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Ward Bulletin Online Application

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Ward Bulletin Online Application

#1Postby AnnYearsley-p40 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:30 pm

Hello,
I would like to request an online application to build ward bulletins using the same system the Ward Website program does. It would be wonderful to be able to go to the database driven page, fill in the boxes and print. The application could pull information from the Church database for:
  1. Member birthdays
  2. Church Art for the front page
  3. Next week's lesson number and title
  4. Hymns and page number
  5. The Primary Theme
  6. Ward Calendar
  7. Clip art for children to color
  8. Scriptures and Quotes from Church Leaders
  9. Ward Meeting Schedule
Other features could include:
  1. Boxes where users could type in their own information such as missionary addresses, announcements, the meeting scedule, etc.
  2. Choice of fonts
  3. Word games for children
  4. The ability to upload their own images.
I build my ward bulletin with Corel Draw and have copied an pasted hymns, lessons, birthdays, quotes and images I found on lds.org into the work area. Then I just select the parts I need and drag them onto the page. This isn't possible for the average bulletin creator because it is an expensive program and requires training. Some people don't have MS Word either. I think the website idea would be easy for everyone! A computer, the internet and a printer would be all that is necessary. They could even use the ward computer.
I am a webmaster but not capable of building such an advanced application. I hope the Church will use their resources to do so.
Ann Yearsley:rolleyes:
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#2Postby atticusewig » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:11 pm

Interesting idea.

But wouldn't that mean that all ward programs would look
pretty much the same ? Kinda takes the creativity out of
the calling of ward bulletin specialist.

Also, given that ward website only comes with around
20 stock images for the ward website, I would hope
that a bulletin website would make more available.

By allowing ward website moderators to run their own
.php scripts on the ward website, I believe that a
bulletin creation tool could be bolted onto the ward
website in addition to a number of other tools.

Another option is to download the .csv files for the various
parts of the ward website (calendar, leadership directory, etc.),
and then use scripts that modify the .XML in an openoffice.org
or scribus template document.

To ease the process, perhaps a bulletin bundle could be
offerred that had the .csvs for membership, leadership, calendar
for the next month, and missionary info. As a standard .zip, it
would only require one download, instead of lots of little downloads.

An offsite php application could probably grab data like the
primary theme, and titles of Home & Visiting Teaching lessons for
the month from lds.org public pages, while requiring this standardized
bundle to fill in the rest.

It would indeed be an exciting project, but how many people would
actually use it, I wonder ?

- Atticus Ewig
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#3Postby daddy-o-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:42 pm

Sounds great. Not sure it ranks high enough in the priorities of the church to do though.

Might not be a bad 3rd party solution though.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson
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Ward Web Sites and API's

#4Postby weaverl-p40 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:35 pm

If the problem is people not have access to document publishing software, there are plenty of free programs out there that will be better than what the church would do (open office for example).

But if the objective, is to eventually have a ward bulletin that could be viewed online as well as printed for off line use, then I think this idea might be part of a broader subject the church might eventually want to look into.

The first objective, I think would be creating application that are built into the ward website, that cause members to actually use the ward website. I'll bet that currently less that 5% of members with the internet ever use or look at their ward website.

If the ward website had things like a built in online ward bullitin (with a simple back-end api for creating it), as well as other simple api's and apps such as a simple interactive message board, sacrament meeting program creator, as well as integration with church news and such so it would be a useful homepage, etc.. members might actually start to use their ward websites, and even set them as their home computer homepages.

I forsee this happening eventually, but perhaps it is a good distance in the future for now..
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OpenOffice Extension Project

#5Postby jaocon » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:56 pm

Trying to work in this project...take a look if interested.
http://sites.google.com/site/wardbulletins/
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Google Docs?

#6Postby dobrichelovek » Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:54 am

JAOCON,

I don't want to distract from your efforts, but I would like to point out that Google docs is one example of an online editor (and document storage) that has collaborative (multi-user) abilities and the ability to print including the ability to edit documents offline to be updated the next time you are connected. A project that included the ability to utilize these already-existing free features that have been called out earlier in this thread may be just the thing that people would like. If you weren't previously aware of this online app, I would suggest you take a look at it to see if it fits well with what you are doing.

It can be found at docs.google.com if you are interested. There are other similar solutions out there, but this is the best that I have found in terms of ability/(cost+1). [can't divide by zero ;) ]
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GoogleDocs

#7Postby jaocon » Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:53 pm

Thanks for pointing this out dobrichelovek!:o
Hmmmm, the more I see of it the more I like it... now if I could just program or learn more about interfacing with it...
GoogleDocs ↔ PortableApps/OpenOffice pretty much the same thing without the flash drive except for my macros...and the collaboration of course.

Anyone want to take a look at my GoogleDoc Bulletin Template and fix it or tell me how to? It's not really in a useable format...bad HTML. The hymn drop-down boxes lost the drop-down box :( If someone wants to attempt using this 'template' without editing this shared one, they will have to have a googledocs account and save as a copy (I believe).
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dnqks3w_8v6fg9ncw&invite=gwjrcsd
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GoogleDoc Template Link problems

#8Postby jaocon » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:24 pm

So far by allowing collaboration on the link it has changed to Portrait rather than Landscape layout. Reverting to previous versions has not worked. More HTML problems to resolve....:confused: I may have to recreate it and try again later.
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Googledoc Bulletin Template

#9Postby jaocon » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:10 am

The lanscape format has re-appeared! :cool:
I haven't gotten any suggestions though. It appears Googledocs is somewhat limited for creating a bulletin template. The HTML won't allow drop-down boxes and the minimum margins are .5" for example. I believe an OpenOffice extension would be the way to go until Googledocs includes more features... what do others think? I do like the idea of having it available to host the text of different sections (so that those responsible for submitting certain information for sections of the bulliten can share the document). It would be nice if that text could be imported/fed into OpenOffice without too many intermediate steps. I am not sure if a link in OpenOffice would import a googledoc or not...anyone know?
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#10Postby techgy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:10 am

I realize that this isn't exactly what you had in mind, but you could maintain your current software to create the bulletin and then turn it into a PDF and post it as a news item on the ward web site. This would get it out to everyone in the ward.
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