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How do I start using Start.Warwick?

Start.Warwick provides a completely user customisable portal into the dynamic aspects of the internet with a Warwick University focus. Getting started with Start.Warwick couldn't be simpler, in fact,  if you have a user account at the university then you already have a Start.Warwick home page. University members can use Start.Warwick as a convenient single place to perfom much of their online activity, activities such as; checking their email, monitoring their social networks and keeping up with the latest news in an academic field. More than that though, Start.Warwick is also an open portal, allowing for users to add a huge range of web applications from elsewhere on the internet.


Getting Started with Start.Warwick

Use your web browser to navigate to http://start.warwick.ac.uk/. Once on the page make sure that you are signed in or use the standard 'sign in' link in the top right hand corner of the page.

You should now be looking at your own personal Start.Warwick homepage.

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There are a couple of pieces of information that might help you understand Start.Warwick a bit better:

  • The window like items that fill up the page underneath the Start.Warwick logo are called 'gadgets'.
  • Gadgets can be organised into groups that can be shown one at a time called 'tabs'.
  • Start.Warwick is highly user customisable. You can adjust or remove all of the gadgets.
  • Any gadget can be added to the portal as long as they are written to something called the 'OpenSocial' specification.

Gadgets

Each gadget on your Start.Warwick page is a mini application, much like you might have on computer operating system, but these are exclusively bound to the web browser. The gadgets do have some common functionality between them; each has a title bar and has the four icons in the top right, but much of the functionality inside each gadget is specific to that particular gadget.

There are gadgets for monitoring social networks like Facebook and Twitter, gadgets for academic publications and even gadgets that just show you a different picture each day.The gadgets that you see when you visit Start.Warwick for the first time are just a few of those that are available, there are many more available in the official university directory (click 'Add a gadget' to browse) and a greater number still out there on the web.


Tabs

Your Start.Warwick homepage can be more than just a single page full of gadgets if you make use of Tabs. A tab is just a name for a way of grouping a bunch of gadgets together and placing them in familiar method of navigation, like a box file. Clicking on the title of each tab activates that tab and displays all the gadgets belonging to it on the rest of the page. The functionality should be familiar to the identically named 'tab' functions of most modern web browsers.

You start with just a couple of default tabs, but you can quickly create more and they will all appear just underneath the Start.Warwick logo and above the gadgets.


User Customisation

The main strength of Start.Warwick is its ability to be highly customised by each and every user.

  • Don't like a gadget? Get rid of it from your page.
  • Want to try out a new gadget from the directory? Just add it yourself.
  • Want more news feeds on your tabs? Just go ahead and add them.
  • Want to change the layout of your gadgets? Just drag them around until you are happy.

All the changes you make will be saved for the next time you login. Its your home page; you control it.


OpenSocial

Because Start.Warwick is built as a container for OpenSocial gadgets it already works with a huge variety of non-university gadgets out there on the web.

iGoogle is one of the most popular OpenSocial containers and there are already hundreds of gadgets made for iGoogle that will work with Start.Warwick.

Just as gadgets made for iGoogle will work with Start.Warwick, gadgets made for Start.Warwick will also work with iGoogle.