December 19, 2003

NewsForge as you like it, one column or two

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

You can now choose several different ways to view NewsForge. The default will continute to be the single-column "narrow" layout you see if you're not logged in (or if you're logged in and don't know how to change it), but you can now have a two-column layout if you like, with NewsVac links appearing at the top of your main page, next to our own features. And there are other things you can customize, too.You must have a user account to customize the NewsForge layout to your personal taste. It takes all of 30 seconds to create one, and we aren't going to sell your soul -- or even your email address -- to Evil Marketdroids, so it's about as risk-free an online signup as you'll ever find.

Once you've logged in, you change your layout by clicking on your username in the masthead, where it will say "Welcome: (your name)." From the page that takes you to, click on the grey, rectangular "Homepage" button.

Now you're on a page with many options, including 1 or 2 columns, icons or no icons, fixed or dynamic layout, and the number of stories you want to appear on your personalized home page.

If you choose "Dynamic" page layout, NewsForge will take up the entire width of your browser window. If you choose "Fixed" it will keep the narrow default width.

But wait! There's more!

As a logged-in user, you can pick stories from specific topics and sections and ignore all others if you wish. And if you only want to see stories from some authors and not others, you can make that choice, too.


Should we have moderation at all? NewsForge has it mainly because it's a default in SLASH, the code behind NewsForge and many other other OSDN Web sites.

We're thinking about removing moderation entirely. Or perhaps simplifying it in some way. What do you think? (Please post your thoughts below.)

Comment changes and other mods you can make

Anyway, with or without moderation, while creating your customized NewsForge you may want to click on the grey, rectangular "comments" button, which will take you to a page where you can set the way you want to view (and post) comments. A lot of this page has to do with moderation options, but if you scroll down you will see a setting for the size of the box you use to post comments. Some people say the default is too small. I agree. I have mine set to "30 rows" and "80 columns," which is pretty large -- and probably larger than you'll want. Experiment!

The "User" button will take you to a page where you can decide how much (or how little) you want to tell other NewsForge readers about yourself.

We'll let you figure out what the "password" selection does without help...

We've been working on the NewsForge layout and backend a little at a time, ditto on the backends for,, and IT Manager's Journal. You'll see gradual changes (that some will consider improvements and others, inevitably, won't like) to all these sites, not necessarily anything glaring on any one day, but things that will add up over time to make the sites better.

The changes we've made so far have resulted in a huge readership increase. Some of our most vocal readers have not liked some of them, but we listen to everyone, not just the loudest, and try to balance everyone's concerns.

- Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
NewsForge Editor in Chief


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