March 4th, 2002

Frabjous day

For the first time in—what, ten months?—it's possible to move Guides onto the site. The first XML-based Guide to be released officially is the Guide to Mood Icons, now available at http://www.livejournal.com/doc/find?guide=moodicons. That query will take you to the actual location of the Guide.

Please link to any new Guide using a /doc/find query, not the document's actual location.

A link to the Mood Icons Guide has been added to the top of FAQ #64. The rest of that FAQ will be deleted in a day or two, if there are no objections.

A link to the new Guide also replaces the link to the FAQ on the main Support page. Changes to the Support page haven't been sticking properly, so for a while it might revert to linking to the FAQ; Brad is working on that problem.

I'll add navigation links to Guides once there are more of them to navigate between. I'll also work on improving accessibility/customizability by making better use of CSS, but that isn't going to be easy. If you see anything else that needs to be fixed, please report it here as soon as possible.

I intend to announce the new Guide in lj_support after (i) members of this community have had a chance to comment, and (ii) Evan has confirmed that the new e-mail alias, moodthemes@livejournal.com, is working satisfactorily. However, I believe it's now safe to use the alias.

Five more Guides should be moved onto livejournal.com as a group, within a few days.

More about the introduction of Guides later ...
Pointing Doggy

Request Modification to FAQ: How do I add a Background Image? (http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=97)

Go to your "Modify Journal" page ( http://www.livejournal.com/modify.bml )
Scroll down to the bottom and use this override code in your "Overrides" box:

GLOBAL_HEAD<=
<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
<!--
body {
background-image:url(http://www.your-website.com/image.jpg);
}
-->
</STYLE>
<=GLOBAL_HEAD

Within the code, "http://www.your-website.com/image.jpg" must be replaced by the actual URL of the image you want to use as your background.

The image you use must be stored at a location on the web; if your image is only on your computer's harddrive, it must be uploaded to a webserver in order for it to be viewable via the web.

The webserver that hosts the image has to be one which allows images to be referenced and displayed by other websites. This is a process called remote loading, which unfortunately many popular webspace providers (geocities, angelfire, tripod, to name a few) do NOT allow. Your internet service provider (ISP) likely offers some free webspace to you as part of your account, and they often allow remote loading. There are various Free webspace providers who do allow it as well.


-FIXED backgrounds: On some newer browsers, background images can be "fixed," so that the image will not move as you scroll down the page. To do this, just add "; background-attachment:fixed" to the middle line of the above override code, like this:

GLOBAL_HEAD<=
<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
<!--
body {
background-image:url(http://www.your-website.com/image.jpg);
background-attachment:fixed;
}
-->
</STYLE>
<=GLOBAL_HEAD

-TRANSPARENT backgrounds: On some newer browsers, background colors of tables can be "transparent", so that the image will not be blocked by table background colors. To do this, just add the following to the override code:

GLOBAL_HEAD<=
<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
<!--
body {
background-image:url(http://www.your-website.com/image.jpg);
background-attachment:fixed;
}
table, tr, td, .shadowed { background:transparent; }
-->
</STYLE>
<=GLOBAL_HEAD
  • Current Music
    Nobuo Uematsu - Battle Strategy Conference

Relationship between FAQs and Guides

FAQs will continue to exist alongside Guides, although much of the information that's currently located in FAQ answers will be moved into Guides over time.

Guides will be sections of a comprehensive manual. Guides will eventually contain most of the documentation explaining how to use the site. Guides support better formatting than FAQs, and will be edited more rigorously. In time, Guides will be available in a variety of different formats (all generated from the XML-based source files), whereas FAQs will continue to be plain text for the foreseeable future.

FAQs will supplement the Guides. Once the Guides are in place, the main purpose of FAQ pages should be to assist volunteers in answering common Support Requests. FAQs will sometimes do nothing more than point to Guides where users can find the answers they need. Other times, FAQs might contain new information which hasn't yet been added to the Guides. FAQs can also address problems like image hosting, which have more to do with other sites or network connectivity than with LiveJournal itself. (Those issues will not be covered in Guides.)

The current FAQ situation is more muddled, of course. Many of the longer FAQ answers, which explain in detail how to do this or that, can be thought of as future Guides which haven't yet been re-edited and re-formatted. They will be converted when possible. Other so-called "FAQs" are actually "Help pages", which serve mainly to explain web-page features marked with a Help icon, and not so much to answer Support Requests. So far, no effort is being made to convert Help pages to XML, although it might happen in future.

Few, if any, of the FAQs will be deleted altogether as Guides are introduced. In many cases, when material is moved from a FAQ to a Guide, the FAQ answer will be replaced by a link to the new Guide.

Cross-linking and the drop-down list

In answers to Support Requests, FAQs will lead to Guides. The drop-down box used to answer Support Requests will continue to list FAQs; there are no plans yet for it to list Guides as well.

On the main Support page, it will be the other way around. Most links to FAQs will be replaced by links to Guides, so a user who happens to need a FAQ will usually find it by looking in a Guide. However, the Support page will continue to link directly to certain "troubleshooting" FAQs, like "How do I get validated?". Troubleshooting FAQs are the ones where a user knows they have a particular problem, but they might not know which Guide to look in for the answer.

FAQs can link freely to Guides. Guides can also link to FAQs, in two different ways. First, it will be possible to put a list of related FAQs near the top of each Guide. That way, a user doesn't have to read through the text of a Guide, when the answer they need is actually on a FAQ page. Second, it will be possible to link to FAQs from within the text of a Guide, if the Guide is site-specific. (Some Guides will not be site-specific; they will be written so that other sites like DeadJournal can use them, too. Those Guides can't have links to FAQs in the text, only in the page header.)