Documents are still a bit of a muddle. The main requirements are that they should be easy to upload and easy to put in the right place, whether as a specific menu item in the footer, or in a general folder view. It should also be possible to control the visibility of the documents to e.g. public and members, and maybe committee.

OK a bit of history. On the old web site there was a PDF upload feature which stored the PDF files in a database table where they could be found by numeric id or name. A PHP script called 'doc' could be followed by the document name or id as part of the URL to return that document to the browser. These documents still exist but are not readily accessible - many were short term and are no longer required.

I started by setting up a 'files' folder outside of the visible web site where it could not be directly accessed with subfolders for different levels of access and using a similar PHP script called 'files' that vetted access before returning the file. There is no ability to list the files available.

A parallel location for files, mostly technical ones, is in HALO_SHARE. These have limited access, but, to those who do have it, they are easy to read and update, the results being shared almost straight away.

I have started, but it is still a work in progress, to combine the two options with a general interface through a link on the web site footer. The plan is to have a list of available files and access to the files themselves, restricted as before. There will be automatic synchronisation with similar folders in HALO_SHARE.

This will provide:

  • A common set of documents in both places, reducing duplication of versions.
  • Updates in one place will be reflected in the other.
  • Automatic reflection of changes and additions in the web site footer link
  • Individual documents may still be given specific link or menu items.

I also have a preference that documents be converted to PDF before adding, and that will be a restriction on the synchronisation and folder listing parts of this development (unless strong disagreement is expressed).

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