Deciding How Information Should Appear in Your Slice

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The aim of the ActionApps is to help you automate online content management without forcing you to go back to square one in terms of Web design. You can easily insert slices into your current Website, without having to redesign pages. And voila! you are substituting static HTML pages for a new database-driven format.

The ActionApps allow you to create Website sections (or slices) based on two customizable pages -- an index and a full text page. Indexes are simple lists of the items e.g. a list of the latest news articles from your organization. Full text pages include the complete contents of the article, event, or other item that you have posted. You click on a link in the index page to read the full text of an article (displayed in the full text page).

This is what an index page looks like. Note the fourth news item below “ActionApps set to launch". The index page displays all the latest articles and shows the title (“ActionApps set to launch"), author (APC), publishing date (25-May-01) and an abstract of each item:

An example of an index page File:Image

This is what a full text page looks like (now we can see the complete text of the article called “ActionApps set to launch", including the title, author, location, and author contact details):

An example of a full text page File:Image

So how do YOU get started?

To create dynamic Web pages that look just like your Web site, you need a blank HTML template page from your site (i.e., just navigation bars, site logo, etc. with no article-specific content). Then you insert a simple line of code into the template (ActionApps will give you the code) where the content should appear. The indexes and articles are then automatically formatted to look exactly like your original Web site. However, the content is pulled onto the page from a database.

See [#_Designing_APC_ActionApps Section][#_Designing_APC_ActionApps ][#_Designing_APC_ActionApps 3.4 “Designing ActionApps Output”] for detailed instructions on customizing the look and feel of yourActionApps.

Create Web Page Templates

The first step in customizing your ActionApps is to create a blank HTML template that looks like other pages on your site. This page will act as a container for the dynamic content created by the ActionApps database. It should be a simple HTML page that includes all the toolbars, buttons, colors, and other standard elements used throughout your site.

See [#_Creating_A_Template Section 3.4.1 “Creating a Template File”]for detailed instructions on creating blank templates for ActionApps.

Indexes and Lists of Articles

The next step is to tell ActionApps how you would like to format the index of articles that you post to the site. This task involves telling the ActionApps which fields you would like to display on your index page (e.g. do you just want to show headlines, or do you also want to include an abstract or summary?). It also includes defining what HTML coding will be used to present your content (e.g. should you make the headlines bold?).

See [#_Working_With_Aliases Section 2.4.2 “Working with Aliases and Views”] for detailed instructions on defining the formatting for index pages.