You are here: Foswiki>Main Web>StepByStep (20 Oct 2010, LenHockley)Edit Attach

Greetings, Colleagues!

This is a Step By Step page for getting started using the Repository. Here we'll walk through the steps for you to take a look at what's up here so far and, if you like, register and leave your comments about the site. Once we've done that, we can get into how to do some other neat things (like putting some of your great stuff here as well!). You are most welcome to browse around the entire site without registering--you just can't leave a note or add anything to it until you register. We, of course (and probably some of your other colleagues), would love to hear that you've visited the site and your thoughts.

As an experiment in providing instructions, you'll sometimes see both a "terse" set and a "verbose" set. The former is for those of you pretty comfortable with computers and websites and consists basically of a few bullets. The second is more detailed for those who still find this universe somewhat confusing.

Taking a Look at What's Here

The Repository is presently divided into four major areas: the Years (or Timeline) of our history, some Subjects (topical--these will certainly get added to), Places (geographic locations) and Reflective Writings. It is designed so that you can go look at the overall historical timeline of our community (thanks to the work of Beret Griffith and Brian Stanfield, who brought this up to the year 2000), or go to a particular decade or to a specific year (say, 1966). Or you can pick a Subject and see what's been posted to it (say, 5th City or LENS) or to Places and have a look at what's been posted related to Mowunjum or Egypt. For longer pieces or more reflective writings, you can look at the postings in Reflective Writings.

You can also cut to the chase and use the Search engine to hunt for something that might show up in any or all of those areas. As we launch this site, there isn't a lot of stuff up here yet in these major areas--indeed, that's where you come in! Still, there are already some fine things in each of them as illustrations that you may find interesting, so do take a look.

Using the Sidebar

On the left-hand side of this Main Web that you're in is a list of links with icons. Let's go through these quickly.

First, you will see the word Main. The Main Web has most of the repository content; that's where you are now since you are viewing this page. The other possibilities are the Foswiki and Sandbox Webs; more on those in a minute.

Below that, you will see:

This looks different depending on if you have logged in or not. If you haven't, it says "log in or register". If you have an account, it's a good idea to login - you can't leave a note, post an item or edit a page without having logged in.

If you have logged in, you will see "Hello your_name", with a link below to logout. Underneath that is a link to create your own personal sidebar. (This is an advanced topic - we suggest leaving it until you know your way around.)

Next comes:

This handy link takes you to the welcome page you see whenever you call up the Repository with your Web browser (kind of our home page). Incidentally, this is probably the page you'll want to bookmark if you plan to return.

Let's go through the rest of the sidebar step by step.

  • tip Concept -- A link to a Concept piece which lays out what we intend and hope for with this site.

  • help Step by Step -- Brings you back to this very page - a short tutorial on this site.

  • newtopic Create New Topic -- Helps you you create a new topic, which is to say a new page within the year, subject or place you currently find yourself.

  • days Year Index -- An index of Main Web content organized by year

  • globe Places Index -- an index of Main Web content organized by place or location

  • persons Completions -- a place to record remembrances for completed lives

  • index Total Index -- An alphabetical list of every page in the Main Web

  • searchtopic Search -- allows you to search the Main Web

  • changes Recent Changes -- Gives you a list of recently edited pages. When you come back to this site at a later date, you can use this link to quickly see what new items have been posted since you were last here.

  • person Users -- Shows a list of all of us who have registered on this site (Users), along with whatever current information we've included about ourselves.

  • pencil Your Comments -- Provides an opportunity to express your reaction to this web site. This is a place for you to leave a message for those of us administering the site, including your suggestions, things you've found that don't seem to work, flowery compliments, pet peeves, that sort of thing. You can also leave comments of general interest.

  • help Site Help -- A place to get help about this web site. Do you have questions, wonder how to do something, or need assistance? Conversely, if you have learned your way around this site, drop in and help answer user questions.
* bubble Site Launch Talk -- A special page for technical discussion concerning the setting up and administering of the site: the technology "Room E" dynamic, open to everyone!

