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AboutThisSite / Creating and Editing Content for PHSNE Members' Pages

Contents

Getting Approval from PHSNE to Author a Page

The Memberís Page section of the PHSNE web site is designed to help members create their own web pages around areas of their photographic interest and expertise. The creation and maintenance of each page will be supported by technical resources provided by the Society. Due to the present limits of these services, members are asked to submit a short description of their project so it can be evaluated against available resources. Please submit your proposal to the Member's Pages site administrator. Your proposal will be reviewed by the PHSNE Board of Directors or their designated representatives and you will receive a prompt response.

Getting Your Material Onto Your Members Page

This section introduces the basics of content creation and editing with an emphasis on features of special interest to PHSNE members. The site is implemented with open source software which allows members to create and format their web pages using a built-in editor, called a markup editor. This editor operates differently than the more familiar WTSIWYG (what-you-see-is what-you get) editors found in commercial word processing software, e. g. Microsoft Word. However, It is free and does not require you to install any special software on your system. The only requirement on the client system is that you be using a recent version of one of the popular browsers and that cookies for the site phsne.org be enabled so that the system can authenticate passwords for edit.

With a mark up editor, you type in commands, called markup language, directly into your text. These commands instruct the page production software how you want the text to look, but you have to use a preview function to see how your page will actually appear on-line. Since most users will be more familiar with WYSIWYG software, using the markup editor requires a bit of practice. However, since there are relatively few basic mark-up commands to learn, the learning curve is not steep.

Once the administrator sets up a initial page for you can begin to practice editing your content. The administrator will assign you two passwords. One password will allow you to view your content and the other will allow you to edit your content. Your content will not be visible to others until you are ready to release it for public viewing.

If you are not familiar with the technical terms used in working with web pages, such as URL, link, etc, you may want to read the Glossary at the end of this page to familiarize yourself with the terminology.

Organization of Site

This wiki is a collection of editable pages, with the pages organized into groups. Thus there are two levels of naming to specify the location of a specific page — the group name and the page name within that group. Pages may be protected individually and groups of pages can be protected as a group. Thus if you have the group edit password, you can edit any page in the group unless that page has been protected with another password.

This page is "ContentBasics" and is in the "AboutThisSite" group. By convention, this wiki runs names together in "CamelCase" style, eliminating the spaces that would appear in normal written text. The URL for the page reflects this organization as in http://phsne.org/members/AboutThisSite/ContentBasics, where the group and page are at the end of the URL as "AboutThisSite/ContentBasics". By default the group and page name appear at the top of every page. On this page we specified a title for the page which is more description than the short page name and which replaces the page name in the browser window title and at the top of the page.

You change the page name displayed at the top of the page, and in the title of the browser window, by using the title directive. You should use a title that is descriptive and helps the user know what is on the page. The title you specify will be used by search engines to label their search results. This page has the title set to "Creating and Editing Content for PHSNE Members' Pages". Once you have learned how to edit pages below, see the title directive on the Basic Editing page to set your own page titles.

Your First Page

The administrator will create a group with your name, typically "FirstLast", and create in initial "Home" page in that group for you. You will be sent the read and edit passwords for this group. Your group will receive permission to upload files (subject to the general restrictions of the site) so that you can display images or provide files for readers to download from your page.

If you only want to have one page you can just use your Home page. If you want to have more than one page, you must create the additional pages yourself. In general, if you make additional pages there should be links to them from your Home page or another of your page. This assures readers and web index services (e.g. Google) will find all of your pages.

To create a new page in your group, you simply put a reference to it in an existing page. When you publish the page, the page name will appear on the page with a superscript "?" appended. When you click on this link, you will get an edit form, as described below, that you use to create the initial content for the new page.

Editing

Editable Pages and Passwords

Once a member has been assigned a page and is given passwords, he or she, can begin to build and edit the pages in their section. To start editing a page, enter the URL to the page sent to you by the administrator andgo to it. Since the page is not public, you will receive a password challenge. Enter the read password you were issued and continue. You will then see the initial page template installed by the administrator. This page has some simple examples on it to get you started.

To start providing you own content and editing, click the "Edit" link available at the top and bottom of the page. A password form will come up to authorize editing privileges for your pages. Enter the edit password you were provided. Once you have given a password in an editing session, you generally do not need to enter it again. However passwords will timeout after about a month and need to be re-entered.

Note: You must enable cookies in your browser for "phsne.org" and "www.phsne.org" or the system will forget that you have recently logged in. If you don't want to enable cookies for all sites, most browsers allow you to enable them only for sites you trust. You should enable cookies for "phsne.org" and "www.phsne.org".


Editing Form

Once you enter your edit password and are authorized to edit, an editing form will come come up with a scrollable window in which to enter your content and formatting markup for the page. The editing form will temporarily suppress the site header and sidebar, thus providing the maximum screen space for editing. See the figure "Sample Editing Form" below.

Brief highlights for entering content, formatting and editing is presented below the text entry box, but the site administrator urges you to print the pmWiki Basic Editing documentation page. That page provides examples of the basic markup language for this wiki. Reading that and having a copy at your side when you start your editing will save you a lot of time in getting the answers to basic questions you may have about content formatting. Note that you can get a page formatted for printing by clicking on the "Print" link at top or bottom of the page.

