IdeaXchg Article By: M. Asherman

  | Bottom | Unframe | Help |

IdeaXchg Development Tasks

Locate in Contents | (framed)

Locate in Discussion | (framed) 

Taskid
Date Done
Title
Description
ixma0049
(09/07/00)
topical contents outline for Misc forum
Introduce an outline of current discussion topics in the Misc forum Contents page, to illustrate the important general capability of using edited contents as an accompaniment to a threaded discussion.  This outline should be maintained regularly to reflect the current discussion's contents.  Similar outlines should be supplied for other forums, as appropriate, especially those devoted primarily to broad general discussion.
ixma0048
(08/25/00)
help for message posting page
Create the new IdeaXchg Help - Message Posting Page.  Adjust all forum posting pages to include a live link to this new Help page.  Create placeholder message for this article, as usual.  Made global change to posting pages for all forums on all subwebs.
ixma0047
(09/20/00)
update ix03 forum templates for recent global changes
Bring the ix03 forum templates up-to-date to reflect the following recent global changes:

These changes have already been applied to the IdeaXchg root web and the VFPUtils subwebs.  Also make corresponding adjustments to IdeaXchg Help - Creating a New IdeaXchg Web Site.

ixma0046
(09/20/00)
help on using frames
Create a new help page on the topic of Using Frames, since this is a major source of confusion.  This help page should be loaded into the lower frame when the user goes into framed mode on the home page.  Also add a link to this page in the boilerplate include file used for forum Welcome pages.  All IdeaXchg web sites should be similarly adjusted, especially as the framed versions of home pages are supplied.  Status of this global change:
ixma0045
(09/20/00)
new conventions for Contents pages
Make the following global change to all IdeaXchg forums, under all subwebs:
  • use boldface only for intra-page links
  • move Welcome page link to the bottom
  • combine All Messages links into 1 line

Limit use of boldface links in the Contents pages of each forum, in order to distinguish intra-page links from links that load page into the lower frame.  This will provide a helpful visual cue that should reduce confusion about the different flavors of links that are used.  Status of this global change:

ixma0044
(07/27/00)
document procedures for creating new IdeaXchg web sites
Create a new developer-oriented help page describing in detail how to create a new IdeaXchg web site residing in a pair of subwebs, which can be administered and published separately from other subwebs.  Compare with previously written IdeaXchg Help - Creating a New IdeaXchg Forum, and make adjustments as necessary to the IdeaXchg Template subweb (ix03).
ixma0043
(07/27/00)
create new Montage-related subwebs and forum
Create preliminary web site and skeletal organization for the new Montage product support site.  Follow procedures as documented in the developer-oriented help page for creating new IdeaXchg web sites.  Use subweb ix21 for edited content and ix22 for discussion.  Follow instructions in IdeaXchg Help - Creating a New IdeaXchg Forum for creating a new forum.  I adjusted this help files and comments in ix03 templates to cover the issue of creating new forums in cases such as this, where the parent site is not VFPUtils.
ixma0042
(08/24/00)
refine and generalize facilities to list messages across all forums
For IdeaXchg web sites that contain multiple forums, there should be a quick way to monitor all recent postings across all forums.  Instead of visiting each forum and going to the listings one at a time, provide a frameset that immediately displays all of the listings at once.  A preliminary version of this facility was implemented for the VFPUtils web site, but this could use a bit more refinement.  The template web and all IdeaXchg sites with multiple forums should support this capability.

Aside from updating the ix03 templates, this task is done.  Note that I also introduced a more convenient way to step through the discussion areas my moving the table of discussion area links into the include file used to support both framed and unframed version of the home page.

ixma0041
(06/21/00)
provide an easy way to see all recent messages in VFPUtils
With multiple forums under the VFPUtils web site, a quick way to check all the discussion areas at once would be a convenience for monitoring activity.  To accomplish this I've added two new framesets, one for listing most recent messages first and one for oldest first, plus a table/navigation bar page for unframed usage.  I also adjusted the VFPUtils home page for tie-ins.

