and what database you plan to use, skip to step 3.

  1. Confirm that your server supports ASP (Active Server Pages).  This should be on the list of features for your host.  Windows servers commonly support ASP files. Unix servers can support ASP files if they have the 3rd party software called ChiliASP, installed.

  2. Determine what type of database you plan to use.  Snitz supports three types of databases:  Access, MS SQL, and MySQL.  Which database you will use depends on your server and how big you expect your forum to get.  The most common type of database used is Access. It works nicely for smaller forums on Windows servers.  Larger, more active forums may wish to use one of the other database types if it is supported by their server. If you are unsure which database type you should use, then you should use Access.

    Unix servers only support MySQL databases.

  3. Unzip the contents of the sf2k_34_03.zip archive (except for the snitz_forums_2000.mdb file) to a folder on your hard drive. (ex: c:\Snitz\)

    The snitz_forums_2000.mdb file is an Access 2000 database.  If you plan to use Access as your database, extract the snitz_forums_2000.mdb file out of the sf2k_34_03.zip.

  4. Open the config.asp file in your favorite text editor. 
    WARNING: DO NOT USE FRONTPAGE TO DO THIS.
    TIP: A text editor that displays line numbers can be helpful when modifying ASP files.  We suggest a free text editor called Araneae. You can use your favorite search engine to search for it.

    Setting the Database Type:
    Remove the ' from in front of the "strDBType" variable that corresponds with the database type you want to use. The following table shows some examples of how your strDBType would look like for each database.

    ACCESS MS SQL MySQL

    'strDBType = "sqlserver"
    strDBType = "access"
    'strDBType = "mysql"

    strDBType = "sqlserver"
    'strDBType = "access"
    'strDBType = "mysql"

    'strDBType = "sqlserver"
    'strDBType = "access"
    strDBType = "mysql"


    Setting the Connection String:
    Next, you need to set up your connection string, so your forum will know where to find your database.  Below the Database Type (which you just set) is a list of connection string options for each database type.
    The following table shows you how to set the connection string for each type of database that is available.

    Access Database

    Change the database name:
    When using an Access database, all the data is stored in a single file, unlike the other databases. So caution should be taken in where you store your Access database as it can be downloaded by anyone if they know the path. 
    If you store your Access database in a folder outside of your www folder (or wherever you keep the files for the rest of your site), then you should be safe because no one can download your database if it is outside of your www folder.
    If you store your database in a cgi-bin folder, or in your www folder, then it is strongly recommended that you change the default database name from snitz_forums_2000.mdb to a cryptic or not easy to guess name. The name should be a combination of letters and numbers. That makes it hard for anyone to guess the name of your database.

    Example: n92yr2fnis.mdb 


    Choosing the connection string to use:
    We provide 6 different connection strings you can choose from, to use to connect to your Access database.
    The first 3 connection strings are Access 2000 connection strings. It uses the latest Microsoft Jet drivers to connect to the database. We recommend you use one of these to connect to your database.
    The other 3 connection strings are Access 97 connection strings. It uses the older version of Microsoft's Access database drivers to connect to the database. Only use one of these connection strings if the Access 2000 one doesn't work.

    NOTE: You do not need to have Microsoft Access on your computer to use the Access database.

    The following options explain how to use each connection string.

    Option 1: Using the physical path to the database

    Using one of the above connection strings require you to know the physical path to your database. To help you find this physical path, we have provided a script called whereami.asp, which you can find in the tools.zip file in your forum folder with your other forum files.
    If your database folder is accessible from the web, upload the whereami.asp file to the folder where you are going to put your database.  From your browser, type in the location to your whereami.asp file:

    http://<yourServerName>/<databaseDirectoryName>/whereami.asp?dbname=my_database.mdb

    The whereami.asp will output the physical path to your database along with an example of how your connection string would look like. Update your connection string with the physical path to your database.

    Make sure to remove the ' from the beginning of the connection string you are going to use.


    Option 2: Using the virtual path to database

    Using one of the above connection strings allows you to connect to your database if you are uncertain of the physical path to your database. It uses the Server.MapPath() method to find the physical path to your database.

