Advanced Blog Management with Apache Roller 4.0: Part 1

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So let’s get on with it.

Managing group blogs

Suddenly, your boss bursts into your office and shouts: “Well, let’s give Roller a try for our company’s blog!” And now, you have to enable group blogs in your Roller installation.

Time for action – creating another user

The first thing you need to do in order to enable group blogging is create another user, as shown in the following exercise:

  1. Open your web browser and type your Roller’s dynamic hostname in the Address bar (for example, mine is http://alromero.no-ip.org). Now click on the Login link on your weblog’s main page:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

  2. The Welcome to Roller page will appear. Instead of logging in, click on the Register link in order to create a new user:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

  3. The New User Registration screen will show up next. Fill in the fields for your new user, as shown in the following screenshot:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  4. Click on Register User when finished. If all goes well, you’ll be taken back to the Welcome to Roller screen, and the following success message will appear:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

  5. Select the Click here link to continue. Type your new Username and Password, and click on the Login button. The Main Menu page will appear:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

  6. Click on the Create new weblog link, under the Actions panel. Roller will take you to the Create Weblog page. Fill in the required fields to create your new weblog. Use the following data for the Name, Description, and Handle fields:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  7. The Email Address field will already contain the e-mail address you used when creating your new user. Leave the default values for Locale, Timezone, and Theme, and click on the Create Weblog button to continue. The following page will appear indicating that your weblog was successfully created:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  8. Now click on the New Entry link in order to create the following new entry in your weblog:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

  9. Scroll down the page and click on the Post to Weblog button to post your entry.

What just happened?

Well, now there’s another user in your Roller server, how about that? Your boss is going to be proud of you and very happy, because your company will have a multiuser blog!

The next step is to invite other people to create user accounts and weblogs in the Roller blog server. If you’re using Roller in your office, just start spreading the word to your colleagues. Or if you’re experimenting with Roller in your home, you can invite some friends to blog with you, create a family group blog, and so on.

Have a go hero – inviting members to write in your weblog

Now that you’ve learned how other people can register and get a user account in Roller, it would be a good idea to start exploring the Preferences: Members page, where you can invite other Roller users to collaborate in your weblog by posting entries. Roller has three user levels:

  1. Administrator: Can create/edit weblog entries and publish them in your weblog. An administrator can also change the Roller theme and templates, and manage weblog users.
  2. Author: Can create/edit weblog entries and upload files, but cannot change themes or templates, and cannot manage users.
  3. Limited: Can create/edit entries and save them as drafts, but cannot publish them.

Go on and create several test user accounts, and try out the three Roller user levels by inviting the test users to collaborate in your weblog. To invite a user, use the Invite new member link under the Actions panel in the Preferences: Members page.

Enabling a front page blog

Up until now, you’ve been using your main weblog as the front page for your Roller blog server. Now that you’ve enabled group blogging, each user can promote his/her weblog(s) individually, or you can create a community front page to show recent posts from all of your user’s weblogs. The next exercise will show you how to create and use a front page blog to show posts from all the other weblogs in your Roller blog server.

Time for action – enabling a front page blog

In this exercise, we’re going to create a new weblog to serve as the front page of your entire Roller weblog server. The front page blog will show a list of recent entries from all your other weblogs, and from all the other users’ weblogs in your Roller blog server.

  1. Log into Roller (in case you’re not already logged in) with your administrator account, go to the Main Menu page, and then click on the Create new weblog link under the Actions panel:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  2. Type My Roller Community in the Name field, The best Roller blog community in the Description field, and frontpage in the Handle field:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  3. Scroll down the page until you locate the Theme field, select the Frontpage theme, and click on the Create Weblog button:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  4. The following page will appear, indicating that your frontpage weblog was created successfully:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  5. Now click on the Server administration link located in the Actions panel. The Roller Configuration page will show up. Scroll down until you locate the Handle of weblog to serve as frontpage blog field, and replace its contents with frontpage. Then click on the Enable aggregated site-wide frontpage option to enable it:
    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide
  6. Scroll down the page until you locate the Save button and click on it to save your changes. Now click on the Front Page link in Roller’s menu bar:

    Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide

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