Thursday, September 11, 2003

Web Site Maintenance

This was a thing that I eagerly enjoyed. I got to play around with updating our web site (this link goes to an archive), finding ways to make it easier to keep current, etc. PHP played a good part in that, and is even more so now. It occurred to me that we needed to keep news releases up to date, so I created a WebDav resource on the Apache server that allowed our marketing director to log in and deposit files into folders that were categorized by month/year. When the browser points to that directory, the index file uses the opendir method provided by PHP and populates the page with nicely formatted contents. I also added RSS feeds to that same area of the web. I figured if our news wasn't so dynamic, at least the RSS would add something to it. I did something similar to our current situation at RAM. Since our webserver and fileserver sit on the same Linux box, I just created a symlink to our news directory in the marketing persons personal share. Now all she has to do is format the file correctly, and toss it in. PHP reads in all files in the directory and formats the page nicy-nice. Now I just need read up on sending RSS out...

Collaboration

Letting one another know what you were doing at any given time was another issue for us at Wustum. There are a number of employees that need to leave the building for various reasons, and instead of putting up a In/Out board, I decided that web-based calendaring was in order. Our friends at M$ do make a nice add-on to Exchange 5.5 called Team Folders. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be supporting it any longer, so get it while you can. It allows all your Outlook users to view a common calendar, much like thier own personal one. It supports permissions, and is fully customizable. I set up another one to track our many classrooms that we use for education. It eliminated double-booking issues. When we opened the new Racine Art Museum, I had to address the same issues on two campuses and viewing abilities across the internet. That was easily solved using GNU licensed tools. One is called WebCalendar for employee tracking, and the other is Meeting Room Booking System. We just transferred all events from the Exchange Team Folders to these, and took them off line. Ain't life grand?