Latest changes at UPSU.net

Just so you know: this page was imported from my old blog. Some pages were rather mangled in the process; my apologies if things don't quite look right.

Well, I'm not going to write much here since there's not a huge amount to tell, but I've been busy working on a few different things which I'll jot down here so (a) I don't forget them and (b) you know I'm actually earning my pay!

First up, *blogs (aka diaries) and user profiles* - tonight Matthew, I've mainly been...

  • Hacking the profile code about: there's now a "link to this user's diary" and "diaries home" link in the "diary entries" tab in everyone's profiles. Plus there's a non-clicky link (which I guess makes it static text) to link to a future article which tells people all about the diaries and what they do/who can use them (hopefully everybody, once I've managed to work out how we can redirect blogs.upsu.net/username).
  • There's also a "Who am I?" tab in everybody's profile, where they can write a bit about themselves. This will eventually find it's way onto the right of people's diary pages once I add the code in.

Among other things, I've still got to...

  • Add two redirects: blogs.upsu.net/username and profiles.upsu.net/username. Also, profiles.upsu.net should take people to some kind of homepage - community/help/info page? And/or a search page so people can find other people? And if they can search, how should people be able to search? By username? First/last (possibly not advisable)? Interests/hobbies/degree course? That's a whole quagmire of data-protection and personal information to wade through. Maybe people can "opt-in" certain information about themselves if they want to (but we would have to make sure people are fully aware of *what* they're opting into first).
  • Change page background to light colour and modify template to show dark page background.
  • How can com_content be hacked to show the user's sign-in name instead of their name according to their profile settings? **Update**: can we add a (hidden) field to users' profiles with their UPSU.net job title (yep, we can) and then show this underneath their name when they write articles (I think so - it involves a database call same as used in the blogs template - shouldn't be too hard to do at all).
  • Also need to do some more work on the blogs template so the heading actually show's the user's name and subheading whenever a post of theirs is being shown - criteria could be content/view/*/588/. Also needs to apply when viewing a blog entry through mamblog.
  • Same as above, I need to work out how the right-bar can be hacked to contain specific user info when content from a specific user is being displayed. This is probably best set in the area which generates the page's title as a variable (real PHP programmers reading this might well be groaning at just how little I know about PHP and web-stuff in general, no doubt!).
  • I need to add in some code to show the current user's previous x posts (50?) and links to posts for a given month, if possible. Could be a whole world of SELECT fun... :o|
  • The blogs template is broken in IE. Bugger. The content pane explodes and pushes the right-bar below it. What a load of balls.
  • Need to add a BULLET POINT! to the blogs template's css defs, as there doesn't appear to be anything for
  • tags at the moment. Oops! (Update - might be fixed now)
  • Add users' profile pics to the right-bar of their diary pages.

Other stuff that's been going on with the site lately:

  • Fixed a date bug in the social:life homepage which meant the right adboard wasn't being found
  • Fixed the date bugs in the users' profiles and updated the CMS's date formatting string to something a bit more eye-friendly
  • Fixed the problem with links in peoples' profiles, so content and forum posts links should display a bit better
  • Continued tweaking and thinking about how the site homepage can be better worked. I've got a fairly good idea of what I want to see there, but I'm not sure if I can do it almost entirely in s as I'd like to, or whether some of the layout will still rely upon the model - at the end of the day, IE6's dominance (~46% of all browsers using UPSU.net at the moment iirc) and it's desire to cause everyone in the web dev world a right pain in the 'arris when it comes to conforming to W3C layout standards means I'm not exactly keen to spend 30+ hours trying to "move that bloody box 1 pixel left in IE - gah!". In fact, I can see myself going even more grey over it.
  • Created the elections website - do you like it? I think it kinda proves my theory that print and web media don't always translate directly, as I think it's a bit... "foggy" for people to navigate around. Think I'll tweak some colours and enlarge some spacing soon. It's been a lot of help for me when it comes to designing mini-sites though, and I'm hoping to be able to expand it even further with candidate information, interactive stuff (including, hopefully, some of the blogs stuff if I can get the basic functionality ready for Feb 20th and convince the bosses that candidates keeping weblogs is no bad thing... Might happen I guess!).
  • Feb 3rd: Added some code to the homepage which means the mosmsg is now displayed (means you can see whether the content item you just wrote was saved or if you lost it all!). Also added a "go back 2 steps" link which should (hopefully) redirect you back to the article you were viewing if you edited something; otherwise it'll take you back to whatever page you were on before you decided to create something.

Stuff I've yet to do on the site (which I can think of at the moment - there's easily 300+ to-dos sitting in Outlook waiting for me to have a rainy day...!):

  • Reformat the forums: lose the random indentations in the posts and make the layout much... "cleaner" if that makes sense. Review forum colours and graphics. Also take a look at whether a 100%-width template might be a good idea (including heading bar) and/or whether a centred template might be a good idea? I'm torn between the classic forums model which is 100% width and the reams of argument against 100% width pages, inmcluding readability arguments and arguments in favour of maintaining a consistent site style. Gah!
  • Reformat the homepage (see my stressy comments above!)
  • Add the Pure:FM "who's on now/listen now" box. I spent long enough harrassing the Pure:FM web bods to create me an RSS feed of who's on now and next, so I really ought to use it. I'm a bit worried it'll either cause masses of traffic to go over to their site in a matter of hours and break something, or no-body - not a single person - will click the links, and it'll all have been in vain. Still, the latter wouldn't come as much of a surprise, which brings me on to...
  • I've been asked to come up with some eye-catching advertising for the UPSU.net site. I'd really like to get some nice, arty stuff organised: posters/flyers/other stuff people might actually *want* to hang on their walls, with just a little reference to the Union's site to stick in peoples' subconscious. It's all got to be relevant of course, and... How I wish I knew a bit more about marketing at times like this!!!! Poster suggestions on the back of a

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