Sample Editing Form

Note: This sample edit form is an image and hints in the introduction below to roll your cursor over the form to read button labels will not work on this image.

Edit Buttons

At the top of the edit form are edit buttons. Let your mouse cursor hover over each button for a hint at what it does. If no text is currently selected in the edit box, clicking on a button will drop a template of the matching markup language into the edit box at the cursor.

For example, clicking on the first button "Emphasized" will drop the text "''Emphasized''" at the cursor. The text between the apostrophes will be selected, so if you start typing immediately your new text will appear inside the emphasized markup symbols, and be shown as italics on the web page. Repeating an apostrophe three times before and after text will result in that text showing as bold on the published page.

Note: The character to mark emphasis is the apostrophe, sometimes called a single quote, repeated twice for italics, not the double-quote character. It can be hard to see the difference on the screen, so if text is not emphasized as you expected, check that you used multiple single quotes.


If text in the edit form is selected before you click the button, it will be enclosed in the markup language corresponding to the formatting specified by the button.

Saving a Draft and Publishing to the Site

Under the text edit window are text boxes to enter a summary description of your edit changes, your name (or initials), and a check box to tag minor edits. The minor edit tag is useful since it is possible to call up the history of edits on a page and not see all of the small changes that were marked as minor. The wiki maintains a history of all changes made to a page when it is published, so a page editor can return the page to a prior published version if desired. At present, the wiki will keep a history for a year.

Note: The wiki requires that you enter an author name before it will publish the page. The error message is easy to miss. If a "Publish" fails, check the "Author" text box to verify you entered your name.


Below the summary and author boxes are the following buttons:

Publish

The Publish button will save all your edits and present the revised page on the web. It will also save a list of differences between the page just published and the prior version so that is is possible to view a history of changes to the page by using the "History" link presented at the top or bottom of every page.

Save draft and edit This button will save your changes so far as a draft and return to the edit form so that you can continue editing. It's a good idea to do this periodically so that if you loose your internet connection or the server has problems, you will not have to start over.
Save draft

This button will save your changes so far as a draft and return to the prior published page. Thus users of the site will not see a revised page, but when you return to edit it you will be presented the prior saved draft. This allows you to break up content creation and editing in to multiple sessions.

Preview

The Preview button produces a formatted version of the current draft and appends it to the end of the edit page just below the editing hints box. Scroll down to see the preview. Is is generally an accurate preview, but sometime some differences do occur so always check the final published page. E.g., uploaded images will not appear in the preview page if you have saved a draft, so formatting around floating images will change in the published page.

Cancel The cancel button will discard the current draft with all editing changes you have made and return to the most recently published version of the page. The Cancel operation is immediate and irrevocable. There is no pause and safety query asking if you really want to cancel.
Note: You must click the "Publish" button for the changes to be saved and displayed on your site page. No other button on the edit page will do this and it is surprisingly easy to forget to publish. Unlike your word processor, your browser will not remind you that you have not saved your edits when you close it or go to another page. This is another good reason to click the "Save draft and edit" button regularly.


Note: Do not click the "View" link, if present, at the very top of the page. This link will take you back to the page without publishing, or saving, any changes you have made. Only use the Publish, Save..., or Preview buttons to assure you do not loose your changes.


Markup Hints

Below the "Publish", etc. buttons are some brief hints to remind you of the basic markup language. Links in this section will lead you to more detailed documentation. The documentation will open in a new window so that you can refer to it while looking at your edit window (provided your screen is large enough!).

Learning the Basic Markup Rules

To learn the basic markup rules see pmWiki Basic Editing, a page that provides examples of the basic markup language. It's a good idea to print this page when you are starting out (use the "Print" link at the top of the page and adjust the text size in your browser to your preference). Read through it once, then keep the printout nearby when editing.

Deleting Pages

If you decide to completely delete a page, you can remove it by opening the page for editing, erasing all the text on the page then entering the single word delete. Now Publish the page and it will be removed.

The delete operation is stored as a change item in the history of the old page, so the page can be recovered by the administrator. Page changes are currently saved for one year, so your old page can be recovered by the administrator for up to a year.

Links

You can include links to other web sites and to pages within this wiki. See Basic Editing for instructions. To prevent accidental security problems or links to inappropriate sites, URLs must be approved by the administrator. A message is displayed in place of the link until the link is approved by the administrator. Links are approved at the site, or domain name level. Once the administrator approves a link within a specific site you may add other links within the site without additional permission. To notify the administrator that you have links waiting for approval, use the contact information or web contact form at Members' Pages Administrator.

Tables

The wiki markup language allows you to create tables. See Tables for guidance in creating simple tables.

For more complex table needs, see TableDirectives.

Images for Your Page

The wiki markup language allows you to "attach" images to pages. You can directly upload these images to the site. The site places a limit of 200 KBytes on the size of any individual image. You should use the image editing software that came with your digital camera to reduce the size of the image if required. If your software can produce 'gif' files, they are often smaller. Attached images will be displayed on the page, formatted as you specify. See Image Examples for an introduction to formating images on the wiki.

