After trying out four tag board and chat scripts last night, I finally decided on using txtShout, a PHP tagboard and shoutbox system.
TxtShout is fairly easy to install and it doesn’t need a database. The script shares the code used by my previous chatbox, Cbox.
Cbox, unlike txtShout, is remotely hosted. This means that the script connects to a server in order to retrieve the messages and store new ones. This arrangement has its advantages — for one you don’t need to install any script, you just have to copy a piece of code and then paste this into your blog’s template. But when the server is down, your chat box doesn’t get displayed and loading is slowed because your website is trying to repeatedly retrieve data from the inaccessible server.
Another downside of a remotely hosted script is the use of pop-up ads. I never noticed that Cbox had been serving pop-up ads because I use Firefox but I had suspected it. When I read SepikMom’s post yesterday, my suspicions were proven correct. Providers of free services like Cbox also need to earn in order to continue providing services and the only way they can make money is through serving ads.
I have been thinking of using my own chat script ever since I bought my own domain and web space. Yesterday, I tried out different scripts and found txtShout as the best option. It’s easy to install: 1, open the config file and enter the administrator user name and password combination you want; 2. upload everything to your webspace; 3. CHMOD the shouts.txt file to 646; 4. open the example.html file to get the code that you’d need to paste into your blog template; 5. paste the code into your blog template, in WordPress’ case, the sidebar.php file.
Administering the post is even easier, you just enter your administrator user name in the chat box’s name field and the password in the url/email field and x marks would appear beside the messages. To delete a post, you just click on the x marks. There are other advance configurations you can change by editing data in specific files but I never bothered doing it save for changing the colors in the shoutstyle.css file to match my site’s colors.
I never encountered problems using txtShout in my blog. My wife’s blog, however, was a different matter. I couldn’t get the box aligned properly and the board spews out error whenever you are brought to the page containing a story’s full entry. I suspect that the error is caused by the fact that the template doesn’t follow WordPress’ template files convention. Updated: My wife now uses a new theme but I haven’t been able to reconfigure txshout for her yet.