Getting more out of the Custom Island Editor

The UBB.threads custom islands are a good thing and there’s is no doubt about it!

With that said, I always like to do a little tweaking to get more out of the editing process.

This article will show you how a small modification can accomplish just that.

Edit the file templates/default/admin/editcustomisland.tmpl and look for these lines:

</td><td width="50%" class="paddingtop paddingbottom autorow colored-row" valign="top" align="left">
<input type=text name = "portal_name" value="$portal_name" size="40" />

The key line of interest is line number 2. This is set as an input type=text (not w3c compliant by the way ;) ). We want to give ourselves some more room here, because a Custom Island name is more than just 1 line of plain text! Check out the before picture:

It’s full on HTML markup and in many cases on my site, I have a lengthy amount of stuff to put there. The PORTAL_NAME field in the database allows up to 255 characters even!

Given that fact, we’re going to use a textarea instead. The resulting code is shown below:

</td><td width="50%" class="paddingtop paddingbottom autorow colored-row" valign="top" align="left">
<textarea name="portal_name" cols="50" rows="8" />$portal_name</textarea>

Upload the file and you can see the difference:

Kinda make a difference for me and I hope it does for you. FYI, the above example contains 220 characters, so we got close to the 255 limit.

One quick note that I forgot to mention is that there is a second textarea below for the actual code. Since there is so much horizontal space available, I widened it to while I was in the file from 60 to 80 columns (cols). Code below:

<br />
<textarea name="portal_body" cols="80" rows="50">$portal_body</textarea>

Feel free to give it a whirl :)

Extra credit:
  • Add a custom island preview to the process to provide instant feedback on how your island will look before you ‘go live’.
  • Add a little javascript that shows your your current character count as you go.

I will add these to the article in bit, if some geek doesn’t come along and supply the answer ;)

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