Eventually this facility should be further polished and generalized, because it belongs in the main IdeaXchg site and the template forum site as well.  This can wait until the number and activity of forums increases.
ixma0040
(not done)
look into possible browser compatibility issues for #botttom links
I'm not sure if this problem still exists, or it it's worth fixing even if it does exists, because it may be too obscure.  This is just a reminder, to get this task out of the VFPUtils XFormDBF forum, where I originally filed it.
ixma0039
(09/20/00)
support both framed and unframed versions of home pages
Since there are only a few IdeaXchg site home pages, it seems worth the modest effort to supply framed versions of these pages.  An include file for the body of the home page would avoid redundancy.  This requires introducing a frameset for each home page, which should initially load the help page on using frames in the lower frame.  Navigation bars for all framed TOC pages should be adjusted to make use of the framed home pages.  Use the standard framed TOC page footer for the framed version of the home page.  The chief benefit of supporting framed home pages would be greater convenience for framed mode usage, because it avoids the confusing tendency to inadvertently load unframed TOC pages into the upper frame.

This change could have waited, because we've switched to favoring convenience for unframed usage.  On the other hand, since framed usage is the preferred mode for experienced users, it really would be nice to eliminate the present inconvenience in framed mode.  No further complication of user interfaces is required to accomplish this.

Status of this global change:

ixma0038
(06/10/00)
supply an Unframe link in bottom navigation bars
With the new framing conventions we want to make easier to get in and out of frames.  There's room for an Unframe link in the bottom navigation bar, which by convention includes a link to Top of page.  Also note the special case of TOC pages, which support a Frame link as well as the usual Unframe link.
ixma0037
(06/10/00)
consistent references to "Forum" in left side of page headers
Instead of differentiating pages in the discussion subweb from those in the edited contents subweb, make these pages more symmetrical, since they all belong to what I refer to as a "forum".  Let the distinction be handled elsewhere, as necessary, e.g. via the title line.  This will help to avoid confusing multiple occurrences of the word "Discussion", which is going to replace "Threads" in the main navigation bar.  Adjust the other structural pages (e.g. the Search page) in each discussion web to add clarifying references to "Discussion" as needed.  Include these changes along with other global changes for new framing conventions.
ixma0036
(06/10/00)
substitute "Discussion" for "Threads" in main navigation bar, etc.
Avoid overuse of the confusing term, "Thread", by substituting the more familiar "Discussion".  This is a global change that should be applied along with other changes related to new framing conventionsFurther adjustments to the placeholder navigation bar will also be necessary to avoid confusion due to multiple uses of the word "Discussion".
ixma0035
(06/10/00)
unframed TOC pages should still have a live Unframe link
Since it is now possible for unframed TOC pages to appear in a framed window, we always need to have a usable Unframe link, even for the "unframed" flavor of TOC page.  This is another global change affecting all existing IdeaXchg forums, which follows from the new framing conventions.  We may as well add Frame | Unframe links in the bottom navigation bar for all TOC pages.  The Frame link would be disabled in framed versions of each TOC page, but keep the word visible for consistency.  This provides a better visual cue as to which version of the TOC page one is looking at.
ixma0034
(not done)
generic frameset links to load page into upper or lower frame
Maybe it would be useful to support links in all pages for convenient frame-swapping operations.  These links would only work in framed mode: load this page into upper frame, load this page into lower frame.  These are similar to the generic Unframe link used all over the place.  (Note that use of these links in unframed mode causes a new browser window to be opened, which is not the intended behavior.)  This is another global change affecting all existing IdeaXchg forums, related to the new framing conventions.  Hold off on making this change unless/until it's clearly worth doing, since the additional user confusion may not be worth it.
ixma0033
(06/10/00)
clarify navigation bar used for placeholder messages & articles
This kludgy device is too confusing.  At the very least there should be prominent Help information.  Also see about revising the navigation bar layout in light of changes to framing conventions

The old placeholder message navigation bars (also used in articles) looked like this:

| Thread (unframed) | Thread (framed) |
| Contents (unframed) | Contents (framed) |

One problem with the above format is that it forces the user to think about the concept of frames, which is contrary to my latest shift away from indiscriminate use of framesets.  Also, most people will find the term "Threads" confusing.  Note that the old navigation bar forces unframing for the left hand links, and uses the upper TOC page frame for the right hand links.  There was no provision for using the current frame as the target of this navigation bar.  Try switching to the following single-line navigation bar for articles and placeholder messages:

