Just opened the door after about six hours straight of working on the soon to be official Hunterdon Central Web Log Manual which my fried brain tells me is probably about 87.2% done. Since I have literally been accosted with requests over the last two days to create dozens of sites in the next two weeks, I figured it was time to try to set it in stone, the policies, the procedures, and some of the philosophy. No doubt this is a work in progress, and if any of you out there lead boring enough lives to give me some feedback on what you see here I would greatly appreciate it. As long as I get it by tomorrow…;0)
Not to revisit all of this yet again, because I am loving Manila the more and more I get into it, but it still surprises me how convoluted some of the configs are to set these up. I’ve been waiting patiently for Jake and others to come through on promised upgrades, and I know they are working as hard as they can. But I swear it feels like I could cut at least a third of this manual if we just defaulted to news item sites, could create news and story pages in the same space, and could add editors and members in a more streamlined way. Then again, if all of that stuff happened, I wouldn’t have anything to keep complaining about.
A final note…I launched into my aggregation nation spiel with one of the teachers who was wanting Web logs and I have to say it made my day when I saw the lights go on as to what I was talking about. We spent more time on Bloglines than his site…And from the manual, this is my attempt at a Mom’s definition of RSS type stuff. Tell me what you think:
Teachers who use employ student Manila sites can make their lives much easier by understanding the syndication aspect of the software. In a nutshell, every Manila Web log generates a behind-the-scenes script that is constantly updated as new content is added. This script allows interested readers to “subscribe” to the Web log using what is called a news aggregator. In essence, this news aggregator checks the script on a regular (sometimes hourly) basis and displays any new content to a Web page. The great thing is that news aggregators can keep track of as many of these scripts as you enter, and they bring the content from all the “subscribed to” Web logs into one place. That means if you have 24 students with 24 Web logs, you DON’T have to visit 24 sites to see what they’re up to. You only need to visit one!
I feel like a cheerleader…
How about this:
Bloglines is a piece of software that will allow you go to one web page and see all the new entries that have been posted to the blogs you subscribe to. Bloglines (a “news aggregator”) monintors the subscriptions through a syndication function called “RSS feeds”. I will gladly show you how to do this.
Comments: Be careful with the back-end explanation — most teachers do not care and do not want to know. If anything, mark your explanation as a “geek” point that can be skipped (like in the “… for Dummies” books).
The second line in the previous statement is probably too technical and should be deleted. I included it, however, if you want to indirectly teach the teachers some blogging lingo.
My experience is that it is often best simply to tell the teachers what the software does. The technically curious teachers will approach you or you will already know who they are.
I hope this helps.
Jake Savin says
Glad to hear that you’re liking Manila so much. True that some things could be made easier, and much of the work we’re doing now is geared towards that goal.
A couple of comments:
1. You can have new sites default to news items if needed. Go to the Settings page in the Frontier Admin site, and click the Hosting link under Manila. Then check the box to make new sites use news items.
2. It’s possible to add members or editors en-masse via the Admin page. Click the Admin link, and scroll down to the Membership section. There’s a field for adding multiple members. All you have to do is paste in the email addresses of all the members you want to add (separated with spaces, carriage returns or commas), choose what level of access to give them, and click the Add Members button. All the new members will have a randomly generated password, and will receive a welcome message in email which includes their login information.
Hope this helps.
Will R. says
Thanks Jake. I really appreciate the work you are doing, and I’m really looking forward to all of your efforts coming to fruition. Can’t wait, in fact.
greg heil says
Yuck a Doc!
Another of those MS challenged folk wondering what it is you wrote:(
Perhaps you could hit the little export to html button?
Or pdf or rtf or text or anything else nonproprietary…
Most people do this kind of dirty work for MS out of ignorance.
Somehow you don’t look to fit that bill.
Hey at least it is not PPT!