BackSnap stack

Add Comments + Ratings to your RapidWeaver Project

BackSnap is the ultimate feedback tool for your website. Allow users to leave text comments as well as utilize a 5 star rating system. This document explains all functions and settings of the stack.


When you purchase BackSnap, you'll receive a file called BackSnap. This disk image contains the stack. Simply doubleclick the stack to install. If you have any problems or the stack does not look like a lego-esque icon, you need to make sure you have AT LEAST version 2.1.6 of Stacks installed. Prior versions of Stacks had issues with the Stacks Installer. If RapidWeaver is open, you'll need to close and relaunch RapidWeaver to see your newly installed BackSnap.

Getting Started

Adding BackSnap comments OR rating to you site is a simple process, you just need to know your MySQL account credentials at your host and understand a few straightforward concepts about presenting your comment/ratings. To add BackSnap to a new or existing Stacks page, simply select BackSnap from your Stacks list and drag it into the Stacks page where you'd like it to be displayed.

BackSnap Settings

In Preview Mode BackSnap presents a checklist of all the things you need to complete in order to make the published Stack functional. BackSnap must be published to a server running PHP5 to be functional. You can preview what the stack will LOOK like in Preview mode, however, you can not leave actual comments or ratings in Preview mode.

Required Settings

You need to configure ALL Required Settings AND MySQL settings in order for the published BackSnap to be functional.

  • Page ID
    In order to allow multiple instances of BackSnap on ONE page, each instance of BackSnap needs to be given a UNIQUE Page ID. This can be whatever you like, it just needs to be ALPHANUMERIC and should be descriptive of the use of the stack. For example, a seller using BackSnap to allow user reviews/rating may want to use the product name or part number as the Page ID. Keep in mind that it needs to be alphanumeric. Use *ONLY* letters a-z, A-Z and numbers 0-9. You can also use dash (-) and underscore (_). Don't use any other characters in Page ID's. For example, Product_ABC123 would be a valid Page ID. However, "My great product you need to review!!!!????!!!!" would be n invalid page ID. Keep it simple.
  • Allow Comments
    BackSnap can base used as a Comment system, a rating system, or BOTH. Enabling Allow Comments enabled the commenting portion of the stack. This allows users to leave text comments. You may also designate whether or not the comments are displayed on the page via the Show Comments option below. You can use comments independently of the Allow Rating option.
  • Allow Replies
    Enabling this checkbox will allow your visitors to REPLY to another visitors comment. When enabled, you'll have two layers of comments in your comment structures, Comments and Replies to Comments.
  • Show Comments
    When enabled, all comments left on the page will also be shown on the page. If disabled, comments are still collected and stored in your MySQL database but are not shown on the page.
  • Allow Rating
    Enabling Allow Rating will add a 5-Star rating tool to BOTH the user input AND the comments. Note that you even if you use BackSnap JUST as a rating tool and you wish to show users rating, you'll need to enable the SHOW COMMENTS checkbox. Ratings are essentially a graphical comment.
  • Show Email
    Enabling will display the commenter's email address. Not recommended on public pages.
  • Require Email
    Users will be required to supply an email address with their comment when this option is enabled.
  • Reverse Sort
    Comments are sorted in oldest -> newest order by default. Enabling Reverse Sort will alter the display so that newest comments are displayed to the top of the Comment area.
  • Hide Form
    By default, the comment input form is displayed to users. Enabling the Hide Form checkbox will hide the comment/rating inputs and require that the viewer click the Hide/Show button to display the form.
  • Admin Username
    The username you'd like to use to login to the comment management system. The admin console will be located in a subdirectory of your comment page. Simply append /files/backsnap/admin.php to your comment page's path to get to the admin console.
  • Admin Password
    The password you'd like to use to login to the comment management system.

MySQL Settings

BackSnap saves ALL collected data in your MySQL database. MySQL databases are offered by most major hosts and are generally managed in a control panel such as cPanel. You must provide BackSnap with complete, accurate credentials to connect to your MySQL database. If BackSnap can't connect to your database, it can't save any data. If you receive MySQL connection errors on your published page, you will need to verify your database information with your host. Our support staff has no way of knowing what your secure account credentials would be for your host.

  • Host
    The host name for your database server. If your host has your database on the same server as your website then your host entry may be: localhost. Otherwise, it may be an IP address or, etc. Your host will need to provide you with the host name or IP of your database server.
  • Database
    The Database Name. This is usually something you can setup in phpmyadmin or in your host's control panel. Supply just the NAME of yourdatabase in this field.
  • Username
    Your MySQL username. This will be supplied by your host.
  • Password
    Your MySQL password. This will be supplied by your host.

SPAM Settings

BackSnap supports two options for reducing form spam in your comments. You can setup a manual Captcha challenge to verify human form submission, OR if you have an Akismet account you can allow Akismet to filter your form comments. You can use these options independently or simultaneously.

