Share Experiences and Get Help on The User Forums

When you click the Login button you will be asked for a name and email address. The name you enter is what others see when you post a message to the forum. It is polite to enter your real, full name. The forums are private, friendly and spam-free, so there's no need to hide behind a pseudonym. While you can use an anonymous handle, you'll find that people (other PowerGREP users) are more willing to help you if you let them know who you are. Support staff from Just Great Software will answer technical support questions anyhow.

The email address you enter is used to email you whenever others participate in one of your discussions. The email address is never displayed to anyone, and is never used for anything other than the automatic notifications. PowerGREP's forum system does not have a function to respond privately to a message. If you don't want to receive automatic email notifications, there's no need to enter an email address.

If you select "never email replies", you'll never get any email. If you select "email replies to conversations you start", you'll get an email whenever somebody replies to a conversation that you started. If you select "email replies to conversations that you participate in", you'll get an email whenever somebody replies to a conversation that you started or replied to. The From address on the email notifications is forums@jgsoft.com. You can filter the messages based on this address in your email software.

PowerGREP's forum system uses the standard HTTP protocol which is also used for regular web browsing. If your computer is behind an HTTP proxy, click the Proxy button to configure the proxy connection.

If you prefer to be notified of new messages via an RSS feed instead of email, log in first. After PowerGREP has connected to the forums, you can click the Feeds button to select RSS feeds that you can add to your favorite feed reader.

Various Forums

Below the Login button, there is a list where you can select which particular forum you want to participate in. The "PowerGREP" forum is for discussing anything related to the PowerGREP software itself. This is the place for technical support questions, feature requests and other feedback regarding the functionality and use of PowerGREP.

The "regular expressions" forum is for discussing regular expressions in general. Here you can talk about creating regular expressions for particular tasks, and exchange ideas on how to implement regular expressions with whatever application or programming language you work with.

Searching The Forums

Before starting a new conversation, please check first if there's already a conversation going on about your topic. If you find one, start with reading all the messages in that conversation. If you have any further comments or questions on that conversation, reply to the existing conversation instead of starting a new one. That way, the thread of the conversation stays together, and others can instantly see what you're talking about. It doesn't matter whether the conversation is many years old. If you reply to it, it becomes an active conversation that moves to the top automatically.

In the top right corner of the Forum panel, there is a box on the toolbar that you can use to search for messages. When you enter something into that box, only conversations that include at least one message containing the word or phrase you entered are shown.

The filtering happens in real time as you type in your word or phrase. It includes all conversation subjects, all message summaries, and all author names. Is also includes the message bodies of conversations that have been downloaded. PowerGREP automatically downloads the 20 most recent conversations when you connect to the forum. Other conversations are downloaded only if you click on them to view them. Downloaded messages are cached between PowerGREP sessions.

This means that the real time filtering does not search through the body text of older messages that you've never viewed. To search through those messages, click the Search Forum button that sits immediately to the right of the search box. PowerGREP then shows all conversations with messages containing the search term in their summaries, author names, or body texts, including messages that haven't been downloaded yet.

You can enter only one search term, which is searched for literally. If you enter "find me", only conversations containing the two words "find me" next to each other and in that order are shown. You cannot use boolean operators like "or" or "and". Since the filtering is instant, you can quickly try various keywords.

If your search term can be found in the subject of a conversation, then all messages in that conversation are always shown. If the search term cannot be found in the subject of a conversation, but it can be found in the summary or body text of a message in that conversation, then the Show Complete Conversations button in the far top right corner determines which messages are shown. When this button is up, only the messages in which the search term was found are shown for that conversation. When this button is down, all messages are shown for that conversation.

If you have previously participated in the forums, you can use the Show My Conversations button to show only conversations that you have participated in and conversations that have a message that you gave a +1. If you did not enter a search term, this shows all messages in all those conversations. If you did enter a search term, this reduces the search results to conversations that you participated in.

Conversations and Messages

The left hand half of the Forum pane shows two lists. The one at the top shows conversations. The bottom one shows the messages in the selected conversation. You can change the order of the conversations and messages by clicking on the column headers in the lists. A conversation talks about one specific topic. In other forums, a conversation is sometimes called a thread.

If you want to talk about a topic that doesn't have a conversation yet, click the New button to start a new conversation. A new entry appears in the list of conversations with an edit box. Type in a brief subject for your conversation (up to 100 characters) and press Enter. Please write a clear subject such as "scraping an HTML table in Perl" rather than "need help with HTML" or just "help". A clear subject significantly increases the odds that somebody who knows the answer will actually click on your conversation, read your question and reply. A generic scream for help only gives the impression you're too lazy to type in a clear subject, and most forum users don't like helping lazy people.

After typing in your subject and pressing Enter, the keyboard focus moves to the empty box where you can enter the body text of your message. Please try to be as clear and descriptive as you can. The more information you provide, the more likely you'll get a timely and accurate answer. If your question is about a particular regular expression, don't forget to attach your regular expression or test data. Use the forum's attachment system rather than copying and pasting stuff into your message text.

If you want to reply to an existing conversation, select the conversation and click the Reply button. It doesn't matter which message in the conversation you selected. Replies are always to the whole conversation rather than to a particular message in a conversation. PowerGREP doesn't thread messages like newsgroup software tends to do. This prevents conversations from veering off-topic. If you want to respond to somebody and bring up a different subject, you can start a new conversation, and mention the new conversation in a short reply to the old one.

