Synchronet v3.19b-Win32 (install) has been released (Jan-2022).

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External Programs Menu

For any issues, contact mlong on IRC, dove-net at mlong@INREALM or


The XtrnMenu Mod is a loadable module replacement for xtrn_sec.js which lets you:

  • define any number of custom external menus and have those menus link to other custom external menus, external section menus, external programs, or custom commands
  • choose alpha-numeric inputs for the menu items (except Q), and sort several ways
  • fully customize the look of each menu and menu item
  • use keyboard arrow nav, mouse, esc, etc. with lightbar
  • track launches and time and use this to power web stats as well as special menus
  • search for any for door
  • have a favorites menu that the user manages
  • provide a game-only shell if you desire (gamesrv)
  • use built in commands for feedback, mail, chat, text files, file area, etc.


1. Get the latest files from the git repo

2. Set the Loadable Module to 'xtrnmenu'

  1. /sbbs/exec/scfg
  2. Choose System
  3. Choose Loadable Modules
  4. Choose Xtrn Section
  5. Enter “xtrnmenu”
  6. NOTE: If you ever want to switch back to stock, switch it to “xtrn_sec”

3. Now you will need to create your menus.

  1. Run “/sbbs/exec/jsexec /sbbs/exec/xtrnmenucfg.js” (if you are in the exec dir, just run ./jsexec xtrnmenucfg)
  2. The first time you run it, it will create the main menu (a custom menu with the id of 'main')
  3. Click on Edit Items and start adding your items to the main menu. Select the target type first (custom menu, standard built-in section menu, external program, special menu, or custom command) and then you can choose the actual target (where it points to). You can escape back to the start screen to add more custom menus
  4. When you are done, press ESC to exit and save the config. This creates a file called /sbbs/ctrl/xtrnmenu.cfg. This is a JSON file you can make by hand, but using the editor is the preferred way of maintaining it.

4. To use game stats, special menus, and favorites, you will need to enable JSON service. Add this to our ctrl/json-service.ini and restart services:


Then add this to modopts.ini under [xtrn_sec]:


5. If you would like to use the web interface, copy the files from xtrn/xtrnmenu into your webv4/pages directory You also need to modify the stock 003-games.xjs or you will have two Games menus:



This mod will not affect any shells that create their own external menus, most notably lbshell (Deuce's Lightbar Shell). For these shells, they will just see your section menus

The mod does not handle scrolling. You need to ensure that you do not have more menu items or external programs in a section than can be displayed in one screen (with header/footer/prompt)


You can configure the external menus by running “jsexec xtrnmenucfg.js”.

The main menu is a special menu called “main” and everything else can be linked to it.

You can create custom menus containing other menus, programs, sections, commands, etc. These can then be linked to other menus or to your main menu.

The types of items are:

  • Custom Menu: Another custom menu item
  • External Section: Displays the external section menu for the specified section
  • External Program: Launches the specified external program
  • Special Menu: For most viewed, most recent, longest run (requires json services)
  • Favorites: User-maintained menu (requires json services)
  • Search: Search menu for games
  • Command: Runs any synchronet command line. This is intended mainly for adding menu options for the Game Server.

Customizing the Look and Behavior

By default, this mod will use all of your options as defined in modopts.ini [xtrn_sec], with the exception of multicolumn_fmt and singlecolumn_fmt. This is because those two default to having an unsigned integer in the format, and this mod will require a string. If you don't define them, they will use what is hardcoded in the code.

