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2.12. Preferences

The preference panels are where you configure your site-wide preferences. It is worth taking the time to work through them as some settings can have a significant impact on the performance, security and ease of use of your site.

2.12.1. General Settings

Site nameThis will be used as the title of your site. This is what will be displayed in the <title> html tag of your site’s pages (the name of current module is also appended).
Slogan for your siteThe slogan of your site will be appended to your site name (title) if you select ‘none’ as the module for your start page (see below). It may also appear in on screen in some themes.
Admin mail addressEnter the email address you want to use for administrative purposes here.
Default languageIf you have more than one language installed you can choose which one you want the site to display when a user first visits your site.
Module for your start pageYou can select any installed module to be the ‘home page’ for your site – for example, many people like to use the news module. You also have the option to select ‘none’ – this gives you a blank page that you can customise as you see fit.
Server timezoneEnter the time zone that your server is located in.
Default timezoneEnter the time zone that you want to use for administrative purposes. This would normally be the one in which the owner or main clientele of the site live.
Default themeSet the theme you want displayed when people first arrive at your site (if you have more than one installed).
Update module template .html files from themes/your theme/templates directory?If this option is enabled, module template .html files will be updated automatically if there are newer files under the themes/your theme/templates directory for the current theme. This should be turned off once the site goes public.
Selectable themesIf you have several themes installed you can choose those that visitors are available for visitors to select from.
Default template setIf you have more than one template set installed you can select which one you want to use for the site. See section 2.3.12 for more detail on templates.
Username for anonymous usersChoose a name for visitors that are not logged in – the default is “anonymous”.
Use gzip compression?Gzip compression compresses files on server side. This means that files appear quicker in browsers. However, it puts a slight extra load on your server and you cannot have more than one script using it at the same time.
Name for user cookiesThis cookie contains only a user name and is saved in a user pc for a year (if the user wishes). If a user has this cookie, their username will be automatically inserted in the login box the next time they visit the site. The default is “xoops_user”.
Use custom sessionIf enabled, this allows the site to ‘remember’ a member for a specified period of time. Members can leave the site and return without having to login again so long as they do not exceed the time limit (see session expiration below). Leaving sessions open in this way may consume some system resources. The default is ‘no’.
Session nameThe name of session (valid only when 'use custom session' is enabled). The default is. xoops_session’.
Session expirationThe maximum idle time permitted for a custom session, expressed in minutes. This is only applicable if ‘use custom session’ is enabled, and it doesn’t work unless you are using PHP 4.2.0 or later.
Debug mode This provides several debug options that may be useful if you are experiencing problems with your website:
  • PHP debug;

  • mySQL/blocks debug;

  • Smarty templates debug.

Debug offers important information for tuning and faultfinding. More detailed guidelines are given elsewhere.

A running website should have debug mode turned off since notifications may be displayed on your pages.

Activate banner ads?The default is ‘yes’. If you turn banner ads off the flash banners will no longer appear on your site.
Turn your site off?If you select “yes” visitors will be redirected to a ‘this site is closed’ message of your choosing (see below). This is useful for gracefully closing your site to outsiders while you build it or conduct maintenance.
Select groups that are allowed to access while the site is turned offYou can allow certain groups to continue to access your site when it is closed. Users in the default webmasters group are always granted access. Your “closed page” will display a login screen for access to selected groups.
Reason for turning off the siteEnter the text to be displayed to the public when your site is closed.
Your IP addressThis IP will not counted as impression for banners. If you are charging customers to display their advertisements a certain number of times you should exclude your own IP address from being counted.
Use SSL for login?Enable this if you wish to use a Secure Socket Layer login for your site.
SSL Post variable nameThe name of variable used to transfer session value via POST. If you are unsure, set any name that is hard to guess.
URL where SSL login page is locatedIf you are using SSL, you need to enter the URL required the SSL login page, otherwise leave it blank.
Default Comment Display Mode There are three options:
  • Nested:” Comments are displayed in the order in which they are posted, and in full. However, child posts (replies to a particular comment) are indented and placed beneath their parent. This allows sub-threads of conversation to develop and makes it easier to follow them.

