Using the Forums

Forums (also known as Bulletin Boards) are a type of group communication tool that allows people to discuss a variety of topics online using a web browser. Each forum typically contains a series of related topics, allowing users to search for information quickly and easily. Creating a new topic is as simple as choosing a relevant forum and posting a message. Replies to topics are stored in chronological order so that anyone reading them later can follow what was discussed.


Forums differ from mailing lists in that messages posted to a forum are not distributed to the forum users. It is possible to request email notifications when a topic is updated, however it is more likely that you will regularly visit the forums to keep up with discussions.

We currently use the Bulletin Board (bb) module of JBoss Nukes for the Forums. JBoss Nukes is a Java port of the popular PostNuke content management system written in PHP.

Choosing a forum

As the community has a large number of forums they have been divided into 5 broad areas:

  • General
  • Documentation
  • Users
  • Developers
  • Miscellaneous

This is done using the following categories:

Area Category
General General
Documentation JBoss Documentation
Users JBoss User
Nukes on JBoss
Red Hat Developer Studio
JBoss Ajax
Developers TODO Development
JBoss Application Server Developers Forums
JBoss POJO Developers Forums
JBoss AOP Developers Forums
JBoss Cache Developers Forums
JBoss Portal Developers Forums
JBoss Transaction Developer Forums
JBoss ESB Developer Forums
JBoss.ORG Developers Forums
JBoss Development
JBoss jBPM Developers Forums
Miscellaneous Archives


If you're interested in using a project then you should take a look inside the JBoss User category. This contains a large number of forums that relate to the different projects, just pick the one you want.


Note that the JBoss User category does not currently contain the user forums for the Javassist, Nukes on JBoss, Red Hat Developer Studio or JBoss Ajax projects. You must instead go the categories named after these projects.



If you're interested in the design and development of a specific project then you should look for the category that matches the project name. To see a generic list of development topics that need attention, go to the TODO - Development forum in the TODO Development category.

Searching for information

If you're thinking about using the forums to ask for help, or to find the answer to a question, then take a moment to have a look and see if somebody else has already created a similar topic or posted a reply with relevant information. This may well save you valuable time and will help to keep the forums from becoming cluttered with duplicate topics, making things harder to find.

To perform a search simply click on the 'Search' link at the top of the page. This will present you with a page where you can enter a search query and specify search options.

Creating a search query

To find information quickly it is important that you know how to create a good search query. First you need to choose one or more keywords that describe the information you are looking for. For example, if you want to find topics or posts about security then you should enter the word security in the 'Search for Keywords' box:


Leaving all the other controls with their default values and hitting the 'Search' button will then retrieve all of the topics or posts that contain this word. Note that all occurrences of the word will produce a result, including if it is used without spaces on either side. For example, topics or posts containing any of the following text will be returned:

  1. JSF security is for authorisation and authentication.
  2. I have some problems using ws-security.
  3. My WS runs correctly without wssecurity,
  4. <security-identity>

If you wish to look for similar words then you can use the * character as a wildcard:


In this case the following types of text will produce a result:

  1. I'd like to know if the links generated by s:link s:button are secure.
  2. if there was a small section in the security-doc
  3. Securing Portlet Modes


Note that you cannot use the * character at the beginning of a word as this will produce no results.


If the number of search results is not very high, or you want to widen your search to find other relevant information, then you can add another keyword. For example you might decide to also include any topics or posts dealing with encryption. To do this simply enter both words into the 'Search for Keywords' box, separated by a space:

security encryption

If you leave the 'Search for any terms or use query as entered' option selected then this will return topics or posts containing any of the following text:

  1. JSF security is for authorisation and authentication.
  2. I have some problems using ws-security.
  3. My WS runs correctly without wssecurity,
  4. <security-identity>
  5. It should not work with encryption turned on.
  6. @Name("encryptionController")
  7. I'm looking for a way to configure security using ws-encryption

Note that you can rewrite this query using the boolean OR operator to produce the same results:

security OR encryption

Whichever method you choose, the number of results returned will always be the same or higher than when the security keyword is used on its own. Adding more keywords like this is a good way to start your search as you can keep going until you have found all relevant topics or posts, e.g.

security encryption certificates

or alternatively

security OR encryption OR certificates
Narrowing your search

If you have a large number of results then you may want to start thinking about narrowing your search. Having to search manually through pages of results can be very time consuming and often frustrating!

