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Tools to Use to Help Others (and Yourself) with phpBB Issues

Tools to Use to Help Others (and Yourself) with phpBB Issues

Postby Patrick » December 14th 2009, 1:09 pm

There are a variety of tools that you can use to help others and even yourself to diagnose whatever phpBB related issue that you may be facing. If you are one of the people who helps others, or you'd like to do so, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

In this tutorial, my aim is to compile a starters list and for help doing this, I asked the community. Here are some tools to consider:

Archivers: These programs allow you to package together various files and to open packages of files that have already been archived or compressed. .zip and .rar are popular file formats for these compressed packages. When you download something from the database, it is compressed in a .zip file.

Free: 7-Zip
Pay: WinRAR and WinZip

File Merging Tools: This software allows you to compare different versions of the same file, allowing you to see the differences between them. This can be very handy, for example, when you have one version of a file that is working and another that is not. You can then look up what is different in the file that is not working.

Free: WinMerge

FTP Programs: File transfer protocol (FTP) programs are used to upload and download files from servers - such as the one where a website is hosted. When you make a change to a phpBB file on your website, you most likely are uploading that changed file through FTP.

Free: FileZilla and PSPad
Pay: FlashFXP and CuteFTP

Graphic Programs: A graphic editor gives you the ability to edit or create graphics that may be needed to adjust a phpBB in a visual way.

Free: GIMP
Pay: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Fireworks

Text Editors: Text editors help you to more easily view, edit and manipulate code. When you install a hack that requires you to make code changes, you most likely are using a text editor to make those changes.

Free: Notepad++, Crimson Editor and PSPad

Web Browsers: Sometimes, a problem is only visible in a certain web browser. Because of this, it can be handy to have numerous browsers installed on your machine, so that you can test and see what the other person may be seeing.

Free: Windows Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Opera and Lunascape

Web Browser Extensions

Just as phpBB hacks can adjust the functionality of a phpBB or add something new, a browser extension can bring something new to your web browser. Some extensions are aimed at web developers and designers and can help you to fix phpBB related code and design issues.

Firebug is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows you to edit, debug and monitor CSS, HTML and JavaScript on a web page. As an example, it can be very helpful when diagnosing style issues, such as spacing or an element out of place. You can highlight and select that element and view all code pertaining to it. You can then edit that code and see the effects - live, but without actually changing the live page that everyone sees. Firebug Lite creates a less rich experience for other browsers.

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar provides a similar experience to Firebug, but in Windows Internet Explorer.

Other browsers may offer their own developer tools, either built-in or through the addition of an extension.

Your Knowledge: We all have knowledge to share. I'm not a programmer, but what I know, I use and as I learn myself, I have more to use and more to share. Even if you have just installed phpBB, that's still knowledge. People ask about installing phpBB all the time. You can help them. Please don't discount this.

Kind Demeanor: This is a big one, especially within our community. Whatever knowledge you have is pretty unimportant if you can't share it in a way that is kind, respectful and helpful. You don't want to make the other person feel stupid or feel bad for asking a question. Even the most basic questions we've answered a thousand times should be treated with kindness and respect. We're all there at one point or another.

With these tools in your arsenal, you should be well equipped to help others or to fix your own issues. Once again, a big thank you to everyone who helps others within the community.

Thank you cherokee red, ~HG~, lefty74 and Syren for contributing their tool suggestions for this tutorial.
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