Interview: Waterproof Speakers

waterproof_speaker

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

Waterproof speaker manufacturer.

How did you discover the Commentics site?

Lots of searching and testing.

What made you choose the script over others?

Open source, great features, decent customization options and open source.

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

Not to the admins but OP, github v3 it to allow others to help!

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

Looks like v3 is checking off the major boxes; AJAX, image uploads, responsive, ability to disable repetitive scripts.

What would you like to see added or improved?

Fewer scripts; better wysiwyg front end editor, something responsive and easily editable with a small footprint (or the ability to switch), ability to make templates.

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yeah, but not too often.

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

Just started using it, so nothing to report yet.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

Of course! I think it’s a great script with tons of potential to get even better and I see that it is already in the works.

Do you have any final words to add?

Really looking forward to v3. Honestly thought it was dead, but was very happy to see the preview today. Thank you for all the hard work and I can’t wait for v3!

Interview: From Filmers to Farmers

filmers_to_farmers

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

It’s a small but growing blog about the collapse of industrial civilization (http://fromfilmerstofarmers.com) that I didn’t even intend to start up. I bought the domain for future considerations (it’s the title of my forthcoming book), but then decided to teach myself a tiny bit of HTML and CSS so I could put up a static page so that there would be at least a bit of info on it out there. The site was rather ugly, so I kept trying to spruce it up. That didn’t work, as although my coding was getting better, the design of the site was getting uglier. I eventually redesigned it from scratch, thought that it lacked content, and then errantly ended up starting a blog out of it all. Whoops.

How did you discover the Commentics site?

Seeing how I was solely using open source programs to build my site (Brackets, Gimp, and Firefox) and within my site (Piwik), ideally I wanted an open source script where I’d have control of the content and the system, rather than outsourcing it all out to somebody/something else. I can’t remember exactly how I found Commentics, but I think it was through one of those “top 10 commenting scripts” type things. I was even happier to then find it available as a one-click install via Softaculous on my cPanel-using shared hosting service, so installation was a breeze for a total amateur like me.

What made you choose the script over others?

Everything else looked like crap, to be honest. Somehow I’d discovered quite a few before I came across Commentics, and I was almost ready to give up and go with one of the commonly used commenting scripts out there which maintain ultimate control over the content of your comments. But then I fortunately came across Commentics and discovered that it was exactly what I was looking for.

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

If you’re looking for a nice looking and customizable open source commenting script, Commentics is the way to go.

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

Although I didn’t own a smartphone (or even a mobile phone in general), I ended up looking at my site on a friends’ iPhone and it looked awful — it was the regular desktop site on this tiny screen. So I taught myself how to create a style sheet for an adaptive mobile page, but the Commentics script wasn’t set up for that, so I adjusted the style sheet to take Commentics into account. A few things I couldn’t adjust with just a mobile.css file and had to actually go into the Commentics files themselves and adjust those. It works great now. The only thing I couldn’t get to work (it was behind too many variables I think) was getting inserted images to appear at a properly scaled size. There’s only ever been one image inserted in a comment though, by me, so I could live with that minor bug.

What would you like to see added or improved?

I’ve currently got it set up so that one approved comment means that all following comments are pre-approved, and I wouldn’t mind being able to see a list of all those approvals, which I could then revoke on a case by case basis if need be.

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yeah, I duplicated my blog to start up a side-project blog (which is now defunct), and seeing how I was too lazy to try and figure out how it was that I adapted the original Commentics install for mobiles, I asked away on the forum if I could just duplicate the install. Steven was quick to answer my questions.

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

Yes. It’s a blog, and it must have commenting available, so it wouldn’t have been proper without it.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

Definitely. There isn’t a single reason why I wouldn’t recommend it (well, unless you’re a monster site like CNN or something), and I haven’t regretted my decision once.

Do you have any final words to add?

