APC ActionApps Basics

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This section provides an overview of the basic concepts of APC ActionApps: the different user roles, technical terms, and the flow of information. This information is intended for the users who will provide and administer Website content.

User Roles

There are three types of users in ActionApps. Each is allowed different levels of access to the software, according to his or her role.

  • Author. A person who sends content to be included on a Website. An author has permission to add and publish items and to edit or remove her own items, e.g. your newsletter editor.

Note: There can be multiple authors.

  • Editor. This person can publish, edit, approve, and remove (expire) any item, as well as import items from other ActionApps slices. An editor has full control over published items but cannot modify the text of items imported from other applications. A typical editor is your project manager who wants to edit and/or approve all articles before they appear on your public Web site.

Note: There can be multiple editors.

  • Administrator. This person can set or change the configuration of your Website using the ActionApps. The administrator can design the layout of pages containing ActionApps slices (including information selection and layout, definition of content categories, and configuring of Content Pooling). She also sets which content parameters are predefined and which authors and editors can modify. Ideally this person works closely with the principal editors to ensure optimum administration of your material.

Note: There should be one administrator, plus a designated backup administrator.

It is possible that one person could perform all the above roles, or the roles can be shared across a number of people. How your organization determines roles depends on the skills and number of people involved. In general, you will have more authors and fewer editors. Ideally, you should have only one administrator, plus a designated backup administrator.

Day-to-day maintenance of ActionApps does not require administrator expertise; only the initial setup requires this technical skill. Generally, configuration happens only during the initial setup of an ActionApps slice. Once an application is configured, you need an expert only if you decide to make a major change to your Website. You can also do this job yourself if your organization's webmaster has expertise in HTML design and working with online forms.

Important Definitions

This section explains the terms used to name the various functions and features in ActionApps.

APC ActionApps “Slices”

The part of ActionApps that your organization creates to publish content in a section of its Website is called a slice, e.g. APC News slice, APC Press Release slice, GreenNet News slice.

All these slices are hosted on the same server, which makes it possible to exchange content between slices, even slices from other Websites. (Access permissions are carefully defined to make sure that unauthorized access does not occur.)

Content Pooling

ActionApps allow items published on one Website to appear on other Websites and thematic portals and vice versa. This sharing process is called Content Pooling and is a deliberate and organized process of exchanging information between Websites. For example, two NGOs - one large, and one small -- are working together on a toxics campaign. They both have Websites with press release sections, and the large NGO also includes an events listing and news articles related to the toxics campaign. Using ActionApps, the two organizations can set up an automated sharing so that press releases from both appear on both Websites.

The slice administrator controls to which -- if any -- other slices her content can be exported. In the above example, the administrator of the large NGO can specify that content (other than the press releases) can be exported to the small NGO's slice. Similarly, an administrator can also define from which other sites she wants to import (feed) items into hers. Of course, she can pick only items from those slices that allow exporting into hers. In our example, the administrator of the small NGO's Website can import items from the large NGO's Website.


Every news item or piece of content can be sorted or grouped by thematic categories. For instance, a demonstration against tree logging can belong to the category "Environmental action" or the category "Deforestation"

There are several important reasons why you should attach category information to content items. Your can display or archive your Website's news by categories, or readers can search content by category. Categories facilitate Content Pooling because the editors of other ActionApps Websites can identify the content items of interest to them.

By default, ActionApps come with an initial “default" set of categories, provided by APC. If no existing categories match your needs, you can create new ones. The use of many specialized categories complicates Content Pooling, however, so it is advisable to only create new categories when absolutely necessary.