Locate in Contents | (framed)

Locate in Discussion | (framed)  

Besides the obvious differences, also note the change that the target of the first of each pair of links is in the default frame, i.e. don't force into unframed mode.

ixma0032
(06/10/00)
new conventions favoring unframed browsing mode
Since frames are confusing to beginners and often unpopular with experienced users, revise IdeaXchg conventions to avoid frames except when explicitly requested.  This is a global change that requires adjustments to all existing IdeaXchg forums.  The only way to get into framed mode should be by clicking on the Frame link in the upper right corner of an unframed TOC page.

Once the user gets into framed mode, the frameset should generally be preserved, i.e. don't force needlessly back into unframed mode unless explicitly requested.  This requires adjustments to headers, footers, and navigation bar links, especially for cases pointing to home pages.  There is no reason why links to home pages should force into unframed mode (as previously done).  Supply Unframe links for all home pages, since they will now be viewable in frames, which is a more symmetrical treatment.  All pages should support an easy, consistent way to unframe them.  Also see these related global changes:
  • ixma0036: substitute "Discussion" for "Threads" in main navigation bar, etc.
  • ixma0033: clarify navigation bar used for placeholder messages & articles
  • ixma0035: unframed TOC pages should still have a live Unframe link
  • ixma0038: supply an Unframe link in bottom navigation bars
  • ixma0037: consistent references to "Forum" in left side of page headers

Status of these changes for existing subwebs:

  • ideaxchg root web: all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix01 (IdeaXchg discussion): all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix03 (template content & discussion): all chgs done 6/10/00
  • ix07 (VFPUtils content): all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix08 (VFPUtils discussion): all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix09 (BOSS content): all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix10 (BOSS discussion): all chgs done 6/9/00
  • ix11 (Gardner content): ixma0032 done 6/6/00
    ixma0036, 33, 35, 38 done 6/7/00
  • ix12 (Gardner discussion): ixma0032 done 6/6/00
    ixma0036, 33, 35, 37 done 6/7/00
ixma0031
(06/06/00)
naming changes for the private VTIssues site
VTIssues -> Gardner, VT Misc Forum -> Vermont Forum, ix11/mi -> ix11/vt, etc.  Also take this opportunity to establish new framing conventions for these subwebs.  Adjust IdeaXchg home page for name change.
ixma0030
(not done)
determine safe, efficient procedure for downloading discussions
Discussion areas are physical broken out into separate subwebs to protect them from accidental damage when I publish changes to edited content.  Once a discussion subweb becomes active, it should normally be "published" only in the reverse direction from edited content, which I maintain on my local machine and periodically upload to the WWW.

My experiments indicate that using publish with the "changed pages only" option is not adequate to properly download the live discussion onto my local web server.  Although new messages are downloaded, the following problems need to be addressed:
  1. tocproto.htm may not be downloaded
    Deleting the local tocproto.htm before publishing from www fixes this problem.  The reason for failing to automatically replace this file, I assume, is that FrontPage doesn't update the timestamp on the server's tocproto.htm.
  2. Next/Previous msg navigation is screwed up
    Deleting all message postings on local machine, as well as tocproto, i.e. deleting all files in the local discussion folder fixes this problem.  But this is still pretty inefficient in large discussion.

I tried deleting the primary tocproto.htm plus hidden _vti_cnf files corresponding to the messages on the local server, but not the messages themselves.  When I published changes from www to my local server, it picked up all the the hidden files, but surprisingly, navigation on local server was still screwed up for this forum.  So it seems that this trick didn't work.  Until a better solution comes along, I guess the best I can do is to delete all files in the local discussion directory, and then publish changes only from www to local host.  Considering that most of the discussion web consists of these files, it's hardly much of a savings over the heavy-handed "publish all pages" option.

ixma0029
(05/30/00)
make another pass at consistent keywords in posting forms
Revisit the issue of consistent keyword conventions since the previous round of cleanups to forum Posting pages.  See the more recent selection of clearer keywords introduced in private forums.  Avoid overly cryptic contractions, since these lead to confusion, and the limitations of FrontPage's Search component are pretty fuzzy and ill-understood.  (I had thought that shorter keywords would help, but this isn't clear.)  Also adjust the combo box heights to avoid scroll bars, which can become a nuisance when working in a framed window.  There's no harm in making posting pages as long as necessary, because the layout puts the submit button near the top.

Take this final opportunity to make a pass over the keywords for each forum while they are still in transition to the new server.  Once these forums go live, such changes need to be made directly against the live web server, not on the local host.  This is because the discussion subwebs, which contain the Posting pages, should generally published only in the reverse direction, from www to local host, once the discussion goes live.  Otherwise there is a severe risk of clobbering the delicate FrontPage discussion structures.
ixma0028
(06/12/00)
define templates for creating new IdeaXchg forums
It would be easier to clone and adapt new IdeaXchg forums directories and subwebs from empty template structures than from populated ones.  Create the new ix03 subweb as a repository for the templates.  Try to work out the easiest possible way to create and maintain many instances of the same basic IdeaXchg architecture.  Document the steps for creating a new IdeaXchg forum in a separate help page.  These procedures will be used to create additional forums in the VFPUtils subwebs.

The templates should eventually be made available for downloading in some convenient form, to make it as easy as possible for other web developers to follow the IdeaXchg conventions.

FrontPage supports a customizable template for individual pages, but I'm not sure what it offers for larger aggregations like folders and subwebs.  Whether through FrontPage or otherwise, the important point is to reduce the number of steps to a minimum.  Ultimately, a custom HTML-generation utility (e.g. a small standalone FoxPro application) would be a better solution than this kludgy template cloning crapola, but that will have to wait for now.
ixma0027
(not done)
look into other available intra-site Search facilities, e.g. Excite
Our current web host, Dynamic Net, supports some sort of Excite-based search facility, which should be investigated.  This may be something that can be used to supplant FrontPage's rather weak built-in Search component.  Also look into any other such alternatives from other companies.
ixma0026
(not done)
adjust private forum posting forms to make From: field optional
Automatically generated userids can be used in a password-protected web, via FrontPage substitution bots.  Message posting forms should be adjusted to take advantage of this - the user shouldn't be required to enter his/her name, as is done in public discussion areas.  The Remote User: field that is automatically inserted into FrontPage's generated message pages contains the userid that was used to access to private web.  For public discussion webs, keep the From: field as a required item, because Remote User: information is blank in these cases.
ixma0025
(05/29/00)
avoid dependence on default.htm vs index.htm for links to home
FrontPage sometimes handles the mapping automatically, so that default.htm on my local server gets turned into index.htm on the live web server, and links are adjusted accordingly.  But this behavior doesn't cover cross-web links, e.g. between different subwebs.  What seems to work best is to use a link to the URL of the web or subweb in question, with a trailing slash, but not including the final "default.htm" or "index.htm".  This assures that these links will work regardless of the type of server to which the web is published.  Adjust navigation bars, page footers, etc. in all IdeaXchg subwebs to avoid the explicit home page file name in cross-web links.  This adjustment was needed to fix problems associated with the switch to a new Unix web server.

I didn't bother to adjust all of the intra-web home page links, because FrontPage's automatic re-mapping seems to have worked for these.  However, I ran into one case (in the BOSS site) where for some mysterious reason it didn't handle the usual automatic adjustment of links from default.htm to index.htm.  I fixed this by using the same solution that works for cross-web links, i.e. omit the home page filename in these links.
ixma0024
(05/29/00)
introduce new private password-protected VTIssues web site
Create the new VTIssues web site for a private forum, making use of FrontPage's built-in password protection facilities.  On the new Unix-based server, this is easily done entirely though FrontPage's Tools, Security, Permissions... dialog, which allows me to add new users (not supported under NT) and assign Browse, Author, and Administer access to subwebs.  I added a link on the IdeaXchg home page for the convenience of registered VTIssues users.

