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Tag Archives: legal IT

Update on the new Landlord Law web site

Landlord Law logoLandlord Law II

Many of you will be aware that my web designer and I are in the process of developing a new Landlord Law site.

The current site was originally developed by my web designer Gill Bishop in 2001, and although it has served me very well, it is getting a bit old and clunky.  We have been talking about a new site for a couple of years now.  Earlier this year I decided that the time had come to do it, and asked Gill to go ahead.

Gill advised that the new site should be built using the open source software Drupal, as this is a very stable platform suitable for a large site with many users (it’s the software used apparently for the White House website).  So this is what we are doing. The basic site is now there and Gill and I are both working on it.  It is taking us quite a bit longer than we originally thought.

Gill has done a stunning new theme for the site, which I am really pleased with.  However the theme is the least of it.  She has to create various types of membership (and get them to work), lots of new templates for the different type of content (Q and A, FAQ, tips etc), and the new purchasing system, not to mention a mailing system and forums and the new tenancy agreements service.  To name but a few.

I have the massive task of reviewing and then copying over ALL the Landlord Law content.  We have taken the decision to split the site in half, so members are going to be either landlord members or tenant members.  This is good, in that it will allow me to focus more on the different needs of those groups.

However it also means that for much of the content, for example the articles, which were generally written with both landlords and tenants in mind, I now have to do two, a landlords’ version and a tenants’ version.  This is taking some time.

While doing this of course I am also having to learn Drupal on the hoof.  It’s a steep learning curve and it was a bit hard at first.  However I am getting the hang of it, with help from Gill, the Drupal  guidance, and a couple of books I bought from Packt.

Drupal is a fantastic system.  We are using something called taxonomy, by which all content is tagged with a term.  I can then, using a thing called ‘views’, create a page, which will show all of a certain type of content, with a certain term.

So for example I have had to do views for all the different types of FAQ – so there is a page for the landlords tenancy agreements FAQ, a page for the landlords tenancy deposits FAQ, etc, all linked from a page which has links to the links pages for all the landlords FAQ (if you follow me).  And the same for the tenants FAQ.  These all have to be done individually and it took me a couple of days to get it right (although we have a clone function which helps a lot).

I am hoping to be able to do something similar for the Q and A, which I know will please many of you, as you have often asked for a better way to search these.

There’s still a vast amount to do.  Probably about one half to two thirds of the content is still to be moved over, plus there is some new content I want to do.

There is also the presentation of the information on the page.  I want to have at least one picture on most pages, plus there are things called blocks which we can use to put information in the margins.  This is all replicating a lot of what we have on the current site, but it all has to be done in a different way.

Last night I started putting links into the ‘library’, which will be a resource of links to relevant web-sites.  Things I have not really got around to doing much about yet are the new suppliers area, the forums, the trails, and the new instruction procedure for ‘one to one’ case work.

Not to mention the new software we are going to be using for our tenancy agreements!

So it will be a while longer before we can launch.  We are coming along, but I suspect it will be a couple of months more yet.  But it will be a pretty nice system when it is done.

If you have any suggestions for content, do leave a comment and let me know.

The Free Legal Web – putting the law online

The free legal web

The law on the web For a long time Nick Holmes together with quite a large number of people from the legal profession have been developing an online source of free legal information, termed the Free Legal Web.  Excitingly they have now launched a new pilot housing law site. The housing law project This drawsContinue Reading

The Housing Lawyers toolbar

Making life easier on the computer

Regular readers may remember that back in November I did a Landlord Law Toolbar.  This provided links to all the main parts of my Landlord Law site, to give members an alternative method of navigation. I have gradually found myself using the toolbar.  But I found I wanted more.  I wanted links to the courts,Continue Reading

The Law Bazaar

If you are looking for a lawyer, there is a new option available now. This is the Law Bazaar (reported by the Guardian here). Set up by solicitor Costas Andrea, fed up with the huge sums made by claims companies just for referring work to solicitors, this allows clients and lawyers to make contact direct.Continue Reading

Susskind – the end of lawyers?

Richard Susskind

I have just listened to an interesting webcast of an interview of Richard Susskind here. Susskind is promoting his new book, The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the nature of legal services, having written several groundbreaking books on the use of IT and technology in the internet in the past. Susskind covers quite a wide rangeContinue Reading

Twitter Tips

twitter

Reading an article about twitter this morning, I suddenly thought ‘Why not have some special tips accounts? One for landlords and one for tenants?’ Well, not being one to mess about (particularly where there is a free marketing opportunity), I have now set these up. Every week, on a Wednesday afternoon, tips will be posted:Continue Reading

Two talks – a day in London

The dome of St Pauls

Had a reasonably pleasant day in London today, although I never enjoy rising at 5.00 am. I also had the embarrassment of having to ask the taxi man to return twice, once for my watch and the second time for my railway ticket (!). Still he was a cheery chap and didn’t seem to mindContinue Reading



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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