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Website coming along

I feel like I'm finally getting this website looking like something I wouldn't be embarrassed to show someone else. It has taken several hours to figure out the .info and .tpl files. Thank heaven I already knew some CSS. At one point I was stumped and finally realized I was missin a ';' at the end of a line in the CSS. Too many hours staring at the screen, I guess.

I've heard the claim before from other software, notably phpBB: "don't hack the source -- theme in the templates", but that's hooey, however, Drupal really has made it possible to theme your website without hacking any source. I'm extremely impressed with the power I have to control content, define blocks, and theme.

Jared thinks he's about 8 hours out from importing all my old images and documents. That puts me about 1/2 way done with the project. The goal is to debut October 1. Next steps for him are to re-import the Primary Talks (which he screwed up), and do the activities (complex) and object lessons (simple) databases. I am not sure if I will have him write new code for the YW lessons or not. With the URL rewrites, I can use the old URLs and old code, and it'll still function. Ugly, but it works even now.

For me, I need to finish tweaking the theme, create a simple interface for users to add content through, and begin figuring out the way to best display data. The final item is the most difficult because I pride myself on building large libraries that are easy to browse. I will also import all the phpBB entries into the Drupal forum, and add the directory of LDS websites. If I could figure out how to create a directory with Drupal, that would be nice. I'm sure it would involve a whole new content type and some new logic.... But neither the directory or forum are high priorities -- just icing.

For my own memory's sake -- I'll note that I did clean out the activities db, and I need to tag that data as soon as I can to make the import go more smoothly.

Caleb is helping me index all the clipart from the old Friend magazines that are open and online. This is going to be HUGE! I've already added most of the pictures of interest from I still have around 100 files I've been ignoring in my inbox for the past few months to upload.

I'm hoping to get more Seminary teachers to submit helps, especially now that CES has dropped their (silly) policy about "employing" regular teachers. I still think it's extortion to sell Seminary lessons.

Ultimately I plan to open the text ad zone to include my ads and other sites' ads. LDS websites just aren't getting enough publicity, and since I'm the most trafficked non-official website (that I know of), I feel I can help out others with my site. I will require a back link, however, for SEO.

Still trying to decide if I want to allow regular user blogging. I'll keep my blog, but it's my site. Not sure if I want that sort of data alongside this lesson help type stuff.

I'll need to figure out how best to publicize the website. My friend Karen is a good writer -- maybe she'd help me write a press release to send to some of the Utah-Idaho-California news conglomerates. I also need to figure out how to get the news out to some of the bigger blog sites -- Bloggernacle and FMH are probably my first choices. The key to this website's continued growth will be to allow more, better, easier sharing of lesson ideas. This new site will make that goal so much easier! I can't say how excited I am!

Note to self: should I set a default that clicks on tags find items of same content type, with option to expand search options in results page?

Post Date: August 30, 2008
Author: Jenny Smith


Jenny Smith
Jenny Smith is a designer who started blogging in 2004 to share lesson and activity ideas with members of her home branch Mississippi. Her collection has grown, and she now single-handedly manages the world's largest collection of free lesson help for LDS teachers with faceted search. Her library includes teaching techniques, object lessons, mini lessons, handouts, visual aids, and doctrinal mastery games categorized by scripture reference and gospel topic. Jenny loves tomatoes, Star Trek, and her family -- not necessarily in that order.
Jenny Smith is a designer, blogger, and tomato enthusiast who lives in Virginia on a 350+ acre farm with her husband and one very grouchy cat.
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