Facebook Login

The brand new Facebook Login feature is now available on all ActiveBoards!

Users may now register and login to forums with one click of a button. Current users will be able to link their user accounts with their Facebook accounts while new accounts can be setup with ease.

Users who have registered with their Facebook accounts will have the option to share new topics and replies on their Activity Feed.  When a user is creating a new post or reply, they will see a check box asking them if they would like to post this to Facebook.  Using this option will share the post with their Facebook friends.  This is a great way to give your forum more exposure to draw in more users. 

With the new Facebook Login system came a new user interface.  Bellow I've added a couple screen shots to give you an idea of what you will be seeing.

In this first picture you will notice the Members Login box has been changed and now contains a button to login with Facebook and a login and register link.


The login link will now show a popup which contains all the regular login components as well as a button to login with Facbeook.


There are also various other user interface changes that you will notice while trying out the new system. 

Currently posting to a users activity feed is done through your ActiveBoard domain due to restrictions with the Facebook API.  This means, if you are using a custom domain, the links posted on Facebook will use the ActiveBoard domain. We are currently working on having this support your custom domain.  

To enable Facebook logins visit your Administration Panel.  You'll find the option under 'Settings' -> 'User & Registration' -> 'Enable Facebook Login'

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns!

Custom ActiveBoard Pages

Gold ActiveBoards now have a custom page feature which allows for the creation of fully customizable forum pages!

Use the built in editor to add text, images, videos, and more.  Or make use of the HTML editor to build a page that is entirely your own.

Every page has the option to be publicly available or members only, which requires users to log in to view the page content.  You can even give each page a password to make the content more exclusive!

Give your page its own page slug (url) and link to it from anywhere!

There are no restrictions on the number of pages you can create!

Below is an example page being created:


You can easily manage your pages as well as edit/modify them when need be.  

Pages can be deleted or set to "Draft" which will make them unavailable to the public.  No hunting around for stray links, in order to make pages unavailable, required!

Below is the page management screen which contains our newly create page:


Custom pages have also been integrated into the ActiveBoard Menu Bar for easy access regardless of where you are at in the forum.

Below is our newly finished custom page as seen in the forum:


And thats it!


For gold subscribers, start creating your own custom pages by simply clicking on "Custom Pages" from the home page of your forum Admin Panel.

For non gold subscribers, to start creating your own custom pages you will need to sign up for a Gold ActiveBoard Subscription.  All of the details can be found at Activeboard.com.

Nick ActiveBoard No Tags

Activeboard Search Update

Quick post today letting you know about an upgrade we've made to our search feature within Activeboard. Previously, there was a delay between when a comment was created and when it could be searched. This delay could be a few days, or as long as a few weeks! This is obviously not ideal, so we fixed it!

With the new search functions, you can search (and find!) a post/comment immediately after submitting it. This will help your users find the most up to date content, and improve your overall forum experience.

Happy searching!

ActiveBoard Mobile

Today we are excited to announce the launch Beta 1 of our Mobile Activeboard application. You need to have a gold ActiveBoard subscription to use the mobile site.


We are excited to support the following devices

  • Apple iOS 3.2-5.0 beta
  • Android 2.1-2.3:
  • Android Honeycomb
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Blackberry 6.0
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • Palm WebOS (1.4-2.0)
  • Palm WebOS 3.0
  • Firebox Mobile (Beta)
  • Opera Mobile 11.0
  • Kindle 3

To launch the mobile site, simply visit your favourite ActiveBoard from any mobile browser.

You can always visit the Standard ActiveBoard site by clicking the "Full Site" Button from the Mobile ActiveBoard menu. This will load the standard site by default on your phone. (You can switch back to the mobile site by clicking on the "Mobile Site" link at the bottom of any ActiveBoard).

You can also test out the mobile interface from any browser by appending mobile.spark to the URL.

For example, if the URL to your forum is http://adbutler.activeboard.com, you can visit the mobile site by visiting http://adbutler.activeboard.com/mobile.spark

While the standard ActiveBoard interface currently has more features, mobile ActiveBoard is a great way to engage with users online from a mobile device -- our developers are continuing to add more features to the mobile version.



