Writing Conversations

Typing your message

The actual process of writing messages is fairly simple. You have a text entry box at the bottom of every conversation. Below I repeat the bottom portion of the conversation in the 'Reading Conversations' page:

Before you enter your response, you have the option of choosing an icon for your response. To see what some of these icons look like, click here to go back to the Reading Conversations page. Your choices are the following:

Note: choosing an icon for your message is completely optional! Your message will work fine without an icon. However, it does make for a more colorful conversation.

After this, you just type the actual message. Doing this is identical to entering your profile, which I described in the Setting Up page. I summarize those instructions below:

  1. Click the mouse in the big text box under "Your Response." Start typing whatever you want your message to say.

    When you are done entering your response...

  2. If you want to have your message interpreted as HTML, make sure to check the appropriate box below the text area. If you don't know what HTML is, simply make sure that there is no check in this box.

  3. Click on the 'preview response' button.

    This will take you to a demo page which will show you what your response will look like.

    If you are happy with the way it looks:

    1. Click the 'submit response' button.

    If you don't like it

    1. Make whatever changes you want and repeat the 'preview response' until you are satisfied with the way it looks.

    2. Click the 'submit response' button.

Important: unless you hit the 'submit response' button, no response will be submitted! Simply previewing your response doesn't really do anything.

Adding Graphics

Putting graphics into your topic or conference messages, or even into your conversations, is a bit tricky. By graphics I mean everything except those cute little icons you get when you choose a 'mood' for your message (angry, happy, etc.) as described above.
I'll assume that you are already familiar with the graphics tag of HTML, namely IMG SRC, and just point out the difference. If normally you would write the following tag to put an image in an HTML file:

<IMG SRC="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~johndoe/images/himom.gif">

In COW the tag would look like this:

<IMG SRC="/cow-bin/image?http://www-personal.umich.edu/~johndoe/images/himom.gif">

Why do you have to go through the trouble of writing down a full path, and prepending that gobeldi-gook at the beginning? COW is considered a secure environment in that it's password-protected. Images from outside of COW (such as ones that reside on your AFS account) are considered insecure. Fortunately, the COW administrators have created a nifty little script that fools the browser into thinking that your images are OK.

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Last Modified: Friday, 15-Feb-2002 15:35:50 EST

Originally generated by Shahaf Abileah and Aaron Rosen for OIT.
Now maintained by the COW Administrators

Copyright 1996-1998 Regents of the University of Michigan