Today we continued with the forum, we experimented with drupal modules by installing and testing out various modules that were avaialable that enhanced the user experience and provided addidtional features. The following modules we installed are shown on below screen shot:
We added the content of the forum and added the sections for the forum. These will be topics that users can access and post their own comments to.
Below illustrates an example of adding the sections for the foum:
One of the problems we had was when structuring the content and creating the forum topics was that it did not structure the way we wanted it to. This is one of the limitations of drupal environment, for instance instead of showing the topic right underneath the main heading we wanted to it to be a link you clck on to access the content.
Below is the forum screenshot:
We managed to set up the FTP at uni with the help of Andrew at the meeting. He uploaded the content of drupal onto his domain so that we can so we can access it from uni. We then tried to login to the server through ftp access to upload our own content but was unsuccessful due to univeristy blocking access. Therefore we set up the configurations using a differnet ftp method provided by one of our own domain. We then started work on drupal, we experimented with the environment and got a feel of how drupal works.
We played around with the themes and modules and learnt how to implement and install them to the correct drupal folders. This was little tricky to do at first as some errors would appear when adding the modules it would say missing module. To resolve this issue we ensured that the module we downloaded were compatible with our drupal version, and that all supporting parts for the modules were installed. We downloaded some modules that we can test on the forum that will allow the drupal enviroment to behave more like a forum.
This was the advanced forum we used: http://drupal.org/project/advanced_forum
This transformed the current layout to a more modern forum layout. The advanced forum gave improvements over the original forum as it provided users useful information such as; which users are logged in, total user count, improved icons, improved GUI etc…
We tried out different themes to see how it will structure the content and the different graphics that it will give. We looked at youtube video to see tutorials on how to create our own themes. We are currently using the drupal colorize theme for temporary use, but in future will create our own one using CSS style sheets and photoshop.
Today we tried installing drupal using the uni pc but we could not get it working because we did not have enough permisson to run FTP or read/write onto the uni hardrives.
Therefore we made enquires at the I.T Technician Office to see if we can get space allocated onto the server, but they told us to go to the library help desk as we were told the library can allocate student space on their server. We then had to contact Junaid our supervisor to get permisson however as Junaid is on holiday we will have to speak to the project leader which is Iqbal Hussain who should be able to arrange this for us.
We managed to install the drupal files, but we cannot install the mysql database on the server.
Today we researched on different methods of installing drupal onto a web server. The methods that were found installing it on a local server such as WAMP for the windows or the MAMP for the Mac or web hosting website to upload the files.
below shows example of a WAMP
On wamp which is a popular combination of software for use as a web server. It makes use of “Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP” hence the name wamp. We need this software to help us upload the drupal configuration files so that we can then start on the forum.
MAMP is used for the mac and we looked at this apporach also to find out the differences between the two products. Below shows example of MAMP:
We propose to design a forum that can be integrated inside the blackboard and library. It will only be for educational purposes and so any socializing will not be permitted. Although there will be a chit chat area where students can discuss anything in general.
How will it work?
It will function like any normal forum by allowing university students to log in through the blackboard which will enable them to access the forum. The student will have the option to create threads and view discussions. The student will not need to sign up as it will be part of their university account.
Other than discussions, students can go view topics of their interests. When students are posting threads, they will have a choice of options such as uploading various types of media (text, images, videos, source files etc). It will allow students to not only upload but downloads will be permitted as well. Youtube videos can be embedded in the threads to show solution videos or tutorials etc.
We went onto this website: www.drupal.com It has useful features that allow users to create many web based applications. What we now need to do is find out how we are going to integrate it into Google apps environment. To do this we have been conducting some research on various websites and reading up on tutorials.
Our first meeting we discussed possible design layouts for the forum and how the content should be structured. We also went onto google moderator to look at the features it provided to the user, and ways of using the google moderator to be implemented into a forum.
One of the issues we faced with google moderator it comes with its own custom built interface that cannot be changed, and is limited to the things you can do inside that environment other than asking questions, replying to questions and voting.
Wheras drupal is more open and lets you customize more or less to your liking