KBase script

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knew of a Knowledge Base script available anywhere?

The one used for kbase.newdream.net is quite nifty. Was that created by NDN? Does anyone know of any others around?

Even a script in ASP is fine!
Thanks for your time!
That Rhymes!

Way back in times shrouded in the mists of antiquity (summer of '99), I wrote the original KBase script. For one reason or another we didn’t use it for a while, and it was passed from developer to developer until it fell into the hands of our Boston office - which produced the super duper KBase script you see today.

Unfortunately, I think this latter version is pretty much tied to a ton of DreamHost specific code, so it really wouldn’t work for anyone else. :<

That said, there are a number of knowledge base scripts out there that work pretty well. I can’t remember where I saw it, but there’s a pretty popular one out there called ‘FAQ-o-Matic’ or something along those lines. The default one is kind of ugly, in my opinion, but a little HTML work and you can probably make it look pretty nice.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

The SpamCop site uses Faq-O-Matic: http://www.spamcop.net/

And FOM used to be found at http://www.dartmouth.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/jonh/faq.pl – Every FOM I see on the Web links there. But, unfortunately, that link is now dead – the directories are there, but not the docs.

The author of Faq-O-Matic is Jon Howell (more info at: http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/1998-6/faq.html or http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~jonh), who wrote it when he was a graduate student at Dartmouth… Which may explain the absence of his stuff now. He email at Dartmouth was jonh@cs.dartmouth.edu, but since he’s probably no longer be there… Then again, it could just be that Dartmouth got tired of the traffic.

Let’s see… if I Gargle enough… Looking through several pages of results… AH!

Some info on Faq-O-Matic is here: http://www.davecentral.com/6745.html

Source is here: http://www.davecentral.com/cgi-bin/download32.pl?6745

Platforms: Win 95/98, Win NT 3.51, Win NT 4.0, Unix.

But I think there’s also a Linux/PPC version, too.

Now that I think about it, maybe this went commercial…


But I think there’s also a Linux/PPC version, too.

I’m pretty sure there is. The old LinuxPPC.org FAQ used to use it (although it has been redesigned and I haven’t used it since).

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

No! Nooooo! Not Faq-o-Matic! Why, I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than install Faq-o-Matic! :slight_smile:

Well, sort of. Actually it was a grown woman and I didn’t pull my own head off, I just gave up after days of frustration and switched to a PHP script called FAQ-U instead, which not only appeared to be a nice, feature-laden script, but also expressed very nicely in its name what I wanted to say to the makers of Faq-o-Matic.

I’m not exactly a CGI virgin, but I found Faq-o-Matic brutally difficult to get anywhere with. The documentation assumes that (a) you are a UNIX god/dess, and (b) you have root access to the server you’re installing it on. It is not, at least in my experience, a script for the casual user, or for anyone using virtual hosting of any sort.

FAQ-U is very nice, and much easier to set up, but the layout is kind of ugly and you will have to edit the hell out of not only the page templates but some of the PHP script itself if you want it to look good. The type is too big and the layout is way too cluttered and crowded – the programmer does not appear to have heard of the concept of white space, but then I guess that’s why he’s a programmer and not a designer.

I’ve got FAQ-U fairly nicely customized now, and I like its features (multiple FAQs from one installation, ability to comment on answers, etc.) but I’m still not entirely certain I’ll stick with it. The thing is, like most PHP scripts that actually do anything useful, it uses a MySQL database, and even though I do have one on my Strictly Business plan, the fact that I only get one means I can essentially only use one PHP script.

Oh sure, I could theoretically run several scripts off the same database, but the problem there is – what if I install a second script and it uses some of the same table names as the first one? Very few scripts tell you in their documentation what the tables they’re going to create in your database are; they all seem to be based on the assumption that they’ll be working with a fresh database with nothing else in it. And they often use nice generic table names like “data” and “admin”. Gee, no chance at all of another script using those names, eh?

I love PHP, but if I installed all the PHP scripts I’d like to on my domains, I’d be paying about an extra $80 a month for all the databases… :stuck_out_tongue:


Business: http://www.spidersilk.net
Personal: http://www.wildideas.net

[quote]No! Nooooo! Not Faq-o-Matic! Why, I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads
off rather than install Faq-o-Matic!



(Do you have pictures??)

[quote]Well, sort of. Actually it was a grown woman and I didn’t pull my own head
off, I just gave up after days of frustration and switched to a PHP script
called FAQ-U instead


Thanks for the info. I’ve never actually used Faq-O-Matic myself (guess I shoulda mentioned that…), and now that you mention it, virtually every site I’ve seen with a Faq-O-Matic is operated by a hardcore 'Nixhead.

I also have yet to use PHP, but it looks like I may have to if I want to stick around this joint.

Thanks again…


Yeah we sorta just wrote our kbase for our internal (well, external really!) use. It is pretty fast and got a decent amount of features, but I still wouldn’t consider it ready for prime-time until the search capabilities work a little better.

Anyway, after writing it I sorta got the idea that maybe it’d be something our hosting customers would like to integrate with their sites maybe. Based on this message, I guess there’s some interest in that… anybody else want to add their own opinions of whether they’d use it?

Here’s how I envision it working:

You’d add a kbase through the web panel (probably free, or maybe a one time charge, or maybe a small monthly charge, depending on your plan). You could set it up at your own domain or sub-domain (kbase.you.com, faq.you.com, whatever…).

You’d customize it through a simple web interface something like dreambook.com, and add entries through the site itself.

Oh yeah, that’s something I kinda like about the current kbase! You guys can’t see it, but if you’re an administrative user (ndn employees), you get an option to turn on editing. When editing is on, all the articles appear in text areas and you add and modify articles directly from the same interface you go to view them.

Anyway… quick unscientific poll:

  1. Would you want this feature?

  2. What would you expect to pay for it?

  3. Any other comments/ideas about it?

Money money money!


That would be spiffy!

1. Would you want this feature?
I’d like to use it for various ideas, my family-tree, my main idea (remains to be released), and a knowledge based system that I could use to dump all my rants/compliments and anyting else I could get to come out of my brain.

2. What would you expect to pay for it?
Ick, not really for sure. Would have to see what was completely offered in the package, and how extensively it could be set up.

3. Any other comments/ideas about it?
Make it multi user-capable? So strangers could dump their ideas into it but not make it a messageboard? Example: For my familytree I could use it as a center of knowledge on all the family members in the whole structure. It would be used for a basic search point of all the entries. Just an idea :slight_smile: