One of the biggest things that bugged me about MIT before I got here is not knowing what things looked like. I kept hearing about “Athena” but had never seen it. I knew MIT students had e-mail accounts but who was the provider? Where did they check their e-mail? Bloggers blogged, but through what program? Where did special discounts come from? Where on the Internet did MIT hide all of its goodies? I’d like to shed light on all of this and so I’ll begin with what’s on the forefront of several peoples’ minds: Blogging.
Whenever I get a brilliant idea and just need to put it on the internet I head to our special MIT Admissions login page.
As you can see, we use the MovableType publishing platform. Instead of being a website like blogger or livejournal, MovableType is designed to fit into a webpage that already exists, like MITAdmissions.
After logging in using my super-secret password, we are presented with the dashboard. There isn’t a whole lot here, normally I just click “Entries” and go to the next page. It is fairly cool that you can see the number of posts and how many comments there are, though.
After clicking “Entries” you are shown the page with all of the, you guessed it, entries. I’ve erased the future entry titles because I don’t want to give away any surprises, but as you can see there’s a lot of neat information here. Title, Author, Category, and Date are the biggies, but the pencil means “Under Construction” and the green check mark means “Published.” Not shown is a little blue clock which indicates a scheduled-release entry, wherein we pick when we want the entry to automatically publish and then it does all the work while we’re off not being on the computer.
Ok, so, you’ve seen all the entries, but lets say you want to write your own? Click “New Entry” and you are taken to the composition. screen. Again, all sorts of exciting goodies. Title and entry body are pretty obvious. “Primary Category” is where we choose how the entry is labeled. If you drag over all those colored boxes at the top of your screen and look at all of the options that drop down, we get to choose from those. We can also choose multiple if we’d like.
“Post Status” lets us pick “Unpublished” or “Published” or “Scheduled.” “Convert line breaks” just makes our lives easier so we don’t have to type HTML code every time we hit enter. We try to always leave the “Accept Comments” button checked unless something crazy happens. Authored on lets us pick which date our post appears to have been published on (which is why you may have seen a new post appear at the bottom of the main page, the date hadn’t been changed since they started authoring the post). “Basename” is created from the title and is what finishes off the URL of the page. The basename of this post is “the_mechanics_of_blogging.”
After that I just preview it, turn the status to “Published” and hit the save button. Voila! A brand new admissions post is on the front page for you all to read.