Q: What is the difference between a short description and a long one?

A: First off: short descriptions are short (400 characters – text only), long ones are long (and can include html formatting). There’s also more to it:
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Q: What is an ical feed and how do I use one?

A: ical feeds are designed to be used by calendar applications to display information about events. You can subscribe to them using applications such as ical (for the Mac), Yahoo! Calendar (via the web), and Outlook 2007 (Windows). We’re preparing more documentation on this, but in the meantime here is a PDF explaining how to subscribe (and unsubscribe) to an ical feed using Outlook 2007:

How to subscribe to an ical feed with Outlook 2007 [PDF format]

Q: Why do Channels look different from the rest of the McGill site?

A: Channels has been launched at an exciting time: we are re-writing our CSS [Cascading StyleSheets – the code that tells your browser what a web page should look like] to make it faster to download, and to make it portable to other McGill sites. This blog, for instance, uses the new styles – although it has been ‘flavoured’ just for this blog.

Here are another couple of examples of the new styles in action, with flavours applied:

  • mcgill.ca/cio/security/ – the CIO’s website was the first site to get creative with the new styles.
  • mcgill.ca/collaboration/fair/ – the Teaching and Technology Fair people at Content and Collaboration Solutions test-drove the styles to advertise their next event.

Eventually the new styles will be applied to all mcgill.ca pages. We shall post more information on this blog about this soon.

Q: What size image should I attach to my news items?

A: The image that you attach to an item will be resized, depending on where it is being displayed. If the image is appearing inside a one-column block, for example, then it will ‘shrink’ to 129px. In the single item page it will stretch back to 250px wide. We have played around with this quite a bit and found that an image 300px wide works really well in most cases.
Note that this applies to web-ready images, which are at a resolution of 72dpi.

Q: What is a channel?

A: A channel is simply a collection of items that have been chosen by a channel manager. A channel manager can ‘stamp’ items – or tag them – meaning that they are pulled into that channel.

Q: Where do my announcements appear?

A: Every announcement – every item, in fact – has its own page. All the information available about the announcement (sponsor, associated image, contact information, links to websites, for example) is available on this page. Depending on how site managers and editors set up their pages, links to this page can appear in lots of places:

  • the aggregate page for the item type (e.g. /channels/announcements/ );
  • inside blocks;
  • in feeds.

In these contexts, end users will see only a sub-set of the information – generally the title, date, and short description.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.