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[How-To] Walkthrough of hack development & Coding Tips: Thread Promotion System
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 171

Electronics Engineer working as Software Developer. Knowledge of: C / C++ / C# / ASP.NET / PHP / TCL / VHDL. Active Staff & Coder position @

by IdanB IdanB is offline 10 May 2009
Rating: (1 vote - 5.00 average)

I've wrote this tutorial @ other modding community i'm member on few days ago. I wanted to share it with this community as well, so members that don't visit there can benefit from it here as well.

This tutorial will provide complete walk-through of the development made to create "Thread Promotion system" modification (can be found @

So, lets get going:

This guide assumes the following:
  • You have installed a phpadmin on your server & have some basic knowlege of how to use it (or know basic MYSQL syntax & how ot add/delete fields into tables)
  • You have some knowledge of basic php coding. I will explain code as possible, but some basic syntax knowledge is required.

Development stages:
  1. Have modification idea & understand the way you wish to implant it on the forum.
  2. Prepare database structure required.
  3. Place admincp into debug mode.
  4. Create Product.
  5. Add Plugins.
  6. Testing of code - is it working way we wanted.
  7. Add install/uninstall code.
  8. Export & save final product.
  9. Share back with community.

1. Modification Idea:
This modification was as reply to request made.
as request mentioned, he wanted a system that would allow him to set forum as being able to have "thread promotion" inside it. Which actually means once reply count passed XX it will automatically moved from forum A to B.
The above description tells us 2 things:
  1. This "feature" should be per forum, as some forums may have it & some may not.
  2. Possible "info" required to "drive logic" behind it is:
    • Is it enabled for the selected forum ?
    • What is the reply count (that once passed should be moved)
    • What is the target forum that it should be moved to.

Analyze & Process Information:
(1) Mod appearance on admincp (& Hook Location):
With above said, right now the coder should "see" the modification in his mind. Knowing you'll add some section under "Forum Manager" as you want it to be intergated in way every new forum add or edit will allow you to set it. & you need some code to perform the check.
This will later on be "translated" to "forumadmin_edit_form" hook code.

(2) Mod Core Code (& Hook Location):
Since idea speaks of "if reply count > XXX" common sense suggest this should be implanted right after a person finished to post new reply. As right then we can "ask" what was the reply number & have we passed the mark we aimed for. And if we did - do your "magic".
This will later on be "translated" to "newreply_post_complete" hook code.

(3) Possible pitfalls & consideration points in code:
  1. Reply has 2 seperate engines - add reply (own page) & quick reply (AJAX).
  2. Once thread moved, the forum counters are no longer updated (link to last thrread on forum home, etc.)
  3. Data Manager needs to be told of new fields we add to the forum, so they may be "recognized" by the forum engine.
(4) Lets discuss details & DB structure:
In general you should know the structure of your vbulletin (at least the common tables that construct it).
In our case: we are most likely to need some info (either fetch or set) from 3 tables : "forum", "thread", "post".
these tables have parent-child relationshionship structure similar to following: forum -> thread -> posts
(thread has forum parent id, post has thread parent id)
  • table "forum" holds the forums listing - there we will need to update the counters/stats (last post, last poster, thread/post count, etc.)
  • table "thread" holds the threads posted. Each thread has refrenced to his "parent forum". So any "move" operaton invovles replaced "parent id" from forum A to forum B".
  • table "post" will be needed to gather information about the last post made, as when we move the thread, we now want the source forum to link to the other most recent post. So any poster information should be in here.
2. Prepare DB Changes:
As reminder, we came to conclusion we will need the following information "present" for us:
  • Is it enabled for the selected forum ?
  • What is the reply count (that once passed should be moved)
  • What is the target forum that it should be moved to.
This "translates" to the following:
"Enable" filed that will act as BOOLEAN (true/falsE).
"Reply Count" field of int type.
"Forum ID" field of int type (says to us which is the target forum to be moved thereads onto.

Lets get to business, logon on your phpmyadmin, go to table "forum" & add 3 new fields:

And screen after fill these:

Once made, you'll see this screen:

Please "save" the (copy & paste to some place, will be used later) the ALTER query, as we will need it to the install code:
The query should be like the following:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

3. Configure admincp to debug mode:
This can be done either from config.php or install some plugin for it.
there are several debug mode hacks, just install one of them.

4. Create Product:
Go to Admincp, from side nav select "Plugin & Products" -> "Manage Products" :

Select "Add/Import Product":

On the "Add New Product" screen fill the information as demonstrated in the following picture:

When done, click "Save".
Once product added you should see following screen:

5. Add Plugins:
As discussed @ section 1, we will have in this modification 4 plugins/hooks.
  1. Admincp code - placed under the "forumadmin_edit_form" allowing the admin screen options.
  2. Data Manger fields support - since we are adding new fields here, we need to tell the vbulletin we are using these fields. For that purpose we will be using the "forumdata_start" hook (see code below later on)
  3. Main Core Code - placed under the "newreply_post_complete" hook. This will allow to place code logic there & check the reply count & perform changes accordingly.
  4. Main Core Code (exact copy paste) for AJAX support - same code as above hook, just copied onto "newreply_post_ajax" to support AJAX.

So, lets start add them one by one:
Admincp hook:
From Admincp: "Plugins & Products" -> "Plugin Manager":

Then select "Add new plugin":

Then we fill the fields as shown in this picture:

The code that was placed onto this hook is:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

Notes Regarding Code:
  • In the above example i've also used function called print_select_row, which allow to create a "combo-box" (selection box). The function expect to be passed with array, holding key -> value pairs. In the above code, as you can see i'm performing SQL query to get list of all forum title & their id, while excluding the forum itself (as it make no sense to allow promote from forum to itself).
  • the $forum[forumid] check for null, is in case this is new forum add, then no forumid is available, in that case, we allow to list all currently available forums.
Click "Save" to save plugin.

