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Book structure/chapters/content

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Community saint

Working from O's original functional structure and adding in some things from other members, I have come up with this very basic structure:
ocPortal Book

Introduction
     Description of ocPortal and book
     Conventions used (requires design be done)
     List of important terms
     Link to ocPortal forums

The Brief
     Description of the site we will build and the features it will include.
          Car enthusiast site
          News, personal blogs, calendar, pages, forum, gallery, catalogs, e-commerce, downloads, Wiki+, banners(?), polls(?), clubs(?)



Getting started

How to install ocPortal
     What's required
     Install on hosting service
     Local installation
     Windows installation
     Creating a test site
     Troubleshooting

Choosing the Settings For Your Site
     Configuration
          Accessibility
          Administrative options
          Block options
          Feature options
          Privacy options
          Member and forum options
          Security options
          Site options
          Theme options
          Installation options
     Notification lockdown - set notification options for users
     Word filter - censor profanity  

Changing the basic look and feel of your site
     Change logo
     Change header image
     Change background image
     Change site colors (Theme wizard)
     Troubleshooting

Creating and organizing your Home Page
     Add blocks
     Add/change menus
     Changing welcome message
     Changing copyright info
     Changing flagrant text/community message
     Referencing forums
     Troubleshooting

Adding your content
     Add pages - how to add static content
     Add news - keeping your users up-to-date
     Add blog - posting articles
     Add authors and personal blogs
     Add calendar entry - publishing special days and events
     Add downloads - making a file available for download
     Attaching images - adding images to your posted content
     Troubleshooting

Getting your site ready for users
     Add usergroups
     Setting global privileges
     Permissions tree editor
     Add members
     Using custom profile fields
     Creating and using clubs
     Troubleshooting
     
Open site to users in 6 chapters


Adding more content

Adding a Forum - Create an area for discussion
     Creating forum groupings
     Creating forums
     Creating a post template
     Moderating forums (?) - This is an administrative feature but basic validation should probably be discussed
     Troubleshooting

Adding a Gallery - Showcase your images, videos and PDFs
     Adding galleries
     Adding images
     Adding videos and PDFs
     Gallery display options
     Troubleshooting
     
Adding a Catalog - Add a collection of related items
     Add catalog
     Add catalog category
     Add catalog entry
     Catalog display options
     Troubleshooting

Adding Banners - Display advertising or billboards on your site

Creating a File/Media library

Other content (discussed briefly as it mirrors the above)
     Contacts
     FAQs
     Links
     Polls
     Quizzes
     Image of the Day
     
Adding a Shop - Selling products or services on your site
     Install e-commerce add-on
     Configure e-commerce
     Add products
     ….  (Never used e-commerce. Suggestions?)
     Troubleshooting

Letting Users Collaborate on the Site (Wiki+)
     Install Wiki+ add-on
     … (Never used Wiki+. Suggestions?)
     Troubleshooting
     
ocFilter - How to choose which content to display

ocSelect - How to create dynamic filters

Using custom fields - How to include content from a different entry or type in your current content


Additional options

Zones

Integrating with Social Media
     Facebook
          Installing Facebook add-on
          Configuring Facebook add-on
          Displaying Facebook content blocks
     Twitter
          Installing Twitter add-on
          Configuring Twitter add-on
          Displaying Twitter content blocks

     Increasing user activity on your site
          Points
          Pointstore
          Newsletters
          RSS/Atom feeds
          Useful add-ons for increasing engagement

Frequently-used add-ons
     ocDataMap
     ocUserMap
     getid3
     Admin search stemmer
     plupload

Custom Comcode


More advanced

Importing your Current Website into OCPortal

Customizing your theme (brief discussion)
     Customize templates
     Customize CSS
     Change theme images

Tempcode (brief discussion)

Match-key page restrictions

Breadcrumb overrides

Redirects

Website cleanup tools/clearing caches

How to translate/rephrase your site into another language

OcCLE - ocPortal's built-in Command Line Environment
     List of OcCLE commands (?)