There are two methods you can use to achieve this. The first is to select the 'Search for all terms' option. This means that for a topic or post to be included in the results, it must contain all of the keywords you have entered. For example if we want to look for all security items related to jms then we could enter:

security jms

The topics and posts returned would then contain text similar to:

  1. I'm looking for a way to configure jms security.

To reduce the number of results returned further we just need to add more keywords, e.g.

security jms authentication

The second method to narrow your search is to select the 'Search for any terms or use query as entered' option and enter a query using boolean operators. For example we may rewrite the above query using the boolean AND operator as:

security AND jms AND authentication

This is the best method to use as it gives you the most control over what you are searching for. In addition to using the OR and AND operators you can also use the NOT operator.

The NOT operator is used when you want to exclude certain topics and posts from your results. For example we may want to look at all security related items related to jms but not related to queues. In this case we would write:

security AND jms NOT queues

Using the OR, AND and NOT boolean operators in your queries gives you the best chance of finding the information you are searching for:

  • Using OR allows you to capture topics and posts that contain relevant keywords
  • Using AND allows you to narrow down the results to a smaller number
  • Using NOT allows you to get rid of results which are not relevant

For example if we wanted to find all topics and posts related to security or encryption with jms but not concerning queues we would write:

security OR encryption AND jms NOT queues

For more details on searching effectively using boolean operators, including an advanced tutorial, visit the Colorado State University Libraries site.

Specifying an author

If you want to restrict the search to topics and posts made by a certain author then you can enter their username in the 'Search for Author' box. Contrary to the instructions, using the * character does not have any effect.

Choosing a category, forum, or time period

To restrict your search to forums within a certain category use the Category drop-down box in the Search Options section. If you need to restrict the search further to a specific forum then use the Forum drop-down box, in this case the selected Category is ignored.

If you think that the information you are looking for was entered recently then you can limit your search to posts made within the last day, week, 2 weeks etc.. by using the Search previous drop-down box. The default setting is to search all posts.

If for any reason you don't want to include topic titles in your search then you can choose to just search posts by selecting the 'Search message text only' option.

Displaying your results

The remaining search options allow you to configure how the search results are displayed. You can choose between displaying topics or posts and decide whether you sort the results based on Post Time, Post Subject, Author, or Forum in ascending or descending order.

The 'Return first <nnn> characters of posts' drop-down box is intended to control the length of posts displayed in the results, so that they can be browsed more quickly. Currently this control does not have any effect.

Announcements and sticky topics

Announcements and sticky topics (stickies) are both special types of topic usually created by a forum moderator or an administrator. Announcements are used to draw attention to an event, like a new release or a change in the location of a source code repository, and are displayed above all other topics at the top of the forum on every page.

Sticky topics also appear above all other topics (except for announcements) but only on the first page of a forum. They are typically created by moderators or administrators to discuss ongoing issues or to draw attention to information that every user of the forum should know, such as a FAQ.

Creating a new topic

If you've spent time searching for relevant information in the forums and can't find what you're looking for then you can create a new topic. To determine if you can do this anonymously, look at the list of permissions displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the page:

  • You cannot post new topics in this forum
  • You cannot reply to topics in this forum
  • You cannot edit your posts in this forum
  • You cannot delete your posts in this forum
  • You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Typically the forums are configured so that you must login to your community account before you can create (post) topics. You can do this using the 'Log in' link at the top of the page. If you don't have an account then you can create one by hitting the 'Register' link and filling in your details.

You will then see the permissions change to something like:

  • You can post new topics in this forum
  • You can reply to topics in this forum
  • You cannot edit your posts in this forum
  • You cannot delete your posts in this forum
  • You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Now you can hit the 'newtopic' button to create your new topic. You will need to enter a short description of the topic Subject followed by your message.

Message style

When you create your message you can typically use any of the following markup languages to affect how it will be displayed:

  • HTML
  • BBCode
  • Smilies

The availability of these options is shown in the bottom left-hand side of the new post page. If available then you can choose to disable any of them using the checkboxes alongside. This means that your message text will be displayed as it is written instead of being interpreted as markup.

Only certain HTML tags are available in order to prevent the page layout from being distorted. You can find out which tags these are by contacting the forum administrators.

