yourarthere.net

The loose ends

Posted in backend, coding, design, organization, research by Owen on May 15, 2010

I’ve received some feedback from users now, and made my own notes as I’ve used the system, so I have some of these below. Additionally, its a good idea to go over all the code, including CSS, and add comments while its still fresh in our minds. This shouldn’t take long, we just need to address blocks of code or lines that aren’t already commented and look like they need some explaining! Feel free to contribute anything else we need to make this live!

GLOBAL

– Add a sitemap. ___Beth + Owen
– Add titles to all links. ___Owen
– Create class to show external link icon (like wikipedia). ___Owen
– Add search function. ___Owen
– Add CDATA to all javascript tags. ___Owen
– Switch 1000px width to 980px. ___Owen
– 301 .htaccess redirect and make new site live. ___Owen

APPLICATION

– Emails don’t seem to be received by comcast users. Research and find out what we might change. ___Beth
– Add upload image feature to application form (to become default feature image). ___Owen
– Convert new emails and domains to lowercase. ___Brittany
– Remove trailing slash on domain names… see: ryanboatright.com/ ___Brittany
– Add headers again after so many members… _____Brittany
– Add language/code to encourage adding a short statement. ___Owen

ADMIN DASHBOARD

– Clean-up member review page. ___Beth
– Add number of files and number of tags to list of members. ___Brittany + Braylin
– Add an “Are you sure?” page to the delete member button. ___Brittany
– Add ability to order members by date joined (add column) vs. last name. ___Brittany + Braylin
– Keep track of whether or not members pay monthly or annually. ___Brittany
– Add icon for view member profile as well as domain. ___Owen
– How can we make sidebar “site administration” links for admin work better? Add icons. ___Owen
– Add FTP link in admin dashboard See also ___Owen
– Different color for pending, approved, active, and inactive members . ___Owen

MEMBER DASHBOARD

– Make an infographic for the settings page, to show how DNS, webservers, FTP works. ___Chris
– Copy functionality from tags to let users add events? ___Braylin
– Change file to gallery on member dashboard home. ___Owen
– Use first member image for feature by default. Inform member this image will be used as thumbnail too. Save new version of first image when uploaded. ___Braylin
– Member subaccount shouldn’t show plesk username/password. ___Brittany
– Research and find the best date/time selector. ___Beth
– Add FTP link in member dashboard See also ___Owen
– Add external links icon (like wikipedia) esp for pages in member dashboard. ___Owen
– For settings page, show user data as form field, click and it highlights. ___Owen
– Language should be added to encourage adding images. ___Owen
– Add feature image to home of member dashboard. ___Owen

WEBSITE

– Make events page. ___Braylin
– Change all titles (including Support topics) to sentence case. ___Owen
– Show abbreviated statement on their page, with a jquery toggle to show all (pushes down). ___Braylin
– If statement to determine location still spits out “in ,” ___Braylin
Some images have not been carried over. Check to see if others have. ___Owen
– Clean-up and move Add This button. ___Owen

FRONT PAGE

– Hook events to events table. ___Braylin
– Add jquery image sliders to feature box images. ___Owen
– Hook feature box images to db. ___Owen

COMMENTING AND TESTING

– Add comments to all CSS and PHP files. ___Everyone
– Validate everything. ___Everyone
– Get browsershots of example pages. ___Beth
– Make fixes to design based on browser shots. ___Beth + Owen
– Add validation links to footer. ___Beth

THE FUTURE

– Add buttons to admin to remind pending members they have been accepted.
– Auto email members who have not added images/tags/feature image/events or have not visited in a while.
– Let them update email preferences.
– When someone creates an account with the same name (different email) for a different domain, then the new member script/admin email (confusingly) gets the user by the site url (fname-lname) which actually is their first account. Should get them by email address. ___B&B
– Add jquery email sign-up form. ___B&B
– Server/FTP account integration using Plesk API. ___B&B
– Merge events with a general feed and call it announcements. ___B&B
– Add more support articles and ways to tag/search/sort them.
– PayPayl / Google Checkout API integration. ___B&B
– Member feed / change “events” to “announcements.” ___B&B
– Plot announcements/events on map. ___Owen
– Google Map API / geocode members. ___Owen
Move to new server. ___Owen
– Integrate CMS for user websites.

