This is an outline description of the Beer Engine approach to building a CAMRA branch web site. Beer Engine is intended to be used by people who have little knowledge of how to develop or maintain a web site. Creation of and updates to the content are made by filling in web forms.
The web forms are designed to allow the process of updating the site to be shared between different members of the branch committee: social secretary; newsletter editor; pubs officer; festival organiser etc. These web sites are hosted and administered for branches on a central server. Help is provided to install and configure the web site to meet the branches specific needs.
Below is an outline of the main content and page types, what they offer, and how they are updated. Though delivered in a fairly standard format, a branch has a lot of flexibility to customise the appearance of their site, within the flexibity offered by CAMAR's brand guidelines. For users with HTML and CSS skills, there is also a lot of scope for delivering some very creative content, including dynamic web page scripting.
This support website has most of what you need to create a dynamic and appealing website with little effort. The standard template somes with the page structure described below. To get started with customising the template to suit the needs of your branch, take a look at other Websites using BeerEngine implemented by branches and regions across the country to see what is achieveable.
Work through the basic How To ... Guides and read the more detailed Beer Engine User Guide (PDF download) which was written to help committee members create and manage content. With Beer Engine a lot of the content is created as individual pieces, such as a contact record or a diary event - one record per person, per event, per venue etc.
Beer Engine pages are then constructed from narrative text and the output of Content tags which can embed individual bits of content or a complete list of items.
The purpose of the home page is to introduce the first time visitor to CAMRA and the branch, and to provide regularly updated content for the repeat visitor to ensure they continue to be a repeat visitor.
The content can include a number of elements, for example: news pulled automatically from the national CAMRA site (via RSS); local news as a Twitter feed; future events. News and similar types of content can include images.
This allows all the main committee positions to be listed. The details for each person (email, phone, address, photograph) are entered via a web form. Branches can optionally choose to include the description of the role of each position, taken from the branch handbook.
The branch diary page shows a list of future events. All diary details are maintained by entering event details into a structured web form (date, location, type of event etc.), suitable for a social secretary to use.
Links to National CAMRA
The National CAMRA section of the main menu includes direct links to...
Individual links to other internet resources can be entered via a web form for defined categories, and then listed in categories: public transport; trading standards; local breweries; local pubs. Links can also be included individually anywhere in a page of text.
As well as allowing local members with assigned editing roles to login to maintain the site, the site allows all members to login and view "members only" page(s).
Local Online Pub Guide
The pub guide uses near-live data from what pub to provide a map and details of all pubs in the branch's location. The pub list links to the full details of individual pubs, which in turn have a link to WhatPub.