BBCode (Bulletin Board Code) is a markup language very similar to HTML but uses only a small number of tags and square brackets [] instead of angle brackets < >. You can either enter it by hand or use the controls directly above the message text box. Hovering your mouse over each control gives you a brief example of how it should be used on the line below.

Smilies, otherwise known as emoticons, are small images (usually faces) that are often used to show emotion. You enter a smiley by typing a special sequence of characters or placing the type of emotion between two colons:


Characters Emotion Smiley
:) :smile: Happy
;) :wink: Wink
;( :sad: Sad


The smilies that you can use are shown alongside the message text box. You may also click on any of these to insert the appropriate character sequence at the current cursor position in the message. If there are smilies that you would like to use but aren't shown, then please contact the forum administrators who can add them for you.

Adding your signature

To establish your identity on the forums you may wish to use a personalized signature. This is piece of text, containing HTML markup if desired, that you enter in your user profile. By clicking on the 'Attach signature' checkbox underneath the message text box you can add this text to the bottom of your post.


Before you post your messages it is always a good idea to preview them first using the Preview button. This gives you a chance to see if they look OK and to find out if you have made any mistakes. Once you are happy then you can go ahead and click the Submit button.

Replying to a topic

Whilst you are reading a topic you may decide to post a reply. Again the permissions in the lower right-hand corner of the page tell you whether you can do this or not:

  • You cannot reply to topics in this forum


  • You can reply to topics in this forum

If you are not logged in and the permission says you cannot reply then try logging in and checking again. Once you have permission you can hit the 'postreply' button.

By default the Subject of the reply is 'Re: ' followed by the topic title, however you can change this if you have a more appropriate description.

For instructions on how to edit your message to include markup tags and a personalized signature see the relevant sections above.

Once you submit your message it will be added to the end of the topic after all previous posts.

Using Quotes

If you want to quote someone inside your message then you can use the BBCode 'quote' tag to surround your text like so:


where <name> is the name of the person making the quote and <text> is the quote.

Sometimes you may want to show that you are replying to a particular post, or part of a post. In this situation you can include the name of the author and the full text of their post as a quote simply by hitting the 'quote' button on the right-hand side of their Subject line.

This creates a new reply message with the quoted text already in place, allowing you to edit it as necessary.

Instant reply

If you're in a hurry, or you don't want to use the formatting controls, then you can use the Instant reply text box at the bottom of the topic page. You can still enter HTML tags, BBCode, or smilies if you wish and preview the output using the 'Preview' button, or you can simply enter a reply and hit 'Submit'.

Watching a topic or forum

If you're interested in a particular topic and don't want to keep revisiting the forums to check for replies, then you can apply for notification by email whenever a reply is made.

To do this you first need to login using the 'Log in' link at the top of the page. Logging in will cause a 'Watch this topic for replies' link to be displayed at the bottom of each topic page. Clicking on this link will subscribe you to the topic and whenever the next reply is made you will be sent an email notifying you of the event.

Note that you will only receive one email per topic until the next time you login. This prevents multiple replies from cluttering up your inbox with email notifications.

You can also subscribe when creating a topic or posting a reply by clicking on the 'Notify me when a reply is posted' checkbox.

You can see all the topics you are currently subscribed to by clicking on the 'Watched Topics' link at the top of the page. This presents you with a table from where you can go to the topic, or unsubscribe by clicking in the checkbox on the right-hand side and hitting the 'Stop Watching' button.

You can also watch forums for any new topics that are added by clicking on the 'Watched Forums' link at the top of the page. Simply select a forum from the dropdown box and choose either Linked or Embedded mode, then hit the 'Watch' button. The watched forum will appear in the table below and notifications will be emailed to you whenever new topics are created in it. The mode you choose determines the format of the email:

  • Linked - the notification email contains a link to the new topic
  • Embedded - the notification email contains the new topic text

To stop watching you simply need to hit the 'Unwatch' button next to the relevant forum in the table.

Seeing who's online

If you're interested in seeing who's currently online then you can click on the 'Memberlist' link at the top of the page. This displays the usernames of all users currently logged in, followed by a count of the people browsing anonymously.

To see more information about a user just click on their username.

You can also see a list of usernames for logged in users in the 'Who is Online' box at the bottom of the main forums page. Administrators and moderators are indicated by the colour of their usernames. A count of registered (logged in) versus anonynous users is given together with a total count for the number of posts made.

