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Website Progress

This article summarises the progress for two web sites:

Changes – Live Site

Note that details of live site releases can be found in the release history document.

Date Changes Description & Notes
19-Sep-2017 Side Bar

Changes to the "internal links" and "navigation" areas:

  • Removed widgets from the "internal links" area: "thinking of joining", "competition news summary", "writing groups directory", "NAWG publications", and "NAWG address".
  • Added "how to" widget to the "navigation" area, which encompasses all of the above information.

As a side-effect, the rather amateur-looking clip art images have now gone.

25-Jul-2017 Structure Category names made less terse, so more descriptive.
24-Jul-2017 Content & Structure

Made some changes to competition related articles and taxonomy:

  • Generally made article titles less terse, often by simply including the word "competition".
  • All Pam's People competition articles are now grouped by a similarly named tag.
19-Jul-2017 Structure

Further organisational work on advertising related content:

  • Removed "advert" and "advertising" tags from all articles, now we have categories instead.
  • Removed some articles from the "adverts" category, that represented competitions or events from members.
24-May-2017 Content
  • Renamed the titles for the 100 word mini-tales competition, from 'MTC: *' to '"100" *'.
23-May-2017 Side Bar
  • Increased the size of the "recent articles" widget from 5 items to 8 items.
  • Reduced the size of the "recent comments" widget from 5 items to 3 items.
03-Mar-2017 Structure
  • The "Who Are NAWG?" category has been retired, in favour of the "People" category. There was no point in having two categories with the same purpose.
  • Added an "Advertising" category, to cover the following:
    • Advertisements, whether paid-for or gratis for members.
    • Information about how to advertise on the site.
    • Information about how to advertise in Link magazine.
20-Jan-2017 Structure
  • There is now an administration category hierarchy, for committee and staff use. This is a restricted area and includes:
    • Meeting agendas and minutes.
    • Reports.
    • Articles for internal use.
  • The "report" tag has been re-purposed as "minutes", for committee meeting minutes.
29-Nov-2016 Content All of the competition winning entries are now stored as separate text files. This is to discourage accidental editing of other people's work.
28-Sep-2016 Content Reorganised The Write Path articles, so that prices, availability and ordering information have been factored out into separate source files.
16-Sep-2016 Structure

Reorganised some of the taxonomy:

  • A "services" category has been created. Some articles have been moved into this new category.
  • The "anthology" category has been absorbed into the "books" category.
  • A new "TWP" tag has been added, to mark articles about The Write Path.
  • A significant number of articles used to live under the "group news" category, but were not appropriate to that category, as they did not relate to writing groups. This was a hangover from when all advertising was categorised this way (something now done using the "advert" tag).

    The articles in question have now been moved into other categories, more appropriate to their content.

20-Aug-2016 Display

The way sets of articles and sets of responses are displayed has been changed. This was done to improve clarity. The new behaviour is given below.

Sets of Articles

  • Single item – displayed in full.
  • Two or more items – displayed as excerpts.
  • Six or more items – displayed in a table.

Sets of Responses

  • Single item – displayed in full.
  • Two or more items – displayed in a table.

With the old behaviour, multiple articles were displayed in full (for sets of up to 4 items). Users may not have scrolled down and realised there were more than one, especially with long articles. With excerpts, it is easier to see that there are more to follow.

11-Jul-2016 Facilities

Removed the following deprecated email relays:

  • booking-events@nawg.co.uk (use events@nawg.co.uk instead).
  • comp-nawg@nawg.co.uk (use comp-members@nawg.co.uk instead).
05-Jul-2016 Content Renamed some competition results articles: "NAWG Year" as "Members Year".
08-Jun-2016 Structure

Renamed some categories:

  • "Writing Groups" → "Writing Groups Directory",
  • "Directories" → "Resources".
04-May-2016 Comments

Based on a review over the use of pingbacks, the following was done:

  • The WordPress settings were altered to disable pingbacks by default.
  • All articles had their pingback status set to "closed".

    UPDATE {tpfx}_posts SET ping_status='closed', to_ping='', pinged=''

  • All existing pingbacks (27) were moved into the "trash" state.
29-Apr-2016 Content
  • Updated the submissions page of the "100 competition", to include three payment options.
  • The 100 competition rules now state that prose is allowed, but not poetry.
19-Apr-2016 Content Replaced the existing membership application form with a revised one.
25-Mar-2016 Content Replaced the existing membership application form with a new one that includes Gift Aid options for individual members.
01-Mar-2016 Structure Flattened the publications category and adjusted some articles, so that The Write Path now lives in a new anthology category.
29-Jan-2016 Content

The official NAWG address is now stored in a text file. This will make things easier to alter on the website, should this address ever change. To include the address in an article, do not paste it in, but use the following code instead:

