Hey folks! Your personal websites are now live! These are your own personal ‘sandboxes’ – think of them as you do the Wikipedia sandboxes, as places to experiment and learn how to use a tool you’re going to put to more serious use later on.
You can find your site at http:yourfirstname.hackinghistory.ca, where ‘yourfirstname’ is, that’s right, your first name, as you spell it in the class or on the website (if you’re using a strange alias I just chose your actual first name). You’ll need to complete the registration process; this will take a few moments as the database is initialized and a bunch of new plugins are installed.
Please take some time this weekend to familiarize yourself with this software. You’ve been using it this term to write your blog posts, but now that you have admin access to a site you’ll start to understand it much better. I want you to notice a couple of things in particular. When you log in you’ll see the familiar WordPress dashboard, but there are a few new additions:
- “Appearance” gives you control over all aspects of the site’s appearance. Try to fool around a little with the themes and menus so that you come to understand them better.
- “Plugins” lists the additional funtionality that has been installed along with WordPress. Pretty much anything you want to with WordPress, there’s a plugin for it. Probably 5 or 10, in fact. Feel free to instal some new ones.
- “Custom Content Types” controls the custom content types available on your site. More about that in a sec.
- Almost all of this stuff (except the last bit) is discussed in the documentation (“First steps with WordPress”). You really, really should check it out. The web is your friend on this one.
Here’s a screenshot to help you out:
Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It
Over the course of the year you will be taking a blank slate like this one and turning it into a vehicle to express our views & create a community around the issue you work on. Take some time this weekend to turn your empty WordPress installation into a website with purpose. Maybe you want to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Martian invasion? Or perhaps you will work to build a website for a community of Etruscan philologues. Whatever the topic, think about how the subject matter should structure the presentation of your material. Do you need just one menu, or do you need sidebar navigation (think about how retronaut works)? How can you invite the community to contribute? How much instruction does your site need? And so forth. The point, really, is to get you thinking about design issues and how deeply they intrude into the creative process in a project like this.
Custom Content Types
We use the awe-inpiring Custom Content Type Manager, which vastly enhances WP’s native capabilities. To activate it you’re going to have to go to the “Tools” tab of the Custom Content Types options screen:
You want to Import a CCT definitions file – in this case, the one called “historicalimagesoct2012.cctm.json”. This will allow you to use the historical images content type you’ve seen in action on the ‘microscope’ website – though, actually, not quite, but you’ll at least be able to see how you would create such images. Check it out, if you have time, and familiarize yourself with the interface. Maybe you want to create your own CCT’s? If so feel free – remember, this site is your playground
One unusual customization – I’ve given myself backdoor access to all your sitesThis way, if you somehow lose all access to your site (that shouldn’t be possible!) I can at least get into the site and help you out.
OK – have fun, and happy Thanksgiving!