Data Manger Field Support hook:
In the same way add another plugin, this time select "forumdata_start" as hook location.
In there add code as shown in the next picture:

Core Code hook:
In the same way add another plugin, this time select "newreply_post_complete" as hook location.
In there add code as shown in the next picture:

I dont want to make this "monster post", You can get full source on the modification, i'll just put the following notes:
  1. First block fetch all information of forum this post was made on. Forum ID is located on $threadinfo[forumid].
  2. Later on 2 condition are made: enabled & if current post count > what we configured. Note the current reply count is located on var $threadinfo[replycount] & that this is zero-based ! (first reply returns in there 0 !!)
  3. I update the "thread" table, replacing "forumid" with new one.
  4. Update stats counters on "forum" table (based on info gathering, made on several queries).
  5. There are several checks to make sure numbers are indeed numbers. I used php function called is_numeric() that verify var holds numbers only.
  6. Pay attention all string fields has qoute wrapping around them on query (used escape chars \" on query lines)

Core Code AJAX hook:
This is exact copy & paste of previosu hook, just place it on "newreply_post_ajax" as hook location.

At this point all plugins should be complete:

6. Testing Code:
Check the code on your forum. Through it you'll find pitfall you didnt think about.
In this case for example the reply count was zero-based, so i had to add -1 factor on code. These sort of things can only be found while you "hands on" code & test it, so dont be afraid !

Also general tip, if certain code not working, try to place php die("soem text"); on certain key points to tell if the code executed till that point. That can help to debug certain things.

7. Add Install/Uninstall Code:
On Admincp go to "Plugin & Products" -> "Manage Products" & edit the current product we just did:

Now we'll add the install/uninstall code, which is the db changes (add fields for install & drop fields for uninstall).
Now it's time to use that ALTER query we wrote while back.
Note the DROP query can be obtained from phpmyadmin as well.

Then you will see this:

When you have both MYSQL queries we can add it to product as shown here:

All thats left now is to export & save

8. Export & save hack:
From "Product Manger" choose export as seen here:

Then save it on your directory:

That's it !!
Congratulations, if you followed all this (long) guide, you have now made your hack successfully
Don't forget to share back with community your work

I hope this guide has helped anyone out there that wanted to get into the modding & gets hands-on & start coding & was missing some pratical hand-on step-by-step tutorial..
If anyone has any further questions, post them here & i will help gladly.


Last edited by IdanB; 10 May 2009 at 16:45..
Views: 7470
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Old 10 May 2009, 18:43
veenuisthebest's Avatar
veenuisthebest veenuisthebest is offline
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Real name: Vinayak
Very helpful! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11 May 2009, 16:56
Nordinho Nordinho is offline
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Thanks for this!
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Old 14 May 2009, 15:19
Come2Daddy Come2Daddy is offline
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it looks wonderful
I didn't read it all
but I know I need it so I'm going to come back again
thanx a lot
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Old 14 May 2009, 23:15
powerful_rogue's Avatar
powerful_rogue powerful_rogue is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Real name: Dave
Thank you for this.

Ive always wanted to learn how to code. Ive got an idea for several mods that I would love to create. I think ive got a lot more reading and learning to do before i start!
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Old 15 May 2009, 08:13
IdanB's Avatar
IdanB IdanB is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Real name: Idan Bismut
My aim (in both this tutorial & in my previous ones posted on other community i'm on) is to make any modification development, complex as it may seem, breaked-down to easy parts followed by step-by-step guides, providing users with knowledgebase of "craft tools" that one can use to code his ideas into fully working modification.

Be sure more guides/tutorials will be posted soon. Next guides will cover "hook system", "common variables" used (what var holding what info & at which hook is it accessiable from), Templates integrations, admincp advanced options (on new modificatiosn made) & more
__________________ - vBulletin Modification Community
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Old 09 Oct 2009, 03:26
General Ray General Ray is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
This is exactly what I needed. Good job, and thank you for your time and effort.
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Old 16 Oct 2009, 04:20
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mortezax mortezax is offline
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Real name: P30Hot Administrator
Nice,Thank you
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Old 17 Oct 2009, 14:37
MaXeL3G3ND MaXeL3G3ND is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Nice hack, I'll definitely look more into this since I'm creating my own version of a promotion hack :-)
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Old 30 Oct 2009, 06:10
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mortezax mortezax is offline
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Real name: P30Hot Administrator
please add : how to create option in the vbulletin ?
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Old 13 Nov 2009, 11:02
Carnage Carnage is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
if you wish to add options to the global settings thing here are three easy steps:

1. enable debug mode in the admincp
2. goto the options page that you use to modify settings
3. click the link to add new options/option groups

If you want/need to contact me, best thing is to pm me on that site, username Carnage.
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Old 13 Nov 2009, 12:26
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mortezax mortezax is offline
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Real name: P30Hot Administrator
thank you
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Old 04 Sep 2010, 18:17
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BirdOPrey5 BirdOPrey5 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Real name: Joe D.
This is great, I was looking for this for a year!
Former Moderator. Retired.

@BirdOPrey5 | All Things BOP5 | Joe's Ultimate Off Topic
Note - I no longer making new VB mods, sorry.
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Old 27 Nov 2010, 23:56
kootta kootta is offline
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that's so nice informative post keep it up
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Old 04 Apr 2011, 19:47
munnakv munnakv is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Real name: munnakv
Just stumbled on this and bookmarked. Thanks for this. I will need it some time in the future.
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