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Collaboration System

WebGUI’s Collaboration System is an extremely versatile asset. The Collaboration System can be configured to function as a forum, photo gallery, FAQ, classifieds section, weblog, and more. Any time you have a list of content to publish, consider using a Collaboration System. Also consider it when you want users to be able to submit content through a simple form without ever having to enter Admin mode.

How your Collaboration System appears and functions is dependent on the templates selected at the time of the asset's configuration. This chapter will begin with a review of each tab in the Add Collaboration System screen, and then will provide examples of some of the more common uses.

Note: Before content can be posted to a Collaboration System, you must first commit the asset. Then the “Add” link will appear.

Properties Tab

The first tab viewed when creating a Collaboration System is the Properties tab. As with most assets this is where the primary information that will be displayed to the user on the page is entered. This includes the title of this asset, and static content that will display directly below the title of the Collaboration System on the page.

  1. Give your Collaboration System a title in the box labeled “Title.”

  2. The Menu Title and URL fields can be left blank and WebGUI will generate them for you.

  3. If you want to add content, enter it in the “Description” field.

  4. The “Archive After” field allows you to set a time to pass, after a post's last update, until the post is archived.

  5. If a value other than 0 is entered in the “Attachments per Post” field, users will be allowed to add attachments, up to that number, to a post.

  6. If the “Use preview?” field is set to Yes, a preview of each post will be made available to the user before submitting the post.

  7. If “Enable Avatars” is set to Yes, users will be able to display an avatar associated with their user profiles on posts. Users must first enable and upload an avatar to their profile, and should be aware that using avatars may slow down the performance of the collaboration system. 

Display Tab

It is important to become familiar with the Display tab of the Collaboration System asset. It contains the templates that determine the behavior and appearance of the system.

  1. “Hide from navigation?” will hide this asset from the site's navigation if set to Yes.

  2. If “Open in new window?” is set to Yes, this asset will open in a separate browser window when independently viewed.

  3. If “Display the title?” is set to No, this asset's title, entered in the Properties tab, will not display on the page.

  4. The “Style Template” is the style this asset will be displayed in if it is viewed directly. If the asset is contained by a Page Layout asset, the Page Layout's style will apply.

  5. “Printable Style” allows you to select a style other than the default WebGUI printable style, to be used when a user prints this asset (again, an asset's parent asset's settings will override this).

  6. If “Enable RSS” is set to Yes, an RSS From Parent asset will be generated along with this collaboration system, and be handled as if it were the asset's child. After the collaboration system is created you can view this RSS From Parent asset to copy its URL. The URL from this RSS From Parent asset can then be used to display this asset's content, just as you would use any RSS feed.

  7. The “RSS Template” is the template to use for the RSS feed for this asset.

  8. The “Visitor Cache Timeout” allows you to set the time to pass before a visitor's cache is cleared.

  9. “Thumbnail Size” sets the size of thumbnails displayed for this collaboration system. If left at 0, the WebGUI default size will be used (set through the global Settings in the Admin Console). Note that changing this size will not retroactively change the size of thumbnails already contained in this collaboration system.

  10. “Maximum Image” size determines the size of image attachments allowed for this collaboration system. If left at 0, the WebGUI default size will be used (set through the global Settings in the Admin Console). Note that changing this size will not retroactively change the size of images already contained in this collaboration system.

  11. If set to Yes, “Display Last Reply?” will set the collaboration system to display the last reply to a post in the system

  12. “Threads Per Page” sets the number of threads to display per page. Setting this number very high can slow the load time for the page.

  13. “Posts Per Page” sets the number of posts displayed per page in the thread template. Setting this number very high can slow the load time for the page.

  14. If “Use content filter?” is set to Yes, the system will scan each post and use the Replacements System to filter content.

  15. The “Rich Editor” field lets you select which rich editor configuration to use.

  16. The “Sort Order” field determines the order in which content is sorted: descending or ascending.

  17. The “Sort By” field determines what criteria content is sorted by, such as date updated, date submitted, title, etc.

  18. The “Collaboration System, Search Template” is the template used for this collaboration system's search form and results.

  19. The “Collaboration System, Post Form Template” is the template used when users submit a form to the system.

  20. The “Collaboration System, Thread Template” is the template that controls the look of what was submitted. It is often also where users can reply to a post.

  21. The “Collaboration System Template” is the template the system is viewed in.

Security Tab

  1. The “Owner” of the asset has full editing and viewing privileges. Usually the owner is the person who created the asset.

  2. “Who can view?” allows you to select the group of users allowed to view this asset.

  3. “Who can edit?” allows you to select the group of users allowed to edit this asset and its configurations.