How to make a flash banner clickable

(1) What is a Flash banner?
(2) How do I make my Flash banner into a button?
(2.1) How-To Clickable with ActionScript3.0
(3) How do I tell if my banner is clickable?
(4) Flash Banners in Ad Butler
(5) Additional Reading

NOTE: All example file paths and URLs are for demonstration purposes and I don't recommend you stick them into address bars expecting something to happen. smile.gif

(1) What is a Flash banner?

Flash banners are different than ordinary .gif, .jpeg, or .png banners. Flash is a programming language, and every flash banner is a small application that is run by a flash-plugin installed in your browser. Typically a Flash banner is an entirely "clickable" area, that when clicked on will redirect the user viewing the banner to the advertisers desired destination.

(2) How do I make my Flash banner into a button?

One way of doing this is to create an invisible button over top of your entire Flash animation.

I will start this example from scratch.
(example done using Adobe Flash CS3 Pro, using Actionscript 1.0/2.0)

a) open up your flash file
b) add a new layer to the file, "on top" of the other layer(s)
c) select the Rectangle Tool from the vertical toolbar on the left side of your window
d) in the properties of the tool, change the stroke and fill alpha to 0%
e) draw the invisible rectangle over your entire scene
f) right click inside the rectangle and select the option "Convert to Symbol..."
g) select the "Button" option and name the button "clickTAG"
h) right click inside the rectangle (now a button), select "Actions"
i) make sure that your current selection is the button clickTAG, then copy-paste the following script:

on(release) {
if (clickTAG.substr(0,4) == 'http') {
getURL(clickTAG, "_blank");

j) close the action box, and export the animation as a movie by going... File > Export > Export Movie...

So you want to find out if what you just did worked? See the section (3) below.

(2.1) How-To Clickable with ActionScript3.0

The steps for creating the banner itself are fairly similar to section (2).

Once you have created a button, add the following script to the actions for that button:

import flash.net.navigateToURL;
import flash.net.URLRequest;

// adding a mouse click event listener to "yourButton"
// which calls the function "handleMouseClick" when triggered
yourButton.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, handleMouseClick);

// the function which redirects you to a new page
function handleMouseClick(event:MouseEvent):void
var url:String = '';
for (var paramName in root.loaderInfo.parameters)
// detect any "clickTAG" case just in case something nonstandard is used
// ex. clickTag, clicktag, ClickTag, etc
if (paramName.toLowerCase() == "clicktag")
url = root.loaderInfo.parameters[paramName];
// ensure that it's actually a URL we're navigating to
if (url.substr(0,4)=="http")
navigateToURL(new URLRequest(url), "_blank");

To test this, see section (3) below.

(3) How do I tell if my banner is clickable?

The easiest and most effective way of testing your Flash banner in a stand-alone fashion is to manually pass it a URL and see if it redirects correctly when clicked upon.

There are two ways of doing this. You can either access the banner directly from your computer using a local directory path, or put the banner on a website.

A local path test might look like:

A website url would look like this:

For the rest of this example I will use the test website.

To test this, stick the following URL into your browser address bar and hit enter:


Now, if you click on the resulting Flash animation which is displayed in your browser, you will be redirected to Google. If you are NOT redirected, something is wrong with your banner button or your clickTAG script. Take careful note of the result of clicking on your banner.

-No redirect at all usually means the button has no clickTAG script at all.
-Different website than http://www.google.com usually means the banner is redirecting statically and NOT using the clickTAG parameter.
-A HTTP error, usually 404, usually means that the clickTAG script is incorrect and it is probably trying to redirect to a relative link.
For example, a relative link error in this case might look like: http://www.mydomain.com/banner/http://www.google.com -- which is clearly an invalid URL.

(4) Flash Banners in Ad Butler

The following are the general steps to adding a flash banner to a set or campaign in Ad Butler. I will use the example location from above.

Begin by navigating to the set or campaign you want to add a flash banner to.

1) click on "Add New..."
2) specify a name for the banner, "my flash banner test"
3) select "Flash (.swf)" from the Banner Type list
4) specify a destination (Destination URL): http://www.google.com
5) specify the flash location (Flash URL): http://www.mydomain.com/banner/test.swf (or if you are using the Media Library, choose from there)
6) click on Generate Script

This will create the flash object code necessary to create your flash banner on a website with the correct dimensions and clickTAG.