  • Flat:” Comments are displayed in the order they are posted and in full. People can reply to any post in a thread but their reply will always be displayed at the end of the list. This is the mode preferred by most people. It also helps maintain the focus of a thread.

  • Threaded:” Similar to nested. The full text of top-level comments is displayed in the order in which they were posted. Child posts appear in a list of titles beneath their parents - the main difference is that their full text is not displayed.

Default Comments Display OrderYou can choose to have the newest or oldest comments to be displayed first.
Enable IP bans?Users from specified IP addresses will not be able to view your site. This is useful for banning troublesome members. However, it can only work if they have a permanent IP address. It is not effective on people with dynamically assigned IPs – for example, anyone using a dial up modem.
Enter IP addresses that should be banned from the site The syntax for entering IP addresses is as follows:
  • ^aaa.bbb.ccc will disallow visitors with an IP that starts with aaa.bbb.ccc

  • aaa.bbb.ccc$ will disallow visitors with an IP that ends with aaa.bbb.ccc

  • aaa.bbb.ccc will disallow visitors with an IP that contains aaa.bbb.ccc

Module-wide Cache

You can enable the caching of module contents here and specify the cache time for each module independently.

Caching reduces load on the server and enhances site performance. However, changes to module contents will not be visible on the site until the cache period expires and the contents are re-cached. This is a common source of confusion for people setting up their site layout. Turn caching off while you are experimenting with the site so that you can see the changes you make.

Setting module-wide cache will override module item level cache if any.

Table 2.12. General Settings

2.12.2. User Info Settings

Member registration preferences are configured in this area of the control panel. Some of the settings have implications for the security of your website.

Allow new user registration?This is enabled by default. Disabling it will prevent anyone else from registering as a member of your site. A simple flash page is displayed showing a no registration allowed message when the register now link is pressed.
Minimum length of password requiredThe longer the minimum password the more secure it is. Short passwords are more vulnerable to brute force attacks. The default minimum is five characters.
Minimum length of username requiredThe username is the “nickname” or “handle” by which the member will be known on the site. The default minimum length is five characters.
Maximum length of usernameThe default maximum length is ten characters.
Allow users to change email address?The default is “no”. Email addresses can provide an additional means of enforcing bans on troublesome members – they cannot register a new account using the same email address.
Notify by mail when a new user is registered?You can elect to notify a particular user group whenever a new member registers on the site. This may be useful if you would like to send a personal welcome message or need to track membership for administrative reasons.
Select group to which new user notification mail will be sentSee above. Notification messages should generally be sent to the Webmaster group, other users might regard them as ‘spam’.
Select activation type of newly registered users There are three options here:
  • Requires activation by user (recommended). When a user registers a confirmation email will be sent to the email address they supplied. They must click on a link in that email to activate their website account. This ensures that the user has supplied a valid email account and gives some degree of confidence that a human rather than a machine submitted the registration. This is the default.

  • Activate automatically. The user’s account will be automatically activated on submission of their registration form, giving them immediate access to the site. This is the user-friendliest option (as it is the fastest) but it is also the least secure.

  • Activation by Administrators. This is potentially the most secure option if Administrators take steps to confirm the identity of the user. However, users will probably be frustrated by the delay in having their account approved.

Select group to which activation mail will be sentThis setting is only valid only when 'Activation by administrators' is selected (option iii) above). You can pick a user group to alert when a registration is pending approval. This should normally be “Webmasters”, which is the default.
Select the level of strictness for username filtering There are three options:
  • Strict” - This is the default; only alphabets and numbers are allowed in the username.

  • Medium

  • Light” - This is recommended if your members are likely to want to use multi-byte character sets (for example, Asian fonts).

