Auction Writer

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AuctionWriter is a creation and testing tool for on-line sellers. The roots of this service are in the popularity of a similar tool, PracticeWriter. PracticeWriter, which was developed in the spring of 2005, was created mainly to provide a medium for idea exchange, troubleshooting and proof-of-concept for small sellers who needed to develop attractive listings using basic HTML.

AuctionWriter is a ground-up re-write of the original concept. In constructing this version, I had the opportunity to learn from the short-falls of PracticeWriter plus start with a more functional system of document management to relieve the database demands of storing every revision to every document as we did with PracticeWriter (more about that problem here) With problems at eBay and changes in the general landscape of selling, this version of the program has also been designed to support a wider variety of landings.

Document Types

Although complete web pages may be created or edited, AuctionWriter is designed to work primarily with auction or listing type content which might be used on eBay or other selling venues. Most of these venues provide the main page, or "wrapper" and the seller furnishes only a subset of the complete page. Even with personal web sites, the system used often includes a main template which wraps the individual catalog items.

Typical content here will be HTML containing various formatting tags, in-line style elements, tables, E.T.C. If you use a layout program which creates a complete web page, you will obtain best results from this program by using only the content between the "<BODY>" and "</BODY>" tags

Saving and Sharing

Once a document is created and approved, it can be saved with a unique ID/URL. AuctionWriter includes a document management feature to ensure a new version is created if there are changes in content or author. This allows both the original and multiple corrected versions to be saved or compared when collaborating among several users.

Once saved, two separate web links (URLs) are generated which lead to the current document. One link allows simple display of the completed document just like a stand-alone web page. The other loads the document in the editor in preview mode. This allows greater control over display depending on the audience. (discussion boards for example)

AuctionWriter also allows the creation of private documents with password protection. This feature has been added to facilitate delivery of custom templates and scripts by designers. Documents saved as private can not be revised or saved in variation by anyone except the document owner. (but can be copied local by the password holder, obviously)

Document Persistence

As with PracticeWriter, popular documents will never be removed. This ensures that links to samples and demonstration files remain unbroken when published by others. However, in order to prevent the clutter and expense of storing meaningless files, removal of less popular documents will occur according to the following schedule:

CategoryRemoved after ¹Removed after ¹views
non-member files24-48 hours 500 views
member files180 days² N/A
Popular files³Never N/A
¹ Which ever occurs first
² Members may extend specific documents an additional 90 days.
³ Popular files are member-owned documents which receive at least 100 unique views in a rolling 90 day window following publication. (see next section)

Popular Documents

We never delete often used documents which meet AuctionWriter topic standards. Examples include templates and demonstration files which get picked up by other sites and used in design collections and help pages. To ensure these documents are identified and kept available, our system examines the viewing history of each document when parsing the database for expired files. Documents which have received a minimum number of views in the previous 90 days are marked for retention without regard for the timing shown above.