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Visiting Portland Blender User Group's Shares (account name: porbug)
 
Web site developments; request for participation
  

There are now five approaches to a PoorBUG web presence being investigated.

 

No matter which one we choose, there will be a need for a brief introductory paragraph, which should be developed by the whole group. It should not be just one person's view of things, or one person's responsibility. So I'm asking the group to do some work on this (see below).

 

The web presences being investigated are:

  1. Using Meetup.com. It will cost $120 / yr to make effective use of this venue.
  2. Using Keep&Save. No cost, except dealing with the advertising. The main drawbacks I see are that K&S offers no guarantees about the continued existence of the site and there is no way to back up the material. We could lose all our history and whatever libraries of resources or tutorials that we have developed. This is also true to some extent with Meetup.com.
  3. The Wikkawiki site I started a couple of weeks ago. There is no cost as I can carry it on my Bluehost account, where I have a lot of excess capacity. I am running into major concerns about supporting this as it would need a third party mechanism to handle images, .blend uploads, etc. That would mean the general user would have to become familiar with the image uploading software as well as the wiki software... that is maybe much more than some would want to take on.
  4. The WordPress blog that Nate started a week ago. There is no cost as it is also on my Bluehost account. Nate can describe the pros and cons better than I can; I have no experience with blogs.
  5. I am currently exploring Mediawiki, which is the engine developed and used by Wikipedia. No cost again, since it is on my Bluehost account. It offers the advantages of Wikkawiki in supporting discussions and collaborative work, but it goes beyond that in providing ways to upload images, .blend files, and so on. From the user's point of view, it requires a little bit of learning, but at least those skills could be used on Wikipedia or around 2,000 other wikis. It seems that most graphics wikis are using Mediawiki. From my personal point of view, there is a bit more to learn about administration than Wikkawiki. But learning that doesn't kill you makes you better, right?

Back to the Introductory Paragraph:

  1. Here is where it would go on the Mediawiki PoorBUG website: http://blenderusergroup.nopoco.net/mwiki/index.php?title=Main_Page You can press the "Discussion" tab at the top of that page to join the discussion.
  2. Here is a link direct to the discussion page: http://blenderusergroup.nopoco.net/mwiki/index.php?title=Talk:Main_Page

Oh, we could use a better graphics logo than what I did in two minutes of Inkscaping. It looks like the size of the .png image should be 150x150 px, while we probably want a .svg image as well.

 


Creation date: Oct 20, 2012 12:44 pm     Last modified date: Oct 20, 2012 12:44 pm   Last visit date: Aug 13, 2016 7:31 am     link & embed ?...
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Oct 23, 2012  ( 3 posts )  
10/23/2012
10:33 pm
unknown

Things are moving ahead now. I have tested Dokuwiki as far as I can at this point, and it looks good. It provides the support that we need in a way that I think will be easy to maintain. Of course I cannot stress test it by loading it up with several thousand pages to see if it will break, but I haven't seen any complaints on the web about it failing to perform or going sluggish, so I think it will do for us. Assuming, of course, that we want to use a wiki at all.

I am probably a week away from wanting to show it off to the group. It is a new package for me, and I am taking my time to make sure I have all the eyes crossed and the tees dotted. I also want to be sure that there are easy to follow instructions in place for those of us who are new to wikis and participatory web sites.

 

I will probably migrate a couple of the other web sites I manage to Dokuwiki sometime this winter. It looks that promising.


philmaker & jenuvyel-- Thank you both for your offers of assistance!

 

I'm about to send out an email to the two of you and i-monk as well as I can in fact use some proofreading and other input from all of you. And depending on that, there may be some transcription jobs already.

 

 

10/23/2012
7:04 pm
jenuvyel

 

I wish I was capable of being thoroughly involved in every aspect of designing and building our website.  Unfortunately, I'd slow you guys down to an unacceptable crawl with the need for you to breastfeed me instructions and tutoring.

 

... Proofreading!  Ya, I should be able to do that.

 

will_w & i-monk, keep in mind what all can be done by completely inexperienced web designer wanna-bes with minimal instructions, like maybe transferring and archiving all our K&S stuff over once the site is ready, or similar manual labor like that, and leave that kind of stuff for us less capable volunteers.

 

 

10/23/2012
3:28 pm
unknown

I can help with maintenance, spam scrubbing, and proofreading for whichever option we end up going with.

Oct 22, 2012  ( 4 posts )  
10/22/2012
7:46 pm
unknown

Most excellent, Nate! Looking forward to seeing the blog operational.

 

 

10/22/2012
11:27 am
unknown

Sounds good Will. I figured pointing the domains at that directory wouldn't be an issue, I just wanted to avoid treating the Wordpress as a blog. Preference is blenderpdx.org/ versus blenderpdx.org/blog/.

 

With regard to your past experience of web designers - I'd say there's still two camps here - designers who code (I'm in this camp) and designers that just hand off photoshop files. I'm experienced with CSS, Javascript, jQuery and can get by with PHP - so I think between the two of us we can tackle anything we'd need.

 

I'll continue on setting up the Wordpress site then and perhaps working up a group logo for input.

 

Thanks

10/22/2012
10:23 am
unknown

I would like to wait until after our second meeting, and maybe our third, before we finalize the web presence decisions. WordPress might well be the best choice, but we have not yet looked at all the alternatives. Nor is it possible to know how the web site will be used as yet; with only one meeting behind us, the group is too new for any informed consensus. The mild cost of the delay avoids the greater risk of investing 3 or more months of effort into an approach that may not fit.