[file src="nawg.address.txt"/]

27-Jan-2016 Structure
  • Added "winners" tag for articles that contain stories, poems and other writing by previous competition winners.
03-Jan-2016 Content
  • Mini-tales competition: added clarification to the submission instructions, regarding story titles, e-mail subject line and file attachments.
16-Dec-2015 Front Page
  • Introduced the "headlines" panel at the top. For content, this is fed by a sub-page, which typically has a bullet point list of headline items.
15-Dec-2015 Content
04-Dec-2015 Content
  • Changed category names for simplicity:

    • "100 Competition" to "100 Words",
    • "Competition Results" to "Results",
    • "General Competitions" to "General",
    • "Members Only Competitions" to "Members Only",
    • "Open Competitions" to "Open",
    • "NAWG festivals" to "NAWGFest",
    • "Wentworth Weekend" to "Wentworth".

    Changed some corresponding article titles as well.

25-Nov-2015 Content
  • Where appropriate, staff names have been replaced with role names. For example: "Kevin Machin" has been replaced with "Web Administrator". This is to reduce future editing work when staff changes occur.
24-Nov-2015 Content
  • Added publication dates and submissions deadlines for Link magazine.
22-Nov-2015 Content
  • Changed all instances of "Warwick University" to "University of Warwick".
19-Nov-2015 Content
  • Changed category name "Web Site" to "Website", along with the description.
25-Sep-2015 Side Bar & Content
  • Replaced the "Berforts" advert with a "CMP" one, since Berforts have gone into administration.
  • Created the basic framework for the website plans documentation. The overview article is the starting point. Navigation is defined in the document structure article. Alternatively, you can use the "plans" tag.
23-Sep-2015 Content
  • Tidied up The Write Path anthology articles:

    • Their availability status has been brought up to date.
    • Their layout and styling have been made consistent.
    • They now share content with a new article that summarises the availability and prices of all the anthology editions.
21-Aug-2015 Content
  • Removed the following widgets from the "writing groups" area in the side bar:

    • "list updates", relating to article 307 which has now been removed.
    • "not on the list?", relating to article 310 which has now been removed.

    Note that these were only shown when "writing groups" categories are displayed.

04-Aug-2015 Content
  • Changed several articles to reflect staff changes. E-mail address relays were also changed accordingly.
  • Changed several articles so that phrases like "associate member" have become "individual member".
29-May-2015 Structure

Reorganised the competitions area:

  • Merged winners and results articles into a single "Results" category.
  • Renamed "NAWG Competitions" as "Members Only".
  • Renamed "Open Competitions" as "Open".
  • Added "General" category for competitions not organised by the NAWG committee. Reorganised articles accordingly.
  • Some of the competition related articles that were only in the "Group News" category, have now been added to the "Competitions/General" category.
  • Changed the slug for the “100” competition to "mini-tales", due to technical issues with numeric slugs.
02-May-2015 Side Bar
  • Swapped positions for "categories" and "pages" widgets. This makes the categories a bit easier to get to.
22-Apr-2015 Side Bar
  • Removed the "polls" widget.
  • Changed "categories" widget from drop-down list to ordinary list.
07-Apr-2015 Content Updated the competitions area, which had become out-of-date.
25-Mar-2015 Comments Disabled comments for all pages except the "contact us" one. Posts remain unchanged.
20-Mar-2015 Layout Added a "supporting Get Creative, BBC Arts" advert to the side bar.
10-Mar-2015 Content Spruced up the contact us page, including adding a list of the official e-mail addresses.
10-Mar-2015 Content

Removed all attachments from the database. Attachments are not currently used for media, for a number of reasons, including:

  • The user interface is awkward to use, at best. Uploading is a bit hit-and-miss.
  • The file naming convention is messy and cannot easily be policed.
  • Images get manipulated, without the possibility of user choice. This includes:
    • Multiple copies in different sizes, whether required or not, all resized and compressed.
    • No control over file names.
  • The relationships between articles and their attachments is rather poorly designed and implemented.

Perhaps a later version of WordPress will change things, but for the time being, attachments are of no particular use, given we have direct FTP access for media uploads.

09-Mar-2015 Structure

The permalink structure has been changed to: /%post_id%/

Despite many arguments in favour of "pretty" URLs, there is one major flaw in most of the permalink options: they are not permanent.

I could write a whole article on why, but here's a summary of the reasons:

  • Article titles can and do change. Reasons vary, from simple typo corrections to other cosmetic or operational considerations.
  • Categories, tags and other taxonomies are not suitable for permalinks, because:
    • Their names and URL slugs may change.
    • Articles can and do have more than one term associated with them.
  • Temporally based permalinks make no sense. Who cares when an article was posted? We have archives for that. In any case, dates may be adjusted, e.g. to bring an article nearer to the top of a list.
  • Author based permalinks have similar issues. Authors may change their names for a variety of reasons. Articles' authors may be altered for operational reasons.