    The Server.MapPath() method starts from the root of your website, to the path you specify. For example, if your folders are setup like the following:

                      /Root
                         /www
                            /forum
                            /images
                         /cgi-bin
                      

    And you have your database in the cgi-bin folder, then the relative path to your database would be /cgi-bin/snitz_forums_2000.mdb. Using this, your connection string would look like the following:

    strConnString = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=" & Server.MapPath("/cgi-bin/snitz_forums_2000.mdb") '## MS Access 2000 using virtual path

    This path should be local on the server, and not a web path. (NOT http://) You can always use the whereami.asp file to help you determine the relative path to your database. The whereami.asp file will show you the full physical path to your database. From that path you can determine the relative path to your database.

    Make sure to remove the ' from the beginning of the connection string you are going to use.


    Option 3: Users on Brinkster's free server

    We have provided connection strings for users who have their forums hosted on Brinkster's free server. All that is needed for you to do is to replace the "USERNAME" with your Brinkster username, that you signed up with and remove the ' from the beginning of the line.

    For example, if your Brinkster username is "JohnDoe" then your connection string would look like this:

    strConnString = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=" & Server.MapPath("/JohnDoe/db/snitz_forums_2000.mdb") '## MS Access 2000 on Brinkster

    NOTE: If you change the name of your database, you will need to make that change in your connection string too.

    Microsoft SQL and MySQL database

    Before installing on an MS SQL or MySQL database, you need to have a database already created to use.  This can be a new, empty database, or an existing database that you are using for the rest of your site.  If you are unsure which database you can use, please contact your host and ask them which one they support.

    There are 2 connection strings available to connect to a MS SQL database and 1 connection string to connect to a MySQL database as you can see above. For MS SQL databases we suggest you use the first MS SQL connection string as it is more efficient.

    You will need the following information to connect to your database:
    SERVER_NAME: This is usually 'localhost', an IP address such as '198.0.1.163' or a server address such as 'mysql.server.com', depending on your host. This is not the url for your website.
    UID: This will be the username that has permission to connect to the database.
    PWD: This will be the password for the username to connect to your database.
    DB_NAME: This is the name of your database.

    Please contact your host if you are uncertain about what to put for each value.

    Remove the ' from the beginning of the connection string you wish to use and fill in the information you gathered earlier.
     

    DSN

    If you would like to use a DSN (Data Source Name) connection, to connect to your database instead, there is a connection string you can use.

    strConnString = "DSN_NAME" '## DSN
    Remove the ' from in front of the strConnString example marked '## DSN. Replace the "DSN_NAME" with the name of your DSN connection.  If your DSN name is "MyDatabase" then your connection string will look like this:
    strConnString = "MyDatabase" '## DSN



  5. Setting the Table Prefixes:
    NOTE: Change these settings only if you will be running more than one forum using the same database.

    Each forum that is using the database needs to have a unique string prefix for its tables.  The default prefix is "FORUM_" for both the members table and the forum tables.  You will need to change this from the default value for each additional forum you have setup, if you want each forum to share the same database.

    If you wish to share members information between multiple forums that uses the same database, then you need to use the same prefix for the "strMemberTablePrefix" for the other forums you wish to share the members information with. 

  6. Upload the files (except the Access database)  to a folder on your server.  Usually: /forum/
    TIP: It is recommended that you use an FTP client in ASCII transfer mode to upload your ASP files.

  7. Uploading & Setting up the database:
    New Install - ACCESS

    NOTE: Access databases can only be used on a Windows Server. You will need to use a MySQL or MS SQL database if you are on a Unix Server.

    Upload the Access Database file to a folder that has Read|Write permissions. Common examples of folders with Read|Write permission are:
    Examples:     /cgi-bin/     /fpdb/     /database/     /db/

    TIP: It is advisable to make sure this directory is not accessible by the web to stop people from downloading your database.

    NOTE: Setting folder permissions on a Windows Server is different from setting permissions on a Unix Server. On a Unix Server you can change file/folder permissions using your FTP program. With a Windows Server, you will need to contact your host to change permissions on a file/folder. Or use the Windows Explorer to change permissions of a file or folder, if you are running your own server.

