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Silva Forum Released, with OpenID Authentication

Publication date: 28.May.2008, 11:33

28 May 2008 – Infrae is pleased to announce the first public release of Silva Forum, an extension for Silva 2.x that provides a classic discussion forum environment. It can be integrated with OpenID authentication and a CAPTCHA to prevent ‘spambots’ from attempting to post.

Sponsored by the Bijvoet Center for Bioinformatics, Silva Forum was developed as a collaboration tool for scientists working on the EU-funded project GlycoGold (MRTN-CT2005-05645).

Silva Forum features

Silva Forum allows site visitors to create topics (subjects or questions) and add comments to existing topics. Entries are ordered chronologically and displayed on multiple pages for extended conversations. Users can preview their posting, and a clickable interface for inserting emoticons in messages is provided.

In a typical setup the public can see and navigate the forum pages. Or, a forum can be configured to be viewable only by authenticated users with Silva Access Restrictions. If the forum should be private, a public role can be set as well, limiting access to a select group.

Regardless of whether the forum is open to the public or not, in order to post a visitor must authenticate. Authentication can be with various Zope-based approaches or with OpenID.

OpenID-based authentication

The OpenID authentication is completely separate from Silva Forum, but was developed for use with it. Offering an OpenID login provides a big advantage: site managers don’t need to assign roles (or be involved in any way) with forum users. Should any script kiddies try to abuse the OpenID registration, a CAPTCHA will prevent scripts from registering.

The OpenID-based access is controlled by PAS (Pluggable Authentication Service) and requires installation of PAS itself and Silva integration components. These are available as an ‘egg’:
http://pypi.python.org/pypi/silva.pas.openid

The OpenID integration with Silva was sponsored by Marc Petitmermet (who’s at the Department of Materials at ETH Zürich, but it was funded from another source).

Note that Silva’s OpenID plugin can be used for any Silva authentication requirement, not just Silva Forum.

OpenID

If you’re not familiar with OpenID see the OpenID.net site. If you just want to get one, go to http://www.myopenid.com/. However, you may already have an OpenID. If you use any of the following services you already have your own OpenID: AOL, Blogger, Flickr, LiveJournal, Technorati, Yahoo, WordPress, and many more. For more information....

If you find a bug or have an idea for a feature, please post it on the Silva bug tracker on Launchpad:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/silva

Download

Silva Forum can be downloaded from:
http://infrae.com/products/silva/extensions/silva_forum.

Silva Forum will work fine without PAS and OpenID using standard authentication.

Credits

Many thanks to the people at the Bijvoet Center for Bioinformatics and Marc Petitmermet at ETH Zürich for making this functionality possible.

Contact

FMI contact Todd Matsumoto, info at infrae com, +31 10 243 7051.