-- But wait--there's more! Below this list of links, you'll notice that there are three somethings called Webs.

You may want to visit all three of these. The Main Web is where we'll post our items, the primary place we'll work. The Foswiki Web is where you can learn more about the software technology that runs this site, if that interests you. The Sandbox is a place you will want to visit, in order to--yes, indeed!--just play around. It's where you can create your own page and then experiment on it with some of Foswiki's features. So, if you wanted to post a photo on the Main Web, where everyone could see it, you might first go to the Sanbox Web, create your own test page, and see if you can upload your photo there before you do it on the Main Web. Just a way to help you get the hang of things in a space where you are both a bit out of sight and can mess up (and recover) without any adverse consequences whatever!

Sometimes you may get lost and be unsure which of these Webs you are currently in. When that happens, just scroll to the top of the page. There you will see a kind of directory, a "You are here:" tree map that tells you exactly where you are. You can then click your way back to an earlier point or click on a whole different Web on the sidebar.


Had a first look around? Good, let's get registered! You can just go do it, following the bullets below or read through this section first (the three paragraphs below), so you know what's involved. If you think it might help, you can print out this page of instructions or a section of it (click on Printable, top right corner), to have the steps in front of you as you proceed. So, first the terse, then the verbose set of instructions:

  • Click on Registration link on the Welcome page
  • Fill in the boxes and hit Submit
  • Get code from your confirmation email and paste it in the box; Submit again
  • You're registered!
The more verbose: On the Opening Page (you get to it by simply clicking the Main Web icon on the Sidebar), you will see the Registration link. Click on it, and you'll see the boxes to fill in your information. Only the asterisk ones are essential. When it comes to your Wiki Name, it should assign you one automatically--usually your first and last without any spaces and a capitol letter for the first letters of your first and last names--what's called a WikiWord (mine, for example, is GordonHarper). Pick a simple password (you can always change it later) that you'll be able to remember easily. Knowing the age of some of us, also write these down somewhere you can find them when you realize that you've forgotten them! You'll use your Wiki Name and password to log onto the site in the future. Put in a real email address--otherwise, your registration will be rejected. When finished, click on Submit at the bottom of the page.

Now you'll get a note that says, Attention. It tells you that a confirmation email has been sent to the email address you listed, with a code in it--just to make sure you really are who you said you are! You'll need to leave your browser for a moment (or this page in your browser), to go look in your email Inbox, find the new message (titled, How to Activate Your Foswiki Registration), then highlight (select) and copy the code you find there (including the "your name" part).

Come back to the Attention page in your browser and Paste that entire code into the box; click Submit again. You should soon see a new Attention page, thanking you for registering.

Congratulations--you have accomplished the first step toward fully utilizing this site!! Now you can click on your name at the bottom of the page and go to your personal page, add anything you'd like others to know about you, paste in that high school photo of yourself, change your password, etc. Or you can go to any of the personal pages of others who have registered by clicking on the Users icon in the sidebar and read about them.

Time to move on. Interested in . . . ?

Contributing to This Repository

You'll notice that there are different kinds of items on this website. So far, you'll find documents, pictures and audio clips here (no video yet, but we're hoping before long!). Let's look at how to put up each of these in turn.


There are three basic ways you can add text or a document to the Repository.

  • Write a Message
  • Copy and Paste a Message
  • Upload a File

Some of the things up here are pieces that we composed right on the site (like these instructions). Others are text that we wrote on our computer and then copied and pasted to a page on the site. Still others are printed copies of documents from our past (often mimeographed) that we have kept over the years. Taking these one at a time --

Write a Message

The simplist way is to type text into a new or existing page. You can always compose right on this site. Try this first in the Sandbox mentioned above. In both the Sandbox and on most of the Main Web pages, you will see in the sidebar a Create New Topic link. When you click on that, it brings up a page that helps you generate a new, blank page and gives you a choice of where you want this new page to be located. The language here may seem a bit strange: "parent" and "child", but hang in there. For example, if you wanted to write something about the 5th City Preschool, you'd likely go to that Subject page or to a specific year page and either add your contribution to a page that's already there or click on Create New Topic and make your new page the "child" of the "parent" page that you are on.