However, you will mainly be maintaining the settings under [xtrnmenu] in modopts.d/xtrnmenu.ini

Global Options

To setup your global settings, add a section [xtrnmenu] to modopts.ini, and customize as necessary:


; Uncomment if you wish to have the mod hand over section menus to xtrn_sec.js
;use_xtrn_sec = true

; Default sort, can be "name", "key", or false (no sort)
sort = false

; Enable multi-column display (when more than 10 external programs in a section)
multicolumn = true

; Clear the (remote) terminal screen before displaying the menu
clear_screen = true    
; uncomment and modify any of the below to change the look of the external programs menu
; to remove titles or underline, set to the text ' '
;multicolumn_separator: " "
;header_fmt: \1n\1c\1h%s \1n\1cExternal Programs:\r\n\r\n
;titles: \1n\1cKey \1h\xb3\1n\1c Name                             \1n\1c
multicolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%-32.32s \1h
singlecolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%s \1h
;which: \r\n\1-\1cWhich or \1h~Q\1n\1cuit: \1h
;underline: \1c\1h\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc5\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4\xc4
; used by the lightbar
multicolumn_fmt_inverse: \1n\1w[\1y\1h%2s\1n\1w] \1n\1w\1h\x015%-32.32s \1n\1h
singlecolumn_fmt_inverse: \1n\1w[\1y\1h%2s\1n\1w] \1n\1w\1h\x015%s \1n\1h

; to enable cost display, use these instead
; Note: cost not supported in special menus
;titles: \1n\1cInput \1h\xb3\1n\1c Name                       Cost \1n\1c
;multicolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%-26.26s\1h %5u
;singlecolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%-26.26s\1h %5u
;multicolumn_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\x016\1w\1h%-26.26s\1n \1c%5u
;singlecolumn_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\x016\1w\1h%-26.26s\1n \1c%5u

; These are used for the special menus (most launched, etc.)
; It adds the "stats" field which is the number of launches, amount of time, etc.
multicolumn_fmt_special: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%-21.21s\1h \1m%-10s
singlecolumn_fmt_special: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%-21.21s\1h \1m%-10s
multicolumn_fmt_special: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%-21.21s\1h \1m%-10s
singlecolumn_fmt_special: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%-21.21s\1h \1m%-10s

; Override the message when there are no programs available
; (defaults to text.dat NoXtrnPrograms)

; Override the restricted user msg
; (defaults to text.dat R_ExternalPrograms)

; JSON service powers special menus (most popular, recent, etc.)
; Add appropriate entry to json-service.ini and set host/port here
;json_enabled = true
;json_host = localhost
;json_port = 10088

; Exclude external codes or external sections from being tracked
; and showing up in special menus (most popular, recent, etc.)    
blacklist_tracking_xtrncodes: bullshit,sbbslist,avatchoo
blacklist_tracking_xtrnsec: operator

; Formatting for the "return to previous menu" option
return_msg: "\xae Return to Previous Menu"
logoff_msg: "Logoff"
quit_msg: "Quit"
; Formatting for the "return to previous menu" option
return_msg: "\xae Return to Previous Menu"
logoff_msg: "Logoff"
quit_msg: "Quit"
return_multicolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%-32.32s \1h
return_singlecolumn_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\1c%s \1h
return_multicolumn_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\x016\1w\1h%-32.32s \1n\1h
return_singlecolumn_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1n\x016\1w\1h%s \1n\1h
return_multicolumn_special_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%-32.32s\1h
return_singlecolumn_special_fmt: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \1m%s\1h
return_multicolumn_special_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \x015\1w\1h%-32.32s\1n
return_singlecolumn_special_fmt_inverse: \1h\1c%3s \xb3 \x015\1w\1h%s\1n

; Change display of filearea command menu
;xfer_prompt: "\x01n\x01c\xfe \x01b\x01hFile \x01n\x01c\xfe \x01h"
;xfer_prompt2: " \x01n\x01c@DIR@: \x01n"
;command_prompt: "\r\n\x01gCommand: "
;view_prompt: "\r\n\x01c\x01hView File(s)\r\n"
;searchfname_prompt: "\r\n\x01c\x01hSearch for Filename(s)\r\n"
;remove_prompt: "\r\n\x01c\x01hRemove/Edit File(s)\r\n"
;finddesc_prompt: "\r\n\x01c\x01hFind Text in File Descriptions (no wildcards)\r\n"
;download:prompt:  "\r\n\x01c\x01hDownload File(s)\r\n"

; Change display of search menu
entersearchterm: "\x01y\x01hEnter search term: "
searchresultheader: "\x01n\x01cSearch Results for \x01h%s"
searchagainmsg: "\x01n\x01mPress S to Search Again."