  4. The “Post Workflow” determines the workflow executed upon each post as it is submitted. If you want to approve each post to the Collaboration System, this is where you would indicate that.

  5. The “Thread Approval Workflow” determines the workflow executed upon each thread as it is submitted.

  6. If “Allow Replies” is set to Yes, people will be allowed to reply to posts.

  7. “Filter Code” sets the level of HTML filtering applied to each post.

  8. “Reply Filter Code” sets the level of HTML Filtering applied to each reply.

  9. “Edit Timeout” sets the amount of time to pass before a post can no longer be edited by the original poster.

  10. If “Add edit stamp to posts?” is set to Yes, information will be added to each post indicating when it was last edited.

  11. “Who can post?” determines the group of users who are allowed to post to a thread in this collaboration system.

  12. “Who can post a thread?” is the group of users allowed to start a thread.

  13. “Use Post Captcha” will require users to verify their humanity before being allowed to post. This will help cut down on spam being posted to the system.

  14. Group to Edit Posts: allows you to select a group of users who will be allowed to edit posts to this collaboration system.

Metadata Tab

 See the chapter on Content Profiling at the end of this book for more information about using metadata.

The metadata tab of a collaboration system contains all the standard fields available in this tab. In addition, you may allow posts to this collaboration system to have metadata assigned to them as well. If “Enable MetaData in Posts?” is set to Yes, posts will be allowed to have metadata and be passively profiled. Metadata must first be enabled on the site (your site administrator may have to do this) and this may affect the performance of the collaboration system. If this field is set to yes a link will appear to add new metadata properties. Clicking on this link will open the Edit Metadata Property screen. These metadata properties will then be made available below the rich editor when users submit a post. See the chapter on Content Profiling for more information about metadata.

RSS Tab

The “RSS” tab allows you set up specific RSS properties for the Collaboration System asset.

 

    1. The “Items Per Feed” sets the number of stories included in the feed.

    2. The “Feed Copyright” field allows you to enter optional copyright information that may pertain to content published by your organization.

    3. The “Feed Title” field is the name of this feed. If this is left blank the asset will simply use the title given to the asset in the Property tab's “Title” field.

    4. “Feed Description” is an area to enter an optional description of this feed. If left blank, any content entered in the asset's “Description” field will be used.

    5. “Feed Image” is an area to upload an image to associate with this feed, such as a logo.

    6. “Feed Image Link” is where you can enter a URL to where users will be hyperlinked if they click on the image uploaded in the “Feed Image” field. If not specified, the asset's URL will be used.

    7. The “Feed Image Description” field is an optional area in which you may enter a description of the image uploaded in the “Feed Image” field. If left blank the asset's title will be used.

    8. The “HTML Header Feed Links” field is where you can select which feed types to include in the HTML headers, which many browsers offer as options to users.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You can use the Collaboration System to set up an FAQ on your website to help visitors ask and answer frequently asked questions.

  1. Select “Collaboration System” from the New Content menu in the Admin Bar.

  2. The “Edit Collaboration System” screen will open.

  3. Give your FAQ a title in the box labeled “Title.”

  4. The Menu Title and URL fields can be left blank and WebGUI will generate them for you.

  5. If you want to add content, enter it in the “Description” field. This content will display below the title of the Collaboration System asset.

  1. Click on the “Display” tab at the top of the screen.

  2. Under the “Collaboration System Template,” choose “FAQ.” An alternative to this is the template “Q & A.”

  3. On the same screen, change the “Post Form Template” to “FAQ Submission Form.”

  4. Click “save” at the top of the screen, and the FAQ is created.

Add Questions and Answers to an FAQ

  1. Click the “Add” link under the title of your FAQ on your web page.

  2. The “Edit Question” screen will open. Type the question in the “Question” field.

  1. At the bottom of the screen, you can choose to lock the feature, or make it sticky.

  2. Click “save” at the bottom of the screen.

  3. You will be directed back to your web page where you will see the question you have added.

  4. Click on the question to view the answer.

  5. Click on the “Add” link to post more questions to the FAQ.

Below is an example of the final FAQ. This screenshot is taken from plainblack.com. The questions are listed at the top. Clicking on a question will direct the user to the answer.

 

The next example is an FAQ on webgui.org. This example shows an FAQ that is displayed using the Q&A collaboration system template. The Edit and Approve links are only visible to users who have the appropriate privileges.

 

 

Guest Book

Visitors to your site can sign your guest book and leave a short message.

