Overview: Building out the site

This background is for everyone.

Why read this: So you can understand what you can do with the system.  Its very powerful, but you need to know how to ask it to do something.

Create/Edit Pages: (using the Manage Pages button) Within their authorized sections (for single author sites this is all sections) authors and administrators can create pages using any available template.
  1. In sites with versions:
    1. Each version of a page can be in one of three modes: Active, Edit or Prior.  There can be multiple prior versions but at most one active and one edit version.  A page in the 'edit' mode can be either locked by a particular user so only they can make changes or unlocked so that either someone else can lock it and start editing or an administrator can publish it.
    2. New pages are in the Edit Mode as soon as they are 'added' and locked to the person who started editing them. 
    3. An active page can be made the basis for a new Edit Mode version of that page (assuming there is not already an edit mode version existing).
    4. If you want to abandon an edit mode version the author working on it should click on the 'Cancel Page' button.  This will remove the edit mode version.  Warning: Clicking on the Delete this Page button will remove a page and all its versions (for this reason certain pages are protected and any deletes require the Confirm Delete check box to be checked before performing the delete).
    5. Once a page edit is done, the Editor (or an appropriate administrator) will unlock it.
    6. An appropriate administrator will then review and Publish it.
    7. Even after a page is published the Administrator can select a prior version and make that the current version.  When this happens the version which was 'Active' becomes a 'prior' version. 
  2. In sites w/o versions all changes to pages are live as soon as they are made (there is no UNDO).   However, until either Add this Page or Save/Update is pressed the edit can be restarted from what is currently displayed on the site.

How pages are displayed: The system assembles each page, whether it is in the Catalog/Shopping Cart or a Text Only content page, the same way.

  1. A file containing the basic layout (called a template) is selected (actually the page's top content area is selected to determine if the tag |.popup.| is present which will cause a special Pop-up template to be used otherwise the template specified for the page is used).
  2. The template is examined for dynamic elements (called Tags) which it then replaces with appropriate dynamic content.  This is done in three stages:
    1. Tags containing page specific content (i.e, |.content.|, |.content:1.|, etc.) are converted to their content.
    2. Tags containing other content (e.g., |.pContent:#.|) are converted to their content, and the result re-examined for other |.pContent:#.| tags.  This process is repeated for up to three times (there has to be a limit so that the system doesn't get caught in a loop where tags call back to a tag that called the original tag).
    3. All the other tags are examined and replaced by their appropriate HTML.
  3. Once this is done the page is sent out to the visitor's computer.  Remember:
    1. Some of the tags will put out information you, or someone else entered as content,
    2. Others will display pre-defined things such as a calendar for one or three months based on the events stored in the optional calendar events system.

What does a Tag look like:  All tags are begin with '|.' and end with '.|'  (e.g., |.btitle.| displays the page title). Some tags, like |.galpages.| have a fixed form.  Others can contain a variable section, for example the table of contents on the left of this page uses the form |.TOC:ComplexHelp.|  In the discussion of each tag we will describe what options the tag has.  Page authors can get by using no tags.  However, one of the more useful tags allows authors to use content someone else has entered (for example an announcement).  Tags are either replaced by editor entered content (so called "content tags", |.pContent:15.|) or pre-defined elements (e.g., |.TOC.| which lists the Table of Contents for the current section).  The system first processed all the content type tags (which can themselves contain other content type tags) and then it looks for the pre-defined element type tags and processes those.   Where possible the system tries to determine if the resulting page will be constant from one request to the next and if so it will be saved off and that copy used the next time the page is requested.