Website Relaunch: Introducing the New Planet

Planet OXID - blog aggregatorWe reach out today to proudly tell you that the new Planet OXID is online and has now officially accomplished the stable phase.

But what is meant by “planet”? Wikipedia explains a planet like this:

“In online media, Planet is a feed aggregator application designed to collect posts from the weblogs of members of an Internet community and display them on a single page.”

And this is exactly what we do: we fetch RSS/atom feeds from different blog posts relevant to the topic “OXID” and display these posts in an aggregated blog website. Tutorials, module presentations, information about new OXID eShop installations as well as basic e-commerce knowledge are welcome contributions.

On the one hand this is very comfortable to the “lurkers”: they get comprehensive multiplexed information from just one source. On the other hand the authors of these blog posts benefit from the bundeled marketing power via backlinks to their original posts.

What is new with the overhauled planet?

  • All posted information will additionally be stored in the new Planet OXID database. This will ensure that the information posted by an author will still be available for the community if the author’s blog is shut down at some point: this knowledge will at least be available and searchable at Planet OXID as long the planet exists.
  • The fetched blog posts will be moderated from now on! This means that inapropriate articles, although they found their way to the feed, will simply not be published. We promise that Planet OXID will not become a marketing slingshot. We will judge every single blog post by it’s value with regards to it’s content: contentless, plain marketing blahblah will be ditched, as well as notification from a squirrel on your office balcony; on the other hand posts rich in content are highly welcome and will be published. Please note that this is not concerned with cencorship but with quality assurance, and moderators of the forums and other community members will make judgements about it.
  • New authors, blog posts, feeds etc. can now be managed from a web based admin panel instead of fondling the server shell. Not really interesting for you I know, but may decrease the time it takes to involve your blog posts.
  • At the new planet, there’s a search function as well as some filter options: For example, use the search field to find all articles containing “oxarticles”; you’ll presently get six results. This result may change of course, as more blog posts will appear. Use the filter below the search form to display all posts by category and a language of your choosing. For example you could filter for all tutorials in English. Don’t forget to press the reset-button in order to see all posts again. Filter by authors (navigation right hand side) to see only blog posts by the specific author of your choosing. At the top of their posts, you’ll see a description of the author themselves and their avatar (in case it was added during the registration process).
  • At least in Germany, the big media publishers pushed through the so called “German ancillary copyright law” (Leistungsschutzrecht) saying that you can’t use (external) content without the permission of the author. Although in my personal opinion this is ridicous and awkward we must comply with the legal aspect on this official site. That’s why an appropriate, mandatory checkbox was added to the registration process.
  • Say something about yourself: once you’re registered, you’ll have the possibility to add an avatar as well as a meaningful description to your profile. Your picture and description will be displayed on top of the author pages, followed by the posts you provided to Planet OXID. These pages will be available for search engines. Use this chance to introduce yourself. Of course there’ll be only pages for authors with published blog posts.

How to provide a feed to Planet OXID?
If you run a WordPress installation, this task is really easy. Just mark all of your posts that shall go to Planet OXID either with the category or the tag “OXID” (or similar). This feed will be available then at http://yourblog.com/category/oxid/feed or at http://yourblog.com/tag/oxid/feed.
Before assigning this category or tag, think about what would really be helpful for the OXID community, other OXID developers, your clients and maybe prospects. As mentioned before, no plain and useless babble can be added.
In order to let the Planet fetch as much information as possible, please set the following options in your WordPress installation:

  • Admin Panel → Settings → Reading → Syndication feed show the most recent “100” items to fill your feed with as many posts as possible that can be fetched via RSS
  • Admin Panel → Settings → Reading → For each article in a feed, show “Full text”. This is essential to make Planet OXID store all information. Unfortunately, we can’t give respect to your feed at Planet OXID if you do not allow it.

Cannibalizing your own blog in the search engines with duplicated content (DC)?
There are different views on Planet OXID: the start page, author pages, category pages, article detail pages and so on. To avoid DC and cannibalizing your own content, we took the following actions: in all but the detail pages you’ll find just an excerpt of the article. The article pages with the entire content will contain a canonical tag to the original blog post, alloted manually when moderating (see above). Also, all title and [continue reading] links will link to the original posts, as long as the original post exists. In case the original post doesn’t exist any longer, the links and the canonical tags will be removed.

Don’t have your own blog?
No problem at all: if you want to write about OXID and don’t run a blog by yourself (i.e. can’t provide a feed), simply register yourself and tell us what you have in mind in the “About Yourself” section. With this new platform we definitely can offer the space to write your own articles 🙂
With this concept I also hope to encourage core developers, software architects, project and module devs to document and publish specifications, models, feature descriptions, screenshots, tools, tips and tricks during their daily work.

Language
The planet itself is localised in English (Globish), but this is not mandatory for the posts: at Planet OXID, we display every language and you can filter for it. Presently, you’ll find posts mostly in German as the community is mostly based in Germany. But I’m confident that posts in other languages will follow. Basically it just depends on the contributor: if you want to get connected and want to reach out to other developers, you’d decide for the language for yourself, wouldn’t you? ^^

With the help of social media
All approved new posts will be spread via social media available in the OXID channels. Presently, we’re thinking about splitting languages and categories: a tutorial in English may find another way to the social networks as a German description of a recently relaunched shop website.

Thanks to the lads polishing Planet OXID
Thank you very much, Josef for the help with adapting the WordPress twenty-twelve theme in order to avoid duplicated content already at the start page. With your assistance, just abstracts will appear. Also I’d like to thank Jessi @gn2-netwerk who CSS-styled the register button right hand side and Mona Sorcelli for leading me to the right way for proper Facebook posts of Planet articles.

Looking forward to your registrations and blog posts. If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas for improvements please join the discussion about Planet OXID at the forums: http://forum.oxid-esales.com

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