In short, the only aspect about an article that is permanent, is its unique identifier – the ID number.

06-Mar-2015 Display & Content
  • A new advert tag has been added, to help identify articles which are advertisements, either paid ones or free ones.
  • The breadcrumb trail for navigation now uses diamonds as separators, rather than greater than symbols. For example:

    Home ♦ Category ♦ Sub-category ♦ Article

    Rather than:

    Home > Category > Sub-category > Article

04-Mar-2015 Content

The Writing Groups Directory has been overhauled. In particular:

  • All the out-of-date groups information has been removed.
  • A full listing of all groups has been put in its place, derived from the membership database.
  • The information about NAWG personnel has been moved into the Who is NAWG category.
25-Feb-2015 Content
  • Created new category Wentworth Weekend and moved related articles there. The articles were tidied up along the way.
  • All previous years' brochures and booking forms for the Festival of Writing are now stored in WCONT_HOME/doc/event/. Only the current ones are downloadable, but the others are there as an archive.
15-Jan-2015 Front Page Replaced the "supported by our patrons" panel with a "special membership offer" one.
14-Jan-2015 Front Page
  • Added a panel for "Writing Group News".
  • Rearranged panels and aligned them vertically.
06-Jan-2015 Content
  • All events images have now been reorganised, along with book covers and adverts.
19-Dec-2014 Content

The images for the site have been filed in a rather haphazard manner, including the following issues:

  • Multiple and ad-hoc locations, including:
    • WCONT_HOME/uploads
    • images
    • images/2011
    • images/extra
  • No particular naming convention, resulting in some confusing and misleading image file names, e.g:
    • Gem-Street-cover-383x619-20150x150.jpg
    • Advert-for-NAWG-2.jpg
  • Duplicate images with different file names.
  • Unnecessary images that are not referenced anywhere on the site.

Work is now underway to tidy this up, using the following principles:

  1. One directory tree for images, e.g.
    • /WCONT_HOME/img
    • /WCONT_HOME/img/book
    • /WCONT_HOME/img/comp
  2. Consistent naming convention, including:
    1. All lower case ASCII characters.
    2. No numeric sizes nor dates in file names.
    3. Use names that collate into a sensible order, to make things easier to find.
  3. Only upload files that are actually needed.

So far, the images for the books area and the 2011 Festival of Writing have been reorganised.

28-Nov-2014 Content

Further work on the Link magazine area:

  • All magazines now reside in the same directory and have a consistent file naming convention:


    where yy is the year and mm is the month of publication.

  • The back issues list has been accordingly adjusted. It is also now a separate article from the general Link information one.
  • Many (but not yet all) articles with the word LINK hard-coded in upper case, have been altered so that the following code is used instead:

    <em class="mag-link">Link</em>

    This should ensure:

    1. Consistency.
    2. The ability to apply styles (including capitalisation) without further article editing.
21-Nov-2014 Content

The writers' group news area had been reorganised.

What used to be a very long and unwieldy document, is now a new category where writer's groups can get articles and adverts put up.

The page itself has had a makeover and now includes details of how to advertise on the site and in Link magazine, in addition to listing the groups' news articles.

22-Oct-2014 Content

The open competitions area has been reorganised.

  • Competitions are now detailed in separate articles. One each.
  • The summary now has a table of links to these articles.
21-Oct-2014 Content

The Link area has been tidied up.

  • Duplicated editorial policy information has now been replaced by links to the editorial policy page.
  • Links to back issues of Link magazine are now presented in tables. One table per year. Easier to find.
  • The short story Unexpected News, previously uncategorised, has been moved into the Link category.
  • Article excerpts have been added.
07-Oct-2014 Content

The books area has been reorganised. This will save a great deal of searching and scrolling.

  • There is now one book per article (mostly). Easier to locate; easier to edit.
  • Tags are used for certain books. For example:
    • Anthologies and collections are tagged "anthology".
    • Books published by NAWG are tagged "NAWG Publications".
    • Books containing poetry are tagged "poetry".

As there are now quite a lot more articles, the number displayed per page (when not viewing in single article mode) has been increased from 10 to 20.

27-Sep-2014 Front Page

Re-organised the panels on the front page:

  • Merged the two "NAWG Open Festival of Writing" panels and the "Events" panel into a single one with the title "NAWG Open Festival of Writing & Other Events".
  • Changed the images on the new panel and on the "Competitions" panel. The events panel now has a "group" image and the competitions panel has the "pen nib" image.
  • Added a new "Publications" panel to list articles in that category.
  • Moved the "Friends of NAWG" panel into the left-hand column.
23-Sep-2014 Layout

Added links to other sites, including connections to social media.

  • A "links to other sites" widget has been added to the side bar, just below the "NAWG details" panel.
  • The "categories" list in the side bar is now rendered as a drop-down list, in order to save vertical space.
15-Sep-2014 Layout

The site map area is no longer displayed.

  • The "categories" and "pages" panels have been removed from the site map. The site map is now empty and is therefore no longer displayed.
  • An "archives" widget has been added to the side bar, just below the "categories" list. This and the "pages" list are now rendered as drop-down lists, in order to save vertical space.
12-Sep-2014 Layout
  • A "recent comments" widget has been added to the side bar, just below the "recent articles" widget.
08-Sep-2014 Layout

Further rearrangements associated with phasing out the site map area:

  • The "recent articles" list has been moved out of the site map area and is now shown in the side bar, just below the "Polls" widget.
  • The "latest updates" panel on the front page has been removed, since this information is duplicated in the "recent articles" side bar widget.
  • This made some space on the front page, so the other front page panels have been rearranged to take advantage of this.
01-Sep-2014 Layout

The "site map" area is redundant, since the information it contains is repeated elsewhere. For this reason, it is being phased out. Accordingly, the positions of some of the information panels is changing, starting with:

  • The "NAWG details" panel has been moved out of the site map area and is now shown in the side bar, just above the Berforts advert.
12-Aug-2014 Deployment Release 2.6.0 of the live site was deployed.
27-May-2014 Deployment Release 2.5.0 of the live site was deployed.
06-May-2014 Deployment Release 2.4.5 of the live site was deployed.
16-Apr-2014 Deployment Release 2.4.4 of the live site was deployed.
04-Apr-2014 Deployment Release 2.4.3 of the live site was deployed.
31-Mar-2014 Deployment Release 2.4.2 of the live site was deployed.
20-Mar-2014 Deployment

We decided to adopt the evolutionary changeover deployment strategy. See the deployment strategy document for more details.

Release 2.4.1 of the live site was deployed. This was a technical upgrade in preparation for later changes. No significant visual nor functional changes were applied.

Changes – Test Site

Date Changes Description & Notes
02-Mar-2015 Location The testing site has now returned to it's normal place: test.nawg.co.uk.
29-Jan-2015 Location As part of the re-hosting task, the test site has been temporarily relocated to: test.nawg.net.
01-Sep-2014 Layout The positions of many of the display panels and widgets has been rearranged. This is to provide a preview of the way the live site will look when the "site map" area has been phased out. The site map has been deemed redundant, since the information it contains is duplicated elsewhere on the site.
24-May-2014 Database Split

Went back to having separate databases for the two sites. This is so that different display themes can be used on each site, something not possible with a shared database.

We will endeavour to synchronise them on a weekly basis.

05-Apr-2014 Database Shared The test site and the live site now share the same database.
11-Mar-2014 Home Page
  • Made the home page display the "test site" information.

    Note that on the live site, we'll replace this with something else (to be designed).

  • Made a separate "all posts" page to list every post.
04-Mar-2014 Comments
  • The comments submit/reply form was implemented.

  • Comments now displayed in a nested manner, to reflect their threaded (hierarchical) organisation.
21-Feb-2014 Comments Comments now displayed with each article, though the submit/reply form is still to be developed.
19-Feb-2014 Tags Incorporated WordPress tags into the theme. Tags can provide relationships between articles across different categories.
17-Feb-2014 Layout & Display
  • Moved article navigation bar into the footer display frame.
  • Article titles can now be clicked, to display the selected one on a single page.
  • Articles now each have an "info" area after the main content, showing the author, posting date, and categories. These include links so that, for example, users can click to see articles by a particular author or in a particular category.
17-Feb-2014 List Mode

A feature whereby long lists of articles* can be displayed in a compact, tabular form. This will make locating an article of interest an easier process.

* Long lists can be generated when, for example, popular categories are selected.

15-Feb-2014 Import

Data from the live site were imported to this test site. Some notable points to observe:

  • This is still a test site, changes made here will not have any effect on the live site (nor vice-versa).
  • Images and attachments have not been imported, therefore much content will be missing.
  • A great many of the links in the articles will be broken. Do not panic. Remember, this is only a test site.
13-Feb-2014 Structure A first attempt at a new hierarchical content structure. See the Site Structure page for details.
10-Feb-2014 Framework A rough operating framework was developed — a WordPress theme with an absolute bare minimum feature set. Just enough to do some simple display of the main components.
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Posted by: Kevin Machin Date: September 27, 2014 11:02 am
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