    If you are running your own server, you need to make sure that the "IUSR_YOURMACHINENAME" account (or EVERYONE) has full access to your database file and folder.

    Open http://<yourservername>/<forumdirectoryname>/setup.asp in your browser.  Then follow the instructions to setup your database.

    New Install - MS SQL or MySql


    Open http://<yourservername>/<forumdirectoryname>/setup.asp in your browser.
    Follow the instructions to create the forum tables in your database.


  8. After the forum is installed you can log in as the administrator with the username and password you supplied at setup. Then you will need to click on the "Admin Options" link at the top right of the page. Then log in again to the Admin Section using the same admin username and password.

    You will now be at the Admin Control Panel, where you can configure the forum to match your site and colors.

  9. Configuring your Email Configuration:

    Configuring the email server is a commonly overlooked part of setting up a forum. This is very important though because there are several features that will not work without it. For example: Subscriptions, Email Validation, Forget Password Option, Emailing Members, etc.

    Picture of the E-mail Server Configurations

    The email component select box will display a list of email components that are installed on your server. There is no particular 'right choice' as any that are listed will work.

    NOTE: If the select box says "No Compatible Component Found", then you will have to either install a component or not use email.

    Email mode should be "on" if you want your forum to send email, or "off" if you don't want it sending email.  This function will be disabled if no email component is selected.

    Email server should point to an outgoing SMTP server that can be used to send email.  If you have POP3 email, then this is the same as your "outgoing mail server" in your email configuration.

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Upgrade Instructions

NOTE: It is recommended that you backup your database before you upgrade.

  1. To upgrade your forum you will need to modify your connection string to point to your backup copy of the database you want upgrade.

  2. Go to the setup.asp file in your forum directory.
    Ex.: http://<yourservername>/<forumdirectoryname>/setup.asp

    Follow the instructions to upgrade your database to the current version. Upgrade of the database is supported from Snitz Forums Version 3.0 Release Candidate 1 and later.

    Please note that when upgrading your forum, you will have to re-install any mods you previously added to your forum.

  3. After the upgrade has been completed, log into your Admin Options and click the Update Forum Counts link to complete the upgrade.

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Installation FAQ

NOTE: This is a very short list of setup related questions that are commonly asked in the support forums. If the answer to your question isn't here, please post your question at the Snitz Forums.

Q: Why is my browser trying to download an ASP file? OR Why does my browser display the ASP code?

A: This usually means that either your host does not support ASP (Active Server Pages), or your server has not been configured correctly. Check again to make sure your host supports ASP. If unsure, contact your technical support or your system administrator.

Q: Why do I get an "HTTP 500 - Internal Server Error"?

A: A 500 error usually means that there has been a problem running the script or connecting to the database. If you are using Internet Explorer you may have to turn off "Friendly HTTP Error Messages" before you will get any useful information. To do this, go to Tools >> Internet Options... >> click the Advanced Tab >> Uncheck the "Show Friendly HTTP Error Messages" option.
Once you have turned off the Friendly HTTP Error messages, you should get an error that is a little more descriptive which may help you troubleshoot your problem. If you still can not understand the error, ask for help at our support forums. We will be glad to help. Be sure to include the information given to you by the error message.

Q: Why do I get an "Operation must use an updateable query" error when trying to use my forum?

A: This is a common HTTP 500 error encountered when setting up an Access Database. It means that the folder in which you have placed the database does not have proper permissions granted to the server to modify the files. Make sure that if your host provided a location specifically for databases, that you have put the database there. For more information and other possible resolution strategies, you can refer to this article: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q175168

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Getting Support

As of the writing of this file, there is no official documentation for Snitz Forums 2000.  Providing such documentation is currently a goal of the Snitz Forums 2000 Team.

In the meanwhile, please bring your questions to the Snitz Community Forums.

NOTE: We can not answer Support Questions via e-mail.

TIP: When asking for help, please consider the following:
(These will help us to answer your question more quickly!)