; Feedback Module
;feedback_subject: "Game Server Feedback\r\n"
;feedback_msg: Thank you for your Feedback, @SYSOP@ will get back to you ASAP!\r\n\r\n

; Favorites Module
;favorite_add_item: "Add Item"
;favorte_remove_item: "Remove Item"
;add_favorites_msg: "\x01c\x01hAdd Favorite"
;remove_favorites_msg: "\x01c\x01hRemove Favorite"
;favorites_inst: "\x01n\x01w\x01h\x012 [Up/Down/Home/End] to Navigate, [Enter] to Select, [Q] to Quit, [S] to Search "
;favorites_inst_rem: "\x01n\x01w\x01h\x012 [Up/Down/Home/End] to Navigate, [Enter] to Select, [Q] to Quit "
;favorite_add_search_prompt: "\x01c\x01hSearch (ESC to Cancel): \x01n"

; autocomplete (search) box on add favorite
; see cga_defs.js for color codes
; autocomplete input box
; autocomplete result box
; autocomplete highlighted row

; scrolling menu on add favorite
; lightbar non-current item
; lightbar current item
; tree heading 

Custom Menu Appearance Options

To change the look of a custom menu, create it in the format [xtrnmenu:ID], like this:

    multicolumn_fmt: \1n\1y[\1h%2s\1n\1y] \1y%-32.32s \1h
    singlecolumn_fmt: \1n\1y[\1h%2s\1n\1y] \1y%-32.32s \1h

The custom menu section can use any of the same options as the global setting.

Single Item Appearance Options

To change the look of a single item inside of a menu, create it within the [xtrnmenu:ID] section with a key of EXTERNALID-OPTION, like this:

boggle-multicolumn_fmt: \1n\1w[\1r\1h%2s\1n\1w] [test] \1m%-25.25s \1h
boggle-singlecolumn_fmt: \1n\1w[\1r\1h%2s\1n\1w] [test] \1m%-25.25s \1h
boggle-multicolumn_fmt_inverse: \1n\1w[\1r\1h%2s\1n\1w] [test] \x015\1w%-25.25s \1h
boggle-singlecolumn_fmt_inverse: \1n\1w[\1r\1h%2s\1n\1w] [test] \x015\1w%-25.25s \1h

Custom Display Files

If you want to use custom display files, create them as text/menu/xtrnmenu_(menuid).* where (menuid) is the menu id of the menu.

Example: text/menu/xtrnmenu_genre.msg

You can also include a header file as text/menu/xtrnmenu_head_(menuid).* and a footer file as text/menu/xtrnmenu_tail_(menuid).*, where (menuid) is the menu id of the menu.

You can also include a global header as text/menu/xtrnmenu_head.* and a global footer as text/menu/xtrnmenu_foot.*

The module also supports falling back to the xtrn_sec files of text/menu/xtrn_head.* and text/menu/xtrn_tail.*

Game Server

You can use the mod to provide functionality for a game server. You will probably still need to make other changes to your system such as to logon.js, etc.


You can make a shell which just runs the menumod. Create your shell source such as game.src in exec which contains:

exec "?xtrnmenu.js gamesrv"

Then compile it with baja: baja game


You can add custom commands to your menu by using xtrnmenucfg and adding a Command item. These can be any synchronet commands. Some built-in ones have been provided:

Command Name Value to Use Note
Chat Section ?xtrnmenu command chat -
Check Mail ?xtrnmenu command checkmail -
Download Area ?xtrnmenu command filearea SECTION DIR Ex: ?xtrnmenu filearea main gamedocs
Last Callers ?logonlist -l -
Prefs ?xtrnmenu command prefs -
Send Feedback ?xtrnmenu command feedback -
Text Files ?xtrnmenu command textsec -
Sysop Command ?xtrnmenu command sysop Be sure to set access_string to SYSOP

Display Files

You can create a footer that only shows when the menu is running in game server mode:


See Also