It has been a really long time since my wife and I have had a few moments to update the web site for our company. I once read an interview in a magazine where one of the questions they asked a business owner was “what is your pet hate”? his answer was “updating my web site”. At the time I thought this was really odd, but as time flies by and the weeks turn into months I have realised that I think I have been rescheduling that job over and over as well. It has actually been quite a few years since I have properly updated our website. Most of it was coded by me in HMTL and PHP. Problem is… it was mostly written in notepad and vi.
I have decided to try a new way of authoring the web site, as I think part of the reason of postponing updates is from frustration of using ordinary editors and web interfaces that seem to take forever, time to change all that.
I have installed the Integrated Content Environment (ICE). ICE is produced by the University of Southern Queensland. This system converts Word and Open Office documents into XHTML, PDF and lots more as you can see on their website. I am involved on a project as USQ that uses ICE to create the entire web site. On this particular project we are working on perfecting a “news stand” page. It has JSON feeds from our projects Twitter API’s and feeds from other services such as the the projects WordPress Blog.
Another great feature of ICE is it can post Word and Open Office documents using ATOM and SWORD protocols. For example you can create and publish a word processing file (like I am doing now) and post it to your WordPress blog complete with images and formatting, yes you are reading an Open Office document ala ICE and ATOM.
At this stage it has been relatively easy to install and configure ICE2 on a server running Ubuntu. All that is left is to create the look and feel using a combination of XHTML and CSS. My method for doing this is to start with Firefox, then put in hacks to suit the other browser types. I have been silly enough to take on another programming subject at USQ starting this week, so between that, running the stores, looking after 2 kids and working full time I should have this all up and running in a week or two. I will keep you posted.