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> English > Contribute > Writers > Writing an article

Writing an article

September 2010 — last update October 2011

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français] [italiano] [русский]

Publishing an article starts by choosing the section in which it will be placed. You may normally, mainly write translations of articles that already exist. In this case you need to first recreate the same section hierarchy as the reference language one in order to place the new article in the corresponding section. Once it has been added, an article can be modified as needed by its writer(s). Finally the publishing cycle determines who can read the article.

1- Translating an article

In the site edition interface, you have to display the article to be translated then create a new translation as described on page Organization of contents. The title should be changed and the article section, which defaults to the reference article one, is to be changed too. Once a draft translated version is saved, the article language should also be changed. It defaults to the reference article one too. The article status will be set to “being written”. It can then be modified as needed, while the modification history is saved. A logo can be associated to an article, it is displayed on the article top. You can download a tarball of most of our article icons. You can also copy the reference article logo or even let administrators of the whole website change icons for you.

2- Adding a new article

To choose an article section, you can look at the site map. Then you just need to go to the site edition mode, get into the desired section then click the icon “Write a new article”. The article title is then to be typed (it can be changed afterwards) and the article text too! Once the text is saved, the article is created and its status is set to “being written”.

3- Article text

The article text includes formatting characters that modify the text style: bold text, italic, titles, etc. Bulleted lists or even tables can be created with more complex formatting (see the online help while writing an article). Images can be inserted into text with the toolbox placed on the left of the edition area. An article or a section can also have a logo on the page top. In the case of sections, children sections inherit the logo of the parent section.

Concerning image insertion, there are 3 insertion modes that change the way to display the image. An image is inserted using a tag. The tag name determines how to display the image:

Image insertion tags
Tag Image legend and title Image size
<img> hidden normal or reduced [1]
<doc> displayed normal
<emb> hidden reduced

4- Publishing cycle

Reference: online help

The standard publishing process is the following:

  1. « being written » → only the author can view and modify the article in the site edition interface
  2. « proposed for evaluation » → other writers can view the article but it is not published on the website
  3. « published online » → the article is published on the website

The last two status allow to eliminate or refuse article publishing. You have to know that authors propose their articles for evaluation but only the website administrators, including language section administrators, have the right to publish them online. Whatever the article status, a messaging tool let comment an article in order to improve its contents.

5- Available Spip plugins

Several Spip plugins are installed to ease article writing or to improve their contents.

5.1- Intertitle hierarchy and Table of contents

This plugin can

  • organize titles with title levels
  • display title numbers
  • show a table of contents in articles

The table of contents from another article can also be shown. A table of contents is inserted using the tag <table_des_matieresXXX> where XXX is the number of the article for which you want to show the table of contents. The article number is displayed with big characters in the box that indicates the article status on the top left of the edition interface (being written, published, etc.). We recommend not to place table of content directly on the article top but only after a short introduction text. This is due to the need of showing short article extracts from the first words of the text.

Title hierarchy is switched on using star “*” or sharp “#” characters at the beginning of the title text. The sharp character triggers title numbering while the star character only triggers hierarchy (bullets). The number determines the title level:

{{{*Title 1}}}
{{{**Title 2}}}
{{{***Title 3}}}

{{{#Title 1}}}
{{{##Title 2}}}
{{{###Title 3}}}

5.2- Visitor preferred language

This plugin automatically takes the visitor to the section of the language that corresponds to his navigator. Of course if he has not set his browser language or if its system does not do it for him, he will be redirected to English (but this does not prevent him from moving to another section afterwards). No setup is required.

5.3- Preview for articles being written

This plugin let writers preview their texts even before they are proposed for evaluation, which is not the default Spip behavior. No setup is required.

6- Inserting documents

Documents can be inserted into articles or be associated to a section. In the last case they are referenced for the whole site whereas in the case of an article, they are considered to target the article only. However any document can be found in the Mediacenter. It can be accessed from the Edition menu on the top of the page edition interface.

6.1- Inserting a Youtube video

Many videos are already available from Youtube to illustrate application pages. The way to insert a Youtube video is explained in the French post Une vidéo Youtube dans un article. The principle is the following:

  1. copy the Youtube page address of the video to be inserted
  2. in the tool “Add an image or a document”, show hidden informations
  3. in the field “Reference an Internet document” on the very bottom, eliminate the http://
  4. paste the page address into the field then replace /watch?v= by /v/ in the page address (this is the address of the video file)
  5. save the document then change its informations (title, description)
  6. in the web browser go back to the Youtube page
  7. change the address replacing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= by http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/ then add /2.jpg at the end
  8. you now have a preview image for the video that can be saved onto your disk
  9. go back to Spip then change the video preview using the image that you just downloaded

Doing this the DoudouLinux site hosts the preview image only and not the video. However for independence reasons, we will later look into hosting directly on our server, videos that would have been recorded for DoudouLinux on purpose [2].

Footnotes

[1] This depends on whether the image is associated to the current article (normal size) or another article (reduced size).

[2] Which the Youtube license does not allow…


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