Posts Tagged ‘Extensions’

Exam timetable for each page

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I finally found a MediaWiki calendar extension that does the job! Here is what the calendar looks like.

calendar

And it’s easily editable because you don’t have to mess with table syntax. All you do is type the date. e.g. 2009-10-13:::ALP101Q Exam

The purpose of this?

Well, if someone fills in the exam date for a module, I’ll know when to email everyone doing that module. Not really a ‘good luck for the exam’ email, but rather a request to come back to the wiki straight after the exam and put down all the questions you remember were asked.

Some improvements to be made:

  1. I think the current year needs to be displayed at the top, next to the month. (Will have to modify the extension’s code for this)
  2. It needs a proper design, maybe even the exam date highlighted. (Will need to look into the CSS)

Introducing “community”

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Since the initial testing revealed (from two sources) that students want to interact with other students doing a module, I dug around and found this very suitable ContributionCredits extension. This is what it produces at the bottom of every wiki page:

Contribution Credits

The above snippet was taken from the ENN102E page. You see a heading “Contributors to this page” with usernames of everyone who ever edited that page (except for admin).

So that’s a neat solution for indicating who is taking which modules. You can also click on a person’s username to find out more about them (what they are currently studying, what work they’re doing on the wiki, view their photo…).

In the past, I had a section where you could insert your name if you were doing a particular module, but that was a manual process, so not many people went to the effort. This extension is ideal because your username is added automatically the moment you save your changes to a page.

Goals for May & June

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

May was the extension month, and my goal was to implement all the necessary extensions for WikiStudent. Here is a list of the ones I’ve tested on the live server so far:

  1. Sitemap (to create an XML sitemap for search engines)
  2. Category Tag Cloud (to display subject names on the home page in tag cloud format)
  3. Polls (to show PollDaddy polls on the module pages)
  4. SimpleFeed (for the student jobs pages)
  5. NewsFeed (to display the most recently edited module pages on the home page)
  6. Tree & Menu (for the persistent left-hand navigation)
  7. Breadcrumbs (to show “where am I?” at the top of every page)
  8. Google Maps (to display a satellite map of Unisa on the home page)
  9. Include (to display pictures of textbooks, which are wrapped in iframes)

There are still a couple more I’d like to use. I believe that when the site is finished it will use about a dozen more extensions. At least the most important ones have been finalised!

June will be the testing month, where I ask users to test the site and make necessary changes. I also want to get the editing help / documentation completed. Lots and lots of work!

The perfect menu tree

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

I came across a brilliant collapsable menu tree, for the left-hand persistent navigation. It’s called TreeAndMenu and here is a screenshot of what it looks like on another wiki:

treeandmenu

When you click on the ‘+’ next to a folder, it expands to show you the pages included. On WikiStudent, I’m going to have categories as folders, and pages within those categories beneath them.

I’ve installed this extension already, but still need to take care of the styling, and make the items expandable / collapsable. A quick preview of what it looks like at the moment:

treeandmenu2

So, in the above example, “PLS” will have a folder icon, and expanding it will reveal the page “PLS102Y”, which you click on to get to the page. Nice, don’t you think?

News feed

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Last night I implemented the MediaWiki News extension. In short, this displays a mini-feed of the most recent wiki edits on the home page. (I’ve limited it to only pages categorised under “Unisa Modules”, only the 15 most recent modules, and only non-minor edits).

This is what it looks like:

news feed

I think it is important for the following reasons:

  1. It shows which modules have been recently updated and are worth visiting.
  2. The date stamp shows first-time visitors that the site is ‘alive’ and current.
  3. It provides a means for jumping straight to a module page, and is therefore the quickest way to get where you want to be.