Introducing Articles for Everyone

A few weeks ago we launched our articles section and we promised that you'd soon be able to create your own articles, photo blogs and other personal content using our newly-developed browser-based editor and content manager. We're excited to announce that today we've opened up access to this cool new tool for all registered members. You'll find links to your article manager in your profile (Articles tab) or at the top of the main articles index page.

First, a little background. For the last decade or so the stuff you read on dpreview.com has been produced almost entirely manually, with all our reviewers and editors creating and editing html pages directly in Dreamweaver, resizing images in Photoshop and uploading everything via ftp (this is still the way we produce reviews and previews). As you can imagine, this requires lots of training, and is slow and error-prone. When we decided to expand our content into articles, specifically articles produced by external contributors, we knew we needed an easier to use way of getting content into the dpreview.com style and onto its pages, so we set about creating a true content management system and a simple web-based article creator/editor.

As soon as we started to think about what we could do with such a system we decided we should offer it to all our members, allowing them to create permanent, easily discoverable content directly from their user profile. The forums are full of amazing information, expertise and opinion produced by some highly knowledgeable and talented members, but it can be hard work finding what you're looking for when wading through thousands of posts.

We deployed the CMS and article editor at the same time as the articles section (all the articles are created using it), and after a few weeks of testing we're happy it is robust enough to launch it into a public beta. The best way to discover what it can do is to go to the articles tab of your profile and start playing with it, but you can also read this quick primer if you'd like to get up to speed on the features of this first beta launch.

At launch the system allows you to create single or multi-page articles using text, images, tables and videos. Right now these will be accessed directly from your profile page (and will appear at at the bottom of the main articles index page), but we are working on ways to make your content more discoverable, and systems to ensure the best, most highly rated content bubbles to the surface. You can help this by tagging your articles and by clicking the 'Like' button on articles you find interesting, useful or inspiring.

Click here to jump straight to our primer on using the new article editor

We're launching personal articles today as a public beta, meaning there's almost certainly a few bugs and quirks, which we'll be fixing and fine-tuning over the next few weeks. Please report any bugs you find via the feedback form.

What's next

We need to spend a couple of weeks dealing with the beta feedback, but we're already developing some cool new features for the articles system. Just a taste of of some of the things you're likely to see In future updates includes:

  • Collaborative creation tools (multiple authors, version tracking, wiki tools)
  • More flexible image layout options
  • Better mobile device support
  • Better forum integration
  • Expanded integration with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr
  • More templates
  • More privacy and permission controls (who can view or edit your articles)
  • More control over commenting

FAQ

What can I use the article system for?
Pretty much anything you want as long as you stick to the site rules (see here) - a photo blog, tips, opinions, product reviews - it's totally up to you.

Why should I write your articles for you?
It is, of course, completely up to you. We see a lot of carefully constructed, useful or inspirational posts get lost in the endless flow of the forums, and we thought it would be sensible to offer our members somewhere to archive their contributions, share their thoughts/experiences and pass on their knowledge. We don't expect everyone to create articles, but we just couldn't keep such a cool tool to ourselves and our commissioned contributors.

Who owns the content?
You own all the words and pictures you post, and you can remove them at any time (as per our terms and conditions). The only exception is contracted, commissioned content.

How do I get my content featured on the home page?
At the moment only commissioned content is featured on the home page and in the main articles index, but we will soon offer a way to submit articles for approval by the dpreview.com editorial team, at which point we'll be able to promote them to official endorsed content status. We'll also start promoting popular / highly rated community content. Stay tuned!

Can I use the articles to promote my own product/services/website?
Articles created solely for the purpose of promoting a product, service or website will be considered to be spam and are likely to be deleted and may result in a permanent ban. However, you may include a single link to your personal or commercial website at the end of the article (we still reserve the right to edit or delete articles, at our discretion, that we consider to be spam).