Difference between revisions of "Master Template for Class Web Sites"

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Remember, this is a Wiki and depends on user content.  If you figure out how to do something that isn't covered here, please add it to the Wiki so others can benefit.
[[Basic Management How-To's]]
[[Basic Management How-To's]]

Revision as of 20:31, 5 February 2009

Introduction to the Template(DRAFT)

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new master template for creating class web sites. This template is based on the Joomla Content management system used successfully by the classes of 1972 and 1969. All of the software used in this template is open-source and most of it is free. A few modules are proprietary and require a small payment for use (on the order of $25 - $35).

You can see what the template looks like before it is customized for your class at www.hrtemplate.org. (You can log in using user name 'TestUser' and password 'letmein'). We describe key features and benefits here.

You can install and run this template on your own server, or you can use one of several inexpensive hosting companies who specialize in hosting Joomla sites. Here is a Web page that lists some of the hosting companies.

If you would like to pursue using this template, you can email Bill Bean or call him at 617-864-6813.

The rest of this page (and subsidiary pages) is documentation of the template. In order to use the system effectively and to understand the documentation you will need to absorb a certain amount of jargon. We'll try to make it as painless as possible.

Introduction to Joomla

Joomla is a free, open-source, extensible content manager. A content manager is a program that you install on a Web server that allows you to easily create a Web site and to manage the content that appears on the site. That is the core function of Joomla. The rest of those adjectives mean that you can use it without charge; you are free to modify it to suit your own needs; and that the basic system can be extended by adding other, independently developed modules to it.

The key pieces of Joomla Jargon that you must master before we go on are:

  • Article: Just what it sounds like. A piece of text that you've written and would like to display on your Web site.
  • Components: Programs that provide Joomla with extra capabilities such as displaying Google maps, or displaying galleries of photographs. A component is generally responsible for the entire central content of a page.
  • Modules: Programs that produce output that can be displayed on your Web pages. A module might produce a list of your users, or a list of upcoming events, for example. The difference between a component and a module is that a component is responsible for an entire page, a module for only a portion of a page.
  • Plugins: Simple programs that extend the functionality of Joomla or of a module or component.
  • Front End/Back End: The front end of the system is what your users see. It's the part of the system that's open to the world, or to your registered users. The back end is a more private part of the system that allows you to administer the Web site. The back end has all the controls you need to set up and manage the site.
  • Menu: A grouping of menu items. There can be more than one menu on your site and pages can have individualized menus as well as classes of users (registered or guest, for example).
  • Menu Item: A single entry on a menu. It controls the text that appears on the menu and also what happens if the user selects it. A menu item, for example might take you to an article, or to a gallery of photographs.

Components Used in the Template

All of these components are included in the Master Template. Here, we list them and provide links to their Web sites where you can often find documentation and futher information.

Community Builder - Community and social networking features;

GMapsPro - Google Maps showing your users' locations;

Event List - Lists of events;

ExposePrive - Photo galleries;

Nice Talk - Simple forum;

Sticky Message Pro - Displays a floating message on selected pages.

Webmaster Workflow

The initial configuration of the Web Template requires classmates to register before they can see most of the site. Registration is a multi-step process. First the classmate fills out a registration form with required information. Then the system sends the classmate an email asking him/her to confirm receipt. (This is done to ensure that we have a good email address.)

Once the classmate confirms receipt by clicking on the link in the confirmation email, the system sends an email to the system administrator notifying him/her that a new user is awaiting approval.

Your job as Webmaster is to respond to that email by going to the site and logging in as an administrator. Once you do so, you will see a menu group on the left hand side labelled "CB Workflows". Under it there will be a link to a list of classmates awaiting approval. You can view their registration information by clicking on their user name. There you could, for example, look them up in the latest Class Report to verify that they really are a classmate. Once you are convinced, you click the "Approve" button and the system will notify the classmate(s) that they have been approved.

Bugs and Other Things You Should Know

Joomla is open-source software and is built by volunteers. Occasionally, for no obvious reason, some of the administrative features will work in Firefox and not in Internet Explorer. If you think that one of the administrative menus isn't working the way it should, try using Firefox!


Remember, this is a Wiki and depends on user content. If you figure out how to do something that isn't covered here, please add it to the Wiki so others can benefit.

Basic Management How-To's

Community Builder How-To's

Event List How-To's

GMaps How-To's

Design How-To's

Photo Gallery How-To's

Bulk email How-To's

Web Hosting Solutions

How to install a Joomla Security Patch

From time to time Joomla will issue minor upgrades that include security fixes. We strongly recommend that you install these patches. You can subscribe to the email Joomla Security Newsletter here. You can also get information about Joomla security issues on the Joomla Site administration page by opening the "Joomla! Security Newsfeed" on the right of the page.

Information on how to install a security patch can be found here, look near the bottom of the page, or search for "patch".

Links to Outside Sites


Joomla Hosting Providers

Community Builder


Event List

ExposePrive information

Nice Talk

Sticky Message Pro information

Setting up from Scratch - No Template

This section documents the process of setting up a site like the template from scratch. It is intended for use in the unlikely event that somebody needs to start fresh. You should not need this information. It is here only as a matter of public record.

How to Rebuild the Template Site

Return to the Webmaster's Corner