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 A Complete Idiot's Guide To MOD Implementation
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Average Member

United States
999 Posts

Posted - 25 August 2002 :  12:34:28  Show Profile  Visit richfed's Homepage
Alright then, here goes ... the blind leading the blind! And boy, was I ever blind. When I left my old ISP for a new, Windows-based server, I didn't even know what ASP stood for [Active Server Pages, for those in the same boat now!]. The place came with some software, known as Snitz Forums 2000, and was thrust upon me because I needed a forum to replace my old CGI-run WWWboard. Believe it or not, I hated to make that change!!! I really did! Sad, but true. That was then [May 17, 2002], this is now!

My web site's been around since April '97. Search out The Last of the Mohicans and you're bound to find us. But ASP? Snitz? MODS? Never heard of them!

Currently, I am using Snitz version 3.3.05 on my Mohicans web site, though I have installed version 3.4.01 on my server for another audience. Perhaps, I'll upgrade the Mohican Board someday, but right now it is so heavily "modded" that I just can't part with all the features ... no pressing need, that I know of, so I continue to add MODS [modifications, for the yet uninitiated!]. Functioning on my board, right now, with no problems, are:

Poll || Active Users || Events Calendar || Classified Ads || Advanced Color Control || Private Messages w/ Maintenance || Hide E-Mail || Flood Control || Quick Reply || Smile Manager || FAQ Add-On || Snitzzy Chat || HTML Newsletter || E-Mail All Users || Avatars w/ Advanced Legend & Review & Avatar Pack || User Fields [modified to allow the new fields to appear in posts] || Ban IP || Hot Keys || Insert-in-Place || MSN Messenger || Forum Announcements || Sticky Topics || Scroll Bar Color || Hover Color || Plus, many security fixes & other fixes found via browsing these forums [i.e. flaming folder fix, long post preview fix, link to most recent post link fix, etc.]

I'm in the middle of the News Forum MOD [stuck on that one] and still have hopes of adding a Jump To Last Post & a Topic Sorting MOD. Whew! And I have virtually no idea what I'm doing!!! Point? Practically anybody can do this, if you just follow some rules. That's what this is for, to lay out some ground rules for those of you just getting into this, in hopes that you can avoid some of the pitfalls that befell me.

Now, by no means does this imply that you won't get stuck - I still do, but it ought to make your modification journey a little less bumpy. And, I should say, right now, that I couldn't have accomplished what I have without MUCH assistance from the folks right here who maintain and/or utilize these forums!

So, without further ado, My GUIDE:

1 - Before you do anything, BACK UP your files. Database, too, if the MOD calls for database changes. You're safe now. If anything goes wrong [and, it will!] you can revert to the previous state.

2 - Do I really need this? Ask yourself that! I've started down many a MOD path, just to realize the MOD didn't do what I thought it did.

3 - Partially toward that end, but for other reasons, as well, SEARCH this site before attempting implementation. You'll save yourself a lot of grief! Trust me! You'll see what troubles might be in store, and more importantly, how to avoid and/or fix them.

4 - Once you've chosen a MOD for download [the most comprehensive list of downloadable MODS, that I know of, can be presently found at SnitzBitz, READ THE README FILE! Most MODS come with one and some are better than others, but read it ... carefully. I know you're in a rush to get on with it, but you'll save time in the long run if you take the time now to read the thing ... right now.

5 - DO NOT REPLACE YOUR FILES WITH THOSE CONTAINED IN THE MOD ZIP FILE!!! Some MODS do come with additional files to upload. That's OK. I'm speaking of sometimes enclosed modified files that are already a part of your Snitz Forum. If you upload these, you will be overwriting your possibly already modified files, losing all that work!

Here's what I do: Any files contained with the MOD that I already have as a part of Snitz [i.e. topic.asp, post.asp, post_info.asp, pop_profile.asp, etc.] I immediately rename! If topic.asp were included, for example, I'd rename it topic_MOD.asp. Then, I download my copies from my site, to the same folder on my hard drive, for comparison & to copy & paste the new modified code.

6 - That's basically what you do, copy & paste, but BE CAREFUL. It's amazing how many crises are completely due to copy & paste errors. Find yourself a time & place to do this when distractions are at a minimum. Some MODS have the new code in the ReadME file. I like that better! Otherwise, just carefully compare the two files [the "modded" one that came with the MOD - which you've renamed to avoid confusion - with the one from your forum]. Most are clearly marked, thankfully!

7 - Get yourself a good text editor for this purpose. You can download a good one, for free, at ARANEAE ASP & HTML TEXT EDITOR. Before I discovered that, I was actually counting the lines to find corresponding line numbers, wondering, There's got to be a better way! Well, there is! Download this thing; it'll save you time & trouble. Use the Find & Replace functions whenever possible!

8 - Keep in mind that the line numbers given in many of the ReadMe files are based on "clean" [unmodified] files. Yours may not be so, and consequently the line numbers may vary ... sometimes greatly! You'll have to learn to spot the appropriate code ... go slowly & be sure you're inserting the new code in the correct place. Sometimes there are multiple instances of the same, or similar, code. Be sure! Use the Find & Replace functions as an assist!

9 - One of my most troubling pitfalls was updating the Database tables, as some MODs require. If you are using Microsoft Access 97, as I was, UPGRADE TO ACCESS 2000! Again, a lot of grief will be avoided. Barring that, change your "strConnString" to follow an Access 2000 path. It works. Once I did that [before I upgraded to 2000], half my troubles disappeared. See: for more expert advice on doing that! MOD implementation suddenly became a lot easier.

10 - Do the steps in the order they are presented. Typical steps might include: Uploading the MOD dbs file & running the update from your Administrative area, uploading the new files and icons [if any], copy & paste the code to your files, then uploading those.

11 - If you run into trouble, during or after implementation, SEND AN SOS right here in the MOD Forum [after doing another search, of course!]. Be specific in your post title, descriptive in your text. Post any error messages, Snitz version number, and be prepared to place a link to a text-version of your troublesome file. Nearly always, you'll receive assistance, sometimes remarkably quickly ... but you can really help yourself out by clearly describing the problem and providing others with the tools to quickly assist!

12 - Be absolutely sure all MOD functions are properly functioning and that the rest of your forum seems OK before beginning work on another MOD. One MOD at a time!!!! Then, begin anew, by BACKING UP!

Enjoy your new MOD!


TABLE EDITOR: Great aid to your database maintenance! Free!

SPELL CHECKER: For Internet Explorer. Excellent tool! Like a MOD that you can use anywhere on the Internet! Free!

OK ... that's about all I can think of, at the moment, though I'm probably leaving out something I had meant to mention. I believe, and hope, following these steps will make MOD implementation quite a bit easier for you than it was for me. SLOW & EASY does it!

More advanced users: Feel free to add to this! And thank you, very much, for all the helping hands you've lent me!

Happy MODDING! It's actually ... fun!


Edited by - davemaxwell on 28 September 2002 10:41:50

Average Member

661 Posts

Posted - 25 August 2002 :  15:43:34  Show Profile
Thanks richfed, it's Great !!!

i suggest this topic should be STICKY on top of MOD Implement forum..

so everyone try to install/upgrade mods should take a look this first !
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General Help Moderator

New Zealand
7528 Posts

Posted - 26 August 2002 :  21:42:23  Show Profile  Visit Gremlin's Homepage
Very well written Richfed.

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