Dispatches From The Geeks

News and Announcements from the MCS Systems Group

Dispatch from the geeks, 2006/08/25

Greetings! In this dispatch, we bring you tidings of webby goodness, SC2006 shenanigans, updates on some testing, and introduce you to one of the services we provide!First up, our new web look! Some time earlier this year, Argonne introduced its new identity. Along with it came some guidelines on what’s acceptable and what’s not in terms of logos and such. One of the casualties was divisional and group logos, which our then-existing (and oh-so-outdated) web pages sported with abandon. Now, we’ve been outside the general look and feel of Argonne’s web style for some time, and it’s always been on the list to update and modernize the look, but there never really was the staffing for it. A few abortive attempts were made, but other priorities leapt to the top of the stack, and it consistently failed to get done.Eventually, however, the current of change sweeps us along, and indeed, the pressure was great enough that we were brought into the 21st century with our new look. It’s very similar to the look that exists on Argonne’s main page and other divisions, which certainly achieves the unified identity goals that lab management has been desiring.You can see it right now at http://www.mcs.anl.gov/.However, given that the Argonne templates are pretty Dreamweaver specific, and knowing that many of our users are hands-on kind of people who may not want to be forced to use some funky WYSIWYG web editor, we needed a nice option to allow the users who so choose to edit their web pages with their favorite line editor. So, we pilfered the Argonne templates, demystified them, turned them into simple HTML (with just a hint of PHP and CSS stylesheets) and came up with a set of templates that anyone should be able to use to generate pages that look and feel like what we’ve got on the MCS main page.Instructions for using the new templates can be found here. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s important to note that this is simply an update to the content. The migration to the new web server is still proceeding, so you’ll still see some www-new, www-unix and www-fp references in there from time to time. These will all be updated when the migration’s ready, and while all www-new, www-unix and www-fp URLs will work, the only one people will see on their browsers will be www.mcs.anl.gov. At that point, the templates and instructions will be updated to reflect that new reality, but the current templates can be used with our existing unix web server. FrontPage webs will need to move to the unix infrastructure, which is part of the process of converting to our new web server as well.If you require assistance using the templates, send us a note at systems@mcs.anl.gov. We’re happy to assist with the techincal issues and the use of the templates, but we can’t really help much with the content — that’s up to you. Also, please keep in mind that we’re running a little shorthanded, so patience is appreciated!A note – next week we’ll be unveiling a couple of tools to allow anyone, web-savvy or not, to generate clean looking e-mail forms much in the same way FrontPage did, and will work with the new server and templates. As well, we’ll be introducing a CAPTCHA that anyone can incorporate into any form. The finishing touches are just being applied as this is being written, so stay tuned!Next up, SC2006! As we all know, SC2006 is fast approaching. We’ve been dealt a small blow in that our designee for providing IT support at SC2006 was Pedro, whose last day was Friday. Regardless, we’re confident that we’ll be able to meet the needs of supporting the booth, but we need to get a solid handle on what will be expected. This will assist us in making sure we have the infrastructure to enable it, and the personnel to support it. Next week, we’ll be calling a meeting of all interested parties in SC2006. If you’re going to SC this year and plan to do something in the booth, then you’re an interested party. Please send mail affirming this interest to stace@mcs.anl.gov and we’ll let you know when the meeting will take place.The networking and new linux build testing mentioned in the last dispatch continues. Thank you to our early tester volunteers; you’re on the list and will be contacted when we’re ready for you!Lastly, it’s time to introduce you to a service we provide that you may not know about. We’ll try to make this a regular feature of the dispatches, at least until we run out of services to profile. This week’s profile is Trac.Trac is designed with software development in mind, bringing together a wiki, a subversion repository, an issue tracker and a project roadmap. Currently, we’re hosting two active projects on the server, Cobalt and Bcfg2. If you think this would be useful for your project and would like to set up an instance, let us know.

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Written by Craig Stacey

August 26, 2006 at 4:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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