To use the Forum topic content creation tool:
- You will need to be logged in as an Authenticated user or a sma2web2 member.
- Once logged in you should be able to see your user menu in the left sidebar. Click on Create content and note that there is summary information about each of the content types that you can create.
- Select Forum topic - the "Create Forum topic" form should load. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the different sections of the form. Note that some sections are collapsed and will need to be expanded to reveal their fields.
In the case of creating content using the "Create Forum topic" form there are actually 5 sections that I would encourage all users to get into the habit of always filling in:
- Title* - Entering a title for your Blog entry is mandatory. Titles are one of the main methods of sorting and searching for blog entries, so it important to use a title that has meaning for the entry.
- Forums* - The selection of a forum to assiciate your Forum topic with is also mandatory. Drop the list down to select the forum you would like to post your Forum topic to.
- Tags - Tags are optional, but are a fantastic way to help categorise your content and allow users to filter and search through content and posts. When entering tags use "keywords" or "keyphrases" that help define the content of your post, and seperate each tag with a comma. In thinking of what tags to use, ask yourself what subject or topic words would you use if you wanted to search for the post.
- Body* - For a Forum topic the Body field must have some content, it is the section that you write information and explanations about the Forum topic you are creating. Notice that there is a toolbar section at the top of this area that will allow you to do various things with your content as you enter it. The range of editing tools available to sma2web2 members is far more extensive than those available to Authenticated users. If you are a sma2web2 member some of the additional editing tools you have available include the ability to upload and browse images, insert Flash content and format fonts and paragraphs.
- URL path settings - You will find this section further down the "Create Blog entry" form. You will need to click on its title to expand this section. Generally, Drupal uses an address format that includes the term "node" and a reference number for the node's content. A typical Drupal URL might read as http://soundhouse.org.au/node/114 , making it an "unfriendly" URL. By entering a "friendly" name in the URL path settings, addresses become easier to remember and track and make more sense when viewed by other users. For example, I have entered HowToForumTopic into the URL path settings field for this node of information so, instead of the web address showing up as http://soundhouse.org.au/node/114 it shows up as http://soundhouse.org.au/HowToForumTopic. Note that both URLs will lead you to the same page, but the second one is easier to understand and is friendlier.
Other sections of the Create Forum topic form that will appear to all users (i.e. - both Authenticated users and sma2web2 members) are:
- Input format - This is to determine the type of input formats the user is allowed to use when the content of the blog entry is submitted to the database. In most cases this will be Full html and should not be changed from the default setting unless you are an experienced user and know what you are doing.
- Notifications - are messages sent to users who have set up their accounts to receive notifications of new posts in general or users who have subscribed to any of your posts. If you specifically don't want anyone to be notified of your new Forum topic you may tick the Do not send notifications for this update box, otherwise you can leave it unticked.
Additional sections of the Create Forum topic form that are exclusive to sma2web2 members only are:
- Body - an extended set of editing tools are available to sma2web2 members. As well as being able to format fonts and paragraphs, perhaps one of the more useful tools available to sma2web2 members is the Image button which allows access to an images browser, uploader and properties section. Whilst images that are uploaded using this method are publically visible to anyone viewing the post/s that the image is embedded in, the image is NOT part of the general user image pool and may only be accessed for use in posts by sma2web2 members.
- File Attachments - This section can be used to upload and attach any type of file to your post. This file will appear as a hyperlink allowing registered users to download and save it to their own computer. Notice that it is possible to upload and attach more than one file to a post. To help minimise the amount of file pool allocation that is eaten up by file uploads, larger files or collections of files should be zipped.
- Post to twitter.com - All new posts by sma2web2 members are automatically listed on the soundhouse.org.au twitter profile - SMA_Tweeters. A "tweet" is sent listing the title of the post as well as a link to the post shown as a "tinyurl". If you do not wish your post to be published to SMA_Tweeters, please be sure to un-tick the Post to twitter.com tick box.
Once you have filled in all the sections of the Create Forum topic form that you wish to, you can use either of the Preview or Save buttons found at the bottom of the form to continue. Preview will show a preview of the Forum topic in a yellow coloured section at the top of a preview page with the option to make further editing changes beneath the preview section. Save will save your Forum topic for viewing.
If you are the creator/owner of a published Forum topic you will be able to Edit or even delete it at a later stage via the Edit option which will be found in the title area of any of your published content.