On a fairly frequent basis, I (and Jen Riehle) have to help resolve random website issues for sites hosted on campus. Generally, the remedy ticket comes in, we check it out, and try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Sometimes it is very quick, but sometimes it takes a little longer because we were not the people who originally developed the website. It would be helpful if we could easily find the original developers, so either they could resolve the issue, or at least help point us in the right direction. This becomes quite necessary when dealing with graphics that need to be altered, or navigation that doesn't immediately make sense.

So, what I'm asking is for ideas on the best way to store this information. I'll pose this as the starter idea:

In the .htaccess file at the root of any ncsu website, add the following information as a commented section:

# Begin Author Information
# Date: (site launch date)
# Lead Author's Name (or multiple author names)
# Department:
# Email Address:
# End Author Information

This way, it can be replicated on any website developed on campus, and can be found in the same place for any website at all. If you don't have an .htaccess file in the website you're developing because you're not creating any permissions or custom rules, then you can still put this information in there, and nothing else.

Anyway, there's a start. I'm open to new ideas, because at the end of the day, I'd like to have something standardized that all web developers on campus can follow without too much effort. Ideally, I don't want us to get bogged down with implementation issues or buy-in questions before we develop the template or method itself.

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That would be great, Troy. Maybe in another week or so, I can set up a f2f mtg for all of us to get together and hammer something out, or at least get a clearer vision of what might work.
In our meeting yesterday, I mentioned that I would attempt to revive this discussion and see if we can get some motivated people together to produce a solution.

So....if you're interested in this topic of Author Information for NC State websites, please reply to the thread and we can get something going.

It appears that a face-to-face meeting may be the best way to get this off the ground, and then we can continue online.

But i'm open to other suggestions for how to move this forward.

We've been waiting for a resolution to this issue ever since I've been here (9+ years).
This idea is an option - However, the Owner/Author information needs to be easily found and accessed by anyone - including the Web page visitor. The use of .htaccess or some other restrictive method may not be as useful other as other options such as Author Meta tags, links in the Footer or some other way.
Lets keep the discussion going until we come up with something that will allow everyone to easily find out the Owner/Author of published Web pages. Luis Chacon has given this a lot of thought. And I think he may have posted something (somewhere) earlier.
Don --- i agree that the author information should be easily found and accessible, but the difference of opinion comes in when we consider who the information is primarily targeted at. We will obviously have more discussion when the small group of us meet about this topic, but here's a few of my thoughts.

If you centralize the information into a .htaccess file, then it is more easily kept up to date, rather than having to manage meta data on every single page on the website. Not all developers use templates, and those using a CMS may not be able to implement (easily) a solution that requires meta data to be posted to multiple pages.

The information i originally intended to store, was centered around developers. What kind of information does a developer need when inheriting or maintaining a website. This was the original problem that we tried to solve. With that in mind, the htaccess solution may meet those needs, as the developers will have access to that file.

I cannot really think of a reason why regular visitors to the website need to be given information about the inner organization of the staff of created the site, or where it lives in AFS, or what symlinks are working for that particular site. If a regular visitor to the site needs to know who authored the site, they can look at the actual content of the site, the contact us page, or do a AFS locker lookup in sysnews to figure out where it lives in the server structure.

Having said all that, it is quite possible that a hybrid solution may be the way to go. Maybe a simple set of metadata, but then a more complete set of information stored in .htaccess (or some other hidden file?).

I'm waiting to get some more input or interest from the community before trying to organize a meeting, so whoever is interested, please let us know.
Yes, still interested and Mike Vysocka and I would come to a mtg.
I'd be interested in discussing as well.
This is one of those things that I have an interest in, but am wary of. It seems like the kind of meeting where we decide to consolidate on Groupwise - I'd like to know about my fate, but am unsure about whether I want to participate in the ... death march is probably too strong of a word.

Please keep us informed about when it is, but if I am unable to attend, I would really appreciate if someone advocated simplicity. Minimizing overhead is very important any time, but especially in these budget strapped times.
Ok --- i've created a Doodle Poll so we can figure out who would like to meet, and when we can get together to talk about this issue.


We'll have to figure out a meeting place after we get a time penciled in, but I'm sure we can work something out.
From the feedback on the Doodle Poll, I have scheduled a meeting for us on Monday, October 26th from 10-11am in the Hillsborough Building. If you didnt get the email (sent via Groupwise), let me know and i'll resend it. Right now i have Mike Vysocka, Tim Jones, Margaret Hudacko, Ellen McDaniel and Troy Hurteau on the list of attendees, but anyone else is welcome to show up (just let me know ahead of time, as i'll need to let you into the stairwell or elevator to get to the meeting (no security personnel in HLB anymore).
I'll be out of town.

Just remember: simplicity! :)
Have the parameters for this info file been finalized? I see there was a meeting last fall but no further information after that. I'm ready to start adding this information to some newly redesigned sites. Thanks!
no -- no more further information on this. It got pushed down on the priority list (as things usually do). I still have plans to revive the discussion, but need to find the time and also take into account some new developments like the web hosting initiative, AFS locker renewals, branding initiatives and whatnot.

The long and short of it is, that there are a wide array of needs and requirements that surround this topic, and we want to be sure that anything we implement doesn't get in the way of future projects/plans.

The best thing you can do until there is a central/standard solution, is to retain good records about your sites. If you keep a central spreadsheet, or a readme file in the web site locker itself....either way, as long as there is discoverable information available, that is a good first step.


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