I’m planning a few other once-in-a-while side-project blogs, and rather than coding them myself (or reusing my site as a template) I’ve found a nice blogging template I’d like to use (which I’ll also have complete control over — none of that Blogger or even WordPress stuff). It’s responsive however, and there’s no way I’d be able to adapt Commentics to work with it. So I was glad to hear that the upcoming Commentics version 3.0 will be set up to work with responsive sites, which I’ll be looking forward to. (That being said, I’m slightly dreading having to undo the Commentics revisions I did to my current blog for its mobile adaptation, but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out.) As well, another friend gave me an old and unused iPhone of his, so while I now have a smartphone to check my site with (Wi-Fi only with this smartphone!), it’ll be nice once the back-end of Commentics is also adapted for smartphones and which I’ll be able to use without the pinch-zoom thing.

Thanks for all your work!

Interview: Gluten Free Pantry

gluten_free

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

We’re almost ready to launch. Our website will be A Gluten Free Pantry, a place to learn about gluten free living and share ideas. Our audience is focused not just on the GF community, but those who have multiple foods they can no longer eat because of Celiac disease or allergies. All of our recipes have no gluten, corn, oats, dairy, eggs, apple, or coconut, and they are DELICIOUS. Gluten free can be yummy!

How did you discover the Commentics site?

I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted a BLOG or a website, or both. I really wanted both but noticed the limitations of blogging bothered me. What I really wanted was a place for the GF community to interact with us. Thus, I needed a comment section on everything, not just the blog part. I googled “Comment PHP script tutorials” and yelled for joy when I found Commentics. It rocks!

What made you choose the script over others?

I liked the features Commentics has. The ability to get notifications, the smilies, the ability to respond to specific comments, etc.

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

Read through the tutorials carefully, and if you get stuck, just ask.

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

I haven’t yet, but will in the future.

What would you like to see added or improved?

I’m not sure yet, but will let you know if I find something!

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yes, and the admins there were fab. Very quickly, precisely answered my cry for help, and did so in a very easy-to-understand way. Loved it.

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

We haven’t launched yet, But I KNOW it will. It’s exactly what I needed.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

100% yes.

Do you have any final words to add?

Yes. Thank you for the time, energy, and funds it takes to create an awesome script AND support it so fully. Totally awesome.

Commentics v3 Preview

Commentics v3 has been in development for some time and now we can finally take a look at what to expect. Have a question or want something included? Just add your comment below.

What’s new?

MVC
Commentics v3 is being completely re-written to use the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern. The MVC pattern is common with popular projects and professional developers and essentially relates to how the code is split up and determines which parts are responsible for what. What does this mean? It means that the code is more organised, faster to execute, more reusable, better separated from the templates and easier for developers to work with. The project will use a custom-built MVC framework resulting in there being no dependency on a third-party.

mvc

Responsive
The frontend, the backend and even the installer will be responsive, meaning that it will look good on all types of devices ranging from mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. This is particularly important since Google has recently made this a factor in their ranking algorithm. Instead of using a framework such as Bootstrap, responsiveness is achieved with the use of custom media queries.

responsive

Ajax
An often requested feature ever since Commentics first started, Commentics v3 will use ajax for many of the frontend features. Users will be able to post, browse the pages and change the sorting of the comments without having to wait for the page to reload.

Ajax

HTML Email
Both admins and users will be able to receive HTML emails, as well as text. This will allow admins to customise the emails according to the rest of their website, adding things like their own logo.

HTML Email

Modules
The backend will have a modules section displaying which modules are available and providing the admin with the ability to install and configure them. Additional modules will be downloadable from the Commentics website.

Modules

What else?
Other important changes will include the ability for users to search the comments so that they can find the exact content they’re looking for, and the ability for users to subscribe to new comments by email without having to post a comment.

When is the release date?

As this is a major version release with many large changes the current release date is expected to be towards the end of this year. So far the installer is 100% complete, the backend is about 75% complete, with the frontend still to do.

Will it be easy to upgrade?

Yes upgrading to Commentics v3 will be relatively simple and full instructions will be provided at the time. Only Commentics v2.5 (the current version) will be upgradable so make sure that you plan to use this version prior to the release date.

Interview: Gamoe’s Notebook

gamoe

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

Gamoe’s Notebook is a casual personal blog located at: http://gamoe.net/notebook.

How did you discover the Commentics site?

DuckDuckGo.com

What made you choose the script over others?