Note the minor annoyance that there may be 2 prompts to supply a password, because the IdeaXchg forum architecture splits each forum into two separate subwebs (one for edited content [ix11] and the other for threaded discussion [ix12]).  This is not too big a deal, however, because the password-remembering feature suppresses further prompts in the same browser session, and checking the option to remember the password reduces the effort to a single extra click for all future visits. 
ixma0023
(05/26/00)
switch from NT to Unix-based web hosting on new WPP
IdeaXchg was initially hosted by USDatacenters on a shared NT server.  I got fed up with the restrictions and hassles of this setup, which were partly due to the limitations of running FrontPage on an NT server, further exacerbated by administrative restrictions imposed by USDatacenters as a matter of policy, and still further compounded by inadequate technical support.

Our new WPP, Dynamic Net, persuaded me that Unix FrontPage hosting would be better than NT, because it's much more dependable, and it fully supports all of the FrontPage features currently used in IdeaXchg.  FrontPage on Unix actually supports more administrative features than it does under NT.  If and when we have a real need for NT hosting, e.g. for Microsoft database products, we could add a second server and link the two sites together.  In the short term, the Unix hosting arrangement on Dynamic Net is a vast improvement over NT in regard to basic administration, especially registering user ids and setting permissions for private password-protected webs.

For the record, I requested the DNS change (via Register.com) on 5/26/00, and the actual DNS switch went into effect around 5/28/00.  During the interim, my tests of message postings and navigation on the new server (accessed via its numerical IP address) showed some bizarre FrontPage behavior, with confusion between the old and the new servers.  This despite the fact that I avoided any absolute URLs in the design of the discussion web.  The bottom line is that FrontPage discussion areas should not be used during a DNS switch, or screwups can occur.  Fortunately, the DNS switch went through in only 2 days.
ixma0022
(not done)
HTML Help project and compiled help files for IdeaXchg
Demonstrate how to create, maintain, and compile a HTML Help file from the subset of IdeaXchg web pages that are devoted to explaining IdeaXchg usage and architecture.  This should be very similar to what I did for the XFormDBF help file, which also is used to support context-sensitive VFP application help.  Supply a link for downloading and/or viewing the compiled ideaxchg.chm HTML Help file.
ixma0021
(06/13/00)
remove generic IdeaXchg tasks from the XFormDBF task list
Some of the tasks that were originally listed under the XFormDBF forum really belong in the newer IdeaXchg forum.  These entries should be reviewed and updated to reflect the most recent global IdeaXchg changes.  Eliminate these from the outline of outstanding XFormDBF development tasks.
ixma0020
(not done)
create additional IdeaXchg glossary entries
It will be most helpful to define our terminology before creating new help pages.  Here are some more terms that should be explained in the IdeaXchg Glossary help page:
  • absolute URL
  • bookmark
  • bot or Web bot
  • discussion area
  • discussion component
  • folder or subfolder
  • forum
  • frames and framesets
  • FrontPage
  • help page
  • hit counter
  • HTML
  • include file or include page
  • link or hyperlink
  • modularity
  • placeholder message
  • private web
  • public web
  • relative URL
  • search component
  • server
  • structural page
  • subweb
  • table of contents (TOC) page
  • tag
  • target
  • thread
  • threaded discussion
  • unframe
  • URL
  • web
  • web presence provider (WPP)
ixma0019
(06/10/00)
supply links to unframed forum Contents pages on home pages
The default link to each forum points to its edited Contents frameset, which will automatically use the unframed Contents page if the browser doesn't support frames.  But even if the browser does support frames, the user may prefer to avoid them.  Also we don't want to create an obstacle to search engine spidering, which is often turned off by frames.  So provide a connection to the top-level unframed forum Contents pages in both IdeaXchg and VFPUtils.  This task is subsumed by the broader change to favor unframed mode in general.
ixma0018
(05/29/00)
introduce new private password-protected BOSS web site
Several preliminary attempts were made on NT and Linux servers from 2 different WPPs, but the level of administrative hassle was intolerable in both cases.  This finally became an easy task on the new Unix-based web hosting service from Dynamic Net.

Preliminary experiments demonstrated that the IdeaXchg architecture can easily support being distributed across multiple web servers.  Ultimately, however, I put everything onto the same web server, under subwebs ix09 and ix10, but it's worth noting that private IdeaXchg subwebs can be located under an entirely different URL from the main ideaxchg.com web site, with only minor adjustments.
ixma0017
(07/17/00)
create additional forums under the VFPUtils subweb
Create more forums for applications currently under development by using the template cloning procedures, once the new template forums subweb is ready to go into use.  We'll also need a catch-all Miscellaneous forum repository for smaller utilities, and this forum can also serve as a temporary repository for future forums on larger applications and general VFP topics of interest.

