Readers of these field reports may have some difficulty understanding the reports' contexts if those readers have forgotten, or never knew, the nature and purpose of the organization at which the VISTA is working. So, by way of reminder: I work at the Center for Community Technology Services (CCTS) at the University of Baltimore. We help nonprofits in the Baltimore, Md. area with their IT needs, which mostly amount to putting up web sites. There are two kinds of service offered: "consulting" and "development". The "development" division uses Ruby on Rails to implement the client's web site. The "consulting" effort involves talking to the clients and helping them assess their IT needs, and advising them about solutions. Some of the clients are neighborhood associations. Two examples are the Greater Homewood Community Corporation and the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition. Neighborhood associations and corporations help with education, the physical beauty and safety of their communities, and generally various aspects of making their community strong and the life there good for the residents. Another client of CCTS is the Baltimore Urban Debate League. A person who is involved with that told me that he took his teen-aged children to one of the events where the members of the debate league meet the public and display their abilities, and the children thought that since the debaters were so knowledgeable and smart, that they must have come from privileged, wealthy families. Of course, the opposite is the case.

I finished (at least well enough for a few examples tried) implementing the upload into our generic Content Management System (CMS) of documents saved in HTML from Microsoft Word.

I started prototyping a design change to the CMS that would allow multiple components to be collected and stored for a page, to be displayed in some format. For example, the format could call for a photo at the top with a caption to its right, and the main text below. Our prior design would handle components (such as a sidebar) shared among many pages, but the version I was working on would work well where for instance many pages have photos and captions not shared with other pages. Due to changing priorities, I had to suspend my work on this subtask and turn it over to a colleague.

Now I'm looking into uploading a broader class of HTML documents than the CMS could take. This will help clients who need to post documents in a freer format. For example, the CMS would not allow tables within tables.

At the same time, I'm learning some of the changes with Rails 2.0.2.