[More Advanced Activities (Talks about, but doesn't explain, CSS, tempcode, complicated Admin Zone stuff, etc.)]


Back matter

Glossary of Terms

Appendix A: Add-ons (list of add-ons with description)

Appendix B: Further Resources (points to guides on OCPortal.com, reporting bugs, requesting features, etc.)

Index


As you can see, there is still much to be fleshed out but I think this gives you an idea of where I would like to go. I can particularly use help in the e-Commerce and CEDI areas as I have never used (or even looked at) these.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I want to get away from the notion of basic, intermediate and advanced and, instead, focus on the essential and the most used, and then the more advanced or rarely used stuff.

I know there is going to be a lot of input, but I see that as a good thing. This is rough and we want to polish it into a diamond.

Bob


Last edit: by BobS
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Posted
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Community saint

Some quick thoughts that have been jangling around my mind.

I like that the suggested structure allows us to show a brand new ocPortal user how to have a basic site up and running in six chapters. The takeaway - it's easy.

Want to include more or different content? No problem - ocPortal is flexible.

Looking to do some serious changes to your site? Well, there is much more to ocPortal than immediately hits the eye. ocPortal is powerful.

By building on this structure this book can mirror the marketing. ocPortal - easy, flexible, powerful.

As I said, we need to flesh this out further and I have no issue with adding some "essential" or "intermediate" content where it is appropriate, especially where it demonstrates flexibility.

Bob


Last edit: by BobS
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Posted
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Community saint

Should chat be covered in the book as part of the social features?

Bob
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Posted
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Community saint

So, I've been adding additional topics for the book in the first post so that we have a master. Please make sure you take a look from time to time.

I could really use some input on e-commerce and Wiki+ as I have never used either.

Please let me know if you think areas are missed, should be presented elsewhere or other tweaks that you think will improve the book.

Bob
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Posted
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Community saint

BobS said

  • I've been adding additional topics for the book in the first post so that we have a master.
  • I could really use some input on e-commerce and Wiki+ as I have never used either.
  • Please let me know if you think areas are missed, should be presented elsewhere or other tweaks that you think will improve the book.

1. Seen the added topics. I shall respond with a personal view on the 'whole' when I've had time to study & digest …

2. The e-commerce area is a total mystery to me. Never used it and the fact that PayPal is the only choice means I never will.
2a. The Wiki+ gets installed by default.

3. Will comment in time!

 :thumbs:





Edit/Update:

In the process of installing a 'clean' version of 9B1 I notice that in step 4 of 10 of the Setup wizard that the CEDI does NOT get installed by default (you have to check the box), and that it is still referenced as CEDI (Chris please note!)

 :o


Last edit: by Fletch

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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Community saint

Hmmm…still no input on the proposed book structure. I am not making any assumptions if this is good or bad but I sure would like some others to weigh in with their thoughts and especially their expertise with Wiki+ and e-Comerce.

I am thinking of asking mythus is he can write the Wiki+ chapter as he seems to use this extensively. Are there any others that I should be considering?

Bob
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Posted
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Community saint

I was avoiding weighing in because in all honesty I don't really like it. Don't confuse that with a lack of respect for your effort as I think you have a done a wonderful job of outlining many important aspects.

I just feel it looks like an encyclopedic reference and less of the "Something Different" we had originally hoped to achieve.

I doesn't seem to have that "Idiots guide" feel to it I don't think and it just seems all too referency (pardon the improper grammar). Like I said before I think to stand out and become more comfortable to the reader it needs to be a little more "TASK" oriented. I am getting ready to leave shortly so I don't have time to delve deep into what I mean but hopefully this brief explanation helps:

Think of the Section (TASK) as being called "Information Publishing" There we discuss using the Blogs and News Sytem. Organizing Multimedia could pertain to galleries and/pr attachment system.  Styling your site involves everything about theming CSS and tempcode etc. That sort of thing if you follow. More of a Modular feel than a hierarchical reference book.
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Posted
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Community saint

To further add:

