April 27, 2009 (coordinator training)
New Tools for ALPO Coordinators
The ALPO website now has 2 new tools for section coordinators. A web publishing system with web-log (blog) based on WordPress and a gallery system called Gallery2 (we’ll talk more about Gallery2 in another post).
The idea behind adding these tools to our website is to provide an easy way for section coordinators and associates to do their own image and alert posts, while providing new features to ALPO members like keyword searches, automatically created menus of post titles and additional features like event calendars. The new tools are not designed to replace Yahoo groups. Only section coordinators can create new blog posts (or designated section associates) and ALPO members can only submit comments to each post.
An example of how to use a WordPress blog for your section would be to post important alerts and observations such as a Martian dust storm alert, or a Saturn outburst alert. The section coordinator would save images of the event from Yahoo group postings or other sources, and post selected images of the event with a narrative about the phenomenon using simple WordPress menus and dialogs. When posted, the alert with photos and text will appear in your section’s blog. As the post is processed, WordPress automatically places the title of the alert in a menu, and the text with images are automatically archived for future reference in a database (accessible years later using a simple keyword search). Your alert posts can also be posted automatically to your section’s Yahoo group, saving an extra post (since Yahoo groups don’t support in-line images, only the text and links of your post will appear).
Another use of the blog could be to post images as thumbnails, linked to larger versions of the images contained in the new gallery system, in a similar way to how some of our existing sections are built today, only with better tools to find what you’re looking for and a more consistent look and feel with other sections using WordPress.
Your section’s WordPress system could also be used to create the entire section website, since static web pages are supported with the same features available.
Every ALPO section now has an independent instance of WordPress ready to use (see the list of URL’s below). Contact Larry Owens (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to take advantage of these new tools for your section. You’ll just need to obtain a user ID and password.
How hard are these tools to lean? Most people are comfortable with making posts and creating websites in just a few minutes, no web experience is necessary. There are some quirks though, so you’ll need to have a bit of experience with it to make things go more smoothly.
Shortly I will create some tutorials and post them here, and supply more information on the gallery system.
Links for each section blog:
Link for the gallery: