FeedBack is a visitor feedback system which allows website visitors to post comments about specific pages, or to send private messages to the webmaster.

FeedBack is currently a work in progress, and the source code is not likely to be made available for some time yet.

Features of FeedBack

Postings require activation

Every time a visitor posts a private message or a page comment, they are sent an email which contains a link they must follow to activate their posting. Until they activate their posting, the webmaster cannot see it.

This process has been described as a faff by one beta tester, and it is no doubt inconvenient to the visitor. But the aim is to save the webmaster from trawling through thousands of spam messages posted by mindless web bots.

Page comments require approval

Before a comment becomes visible to the public, the webmaster must view the comment and approve it. If the webmaster decides the posting is not suitable for display on his or her site, then the comment will never become visible to the public.

This is intended to make it impossible for malicious visitors to cause libellous or otherwise harmful content to be visible to the public before the webmaster has had a chance to intervene.

A text-based Turing test

To post a message or comment, visitors must prove that they are human by passing a Turing test which requires them to supply the missing word in a simple sentence.

This is another measure intended to deflect spam bots, to reduce the number of garbage submissions posted to the system. However, there is a risk that bots will find a way to bypass the test, while EFL visitors may be stumped by the challenge. So this feature is being monitored to guage its effectiveness.

Development of FeedBack

FeedBack is written in PHP 5 and uses MySQL for storage.

Netbeans was used as an IDE in its PHP mode.

PHPUnit and Xdebug were used for unit testing and code coverage analysis. (Currently 726 unit tests, all pass, with 76% code coverage.) KCachegrind was used to analyse the profiling output produced by Xdebug.

phpDocumentor was used to create documentation for classes and methods.