The program was written in 1998 by Robert Peake as part of a project for Education 143 at UC Berkeley. Since then, more flexible languages like PHP, ASP and JSP have provided a higher-level approach to CGI, and highly popular forum systems like PostNuke have far exceeded the capabilities of Dialogs in terms of features. What these systems lack, however, is the speed of source-compiled code and the simplicity of the C/CGI engine. Therefore Dialogs remains of interest mostly to developers looking to expand upon its basic functionality for more high-performance systems.
The original release notes are available on Robert's web site.
The Dialogs Project, a suite of CGI binaries written in C designed to provide teacher-moderated student discussion forums on the web, was released March 8, 2004 into the public domain.
This program was designed to allow teachers to setup correspondence journals through the World Wide Web so that students can discuss paralell issues in any number of classrooms that have Internet access.
Dialogs keeps correspondence between any number of users in a "dialog group" in a single file that is accessible for download by the teacher. Configuration of these files is performed by the teacher. Students can post replies but can nototherwise modify group files. Each student "logs on" to Dialogs with a username and password, preventing fraud. The teacher "logs on" to Dialogs to configure or download files.
The source code for Dialogs is available for download from the SourceForge repositories.
Dialogs can be installed on UNIX machines running Apache, NCSA, or other web servers that use the HTAccess web security system. Dialogs can be installed within the public_html directory of a user's shell account, or by the webmaster. See the README file for more information.