Allow custom avatar upload?This enables members to supply their own choice of avatar, otherwise they can only use those supplied by the Administrators. The default is ‘no’.
Minimum posts required. Enter the minimum number of posts required to upload a custom avatarYou have the option to give members custom avatar privileges only after they submit a certain number of posts. This option is disabled by default (set at zero).
Avatar image max width (pixel)You can constrain the maximum dimensions of custom avatars. This prevents members from uploading large images that may interfere with the layout of your site. The default is 80 pixels.
Avatar image max height (pixel)As above.
Avatar image max filesize (byte)You can also set an absolute file size limit on custom avatars to help keep the size of your forum pages down to reasonable limits. A forum page can easily have (say) 10 different avatars on it, so putting a limit on avatar size can make quite a difference. The default is 35KB, which is quite large.
Allow users to delete own account?The default is “no”. This can be useful to prevent banned members from deleting and then re-registering an identical account.
Enter names that should not be selected as username You can use this to reserve important, offensive or misleading usernames. Webmaster, and names beginning with XOOPS and Admin are reserved by default. You may wish to add others such as “Editor”, “Administrator” or “Director-General”! Separate each entry with a pipe character “|

This preference is case insensitive. It is also regular expressions (regex) enabled. Regex is a pattern-matching language, you can use here to create rules for filtering names. A “newbie guide” to regular expressions is available from: http://www.newbie.org/gazette/xxaxx/xprmnt02.html

The “^” character indicates that the matched string should be at the beginning of a line and the “|” character is equivalent to a logical OR.

Enter emails that should not be used in user profile You can prevent people from using certain email accounts in the registration process. It may be useful to exclude “disposable” email accounts as a security precaution. The syntax to prohibit all addresses ending in homail.com, for example, is homail.com$.

Separate each entry with a “|”. This preference is case insensitive and regex enabled.

Display disclaimer?Select yes to display your disclaimer in registration page. Users will not be able to register unless they tick a checkbox that says “I agree to the above”.
Registration disclaimerEnter the text of your registration disclaimer here. This has a default text that you may edit or change completely.

Table 2.13. User Info Settings

2.12.3. Meta Tags and Footer

Meta tags provide information about your information – they describe the nature of your website. Their main use is to help search engines and their robots to index your website correctly, i.e. to help the right people find it. The information you supply is included in the header of each webpage. It should represent the content of the site as a whole - the meta information is the same on every page, it currently cannot be customised for different modules or pages.

Be aware that the major search engines use different strategies for indexing websites. They may place different weightings on meta tags or even ignore them completely. Careful use of meta information may help your website to gain better search engine rankings and it is useful to seek information on the indexing strategies of your dominant referrers (see your website logfile). This may help you to optimise your meta information or other aspects of your site design and content to improve your rankings.

Try to be accurate and honest in providing meta information. Don’t try to “manipulate” search engines to gain a better ranking – they may recognise this behaviour and your site may be downgraded or blacklisted from their index.

The Meta Tags and Footer section of the control panel has the following options:

Meta keywords The keywords meta tag is a series of keywords that represents the content of your site. Type in keywords with each separated by a comma or a space in between. (Ex. XOOPS, PHP, mySQL, portal system). Choose words that:
  • accurately reflect the content of your website and

  • are likely to be entered as search terms.

Meta descriptionThe description meta tag is a general description of what is contained in your web page, for example a short sentence. It should be accurate and concise.
Meta robots The Robots Tag declares to search engines what content to index and spider. There are four options here:
  • index, follow

  • no index, follow

  • index, no follow and

  • no index, no follow.

Index” asks robots to include this site in the search engine index; “No index” asks them to exclude the site. “Follow” asks robots to also look at pages linked from the site, and “no follow” asks them not to. Note that these are requests only - the behaviour and policies of a robot are controlled by its masters. Not all robots will recognise - or obey - these tags.

Meta ratingThe rating meta tag defines your site age and content rating. Options are
  • general

  • 14 years

  • restricted

  • mature

This may be used by content “filters” as a guide to the appropriateness of your site for a given audience.
Meta authorThe author meta tag defines the name of the author of the document being read. Supported data formats include the name, email address of the webmaster, company name or URL.
Meta copyrightThe copyright meta tag defines any copyright statements you wish to disclose about your web page documents. If you want to claim ownership of your site’s content or preserve intellectual property rights you should provide this information.
FooterThe footer displays some information at the bottom of each page. Be sure to type links in full path starting from http://, otherwise the links will not work correctly in the modules pages.

