UK congregations who have not be able to create their own web sites, have relied on a small group of volunteers to create and maintain their single web pages under a scheme run by the GA. Changes to the web pages required the time of the volunteers and so updates were limited. Over time the web pages have also become dated and do not conform to the consistent identity ideals.
Following discussions at the 2008 GA meeting in Hatfield, a small technical group was formed to solve the problems detailed above. They informed members of the communication commission of their ideas and received approval for the project.
Anybody within the UK Unitarian movement can use this facility to create a web site and also, more importantly, use it to change the contents of the site automatically. The facility has been designed to reduce the amount of time required by those with technical knowledge and be easy enough to use by any congregation member with a computer an access to the internet.
Possibility the only exception to the comment above its that the person maintaining the site for the congregation does need to understand a few basic web-page formatting tags. While this does require a little education on the part of the user, it means that the facility can do many more things.
The facility requires one member of a congregation to 'own' the web site that is being created. It is better if this person has got an email address, but it doesn't matter if they haven't. This person is called the web-master - a horrible, but standard America term.
Before starting the web-master should collect information about their Unitarian group (Chapel, Church, Meeting House, Organization etc.) With a congregation the information should include, details of services, the history of the building , history of the congregation, a welcoming message detailing what the congregation stands for etc. It should also include a message from their Minister if they have one. Pictures of the outside and inside of the building are also required as well as one of the Minister and a group activity is also useful.
Armed with this information, the web-master should then go on to the web facility where the web site can be created ( www.ukunitarians.org.uk/createsite.php ). By typing in 'new' in the congregation field and clicking on the submit button, the web master will be shown a page were they can enter in all the details. It might be that some of the information required is not relevant, for example the congregation does not have a minister. If you are an organization and not a congregation many of the section will not be required. It these situations just leave instructions for the controllers of the facility. Instructions should be in brackets. Text not in brackets will be deemed as what you want in the web site.
Once all the sections have been completed, the web-master should click the submit button at the bottom of the page. This action will run a program that will generate the web site automatically, inserting the text given by the web master in the correct areas. If the web master has given an email address, an mail will be sent as the site is created. It will include the password that the web master has been asked to give. The web master will receive an email every time the site is updated so they know the site has been changed.
The web page displayed when the web site has been created will include a 'CLICK HERE' link to go to the web site created. The web master can use this to view the web site and look at the text included. If any changes are required, the web master can go back to the facility, and by typing in the name of the congregation and the password, can retrieve the details and alter these.
At this point the site is considered to be in a draft status. When one of the technical group see that a site has been generated they will check it over and follow any instructions included in the site by the web-master. These instruction should be in bracket. For example (please remove this section of the web page). Images are also added at this point. These can be emailed to the support team or posted. Details of this is included in the email sent to the web-master.
Once the support staff have finished the site, they will move it to a new location so the web site address will be www.ukunitarinas.org.uk/name with 'name' being the name of the congregation or organization. Before it is moved the word 'draft' will appear in the name. So please do not avertise the web address that includes the word 'draft'.
We the web site is moved, the web-master will be informed by email. They can still use the facility to alter text in the web site as before, so activity dates can be kept up to date.
The facility works be scanning the web pages of a site for dummy html tags. These include two
exclamation marks at the beginning so they are treated as a comment by the browser. The
facility reads the text between a start dummy tag and a a standard end dummy tag for example:
Our Chapel is ...............
The text between the tags is placed in a web form where the user can change it. Submitting the form will mean that the web page is rebuilt with the new text. This tag system means that the page can be edited out-side of the facility without a problem. The facility could also be installed on other sites if required.
If you have any problems or questions with the facility please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org