 

I would not want to see the group website implemented as a content management system (CMS). Those work well for businesses and organizations that have a budget for hiring expertise, and can assure that they will always have someone with the appropriate skills to do the maintainance (upgrades, security patches, backups, fixing things that have gone blooey). There is no guarantee that our group will always have that needed expertise: people with those skills get job offers that take them across the continent all the time. WordPress' usage should be limited to its core blog functions, since those are the only ones that we can reasonably expect the group to support, come what may. If at some point we do feel the need for a full blown CMS, then we should look at getting one that is designed for that purpose (and probably budget for consulting services like any small business with a CMS would do-- if we get to where we need a CMS we will have a treasury that can do things like that).

 

One of the reasons I am looking at the simpler wikis is because I know that these can be managed by persons without a background in web development or an interest in learning that stuff. I am further limiting my investigations to those packages built with PHP, Javascript, and MySQL, since persons with those skills, who are willing to share them on a voluntary basis, are plentiful. So far I have crossed Wikkawiki, Tikiwiki, Pmwiki, and Mediawiki off the list of possibles, usually because some aspect of their maintenance would require more skills than the group might have in the future. I'm currently looking at Dokuwiki, which shows a lot of promise.

 

Thanks for securing the domain names, blenderpdx.org and blenderpdx.com. Those will be used no matter how we implement the web site.

 

I see no reason to move the WordPress install from its current location. The domain names you have bought for us can as easily be pointed to http://nopoco.net/blenderusergroup/blog (the 'true' address) as they can to anything else. There are big advantages in keeping all of the group's online activities in one area, while maintaining a separation between the outward facing http://blenderpdx.org (no matter what it is pointed at) and the protected areas such as http://blenderusergroup/assets. That protection will be compromised for no advantage that I can see if the blog was moved up in the hierarchy.

 

To make that last more clear to everyone: we can use the blog as the outward face, with it known to the outside world as blenderpdx.org (with blenderpdx.com also working). We can do this now. I think we may want a wiki as well, and we can have links from the blog to the wiki.

 

We should put the WordPress blog into use right away. There is no reason not to make use of it; it will be a long time before we generate so much material that we cannot easily move it elsewhere if need be. And certainly if we decide on using both a blog and wiki for their different strengths, WordPress would be the clear choice for the blog. Maybe the discussions here on K&S can be moved to the blog? How long will it take to complete the blog's setup, add users, do whatever tweaking is needed?

 

My background includes 10+ years as the Informatics Registered Nurse at a Veterans Administration hospital. In that role I was responsible for all aspects of use and security of the clinical packages as well as designing, installing, and maintaining the intranet-- from the ground up-- that served all clinical staff. It was used in developing and publishing the policies and procedures that kept the place running, provided diagnostic and pharmaceutical databases, and served clinics from Medford and Klamath Falls to Eugene and the Oregon coast. The work required good skills in handwriting HTML and CSS, Perl programming with an emphasis on repurposing .doc and .pdf files as web pages, and enough Javascript to get by (I am so glad that I was able to let my Cobol skills rust away). It also required a lot of professional nurse skills for things like getting surgeons who had never learned to type to use the computer: think in terms of dodging flying scalpels.

 

During this time I rubbed shoulders with private sector web designers and once or twice hired one for some oneshot deal, like putting a good face on a patient-oriented kiosk. At that time the web designers I knew had good graphics art and typography skills, and skills in bolting things together in Dreamweaver, etc, to make a good looking web site. I never met any who could actually code or had a programmer's understanding of the technology behind the building blocks they worked with. I am not sure how deep an understanding of the underlying structures today's web designers have. Back then a web designer needed to know at least a little about .htaccess and other mysteries of Apache servers; I get the impression that today that is not so much the case.

 

10/22/2012
7:21 am
unknown

I'm also for #4. The primary reason for this is it's widely used as a basic CMS. I actually don't think of is specifically as a blog. I would recommend that we install it at a root level versus /blog/, as it truly is a CMS. The benefits of Wordpress is that it's well understood by a lot of developers and web designers, and pretty easy to package up and move (as well as back up). I also purchased the two domains, blenderpdx.org and blenderpdx.com. I think the goal of this sort of site would be to promote the use of Blender, provide a calendar of events, and recap of events, share tutorials, showcase the user group work, etc. I think the benefit of something like Keepandshare or the Wikkawiki is that they're a way for behind the scenes tedious discussion that the Blender public wouldn't be necessarily interested in to occur. What do we think of keeping a Keepandshare/Wikkawiki/Media Wiki open for now, with the risk that our behind the scenes discussion, etc might get lost, and use Wordpress as the public facing venue?

 

Will, what do you think about installing the Wordpress at a root level and then I can point the DNS for those two URLS at that location? Either that or we can split hosting, with you handling the Mediawiki, and I handling the Wordpress. Whichever is easier. Let me know what you think.

 

Also, just a side - I'm a web designer/front-end developer - so I have no problems taking on developing graphics, and a nice Blender user group logo and site skin. portfolio.natecreates.com is a bit of my day job work.

Oct 21, 2012  ( 1 post )  
10/21/2012
9:13 am
jenuvyel

My superficial, preliminary and quite possibly premature choice at this time would be for #4.

 

But, this is mostly based on form. Not only does it look more appealing to me, I think its familiarity to Blender Nation readers might add some subliminal attraction.

 

I do think function is more important than form, and after getting more familiar with the other options' capabilities, my preference might change.

 

Another consideration is the difficulty and complexity of use. The more demanding it is to manage and support, the fewer general users will be contributing and less often.

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