Once you are on the page you wish to add your comments to or have your new blank page (with your name already inserted at the bottom--slick!), you can go to town. You'll notice Edit links on the top right and bottom left of the page--click on either of them. Now begin entering text. When you are finished, click on the Save button, page bottom left. (If you fail to do this, you'll lose your work once you leave the page!) Once it's saved, you can always go back to Edit and clean up any problems, then Save again. (Note: if you are at all queasy about saving something you're not absolutely sure you've done perfectly correctly, you can click on the Preview button at the bottom of the page, and see how it looks before you do your Save. Just remember to save before you go to any other page.)

You'll notice that when you are in Edit mode, there is a "formatting help" at the top left of your page, either visible or hidden (click on it to change). This can help those of you who like to do nice headers for your text, insert bullets, get into things like bold and italics, etc., but keep in mind that you don't need to do any of that! Likewise, after you have saved your page, you will see something in the upper right and lower left corners that looks like WYSIWYG. If you click on this, it takes you to another editing page, where you will see some familiar icons, many of which are related to formatting features. Again, you don't have to get into this unless you want to--just nice to know it's there, should you want it.

Copy and Paste

Second way: You're probably familiar with copying and pasting, something most of us do pretty regularly. If you have some text on your computer that you want to share, select and copy it (for best results be sure it is in a "txt" file not a "doc" file), then go to the spot here on the Repository where you want to place it, and paste it in (those friendly commands in the Windows Edit menu). Again, remember to Save. After this, you can tweak the formatting as you wish. For some useful remarks about good style, whether you are composing directly on site or copying and pasting, take a look at GoodStyle.

Uploading Document Files

OK, moving on to the third way, which involves all those paper items in the old boxes we've faithfully stored in that back closet lo, these many years! What about mimeographed talks, articles, past program documents like Summer Assembly reports, songbooks, symbols, rituals, marriage documents, models, graphics??

We have to have a way to get these into our computers before we can plop them up here onto the Repository. That's called scanning, and I know that these days many of us have had experience doing this. Quite a few of us have an inexpensive scanner so we can make copies of our older photos. I won't try to do scanner steps here because each unit is different, but, on documents like those mentioned above, you can often set your scanner to produce either a Word document (.doc), a plain text file (.txt), or a jpg file, among others. The first two could be edited once you uploaded them, the latter, being a graphic format, could not (at least, not as easily).

Once you have your document digitized (scanned) and on your computer in one of these file formats, you are ready to decide whether to upload the whole piece as a file, in the format that it's in on your computer, or to copy and paste the material onto the page you've selected in the Repository. Here's the difference: if you upload a document file, it will appear on this site as a file link (e.g., Daily Office.doc). If people want to see that document, they click on the link, and the document opens in their own software program (in this illustration, it would be MS Word). Doing it this way preserves the original formatting of the piece. (See illustration of how this appears on a page and what happens when you click on the file: ExamplesPage.)

The other way is to open the document you want to share first on your own computer and then select and copy its text to your Clipboard. Then go to the page in the Repository where you want to place it and simply paste it there. In this case, while the page will look good, you will not have carried over the formatting of the original document. In many cases, it's not important to do so (say, a lecture that has little formatting to start with). In others (e.g., the House Church Office), the layout may be important and something you want to preserve. In any case, the resulting file size should not be too large--the smaller you can get it, the better.