I think we should try to think like a website owner who has specific ideas he wants to do and organize it like that. For instance if it is a car site perhaps he wants to organize a complete list of Ford Makes and Model cars to display on his site. How would he do that? Well Catalogues is probably his best (but also maybe not his only) option so we discuss it like that. Does this make sense? Another topic Increasing user Activity on your site. What tools can help with that? The Point system, Some oc Add-ons like the bank and gambling or ocWorld perhaps? Using the newsletter? I dunno like I said no time to really flesh it out for you I am only hoping you get the basic idea of what I am saying.
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Posted
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I get your point with the "increasing activity" bit but completely disagree with your assessment that the book is too much like a reference manual. By stark contrast, it is a narrative that describes in six chapters how to go from nothing to getting a basic site open. It then expands on how to evolve your site.

It is really important that we make the case that getting an ocPortal site up and running easily is made. A beginner should not be confused with reading about the plethora of options he has available as he first decides he want to set up an ocPortal site.

Bob
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Posted
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Community saint

One other point I would make is that once we get the introduction, brief and first six chapters written, we could make even this rudimentary offering available on the ocPortal site to step people through initial site setup. I believe this would help many new users get their sites off the ground and help them develop a sense of "buy in" to ocPortal.

I am not saying we should do this but it is worth some consideration to post this in some form.

Bob
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Posted
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BobS said

… I would make is that once we get the introduction, brief and first six chapters written, we could make even this rudimentary offering available on the ocPortal site …
I must have missed something, but I thought this was the game-plan from the off.

Make the PDF available for download (FREE) on the ocPortal site, because that's where prospective users will come to download and use the software, and if there is a PDF idiots users guide available too, all the better!

 :thumbs:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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O

Non-joined user

Sorry, I don't get on the internet so much during 'le week-end'.

I think the structure's good, Bob, but the wording is quite clinical.

Instead of 'Basic Configuration' maybe something like 'Choosing the Settings For Your Site'; instead of 'Members and Usergroups' maybe 'Opening Your Site to the Public' or 'Letting Users on to Your Site'; 'Changing' of 'Choosing' instead of 'Customizing'; etc.
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Fletch said

BobS said

… I would make is that once we get the introduction, brief and first six chapters written, we could make even this rudimentary offering available on the ocPortal site …
I must have missed something, but I thought this was the game-plan from the off.

Make the PDF available for download (FREE) on the ocPortal site, because that's where prospective users will come to download and use the software, and if there is a PDF idiots users guide available too, all the better!

 :thumbs:
Fletch-

We had decided to make the e-book available on the ocPortal site either for free or at a nominal cost. My point with the above is that we could initially make the "Getting started" version available even as we continue writing the rest of the book. The idea would be to help a brand new ocPortal user be able to get a basic WordPress-like site off the ground and encouraging buy-in to ocPortal as a solid solution. Those first six chapter included everything needed to get a site like ollie8557's www.dietjustice.net site started.

Bob


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Posted
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O said

Sorry, I don't get on the internet so much during 'le week-end'.

I think the structure's good, Bob, but the wording is quite clinical.

Instead of 'Basic Configuration' maybe something like 'Choosing the Settings For Your Site'; instead of 'Members and Usergroups' maybe 'Opening Your Site to the Public' or 'Letting Users on to Your Site'; 'Changing' of 'Choosing' instead of 'Customizing'; etc.
I see your point here. I will work out more user-friendly chapter titles.

Bob
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Posted
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The Brief
     Description of the site we will build and the features it will include.
          Car enthusiast site
          News, personal blogs, calendar, pages, forum, gallery, catalogs, e-commerce, downloads, Wiki+, banners(?), polls(?), clubs(?)
I am still unclear as how you intend to meet the 'moving goalposts' for each element of the site that you discuss and 'build' in the book.

