Sharing Message Topics

This section describes the steps of sharing topics with Mail Server. The steps will describe actions specific to participating in TFNet, but the same steps will apply to any gateway that supports topics.

You will first create topics on your BBS to hold the shared messages, create links to the topics, then group these topics into Topic Sets. The topic sets are then attached to one or more gateways so that Mail Server can construct the correct message routing.


Choosing the Message Topics

In this step you will find out what message topics are available.


• For TFNet, Spider Island BBS has a list of topics that are available. For other gateways, the list of topics that are available should be provided by the source of the topics, usually the sysop of the BBS.


Creating the BBS Message Topics

A TeleFinder Message Topic must be created for each of the Topics that will be shared. Please refer to the "Creating Message Topics" section in "Setting Up your TeleFinder BBS" chapter for detailed instructions on making topics for your BBS.


For each topic, you will create a TeleFinder Message Topic file. The name and location of these topics is not important, however they must be located in a Conferences area for them to be available to users of the BBS. You can choose any name for the Message Topic file, it does not have to match the topic name for the gateway.


The picture below shows a window with some sample message topics.


Linking Mail Server to the Message Topics

In this step you will use Mail Server to link a gateway topic name to a message topic file. This step will be repeated for each topic you wish to share.


• Select the "Topic Links" command from the Server menu. This opens the "Topic Links" window.

• Click in the "Add" button to create a link to a Topic. Mail Server will open the "Link Edit" window.
• Enter the name of the gateway topic you are subscribing to in the "Name" field. You name must be the specific name that is used by the gateway.


• Click in the "Choose Topic file" button to select the topic file. Mail Server opens the Open window. Use the Open window to select the topic you created previously. Select its name from the list, then click in the "Open" button to confirm your choice.


After selecting the topic, Mail Server displays a path to the file beneath the "Choose Topic File" button.


• Specify the maximum number of messages you want to keep in the topic. Enter the number in the "Max Messages" field. This value will be used when Mail Server trims the topic files in a later step. Mail Server will discard old messages to make room for new ones once this limit is reached.

Note: The value in this field will override the "Max Messages" value that is contained in each individual topic file.

• Turn OFF the "Read Only" checkbox. If this option is ON, users will be able to post messages to the topic, however those messages will not be exported.


• Close the window to save the link. Repeat this step for each TFNet Topic you want to receive from your Hub.


Create the Topic Set

In this step you will create a "topic set" from a collection of gateway topics. This topic set is then attached to a gateway. You can add topics to the set individually by their gateway name, or in groups by using wildcard characters.


You can create any number of topic sets, but each gateway can have only one set attached to it.


To create a set, select "Topic Sets" from the Server menu. This opens the "Topic Sets" window.


• Click in the "Add" button to add a new set. This will open the "Set Edit" window.
• Enter "TFNet Set" in the "Name" text box. This set will contain patterns to describe the gateway topics you wish to subscribe to.


• Click in the "Add" button to add a pattern to the group. Each pattern in the group appears in the topic set patterns list. Mail Server will open the "Pattern Edit" window. Use this window to describe the gateway topics that will be part of this set.



The pattern can be either a complete gateway topic name, or a special name that uses wildcards to refer to many topics. The wildcard character is the asterisk (*). Mail Systems that organize topics in a hierarchy permit you to select an entire group without having to specify each one by name. Use this feature to shorten your setup time. For example, telefinder.bbs.questions, telefinder.bbs.gateways, telefinder.bbs.sysop each refer directly to a single topic. You could enter "telefinder.bbs.*" to refer to all topics within the telefinder.bbs hierarchy.


To receive all the TFNet Topics just enter "telefinder.*" in the "Pattern" field, and repeat this step with "tfnet.*" as the pattern.


• Turn the "Read Access" check box ON to allow the export of messages from this topic pattern to the gateway.


• Turn the "Write Access" check box ON to allow the import of messages into this topic pattern from the gateway.


• Click in the "Save" button to save this pattern and close the window. Repeat this step as necessary until you have patterns for all the Topics you wish to receive.


Assigning the Topic Set to a Gateway

In this step, you will assign the topic set to a gateway.


• Select the "Gateways" command from the Server menu. This opens the Gateways window.

• Select the Gateway that you wish to assign a topic set to and then click in the "Change" button. This opens the "Gateway Edit" window for the gateway.

• Select the desired topic set from the "Topic Set" pop-up menu.

• Close the Gateway Edit window to save the settings.

• Close the Gateways window.


Scheduling a Time to Trim Topics

A schedule item should be created to allow Mail Server to periodically remove old messages from topic files.

Mail Server allows periodic tasks to be performed according to a built-in schedule. Schedule items are specified with starting and ending times, and may be schedules for any days of the week.

Start and stop times are in 24 hour format. The 24 hour format begins at midnight (00:00) and ends with eleven fifty-nine PM (23:59). Twelve noon is 12:00. AM hours are 01:00 through 11:00. PM hours are 13:00 through 23:00.


The event can be set to run for specific days of the week, or everyday of the week.

Simultaneous schedule items can occur at the same time, as long as two "Call a TeleFinder BBS" items are not trying to run at the same time. Otherwise only the first event will be performed.

Choose "Trim Topics" from the "Task" pop-up menu.


Trim Topics

The "Trim Topics" schedule item instructs Mail Server to remove any extra messages that have accumulated in the message topics due to a previous import. It is recommended that this task be performed in a schedule at least once per day.