A PHP / MySQL / htmlArea Whiteboard

Think of it as a Wiki with only one page -- a single white (or whatever, use CSS) rectangle in which to jot notes, include drawings or pictures, even embed audio and video, using HTMLArea 3.0, a free in-browser WYSIWYG editor that works with Mozilla 1.4+ and Windows IE 5.5+

WYSIWYG editing rocks -- not just because you can format text on the fly, but because you can copy and paste from another webpage. When you paste formatted text, all the formatting remains, including images and hyperlinks.

pWhiteboard is open source, and Free software, released under the Gnu GPL.  Here's a demo! 
Warning: Mozilla may sometimes crash if Composer is open while you edit the whiteboard.

Download the latest version: pWhiteboard-0.4.tar.gz  ( $Date: 2003/09/20 18:56:58 $ )
Be sure to see the HTMLArea installation and patching instructions before you continue.


In true Wiki fashion, anyone is able to edit the whiteboard. (If you want a more robust implementation with auth and locking, see Gibson-Gww.)

A snapshot button is available which will permanently archive the whiteboard in its current format.

The snapshot function will automatically be called on the next visit if it has been more than 30 minutes since an un-snapshotted edit. We don't want to archive every single microedit of the page, but we don't want to rely on people manually snapshotting the page when they're done, either.

There is no locking mechanism to prevent two people from editing the whiteboard at the same time. Snapshot your work.

Snapshots will be available from a pulldown and/or slideshow buttons at the top. Snapshots will have bookmark-able URLs.

A configuration screen will allow one to change the stylesheet URL and add a custom footer. The footer will be considered part of the snapshot, so updating it will not change the footer on previous snapshots. Stylesheet changes are global.


Webserver with PHP support
MySQL database server and client
HTMLArea 3.0 beta installed and patched according to these instructions
Mozilla 1.4 or better (any OS) or MSIE 5.5 or better (Win32 only)


  1. Be sure that you can use the online demos at http://yoursite/htmlarea/index.html  --  if not, then something may be wrong with your HTMLArea installation.

  2. You may use any existing MySQL database, as long as it doesn't already contain tables named "pwhiteboard" and "pwhiteboard_snapshot". Your database user must be able to create tables and indexes. If this is the case, skip to step 2.

    If you don't already have a database, then create one using the MySQL client. Just replace username and password below.
    mysql -u root -p
    (enter the mysql root password to log in)
    CREATE DATABASE pwhiteboard;
    GRANT ALL ON pwhiteboard.* TO username@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    Those commands will create a database named pwhiteboard, and give "username" the ability to connect to it and work with data. (For more information on GRANT syntax, see )

  3. Expand the pWhiteboard  tarball in any web directory: tar xzvf /path/to/pWhiteboard-0.4.tar.gz

  4. If this is the first time you are using pWhiteboard, save pwhiteboard_configure.php.dist as pwhiteboard_configure.php

  5. Edit pwhiteboard_configure.php and make any changes necessary-- this is where you put your database settings.

  6. If this is the first time you are using pWhiteboard with your database, visit http://yoursite/path/to/pwhiteboard.php?method=configure to create the table structures. (This is safe to leave enabled - tables are only created if they don't exist.)

  7. Visit http://yoursite/path/to/pwhiteboard.php to create a whiteboard. Have fun!

  8. Please report bugs, internationalization issues, feature requests, job referrals, and good karma to email address image. Yes, I know htmlArea is buggy. This is cutting edge stuff, it will get better soon.

Host-wide Installation

If you have several sites on a Virtual Host setup, pWhiteboard is designed to be perfectly happy sitting in an aliased /php-bin somewhere, provided you also alias /htmlarea to a working htmlArea installation. Bingo, everyone has a whiteboard. Of course, some people might not want them...

You can configure the default stylesheet URL, content, and footer so that your instructions and/or ISP branding show up on new whiteboards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does htmlArea work, anyway?
- See
- And

About The Developer

Chris Snyder lives and codes in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of New York City. He is the sole proprietor of CHXO Internet.
email address image

$Date: 2003/09/20 18:56:58 $