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Drupal: an overview

Posted in backend, coding, research by callibeth on January 31, 2010

I’ve been struggling to learn the Drupal framework for the past 3 weeks, and, on the whole, I’m impressed. It’s a substantial framework, and quite complicated, but it’s flexible and powerful. Separation of content and structure and presentation is a priority of the Drupal designers.

The White House website runs on Drupal, and so do the websites of The United Nations, Forbes, The Grateful Dead, and The Onion, among others. Links to well-known Drupal websites are listed in this article, which also explains some of the features of Drupal in the section “10 Reasons to Use Drupal”: http://tips.webdesign10.com/drupal/about-drupal-311.html.

I’ve found the vocabulary a little confusing. As a matter of fact, the word “vocabulary” is used in Drupal to mean a set of categories, and the sets of categories make up the taxonomy of the system. I’m not convinced that the taxonomy is so much better than WordPress, given its comparatively complicated nature. Or maybe I just don’t understand it yet.

There are modules which add functionality to the Drupal framework. Various image modules manage the uploading and storing and access of images, including automatic thumbnail generation. The Content Construction Kit allow you to create your own custom content types. Each time you post a new Page or Story (which, along with Image, are the three core content types), you can choose whether to promote it to the home page, whether comments are allowed (and more options within that), you can choose an Image to associate with the page.

I’m still partial to CodeIgniter because of its clarity, while recognizing that Drupal is more fully developed as a CMS. Drupal requires that you wrap your head around a fully implemented system whose underlying code is relatively opaque. There’s a good article here that compares WordPress, Drupal and Expression Engine (which runs on CodeIgniter): http://www.thesitewizard.com/general/wordpress-vs-drupal-vs-expression-engine.shtml

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The backend: How will we power our new website?

Posted in research by Owen on January 24, 2010

Now that we’ve started talking about what functions we need we can move on to discussing how to make this all happen. There are lots of Content Management Systems (CMS) out there, but rarely do you find one that at its core has all the things you need. Usually, you have to consider the extensibility of the CMS. By extensibility we mean, “how can we extend it by adding features to the core functionality?” Sometimes its easier to code it yourself, or use a helper library, also known as a framework.

Below I’ve linked to some popular CMSs and PHP frameworks that we will consider. Given what we’ve decided should be included on the front page, how should we proceed? Please do some research into these, including whether their core/extensions will allow us to do what we’ve planned. Also include some links to examples of sites coded in these CMSs/frameworks.

Here are some popular CMSs

And also some PHP frameworks that help with the construction of CMS

  • Codeigniter (I used this framework to construct Art Review, so much work would be done for us)
  • CakePHP
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A little history and list of possible features for the new yourarthere.net website

Posted in research by Owen on January 11, 2010

yourarthere.net is a web hosting consortium for artists/designers, art organizations, and activists I created in 2004 while a director of Your Art Here.

The original plan, was that in addition to the very low costs, personal support, and feel-good non-profit nature, the yourarthere.net website would network artists by providing not only links to members of the yourarthere.net community, but also by featuring one artist or group each month on the website with an image and link to the member’s website. Unfortunately, this turned-out to be more work than expected for one person.

So, the goal of our project is to redesign the yourarthere.net site to make it and the organization as sustainable as possible. I’ve listed important results to consider below.

  1. The main goal is to make the yourarthere.net project sustainable. Here are some things I think will help that:
  2. Feature artists and galleries on the website.
  3. All news and arts content will be user-generated.
  4. Email announcements will be automated.
  5. Consider carrying advertisements on the website. See: e-flux.com
  6. What should we do to make yourarthere.net more competitive (better hosting plans, support, etc.)?
  7. Add an easy-to-use CMS like indexhibit.org for artist websites.
  8. How to make payments easier? (currently set-up as PayPal subscriptions but if user’s cc changes it breaks the subscription, and we have to set it up again.)

List any possible features you can think of in the comments!

  • Login section for members
  • Member pages that they can update
  • Member news that appears on 1. their page and 2. a public feed on the yourarthere.net home page
  • Calendar of events (list or calendar view on Home page)