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Practical Development Environments by Matthew B. Doar

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Different Areas for the Project Web Site

This section contains some of the information that I've found useful on the project web pages that I have created. There is very little about web page design in this section; basically, the web pages should be as clear as possible, with as few clicks as necessary to get from any page to any other page. For medium-sized projects, most of the key information for each area should be able to fit on a single web page. The web pages should also work on every browser used by anyone in the project, including text-based browsers such as Lynx running over slow connections.

Much of the information can be described using simple HTML, which makes retrieving it faster than having to open PDF or Word files. Many automated tools that generate reports already generate HTML. If not, then tools exist to convert the report to a format more suitable for browsing.

Home Page

The home page is the default page for the web server. It should have links (often in a menu on the lefthand side) to the main page for each of the other areas. Other useful information for the home page could include:

  • Messages about server outages and other current project-related news. When news items become old, move them to a separate location; don't delete them.

  • A link to FAQs.

  • The current status of various important builds.

  • A search box for different parts of the web site.

Adding some RSS newsfeeds can also encourage people to revisit the page throughout the day. The feeds can even be project-related ...

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