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30 April 2022

Discourse - 'A funny thing happened on the way to the forum'

Stuart Ball profile image
Written by

Stuart Ball | Chief Content Editor - Computing at School

For most of my 14 years as a CAS member, I have been a bit lurker and sat on the periphery of activity. Dipping into the community forum very occasionally and contributing to it even less. But with the new changes to the website and the Forum, I have been inspired to do more.

So like many of you I suspect, I found the process of going to the website, logging in, then clicking on the community link, then logging in again, a little frustrating. But, it's worth it for the value I get from the interactions with the community. But, it wasn't long before I slipped back into my old ways, I kept forgetting to log in whilst at my computer. 

 

So how could I solve this, so before I wrote a forum post expressing my frustrations, I thought what is it I am looking to achieve, and surely technology could help here?

I wanted my interaction to be more 'social', I don't have any issues responding to tweets, WhatsApp, texts, and even email on my phone. (We also know what a problem that can be as well, but at least I have the control to manage it.)

 

Firstly I discovered that Discourse is built on a separate platform to the CAS Website, hence the need to log in again, and is Open Source. If there is one thing I have learned about the Open Source Community is that if you looking for a solution, someone will have tried to solve it. I needed an app, building one myself is way beyond my capabilities. So with a little trepidation, I headed off to the Play Store, did a quick search for 'Discourse', and found immediately two free apps:-

 

Discourse Hub - https://tinyurl.com/46n6c32m 

and

Discourse Land - https://tinyurl.com/5n9y22zp 

 

Great stuff, I installed both, as the next question was, 'Would they be any good?'

To setup the CAS Forum in these apps, you need the forum URL, this is

 

http://forum.computingatschool.org.uk 

 

Once the app has found the forum, it asks for your login details, once typed in, I used the phone's ability to remember the details for future use, so I would be able to log in with a single click from now on.

 

Both apps now show me the forum in all its glory. They give both give notifications of new posts, replies, and unread posts. As well as the ability to read and reply. They really do work.

I have only been using the Discourse Hub for a few weeks, but I have started to favour Discourse Land as my go-to forum app, as I prefer its UI. I suggest installing both and see which one you find suits you.

 

Not forget iPhone/iOS users ( which I now have as well as my work phone). The Discourse Hub App is available in the App Store as well. There is also another called Fig. 

 

Discourse Hub - https://tinyurl.com/yckzw8sj 

 

and

 

Fig - https://tinyurl.com/mr39apy4 

 

again I would suggest installing both and seeing which one you prefer. Setup is exactly the same as described previously.

 

I hope this has helped and I look forward to seeing you in our community.

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