Whitman Archive Redesign

This page is for discussing the progress of the Walt Whitman Archive 2007 redesign.

The development location for the new site is http://libr.unl.edu:8080/cocoon/whitman/.

Comments and corrections regarding individual pages can be submitted automatically by using the temporary link in the top right corner of each page labeled "Comments/corrections for this page." Comments can also be made below, and substantial revisions/updates or requests for fundamental revisions will be added in the sections below as they are received and implemented.

Site-wide Design Discussion

Tiniest of quibbles: The headshot of Whitman in the navbar is darker than the one on the blue bulge site. It might be that I'm just used to the old image, but the darker image has a kind of threatening look for me--kind of sinister, so that Whitman seems to be more scowling than questioning/inviting.

I told you it was tiny. --Brett 10:54, 31 August 2007 (CDT)

The abbreviated menu at the bottom of pages varies from the drop-down menu in the navbar. --Brett 10:54, 31 August 2007 (CDT)

Progress on Individual Sections

Published Works







Pictures & Sound

About the Archive

Site Search

Technical Notes

The Archive runs on a mixture of server technologies, including XML/XSLT, PHP/MySQL, and Java. Cocoon is the framework that unifies these elements. Cocoon filters all HTML content and adds common page elements like headers and footers, and also determines the document type, character encoding and meta-data for serialized HTML content. This ensures the integrity of site-wide content and style, and simplifies site-wide modifications.

Directory Structure


URIs that end with ".html" or "/" are processed by cocoon and are subject to the control of the sitemaps (the exception to this is the front page /index.html which is plain HTML). Any other URI is processed will be processed by the Apache web server in the regular way. This way images and other static content does not burden the Cocoon servlet and access is made quicker. There are some exceptions to this, see Whitman Archive Directory Structure.

HTML Content

Simple HTML pages can be added to the Archive by adding a valid XHTML file in the directory it should appear. It is advisable to add in some special tags to control the headers and title, see Whitman Archive HTML Structure.

PHP/MySql Content

PHP scripts should be included in the /php directory. The easiest way to add dynamic PHP content is to have the script produce an HTML page that conforms to the Whitman Archive HTML Structure and add an entry into the appropriate sitemap that uses the PHP file as the generator.

Search Engine

Archive content is added to a text index using automation scripts that are executed on the file system, and then the index is transfered to the web server. Certain tags in the HTML files are used for categorization. Some content has specialized stylesheets written to add it to index it. For a more in-depth description see the Whitman Archive Search Notes.