Recently, we set up a Sandbox for people who want to play with DH Press. It’s a multisite installation of WordPress, so no matter how many unique sites we set up, each site will be updated simultaneously whenever we update the DH Press plugin.
Currently, our AMST 840 students are the only ones playing in the Sandbox, largely because the plugin is not yet finished and because we don’t have enough documentation for users to play without guidance from the dev team. The ten or so graduate students enrolled in Robert Allen’s AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies are working in teams on client projects that will launch by the end of the semester (I’ll be blogging about those projects soon). Right now, we are training them to use DH Press in the Sandbox as they plan and gather data for their DH projects. It’s a challenge training users on a tool that is not yet complete, but our students have an adventurous spirit and a lot of patience with me and the rest of the team. As with any development process, things don’t always work as anticipated, and we figure out ways to break the tool each week (all towards the end of making it more and more robust)!
Once the beta plugin is done and we’ve got enough documentation under our belt, we’ll open up the Sandbox to anyone who wants to play. We can create a website for each sandbox user, and will provide some sample data to work on. Of course, if you have your own WordPress installation (not one hosted on wordpress.com because those sites don’t support plugins), you’ll be welcome to grab the plugin file, either from GitHub or from dhpress.org, and install it yourself. If you do this, you’d be able to fiddle with the code as much as you like!