Introducing Google Sites

Okay so when I first heard that our next project is to redesign a website, I have to admit, I liked the idea. I really enjoy working with graphic and web design, and I have a pretty good background on it. I've have created pages from scratch using nothing but HTML code, and I'm also good with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, DHTML, and Ajax. That being said, this is where Google sites disappoints me a little bit. When I write my own code I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and I can rework the code in order to make everything look and work just the way I want it too. But with Google sites, I have some pretty strict boundaries and I can see myself getting frustrated with it at times. Granted Google sites is meant for simple, quick page design, and it's really good for people who have absolutely no idea how to write code. However, I feel like Google sites is more of a restriction than a stepping stone for people who have a pretty good background in writing code and script. Although I don't have quite as much freedom as I would like, I am determined to work with the site to get just what I want. I'm sure there are some tricks, back doors, and loopholes that I'll find/figure out along the way.

The end of a project, but not the end of the page

Coming to the end of this project, I have to say I am really happy with my addition to Wikitravel. I feel like I really helped contribute to the site and also added something that I think could be a popular page. Although it took some time for me to really get the "Understand" section completed the way I thought it ought to be, I really think it is both my best contribution thus far, and also it was a necessity to the new page in order to really set the scene of the Mohawk Trail. I think I did a pretty good job with the basics of the "get in" section. I used routes coming from Boston and New York, primarily because it includes popular highways that will make it easy for other people from different areas to get in fairly easily. As a base, I also added a few posts under "do" "see" "eat" and "sleep." I wanted to do add the beginning of a little something in order to give the page some depth and make it more appealing as well. Although the project is coming to an end, I don't plan on discontinuing my work with this itinerary. It's my baby lol. Eventually I hope to add to each section and then break them up into the different towns, cities, and destinations, and I think that will really help pull it together as an itinerary.

I have to say, I was wrong about this project in the beginning. I really didn't see it being something that I could get into like I did with the enthusiast blog, but I stand corrected. I put my own spin on it, took something that I cared about, and really feel like the page is already being recognized by Wikitravel users. The project may be coming to an end, but as I said before, I plan to continue watching and contributing to the growth of this page.

Mohawk Trail Discussion

I went ahead and created a comments page for "The Mohawk Trail" itinerary. If you are viewing the page and click on "discussion" up on the top left (near "edit) then you will be redirected to the comments/discussion page for the article. I took the time to briefly clear up that some of the info may be found here in my process blog, and I also explained that the itinerary was part of a group project and that I was looking forward to continuing to watch and help to make the new page blossom.

Everything is starting to come together fairly well if I do say so myself. I'm actually enjoying this project.

Wiki Travel: motivation

Yesterday when I was working on my wikitravel page for the Mohawk Trail, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that "my talk" had a red circle blinking next to it. I wasn't quite sure what it was, and flashing red when you're editing never really makes you feel to good, so i decided to check it out. When I clicked on it I found this message:

"Hey Jon, Welcome to Wikitravel.

To help get you started contributing, we've created a tips for new contributors page, full of helpful links about policies and guidelines and style, as well as some important information on copyleft and basic stuff like how to edit a page. If you need help, check out Wikitravel:Help, or post a message in the travellers' pub.

I really like the itinerary you have been working on, and I hope you keep filling it out! I noticed, though, that much of the content comes from what appears pretty clearly to be your blog [1]. Just so there is no confusion over authorship, you may want to make a note of this at Talk:The Mohawk Trail. Keep up the good work! --Peter Talk 16:50, 9 March 2010"

 When I read this, it kind of gave me a little bit of a feeling of an accomplishment. I stated working on the page only as a project for class, but knowing that people are actually looking at what I am posting and that it's live on the web, it really gave me some encouragement to keep working on this page even after the project. Having someone just drop me a message simply to recognize me work, compliment it, and offer me some suggestions is really, to me, what made this project worth while. And I think that was the whole point of this project. To throw us into and let us experiences something exactly like information ecology you may say lol