<object width="728" height="90" id="movie">
<param name="movie" value="http://www.mydomain.com/banner/test.swf?clickTAG=<*tracking_link*>">
<embed src="http://www.mydomain.com/banner/test.swf?clickTAG=<*tracking_link*>" quality="high" width="728" height="90" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">

You may note the "<*tracking_link*>" that shows up twice in the generated Raw HTML/Script box. This is used by Ad Butler when serving your ads, and is replaced by the specified destination URL.
If you want clicks to be tracked, it is important that you do not change the Raw HTML/Script unless you know what you are doing.

7) save the banner

Note: If your banner passed the tests in section (3), you should be done and the banner ready to rotate and track clicks.

(5) Additional Reading

Adobe's Official Resource for flash ads:

Best practices for flash advertising:
1) http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/articles/flash8_bestpractices_10.html
2) http://livedocs.adobe.com/flash/9.0/UsingFlash/WSd60f23110762d6b883b18f10cb1fe1af6-7b25.html


Jeff AdButler No Tags

How to specify two (or more) click locations on an AdButler Ad

Tracking URL Outline

The following is a brief description of what tracking URLs are and how they work:

Every banner has it's own unique tracking URL, roughly as follows:
To track clicks on banners, you'll need to enter the banner ID (banID), the campaign ID (CID), and the set ID (setID).

Each Flash and Raw HTML/Script banner has a bit of text and a link [click here] beneath the content of the ad that looks like the following:
"NOTE: For information and help tracking click-thrus, click here."

Clicking on that link will take you to a guide, pre-loaded with the appropriate tracking URL.
ex. Going to a banner in a campaign gives the following:

Note: At this time, a setID is required to properly track the clicks and where they came from. 

Banner Setup

  1. Navigate to the advertiser whose banner you will be creating.

    Note: If no such advertiser exists, create them with -- remember that the email and password don't need to be exact, and can be changed later.
  2. Create a campaign for the multi-clickable banner and the dummy banners, then navigate into the campaign.
  3. Create the actual banner you intend to serve normally.
  4. Create as many additional dummy banners as you require (for each link in addition to the main tracking link).
  5. Navigate to each dummy banner you have created, copy the banner # of each one, and keep track of them. (make sure to mark which is which)

    While doing so, copy the campaign # from one of them, and also keep track of it.
  6. Now navigate back to the actual banner to serve again, and modify it as follows:
    • For each tracking link needed, put <*tracking_link*>;banID=AAA;CID=BBB in, where AAA is the appropriate banner # from the previous step, and BBB is the campaign #.
  7. Now you can assign the banner to as many sets as required.

Live Example

I like using colors in examples, as they're easy to distinguish so I'll do so here as well.

In this example, I have created 3 dummy banners and the actual banner I want to serve in a campaign. I then assigned them to two separate sets.

Below is the test HTML I used. Note the banID and CID fields of each tracking link correspond to the appropriate dummy banner.

<a href="<*tracking_link*>"> main </a>
<a href="<*tracking_link*>;banID=519157250;CID=53123"> blue </a>
<a href="<*tracking_link*>;banID=519157249;CID=53123"> red </a>
<a href="<*tracking_link*>;banID=519157248;CID=53123"> green </a>

To test them out, I clicked on a bunch of the links in each set from a test website which served only those two ads. As expected, all of the clicks and views were tracked properly for the campaign!

Additionally the statistics for the test sets I created were also recorded properly.

The advertiser's campaign statistics

The set specific statistics

Emoticon Management Console

One of the new features we're excited to unveil for ActiveBoard is the new Emoticon Management Console! From here, you can track your custom emoticon usage, and access the new ordering feature we've made available. 

Usage Statistics

 First off, lets dig into the usage statistics. Each time a post or private message uses a certain emoticon, the use is recorded and added to the total uses. The total number of uses to date can be seen under the Forum/Private Message Uses column. Additionally, each time an emoticon is used in a chat message, the use is recorded and can be seen under the Chat Uses column.

So what do you do with all this information? Well, once you get a sense of which emoticons are the most popular, then you might decide to order them in a specific way. This brings us to the next big feature: "favorite" emoticons!

Favorite Emoticons & Ordering

Each custom emoticon now falls under one of two categories: favorite or regular. Favorite emoticons will be displayed before regular ones whenever they're split into multiple pages. Lets take a look at how this can be set up.

