Monday, December 24, 2012

Access Management Et Al

December has been a busy month for us, aside from personal holiday preparations. All of us at Webs Divine are looking forward to a purposely quiet New Years Eve celebration to recharge our collective batteries, and then it's back to work.

In early December, we created an access management system for one of our existing clients. It was a first go-around for us, but from start to finish it took about six days to complete the project. The Members Only feature of the project included organizing and tracking more than six hundred user names and passwords, which gives access to confidential documents and web pages.

To that end, we utilized Coffee Cup's easy-to-use Website Access Manager. The software program was indeed a blessing, and comes highly recommended by us.

Product description:

"When it comes to password-protecting members-only areas of your web site, .htaccess files are the way to go. Unfortunately, they are also complicated. Website Access Manager gives you all the power of .htaccess files with none of the confusion. Its workspace is easy to use, setting up members-only areas is fast, and you can protect as many pages as you want."

Coffee Cup's customer service department is a cut above the rest as well. Whatever questions we had were quickly addressed by a member of their staff.

Website Access Manager (WAM) tips:
  • Because the .htaccess function only works with Apache and Apache-compatible servers, WAM comes with a tool to determine if your server meets the requirements. Your server should have PHP 4.47 or higher installed in order to use WAM.
  • Before importing an Excel spreadsheet for correct use in WAM, the spreadsheet has to contain information placed in a certain order. The various lettered columns signify specific information fields in WAM, so the data must be provided accurately in order for the spreadsheet to import properly. For example, column A must contain the user's real name, column C their preferred user name, column D password and column F an e-mail address. The reason columns B and E are skipped is so that when information is imported it goes to the correct fields for the individual member. For example, if we added information to columns B and E, the data listed would go to the wrong fields once imported into WAM. For a list of all correct property fields, click here.
  • If you are using an Excel spreadsheet to create a database in WAM, the document must be saved as a comma-delimited file (CSV).
  • After importing an Excel spreadsheet into WAM, all user details should be in their proper fields. However, if user details change in the future (new address, new member, delete member, etc.), the fields can be edited inside the WAM program (as opposed to importing the Excel spreadsheet all over again).
As we went along creating our access management project earlier this month, we also put together a personalized step-by-step "user's manual" for our client. This is something we do for clients on request. Call it a back-up plan just in case the client has to take over maintenance of a site for one reason or another. In other words, we don’t like to leave folks twisting in the wind in case the unthinkable happens.

Apart from creating the new access management system, we were busy in December with two quarterly online newsletters (IENA and WANA), along with several book cover designs, logos and buttons.

We also acquired a new client in December, but must remain mum about their identity for the time being. The client will be running for a political office in February and wants a web presence established before he/she begins their campaign.

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