Synchronet v3.18b-Win32 (install) has been released (Sept-2020).

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This is an old revision of the document!


The Synchronet BBS List v4 module (exec/sbbslist.js) provides the following functionality:

  • Online BBS List (interactive door mode or just a read-only listing)
  • Exports locally created BBS entries to networked message base (e.g. SYNCDATA)
  • Imported BBS entries from networked message base
  • Generates HTML output (e.g.
  • Generates Synchronet inter-BBS Instant-Message module database (i.e. ctrl/sbbsimsg.lst)
  • Generates SyncTERM BBS directory file (i.e. syncterm.lst)
  • Auto-synchronizes statistics (e.g. totals) in the local system's entry in the database
  • Auto-verifies TCP/IP services of listed BBSes and tracks the results


As of this writing, sbbslist v4 is known to be compatible with Synchronet v3.17, under development.

A JavaScript printf() bug in Synchronet v3.16 causes sbbslist v4 to crash in Synchronet for Linux, but appears to work fine in the Windows build.

Files known to be required by sbbslist v4:

  • exec/sbbslist.js
  • exec/load/sbbslist_lib.js
  • exec/load/sbbslist_html.js
  • exec/load/sbbsdefs.js
  • exec/load/sockdefs.js
  • exec/load/portdefs.js
  • exec/load/modopts.js
  • exec/load/graphic.js
  • exec/load/termcapture_lib.js
  • exec/load/synchronet-json.js


The Synchronet BBS List v4 module (exec/sbbslist.js) is the replacement for the old (originally, Digital_Dynamics') door, Synchronet BBS List (SBL).

Whereas the original Synchronet BBS List (SBL) was a native executable (originally for 16-bit MS-DOS, then OS/2, Windows and *nix), version 4 is a complete re-write in JavaScript.

SBL v3 Compatibility

When sbbslist v4 is run, it looks for its database file, data/sbbslist.json. If the database file doesn't exist, it'll attempt to upgrade from the old SBL database xtrn/sbl/sbl.dab to the new JSON format automatically. This upgrade should normally only happen one time, but you can always force an upgrade again (over-writing your existing v4 database) by running sbbslist upgrade (e.g. with binkit).

Probably the most compelling feature of SBL was the ability to share (import-from and export-to) networked message bases (e.g. the DOVE-Net SYNCDATA message conference). This capability has been maintained and enhanced in v4:

  • BBS entries posted using the old SBL2SMB are imported into the new sbbslist.json database
  • BBS entries are exported to message base(s) using both the old SBL2SMB format and a new JSON-encoding for newer features (e.g. answer screen preview)

Whereas SBL stored its configuration, data, and executable files in the xtrn/sbl directory, sbbslist v4 uses the following Synchronet directories:

  • data for storage of the database file sbbslist.json
  • ctrl for storage of its configuration settings, in modopts.ini
  • text for the location of its online help file, sbbslist.hlp
  • temp for temporary storage of downloadable listings (e.g. syncterm.lst)
  • exec for the main 'executable', sbbslist.js
  • exec/load for loadable library files, e.g. sbbslist_lib.js


From command-line, run jsexec sbbslist install

If all the prerequisites were met, this step will perform all the necessary configuration changes mentioned later in this document and you should be ready to go with the new Synchronet BBS List.

:!: Note: If you previously had the SBL door in an external program section other than the first external program section, you may want to move the new SBBSLIST configuration to that location (in binkit->External Programs->Online Programs).


Other than command-line parameters, the only configuration options for sbbslist.js are stored in the [sbbslist] section of the ctrl/modopts.ini file:

sort         = name
reverse      = false
format       = 0
add_ars      = not guest
beep         = true
sub          = dove-syncdata
live_preview = true
backup_level = 5
export_freq  = 7
Option Description
sort The default list sort field (default: none)
reverse Reverse the default sort order (default: false)
format The default browse list format (0-9, default: 0)
add_ars The access requirements of a user able to add a BBS entry (default: none)
beep Set to false to disable beeps sent to the remote terminal (default: true)
sub Sub-board internal code for import and export command (default: auto-detected)
live_preview Set to true to enable live previews (outbound connections) while in browse mode (default: false)
backup_level Over-ride the default number of backup files to maintain (default: 5)
export_freq Maximum export (to message-base) frequency, in days (default: 7)


