Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Social Experiment...

One of my social activities is bushwalking. I am a member of the Boroondara Bushwalkers (although, since the advent of Little Missy, not a particularly *active* member!).

Anyway, A while ago, I was on the committee serving as the newletter editor, and found that one of the perennial issues of the time was getting a club website (another one that flared up big time was indemnity insurance, but the use of insurance policies as a tool of social control is another topic).

To cut a long story short, I ended up volunteering to get it set up (you can see the result by following the above link ;-).

As it happened, I subsequently got involved in web stuff at work, and armed with a more in-depth knowledge of HTML , and PHP and CSS, I looked at the website with fresh eyes... and got to work.

Now, the result is not intended to be 'flash' (media or otherwise). The main page is intended to present a concise description of what the club does in as small a bandwidth as possible (Use of 56K modems still being assumed). I think it works but, then, I would, wouldn't I?

Things evolve, as they do. One of the earlier comments had been that it could be a useful resource for walks leaders etc. I thought, yeah...when I get the time. I was also thinking that the site shouldn't be too complicated!

Then I got to thinking about wikis.

Collaborative authoring! Entries provided without some overloaded central clearing agency (aka the editor/website administrator)

So, I looked around for a suitable engine, of which there are a few, before settling for PmWiki. I did so because its requirements are a pretty good match for what our ISP allows: (PHP but no database support). The only beef I have is that the access policies it provides didn't match what I wanted (a bit of recoding, and cursing the lack of PHP debugging eventually got that sorted)

The result is now unleashed on the unsuspecting public as the Boroondara Bush Wiki. I hope they enjoy it.

The social experiment? When I mentioned what I was doing at work, someone commented that it would be interesting to see how computer non-literates would cope.

So it will...


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