Choosing Avatar Options

phpBB offers many options for displaying avatars, as Figure 9-9 illustrates. You can permit users to upload avatars to the server from their hard drives or another web site, or link to avatar images on remote sites. Alternatively, you can provide a gallery of avatars for your users to peruse and select from. You can pick and choose which options you wish to enable by using the Configuration panel in the Administration panel, under the heading Avatar Settings.

Figure 9-9. phpBB Avatar options

Permitting users to upload their avatar images to your server is by far the most convenient method for your users. In order for this option to work, you must make sure the upload directory you've specified (typically images/avatars) is writable by the web server; otherwise, your users will have problems uploading files. This option is less than desirable if your server is strapped for disk space. You can specify a hard limit on the size of files uploaded to your server under the Avatar Settings section in the Configuration page of the Administration panel.

Enabling remote avatars permits users to link to images hosted on other servers as their avatar image. This approach helps take the load off your server, but there is an increasing resistance against cross-linking images from other servers. More and more hosts use server-based measures to prevent hotlinking from their servers. To add insult to injury, phpBB does not always take into consideration the pixel-size limitations specified in the Administration panel, so users may select avatars that do not necessarily agree with your layout. You can edit avatars via the Management link under User Admin in the Administration panel.

You can also gather a gallery of your own hand-selected avatars and make them available for your users. This is especially useful if your site has a particular theme and you wish to have your avatars fit that theme. You add images to the gallery by putting them in the directory specified in the Avatar Settings in the Administration panel (the default is images/avatars/ gallery). Creating directories underneath the main gallery root creates categories in which you file your images. Figure 9-10 illustrates a Random gallery with a couple of images. To select an image from the gallery, the user clicks the radio button underneath the image, and then clicks Select avatar. phpBB assigns this as the user's avatar.

Avatar gallery

Select category: 1 Random 1 Go |

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Select avatar | Cancel avatar |

Figure 9-10. An avatar gallery phpBB gives users a bit of a runaround when they wish to change their avatar. You must delete any existing avatar before you change it to a new one. To delete your avatar, check the Delete Image check box in the Avatar control panel section of the Edit Profile form (see Figure 9-9, shown earlier) and click Submit, as if you were editing your profile. Then, you must reenter the Edit Profile form and select your new avatar. Just make sure your users are aware of this procedure, and all will be well.

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