  • Use Capthca
    Enabling Captcha will add a Challenge field to your form input. Users will be required to answer a question of your choice before a comment submission is accepted. This is used to reduce form submissions made by spam bots/scripts. When enabled, you will need to provide a Captcha Quesion and validation answer below.
  • Captcha Question
    Provide a simple question that users can readily answer in order to prove that they're a legitimate commenter and not a spam script. Many users utilize basic math questions such as "What is 3 + 7" or very universal questions such as "What color is a stop sign". The valid answer for this question needs to be supplied in the Captcha Answer field bellow.
  • Captcha Answer
    This must ba a valid answer to the Captcha Question. Note that this is not case sensitive. If you supply "Red" as a valid answer and the user supplies "red" as their input, it will still validate properly.
  • Captcha Fail
    Text message displayed if the user provides an incorrect captcha answer. You might provide a further hint and instructions to insure the user can provide the correct answer.
  • Use Akismet
    Enabling Akismet will allow you to connect your account to your comment form for active filtering. This is a fee based service.
  • Akismet API Key
    The API Key assigned to your account. This information is available to you when you login to Akismet.
  • SPAM Fail
    The text to be displayed when Akismet rejects a form submission.

Optional Settings

These include some additional control settings you may wish to take advantage of.

  • Debug Mode
    Enabling Debug mode will allow detailed PHP errors to be displayed. This should be enabled during troubleshooting/setup and disabled when site is in production usage.
  • Hide Admin Button
    Make sure this is DISABLED when you first publish your project. In your browser, hover over the bottom right hand corner of the Comment Stack area until you locate the hidden ADMIN LOGIN button. Login using your Admin username/password (assigned above) and BOOKMARK this admin page. Once you've bookmarked it, ENABLE the Hide Admin button, thus preventing your visitors from accidentally stubmling across the admin login.
  • Allow Reporting
    Enabling this option will add a REPORT link to every comment on your site. This will allow users to REPORT inappropriate activity or misuse of your comment form. When you enable reporting, a field is presented to supply an alert
  • Email Alerts
    Receive an alert vie email any time a comment submission fails (including user error)
  • Only Error Alerts
    When enabled, you'll receive email alerts only on functional errors (not user error). For example, if Akismet detects an email as spam or if there is an issue connecting to your database.
  • Limit Votes
    Use this setting to limit the number of rating votes that may come from one user.
  • Date Format
    Enter your desired date formatting. By default, this will use the timeago format which will display how long ago a comment was submitted (ie, 29 minutes ago, 2 days ago, etc). However, if you'd like to stamp the comment with an actual date/time, you can format such timestam using PHP date formatting, enter the desired date string following php date parameters: (see

Button Settings

BackSnap allows you to define the style and text on all buttons. You can style to match your page AND localize the entire comment setup into any language.

  • Submit Buttons Color scheme for form submission button
  • Cancel Buttons Color scheme for form cancel/reset button
  • Size Choose Small, Medium or Large buttons as best fit your site design
  • Add Comment Text for Add Comment (Submit) button
  • Add Reply Text for Add Reply button
  • Report Text for Report button
  • Reply Text for Reply button
  • Send Report Text for Send Report button
  • Cancel Text for Cancel (Form Reset) button

You also have the option in the Stack Settings to enable the Close icon - this is the X symbol in the upper right hand corner of the Alert box.

Label Settings

BackSnap allows you to define the text on all labels as well.

  • Reply Text for REPLY function located within each comment when Allow Replies is enabled
  • Report Text for REPORT function located within each comment when Allow Reporting is enabled
  • Name Text for commenter's NAME input
  • Email Text for commenter's EMAIL input
  • Rate Text displayed next to 5-Star rating graphic when Allow Rating is enabled
  • Comment Text displayed next to Comment Input area when Allow Comments is enabled
  • Average Rating Text displayed near average rating graphic when Allow Rating is enabled
  • Hide/show Text on the link used to hide/show the stack's content area

Misc Text Settings

BackSnap allows you to define the style and text on all buttons. You can style to match your page AND localize the entire comment setup into any language.

  • Main Header Text above the user comments
  • Add Comment Text above the new comment input area
  • Success Header Text displayed above the Report Response text to indicate that it was successfully sent
  • Error Header Text displayed as header for Error states (ie, Spam detected on submission or Report submission failed)
  • Report Response Text displayed after a user Report has been successfully submitted
  • Anonymous Text used to identify users that do not supply a name/email address.
  • No Results Text displayed when Allow Comments is enabled but no user comments have yet been received

Style Settings

Style Setting control comment and comment input appearance. Use the built in color pickers to select colors to be used for all labeled elements. The single Font entry is for all items INSIDE the comment stack (title, field labels, success/error messages, etc)

Note: Do not use any html, javascript or css in your custom text labels.

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