  1. Go to the New Content menu in the Admin Bar. Select “Collaboration System.”

  2. A new screen will appear titled “Add Collaboration System.”

  3. In the “Title” box, give your guest book a title.

  4. Click on the “Display” tab.

  5. Scroll down to the “Collaboration System Template” drop-down menu.

 

  1. Choose “Guest Book.”

  2. Click “save,” at the top of the screen and the guest book will appear on your web page.

Sign the Guest Book

  1. Click the “Add” link located under your guest book title on your web page.

  2. This will open the “Edit Message” screen.

 

  1. Enter a subject for your message in the space labeled “Subject.”

  2. Enter your message in the space labeled “Message.”

  3. Click “save” and your message will post to the guest book.

 

 

 

Job Listings Framework

WebGUI will create a job listing framework on your website.

  1. Choose the “Collaboration System” asset from the New Content menu of the Admin Bar.

  2. The “Edit Collaboration System” screen will appear.

  3. Give your job listing a title in the box labeled “Title.”

  4. Click on the “Display” tab.

  5. Select “Job Listing” from the “Collaboration System Template” menu.

  6. In the “Thread Template” field, select “Job.”

  7. In the “Post Form Template” field, select “Job Submission Form.”

  8. Click “save” and the job listing framework has been created.

Add Jobs

  1. Click the “Add” link under the title of your job listing framework on the web page.

  2. The “Edit Job Posting” page will open.



  1. Enter a job title in the box labeled “Title.”

  2. Moving down the page, enter a brief “Summary” of the job.

  3. Enter a “Job Description.”

  4. Enter “Job Requirements.”

  5. Enter “Compensation.”

  6. Enter job “Location.”

  7. Click “save” at the bottom of the page.

  8. Your job posting will now be listed under the job listing framework.

 

Visitors can click on the job title to access the job listing details.

 

 

Weblog

A weblog (a.k.a. blog) acts like an interactive online journal. Users can write in their blogs, post their thoughts, and the community can respond. To place a blog on your website:

  1. Go to the New Content menu in the Admin Bar and select “Collaboration System.”

  2. A new screen will appear titled, “Add Collaboration System.”

  3. In the “Title” field, give your blog a title.

  4. Click on the “Display” tab.

  5. Scroll down to the “Collaboration System Template” drop-down menu, and choose “Weblog.”

  6. Click “save” at the top of the screen, and your blog will appear on your website.

 

 

Post a Submission

  1. Click the “Add” link under the title of your blog.

  2. In the “Edit Message” screen, enter a title for your entry in the space labeled “Subject.

 

  1. Type your message in the “Message” field.

  2. Click “save,” and your message will post to your blog.

 

 

 

Weblog: Other Possibilities

One of the great things about WebGUI’s Collaboration System is its versatility. Many of its templates can be used for functions other than their assigned roles. One such example is the Weblog. Many are familiar with blogs today, and would use the Weblog for the obvious function. However, this Collaboration System template can also be used to create a News section on your website. You can see this in action on Plain Black’s site. This allows users to post stories without first needing to create a user account.

Simply set up the Collaboration System as a Weblog, give it an appropriate title (like News) and use the “Add” link to post news stories, instead of the regular blog post. The subject, or title, of each post will display on the main page, along with a preview of its content. Users click the “Read More” link to read the body of the news story, and can reply with questions or comments.



Another use for this may be to allow users to post reviews of a product. The site’s commerce system would be in place, and products displayed. Then, users can rate and post reviews about the product, similar to other popular e-commerce sites.

Link List

Create a list of links to other websites to direct users to additional sites of interest.

  1. Select “Collaboration System” from the New Content menu of the Admin Bar.

  2. The “Add Collaboration System” screen will open.

  3. Give your link list a title in the box labeled “Title.”

  4. Click on the “Display” tab at the top of the screen.

  5. Under “Collaboration System Template,” choose “Link List.”

  1. Under “Thread Template,” choose “Link.”

  2. Under “Post Form Template,” choose “Link List Submission Form.”

  1. Click “save” at the top of the page. The title of your link list will appear on the web page.

 

Add Links To Link List

Now that your link list is created, you need to add links.

  1. Click on the “Add” link under the link list title.

  2. The “Edit Link” screen will open.

  3. Give the link a title in the field labeled “Title.

  4. Enter the URL for the site you're linking to in the box labeled “URL.”

  5. Enter a description of the site's content.

 

  1. Click “save” at the bottom of the page. The link to the website will now appear under your link list.

  2. Use the “Add” link to continue adding links to your list.

 

 

Archive Threads in a Collaboration System

WebGUI has a simple link available to archive a thread. Simply click on it to archive, and then click on the Unarchive link to reverse the action. Below, you can see this in the Status field. The actual location and appearance may differ.

 

 

 

 

Keywords: archive archive threads Assets blog collaboration system discussion forum faq forum frequently asked questions guest book guestbook job board job listing link list thread unarchive threads weblog

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