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Web Development Thread, What do you use yours for? in Coding and Web Development; I've been asked to review our web site with a view to making improvements. I have a good idea on ...
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    alan-d's Avatar
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    What do you use yours for?

    I've been asked to review our web site with a view to making improvements. I have a good idea on what we want/need from it but was wondering what other schools use their web sites for.

    Is it just an advertisment for the school?

    Do you allow access to resources to students, parents, other schools/organisations?

    Those that have a VLE in place - is this available directly from the site and the resources accessible to all authorised users or is it available for staff and students only via a portal link?

    Basically what do you use the web site for?

    Secondly - do any of you use a php type site as opposed to html if so who is responsible for keeping things up to date and do you use an RSS feed.

    I'd be interested in seeing examples of school sites done with php type infrastructure.

    *Edit* Our site is here so you know what I'm upgrading from.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    http://www.carrhillschool.com/

    It tries to cater for everyone likely to look at it. Staff, Students, Parents and anyone just curious about the school. Obviously some sections are only relevant to some readers. The site is a mix of News, Information and Self Promotion.

    We have a VLE (moodle) it's accessible to anyone with a account on school systems. The login system is linked to Active Directory. It's accessible from the main school site (the Chuckle link).

    The site uses static html at the moment, although there are plans to move to a CMS system like Joomla. We have a technician who was specifically employed to do web development (it was one of the criteria on the job advert IIRC). We don't have RSS feeds, no one uses them (going by the moodle stats).

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    It will make life 10x easier if you use some form of Content Management System (such as Joomla/Drupal/Website Baker); granted most of them are php-based. This allows you to a) remote updating of pages; b) saves lots of time hand-editing flat files; c) templates; b) delegation of content input.

    I completely manage our website. Not many of our teachers could handle logging in and editing their own page by themselves; but I did ask department members for the actual content - for example, I know nothing about how the history department works.

    According to our own ICT Policy, "The school's website is to celebrate children's work, promote the school and publish resources for projects or homework.". We hope we give visitors (prospective pupils and parents primarily) the information they need about the school. It also has links to associated school areas such as Email and remote access.

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    Netman's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Funnily enough I'm just doing the same - have got as far as chucking together a Joomla based site www.8998.co.uk looking to replace our old site www.talbotheath.org.
    The CMS is much quicker and easier to work with - just got to persuade the head now

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    The system I'm using is CMS Made Simple. It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as Joomla/Mambo, but it does the job as far as I'm concerned and doesn't take long to get the basic site up and running. It's php/mysql based, and the templates/stylesheets need configuring to get your site looking how you want it. It can also be revised/updated remotely, which led to me getting a b*ll*cking from my wife while on holiday in Italy, as I had to add some urgent news to the site (I hadn't had time to show anyone else how to use it by then). You can set up users on CMSMS so that they have less access than admin, which means they can change content without upsetting the design.
    As for what the site is for...it's for current and prospective parents/pupils, and it may also feature a 'Past pupils, where are they now, friends reunited' type section. It's to deliver information about the school (and eventually have a link to the VLE - just waiting for our new server). Not all the pages have information yet, and it's like getting blood out of a stone retrieving information from some heads of depts. for the site. If you hit the drop down menu you'll see what's on offer at the moment, even if there's no information available on the actual page.
    Education is a competitive business these days, and my view is that the website should look relatively professional and be in keeping with school colours/logos etc. After all, it's an outward facing publication available to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    We use php nd mysql at the moment it's hosted at Bluespheres but we'll be installing it here in the near future.

    Queen Mary's Grammar School Walsall


    Wes

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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Now the topic of websites has come back up, can I ask how long every spent designing their own school website?

    I have been designing two websites for two different schools completely from scratch simultaneously.

    Along with my current work load (which has been reduced by hiding away in my cupboard working on the website whenever possible), arranging a company to host them, getting the invoices through the offices of both schools, installing and modifiyng a CMS for each site (trying to make them as different as possible), going through the feedback process which requires a complete redesign of each site and then finally trying to get content to actually put on the websites, it has taken me since the beginning of this term and neither website is actually yet finished or even online (officially).

    The IT Co-ords are starting to wonder whether they will ever be finished and I must admit i'm surprised myself at how long they have taken.

    So yeah, how long did you all spend building your own?

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Creating and modifying the design/template didn't take that long; but I had to wait a full year for the majority of departments to get content to me. Then I was asked by SMT why it took so long to finish.

  9. #9
    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Our site was up and running in a few weeks however content from the teachers hasn't been added as yet. We'll be setting up some how to... tutorials and we have been getting some content feedback from the teachers this of course is the longest process because you've got to check it out for spelling mistakes and copyrights et cetera!


    Wes

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    If you do end up using a CMS, I highly recommend using a filter like Textile or Markdown if there is a module for it - a bit like editing a wiki or a forum post It saves the school from the embarassment of teachers sticking size-6 lime-green Comic Sans headings everywhere.

  11. #11

    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic bloody Sans! How I hate that font.
    thanks for that doc. same time next week?

  12. #12

    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    @_Bat_: "So yeah, how long did you all spend building your own?"
    62 hours. that doesn't include chasing staff for their contributions.

  13. #13

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Lol beeswax.

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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax
    Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic Sans Comic bloody Sans! How I hate that font.
    thanks for that doc. same time next week?
    Lol... incidently, I used Tempus Sans ITC for the main menu's. Not a font of my own choice, but it is a primary school... I was told my original site looked too professional lol, I scraped it completely and started again.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: What do you use yours for?

    Netman, that's a powerful new site, very clean and straightforward. I hope you can find a place for the school illustration from the old site somewhere in the new



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