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FrontPage 2002 Tutorials - All about FrontPage Discussion webs 2002

by Tina Clarke

(some tutorials cover FrontPage 2000 as well)

How To Make A Discussion Web And Include It In A Current Web Site

A discussion group is a FrontPage web that supports interactive discussions of topics by users. Users submit topics by entering text in a form, they search the group using a search form, and they access articles using a table of contents.

The easiest way to create a discussion group is by using the Discussion Web Wizard.

To create a discussion group and include it in your web site, first open up the website you wish to add a discussion web to, then:

1. On the FrontPage menu, File | 'Page or Web'

2. Select from the 'New Page or Web' Task Pane | under 'New from Template' | Web Site Templates and a new dialog box called 'Web Site Templates' will popup up. Select from the list, Discussion Web Wizard.

3 To add the Discussion web to your main web, tick the box marked 'Add to current web' under the browse button. This will add your discussion web to the website your are in.

4 In the 'Discussion Web Wizard' dialog box that pops up, press Next then select the main features for your discussion from the list provided.

You have a choice of:

NOTE: Only the UNIX operating system allows registration through a Web browser.

5. Enter the FrontPage web Title of your discussion group, and the name for the discussion folder. Usually it is best to leave the FrontPage default name in, but you don't have to, just make sure you leave the underscore ( _ ) in and click Next.

6. Choose the input fields for the submission form from the list provided. Click Next.

You have a choice of:

NOTE: You can always add more fields later if need be.

7. You are now asked if you want the web to be protected or not. Select whether or not users will be required to register for the FrontPage discussion web and click Next. If you select to register users, the Discussion Web Wizard will create a registration form. You need to configure and insert the registration form in your main root FrontPage web to make it available to users.

NOTE: Only the UNIX operating system allows registration through a Web browser.

8. Select the sort order for the table of contents and click next. (Newest to oldest is best)

9. Specify whether or not you want the table of contents to replace your Home page and click Next. (Say NO you don't want the discussion web to overwrite your main web's index page.)

10. Select the settings for the Search form and click next.

You have a choice of:

NOTE: You can create a search form to let a site visitor search a specific discussion web site for words or phrases. If your server finds the search text in the text index for the specified discussion web site, the visitor sees a weighted list of hyperlinks to the pages containing the search text.

A. If your server is using Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS), the search form uses the Indexing Service to search the text index. Indexing Service has more extensive support for searching non-English systems and Microsoft Office documents. In Page view, right-click the search form you want to format, click Search Form Properties on the shortcut menu, and then click the Search Results tab. In the Scope of search results section, click Directory, and then enter the name of the folder containing the discussion web site to which you want to limit the search.

B. If your server is not using IIS, Microsoft FrontPage uses the WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) search engine that is included with FrontPage to search the text index. In Page view, right-click the search form you want to format, click Search Form Properties on the shortcut menu, and then click the Search Results tab.
In the Word list to search box, type the name of a discussion group folder to limit the search to that folder.

11. Select a frameset (if applicable) in which to display the discussion group and click next.

You have a choice of:

NOTE: The discussion web documents can be configured for use with browsers supporting frames. In a framed discussion, users can see the Table of Contents and the articles at the same time.

Not all browsers support frames. If you select one of the first two options above, the discussion web will work with any browser. The last two options are only for browsers with frames.

I find the last option works best.

12. On any panel of the Discussion Web Wizard, you can click Finish to create the FrontPage discussion web using defaults for any settings you did not modify, at this point you can go back using the back button or click Finish to conclude the creation of your discussion web.

13. The discussion web is then created and appears in your files and folders. In Navigation View, select the file named disc1_frm.htm and drag it into your navigation view to include it in your Navigation bars if you use them. Click on the name of the file in navigation view to select it and right click and choose 'rename' change to something more appropriate than 'Frameset for discussion' and then right click within the navigation view and select apply changes. The Discussion Web (DW) is then updated. Next, right click in an open space in Navigation View and select Web Settings | Advanced Tab | and tick the 'Show hidden files and folders box' under 'Options'. Click OK and click Yes when asked to refresh the web. (This will enable you to edit posted articles.)

Double click the disc1_frm.htm to open or right click and choose open and customize the DW as needed.


A. How To Configure Font And Headings On The Post Results Page

First you need to make a theme and configure the theme headings, fonts, font size, background and links. You then apply the theme to all the files within the Discussion web to maintain a uniform look.