The configured/default sort field can also be specified on the sbbslist command-line (e.g. using the -sort option). The available sort fields are:

Field Description
name BBS name (with “the” prefix and “BBS” suffix removed)
sysops List of BBS's system operators
location BBS's location (e.g. city, state, country)
phone_number BBS's phone number (if it has one)
service_address BBS's primary TCP service address
since Date the BBS was first placed online
software BBS software in use
web_site BBS's web-site address
description BBS's description
networks List of message networks to which the BBS belongs
nodes Total number of terminal server nodes
users Total number of BBS users
subs Total number of BBS message areas (sub-boards)
dirs Total number of BBS file directories
doors Total number of BBS online programs (doors)
msgs Total number of public messages stored on the BBS
files Total number of files available for download
storage Total disk capacity
protocols List of TCP protocols supported by the BBS
created_by Name of user that created this BBS entry
created_on Date that this BBS entry was created
updated_by Name of user that last updated/edited this BBS entry
updated_on Date that this BBS entry was last updated
verified_by Name of user or program that last verified this BBS entry
verified_on Date that this BBS entry was last verified
verify Special sort order based on auto-verification results

The default sort order is alphabetical for string fields and reversed (descending) for numeric fields.

Live Preview

This feature allows a browsing user to request a real-time capture and preview of a listed BBS's answer/login screen. This is not an interactive connection and does not allow the user to send data or control the remote BBS in any way. The TCP connection, if successful, lasts about 10 seconds.


sbbslist.js can be invoked from binkit to utilize many of its functions, but for it's primary “browse” (BBS door) functionality, it must run from the Synchronet Terminal Server (e.g. as an External Program, a.k.a. door).


The Synchronet BBS List may be added to your BBSes list of external programs (doors) available to users by adding it to binkit->External Programs->Online Programs->Main, like so:

║                    Synchronet BBS List                   ║
║ │Name                       Synchronet BBS List          ║
║ │Internal Code              SBBSLIST                     ║
║ │Start-up Directory                                      ║
║ │Command Line               ?sbbslist browse             ║
║ │Clean-up Command Line                                   ║
║ │Execution Cost             None                         ║
║ │Access Requirements                                     ║
║ │Execution Requirements                                  ║
║ │Multiple Concurrent Users  Yes                          ║
║ │Intercept I/O              No                           ║
║ │Native Executable          No                           ║
║ │Use Shell to Execute       No                           ║
║ │Modify User Data           No                           ║
║ │Execute on Event           No                           ║
║ │Pause After Execution      No                           ║
║ │BBS Drop File Type         None                         ║
║ │Place Drop File In         Node Directory               ║

If you have the old SBL entry, you should remove it now.

The browse mode does not *have* to be configured this way. Since sbbslist.js runs in-process, it can be easily invoked from anywhere that a JavaScript module can be executed within the Synchronet Terminal Server. You just need to pass the browse argument. No drop files are needed or used.

Timed Events

sbbslist.js can be invoked as a timed event to provide many important features:


If the local system is listed in the database, it can be automatically updated (e.g. monthly) by adding a timed event to binkit->External Programs->Timed Events, like so:

║                        SBLUPDAT Timed Event                        ║
║ │Internal Code                   SBLUPDAT                          ║
║ │Start-up Directory                                                ║
║ │Command Line                    ?sbbslist update -preview         ║
║ │Enabled                         Yes                               ║
║ │Execution Node                  1                                 ║
║ │Execution Months                Any                               ║
║ │Execution Days of Month         1                                 ║
║ │Execution Days of Week          All                               ║
║ │Execution Time                  00:00                             ║
║ │Requires Exclusive Execution    No                                ║
║ │Force Users Off-line For Event  No                                ║
║ │Native Executable               No                                ║
║ │Use Shell to Execute            No                                ║
║ │Background Execution            No                                ║
║ │Always Run After Init/Re-init   No                                ║

This will allow your BBS entry to automatically track your local system's statistics (e.g. number of users, door, message areas, etc.). Also, it will routinely re-export your BBS entry to any networked-message bases you have your BBS list linked with.

Remove the -preview argument if you do not want your BBS's login screen to be captured for later preview by potential users.

