ACLUG: Website Overview

The ACLUG website is at www.aclug.org.

It is implemented using the PostNuke PHP-based toolkit.

Home Page

The default home page is the News module. This is described below. The page top, bottom, and left column are consistent through all webpages.

The top has a banner, the date/time the page was served, and a search widget. If you are logged in it will also say "Welcome" followed by your nickname. If not, there will be a login widget.

The bottom includes three links for "Report Bugs," "Tasks," and "Developers." All of these are links to the postnuke project at Sourceforge, so they have nothing to do with the ACLUG website.

Much of this is implemented through "blocks", which are areas on webpages attached to various procedures (modules). The software provides a crude mechanism for laying out webpages as columns of blocks.

The left column consists of the following blocks:

My Account

Once a user has logged in, that user's view of the website can be changed by My Account settings.

Homepage Configuration:

Change Your Info:

Comments Setup:

Calendar

The Calendar widget appears in the left column of all pages. It provides a graphic calendar with yellow highlighting events, and lists of Today's and Upcoming Events. Click on an event for more information.

Downloads

Module appears in Main Menu but clicking it reveals that there are no download categories, and that downloads have been disabled.

FAQ

The FAQ module can be used to manage sets of Question/Answer pairs. A user can ask a question; another user can answer it. The Q/A pairs are organized in categories and subcategories.

Current setup of categories:

The "Ask a Question" dialogue asks for the user's email address (why? -- if the user is logged in the email address is known), a question category, and a question. (Not sure what happens next; probably goes to a moderator.)

Critique: We need input on what sort of questions would be most useful to keep track of and provide answers on.

Members List

The Members List module provides information about registered users. You can search for a member, or browse alphabetically (based on nicknames). Selecting a user lets you access public information about the user: webpage, email address (fake if provided, else real). This also shows the last 10 comments and 10 news submissions by the member.

Critique:
  1. The index, broken down into alphabetic categories, is very clunk to work with. Sorting the list by nickname makes it very hard to use. Given that the ACLUG member list is likely to remain in the small hundreds range (currently 108), bigger chunking would be more helpful.
  2. The search tool allows three separate searches -- nickname, real name, URL. A broader search which produced more false positives should make it easier to find someone. It would also be useful to search from an email address.
  3. Listing the last registered new members doesn't seem to be very useful, at least on the first webpage in the module. That would be better as a separate page. It would also be nice to be able to list members in terms of recent submissions, overall quantity of submissions, etc.
  4. The overall usefulness of a member list depends on the quality of information available.

News

The News module is in fact the default homepage. The middle column consists of the latest News items that have been submitted.

The right column consists of RSS feeds from other news sources:

The implementation only allows one RSS source for each webpage block, so the choice of newsfeeds is limited, and no info is available other than titles.

News items are grouped into topics. The following topics have been set up:

Each topic has an icon, which appears to tag the news articles.

Two more links on the Modules list are used by the News module:

The Submit News dialogue requires that you be logged in. It presents the following fields:

You can (and should) preview your submissions before final posting.

Photo Gallery

Photos are organized in "albums": there is currently one album (Aclug Event Photos) with 31 photos. Click on the photo to select an album. Albums are organized as slideshows. They are presented in menus of up to 9 photos each. Click on a photo to see a larger version. Since the photos are ordered, you can also click your way through the sequence.

You can add comments to photos. Those comments can then be searched using the search widget.

Critique:

Recommend Us

This provides a widget whereby you can send a piece of email to someone recommending the website.

Reviews

This is a peculiar module, currently unused. The webpage provides an alphabetic browser, as well as two lists: "10 most popular reviews" and "10 most recent reviews."

Search

The website stores info in various database tables. This provides a fine grained search capability and some search options.

Just using the search widgets on the top banner and left column searches everything.

Sections

Given that no sections have been defined, accessing this is totally pointless.

Stats

This provides a nice general summary of website usage, as well as some general statistics about the website (how many users, articles, comments, etc.).

Critique: Given that 62.83% of browsers are unknown, and 85.79% of operating systems are unknown, this part doesn't seem to be very useful or smart. Visitor data by hour/day of week isn't much help either.

Top List

This presents several lists based on statistics may be helpful for naviation:

Web Links

This manages a list of recommended web links.

The dialogue to add a new link asks:

Wiki

This is a module which lets users collaboratively construct a set of documents. The current document is called the "Aclug Documentation Project."

Polls

Administration

Some users have Administration permissions. When they log in, there is an Administration menu option. This leads to the Administration page, which starts with a menu -- a couple dozen icons, mostly corresponding to modules.

Articles/Stories Administration:

Allows a few options beyond those in Submit News, such as to allow/disallow comments. Provides a Notes option. Asks "Do you want to program this story?" (Whatever that means?)

Admin Messages:

Provides a widget to for administrators to post messages (title, content, language, active?, who can view this?).

Autolinks:

Autolinks are URLs that are inserted into News stories when certain words/patterns appear. Configuration options are:

The Add Autolink dialogue asks for:

Currently we have no autolinks defined.

Blocks

Blocks are the basic components that are put on webpages. View Blocks shows a table of available blocks with various attributes. The order of the blocks determines the placement order.

PositionTitleModuleNameState
LeftUser's LoginCoreloginActive
LeftMain MenuCoremenuActive
LeftEvents CalendarPostCalendarcalendarActive
LeftIncomingCoremenuActive
LeftWho's OnlineCoreonlineActive
LeftUsers BlockCoreuserActive
LeftSearch BoxCoresearchActive
RightSlashdotCorerssActive
RightLinux SecurityCorerssActive
RightLinux TodayCorerssActive
RightOther StoriesCorestoriesActive
RightPollCorepollActive
RightToday's Big StoryCorebigActive
RightPast ArticlesCorepastActive

Comments Configuration

Downloads

Downloads are organized by main category. Some additional dialogues are available, but without main categories there's nothing here.

Ephemerids Administration

FAQ

Groups

Languages

Mail Users

Menu Edit

Modules

Past Nuke

Permissions

Polls

PostCalendar

Quotes

HTTP Referer

Reviews

Sections

Settings

Submit News

Topics

Top List

User Administration

This allows the administrator to update information on users, or to arbitrarily add new users or delete old ones. The Update user dialogue provides access to a subset of the information available in the user's own My Account dialogue.

The User Configuration dialogue supports:

The Dynamic User Data dialogue controls how the form in the My Account dialogue is set up. In particular, we can add new data information, and remove unwanted information (like your MSN Messenger address). Adding a field requires hacking some code.

Web Links