Drafting for Wikkitravel

'''The Mohawk Trail''' began as a Native American migratory game path. Today it is officially known as '''Massachusetts Route 2''', and it extends from [[Boston, Massachusetts]] to [[Buffalo, New York]].
Like many roads in [[New England]], the trail got its start as a migratory game path originating somewhere west of the Taconic Mountains (in what's now [[New York]] state) and meandered eastward through what would eventually become [[Massachusetts]]. Native Americans, primarily the Mohawks in the west and the Pocumtucks in the [[Connecticut River Valley]] to the east, used the trail in their migrations and had long-established treaties regarding hunting and fishing rights along its length. Unfortunately, the arrival of the white man stirred trouble. Sensing that political unrest between the tribes would further their own ends, the English, located in Pocumtuck territory, and the Dutch, who were making inroads into Mohawk lands in the lower [[Hudson River Valley]], began to manipulate one tribe against the other. Eventually a full-scale war broke out, with the Mohawks ultimately gaining the upper hand. Since no one ever names anything after the losers, the path eventually became known as the ''' "Mohawk Trail." ''' 
With the end of the Indian Wars and the American Revolution, the old trail was gradually rerouted and widened to accommodate wagon traffic between the city of [[Boston]] and the interior towns, particularly [[North Adams]].
By the early part of the 20th century people began to appreciate just how beautiful the region encompassing the trail was, so in October of 1914 the [[Massachusetts]] State Legislature declared the '''Mohawk Trail''' a scenic tourist route.
The '''Mohawk Trail''' has become a popular motorcycle trail. If you are planning on taking a motorcycle, remember to bring a helmet because there is a helmet law in various states.
==Get in== 
The modern '''Mohawk Trail, officially [[Massachusetts]] Route 2, runs from [[Boston, Massachusetts]], to [[Buffalo, New York]], which makes it easily accessible from almost any direction.
If you're coming from the Greater [[New York City]]/[[New Jersey]] or [[Pennsylvania]] area, pick up 684 North and follow it until you hit the Route 22 intersection. Take a right on Haviland Hollow Road to Route 37 in the town of [[New Fairfield, Connecticut]], and from there take Route 39 North. Follow 39 to 55 East and about 2 miles later you'll pick up Route 7 North.Over the line in [[Great Barrington, Massachusetts]], Route 7 turns into Main Street, U.S.A. Farther up the road you'll come to the town of Adams, Massachusetts. When you do, start looking for the signs to Mount Greylock. The turnoff at Rockwell Road comes up quickly, but if you miss it you can turn around in the tourist information parking lot. Coming down Greylock you'll follow the Notch road to Route 2.
==Stay safe==
==Get out==

Wikkitravel Manual of Style: 3 Helpful Tips

1. One very helpful resource from the Manual of Style is the "where you can stick it" section. I think that this is a helpful resource because it gives you an alphabetical list of different kinds of information that people may have, and it explains what section of a page or article that it belongs in. I can see that sometimes it may be difficult to figure out exactly where to put a particular piece of information that you want to add, and if you were to look at this section, than you can find it, and add it. For example, if I wanted to add a new dance club that opened in Providence to the its city page, I might think to put it in the "do" section, but if I were to look at the "where to stick it section," I can scroll down to "d", find "dance club," and it tells me where I should add it: "dance club - the Drink section of the City page."

 2. Another helpful tip comes from the "article templates" page under "How to use templates." This section explains that there are two ways that you can use templates:
  • You can use them to create a new article, by simply finding the Wikki markup for the type of article you wish to create, copying and pasting the markup, and then just adding your information appropriately. But if you do this, the page explains that it is important to remove italicized text (the instructions) because this makes it easier for other people to edit the article.
  • You can use them to edit existing articles by referring to the appropriate template of the article that you wish to add to, and you can see how things are preferred to be organized.
This is good because it keeps Wikkitravel well organized and formatted in a uniformed manner.

 3.Another useful tip is to make sure that all "Section headers" are identical to the ones in the "article templates." For example: don't use Restaurants use Eat, and don't use Introduction but Understand. Again, this helps to keep all pages the same, and it gives the site a uniformed look. It is also helpful to make Wikkitravel unique.

Although the Manual of Style tells you how to do things and why they should be done a certain way, they also make it a point to say that if you make a mistake or are unsure, just "plunge forward" and add the information and somebody else will come along and edit it to make sure that it fits with the style rules of Wikkitravel.