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Creating a New Channel

There are two primary ways to create a new channel in The Buzz. The easiest is to copy from a channel that already does something similar to what you want. The other method is to create a new channel from scratch. Regardless of which method you choose, you first need to bring up the channel browser. First, click on The Buzz window to make sure that it has the focus. Then move your mouse to bring up the control panel and click on the Channel Lineup button.
Control Panel - Channel Lineup.png


If you wish to copy an existing channel, first select it in the browser. Then click the copy button at the top of the screen (immediately to the left of the + button). To create a new channel from scratch, click the + button and enter a name and description for the new channel.

Channel Browser - Toolbar.png


You should now see the channel configuration window. At the top of the window are three tabs: Data, Presentation, and Info. Each tab controls how The Buzz will gather data for that channel, how it will show that data on the screen, and information about the channel, such as its name and description. For more information how The Buzz gathers data and represents it on the screen, see Information Channels.

The first step is to make sure all of the data configuration information is correct. The Buzz will try to be smart about how it tries to display certain kinds of data, so this needs to be current before you move on to configuring the presentation. Once you've selected your data gatherer and configured any relevant options, click on the Presentation tab. If you've made any changes to the data, you will probably need to run the data gatherer. The Buzz will prompt you to do so. You can safely use the old data only if you have not made any changes to the kinds of data that the gatherers will produce. You probably want to update the data, although this process may take a few minutes, depending on the data gatherer and the content publisher.

Presentation

At the top of the presentation window, you can select the Title, Footer, background image, and icon for the channel. If you use the pull-down menu for the Title or Footer, you will see some special items that will be generated automatically from the gathered data (for example, the title of the RSS Feed, if you are using the RSS or Atom Gatherer.
Channel Configurator - Presentation.png

On the bottom half of the screen, you will see a mockup of how The Buzz will display this channel. You can create new regions into which the various data will be displayed. To create a new region, click the [+ Button] button. The delete a region, click the [- Button] button. You can resize a region by clicking and dragging on the edges of a selected region. To change what data will be displayed in each region, double-click on it. You should now see the region editor window:
Region Editor.png

You can choose what data should be shown in the region. For many data gatherers, such as the RSS or Atom Gatherer, the Web Crawler Gatherer, and the Flickr Gatherer, all of the individual items gathered will be shown as a collective item with a name like "Feed items" or "Crawled items," depending on the gatherer. Other gatherers, such as the National Weather Service Gatherer, will let you choose specific items such as the 5-day forecast or the Radar image. Whatever you choose, you can select a drawing method and any options to control the drawing process for that region. For example, you can constrain the drawing so that data cannot overflow beyond the region. You can add a random jitter that will "shake" the placement of the data within the region.

When you are finished configuring the channel, you can select the Preview button to display it in the main window. If everything looks okay, go ahead and click the OK button. Otherwise, you can play around with the settings until you find something you are happy with.

Last modified 23 March 2007 at 2:58 pm by eaganj