In the root web


In the _borders folder


In the _disc1 folder


This last file in particular is important, as this is the post results page.

To make a theme, go to Format | Theme. Select any theme and, for our purposes, lets say we want a plain look.

Untick Vivid colors, Active graphics and Background picture. Then click modify and three buttons will then be available. Click the Text button. The dialog box changes to the modify theme mode, click the 'More Text Style's button. Another dialog box called 'Style' will pop up. Then click the h1 under Styles and then the 'Modify' button, and then click the 'Format button and select font from the drop down menu. Now you can select the font type and you can insert more than one font. For example, Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif. You can select the colour and the size, plus other features if wanted. Make your selections and click OK twice and you are back at the 'Style' Dialog box. Select the next heading h2 and repeat your configurations and selections.

Do this for other styles you want to configure. When finished press Ok and Ok again on the 'Modify Theme' Dialog box. Now you are back at the Themes box. Click the 'Colors' Button and select the Custom tab. Where it says 'Item' select your background colour from the colour box beside it. Then click the drop down menu next to background and select each of the hyperlinks in turn and select their colours (Hyperlinks, Followed and Active).

You can do similar selections to what we have already done for the headings but there are not as many choices in this section. Press OK.

Once you have finished configuring your theme click 'Save As' and name your Theme (Do not use the names of any of the themes you have or they will be overwritten)

Now you can apply the Theme to your files listed above. Open up each file (for example disc1_post.htm) and click Format | Theme | make sure 'Selected pages' is ticked and select your theme from the alphabetical listing of your themes. Untick Vivid colors, Active graphics and Background picture and press ok. The theme will then be applied to your file. Repeat for each of the files above.

Now when visitors post you won't have the ugly default look of the Discussion Web.

B. How To Receive An Email, When Someone Posts To Your FrontPage Discussion Web

Go to Folders View and locate disc1_post.htm (the number depends on the amount of discussion webs you have made in any particular Web).

Select the file and double click to open or right click and press 'Open'

Go to HTML View and locate the following code. (There will similar sections of code, you want the one that is last in the line of code)

url="disc1_?.htm" --> (Where I have put ? indicates the page file name, depending on how you set up your DW it could be post or cfrm or other files names in the DW, so just look for this line of code which comes last in the sequence.)

Insert DIRECTLY before the --> end comment arrow the following code:

S-Email-Address="" S-Email-Format="TEXT/PRE"

So the end of the code should now look something like this. As mentioned above, where ? is inserted in the code below, will indicate the file name you have last in your code depending on how you set up your DW.

url="disc1_?.htm" s-email-address="" s-email-format="TEXT/PRE" -->

NOTE: Things you MUST do:

Cut and paste the code to notepad and then reselect and cut & paste to HTML View.
Change the email address to your own.

C. Require Posters To Insert Email And Site Addresses

If you require your visitors to leave their email or site URLs, you can insert scrolling text boxes via Insert | Form | Textarea. Next, select the scrolling text box and mouse over one of the selection points, then pull the box out to the size you want.

Next right click and choose Form Field Properties. Where it says Initial Value insert the text mailto:
Next click Validate and tick the box marked required.

For the site URL scrolling text box do the same but insert http:// this time in Initial Value.

If you wanted to make your own 'URL of Validation Failure Page' the option is now ungreyed.

D. Present Your Rules For Posting In The Welcome Page

Open the disc_welc.htm file and add your content

E. Moderating Your Discussion Web

First Open the web live

Open up FrontPage and close down any webs you have open.

To open the site live

File | Open | on the pop up box click 'Web Folders' on the left hand menu
Insert the URL of the site you wish to open

A box will appear asking for your username and password. Insert them and press OK. In FrontPage, click on the navigation view so you know when the site will fully load.

Next go to Tools | Web Settings
1. In the Advanced tab, select 'Show Documents in Hidden Directories'.
2. Click OK.
3. On the View menu, choose Refresh.
4. Change to the Folders view to see the pages (named 0001.htm, 0002.htm, etc.) created by users.

Do not delete offending articles. Open them up and type a standard message replacing the article body, such as "[Deleted Article]." This will protect forward and backward hyperlinks to other articles in the thread.


1. Be sure to close all files and go to Tools | Recalculate Hyperlinks BEFORE publishing after all your tweaking.

2. When you want to move your site to another host, download your site first so you can take your posts with you. The posts reside on the host server, NOT on your hard drive where your local web resides. So you must first download the site and then you can republish to your new host.

First Published in ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume 14, July 2002