VizBooks strengths since its debut in 1998 lay in the ease with which a webmaster can readily change the appearance of their entry listings with little or no knowledge of writing html code; the changes displayed right there on the main admin page as values are saved. Webmasters of clubs and other organisations will find uses for VizBook other than as just a free general "guest book". While overall base layout remains virtually the same, as always possible appearance variations (colours, header, footer, background, displayed inputs, surroundings etc) can be described as almost limitless.
From testimonial pages, to 24/7 support sites where parents of children with serious illnesses and disabilities have a "chat" when time is available, to (proudly) a primary tribute listing for the 9/11 heroes at the twin towers (entries later converted to a permanent tribute site), to family memorials, and armed services association message boards, etc etc, over the years webmasters have thought up many uses for VizBook other than just a guest book; so easy to uniquely design for their purpose and site without using complex coded templates... and all without embedded public html or email links back to us (except for a secure admin page "Latest Version" info link back to my phparagon.com).
MAY 14th 2013
Finally the long promised major upgrade of VizBook is complete. I have dubbed this version "Phoenix". Not exactly out of the "ashes", but many who have for years stayed loyal to VizBook through the upgrades drought will understand!
Entries in the example list will NOT be exported or used to generate any e-mail lists.
Entry Record Data files used by the downloaded old previous version will be compatible with this upgrade but almost everything else is cleaned up or new.
Who can install it? ("...as easy as 1 2 3..." L. Suarez)
v2.23 installation is relatively straightforward due to a new multi-step setup script although some prior installation experience of complex Perl script programs is desirable (PLEASE READ THE SUPPLIED README.PDF FIRST!). VizBook v2.23 introduces a pre-install setup preparation script which in most cases negates any need to manually configure the program; even directory and file chmod values are set for you - or changed by you for non standard requirements - at each step via a web browser (once the running default setup is installed simply use admin pages to personalise and manage).
Perl Modules required
VizBook v2.23+ uses Perl Modules to extend functionality. On decent host accounts most are standard, but some with minimum dependencies are *supplied if needed (with easy cgi-bin install instructions).
Image Captcha option
To activate the optional "Image Captcha" human confirmation processor the server must include the "GD" Perl Module and graphics library. A popular module for many years most decent hosts will have installed it (or perhaps you can via a personal "cPanel"). Interestingly a GD graphics module is also widely used in PHP installations!
*However VizBookPhoenix v2.23 includes a number of discreet real-time SITE UNIQUE anti-spam measures to frustrate remote spammers so "Captcha" may not be necessary early on if at all. FYI next version will include optional popular world best free discreet anti-spam processing too which almost makes user unfriendly "captcha" a thing of the past for all but the worst attacked sites.
One of the required Perl modules enables "Sendmail" or "SMTP" mailing.
Change appearance with a few clicks
There are numerous readily changed options you can use to alter the appearance of the list via admin for site uniqueness and keep the interest of repeat visitors. Restrictive "templates" are not used. This is not just a basic guest-book program.
Appears much like a traditional guest book; and not just another forum look-a-like attempt!!
Primary design concept was and remains for inexperienced or time challenged webmasters
Once installed one of VizBook's main strengths is that it is designed for considerable dynamic changes to appearance via admin pages. Not requiring complex "templates", even inexperienced webmasters can readily dynamically change the colours, table width, fonts, backgrounds, header and footer and banners and many other options via a web browser (even use the latter two to enclose the stand-alone VizBook in surrounding page objects - but note SSI includes are not possible with generated cgi output).
|2002: 3 weeks ago I didn't know what a script was. After d/l and receiving every error one could imagine from a form to email script it was time to move on to our own guest book. After being intimidated by the information I found here I opted to try some "free" scripts. Well more errors, and very little in the way of help files. I had seen the area on your site where you install your scripts onto sites and thought at the worst I could always just pay you to get this script working.
The help files on their own are well worth the small donation I am making as not only did the script work without a single problem (ok one problem I forgot my admin password) but the files directed me to a huge security problem I had within the directory of my site. I just can't say enough good things about this guestbook package it is complete, and the help files make it very easy to install. Thanks, and please keep up the good work. R K, Ca. (personal info witheld by request)
Extended control is possible by accessing html page components also via admin forms - copy / edit / paste / save. Even readme.pdf notes for placing the book list in complex surrounding table designs matching the rest of your site are included.
A Benchmark program since '98, VizBook along with the then competitive Lars Ellingsen's program had set the standards on which other guestbook programs are based.
Smilies - well, sorta.
An entry specific smiley can be optionally offered, but for all the kiddies visiting this page, mass entering of so called "tagged smilies" is not supported!
