thoughts about The Prototype and content development

Jo Walsh jo at
Thu Aug 10 18:26:22 EDT 2006

dear webcom-borg, 

A couple of people have asked me about how The Prototype impacts the
content development that is going on on the CN site now. I wanted to
get down my thoughts about it; The Prototype is attracting a lot more
positive feedback and interest and contribution than i'd have imagined.
What blew me away was how much people are interested in doing
translation - when you make it easy it 'just starts happening' - i saw
this with but we never had a framework for it. progress for reference...
See further down for migration thoughts - here are structure thoughts.

- Drupal accepts cut and paste HTML - (or even PHP). So anything that's
  being written now would be brainlessly easy to port over. 

How I imagine the sitemap looking:

			 /[insert project name here] 

This corresponds to the one-pager overviews per project that exist
now and are being built up in the CN site. Here i would also want to
see links directly to each project's download repos., mailing lists,
documentation and news pages; whether those are on, and
whether or not foo happens to be on CN, it doesnt much matter to me.  
			 /[insert committee name here] 

Education and geodata also have the one-pagers; the other committees
have good stuff on the wiki. I would also like each of these pages to
link to member profiles of the people on the committee, and have a
little blogroll for stuff that they specifically wrote down - maybe
even rss aggregation of the RecentChanges their UID made on the wiki.

I would also like to get to the point where each committee chair is
editor for their own webspace, in the way that committee chairs have
commit access to their own svn repos for [committee] now.
There is an 'editor' role on The Prototype which offers content
manipulation but not user/acl administration privileges; there is now
also a 'translator' role for people who only want to help with
translations. Let me repeat how engaging this turns out to be. And
internal-competition too - "hey these Polish and French people have
their own interface - why don't we have a German one!" etc... ;) 

Drupal allows one to give clean URLs of free choice to any page. This
is *nice*. None of this /content/some_archive/ etc - URLs that are
really memorable and typable and non-redundant... okay less plugging. 

As for *possible* migration; this is how i'd like to approach it:

- Get the consistent look and feel going first - we need design help 
  - css / logo / chrome that can also be offered to the projects who
  are maintaining their own dedicated infrastructure for 'above the
  fold' branding goodness. ( Perhaps i need to start taking marketing
  lessons from mpg and get my vocabulary right :) )

- Point at The Prototype. right now it's running
  on the box i share with Schuyler and a whole collective of others. 
  Corey from OSUOSL has offered us parking space on the cluster that itself is running on. This could be a real nice option. 
  I'm hoping this will be a simple matter of mysqldump > foo.sql and
  rsync the drupal directory over. 

- Drop The Prototype on the discuss list and see what happens 

- ???

- Profit!

Are you lot down with this? Am i making anyone want to scream? I know
there's some uncertainty over the status of The Prototype. I want to help
remove uncertainty from reality where it is useful to do so. 

I have tried to consistently pitch this as 'a thought experiment' and
that's really what i believe - that at least it's helping to engage
more people in thinking about what can be done with osgeo's web
presence. But the kind of feedback we've been getting on #osgeo,
combined with just how easy this is to work with and - let me repeat
again - how straightforward and neat the internationalisation feels -
i'm starting to feel confident about this being A Viable Solution.
Frank pointed out on IRC that the Big Win would be if this could work
for membership registration and membership mapping - that would be
enough to convince him personally that The Prototype is a viable
candidate replacement rather than just augmentation for is his outline
- i think it's easy to add latitude/longitude properties to profiles -
and maybe later we can have the conversation about mysql spatial :)

K, i'm going to shut up and go help crschmidt move house now. 



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