FLOSS, lots of customization options, independent (not connected to a third-party commenting system).

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

Just get Commentics!

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

Customized the look slightly, the input field heights, removed remote Google AJAX API and replaced it with a local copy.

What would you like to see added or improved?

See above. Also, would be nice to have a flat-file-format option for smaller sites such as my own. Additionally, silly pet peeve: Ability to remove or replace the word “Comments” at the top (my site already wraps the script in its own comment box, which makes the text “Comments” redundant).

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yes. Support was excellent. Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

It always helps to have commenting ability on a blog.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

Definitely!

Do you have any final words to add?

I really appreciate the work and support put into a very quality free product. Please have a donate link somewhere on the site – and support Bitcoin!

Interview: tmsoc.org

tmsoc

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

Nannotax (http://ina.tmsoc.org/Nannotax3) is a website to document the taxonomy of coccolithophores – a group of minute planktonic algae. There are about 2000 described living and fossil species and having a website which documents them is important to a range of palaeontologists and marine biologists scattered around the world. The site has >2000 pages and >10,000 images.

How did you discover the Commentics site?

I did a google search for php commenting scripts.

What made you choose the script over others?

It sounded like what I wanted – open source, flexible but simple to use, with spam protection and able to be integrated into a website as a discrete module.

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

This is an excellent solution for implementing commenting on a website.

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

I did not touch the script itself but I delved quite deeply into text options, redrew some of the icons, etc. The big challenges were working out how to implement the script on a site with thousands of database generated pages (it proved very easy) and working out how to import comments from a previous site (again straightforward, with the help of some good advice from the forum).

What would you like to see added or improved?

I’d like to work out how to make a page of recent comments.
Also it would be very nice to have a system for people to subscribe to the website – with a user name and password, as an alternative to the current identification based on email and IP address.

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yes – I asked about how to import comments – and got lovingly detailed instructions.

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

Yes – commenting was something I really needed to implement and it has done it very effectively.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

Absolutely.

Do you have any final words to add?

Thanks very much.

Deleting Files (v2.5)

After upgrading to v2.5, the following files/folders may be deleted:

Frontend

/commentics/images/bb_code/list_bullet.png
/commentics/images/bb_code/list_numeric.png
/commentics/images/bb_code/php_code.png
/commentics/securimage/
/commentics/includes/akismet/
/commentics/includes/swift_mailer/
/commentics/includes/htmLawed/
/commentics/includes/AutoEmbed/
/commentics/includes/recaptcha/
/commentics/includes/emails/*/user/subscriber_notification.txt
/commentics/includes/words/admin_notes.txt
/commentics/includes/words/admin_tips.txt

Backend

/commentics/admin/tiny_mce/
/commentics/admin/menu/
/commentics/admin/table/
/commentics/admin/js/
/commentics/admin/includes/pages/layout_form_sort_order_buttons.php
/commentics/admin/includes/pages/layout_form_sort_order_fields.php
/commentics/admin/includes/pages/settings_email_editor_user_subscriber_notification.php

Release Notes (v2.5)

The release of Commentics v2.5 provides a lot of important changes that will benefit both its users and its administrators. One of the main focuses of this release has been about updating the interface while it also introduces a new override system which will make customisations far easier and upgrades far safer. Let’s take a look at what’s new.

Modern Interface

modern

A large number of changes relate to the look and usability of the script. For example, voting for a comment no longer results in the user seeing an ugly JavaScript alert message every time that they vote, which they have to then respond to by clicking OK. Instead, the user now sees an unobtrusive and subtle message appear next to where they clicked to vote. This should encourage the user to vote for more comments. Similarly, the JavaScript dialogs for the flag confirmation and the BB Code inputs have been updated to use the modern and popular jQuery UI Dialog. Elsewhere, clicking the agreement links now opens the text in a jQuery lightbox rather than in a new window (tab), and clicking the Permalink button flashes the background of the comment rather than adding a thicker border.