Table 2.14. Meta Tags and Footer

2.12.4. Word Censoring Options

XOOPS can automatically censor undesirable words that may be posted by visitors to your site and replace them with a generic, alternative term of your choice. The censorship function does consume some system resources and may slow your site somewhat. It is disabled by default.

To implement censorship on your site select the “enable” radio button. You need to enter a list of unwanted words in the “words to censor” box, separating them with the pipe character. This function is case insensitive. Enter a suitable replacement term in the “replace bad words with” box. The default is “#OOPS#”.

2.12.5. Search Options

The search facility is one of the most important tools for locating information in a portal website. The XOOPS search categorises results by module – records are identified as news items, downloads, links or other types as per the modules you have installed.

Global searches of all resources on your site are enabled by default. If you disable global searches this facility will no longer be available and the search block will become non-functional.

The default minimum keyword length for searches is five characters. Any terms that are shorter will be ignored. This is useful for controlling the precision of searches, though not much use for terms like “site map”. Short keywords tend to be more common so they tend to return a greater number of records, many of which may be irrelevant. Longer keywords tend to retrieve fewer records but with a higher degree of precision.

Searching is relatively expensive in computational terms and so excluding short terms will reduce the load on the server. However, bear in mind that sometimes it is useful to be able to search for a short term.

2.12.6. Mail Setup

This section of the control panel is used to configure your email for the system. It is recommended that you leave the Mail Delivery Method on the default setting “PHP (mail)”. You do not need to fill in the Sendmail or SMTP fields unless you use an alternative mail delivery option.

FROM addressEnter the email address you want to use for administrative purposes
FROM nameThis is the name that will be used when you send mail
FROM userWhen the system sends a private message to a user, you can choose whom it appears to have been sent from here.
Mail delivery method Choose the method used to deliver mail here. The default is “PHP (mail)”. It is recommended that you do not change this unless you experience problems.

The other options available are

  • Sendmail

  • SMTP

  • SMTPAuth

Path to sendmailEnter the path to the sendmail program (or substitute) on the webserver here (only if you use this mail delivery option). The default is “/usr/sbin/sendmail
SMTP host(s)Enter a list of SMTP servers to try to connect to here (only if you use SMTP, otherwise leave it blank)
SMTPAuth usernameEnter your username to connect to an SMTP host with SMTPAuth here (only if you use this mail delivery option, otherwise leave it blank).
SMTPAuth passwordEnter your password to connect to an SMTP host with SMTPAuth (only if you use this mail delivery option, otherwise leave it blank)

Table 2.15. Mail Setup

The comments are owned by the author. We aren't responsible for their content.

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/16 8:00  Updated: 2006/11/16 8:00
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/16
Comments: 2
 Re: xo-002 http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html
very good!
I like here!

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/16 10:13  Updated: 2006/11/16 10:13
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/16
Comments: 2
 Re: xo-002 http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html
thank for your work!

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/20 2:50  Updated: 2006/11/20 2:50
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/16
Comments: 3
 Re: xo-002 http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html
I hava a question ,when I have installed phpeclipse,I can't user the button for the apache in the Eclipse IDE,how shoud I do?

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/20 3:10  Updated: 2006/11/20 3:10
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/16
Comments: 3
 Re: xo-002 http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/18 11:05  Updated: 2006/11/18 11:09
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/18
Comments: 2
 Alias Permission Problems
For an Alias I also had to add a Directory tag to the httpd.conf, otherwise I had permission problems accessing the files... <br /> [code] Alias /wiki "C:/Documents and Settings/Me/wiki"<br /> <Directory "C:/Documents and Settings/Me/wiki"><br /> Options Indexes MultiViews<br /> AllowOverride None<br /> Order allow,deny<br /> Allow from all<br /> </Directory><br /> [/code]<br /> Oh and all these editing tags seem broken!!

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/18 11:21  Updated: 2006/11/18 11:32
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/18
Comments: 2
 Getting the correct php_dbg.dll
I want a debugger. I downloaded the latest XAMPP 1.5.4a and noticed that it comes with PHP 5.1.6 & PHP 4.4.4, and neither are supported. The debugger module only supports a subset of these major versions from 5.1.0 to 5.1.2 and 4.4.0 to 4.4.2 (http://dd.cron.ru/dbg/downloads.php). I think right at the beginning you should specify which versions to download to get a debugger Version "XAMPP 1.5.2" would be fine.

