6 Combine Fabrik with Kunena Forum

A forum is a place where members can ask question which are organized by topic. Forums are useful not merely for educational or social websites, but also for businesses offering products and services. In this chapter, we will show you how to add a free forum creation tool called Kunena forum to your Fabrik website. This chapter is divided into the following four sections:

5.1 Kunena Forum Structure

5.2 Create your Forum Categories

5.3 Manage your Forum

5.4 Kunena Forum Posts

6.1 Kunena Forum Structure

More than 4 million business websites now use Kunena forum – making it one of the most popular tools in the Joomla Extension Directory. Equally important, we will explain how to combine Kunena with our Fabrik Member Registration form to help our members interactive directly.

Why Combine Fabrik with Kunena
Until now, we have reviewed how to combine Fabrik with Joomla to create an interactive online community. Because Fabrik can be integrated directly with Joomla, we are able to use Joomla User Groups, Access Levels and Menus to control who sees what on our community website. Fabrik also allows us to give each of our Service Providers their own profile page without ever accessing the back end of our website. However, we also need a place where community members can communicate directly with each other - and in a way that the entire community can benefit from that discussion. Because Kunena Forum is integrated with Joomla and can be integrated with Fabrik, Kunena provides the missing piece of this puzzle.


Fabrik also provides important functions that are missing in Kunena and Joomla. Joomla by itself has a very limited member registration and member content creation process. Kunena has no member registration process at all! Instead, Kunena relies on the Joomla registration process. Thus, the single most asked question on the Kunena form (asked more than one thousand times) is how to customize the Kunena registration form to help Kunena forum members learn more about each other. Fabrik fills the gap by providing us with a more flexible and customizable registration process.

The Importance of Organizing Questions by Topic
A community forum is one of the most important ways to build a community. Unlike a blog which is organized more by date than by topic, a forum is a way to organize questions on a particular topic. A forum allows members of a community to post their own TOPICS, also called threads, which can be anything from questions and comments to entire articles and links to websites and videos. Other members of the community can then respond to the topic with further questions or comments. The Forum discussion is organized by placing Topics within Categories much like Joomla articles are organized into categories. Within the categories are the actual topics or questions. Other common aspects of forums includes a “Profile” page where users can download an image of themselves and provide basic information about their background and interests.

Why Kunena Forum?
Choosing a Forum component is an important decision for any website manager. A forum is not only an important way for registered website members to ask questions, but also an efficient way for other viewers of your website to learn from the questions of others and see how well those questions have been answered. In short, an easy to read and easy to use forum can inspire confidence in your viewers. The biggest problem with Kunena Forum is its complexity. We will therefore try to overcome the complexity of Kunena by providing this detailed set of instructions on how to set up, simplify and manage Kunena as well as tips for improving the appearance of Kunena.

Kunena has several important advantages.

6.2 Create your Forum Categories

It will be easier for readers to understand the structure of your Forum and the structure of your website if they are similar. One option is to make the forum categories identical to your website categories. Another option we will use here is a single section with several categories called Announcements, General Questions, Installation & Upgrading, etc. To create these categories, go to Kunena, Categories and click New Category. Before we can create our topic Categories, we need to create the top level Section. We will call this Section Fabrik Friends Forum:


A Section has no parent. You simply give it a name. Then scroll down the page where you can add a Description and a Category Header. The Description is the main description for the Section. The Section Header is used to display additional information about the Categories of Topics the Section contains. Here is our description of our forum:

[b]Welcome to our Fabrik Friends Forum! [/b]
This is the place to ask questions about using Fabrik components and plugins. To ask a question on this forum... First, if you have not already done so, register for our website. To register, go to MEMBER SIGNUP If you are already registered, click Login and type in your user name and password. Second, choose one of the forum categories below. Third, to start a new topic, click on NEW TOPIC. Fourth, give your question a Subject Heading. Then type your question into the Editor, then click Submit. It may take a few days to get a reply as we monitor this forum about once a week. If you need an immediate answer, email our forum administrator, David Spring     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: Please report bugs directly to the Fabrik Developers on their GitHub Issues page.