Override System

override

This release introduces a new override system which, although basic and in its infancy, should make a big difference when making customisations that you want to be preserved when upgrading the script to newer versions. In the script you will now notice a number of folders named ‘custom’. By copying any of the files from the folder above into the custom folder, the copied files will override the original ones. As these are new files, none of them will be overwritten when next upgrading. With the email, agreement and word files, the whole files are overridden. However, with the CSS and language files, you only need to override the specific parts that you want to customise, making it easy to see what you’ve changed. In later releases, the override system will be enhanced further to cater for changes to core code.

Subscriber Options

subscribers

One of the most requested features on the forum has been to add options for subscribers to filter the email notifications that they receive. In the past, subscribers had no choice but to receive notifications for every comment that is posted. In Commentics v2.5, subscribers can now choose to receive only notifications for replies to their own comments and/or only admin comments. With these new options, subscribers are more likely to stay as subscribers meaning that they will be alerted to new comments and more likely to post again.

Average Rating

average

Another often requested feature was for users to be able to rate without having to post a comment. This is now possible by clicking on the average rating stars. The script deems ratings that are submitted as part of the comment to be far more important than ratings that are submitted by clicking on the average rating stars, so users who rate by clicking on the average rating stars can still rate as part of their comment afterwards and their average rating submission will be removed.

Other Notes

Some of the other changes that you may notice in this version are a switch from the deprecated MySQL extension to the new MySQLi extension, a new setting to display parsing information so that you can see how long the script takes to load, and translation improvements so that you can translate the BB Code/Smilies and the times and dates.

Interview: Extreme-Macro.co.uk

Can you tell us a bit about your website?

I’d love to! extreme-macro.co.uk is a labour of love that covers macro, ultra macro and high magnification photography, from the standard 1:1 ratio seen on popular macro lenses to 20:1 using microscope lenses. The site teaches people how to do this type of photography. It’s quite a large construct (200 pages) and goes into rather a lot of detail.

How did you discover the Commentics site?

Mr Google discovered it for me! I looked around at all sorts of places and scripts but this is the one that stood out, having a very comprehensive website with plenty of activity to back it up.

What made you choose the script over others?

Initially I purchased a commercial script to add comments on my site but the support was so dreadful and they couldn’t even fix the most basic of problems. I wrote that off and started again, and was very impressed by the support here on the forums etc so it seemed a good choice.

What advice would you give to fellow admins?

Don’t bother wasting your time with scripts that don’t have an enthusiastic person supporting and keeping an eye on their software. Check out the support forums first – if they’re full of ‘where is the support’ type posts, reconsider your choice.

How, if at all, did you customize the script?

I took away some of the resource consuming aspects, changed some colours and fiddled with the order a bit, but beyond that not all that much. This may change in the months ahead but a simple and straightforward approach seems to be working well for now.

What would you like to see added or improved?

I’ll tell you that in a few months time, but after a week and 30 comments in, it’s looking good :).

Have you ever needed to use the support site?

Yep, a few little things here and there but a bit of digging soon sorted those. The support here is fantastic, Steven does a huge job of keeping an eye on his baby and keeping his users happy. As a web developer myself I’m genuinely impressed.

Has Commentics helped your website so far?

Yes, as comment scripts are known to do, it clearly attracts people to return and have their questions/comments answered, building an audience. But beyond that it’s nice to have human contact with your visitors as well – I was helping some guy in Mexico find a lens only yesterday using comments.

Would you recommend Commentics to others?

Definitely. Easy to install, and has a lot of good admin controls. I’m not having any trouble with spam and the submission process is more or less seamless on my site.

Do you have any final words to add?

It’s been a very good experience using Commentics. The support on offer far outweigh the support on various commercial sites, and webmasters with a smattering of php and html should seriously consider using this script for their site.

Bandwidth Limit

Some of you may have noticed a bandwidth limit notice on the Commentics website towards the end of last month. This resulted in the website being unavailable for several hours. After analysing the server logs, it became clear that the various zip files on the website were the cause of the issue, in particular the main Commentics zip (which had increased in size since v2.4 with the addition of Securimage). As a result, all zip files (including previous versions of Commentics and all of its add-ons) have been moved to SourceForge where they will remain indefinitely. If you notice any broken links or any other issues to do with the downloading of zip files then please report them to the development team.