I used the ix03 templates to create the new SplitCon Forum on 6/14/00, and the new VFPMisc forum on 7/17.  See there for information about more VFPUtils forums to be created.
ixma0016
(not done)
main search pages for edited content areas
The present Search pages linked to in the main navigation bar pertain only to messages posted in the discussion areas.  Also supply Search pages to cover the separate subwebs for edited content, which should be linked to the home pages for IdeaXchg and VFPUtils.  Once this is worked out, it should be incorporated into the IdeaXchg forum templates, under subweb ix03.
ixma0015
(05/19/00)
adjust conventions for link to Contents frameset in headers
Let the left-hand link in each message header point to the Contents frameset for that forum.  Note that these links use the name of the forum, not the word "Contents".  Don't use the multi-colored "logo-style" for forum frameset links, so that they will be easily distinguishable from home page links (which use multi-colors).  Adjust all existing forums for this new convention.
ixma0014
(05/19/00)
eliminate malfunctioning Bottom/Unframe from Search pages
As with other special forms that are generated by FrontPage, the Search page has problems with these generic internal links.  Remove these links from all existing IdeaXchg forum Search pages, since they are useless and potentially confusing.  We've already made similar changes to the Posting and Confirmation pages.
ixma0013
(05/19/00)
use an include file for boilerplate on the Welcome page
Adjust all existing forum Welcome pages to make use of a common include file (cloned for subweb ix07), rather than redundant inline text.  This will simplify making future global adjustments.
ixma0012
(05/19/00)
add a link to the home page in all main navigation bars
A link to the home page be handy near the top of each page; this is the conventional practice.  I had tried to squeeze such a link into the page headers, but it was too crowded, so I backed out of that approach.  Page layouts should be viewable in a fairly small HTML Help window, so the headers need to be kept pretty lean.  But there's enough room in the main navigation bar just below the header.  There is also a link to the home page in the page footers, but this is not as convenient as such a link near the top of the page.  Make this adjustment in all existing IdeaXchg and VFPUtils forums.  Also adjust description of the main navigation bar in the Help page.
ixma0011
(05/18/00)
cleanups to posting Confirmation forms
Instead of FrontPage's default of just displaying the Subject line, include all of the fields of information that will be posted to the discussion group.  This seems like a reasonable convention that should always be followed.  Adjust all existing IdeaXchg and VFPUtils forums accordingly.

Also take care of these other small refinements to Confirmation pages:
  • supply a navigation bar for flavors of reloading Threads
  • eliminate malfunctioning Top/Bottom/Unframe links
  • eliminate useless page hit counter for this page
  • introduce include files for top & bottom of Confirmation pages

I wasn't able to figure out how to display certain items of information that are included in the posting, namely the Remote Name, Remote User, Date, and Time.  The Remote User/Name would have been nice, if only for completeness, but it's not a major issue.  Date and time are essentially covered by the page footer conventions.

Note that include pages for the Confirmation form do not work properly when they include form substitutions, which only work when placed directly in the Confirmation page.

ixma0010
(05/18/00)
cleanups to forum Posting pages
Clean up all Posting forms by substituting a Keywords combobox instead of Categories, and supplying a reasonable sampling of optional keywords in alphabetical order.  Keep this a multi-select combo.  Supply a default (i.e. initially selected) keyword that corresponds to the forum at the top of the list, since this will generally be useful for searching.  Start by making changes to the Miscellaneous forum, and then apply similar changes to all other existing forums.

Also eliminate malfunctioning Top/Bottom/Unframe links, because these don't work properly in Reply cases.  (Use of those links causes the default reply Subject line to get wiped.)