Contacting other users

Sometimes you may wish to contact a user outside of the forums, to ask a question or maybe to discuss something in private. You can see a user's details such as their email address, AIM Address, or ICQ Number from their profile if they have chosen to enter them. Clicking on a user's name from the Author column on the topic page or from the Author or Last Post columns on the forum page will take you to their profile. Alternatively you can click on the 'profile' button on the bottom of each post.


When you register for a community account at you will be asked to create a profile. The only required piece of information is a valid email address so that you can receive email notifications from watched topics or forums.

To take part fully in the forums however, you may want to add as much information as possible. Telling people your real name for example can help them get to know you better. Entering your contact details over AIM or ICQ on the other hand allows people to contact you outside the forums, helping you to build up relationships. Similarly, supplying your location may prompt people to invite you to a JBoss User Group in your local area and indicating your interests may help to broaden discussions away from just technology.

Finally, providing a signature can help you establish an identity within the forums and get you noticed.

Forum Etiquette

Forums are a very valuable way for the community to offer help and advice to others and to discuss new ideas for development. Understanding features such as searching, creating new topics, and message formatting is useful, but to truly get the most from the forums you need to obey some accepted conventions.

Do your homework
  • Before you create a new topic, search the documentation and wiki for an answer. If you still cannot find one then look at the forum FAQ (if there is one) and search the forums and the mailing lists. Finally use Google to see if any other sites can help. Only when you have done all of these things should you create a new topic. Creating a new topic when your question has been answered before and is easily found only succeeds in wasting other people's time, as well as your own.
  • Understand which forum you should use for your topics. Do not post user questions in the development forums and vice-versa.
Start off slowly
  • If you are new to the forums, try creating topics in the Beginners Forum. This gives you a chance to practice your question writing skills and get a feel for how things work.
Ask good questions
  • Keep questions short and to the point. This makes it easier for people to reply quickly with an answer.
  • Ask only one question per topic. This makes it easier to understand and follow the replies.
  • Include relevant information that will help other people to diagnose your problem, typically this may be:
    • The operating system and version you are using; Windows XP, Solaris 10, RHEL 5.0, Mac OS X 10.4.9
    • The JVM implementation and version you are using; Sun Microsystems JDK 1.5.0_07, JRockit 5.0
    • The version of JBoss AS or any other project you are using; JBoss AS 4.0.5, JBoss Cache 1.4.1
    • Any third party libraries and their versions; commons-httpclient 3.0.1
    • Any error messages or short sections of stack traces showing thrown exceptions.
  • Show that you have already done some research and know what you are talking about.
  • Be polite and show consideration for other people's time. Don't be demanding.
Keep things tidy
  • If you find a solution to a problem raised in a topic then post it as a reply so that others can benefit.
  • If you see a frequently asked question in a forum that has been answered before then add it to the forum's FAQ sticky topic. If there is no FAQ sticky topic then email the administrator or moderator and ask for one to be created.
  • If you find a solution to a common type of problem then document it in the wiki. This helps to keep the forums focussed on finding solutions to unique problems.
Keep trying
  • If you didn't get an answer then take another look at your question and see if you could improve it.
  • If you don't agree with an answer then argue your point. You may not always be answered by someone who knows what they are talking about!
Don't make a nuisance of yourself
  • Don't create multiple topics for the same question. This makes it harder for people to find the solution as only one topic may be answered. Posting the same questions to multiple forums is called 'Cross Posting' and is also not going to help.
  • Don't reply to a topic to say you have had a similar problem. This is called a 'Me Too' post and wastes people's time as they are looking for an answer.
  • Do not introduce new questions or problems into an existing topic. Instead create a new topic for each question to keep things simple.
  • Do not state that your problem is urgent. It does not make people reply faster and may well have the opposite affect as you will appear too demanding.
  • Do not use uppercase to GET PEOPLE'S ATTENTION. It looks like you are shouting and only makes people less likely to reply.
  • Don't reply to your own post in order to make it move to the top of the forum. This is called 'Bumping' and will only annoy people who may be able to help you.
Common Sense
  • Use your common sense. Forums can be extremely useful tools but they need to be treated well, otherwise they stop being effective. Try to apply the conventions listed above and encourage others to do so whenever you can.
  • Treat other people as you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Answer other people's questions. This makes sure people carry on using the forums so you can expect answers to your own questions in the future. It also makes you feel good :)