Camen Design Forum

NNF e-mail subscriptions?

append delete ErikJ

Hi Kroc,

I'm currently involved with the development of a project management system for laymen, and we're investigating NNF for our discussion forum. A problem occurred to me, however. This being a consumer product, we can't count on everyone having an RSS reader. Thus I'm wondering if there are any major roadblocks to feeding the user updates from RSS files via email. I'm also concerned about integrating the forum to the account system we will undoubtedly use, however I can imagine it won't be too difficult.

Your thoughts?

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append delete #1. Martijn

If you are already thinking about implementing – and have the skills necessary to implement – your own account system, then sending emails is probably not the hardest thing in the world.

The main problem, looking at the bare NNF, is that it is not build to store any data other than thread contents. For example, it doesn’t store email addresses of users. Mainly because its only storage is public RSS files and people might not want to make their email address public to all.

If the account system you are implementing contains people’s email addresses that would solve that issue. Having implemented your own account system also means you are already using custom code whenever a reply is submitted so it would be trivial to trigger the sending of an email.

One of the important parts is probably to not think about giving “updates from RSS files via email”. This is an unnecessary extra step. Instead something like this is probably what you want:

1. Let people subscribe to threads, store this in a database (you are probably using one for your account system).
2. When someone posts a reply to a thread your custom code kicks in:
2a. Check the name/password of the reply author against your database.
2b. Check your database to see if anyone is subscribed to the thread.
3. If 2a passes you:
3a. Save the reply to the RSS feed, as normal.
3b. Send an email with the reply’s contents to everyone subscribed.

append delete #2. ErikJ

Thanks Martijn, that makes a lot of sense! Unfortunately it looks like we won't be using NNF after all, considering the potential size of our database and the programmer's preference for SQL. Anyway, I hope the answers you've given can help someone else out in the future.

Thanks again!

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