First, lets get to the management console. Open up the administration panel from your ActiveBoard, and go to Settings->Posting->Custom Emoticons and click configure. Now click on the "Manage" tab to open up the management console. Adding emoticons to your favorites is very straight forward! Simply select the emoticons you wish to add, and click the "Add to Favorites" button (see screenshot).


Now, once you have several emoticons set to favorite, you can further order them by specifying an internal order. To change this, simply enter new values into the "Order" field, and click "Save". Your custom emoticons will now be displayed according to the order specified (1 = first, 2 = second etc). You can use this feature to push popular emoticons to the front of the list, to avoid unnecessary searching through page after page of unused emoticons. The following screenshot show's the admin panel settings.


 Finally, the result! The favorite emoticons have been pushed to the front of the list so that they're easy for users to get at.


 We're currently working on a ton of great stuff, but we're always looking for other ways to improve our products! So please don't hesitate to submit a feature request via email (general@sparklit.com), support request, or through the "Make a Suggestion" link in the tabs at the top on your Administration Panel.


Google Webmaster Tools

Are you looking to gather more information about your user base? Add some advertising to monetize your site, or perhaps to advertise your site on Google? Manage your site indexing and how it shows up in Google?

Well, you definitely can and here's how to do it with Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). Note that Google requires that your site be verified for some time before they allow you to change some settings.

Sections of this post:

  • Setting up GWT
  • Applying GWT to ActiveBoard
  • Verifying GWT
  • What you can do after verification

Setting up Google Webmaster Tools

1) Sign up for a Google account via GMail or any of their other services -- it's required to setup Webmaster tools.
2) Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).

Once you have access to a GWT account, and have signed in:

3) Begin adding your site to GWT by entering the site URL. (ex. example.activeboard.com)


4) Verify ownership of the site by clicking on the "Alternative methods" tab, and selecting the "Add a meta tag to your site's home page" option.

Alternative Methods.png

5) In the content that appears below the option, copy the content value of the meta tag (example below), and then we'll go over to ActiveBoard to apply it!


Applying the verification code

1) Navigate to your forum administration panel, and click on the Display section.


2) Click on the SEO & Meta section tab at the top of the page.

3) Paste the copied content value from the previous section into the Meta Verification Key field, and then save the settings.


Finishing verification in Google Webmaster Tools

Going back to GWT, we can now verify the site by clicking on the "Verify" button below the list of alternative method options.

If everything was entered correctly, you now have access to managing your domain in Google Webmaster Tools. However, if run into any problems along the way, feel free to contact Sparklit support and we can give you a hand sorting things out!

Things you can do once this has been setup


AdWords ads are displayed on Google search result when someone's search include one of your keywords. Ads appear under 'Sponsored links' in the side column of a search page mostly and sometime in other places. The benefit to AdWords is that you'll be advertising to an audience that's already interested in your business. The cool thing about Google AdWords is that you can let contextual targeting match your keywords to content and show your business to the audience where appropriate.


Google AdSense is a easy way for you to get started monetizing your site! You can display targeted ads from Google on your website. Combine this with our AdButler product, and you can sell and manage advertising inventory on your forum!


Google Analytics can help provide additional information about your user base, and statistics about their browsing habits and location information. This way, it means you can have a more reliable investment on your website based on the data gathered for you by Google Analytics.


Google Apps is extremely affordable cloud based office collaboration suite that offers your business benefits such as flexible and effective communication as well as hugely reduced costs in maintenance. It offers web based applications such as Google Apps mail, Google Apps calendar, Google Apps sites, and many more.


Crawler diagnostics provide very useful information regarding the Googlebot's activity on your website. These stats take into account much of the information about about what Google sees and indexes on your site, including providing information that ties into AdSense, AdWords and other Google products.

Crawl Rate

The Googlebot processes indexes each of the pages it can find on your site to compile a list of keywords and importance which is then used in Google search results. Sometimes, however, you might not want to be indexed too frequently, as it does add some additional traffic (a trade off for having better search results). For example, if your site is very relevant to it's topic, but very small and doesn't require much updating.

Changing the crawl rate for your site can help reduce the amount of traffic you get from Google.


It's worth noting that some of the services provided by Google Webmaster Tools require you to have been using it for some time before you can change them. If one of the options you want to change falls under this category, just be patient and check back every so often until you have enough data to access it!

