Creating a Web-based BBS, Part 2

Mr. Lerner continues to look at the bulletin board system, examining the code that works with individual messages.

The basic BBS software is now finished. It can create threads, add a message to a thread and view the messages within a thread. If nothing else, this project shows how powerful a set of database tables can be when paired with some CGI programs.

Perhaps this system is too basic; it is lacking some functions that any good bulletin board (or any good web application) should handle. For instance, it would be nice to include the ability to search through the posted messages for a text string or regular expression to find messages relevant to a particular topic.

It would also be useful to provide some administrative functions, unavailable to the public at large, for handling things at a relatively high level. For example, we might want to reserve the ability to delete messages that are offensive or unrelated to the topic. We might even want to give this ability to certain other users, giving them “deputy moderator” status.

Next month, we will see how to provide these functions by adding just one or two new CGI programs. Meanwhile, you can see these programs in action at, where the “At the Forge” BBS is already in use.


Reuven M. Lerner is an Internet and Web consultant living in Haifa, Israel, who has been using the Web since early 1993. In his spare time, he cooks, reads and volunteers with educational projects in his community. You can reach him at