Tag Archives: phpBB

The New Site Is Live!

Let me start by saying a little about what I did.

I installed the plugins. One to help with site administration is Google Analytics by Yoast, and one to help with content presentation is Geo Mashup.

The site I unveil today, is History Basics.

Sometimes, information about the past is very forthcoming, and sometimes it’s not very forthcoming at all. There has been a lot of archaeological work that has happened, but sometimes finding out about it is non-intuitive. Documentation may be in a local, national, or international publication, or in a book, or perhaps it may be entirely unpublished.

There are frequently articles about archaeological finds, and it seems that a lot of them do not mention who’s doing the work.

Also, what we do have isn’t necessarily safe. Sometimes finds corrode or erode quickly after they’ve been discovered. Sometimes care isn’t taken with objects: how much more might we know about ancient Egyptian practices if rich Victorians hadn’t had a penchant for mummy-unwrappings. And in the riots in Egypt a couple of years back, some mummies were destroyed, museums in Iraq were looted during the Coalition invasion, Joseph’s tomb in Israel has been attacked several times, a proposed high-speed rail line in England has archaeologists scrambling to find out what might be in its path.

And so on.

Also, conclusions are drawn from findings, and sometimes new findings generate new conclusions (sometimes new conclusions arrive all by themselves). The conclusions might not manage to accommodate all the available evidence. Like life, it’s kinda messy. So I don’t mind presenting conclusions, but I do want to emphasise that on which the conclusions are based (and that which the conclusions ignore).

So, a disorganised field to organise, a world to save (in the “archive” sense of the word, like Donna Noble in the Library). And hopefully make research easier for anyone who wants or needs to (I’m trying to aim the writing so it can be engaged by teens in school, and anyone older than that).

I’m not strictly limiting myself to archaeological sites, as the messiness rears its ugly head again: there’s a 12th-Century church I know of that’s still in active use, and there’s certainly many archaeological sites contemporary and much more recent, so while I intend to have an archaeological focus, it’s not a criteria I will rigidly adhere to.

So that’s something in the way of the underlying idea behind the project.

I spent much of today cleaning up the showcase entry on the site: I noticed surprisingly little spelling that needed cleaned up, but some bolding, italicising, and rather a lot of making links look not-dorky. It’ll take you a while to read it, but check out the entry on Bushmead Priory over there, to get the feel of what I’m going for.

Why Bushmead Priory, you may ask?

When I was looking for a starting point, I found a list of sites that would make a great base to build from. It was Wikipedia’s list of English Heritage properties. I went through the whole list, finding the co-ordinates on Google Maps (and occasionally Bing, when Google’s image wasn’t quite adequate). Then I started over, gathering the PastScape data. And a few months ago, when I decided I really needed to get a full-fledged post done, that was quite literally the top of the list.

After I got that entry all finished, I had a bit of a battle of wills getting the forum set up. I don’t want to start with too many sections on the thing until there’s a bit more of a demand, but I got some sections set up and described, and a couple of threads started. Such is the state of things, though, that I’m using the Admin account and another account that I’ve set up for myself, and I’ve had to use the Admin account to approve the posts that I have made with the other one (one more to go).

So there, we go, this actually feels like a start, now. To invert a line from a movie (the original line including the movie’s title), “we must go forward… to the past!”

Installing Sections Of The Site

Watch out, today’s going to be technical. I’ll try to not make it too obscure, but I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid all the technical stuff.

So, with the domain name and hosting bought yesterday, and the Internet caught up to the fact that there’s actually something at the web address, today I started turning it into one of those website thingies I’ve been hearing so much about.

First up was the WordPress install, for the bulk of the actual content on the site. WordPress is what this site is built on. Now an issue I have been running into, but haven’t been troubled enough by to fix, is the url. The web address. You’ll notice that on this site, rather than being http://www.thelimeyfrog.com, the site shows as straight http://thelimeyfrog.com. I’m not sure that there’s functionally a lot of difference, but I think the www is more familiar to a lot of people.

Some searching on the issue yesterday didn’t yield any results, to today I went straight into experimentation, installing to some subfolder that, long story short, didn’t to what I wanted it to. So I deleted the folders, deleted the database, tried to start over. This second time, the installer ran, but loading the site threw up some errors. So I deleted files, deleted the database, tried it again… and the installer threw up errors.

Now this installer is some automatic “we’ll set it up for you” program that the hosting service provides, but that’s not the only way to do it. The easiest, if you don’t overthink things like I do, but not the only way. The other way is to download the WordPress program, edit a configuration file, and upload the whole shebang to where you want it. Then you point your browser to the installation file, and then it’s all set up pretty quickly.

I started uploading the files via a couple of web-based file uploaders that the host provides. There are two File Managers that let me do this (hence the trying with the plural), but they only let me select one. file. at. a. time. Well, to borrow a phrase, “that ain’t working”.

The other way to do it is via FTP, which stands for “File Transfer Protocol”. Practically, this involves downloading a program and installing it on the computer, which you have to set up with the right settings to actually connect to the web server (second time lucky, there), then it’ll let you drag-and-drop files onto the server. But not from the Explorer window you already have open, you have to browse to it again in the program.

In the end, this worked fine, and stood me in good stead for a bit later on in the story. And then I implemented the solution I found to the www issue that I’d found in the meantime.

There’s a setting in WordPress, in the General settings, where it gives you a couple of fields to enter the site URL and the WordPress URL – you can just add the www to it. Which in hindsight should have been obvious, but I was somehow still expecting it to be a folder-based problem.

That part all sorted out, I turn my attention to the other big install that needed doing: the forum. I’ve spent a bunch of time on phpBB forums, and I’ve played around with them a bit, so that seemed like the obvious choice. I set up the subdomain (forum.[I’m not telling you what the site is yet].com), then used the site’s automatic installer to install it there. Worked just fine.

But.

Going into administrator settings revealed that there was a newer version of phpBB (if I remember correctly, it was on 3.0.12 and there was a 3.0.14), so I went to get that. Going to download the newest 3.0.x, it asked me if I didn’t really want the newest 3.1.x. I tried having a look into what the difference was, and a cursory look suggested that the main reasons to keep 3.0.x was that a bunch of add-ons that work on 3.0 wouldn’t work on 3.1.
Not being that interested in these add-ons at this point, I looked up how to upgrade from 3.0 to 3.1. It involved downloading the files (unzipping them and all that), there were three folders and a file to delete from the download, then on the server delete all the forum files except those three folders and the file, then upload everything else. This is where the FTP program came in handy a second time.

Next on the list of things to do for the site, is to add some plugins to WordPress, and set up how I want that to be displayed, and fiddle with some basic settings on phpBB so that at the very least it’s branded as my site, and not the generic defaults.

After that: enough content that I’ll be happy to give people a link to the new site.