Thursday, 4 December 2008

phpBB icons

More theme development. This time it's icons for the forum.

Friday, 28 November 2008

A new look?

So, things have been pretty quiet on this blog since I finished my master's. It's been mostly because of (for a time) lack of internet, but also a lack of motivation. But all is not lost! Open Words is destined to carry on! I'm currently working on rebuilding the site from the ground up using Drupal in place of WordPress. My new job has given me new skills and increased confidence in my abilities as a web developer and I've come on leaps and bounds since I began this project.

The current site will stay as it is as a temporary stop-gap while I work on the new site, hosted here on my computer. My intention is to experiment with modules/themes/etc on a local version of the site, before buying some seperate hosting and creating a world-viewable version.

This is what Open Words was meant to be all along and I'm really excited about how things are shaping up. I hope you are too!


Monday, 18 August 2008

Open Words goes live!

There now exists a working prototype of the Open Words site! It can be found over at and anyone is free to sign up and start using it. Also, along with the forum, there's now an Open Words wiki, which has all kinds of useful stuff (or will eventually) like a "getting started" guide.

Obviously, due to the limitations of what can be done with WordPress and the available plugins, the site doesn't have every feature I might have wanted. But this is a way for me to give people an idea of how the site should work so they can tell me what they like or don't like. This is pretty much it for the practical side of Open Words in terms of my project. The deadline is in two weeks, which will be spent doing the write-up and getting feedback from users. However, this isn't the end of practical stuff completely as Open Words is about more than just making something for my major project.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to sign up and use the site!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Tentative steps

So, the first part of the Open Words community is now open. I've just created a phpBB forum which can be found over at Feel free to register there and start discussing whatever you want (including the main Open Words site and ideas for the forum). The forum is intended as a place for discussion of whatever goes on on the site, as well as discussion on writing in general. It also gives users a chance to get to know each other slightly better outside of just what they do on the main site. Currently I need to work on how to link the main site and the forum together (such as how to link users' accounts on each).

Any feedback can either be left here as usual or on the forums.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A hell of a lot of reading

Recently I've been working on the literature review segment of the project. This is basically background reading on various things that relate to what I'm doing. This has ranged from looking at other sites involved with online publishing or collaboration to reading up things like social software and how it works. It's currently a work in progress and can be found in two Google documents. The first contains anything I've taken from articles and papers I've read (and one video I've watched). The second contains my observations of various sites. They're both full of links, so further information can be found. They'll eventually be turned into full pieces of writing, like my piece on moderation systems (which is also part of this review, though was originally done separately). As usual, comments are welcome.

In other news, I've been thinking about site documentation. I've decided it could work well in wiki form. This could also work for things like the writing advice pages. I'm going to look into how this could be set up and think about how access could be controlled (such as only allowing users with a certain level of participation in the site wiki access). Let me know what you think and whether the wiki should be public, semi-public or private.

Monday, 16 June 2008

A change in direction

As I've said before, my original intention was to learn PHP and then to work on altering WordPress (and other software) to my needs. Having begun down this path, I found it to be a far more daunting task than I'd first imagined. While learning PHP didn't seem too difficult, becoming proficient with it on a level that would allow me to work with a programme as complex as WordPress in such a short time is probably near impossible (or would probably require me to be locked in a room alone for the next few months).

Fortunately, having installed WordPress on part of my personal website and having looked into what you can do with it as a site-building/management tool, it seems that it's flexible enough in itself to be able to do what I want. While this means that the site may not end up the way one designed completely from the ground up would have, it does mean that the site will be a lot closer to working fully than I had originally thought.

The next step shall be to look into how to adapt WordPress (using the settings available, as well as the various plugins there are) in a way that will allow the site to function in the way I wish. I shall also be looking into how to alter the site design. This means I shall be working on design ideas for the site, which I shall put up here.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

One for the ideas wall

Credit goes to Alex White for this one:

Alex had the idea that part of the site could be for people to post their ideas that other people could then turn into written pieces. This would allow people who aren't writers themselves to contribute and be a creative part of the community. It also works well with the idea of collaboration/etc.