Free-Conversant / Free-Conversant News


December, 2000
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Weblogs, Web Sites, and Lots More

What is Conversant?

Conversant is designed to help groups of all sizes work together by making it easy for them to share ideas, questions, files, and knowledge. It also has lots of features that make it very easy for a small group - or an individual - to publish dynamic web sites.

Conversant is software for your Internet (or Intranet) server. Standard features include tools for managing news pages and journals (weblogs), feature-rich event calendars, online discussion forums (with file enclosure capabilities), tools for publishing entire web sites, email and mailing-list integration, and many other services that are great for all kinds of business, project, and personal web sites and communication-centers.

Free-Conversant is Macrobyte's web site hosting service, based on Conversant. We offer everything from free sites, to inexpensive domain hosting, to dedicated Conversant (and traditional) servers.

What people are saying about Conversant...

This is the part I love about your software/company -- every time I ask a question, you reply with options, options and more options.
-- Brian Carnell

I'm beginning to use it and conversant is great. Congratulations Seth and Macrobyters.
-- David Harrod

The more I dig the more I'm impressed at just how well thought out Conversant is. This is really powerful stuff.
-- Duncan Smeed

Wow, This is what I called Super Charged Manila. Thanks for showing what is possible and great team work.
-- Paul Chow

Thanks, as always, for such a rapid response from the Macrobyte 'team'. You guys are great!
-- Duncan Smeed

I have fallen in love with your stylesheet tool. My intentions, however, are strictly honorable. I just did some things with h1, h2, and h3 even though I *still* don't really know how to code a stylesheet. Fantastic.
-- Mark Morgan

Conversant's Weblog II is incredible -- it's not done yet, but is already one of the most powerful online journaling tools around.
-- Greg Pierce

Power and flexibility! Five years, and I still can't get enough of this system.
-- Seth Dillingham


MISS Month Recap

MISS Month was occifically concluded this weekend, although unofficially there are a number of related project that we simply didn't have time to release yet, which will make Conversant still easier to use. (Reminder: "MISS" stands for "Make It Simple, Stupid", and MISS Month was our push for simplicity in Conversant through the month of November.)

Some of the improvements this month include:

  • Tab-panel interface in the preferences editor
  • Tab-panel interface in the structure editor
  • Contextual help system throughout the admin area
  • Friendlier template-editing interface
  • Three-and-a-half ways to edit stylesheets, instead of one
  • Every conversation's mailing list now includes (un-)subscribe-by-email features, and various (editable) welcome messages for new members to help them learn their way around your site.

Most of the credit for these new features go to Greg Pierce and Flip Martin.

Posted @ 2:23 PM

Becoming Conversant

Mark Morgan recently announced a new web site designed specifically for Conversant-Newbies (inexperienced Conversant administrators). It's a volunteer effort from a group of experienced admins, and although it's not officially sponsored by Free-Conversant or Macrobyte Resources, we certainly appreciate what they're doing!

They've named the site Becoming Conversant (that was Duncan Smeed's idea), which is clever on a number of levels.

We wish them luck, and hope that all "Conversant Newbies" find the site very useful. We've added a permanent link in the list of great Conversant sites, here on the Free-Conversant home page.

Posted @ 3:39 PM


MISS Month Ending Soon

We declared that November was MISS Month here at Free-Conversant, which stands for "Make It Simple, Stupid", and we're almost done. We've worked in all areas of Conversant to make it simpler and easier for both the administrator and the user, and in the next few days we'll be installing more big changes to the administrator's area.

We'll post more news here, as soon as it's ready.

Posted @ 3:08 PM


New Feature: Subscribe By Email

Another new MISS Month feature on all Conversant sites: subscribe by email.

What is it? Well, Conversant "conversations" have always had the ability to act like mailing lists (as well as web sites and newsgroups), but until now it's been a little bit too difficult to sign up for the "mailing list" side of things. No longer! Now, it's as easy as it is with any other mailing list: just send an email to the site's "subscribe" address.

Read all about it on the Support Site.

If you'd like to try it out, you can sign up for the support site's mailing list by sending an email to its subscribe address. (Of course, you can unsubscribe just as easily.

Posted @ 7:06 PM

Improvements to the Admin Interface

Every Conversant site has what we call an "admin interface", which is like a really big control panel for configuring all the preferences, templates, javascripts, and other details of a conversation.

Today, thanks to Greg Pierce's hard work, we've made the admin interface easier to use. Preferences are now arranged in a tab-panel-like interface, similar to what is seen in many other applications, which allowed us to group the prefs in smaller, more focused sets.

Also, almost every preference now has help text which can be accessed instantly, with the click of a button.

We're not done with the admin interface, but this is a big step and makes it much simpler... and simplicity is our primary goal this month.

Posted @ 7:33 PM