Supply a Keywords line at bottom for all placeholder discussion messages, to facilitate searching.  Note that FrontPage's Search behavior is a bit fuzzy and unpredictable.  This topic really requires further investigation and clarification.  For now, just add some keywords to give it a fighting chance.
ixma0009
(05/12/00)
help for the forum Contents page
Create an IdeaXchg Help page for the main Contents TOC page.  Cover the general features and design in such a way as to be suitable for the Help link on any IdeaXchg forum's Contents page.  Add a bookmarked entry in the Help Contents include file for this page.  Supply a placeholder discussion message.  Adjust all existing IdeaXchg and VFPUtils forum Contents pages to activate the Help link in the page header.
ixma0008
(05/12/00)
eliminate pointless link to self in main navigation bars
Adjust navtocf.htm and navtocu.htm include files for versions of the main navigation bar used on TOC pages so as to disable the link when we're already at the target page.  Note that these include files are actually used in only one context each, so there is no need to ever have such pointless links. Each of the existing IdeaXchg forums should be adjusted accordingly.  (These include pages were originally introduced under an earlier architecture that didn't allow this simplification.)
ixma0007
(05/11/00)
glossary page
Introduce a glossary of IdeaXchg terminology used in help and documentation.  Sprinkle distinctive italicized links to selected glossary terms, especially in key help pages and basic user documentation, e.g. in the placeholder message include file and the VFPUtils home page.  Treat the new Glossary page as a Help page, with the usual tie-ins to Help table of contents include file and placeholder discussion message.
ixma0006
(05/08/00)
Miscellaneous Forum
Create a new catch-all forum, Miscellaneous Forum, with discussion area under ix01/d1, for any topics that don't fit in elsewhere.  This can also serve as the new Test forum, to avoid the creating yet another forum purely for testing purposes.  Delete old ideaxchg/_d1 folder and ix01/d1 cruft, which was devoted to the previous version of the Test Forum.

Posting categories would be especially useful for the Miscellaneous Forum, but this is a lot simpler than creating additional forums.  If necessary, a separate Test forum can be created later.  Likewise, any topics that come up initially in the Miscellaneous Forum might later lead to the creation of physically separate forums, depending on actual usage.
ixma0005
(not done)
review/assimilate old IdeaXchg task list
Go over the old IdeaXchg task list and create new entries in this table for selected still outstanding tasks.  Hold on to the old page for posterity, since it includes a chronology of previous work with some useful tidbits of information.  Note that the old task list was created prior to introducing the new task management conventions, such as unique task ids.
ixma0004
(not done)
IdeaXchg Help pages and corresponding links
Ideally, every page of the IdeaXchg web, except possibly the home page and the Help pages themselves, should have at least one link to a corresponding Help page, and each such Help page should have a link to a corresponding placeholder discussion message.  As an illustration, see how help for the forum Contents page was handled.  Other pages need to have similar help.  Create appropriate Glossary entries, preferably before introducing the use of new, confusing terms in the help pages.

I allow for treating the Home page as an exception, i.e. without an explicit Help link, because the home page should be self-explanatory, and everything else can be viewed as part of its help.  If it turns out that a Help link for the home page does seem called for, then work it in as unobtrusively as possible.  See the obsolete preliminary article, Help on the IdeaXchg home page, for comparison.

The following generic links to Help need to be supported:
ixma0003
(not done)
documentation of IdeaXchg maintenance procedures
See obsolete preliminary articles, adding an article into IdeaXchg, and steps for publishing & reverse-publishing IdeaXchg, which were written prior to the latest round of architectural changes.
ixma0002
(not done)
IdeaXchg design documentation
Create an up-to-date page or set of pages describing and explaining the IdeaXchg web architecture.  Some diagrams would also be very nice, but that can be dealt with separately.  This documentation should be oriented toward both end users and developers, with explicit divisions where appropriate.  Compare with previous very preliminary efforts at documenting an earlier version of the IdeaXchg architecture overview.
ixma0001
(05/06/00)
new IdeaXchg forum adapted from VFPUtils template structures
Make a fresh pass at a forum for documentation and discussion about the design of IdeaXchg itself, using the latest conventions established under the VFPUtils subwebs, ix07 and ix08.  Follow consistent conventions across all of these forums.  The discussion area for the IdeaXchg forum will reside under ix01/d2.

| Top | Unframe |

 

IdeaXchg Copyright 2000, SpaceTime Systems