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Author: Manuel Lemos

Posted on:

Categories: New site features

The PHPClasses site is launching a new feature that allows authors to publish interesting articles about their classes in specific blogs that are being made available for each class.

The site main blog is also open to every user for submissions of articles of general interest to the PHPClasses site users.

Compensation will be made available to top contributors.




Contents

* A blog for each class
* Submitting blog articles
* Highlighting the article sections
* Previewing articles
* Categorizing articles
* Publishing articles
* Contributing articles to the site main blog
* Compensation for top contributors


* A blog for each class

In 2004 the PHPClasses site launched support forums for each class published in the site. This was a great feature because it allowed many users to ask for help to the authors of the classes that they want to use.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/38-Discussion-forums-to- ...

Once in a while I notice that some authors are using the forums to let the users know about new class releases or ask for feedback.

The forums are not good place for authors to communicate with the generality of the users because most of them only use the package forums when they need help.

The site sends optional alert messages when a class package is updated to the users that have previously downloaded it. However, these alert messages only list changes made to the package files.

Often the authors need to explain the new features or bugs that were fixed, but the updated files alert messages do not support including in depth explanations about the package changes.

A better way for authors to communicate with the users of their classes is using a blog. Therefore, from now on the authors can post articles in blogs that are available individually for each class.

The blog of each class may be found by going to the package page and clicking on the link the navigation bar below that says "Blog", right next to the "Support forum" link.


package_blog_link



* Submitting blog articles

To post a new blog article, the class author needs to use a link saying "Post article" that appears on the navigation bar of the main page of his package blog.


post_article_link



The blog posting system is very simple for now. There is a link for submitting a new article in the blog posting page.

If you have previously submitted any articles, a listing of submitted blog articles will appear with links for editing or deleting your posts.


submitted_articles


The article editor consists of just three fields for defining the article subject, a brief summary of what the article is about, and the article body.


edit_blog_post


The article subject and summary will be used to generate RSS feeds, as well to send in new blog post alert messages by e-mail. Make sure both the subject and summary are succinct and compelling, so it raises interest from the users in such way that makes them want to read the whole article.


* Highlighting the article sections

The article editor only supports text editing for now, but the blog system can automatically convert URLs in individual lines into links.

It can also highlight paragraphs that start with hyphens (-) or asterisks (*) in such way that they appear in bold and with bigger letter size. Use this to denote your article section titles.

Paragraphs with the word "Contents" are also highlighted is title lines. Use this in the beginning of your article followed by a list of all section lines to let the users quickly learn about the sections of your articles without having to read the whole article.


* Previewing articles

In the future the site will provide a full blown HTML editor to let authors see a real time preview of the articles, also know as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

It will take some time to develop this feature because HTML editing requires extra security care to prevent attacks known as Cross-site scripting. This kind of attacks were already mentioned in a past post of this blog.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/55-Improved-browsing-and ...

It will be necessary to develop an HTML parser that discards malicious Javascript in the articles body. This is why only basic text editing is currently supported.

For now, you can use the "Preview" button to see how the article will appear when it will be published. You will see the article formatted as in the actual blog pages.


article_preview


You may notice that your picture will appear at the top of the article with the URL of your site page below the picture, if you have provided it in the user options page.

If you have not supplied a nice picture of your face and your site URL, it is strongly recommended that you do it. That will make your articles look more professional and what you say will be taken with more credibility.

http://www.phpclasses.org/user_options.html

Keep in mind that the preview button does not save the article. Use the "Save" button once in a while to make sure the latest updates of your article are saved. In the future this aspect will be improved.


* Categorizing articles

You may associate your articles to one or more categories. The blog post manager page lets you create and manage multiple article categories. Each package blog will have its own set of categories.


new_post_category


In the article editing form you may associate an article to one or more categories that you have previously defined.


* Publishing articles

Once you are done with your article, you need to flag it as "Ready for publishing" changing the "Status" field of the article editor form. That will signal a moderator that will review your article.


post_ready_status


If the article needs improvement, the moderator will set the article status back to "Work in progress", so you can improve the article as required.

The moderator may fix or improve the article English for clarity. If the moderator determines that the article is ready for publishing, he will approve the article and it will appear in the blog right away.

Keep in mind that article approval may not happen right away as it may be necessary to delay the article publishing avoid eventual site congestion.

When the article is approved, the site will send alert e-mail messages to the users that have previously downloaded the respective classes, except to those users that have unchecked the option "Updated class files alerts" in the user options page.

http://www.phpclasses.org/user_options.html

Keep an eye on the comments that are posted about your articles and try to clarify any aspects that users may point out there were not very clear.

If you need to fix something that is incorrect in a published article, please contact the site so a moderator can quickly apply any needed fixes.


* Contributing articles to the site main blog

The PHPClasses site already has its blog since 2006. Actually this is the old site editor newsletter that was moved to the Web instead of sending the whole articles by e-mail to the site subscribers, as it happened since 2001.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/50-PHPClasses-site-blog. ...

In January, the PHPClasses blog was opened to contributions and the users of the site were invited to submit articles of their interest.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/87-10-steps-to-migrate-W ...

Since then, the blog had two interesting articles published by Jaimie Sirovich and Alexander Skakunov.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/88-Automating-Backup-Tas ...

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/89-Quickly-importing-dat ...

This constituted a great experience and soon the site will publish more articles from others authors. If you are interested to contribute, please use the link that says "Post article" in the site blog page.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/

Submitted articles will be reviewed before publishing like package blog articles. The English will be fixed if necessary. Only the articles that contain good substantial material of interest of the PHPClasses site users will be approved.

Publishing guidelines will be made available soon in the post submission page. If you are uncertain if an article that you want to submit would be accepted, please use the contact link at the bottom of the site pages to send a message telling about your article idea.


* Compensation for top contributors

The PHPClasses is working on ways to compensate top contributors, not only of blog articles but also of popular classes.

The compensation methods will be announced soon when they are available and well tested, but some of the current top contributors may be invited to participate in the tests.

Meanwhile feel free to submit your classes and blog posts. The compensation ways that are being planned will reward past and future contributions.

For now, if you have any questions about the blog posting submissions, feel free to post a comment to this article.

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