Building online communities with Community Server

A shared-source platform for blogs, newsgroups, content-management and more

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To filter content, users can simply click tags on the tag cloud. In the first of the preceding examples, content is filtered first by ASP.NET, then by Community Server. The next example reverses this. Both return the same results, but the reader is not forced to choose based on a predetermined set of hierarchical categories.

Community Server also supports clouding of tags, as mentioned previously. Clouding is a technique whereby tags are organized alphabetically, and font weight and size are used to indicate overall popularity—bigger and bolder text indicates more popular tags, as shown in Figure 13-12.

Figure 13-12. Sidebar tag cloud

Figure 13-12. Sidebar tag cloud

Again, users can quickly filter content just by clicking on tags in a cloud. Figure 13-13> shows Community Server's breadcrumb trail in the upper-left corner displaying the current tag filtering.

Figure 13-13. Breadcrumb trail showing content filtered by tags

Figure 13-13. Breadcrumb trail showing content filtered by tags

(Click image to see larger view.)

Supporting member blogs

Community Server's blogging features are robust and specifically designed for scenarios where there will be more than one blogger on a site, like at http://blogs.msdn.com. However, Community Server works equally well for single bloggers. Version 2.1 provides additional support for this exact scenario.

The blogging tools support common features such as "Save and Continue," future publication dates, tags, easily embedding photos, support for podcasting and videocasting, and much more.

Community Server's blogging system also has a very robust and flexible skinning system, allowing authors to change a blog's look and feel easily (Figure 13-14).

Figure 13-14. Customizing a blog with skins

Figure 13-14. Customizing a blog with skins (Click image to see larger view.)

Posting to a blog has never been easier. While Community Server has a great web-based UI for posting content, it also supports the Web Services APIs for posting via any popular client blogging tool. Additionally, Microsoft Word 2007's built-in support for blogging allows posting to any Community Server blog directly from Word.

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