See also: FAQ, Plain/Text converter: Markup Guide

News (2012-02-01): Announcement: NNTP Bridge for Answers

We are happy to announce a new version of the bridge for Answers-Forums only. Please use this link:
For more information see: http://communitybridge2.codeplex.com/
Currently the msdn, social and microsoft forum can only be used by this version here; in a later stage, both bridges will be merged together.

Installation

To install the community NNTP bridge (for MSDN/SOCIAL/TECHNET), you just need to download the latest release from: http://communitybridge.codeplex.com/releases/. You only need to download the CommunityForumsNNTPServer.Setup.zip file.
Extract this file to your local harddrive and execute the setup.exe. This will install the community NNTP Bridge into your program folder (for example "C:\Program Files (x86)\Community\CommunityForumsNNTPServer\"). It also installs the required components for the LiveId authentication (Microsoft.WindowsLive.Id.Client.dll).

After installation, you can find the program under "Start | Programs | CommunityForumsNNTPServer".

Enabling the NNTP web-service access at the microsoft forums

Before the bridge can access the web-services with your liveId, you must have a liveId for the forums and you must have enabled the Use NNTP Bridge" option in your user settings.
  1. Go to http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories and log in
  2. Go to your user settings, by clicking on the right side on "User Settings": ForumsMySettings.png
  3. Activate the "Use NNTP Bridge": ForumsEnableBridge.png

Starting the bridge

If you start the community forums nntp bridge (Start | Programs | CommunityForumsNNTPServer) for the first time, it might happen that you must enable this program in your firewall!
After this is done, you will see the following user-interface:

MainWindow.png

By default, the Windows Live Id dialog will automatically appear:

LiveIdLogon.png

You can now log on by entering your LiveId, password and pressing "Sign in".
If the logon was successfull, the bridge will automatically start listening for request on port 119 and will minimze to the system tray.
If you want to change some settings you can go to the system tray and click once on the bridge icon.

Enabling auto login for Windows LiveId

To use the LiveId auto login, you must go to the menu: Tools | Create LiveId auto login...". Then you must login once (if you not already logged in). After this was successfull, an authentication blob will be saved in your user settings (you can see this authentication blob in the Tools | Advanced settings...). The next time you start the bridge, you do not need to accept the LiveId dialog ;)

If you want to disable the LiveId autologin, just go to Tools | Disable LiveId auto login.

Settings

In the main user interface, you can start and stop the bridge (the big button), you can also change some settings like:
  • NNTP port (default is 119)
  • Auto start (after starting the bridge, it will automatically start the login and NNTP server)
  • Auto minimize (if this is enabled, the bridge is automaticall minimized if the autologon was successfull)

The button at the bottom is for prefetching all newsgroups from the webservice. This is very usefull, because the web services are very slow in providing all newsgroups. It will take several minutes to download all the > 2000 newsgroups. Most newreader will timeout, while waiting for the list. Therefor, if you want to see all newsgroups in your newsreader, first press the "Prefetch newsgroup list". The progress will be displayed beside the button. If the message "DONE (2456 newsgroups)" appear, you can go to your newsreader and refresh the list of all newsgroup. This should then take just a second.

Some newsreader have a feature that will show all threads in which you are involved (Windows Live Mail: Ctrl-H). This feature requires that the messages contains your email address. By default the forums does not have any email address. To detect your client email address, you just need to post an article one time to the forum and all your subsequent articles will have your email address in the form field.

Plain Text Converter

If you enable the "Plain Text Coverter" it will convert the received html from the web-service into plain/text, which then is sent to your newsreader. Also it converts the plain/text from your newsreader on postings to html in the forum. To support plain/text and at the same time support html in the forum, we have made some "markups" like many wikis use.
See also: Markup Guide
Thanks to Josef Pötzl who implemented this features!

Advanced settings

Via the menu "Tools | Advanced settings..." you can display and change all current available settings.

Troubleshooting

If you have some kind of trouble, you can enable tracing.
Go to the menu "Tools | Debug window...". New you see the following window:
DebugWindow.png

By default only the NNTP trace is enabled. But you can also enable the "Main" trace (which cintains some general infos) and the "WebService" trace (which contains only the posted articles to the web service). You can set this window as "Topmost", so it will alsways stay in the foreground.
You can select entries in the log window and copy the selected lines via the context menu to the clipboard.

If you have any problems, then activate all logs and sent the problematic lines (or all) to the discussions or issue tracker.


Additionally, you can enable tracing into a file. For this you need to go to the installation directory of the bridge. Normal this is under "C:\Program Files (x86)\Community\CommunityForumsNNTPServer\". Here you need to modify the file "CommunityForumsNNTPServer.exe.config" and uncomment the portion with "<system.diagnostics>
". It should then look like:
Tracing.png

In this configuration, a logfile will be placed in the C:\Temp directory. Be sure the folder exists and you have rights to write into this folder (or change the path in the config file to an appropriate directorty).

Last edited Feb 3, 2012 at 4:27 AM by jkalmbach, version 40

Comments

masonth Sep 1, 2010 at 10:21 PM 
So, how do I point my newsreader (Windows Mail) at the Forums in order to read the messages?

hschuts Jun 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM 
Hi, is there a way to automate the prefetch feature, just like the liveid auto logon?

jkalmbach Jun 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM 
Thanks for pointing this out!

Usher May 30, 2010 at 8:34 PM 
Missing system requirements are:
.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Windows XP SP2 or later.