We limit the size of image files for two reasons. First, it provides faster page rendering- a courtesy for members using slower internet connections. Second, it reduces the consumption of resources at the site server.

If you wish to display larger image files, you should link to them from another web server or use an online photo service that allows linking to images such as Flickr (see below).

Exceptions may be made for storage of larger images at this site for special reasons, e.g if they are of particular PHSNE historic interest, such as large group panoramas. If you feel that you need to upload a larger image please contact the site administrator for permission and instructions at the administrator contact page.

Flickr Photos for Your Page

You may link to photos in your Flickr account to place images on your wiki page. For information on using Flickr images see Flickr Examples.

Image Links to Other Sites

The wiki markup language also allows you to include images by URL from other sites. See Image Examples. This allows you to display images that are larger the the 200K byte limit for uploads to the site server.

As with other URLs, image URLs pointing to other sites must be approved by the administrator before they will display.

Document Attachments

The wiki allows you to attach documents to your pages. You can directly upload documents to the site. The site places a limit of 1 MBytes on the size of any individual document.

Spell Checking

The built-in markup editor does not have a spell checker. If you want spell checking while you enter text you may chose to use a browser that supports this feature in the browser. Firefox 3 supports spell checking on Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X. Safari on Apple OS X supports spell checking as well and is integrated with the Dictionary program on OS X.

At present, Internet Explorer 7 does not support built-in spell checking, and IE 8, which is in beta, does not appear to include spell checking in it's feature list (as of 01/16/2009). However, add-on spell checkers are available for IE. You can find these add-ons by doing a Google search or searching the Microsoft web site for "ie spell checking". Be aware that add-on software is a potential security risk to your system. Verify that any add-on you use is from a source widely used and recognized as reliable.

Pasting Text From Another Application

Some authors may prefer to use their favorite editing program, especially when entering a new page or a significant amount of text. This works fine, as once you are satisfied with the text in your editor you can cut and paste it into the edit form of the wiki. However, any special formatting you applied in the standalone editor will be lost, since the wiki editor only accepts plain text input. The advantages of this approach include a familiar environment, likely a good built-in spell checker, and potentially revision control in some editors.

You may also edit the markup commands of the wiki into your text, and then when it is pasted into the edit window it will be ready to preview immediately to check the formatting. If you use this approach, it will probably work best when using a simple text oriented editor such the built-in Wordpad on Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X TextEdit. An editor oriented toward editing computer programs, such as the free TextWranger on Apple OS X will also work well.

Detailed Documentation

Back to Top

Detailed documentation for the pmWiki CMS in use here is available at Documentation Index.

Glossary

Some common technical terms used in web page implementation and the systems that produce web pages:

CMS A Content Management System is a software system that allows you to manage the content of the pages on a web site.
Wiki

A specific type of CMS designed for fast, easy, contribution of content to a collection of pages. "Wiki" is for Hawaiian for "fast". This site is a wiki. It uses the pmWiki implementation.

Markup Editor

An editor in which the user indicates the specific formating desired by including "markup" in the text. The markup is interpreted by the software system to produce a page formated as indicated.

URL

A Universal Resource Locator is an address to an page, or other resource, on the WWW. The URL for this page is http://phsne.org/members/AboutThisSite/ContentBasics. See footnote for more details.[1]

Link

Another term used to indicate a URL to a specific piece of content. Sometimes called a "hot" link since just clicking on a hot link will take you to the specified content.

PHP

"PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor" is a computer language used to dynamically produce web pages. PHP programs output HTML to render web pages in browsers. Thus the pages generally do not exist on the web server until they are requested. At that time the PHP program creates the page on the fly and sends it to the web browser. For example, "index.php" is usually a php program to produce an HTML page on demand.

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language is a markup language that is interpreted by a browser to render a page. The markups inform the browser of the desired layout, text sizes, image placement, ect on the page. If an HTML page is static, then it is stored on the web site server as a file ending with a ".html" extension, and you may see URLs with the names of these static pages in them.


[1] In this case it specifies that the network protocol to access the page is "http", the site domain name is "phsne.org" (the "www" prefix is just a convention for the World Wide Web and is optional). At the phsne.org web server, the pmWiki software is in the "members" directory (also called a folder). The rest of the URL specifies that the page desired is the "ContentBasics" page in the group "AboutThisSite". pmWiki allows two levels of hierarchy, 'groups' and 'pages' within groups. Note that group names and page names are always in "camel case", this is a convention of the wiki.

As initially setup, the PHSNE wiki used a URL with "index.php" in it, e.g. "http://phsne.org/members/index.php/AboutThisSite/ContentBasics". As of July 17, 2011 the wiki has been reprogramed to leave out the "index.php" as the default URL form. This makes URLs shorter and less confusing for the user. Backwards compatibility has been maintained so that older URLs that were published with "index.php" in them will still work properly. The "index.php" will display for the page you went to, but once you follow a link inside the wiki the "index.php" will be dropped for other pages in the wiki.


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