Tendenci software updated 4/25/2006

Tendenci sites were updated with minor revisions throughout all modules on April 25, 2006.

The most noteable change is richer RSS feeds with more content and photos.


What not to do when adding new content to your site

Schipul loves to repeat the ‘Content is King’ mantra.  By now you may be tired of hearing it, but it’s true!  Fresh content really is important to your search engine ranking and the way your users interact with your site and your organization. 

Everyone likes to be able to add content to their site quickly and easily – which is one of the great things about the Tendenci software.  However, some users have found that one of the fastest ways to do this is by re-activating OLD content.  Not a good thing to do.

Example – An already expired job position comes open again and instead of creating a new job and posting it, an administrator re-activates that original (old) job listing.  Don’t let this happen to you!

But why is activating old content on your Tendenci site so bad?:

  1. Dates matter to the search engines.
    You may be able to trick your human users into believing they are seeing new info, but search engines still remember the original add date and are likely to NOT score your old reactivated page.  Yikes!
  2. Dates matter to humans.
    Your users DO notice the low numbered ID for the listing. Would you rather attend an event that is number 5 or 500? Doesn’t the latter seem more alive and current?
  3. RSS!
    RSS feeds pull your site’s information based on the content’s creation date and time in the database. You may not be able to see this date information, but it is there hiding on every object. Extending an expiration date will NOT put your content back in the RSS feeds. This is by design RSS feeds are supposed to be new content. New is cool!

The moral of the story is to always add new content as new content.  Doing so will keep the search engines, your site users and your RSS feeds happy and up-to-date.  Happy content adding!

New RSS Updates with XSL (pretty stuff) View for Humans

TendencirssindexscreencapNew RSS Icons and more prominent OPML links are live on all servers over the weekend.  Easier "add to reader" links and style sheets applied to the feeds to make them prettier when an unsuspecting user clicks on them.

The screen image on the right is from www.ppag.org, one of our long time Tendenci clients.

If you aren’t familiar with RSS and using it personally, I still like www.bloglines.com the best as a web based reader. Free so check it out.

The RSS feed links for your individual site should be linked in the footer, maybe the nav (varies by site) and definitely at /en/rss/index/ on all sites.



Getting Started Tutorial Now Available

Help is here! The Getting Started with Tendenci tutorial has been added to the Help Files found on the Tendenci web site. Starting with an explanation of what Tendenci is, this tutorial walks new Tendenci users through the basic software modules: Users, Events, Jobs, Articles, Newsletters and Content Management. Simple step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to perform basic tasks within Tendenci and how to easily administer your site content and data.

The tutorial is also chock-full of tips on maximizing your use of the Tendenci software, providing better support to your members, increasing communication with your customers, and turning your site into a revenue center!

This is a great, self-paced way to get your new employees up to speed on Tendenci — or to take a refresher course — without leaving your desk.

Sparklines in Tendenci Articles

Sparklines are one of my favorite additions to Tendenci. Within the "articles search" section of any Tendenci website, you will see a small line graphic that shows the up and down viewing trends of a particular article. Holding your cursor over the graphic will review an "ALT Tag" that shows the highest viewing an article has received since the article was created. (Please refer to the image on the left as an example.)

Edward R. Tufte defines sparklines as: "datawords" – data-intense, design simple, word-sized graphics.

Within a second you can tell if an article is "sporadically viewed", "a growing trend", "steadily viewed", orWaa_member_only "not viewed at all". This also helps to communicate simple interactive relationships. For example, "How much does viewership declines when an article is made member-only view?" I have included an image (click to enlarge) to help demonstrate the effects of an article that requires a "log-in".

The sparkline graphic also includes a "highest reads point (green dot)", a "lowest reads point (blue dot)" and a current position marked by the red dot. The visualization that is produced from the small graphics may help an organization better understand the growing needs of the membership and the hot topics of the day. Thanks to Jenny Qian for her work on integrating sparklines into Tendenci.

Tendenci Tag Clouds in Business Directories

The Business Directory search page within Tendenci contains a "tag cloud" listing that helps users visulalize the amount of content within a particular category. Often the value of "weighted text lists" is misunderstood as "a jumble of mixed-sized fonts". Instead the developers of Tendenci see the lists as an easy means of communicating the popularity of content.

Visualization is an important theme in Tendenci. The value of human communication and interaction is weaved through every part, including putting tag clouds on Business Directory listings to help communicate the value of the content.

For more on the theory behind tag clouds, I suggest reviewing these powerpoint slides by Rashmi Sinha. Rashmi put together some slides that help to explain the theories behind tag clouds. Here is also a link to Rashmi’s site: http://www.rashmisinha.com/.

Welcome to the Tendenci support blog!

Welcome to Tendenci’s official support blog!

We are excited to let you know about our Tendenci software updates and new features. 

As we add, polish and refine the Tendenci platform, we want you to know immediately.  This blog will provide an easily way for us to keep in touch with you.

But don’t forget that we want to hear from you too!  Feel free to comment or, better yet, call or email us and we can discuss any questions or suggestions that you may have to make your Tendenci-user experience an even stronger one.