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Lesson 7 – Part 3 – Install Simple:Press Forum

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This is really a brand new big subject, How to Install Simple:Press Forum. If you go to the site you’ll see under Week 7 Resources I have Simple:Press Forum Instructions form. And I encourage you before you do anything else to go ahead and download this and look it over. This is actually the Read Me file that comes with this latest download. It makes a lot of sense to have a good understanding of what we have to do before we add any of that. And there’s plenty of good help information, links to help, inside of this form.

Special Installation Requirements

You don’t install this plugin the way you normally install plugins. The plugin is large and complex and so it has a different installation method than your typical WordPress plugin. For one thing you Simple Forum is not accessible on the WordPress repository. You have to get it directly from their site and in fact I do have a link to their site here on the Week 7 Resources as well. We are going to go over to their site and go to Downloads. And what we are going to do is download version 4.5.

Now I’ve actually already downloaded this so we are just going to pretend that it’s downloaded. Once it’s downloaded you need to unzip it to a local directory on your computer. And so we open up in this case Windows 7 Explorer and we go to downloads and here to Simple Forum SP-445-RELEASE that’s the one we are working on right now. I’m checking to make sure I’ve got a local directory and yes, I do for Week 7. So I’m going to unzip this to that location. Let’s see not Thesis eMember but tutorial sites and then Week 7 Thesis eMember WordPress content plugins and then unzip it right there.

Once it’s unzipped we’ll use FileZilla to upload it to the site. It’s a very large plugin and I think it’s a pretty good plugin, it’s a pretty good forum. It’s not without own weaknesses, it’s not nearly as sophisticated or as robust as the forum that DIYthemes uses but it also doesn’t require any complex integration so we have that going for us. Once we have this extracted and then while it’s uploading we are going to back up our database before we install it. It does make significant chances to the database and if something happens in the process you want to be able to restore back to your database quickly.

Create a Membership Website – Backup Database Using phpMyAdmin

Now I’m going to go to create a new site here. So copy that one and that’s going to be Week 7 of Thesis eMember. That’s going in week 7 directory and we are going to go to the Week 7 of WordPress. Okay. Synchronized browsing is all set up and so WP content and plugins and then Upload Simple Form. There are over 1000 files to upload. So while that’s happening we are going to login to the dashboard of our host and. That is going to be and go down to phpMyAdmin. We are looking at Week 7 and so for Week 7 all we have to do is go over to Export and let’s do a gzipped version of the database and hit Go. And that is downloading the database as it exists right now.

So now we can go over to FileZilla and see how we are doing, we are better than halfway there. I do have a few videos on my site here about how to use phpMyAdmin and about how to recover from disasters with database backup using phpMyAdmin. So I’m not going to repeat that information here but I do want you to see that it is essential to back up the database. None of the rest of this site is going to be affected by this installation if it goes south but the database could be.

And this form of backup is very, very simple to recover from, it’ll only take you a matter of moments to delete the old database and refresh it with the original. And we are just about there. The installation of this has two steps; the first step is activation and then the second step is actually the installation. Configuration actually takes quite a bit of time so we’ll spend a bunch of time on configuration and then next week or the week after we’ll come back and wrap that up.

Create a Membership Website – Activate Simple:Press Forum

Okay there we go, Simple Forum has now been uploaded to the site. So we even come back over here to the site and we are in Week 7. Go down to Plugins and we can see that Simple:Press is here ready and waiting for us to do something with it. Go ahead and activate.

It has been activated and now you have this little Install button. Press the Perform Installation, it tells you what it’s doing. The installation is complete and now we can go the forum admin. Simple:Press has been installed, this bright red thing is a little confusing so we are going to walk through that here for a moment. “Check storage locations, forum admin configuration and storage locations” which is here, configuration and storage locations. Essentially if there’s a problem with storage locations what would happen is you would see this either this Location Not Found or this Write Denied in icons over here. And what this is telling us is that it has created all of these folders and then once created they were actually found they are actually writeable by the plugin and everything is okay just like this.

