How to use the new Frashogard blog design

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Roh Din Mah Bahman, 1382

Today is the 86th death anniversary of our revered Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff. As a mark of our respect, love and admiration for him and the wondrous message he brought from the Abed Sahebs of Demavand, we dedicate this new site design of the Frashogard blog to his pious memory.

How is the new design of the Frashogard blog different from the earlier? What new features have been added? How can readers of Frashogard make the best use of this large resource? This post answers these questions.

The main difference in the new design of the Frashogard blog from the earlier is this: the  previous Frashogard was designed as a blog – that is, a series of articles, one above the other, arranged in a chronological manner. On the right hand side were the various categories or subjects in to which the blog posts were classified. The problem with this method was that a new visitor to the blog would not have any idea as to the wealth of information contained in the earlier posts. Although a visitor could click on the categories and explore them, there was no easy, intuitive way to look around. The site was text heavy and difficult to negotiate.

The new design of the Frashogard blog attempts to break from the ‘blog post’ template and ventures into what is known as a CMS – Content Management System. Let us walk through each element of the new design. I would recommend readers keep the home page of Frashogard open in one window and this post in another and toggle between reading the post and looking at the design to properly understand the various points.

Right at the top of the Frashogard main landing are the five permanent pages, which appear on each and every view. HOME is self-explanatory and gets the reader back to the main page any time he wishes. BLOG takes the reader to the chronological listing of all the posts, much like in the earlier design. Those readers who may feel a bit lost in the newer design can safely click on BLOG and be taken back to familiar territory.

ILM-E-KHSHNOOM SKYDRIVE is the online library of Khshnoom. Over 90% of all Khshnoom writings has been digitized and presented here. The SkyDrive has been divided into separate sections, for English books, Gujarati books, Books by Ustad Saheb, Books by Dr. Saheb Framroze Chiniwalla, Books by Jehangirji Chiniwalla, Books by Er. Phiroze Masani and Books by other writers. The most important page for researchers and students is the Indexes page, where this massive trove of information has been classified, sorted and indexed so as to make the information easily accessible, both topic wise as well as author wise. The final section contains the digital version of the Parsi Avaz newspaper. All the 27 volumes of Parsi Avaz weekly, published from 1947 to 1974, barring some very few issues which are still being worked on, are available, date-wise, each in its individual PDF file. This kind of access would have been unbelievable even a few years ago. But thanks to the untiring efforts of our young volunteer Mr. N, and the free resources of Microsoft SkyDrive, we are able to present before the entire world this encyclopaedic knowledge at absolutely no cost.

Within each of these sections, the book covers have been attractively displayed, along with a summary of the book. Clicking on each download button takes the reader to the SkyDrive site where the material can either be read online, or downloaded as an Acrobat (PDF) file for free. I urge all readers of Frashogard to please go through this most enormous library and see for themselves the extent of Khshnoom literature.

The next page is ABOUT USTAD SAHEB. This contains a brief summary of his life along with the link to the detailed series of 30 posts which we had carried some years ago revealing the many hidden facts of the Master’s life. You can also download for free, the book on the life of the Master, called A Wondrous Life from here.

The final page is ABOUT FRASHOGARD explains the basic meaning and intention behind this site, along with a brief write up on the Editor.

Below the five main sections of the site is the SLIDER. This multimedia element displays the 7 latest posts on Frashogard, one after the other. Each slide animates and stays in focus for 15 seconds, allowing the reader to have a look. The caption below the image gives the name and brief summary of the post. Clicking on either the image or the caption will take the reader to the blog post. It is not necessary to wait for the whole 15 seconds for the next slider to emerge. There are two arrows, one at each end of the slider which can be clicked at any time to go ahead or behind as the reader may wish. The slider easily lets a first time reader see what are the latest posts on the site. The very first image will always be of the latest post and so on.

Below the slider, I have put a small box which guides older readers to the blog section where they can see the posts arranged chronologically as in the earlier design.

Below the box guiding visitors to the older site, are three sections: Basics of Zoroastrianism, ‘How-to’ articles and Zoroastrian Miracles. In each of these sections any three Random posts are displayed, along with a small image and a short summary. Clicking any of the images or texts or the ‘Read more’ button will take the reader to the actual post. The beauty of this system is that every time you visit the site, any 9 random articles – 3 from each category will be displayed for your reading pleasure. This ensures that even the older articles are rotated on a regular basis and hence new readers do not miss out on the older posts.

To further enhance the ability to find posts that are to a reader’s liking or his mood that day, three sections are given on the sidebar at the right: Some Random posts, More Random Posts and Still more Random Posts. Each of these headings has 7 articles from any Random category along with a small image. Beneath each section there is a REFRESH button. Clicking on the button makes the earlier 7 posts fade away, and a fresh set of 7 posts take their place. In effect, if a reader does not find a post to his liking, he can keep on pressing the refresh button in each section until he comes across something he may like to read. Given the fact that there are over 200 posts on the Frashogard Blog now, I am sure, even the most fussy reader will find something to his liking! Over a period of time, it is proposed to generate Random posts from the three sections on the left. I am still working on some coding issues with that.

Below the three sections on the main site, are two new additions to the Frashogard blog: ‘Ask a Question’ and ‘Poll’. If a reader has any queries he would like to ask or request for any particular article, the contact form gives him the ability to do so.

The Poll feature, which is not active as of now gives the Editor a chance to ask the opinions of the readers of Frashogard on any particular issue. Both these features will make Frashogard a more interactive site with two-way traffic.

The footer section at the end of the main page (in blue) is divided in to four sections. The first section has the important subscribe to Frashogard button. Any person who wishes to be informed as soon as a new post in published on the Frashogard blog should use this form and enter his email. The buttons below display the active number of Frashogard subscribers as well as the site visits.

The second footer contains the month-wise archives of old articles, and also a category wise listing of posts, along with a calendar. Clicking on the bold date of the calendar will take the reader to the post that was published on the day.

The last two columns give the recent comments as well as the most popular posts based on the number of times an article has been read.

I do hope readers of Frashogard will make full use of the new features and give their feedback about what they like and dislike about the new design.

On his 86th death anniversary, readers of Frashogard will join me in reciting one Ashem Vohu and wishing that the Ruvan of Osta Behramshah Osta Navroze progress onwards and shower its blessings on this site and our troubled community.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Dara  July 7, 2013

    Respected Ervad Marzban Saheb,

    Congratulations for the new version of Frashogard officially launched today on the 86th death anniversary of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff.

    Like all your regular readers, i had seen this new site some days earlier. i used to love the big picture on the opening page and so from that point-of-view i preferred the earlier design. i will always cherish that picture. i wish you could kindly consider uploading the same picture back, even in a smaller size, at least at the head of the last section ABOUT FRASHOGARD which, at the moment, is so bare. It will give us, older readers, a visual continuity.

    Also, i wonder why you have dropped the year reference — both Yz and 2013 on the new post today? Later on, as time goes by there will be confusion. For instance, in the article “An introduction to Zoroastrian Yoga – part 2” how is one supposed to know at a glance that Roj Amardad Mah Dae, 1379 Yz. does not correspond with May 22, 2013?

    There is no doubt that the new CMS version is a cool, refreshing departure from the traditional ‘blog post’ mould. Thank you ever so much for taking us through this new avatar and all it’s aspects in your clear and lucid style — obviously the aim is to rekindle our flame and make us more comfortable with our traditional Z lifestyle.

    Yes, over all i like this version and join you in reciting one Ashem Vohu.

    May the Ruvan of Osta Behramshah Osta Navroze progress onwards and shower blessings on this site and our troubled community.

    With warm regards,

    dara

  2. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  July 8, 2013

    @Dara
    Thanks for your comments. You are one of the most persistent and regular visitors to the blog so your comments are very valuable. My responses:

    1. I have put up the old picture of the tree-lined path on the Page ‘About Frashogard’ (which contents will also be changed shortly). Due to coding restrictions I cannot put this on the main blog page although I have asked the site theme developers if it is possible.

    2. I am afraid you are mistaken about the dates. My post starts very clearly with Roj Din Mah Bahman 1382, right below the image ‘Dedicated to Ustad Saheb…’ The date on the side is a visual representation contained in the Theme design and cannot be changed. Also if you see clearly, at the very end near the comments the date is visible. Moreover, each blog is categorized date wise too. If you use the pull down menu on the right hand sidebar, below the list of categories, called ‘Jump to’ you can easily see which month we are talking about. Also additionally, the comments section has the actual English date with the year very clearly written. So in short, although it may seem a bit confusing in the beginning, soon you will get used to it.

    Best regards,
    Marzban

  3. Mohnaz  July 8, 2013

    Dear Dasturji,

    Though the new format was slightly confusing in the beginning, as I thought that I will loose the viewing of the older posts, but all should welcome changes in their lives, especially positive & informative changes & since your simple & lucid explanation now I feel that I will also be able to read the very old posts that I may have missed out till now.

    Thank you very much for taking pains in spite of your busy schedule & giving us the enormous & vast knowledge as always.

    Humbly yours,

    Mohnaz.

    PS: Also would like to read more on Afshune Shah Faredoon Saheb (other that what you have shared with us already) & Dasturji Kukadaru Saheb … and many more as time permits. Thanks again.

  4. Sam Billimoria  July 8, 2013

    Ervad Hathiram,

    I have been through your new blog design and must convey my deep appreciation for the dedication, the effort and thought that has gone in its structure. What a monumnental task so well done.

    Initially it seems a bit overwhelming (for us who were not born in the digital era) to remember all the steps , but I guess it is a necessity, if we have to come up to speed. Many like me will always be behind in catching up with such sophisticated technology

    Looking at the vast information at finger tips , it is a discipline in itself . I was always curious to find out, if I will at least see a part of Nikhiz translated into English in my lifetime . It would be such a blessing for us who have not studied in Gujarati medium

  5. Minoo  July 10, 2013

    Dear Ervad Marzban

    The new site is a perfect example of a clean well structured setup. Thanks to you and your collaborators, we now have a real compendium of Zoroastrian literature with your excellent commentaries & explanations.

    If at all possible, a button at the end of an article with many parts, to go straight to the next/previous part, would be a nice convenience.

    Thanks once again for your efforts.

    Minoo

  6. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  July 10, 2013

    @Minoo
    Thanks for your valuable and intuitive suggestion. I will try and implement it as soon as possible.
    Best regards,
    Er. Marzban J. Hathiram

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