SPLOT Writer

Rich media web publishing... and easy

About the SPLOT Writer

This Wordpress Theme creates a site that allows people to publish cleanly formatted writing, including media content, without needing to login or understand the backend of Wordpress. It could be a place for creitive writing, an online journal, essay responses for an assignment, poetry, a collection of scientific reports, etc.

The SPLOT Writer provides a published look somewhat like medium.com, an ability to upload images and embed media from other sites, an estimated reading time, tagging, and a means to make changes later if the author provides an email address. This is all done with your writers needing to log in or provide any identifying information.

Writers can add content by cutting and then pasting into the editor from word-processing apps such as MS Word or Google Docs, carrying forward most structural formatting (see a piece created by using copy/paste from a Word document).

Because it requires no login or CMS knowledge, the SPLOT writer is great for projects where multiple people are contributing or for classroom applications where many individuals need to publish content on the same site. It focuses on the writing rather than learning how to use Wordpress (not that we do not love you, Wordpress!)

The SPLOT Writer allows individuals to publish anonymously, or under an assumed name, or their own name, or whatever.

Examples in the Real World

The SPLOT Writer has been used for a variety of course in English, Composition, Comics, Law as well as for a writing portfolio, journals, and project final reports:

Take a Ride Before You Try to Tame That Web Horse

We have a demo site that was created the same way here on StateU as you can or will do. Metaphor Storymaking is set up as a place for creative writing using images from the Image Collector SPLOT set up as another demo in this workshop (aren't we so clever?). You can just jump in now and start writing and publishing.

How to Build Your Own

Let's make a SPLOT! The instructions below are available (at least for now) only via the StateU site. Anyone can create an account there to try this pre-built SPLOT. If you want to try this on your own domain, you can get the theme and instructions from GitHub. It will take a few more steps there.

Like you did when setting up your first Wordpress blog, start at your StateU dashboardand under Applications click Wordpress.

Click the Install This Application button. This time we will set up the Location settings to put this Wordpress site in a subdirectory of our own site. Because we already have a Wordpress sitting at the root of our domain, we will put this new site in a subdirectory (You can have a different Wordpress site sitting within the URL of another, it is smart like that). You can name it whatever you like, this will will become the URL for your site too. We suggest always using lower case for directory names, because to a web server SPLOT and SPlot and sPloT are different from splot.

So in this case the site creator wants a blog at the url http://rebeg.statu.org/storymaking so storymaking is what they enter for Location:

The next section is called Versions. Under the Content heading you will see a few options for the template to use; choose SPLOT Writer to install a version of Wordpress with all of its functionality built into your new site, so you only have a few things to to make it your own.

Note: If these versions are not listed, just continue and install a plain Wordpress site; see the next section for how to install an Instant Site version.

Now scroll past a few sections until you get to Wordpress Settings. You can edit your own admin user name and password, but it's not necessary-- you can log into your directly from this interface later. So you can leave the random generated values for now.

The only fields you might want to change Website Title and Website Tagline to something that better represents your new site (you can also edit this later in the Wordpress settings).

That's it! Now click the Install button in the bottom right, and just watch the progress bar slide across the screen. You are now a web site spawner extraordinaire.

When it's done, you can try the first link to see your site. You will find there, as part of the install, a few sample written pieces, and one of them has a post with the instructions you can follow to modify the site. Check it out, say "WOW I DID THAT" and go back to your list of installed applications.

The second link from the installer (it ends in wp-admin allows you to log in as the admin user of the site, so you can start customizing and editing your site. It will land you inside the Wordpress Dashboard..

You know you are logged in as an admin user of your site when you see the black menu bar at the top of your screen, it will be there too when you visit your site. Get to how to navigate between the Dashboard view and the Site view (and back, the animation below is for a different site, but it works this way on all Wordpress sites).

Installing By Importing an Instant Package Version

If the Wordpress installer did not offer this theme as an option, we have another way to get your site set up. This will also work on an version of Wordpress installed on a domain you manage, not just here on StateU.

  • Download the Instant Package for the Splot Writer theme. Expand the zip to see a file ending in .wpress
  • Install a Plugin. Log in to your site's admin area. In your new site's Dashboard, go to Plugins and search for, install, and activate the All-in-One WP Migration plugin.
  • Import the Package. Once the plugin is installed, look for it listed in the left side of your Wordpress dashboard- select the option below it for Import. Drag and drop the .wpress file you dowloaded above onto the importer. Wait for it to simmer/upload. You will be asked to confirm overwriting an existing site. Agree.

You will now have an exact copy of the same starter site you would have gotten from the StateU installer above. You will have to return to your Apps listed in your StateU cpanel, and log in again as an admin. You can now continue with the directions below to customize your site.

Customizing Your SPLOT Writer

Log in to your site via the admin link (see above).The most important thing to do is to update the password for the secret account the site uses to post content. Go to the Wordpress dashboard for your site (admin link) OR while viewing the site, look under the name of your site in the black admin bar, and click Dashboard.

However you get to your site's Dashboard, click Users. Then click on the user named writer.

In the user settings scroll to the bottom, and under User Management click Generate Password. It will generate one of those ugly long passwords, but copy the password. You will never have to use or remember it.

And do not forget to click Update User

Now look for the link for TRU Collector Options in the top black admin bar. This has a long list of things you will soon fiddle with to customize your site. But scroll now down to Author Account Paste the copied password into this field.

And at the bottom of the screen, click Save Changes.

Try adding a a new written item to your site (look for the Write link at the top menu). See if you can figure out how to delete the ones that came with it (hint, in the Dashboard, look under Writings-- find your list of created items. Hover any name to see extra admin links.).

Next try your SPLOT Writer in another browser where you are not logged into it as a Wordpress Administrator (you will not see the black admin menu bar at top). Try clicking the write link. If you see the form to add a new piece of writing, you are in good shape. Add one. If you see instead a login screen with a SPOLT logo, this means the password you set for the writer user did not get entered right-- repeat the steps to create it password and then copy it to your TRU Writer options.

For further customization steps and instructions, view your site, and follow the link for Assembling the SPLOT Writer-- this explains the other customizations.

Note that you may be tempted to change your site's theme (via Appearance in the dashboard), maybe you think this is UGLY. Go ahead. But you will lose all of its functionality-- this is built into the TRU Writer theme. But try it. You won't break a thing. When you return to using the TRU Writer everything will be in its place. You cannot break things!

Now, go experiment with organizing your own writing site.

And when you have got it humming, add a few entries, maybe ask someone else in the workshop to do so, and then write a post on your blog about it?