Now, here's another consideration. If you scan a document, you often have a choice of the scanner saving it as a Word document (.doc) or as a graphic (typically, a .jpg file). Either one will preserve the formatting of the original. The first one, however, is a proprietary format, MS Word, and is text editable within that software, while the second, .jpg, is not text editable but is in a format that all computers recognize. Even more, the difference on our site is that Foswiki treats the Word documents it gets as files (as in the illustration above), requiring people to click on them and to open them in their personal software--something that works only when they have that software program on their computers. On the other hand, Foswiki will allow .jpg files to open automatically on a page on the site, so the viewer need do nothing but go to the page to view the item. Either approach works, but the latter is nicer for the viewer.

If you feel that uploading is the approach you need to take, first decide the specific page where you want to post it (one of the pages in Years or Subjects or Places or Reflective Writings; if it's not already created, you may have to create the new entry--e.g., I don't think we yet have a "Kemper Dishwasher" page). So, either go to the page you want in that arena where you want it or create a new one from the sidebar, as described above.

Now, at the bottom of that page, click on Attach. This will let you browse to the place where the file is stored on your computer and select it. In the Comment box, give the file a descriptive phrase to help people understand what it is. Put a check in the Properties: Create a link box; leave the other box unchecked. Click Upload File. Be patient--it may take a minute or two. A page will appear telling you what name Foswiki has used to save the file. Click OK. Voila! You have just published to the Web.

Uploading Photos

This is similar to uploading files--except that you can make all photos show up automatically as pictures on a page, no need worrying about requiring viewers to click on a link in order to see them. (Again, see ExamplesPage.) Save your scanned photos to your computer in .jpg, .gif or .png format, and try to keep the file size under 1 MB if possible. Remember to check the Create a link box before you upload.

You may not have to do anything more. What follows is for those of you who find that the photo you want to place on this site seems far too big (either it's too large a file, or, to view it, a person has to scroll up and down, left and right, in order to see the whole thing)! How do you get your pictures "right sized" for viewing on a web browser?

These suggestions are for Windows users--knowledgable MAC user, feel free to add here. Open your photo file on your computer in either MS Photo Editor (if you have MS Office on your machine) or Paint (if you don't). If your picture size is too humongous, you will need to use Paint--Photo Editor can't handle the really big stuff. Then first save your picture not as a .jpg file but as a .gif file (both programs give you this option). Sometimes this alone cuts down the file size--and for viewing on the computer, with very little degradation of image. It's one of the wonder tricks of photo editing.

Beyond this, you can check how your picture will appear on this site (its viewing size on the screen) by bringing it up in one of these programs. Make sure you are viewing it in 100% size, because that's the way it will show up in Foswiki. If all you can see is the hair on the back of someone's hand without scrolling, you now need to reduce the picture size as well as the file size. Once you have it sized as you want it to appear, and it says 100%, save it. This is the file you want to upload to the Repository.

-- GordonHarper - 25 May 2006

Some Simple Photoshop tips - - these instructions are for Adobe Photoshop, but other image editors like Paint Shop Pro have the same commands.

1. Crop the photo - use the crop tool and select only the part that is important. Select the part you want to keep and click "Image" > Crop. It focuses the pic and reduces file size. 2. Resize the photo - Click "Image" > "Size" and enter either the number of pixels or the size you want in inches or centimeters. A 2 - 3 inch photo displays very well on the web. You can adjust it until you like it. 3. Click "File" > "Save for Web". You have the option to make the file size smaller simply by looking at 4 views of it and selecting one that will display the photo in a clear way. You can fuss with the settings a bit, but it is not necessary. Just pick - almost always the one in the upper right. You can substantially reduce the file size and increase the loading time this way.

You can do amazing things with these image editors that require a lot of knowledge, but you can do some very nice things quite simply. Go ahead and play around. I "Save as" to create a new file to edit; so I always have the original.

W Nelson
Topic revision: r19 - 20 Oct 2010, LenHockley
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