Here is the Category Header for our Forum Section: This is our main forum section. It serves as a container for categories which in turn are containers for our topics. This section header box is used to display additional information about the categories it contains.

Then click Save and Close. Then view the result in the front end:


Note: The Section Header only displays when you click on the Section. If you click Member Forum or Index, then just the Section Description is displayed.

Create Categories
Before you can post or create a new topic you must first choose a category for your new topic or question. When a new discussion topic is created by you or by a viewer, it can be assigned to any existing category by clicking on the category the creator of the post wants the thread to be placed under. But it is up to you as the Administrator to create the actual categories that topics are assigned to.

6.3 Manage your Forum

There are three main tasks you will need to do to manage your forum.

#1... Define permissions for what different groups of users are allowed to do.

#2... Write posts and Replies to the Forum

#3... Moderate the Posts of your Members. This includes Preview, Approve and Assign Posts that have been written by others.

Here, we will cover the first two tasks. Then in a later article, we will cover how to Moderate Member Posts.

#1... Define Permissions for Kunena Categories with Joomla User Groups
As a moderator and administrator of your forum, it is important to understand the different privileges given to different forum user groups which in turn are related to privileges granted to their associated Joomla User group.

The most common forum set up is to allow the public (all viewers) to read our forum, but only allow “registered users” to post comments, questions and start new topics. These new posts may or may not be reviewed by a Category Moderator. Category Moderators are appointed to the categories by a super user who is also a Global Moderator in that they can moderate posts in every category.

However, this is not the only possible option. You can have some categories that guests do not see... only registered users and moderators see them. You can have other categories that not even registered users see... only moderators see them. You can have categories that guests and registered users see, but that neither group can post to. To define these various levels of privileges, you need to have a clear understanding of both Joomla User Groups and Kunena Forum User groups – because Kunena Forum uses BOTH sets of groups. Let’s look at the Joomla User groups first.

6.4 Kunena Forum Posts

In this article, we will review how to create and moderate posts.
Below are what some of the common Kunena Forum terms mean.

Quote - If you wish to quote someone's post whether in whole or in part, press the 'Quote' button located beside the 'Reply' button underneath each post. The is useful if you wish to expand upon a prior post. Once you press the Quote button you are brought into the same editing environment that you use to edit or create any other post. At this point, you type your response directly to that quote. When you are done, press the 'Submit' button.

    Reply Topic - This button functions the same as the 'Reply' button with the exception that your subject line will autofill with the subject of the original post (OP). This may come in handy if you replying to a long post whose subjects may have changed over time but you want to reply to the Original Post. When you are done, press Submit.

Create a New Topic - To start a new topic, navigate to our Index page to see the list of categories. At the top of the list is a button labeled 'New Topic'. Click that button to start your own topic. Type your message and press 'Submit'. If permitted, your topic will appear immediately. If not, then wait for a moderator to approve it.

Format your post - Kunena forum uses Bulletin Board Code. BBcode uses 'tags' to 'mark up' your text. Each 'tag' has an opening and closing 'tag' denoted within brackets. An opening tag will look like [ ] and a closing tag looks like [/ ]. Notice the slash in the closing bracket is the only thing that is different. If you forget the slash, the forum will interpret your closing bracket as an opening bracket. The easiest way to 'mark up' your text is usually to type it out first, then select it, and press the appropriate button at the top of the editor. For example, if you wanted to make 'some text' bold you would type it out 'some text', then select 'some text' with your mouse, and then press the 'B' icon in the toolbar located just above the Message area (where you are composing your message).

You will now see: [b]some text[/b]. When you preview or submit your message it will be displayed as 'some text'. Alternatively, you can type the tags manually right along with the rest of your text or use the buttons at the top of the editor to insert the tags around your text.