Author Thread
Published: 2006/11/30 6:28  Updated: 2006/11/30 6:28
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/11/16
Comments: 3
 Re: xo-002 http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows....
I want to know how to use phpeclipse with eclipse detailly!

Author Thread
Published: 2007/2/3 16:19  Updated: 2007/2/3 16:21
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/2/3
Comments: 1
 Re: xo-002 ch02s03.html Workspace Method 2
I do not agree with the suggested method 2: Quote:
For example you have set up XAMPP and your “document root” path is the XAMPP default:
C:Program Filesapachefriendsxampphtdocs
,then your appropriate workspace path should be one level less:
C:Program Filesapachefriendsxampp
If htdocs is your document root, then each folder inside IS a new project and you should set workspace directory as Document Root directory. With suggested method, all your web projects are managed with ONE big PHPeclipse project.

Author Thread
Published: 2007/4/3 6:01  Updated: 2007/4/3 6:01
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/4/3
Comments: 2
 Re: xo-002 ch01.html
Trying this out on a Mac. J2SE 1.5.0_07-164 installed. 1.5.0_06 is what's available on the download site. However, it would almost certainly be updated with Software Update.

Author Thread
Published: 2007/4/6 1:00  Updated: 2007/4/6 1:00
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/4/3
Comments: 2
 Re: xo-002 ch01s04.html
Second question: How do we point the XAMPP start/stop buttons in the Eclipse toobar to where we put XAMPP?


Author Thread
Published: 2007/8/4 14:18  Updated: 2007/8/4 14:18
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/8/4
Comments: 1
 Debugging standalone PHP applications
Thanks hundred times for all the detailed explanations here !!

And especially for the note which explains why debugging a CLI application does not work in 1.1.8 version and only in 1.1.9. (wrong port, as I guessed, but I have been looking for this information for some hours before coming here). Unfortunately this 1.1.9 CVS version does not work in the last 3.2.0 Eclipse version I just got. Let us hope the stable version is going quickly.

Author Thread
Published: 2007/9/10 14:46  Updated: 2007/9/10 14:46
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/9/10
Comments: 1
 Re: dbg is not working
I want using eclipse3.2 with php-plugin and for debugging i want using dbg.
I'm using xampp 1.6.3a with php 4.4.7. and php_dbg.dll-4.4.x
After step by step installation
http://docs.schuetzengau-freising.de/ ... =xo-002&file=ch01s05.html
the debugger dbg will not work.
When i called phpinfo() there is no section dbg shown.
Who have any ideas?
Thanks a lot!
Regards Mercyful

Author Thread
Published: 2007/9/26 22:59  Updated: 2007/9/26 22:59
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/9/26
Comments: 1
 Re: xo-002 ch04.html
A section about verrors should be nice. I get the following:

<terminated, exit value: 0>PHP C:\Program\PHP\php.exe : <path>/<fil>.php

I've googled like crazy but to no avail. And yes - it does not stop at breakpoints and "variables" are empty. DBG is working:

if (function_exists ("DebugBreak")) {
DebugBreak ();
echo "debugging started!<br />\n";

Outputs "debugging started!" And DBG is reported on phpinfo().

Author Thread
Published: 2007/10/19 3:55  Updated: 2007/10/19 3:55
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/10/19
Comments: 1
 Re: xo-002 ch01s03.html

Seems that the mentioned link for cvs:


is out of date or wrong.

Author Thread
Published: 2007/11/18 1:11  Updated: 2007/11/18 1:11
Just popping in
Joined: 2007/11/18
Comments: 1
 Re: xo-002 index.html
I've been searching for a PHP debugger for ages. This is the only one I can find that works perfectly, thanks very much for providing this documentation.<br /><br />I doubt if I could ever get it to work on Windows, but it works so well with Ubuntu Linux and Eclipse 3.1.<br />
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