When starting a reply, a new entry appears in the list of messages. Type in a summary of your reply (up to 100 characters) and press Enter. Then you can type in the full text of your reply, just like when you start a new conversation. However, doing so is optional. If your reply is very brief, simply leave the message body blank. When you send a reply without any body text, the forum system uses the summary as the body text, and automatically prepends [nt] to your summary. The [nt] is an abbreviation for "no text", meaning the summary is all there is. If you see [nt] on a reply, you don't need to click on it to see the rest of the message. This way you can quickly respond with "Thank you" or "You're welcome" and other brief courtesy messages that are often sadly absent from online communication.

When you're done with your message, click the Send button to publish it. There's no need to hurry clicking the Send button. PowerGREP forever keeps all your messages in progress, even if you close and restart PowerGREP, or refresh the forums. Sometimes it's a good idea to sleep on a reply if the discussion gets a little heated. You can have as many draft conversations and replies as you want. You can read other messages while composing your reply. If you're replying to a long question, you can switch between the message with the question and your reply while you're writing.

Dates and Times

The Started column indicates how long ago each conversation was started. The Last Reply column indicates how long ago the last reply was made, if any. For older conversations, it indicates how much later that reply came after the conversation was started. If you sort conversations by last reply, conversations without replies are sorted by their starting date. The sort order is always based on absolute dates.

The Date Posted column indicates how long ago each message was posted. For replies to older conversations, this date indicates how much later that message was posted after the conversation was started. The Date Edited column indicates how long ago the message was edited, if at all. For older messages, it indicates how much later it was edited after it was posted. If you sort messages by the date they were edited, messages that weren't edited are sorted by their posting date. The sort order is always based on absolute dates.

Directly Attach PowerGREP Actions and Other Files

One of the greatest benefits of PowerGREP's built-in forums is that you can directly attach file selections, actions, sequences, libraries, and results. Simply click the Attach button and select the item you want to attach. PowerGREP automatically copies the settings from the relevant panel in PowerGREP into the attachment. You can add the same item more than once. E.g. if you attach your action, then make some changes on the Action panel, and select to attach the action again, your message will have two PowerGREP Action attachments, each storing the settings on the Action panel as you had it when you added the attachment.

To attach a screen shot, press the Print Screen button on the keyboard to capture your whole desktop. Or, press Alt+Print Screen to just capture the active window (e.g. PowerGREP's window). Then switch to the Forum panel, click the Attach button, and select Clipboard. You can also attach text you copied to the clipboard this way.

It's best to add your attachments while you're still composing your message. The attachments appear with the message, but won't be uploaded until you click the Send button to post your message. If you add an attachment to a message you've written previously, it is uploaded immediately. You cannot attach anything to messages written by others. Write your own reply, and attach your data to that.

To check out an attachment uploaded by somebody else, click the Use or Save button. The Use button loads the attachment directly into PowerGREP. This may replace your own data. E.g. the Action panel can hold only one action definition. Selecting a PowerGREP Action attachment and clicking Use replaces everything you have on the Action panel with the settings from the attachment. If you click the Save button, PowerGREP prompts for a location to save the attachment. PowerGREP does not automatically open attachments you save.

PowerGREP automatically compresses attachments in memory before uploading them. So if you want to attach an external file, there's no need to compress it using a zip program first. If you compress the file manually, everybody who wants to open it has to decompress it manually. If you let PowerGREP compress it automatically, decompression is also automatic.

Taking Back Your Words

If you regret anything you wrote, simply delete it. There are three Delete buttons. The one above the list of conversations deletes the whole conversation. You can only delete a conversation if nobody else participated in it. The Delete button above the edit box for the message body deletes that message, if you wrote it. It is labeled Cancel if you have not yet sent your message. The Delete button above the list of attachments deletes the selected attachment, if it belongs to a message that you wrote.

If somebody already downloaded your message before you got around to deleting it, it won't vanish instantly. The message will disappear from their view of the forums the next time they log onto the forums or click Refresh. If you see messages disappear when you refresh your own view of the forums, that means the author of the message deleted it. If you replied to a conversation and the original question disappears, leaving your reply as the only message, you should delete your reply too. Otherwise, your reply will look silly all by itself. When you delete the last reply to a conversation, the conversation itself is also deleted, whether you started it or not.

Changing Your Opinion

If you think you could better phrase something you wrote earlier, select the message and then click the Edit button above the message text. You can then edit the subject and/or body text of the message. Click the Send button to publish the edited message. It will replace the original. If you change your mind about editing the message, click the Cancel button. Make sure to click it only once! When editing a message, the Delete button changes its caption to Cancel and when clicked reverts the message to what it was before you started editing it. If you click Delete a second time (i.e. while the message is no longer being edited), you'll delete the message from the forum.

If other people have already downloaded your message, their view of the message will magically change when they click Refresh or log in again. Since things may get confusing if people respond to your original message before they see the edited message, it's best to restrict your edits to minor errors like spelling mistakes. If you change your opinion, click the Reply button to add a new message to the same conversation.

Updating Your View

When you click the Login button, PowerGREP automatically downloads all new conversations and message summaries. Message bodies are downloaded one conversation at a time as you click on the conversations. Attachments are downloaded individually when you click the Use or Save button.

PowerGREP keeps a cache of conversations and messages that persists when you close PowerGREP. Attachments are cached while PowerGREP is running, and discarded when you close PowerGREP. By caching conversations and messages, PowerGREP improves the responsiveness of the forum while reducing the stress on the forum server.

If you keep PowerGREP running for a long time, PowerGREP does not automatically check for new conversations and messages. To do so, click the Refresh button.

Whenever you click Login or Refresh, all conversations and messages are marked as "read". They won't have any special indicator in the list of conversations or messages. If the refresh downloads new conversation and message summaries, those are marked as "unread". This is indicated with the same "people in the cloud" icon as shown next to the Login button.