As we progress through the chapters, and as we 'change' things on the proposed car site, anybody picking up the book or PDF for the first time is going to be totally confused if, for example, they open up the chapter "Choosing the Settings For Your Site" only to find that all the sub-topics have already been implemented on the site, and which now no longer reflects the clean installation.
once we get the introduction, brief and first six chapters written, we could make even this rudimentary offering available on the ocPortal site to step people through initial site setup. I believe this would help many new users get their sites off the ground and help them develop a sense of "buy in" to ocPortal.
Same thoughts as above. We are 'enticing' them to think of ocPortal as 'easy' (quote below), but we will then confuse them by making reference to a visual site that bears no resemblance to what started out as a clean install.
Same as above, compounded by …
I like that the suggested structure allows us to show a brand new ocPortal user how to have a basic site up and running in six chapters. The takeaway - it's easy.
To avoid the risk of being repetitive, read in the same observations I've made above.

I hope that made sense?

 :o

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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The companion sites primary purpose is to be a tool for the writers to implement the tasks needed in order to provide their subject matter. I think any purpose of using the site as a reference for readers to  follow up with is a secondary concern.

Based on the fact that the system is to be locked when completed it is only a refernce of physical appearance (and in my eyes pretty useless over-all except to a very limited minority of users that need that 3 dimensional visual reference that others argued for).

To concern ourselfs with further extending that 3 dimensional reference to have separate installations and points of completion is unrealistic. This in itself could also raise other issue like:
  • Over extending limited resources to develop and mainatain those separate instances
  • Confuse writers as they develop their subject matter not having one consistent front to finish subject to work upon
  • Since it is locked down how does one propose to demonstrate the various steps it takes to reach a visual result? By this I mean what is the purpose to showing a vanilla install after installation? (this is the part that eludes me as to why were are focused on this 3d reference in the first place as the book will have Screenshot after Screenshot of the steps needed to produce something which will involve several screens of the Admine Zone as a task is accomplished none of which will even be visable on the reference site for the user to look at. All they get to see is "Yup that's what a Catalogue of Cars looks like to a visitor!")


I am truly lost as to why noone else see's this as an almost pointless endeavour in the first place?
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Posted
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I am not sure if this analogy will help any one see the point I am trying to make or not but here is one more attempt to explain what I am trying to get at:

Since the site topic is Cars let's use that as an example.

Suppose I am teaching you how to build a Car from the ground up. How useful is it to see the completed car instead of all the parts laid out in a logical fashion when I have just taught you and showed you several detailed photo's and diagrams of the car building process through every stage including the final product?

I mean if after teaching you everything you need to know to build the car how badly do you really need to see the live version of the car that you have to stand back from and can't even open the doors or hood to look inside it? Is it going to make that much of a difference to you to stand back (from a distance) and look at the car to see that it matches the final photo I gave you?
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Posted
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Fletch-

I've been trying to work through these very issues. The conflict arises as a result of building out a site step-by-step which I thought was a good idea. However, as you point out, there is the issue of what a standard install will look like at a point in time. There will always be people who jump in at chapter 3 for whom chapters 1 and 2 will be reference, at best. I think this is the nature of all step-by-step books and can't really think of any way around this. I know that I frequently bypass the beginning of many step-by-step books and have to make adjustments, but I still think that the vast majority of people who download the book will appreciate the step-by-step nature of building a demo site.

I think the answer is that we show the screens as they are reflected if a person were to do the step-by-step guide. We can do this perhaps on an books.ocportal.com site with screenshots presented which match the book.

My current feelings is that we postpone the car site for the time being until we have the copy for the first six chapters and then think how to best integrate it.

We can also consider providing the text and graphics that they could use to build this demo site.

In writing any step-by-step book, you must make the assumption that people will be following the instruction. I am certainly open to any suggestions which might help in this area.

Bob
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I think we're all singing from the same hymn sheet - although it sometimes appears we're on different hymn's  :o

Duck's reference to a 'useless' demo site is precisely my point - just made differently!

I do have a possible solution, but I need to work on it to present it visually. Please give me some time.

 :lol:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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This has been my point of teaching the reader how to create and use their own test setup. Let them build up their own test site in their own sandbox. Use the companion site for a visual reference for how a default install should look like with all blocks/addons included.

Steve
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