INTRODUCTION TO MY SCRAPBOOK
This open source program is really an ingenious feat that can be put to good use by any web designer with working knowledge of ftp, uploading, adjusting permissions, and designating databases. Even if that seems a bit extreme, there are ways to utilize the script without having to know how to maneuver around your MySQLs. In his own words, the author responsible for the program described it as, "MyScrapbook is a unique graphical Internet content management tool that looks and acts just like a book. The PHP program is FREE for download and can be used for just about anything (a journal, recipe book, online writing, image gallery, poems ...). The program can run using a text database OR Mysql. Webmasters can set permissions to allow visitors to submit pages or only specific users to submit changes."
TAKING A LOOK FIRST & INSTALLATION
To view the program in action, the main My Scrapbook site features a number of working examples. You can also look at how I applied the program on my design site, Hygeia Designs as a News and Views section. The files were available all compacted in a zip file, which was both easy to download from their main site, and upload into my own directory. I only had to change the permissions on two folders and files (they direct you in the README file enclosed with the program), choose to designate a MySQL database or use a text based one (which I tried, and it seems to work just as well as a MySQL) as well as an image path (or you can choose no image editing through the program itself, and just edit your own images in Photoshop or the like). After that, it was just a matter of entering content and quickly uploading the images I wanted to use at the top of each page through easy form field browser points, and it was all made. The initial set up took less than half an hour!
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The current version of My Scrapbook is 3.1 and has been continuously improved by the author. Documentation to help you to configure and implement your scrapbook is available as well. The genius behind this program is Eric Gerdes of Crafty Syntax, who served as both the programmer and graphic designer for My Scrapbook. The very first My Scrapbook to go online was named WORDS and appeared in March of 1999.
SETTING THE BOOK UP
Once you have installed the program successfully onto your web server, it is mere semantics to set up your entries. You can set the privacy level to various settings: private messages only where only you or those you allow to can view your entries; web administrator only entries that all can view; or you can allow both moderated or unmoderated entries from a select group of others or from anyone who visits your site.
Each chapter of the book can be set up in one of three different ways. You can choose to include an entry introduction page; or begin with a list of the entries in the chapter; or have the beginning page be the first content page. If a chapter has several different sections to it, or if you want to invite others to submit entries to a chapter, it is wise to use a list of entries page either at the beginning or after the entry introduction page.
Chapters can also be easily rearranged, edited, deleted, or expanded. The control is all up to you the administrator and is quite straightforward for anyone with moderate internet savvy. Of course, if you do allow others to add entries, you will need to keep a close eye on who does write on your book. Some people just can't resist hacking or blemishing entry style programs with either spam or garbage. You CAN set the entries to require your approval before actual publishing which is great. You don't ever have to have inappropriate posts actually show through to the world, without your consent.
This program really is a one of a kind application that will please many web site owners. I highly recommend it, and encourage everyone to check it out, and make a donation if they choose to use the software. The author deserves both kudos and a reward for such an awesome program..especially since he is offering it free, as open source software.