DO -

  • Search the forum for a possible answer before posting.
  • Post a link to your forum.
  • Tell us if you are using Access, SQL Server or a MySQL database.
  • Tell us if this is a new problem, or if it has been happening a while.
  • Post your question in the most appropriate forum.
  • Tell us what version of the forum you are running.
    TIP: Version info can be accessed by going to your Admin Options and in your Main Forum Config.
  • Tell us if you have installed any mods.
  • Tell us which database connection string you are using.
  • Make your subject descriptive.
  • Tell us if this is a mission critical forum.
  • Provide steps to recreate the problem, if applicable.

DON'T -

  • Post "HELP!" as a subject. That's not going to get your question answered any sooner. It may in fact take longer. Some persons look at the subject for ways they can help out.
  • Forget that this is a volunteer system. There are no paid members here whose job is to answer your question.
  • Be vague in the description of your problem. "It's broken!" isn't descriptive enough.
  • Worry about your grammar and spelling. If you are a non-English speaker and you are afraid that your message may not be clear in English, then post in your native language as well. There may be someone from your country who will have an answer for you and be able to tell you in your own language, as well as English.
  • Please don't use large .gif or .jpg files in your signature. This slows down the system if you are a frequent poster. In most cases, less is better.
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Donations

Information on donations can be found at: http://forum.snitz.com/donations.asp.

Any Donations can be sent to:

Snitz Communications
C/O Michael Anderson
PO Box 200
Harpswell, ME 04079

or

You can use your Credit Card or E-Check at PayPal via our web site: http://forum.snitz.com/donations.asp

PayPal is an easy way to send donations over the internet for free. You can use a credit card or bank account! It's fast, free and secure.
(Even supports international users!)


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Copyright / Credits

If you have any problems, find any bugs or have suggestions (for improvement or otherwise) please use our support forum at http://forum.snitz.com to communicate your issue(s) with us.

Snitz Forums 2000 is a product of the combined work of many individuals that contribute countless hours of non-funded development time. All of them deserve full credit for this wonderful product's existence.

Special Thanks go to Nathan Bales (Nathan) for the construction of this readme file and Rui Ribeiro (ruirib) for proof reading this document.

Owners Lead Developers Development Team

Michael Anderson (reinsnitz)
Pierre Gorissen (gor)
Huw Reddick (HuwR)
Richard Kinser (RichardKinser)

Sue Crocker (heptite)
John Miller Jr (John)

Active Members
Doug Gorin (Doug G)
David Maxwell (davemaxwell)
Bülent Özden (Bozden)
Dion Rentos (Kal Corp)
David Silvera (Davio)
(Da Stimulator)

InActive Members
Tim Teal (tteal)
Geoff R (GeoffR)
Jeffrey Alen Stana (jEFF)
Josh Pape (Josh)
Kerry (Kerry)
Luis Romao (zecompadre)
M Houston (Sparty)

(cont.)
Matt (Matt)
Matthew (Matthew)
Nathan LeMesurier (Nathan L)
Richard Hay (anotherwin95)
Scott Lemieux (slemieux)
(animedj)
(BogieMan)
(brkonthru)
(BuffyNET)
(isuru)
(Sabre Cat)
(Smiddy)
(Spoon)
Kuai Ser Leng (Sting-)

It wouldn't be here today if it weren’t for all of those mentioned and many more who were not.

Additionally, Snitz Forums 2000 was originally based on another product called ASP-DEv Forums (http://www.asp-dev.com), which was the work of John Penfold <asp@asp-dev.com>, Tim Teal <tteal@tealnet.com> and all the people of the ASP-DEv development group (http://www.asp-dev.com).

NOTE: The product now has very little in common with the original application, but as a courtesy to the original developer who asks not for any recognition, we mention his original work.

Cheers!

Reinsnitz (Mike Anderson)
http://forum.snitz.com
reinhold@bigfoot.com
><)))'>

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life."

                               - John 3:16 (NIV)

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- - The Snitz Team | http://forum.snitz.com - -

Copyright (C) 2000-02 Michael Anderson, Pierre Gorissen, Huw Reddick and Richard Kinser