Admin Crash Course

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Creating a new slice

Log into ActionApps and click on the AA link at the top of the screen to enter the AA Administration control panel.

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Filling in the Create New Slice form (this link doesn't work now, Guaka 31 May 2006 22:38 (CEST))

Click on the Create new link to create a new slice. (demo) Choose a slice from the slice drop-down menu, that you would like to base this new slice on, and click on the Add menu.

Fill the Add Slice form and click on the Insert button at the bottom to create the slice.

Configuring a slice of the database

Start in the Admin control panel, with the slice settings. This is where you can create and configure the fields of this slice of the database. Access to the fields is given under the Main Settings heading in the left-hand menu-bar The fields screen lists the fields that come as part of the slice template. You can edit or delete these existing fields, and create new ones.

An existing fields comes complete with an ID and priority number. The id is derived from the type of data that will be stored in the field. The priority number determines how the list of fields gets ordered.

Creating a New field

The steps to creating a new field are as follows: Enter the name of the new field in the empty box at the bottom of the screen. Choose an appropriate data type from the drop-down menu. Assign a priority number that reflects where the new field should be positioned in the list. Click on the update button.

Editing a Field

Each new field needs to be configured for future use in the web publishing process. Click on the edit link next to the field you wish to configure to enter the Configure Fields control panel. This screen gives you the opportunity to adjust settings which will affect the way that data can be entered into the field, and the way that data appears on the public web page (demo) In the first portion... (demo) Choose the input box type, for entering data into the field

Choose which data should be treated as default in this field.

Use this section if you want the data to be validated as a particular type.

Identify which type of data is being entered and how it should be stored in the database.

Provide any text that will appear as a guide to the data author

In the second portion... (demo) We use aliases when working to customise the appearance of data on the published web page. Each alias has a corresponding function which determines how the data in the field will be processed. aliases must always:

  • begin with _#
  • be in upper case
  • be 10 characters long

Creating the web page for content to appear on - The shtml page

Any pre-defined fields, which come as part of the basic slice template, that you wish to keep, are configured with usable settings, including an alias. It is unlikely that you will want to adjust them. However you will need to go through this Configure Fields control panel very carefully for any new fields you create. After making your changes, click on the Update button to save your work.

Having configured each of your fields, you need to return to the full list of fields:

  • Adjust the Priority numbers so that the list is ordered appropriately.
  • Check the Required tick-box to insist that data is added to that field in every record. This means the database will reject the record unless the field is filled.
  • Check the Shown tick-box if you want the input form to show this field. If it is not ticked, the author will not be aware of adding data to this field. The data may get automatically generated - e.g. with today’s date.

To save your changes, click on the Update button at the bottom of the screen.

Creating the web page for content to appear on - The shtml page

The page that content is driven to on your website is rather like a picture frame. It is a page with static elements around the edge of a space that the data can be published into. Those static elements may include items such as:

  • A menu bar
  • A logo
  • Contact details
  • Border designs

This page is a template and is made ready for use for ActionApps-generated content, by adding in the crucial slice code. This must be pasted into the part of the page where you want the dynamically generated content to appear. This code appears on the Admin – Slice Settings control Panel. Each slice has its own unique slice code. (demo) The template page can now be saved for use with ActionApps by giving it a .shtml file extension. It must then be ftp-ed to an appropriate place on the web server. Your systems administrator will provide these details. With this information you can now enter the full URL of your shtml page in the box on the Admin – Slice Settings control Panel.

Customising the way your content will look on the website

When the template .shtml page is in place on the server, you can begin setting the rules for formatting the way that the data is published on the shtml page. Data can be published on the shtml page as

  • An Index view: a list of content items (documents)
  • A Fulltext View: a single complete item (document)

You will need to set formatting rules for both views. Each item listed in the Index View acts as a link to its fulltext version The Index View Control Panel provides the space for you to compose the html coding which will format the data that appears in the list of content items.

Designing the Index View

Access to the Index View is given under the Design heading in the left-hand menu-bar of the Admin Control Panels

The Index View screen is a control panel for you to set the html coding for the section of the template (shtml) page, which you designated for database content to appear in. The coding you enter will be used to publish data in a list format. The control panel requires you to divide your coding into the following sections:

  • Top HTML
  • Even Rows
  • Odd Rows
  • Bottom HTML

Each content item published in the list on the shtml page will be wrapped in the coding you provide for the odd rows. In addition the list itself will be wrapped in the coding you provide for the top and bottom html. It is only necessary to give coding for even rows, if you wish even and odd rows to alternate with different formatting such as colour.

In the first section of the Index View Control Panel: The html coding used in this example shows how the data in the headline field should be formatted in each row. The headline itself is represented by the field’s alias: _#HEADLINE. Tick this box if you want to apply different formatting to alternate rows of your list of content items (demo) In the second section of the Index View Control Panel: If you have configured any of your fields as a list of category constants, then you can use them to subdivide your list of content items.

Use the remaining boxes to code the formatting of the headings.

In the final section of the Design Index view control panel, there is a reference list of all the fields with their aliases, contained within the slice you are working on. These can be copied and pasted into the relevant sections of the control panel and you develop your Index View. Save your work by clicking on the Update button at the top or bottom of the control panel.

Designing the Fulltext View

The Fulltext View control panel allows you to code the formatting of content published as a single, complete document. Visitors to the web site will see content in this format when they click on an item's headline in the Index View. Work on this view follows the same pattern as with the Index View. (demo) Use the reference list of aliases at the bottom of the screen to select the fields which you wish to format in the fulltext view. Click on the Update button to save your work.

Using Views to create different formats to present your content

Apart from the Index and Fulltext views, there is often a need for additional ways of organising content on the web page. (demo) Each view is editable – simply click on the edit link. This takes you through to a control panel, very similar to the Index view control panel. Use the control panel to set the rules for how data in this view will be:

  • Sorted
  • Grouped
  • Selected

To save your work, click on the Update button at the bottom of the screen. Once you have created the necessary Views for your content, you need to identify the part of your shtml web page, where you want the view to display data. You may have more than 1 view on the same page.

In the case of the [example] we have two different views displayed on the same page: view [x] on the left of the page generating the site introduction, followed by view [y] generating the latest 10 news headlines. The shtml page framing this data (index.shtml) contains the instruction to include these views by including the View Ids. A view ID always looks like this