NOTE: This is a guide to setting up Webmaster Tools, but please note that we (Sparklit) cannot guarantee that the data collected by Google is identical to our own data collected as every service has slightly different methods and criteria for such data collection!


Themes, Templates & More

The much anticipated forum theme & template system for ActiveBoard has arrived!

On March 8th, we will be migrating all ActiveBoards to use the theme system. This will not affect your general forum usage, and may be enabled at any time at your own discretion prior to the migration.



The theme system will provide you with an improvements to the way you change the style on your forum through an on-the-fly visual style editor, individual page template editing, and theme management for keep old styles, for example, a seasonal Christmas style.

If you have any questions, or run into any problems along the way, please submit a support request or email our general[at]sparklit.com inbox and let us know! We'll have it fixed as quickly as possible.

ActiveBoard Themes & Templates

Up and coming in the wide world of ActiveBoard are some significant changes to the way that themes work, and the addition of both an on-the-fly style editing system, and a template editing back-end for the power user. Clients will be able to completely customize the way their forum looks and feels.

An overview of the new features includes:

  • Updated Administration Panel Sections
  • New Themes & Theme Selection
  • Easier-to-use Style Editor & Preview System
  • Theme Template Editor
  • Theme Backup and Storage Manager

Administration Panel

We took a good look at the options available in the Administration Panel with regard to the style of your ActiveBoard, and the options which govern how much of what displays, and the custom HTML options. The end result was a split from "Style & Appearance" into two new sections, "Theme & Style", and "Display".

The Theme & Style section encompases the browsing and selection of themes, style editing and previewing, header text and logo, forum icons, template editing and lastly theme management.

The Display section consists of the options which handle how many topics and comments per page show up, their default order, the SEO and meta configuration, and both your inline and custom HTML fields.


Themes & Selection

We've been aware that our theme selection has been a little dated for some time now, and wanted to do something about it. My colleague Willem was set to the task of devising a quick and snazzy way of selecting themes for your ActiveBoard, and he's come up with a slick system to accomplish the task.


Style Editing

Modifying the style of your forum has been a thorn in everyone's sides for a long time -- how to accomplish this in an usable way which is completely dynamic. A problem? I think not!

The new ActiveBoard style editor allows you to change the look and feel of your board on the fly, without leaving the page. You can view the forum, and navigate around with your changes visible even before you actually apply them to make sure they're just the way you want them.


Template Editor

For a long time, we've wanted to offer additional customizations to ActiveBoard on a per-client basis, but technically speaking this is difficult when you're using an internal framework and only the content is dynamically created by the clients and the members of their boards.

As a result, we've come up with a template parsing system which will allow you to modify the layout and display of the majority of your ActiveBoard.

This is actually related to my post from a little while ago, Templates & Layout Customization, which outlined template parsing in BlogBaker. The template parser in ActiveBoard has been expanded, so technically speaking it is more powerful than the options available in BlogBaker. We'll be bringing BlogBaker up to speed in this regard soon!


Theme Manager

If you can create, modify, and save themes... you had best be able to manage them too! We're not letting anyone down in this regard, and will be providing a theme management system to keep track of your saved themes. You will be able to activate any theme from the manager, edit them, delete, and also preview the theme on your forum as if you had activated it. In other words, your users will never be impacted while you test!


Magic & Beyond

Well, unfortunately it isn't magic! Sparklit is keen to provide all of our clients with high quality, ingeniously designed software which both the geeky power user, and the happy-go-lucky casual user can use easily and painlessly!

I'll also include a little hint of two things to come:

Search Upgrades

We'll be adding an upgraded search system which will support some fancy additional options: such as + to indicate the word must exist, - to indicate the word must not exist, and " to indicate a string of text which must exist in a search. This new search application will be based off of an implementation of Sphinx Search.


For the SEO-interested folks out there, and anyone who would like to see some pretty URLs... they're on the way! Imagine your forums having their own pretty names... an example from our example ActiveBoard might look like: http://example.activeboard.com/forum/suggestions-and-feedback

Keep your eyes out for these upgrades and more! Also, we're always open to feature suggestions and are also often able to do custom programming jobs for our clients as per their needs. SO! Don't hesitate to submit a feature request via email (general@sparklit.com), support request, or through the "Make a Suggestion" link in the tabs at the top on your Administration Panel.


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