A few years ago I decided to add a comment script to some articles that I had written for one of my websites. I wanted a way to allow visitors to express their views and to ask questions. The script was the best that I could find at the time and, although it met all of my initial requirements, I often felt that it was lacking in areas. After a while I started to examine its code in order to make some fixes and improvements. It was then that I realised that the script had more problems than I originally had thought. I raised these issues with the author but it was clear that there was no desire to take the script forward. When an extensive search returned no alternatives I decided that I would write my own.

I began to set out as many features as I could think of. I felt that it was most important to make it as easy as possible for visitors to keep up-to-date with new comments so that they wouldn't forget about the website. This is reflected in Commentics by both its email subscription and its RSS feed. To cater for everyone I decided that Commentics would have the ability to collect a lot of information. By default it is possible to collect the visitor's name, email address, website address, town, country and rating. Another feature of importance was the ability to preview the comment. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than submitting a comment with no idea how it will look, only to find out that it looks terrible and there is nothing that can be done because it has already been posted.

While developing such features I kept several fundamental requirements in mind. First of all the script should be very simple to integrate. This was achieved as Commentics only needs a few lines of code to be added. Also its stylesheet has been designed not to adversely interfere with the rest of the page. Another basic requirement was that the script should be very customizable. This is evident as the admin panel for Commentics offers a plethora of settings. For example with regard to the form fields, one can control which are enabled, required, the sort order and the default values. The last fundamental requirement was that Commentics should be secure. In addition to having both image and question captcha, it uses a number of techniques that help to prevent both remote and robotic submission. It can be said that the main aims of Commentics are to be integrable, customizable and secure.

As Commentics is both free and open source, not only is it available to everyone but it can also be modified as desired. In the spirit of open source, it is expected that such fixes and improvements are to be shared with the wider community. With the forum, knowledgebase and wiki as aides, I believe that it is possible for the Commentics project to go from strength to strength, with the ultimate ambition of becoming the number one choice when searching for a PHP comment script.