Using the Embarcadero discussion forums

By: John Kaster

Abstract: Use these suggestions to get the most out of our discussion forums

Read this article for information on using our discussion forums, and for configuring your forum client.

    Notices and Warnings

  • If you use XanaNews on Vista, the latest build that works the best on Vista and Windows 7, particularly for SSL, is available from http://xananews.techtips.com.br/
  • If you have private group access, do not use the public group setup instructions. Use the "private and public newsgroups" instructions below instead.
  • Use the EDN/Discussion Forums/Browser Interface area in QualityCentral to report bugs or request features for the browser UI.
  • Use the EDN/Discussion Forums/NNTP Interface area in QualityCentral to report bugs with the NNTP/NNTPS support.

Feel free to join the conversations at https://forums.embarcadero.com or news://forums.embarcadero.com.

    Jive Forums

We have a prototype replacement ready for our newsgroups, using Jive Forums.

We have chosen Jive as our new discussion forums server for several reasons:

  • Jive supports both NNTP (we also added support for simultaneous NNTPS) and HTTP/HTTPS discussion forums that use the same messagebase, so there are no synchronization or latency issues between the two interfaces.
  • It has a very rich set of browser options we liked.
  • It is written in Java and maintainable with JBuilder
  • It is similar to OpenFire, which used for our Chat system. This made the support for single sign-on with CodeGear membership services easier.

    Customizations

Our Jive customizations include:
  • Single sign-on using CodeGear membership services
  • Our Embarcadero look and feel
  • Ability to display an unlimited depth forum hierarchy on the main page
  • Expanding and collapsing of forum hierarchy on the home page
  • Support for BlackfishSQL as the database
  • Very fast batch creation based on a text file import for many forums and newsgroups at the same time with a special tool we cleverly named ForumPort
  • Support for both NNTPS (for private) and NNTP (for public) newsgroups. NNTPS logins are only allowed for people who have private access. NNTPS users can participate in both the private and public groups with a single newsgroup account. Only the groups to which they have access show up in their newsgroup list. NNTP users can participate in all public forums, but must be logged in to post any content.
  • We will deploy Gravatar Support in addition to Jive's standard avatars, which are turned on for http clients. See Developer Network Avatar Support for more information.
  • UI integration with our Chat system on the browser-based discussion forum pages.
  • Lots of NNTP bug fixes.
  • Additional NNTP headers that can be used by NNTP readers to integrate with the browser-based forums

    Testing

Our server implements single sign-on. You must have a CodeGear membership services account to post content. Our public discussion forums can be read without logging in, but posting content requires a valid login.

Feedback is welcome here or on the Developer Network Website forum.

    Browser interface

If you are called a "Guest" in the browser interface, you will not be able to post content. All other functionality should be supported for the public groups.

https://forums.embarcadero.com is the main page URL for the browser-based discussion forums.

    Public newsgroups via NNTP

If you want to post messages, you must configure your newsgroup reader for the following settings:
  • this server requires me to login, and provide your CodeGear membership services login name and password to login. (If you don't remember your login name, go to https://members.embarcadero.com. On the login form, the first value is your login name. If no values are displayed, it means your USER cookie is not currently set. In that case, login with your email address, and click on Edit my account information. Your login name will be dispayed above your first name.)
  • always authenticate

news://forums.embarcadero.com will give you access to all public groups defined on the server. These correspond to the browser-based discussion forums. Messages posted via nntp are visible via the browser client, and vice versa.

    Private and public newsgroups via NNTPS

If you want to read the private newsgroups to which you have access, and post messages either to the private or public groups, you must configure your newsgroup reader for the following settings:
  • this server requires me to login, and provide your CodeGear membership services login name and password to login
  • always authenticate
  • use SSL

Note! Any user may choose to login with an SSL connection. The SSL communication is slightly slower due to encryption/decryption of the NNTP packets, but most users won't notice the performance difference. This is a more secure connection for your account login information.

You can use the news://forums.embarcadero.com hyperlink, but you will need to customize your account settings as described above to get access to all your private groups, and to all public groups. There is no need for a second account to participate in public group discussions.

    Newsgroup Reader Configurations

This section contains notes for configuring specific newsgroup readers to correctly connect to the discussion forums. This entire document is in wiki format (MediaWiki, actually) so feel free to click the "edit content" link on the top right and update it for any newsgroup reader we may be missing. Developer Network publishers will receive a notice of a new version ready for review and we can get it posted. Thanks in advance!

    Outlook Express

Steps to configure Outlook Express are courtesy of Angus Johnson.
  1. In Outlook Express, via the following menu items - Tools | Accounts | Add | News ...
  2. Display Name = ("Name" in CodeGear Account Profile) -> Next
  3. Email Address = (Seems to accept any address) -> Next
  4. News Server = forums.embarcadero.com
  5. Check "My news server requires me to log on" -> Next
  6. Account Name = ("Username" in CodeGear Account Profile)
  7. Password = (CodeGear Account password)
  8. Leave "Remember Password" checked
  9. Leave "Log on using Secure Password Authentication" unchecked
  10. Next -> Finished -> Close

    Thunderbird

These steps are courtesy of TeamB member Rudy Velthuis.
  1. Tools -> Account Settings... -> Add Account
  2. (*) Newsgroup Account -> Next
  3. Enter your name and your email address -> Next
  4. forums.embarcadero.com -> Next
  5. Enter a display name for the server -> Next
  6. -> Finish
  7. In the account settings dialog, go to the newly created entry, and select Server Settings. Check the always request authentication... checkbox. -> OK
  8. Select the new server in the treeview at the left, and choose Manage Newsgroup Subscriptions on the right.
  9. Answer the questions for username and password. Then, after a few seconds, you should see a tree of all the newsgroups. Select the ones you are interested in, and now you can read them, and write to them.

    XanaNews

XanaNews supports multiple accounts being set up for the same server. This section describes access for our public forums and for our private forums.

Note: XanaNews 1.19.1.11 has added support for some of our custom NNTP headers. Those of you who use XanaNews may want to upgrade.

    Configuring public forums only

For users who only have access to our public groups, the best performance is available by not using SSL. The following instructions are for XanaNews 1.18.1.52:
  1. Account -> Add New Account ...
  2. Enter the account name -> Next
  3. Enter forums.embarcadero.com as the server name
  4. Check This server requires me to logon and fill in the User Name, Password, and Retype Password fields -> Next
  5. On the Finished dialog -> OK
  6. Right mouse click on the newly created account in the tree view and select Account Properties
  7. Click Server Settings and check Always authenticate
  8. Click OK

You should now be able to retrieve your newsgroup list, subscribe, and start joining the discussion in the public groups.

    Configuring both public and private forums

The configuration for both public and private is nearly identical to public only. The only difference is SSL support needs to be added after the New Account wizard completes.
  1. Account -> Add New Account ...
  2. Enter the account name -> Next
  3. Enter forums.embarcadero.com as the server name
  4. Check This server requires me to logon and fill in the User Name, Password, and Retype Password fields -> Next
  5. On the Finished dialog -> OK
  6. Right mouse click on the newly created account in the tree view and select Account Properties
  7. Select Server Settings and check Always authenticate
  8. Select Diallup[sic] & Connection and check SSL Required
  9. Click OK

You should now be able to retrieve your newsgroup list, subscribe, and start joining the discussion in both the private and public groups.

Note! There are no private groups available at this time, other than one used for internal testing.

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