If you wish to override the address to which the module will connect to capture the preview, specify the IP address or host name like so:

?sbbslist update -preview=address


If your BBS is connected to DOVE-Net or FidoNet, you probably will want networked-posted BBS entries to be automatically imported into your database (sbbslist.json) from the appropriate message base (e.g. SYNCDATA). To do so, setup a timed event in binkit->External Programs->Timed Events, like so:

║                         SMB2SBL Timed Event                        ║
║ │Internal Code                   SMB2SBL                           ║
║ │Start-up Directory                                                ║
║ │Command Line                    ?sbbslist import                  ║
║ │Enabled                         Yes                               ║
║ │Execution Node                  1                                 ║
║ │Execution Months                Any                               ║
║ │Execution Days of Month         Any                               ║
║ │Execution Days of Week          All                               ║
║ │Execution Frequency             4 times a day                     ║
║ │Requires Exclusive Execution    No                                ║
║ │Force Users Off-line For Event  No                                ║
║ │Native Executable               No                                ║
║ │Use Shell to Execute            No                                ║
║ │Background Execution            No                                ║
║ │Always Run After Init/Re-init   No                                ║

Note: If you have the old SMB2SBL timed event, you should remove it now.


If your BBS is connected to DOVE-Net or FidoNet, you probably will want your locally created BBS entries to be automatically exported from your database (sbbslist.json) to the appropriate message base (e.g. SYNCDATA). To do so, setup a timed event in binkit->External Programs->Timed Events, like so:

║                         SBL2SMB Timed Event                        ║
║ │Internal Code                   SBL2SMB                           ║
║ │Start-up Directory                                                ║
║ │Command Line                    ?sbbslist export                  ║
║ │Enabled                         Yes                               ║
║ │Execution Node                  1                                 ║
║ │Execution Months                Any                               ║
║ │Execution Days of Month         Any                               ║
║ │Execution Days of Week          All                               ║
║ │Execution Frequency             4 times a day                     ║
║ │Requires Exclusive Execution    No                                ║
║ │Force Users Off-line For Event  No                                ║
║ │Native Executable               No                                ║
║ │Use Shell to Execute            No                                ║
║ │Background Execution            No                                ║
║ │Always Run After Init/Re-init   No                                ║

Note: If you have the old SBL2SMB timed event, you should remove it now.



Commands are just words passed on the command-line to sbbslist.js. Many commands are only there for trouble-shooting or experimental purposes.

Command Description
browse Perform the interactive BBS-user door function for listing and adding systems to the list
list Display all or part of the BBS list
dump Perform a JSON-dump of the BBS list
count Count the number of entries in the BBS list
upgrade Upgrade from the old SBL (sbl.dab) list format
backup Backup the BBS list database file (sbslist.json)
import Import BBS entries from a networked message base
export Export BBS entries to a networked message base
syncterm Export the BBS List to a SyncTERM compatible list file (syncterm.lst)
html Export the BBS List to an HTML file (sbbslist.html)
imsglist Export the BBS List to an instant-message system list file (sbbsimsg.lst)
sort=field Sort the BBS List by the specified field
randomize Randomize the BBS List
find=value Find a string in the BBS List
verify Verify the BBS List
save Save the BBS List back to the database file
show Show, in a basic plain format, the BBS List
add Add the local system to the BBS List
update Update the local system in the BBS List
remove=<name> Remove an entry from the BBS List
preview=<name> Capture the preview of the specified BBS entry
dedupe Remove duplicate entries from the BBS List
maint Delete old/out-date entries from the BBS List (not yet implemented)
install Install the Synchronet BBS List in a Synchronet BBS


Command-line options begin with a - and modify the default behavior of sbbslist.js.

Option Description
-v Increase console output verbosity (e.g. for trouble-shooting)
-quiet Minimize console output
-exclude=<value> Exclude select entries from the BBS List
-format=<value> Specify the default list format (-format= for a list of formats)
-filter=<value> Filter BBS List based on specified value
-all Import/export all entries (even those locally created) - not normally recommended
-ptr=<value> Over-ride the stored import/export message base pointer value
-addr=<value> Specify the address to capture a BBS preview from
-preview Include a preview with a BBS List update
-sort=<value> Sort the BBS List based on specified field
-reverse Reverse the natural/default sort order
-debug Enable debug console/log output
-# Limit the number of entries listed

See Also

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