**Ron Woolley was first and has since '98 used a time option in all publicly available programs (via a common file) which allows your host to move to another leased space shared server loft even without your knowledge WITHOUT interfering with a programs time stamping, which you can set to your local time just once no matter where your site is located. You can even change hosts anywhere on the globe and simply migrate (move) your files to the new server without worrying about forgetting time stamp changes!!
|**VizBook still uses Perl efficient server resource friendly flat file data files.|
Click here to SHOW "what's under the hood"
Input options can be switched on & off, or selected received input info kept off the comments list display. The visitor elects to allow others access to their e-mail address even if it is a "required" input... and addresses, if visitor allows, are "accessed" via encoded popup and NOT included in the main list page.
VizBook requires a secondary HTMLDocs directory with write permissions - by default or forced via FTP:
A second level web directory is required for picture uploads. BUT the traditional default "static" html page (regenerated when ever a new entry was added) is no longer applicable. All pages of "maximum number to view" are generated on call from the records db text file. On a few observed sites 10000-15000 entries were handled efficiently - no knowledge of higher numbers!!
Visitor's Picture Moderation
Free to use VizBook guest book type program can also enable/disable the simple inclusion of "moderated" visitors portraits if they wish to upload direct from their PC post submission... professionally handled, not just messy layout destroying random instant upload kiddy images! The new entry form detects and shows if a visitors photo already exists (dynamicly as they fill out the form).
The entries labels or picture column can be switched off and on readily as shown below via admin. Alternatively , the names and comment background colours and comment border (if) can also be drawn wide (switchable) to enclose both columns.
|how an entry with visitors uploaded picture might appear||how same entry might appear without side labels column|
|the above readily changed colours and borders and round corners etc etc are for this example only|
Wavatar or Identicon?
When visitor picture upload is active VizBook now offers, selectable via admin, to display an avatar generated by gravatar.com from a "hashed" email address if no visitor picture exists. Two free service choices (via admin) are available; wavatar and identicon.
Search Option now improved to include all "used" inputs plus cross window from-search-to-entries selection jump.
Moderated messages option.
Private messages option (if activated, visitor chooses).
Visitor Picture upload direct from PC option - requires standard common Perl module.
Program auxilliary files can be ediited via admin.
Export all entries to a .csv database file.
*Export all entries to a mail list.
*The VizBook administrators promo mail-list export option which is directed to a mail lists directory is fully compatible with, but not only, the current and future "E-Lists", "ListMerge" and "ennyForms" programs "Subscribe/Un-Subscribe/Mail Merging options - see seperate program pages.
Maaaany years ago the free to use VizBook guestbook type program was first with unique redisplay of input form, with visitors input, when errors were detected. That is of course retained as standard; no "back-arrow".
The many program specific variables are contained in one 'require' file, but other than path/site variables, all can be left as default until the Admin script is up and running. All critical file writing is protected by 'file locking'. VizBook also comes with a helpful README .PDF (actually two; A4 and Letter sizes), plus background and divider images to get you started.
Perl is a very powerful text parser - no mySQL necessary.
VizBook still uses a Perl efficient flat-file database file so is "friendly" to sites with no or limited mySQL resources. Binary overheads are just not justified when straight forward data acquisition is more than sufficient.
Up to now all Ron Woolley's admin supported programs have always required double (two) passwords, one for access and the other for each edit. VizBook v2.23 uses two login passwords (consecutive forms) with dynamic per page idle time limited session control.
If using the VizBook "addresses to mail list" export option and "Listmerge" to bulk mail-out to E-Lists lists (new window samples), then by also creating named links via the LnkinLite program the link code is generated suitable for including it in the ListMerge saved merge mailing texts for each list (or any other similar PC / Browser mail merging program).
You can then have a "response check" by counting the response success rate for any number of return or promo links included in auto-responses or mail-outs (image links are usually blocked these days) - see what works, what needs changing next time, etc.
Because it is a simple separate program LnkinLite can be used for other external/internal link counting too!
NOTE: These scripts are created as working programs for webmasters, and not the common "play with and learn" free scripts found on some sites. If you are affronted by this, then please use someone else's programs.
There are no public program embedded html or email links back to the Author, that's fair. However you MUST RETAIN, visible unaltered, the small program identifying text line at
the base of each admin, error, and new entry form page. They include a "Powered by" reference and therefore cannot conflict with a sites content ownership. IF YOU DISAGREE, you must not use the program and immediately destroy any related files.
If you agree to above, extract the selected compressed file in a local-computer directory before proper FTP up loading and running the pre-install script then uploading all files over the prepared files. You must read 'readme.pdf' and perhaps alter a "BEGIN" var in some .cgi scripts before FTP posting to your site.
PLEASE READ THE SUPPLIED README(A4 or LTR).PDF & INFO TEXT FILES BEFORE INSTALLING
If after installing / using VizBook you want make constructive suggestions consider the "Wish List " forum.