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Building a Forum with Dreamweaver – Part 1: Getting Started

Forums (message boards) are a great way to share ideas, debate on current issues, or offer technical assistance to your clients. A forum can really help you build up a community around your website, increase traffic, and improve communication with your clients. Although you can find a wealth of free forum applications out there, which you can install and customize for your needs, this article teaches you how to build your own forum from scratch to make it fit your specific requirements.

We will walk you from designing and setting up your database to building a basic front end, adding user authentication, allowing subscription to message threads, and sending topic reply notifications by e-mail. You can have a fully functional forum in no time, with minimum effort and coding.


To complete this tutorial you will need to install the following software and files:
   Dreamweaver 8
   ImpAKT extension for Dreamweaver, from InterAKT Online

Operating system: Apple Mac OS X 10.2 +, Microsoft Windows XP or later, or Linux

Web server: Apache 1.3.x or 2.x or Microsoft IIS

Application server: PHP version 4.3.0 or later (recommended version: PHP 5)

Database server: MySQL database server version 3.23+

Note: You can build this application on any of the supported server models—ColdFusion, ASP VBScript, PHP ADODB—using any of the supported databases (including Microsoft Access). The steps are similar. However, for this article, we used PHP 5 and MySQL as the development framework.

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Familiarity with the Dreamweaver workspace and interface
  • Grasp of basic web application development concepts (no programming skills required)