There is no reason for you to actually have to change this but you will see a whole bunch of new stuff in your wp-content directory that wasn’t there before. That’s okay it all has to do with the Simple Forum plugin. And so if you saw a red x on this side or a Write Denied on this side you would know you had an issue that you had to deal with. But otherwise there’s no reason for you to change any of this, even though you could from this dialog box change these locations but there’s no reason to do that.

Isn’t that interesting it almost suggests we didn’t get the latest version, doesn’t it? Let’s look at Installed Plugins here for a second and Simple:Press we have 6398, okay. Something that is worth noting here is that automatic upgrade is not available, that’s the thing about Simple:Press. You are going to have to upgrade it manually just like we just did. So the first time you upgrade Simple:Press you want to look at the directions on how to upgrade it and follow those directions because it is a little bit different than all the rest of this stuff.

Now you have this whole big section over here called Forum. And so we are going to spend a couple of minutes just looking at this dialog. A forum is comprised of groups and forums. Let’s come back and look ours for a moment so you can see what I mean by that. This dark green represents a group and each one of these things inside of that are forums. Again you have a group and forums and a group and forums and then there’s one other level and that is this level here, a subforum.

So Troubleshooting Thesis CSS videos is a subforum of Thesis CSS and Troubleshooting PHP Videos is a subforum of Thesis PHP. So we have groups, forums and sub forums. The first thing you have to do is create a group and then you create a forum inside that group. Then you need to deal with Permission Sets and that’s going to become an interesting thing for us here.

Create a Membership Website – Create Groups in Simple:Press Forum

In fact, why don’t we go ahead and create group. I think what I’m going to do is create a group for each course and then there will be a forum for each lesson. And then we can tie forums to lessons which means that you can have recent posts on this lesson and that sort of stuff. It’s just one way of organizing how this goes together.

So the group name in this case is going to be the name of the course, How to Install WordPress and Thesis. And this group of forums follows the lessons in our free course. And I think we are going to be good here. In terms of group Permission Sets we have guests and for guests we are just going to give them Read Only Access. And then we have members and members we are going to give Full Access and moderators we are going to give Moderator Access. We are going to talk about what that access looks like here in a few minutes.

Create a Membership Website – Create Forum in Simple:Press Forum

Now that we’ve got a group we need to create a forum. So we create our new forum. First we select our group and then our forum name is going to be Module 1 that’s what I’m calling these. Essentially we are going to do one forum per page. So Module 1 under Pages is register your domain and setup your hosting account, copy that and post that.

Then we’ll let the forum slug do itself. We are not going to give it a description, its current position is only in one spot at the top. Enable Tags in this forum and Disable the RSS feed we are not going to do that. We are going to include the forum in the Sitemap. We haven’t installed this plugin so it’s not going to do any good but we are still going to do that. And then what we are going to do is let the default permissions control this so we are not going to set anything here we are just going to create a new form.

Let’s refresh this. This is our forum okay. Let’s add one more forum. We can select the forum group How to Install WordPress and Thesis and the forum name in this case is Module 2 and again we are going to let all that stay the same. And so we’ll create a new forum there. If we go to our dashboard you will see that we have a little Forum Moderation panel. Because the forum on my site is quite active I usually put that up at the top.

I don’t use QuickPress at all so I’m going to get rid of QuickPress and I’m going to get rid of recent drafts too because I don’t use that.

And so we can go directly to the forum now. It has automatically created its own page called Forum and placed itself there. I want to get rid of the sidebar in the forum here so I want to go back to the Edit page. Now I’m going to choose a No Sidebars template for this. And we are going to view the page and now we have the whole width of the page for this.

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3 Comments… add one
3 comments… add one
  • German Cadena May 22, 2012, 3:03 am

    Hi Rick, your plugin looks great and I would like to implement it on my site, but I am not using Thesis – any way I can achieve the same programatically with my theme? Any options? Ideas?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  • Todd Wilson August 15, 2014, 5:48 am

    Rick, I am creating a membership site in Thesis 2.1. Do you have a plugin to manipulate the menu like the one here for 1.8.

    • Rick Anderson August 16, 2014, 9:08 am

      Yes, it is called Display Content by Role box. It allows you to specify create multiple versions of menus (or anything else) and display it based on the role of the user.