The Five College website is generally composed of the following constituent parts:
In very general terms, a website is a collection of pages and content grouped together in a navigable structure under a domain. The domain of the Five College website is fivecolleges.edu.
Even though the externally maintained groupings of pages and content on the Five College site are not technically websites, but subsections of fivecolleges.edu, they can be referred to as websites since they behave in much the same way as discreetly different, independent websites.
It's important to understand some basic concepts about the system underlying and running your Five College website:
- Pages and content exist separately from each other. Read about how pages and content work together.
- Pages need to exist before content can be added to a site, but the same, exact, editable content can be shared between many different pages.
- Pages are grouped together in nested hierarchies containing parent pages and subpages.
- Groupings of pages that display with a discreetly designated homepage separate from the Five College homepage are called subsections.
- Content is added through different forms called content items, each with its own set of functions and properties called settings.
- Users' abilities to edit and/or view one or more areas of a site can be restricted with permissions.
All pages are created, edited and used in the same way, but they can have:
Different organizational properties:
- Pages can be grouped into sections and subsections of the website.
- Pages can be viewed and accessed in user-specified ways unrelated to permissions.
Different visible features:
- The look of pages and other aspects of the system (fonts, colors, etc.) is controlled by coded files called themes. Specific themes have been created to style different pages and parts of this website. These themes are applied to areas of the website when they are first set up by Five Colleges, Incorporated.
The first page displayed on the left menu of your site is the homepage. This homepage is a container or parent of the pages displayed underneath it. All of the pages following the parent are called subpages. A subpage can in turn become a parent to its own group of subpages.
Your site will contain a hierarchy of parents and subpages stemming from your homepage, and in turn stemming off of the main Five College site.
Here is a diagram illustrating the idea of parents and subpages (children, grandchildren, etc.), where each item represents a page:
fivecolleges.edu (parent page of entire website)
- African Studies Program (subpage [child] of fivecolleges.edu and parent page of African Studies Program site)
- Courses (subpage [child] of African Studies Program site [and grandchild of fivecolleges.edu])
- People (subpage [child] of African Studies Program site [and grandchild of fivecolleges.edu])
- Contact and directions (subpage [child] of African Studies Program site [and grandchild of fivecolleges.edu]; parent page of Contact Us and Get Directions)
- Contact Us (subpage [child] of Contact and directions [and grandchild of African Studies Program site; great grandchild of fivecolleges.edu])
- Get Directions (subpage [child] of Contact and directions [and grandchild of African Studies Program site; great grandchild of fivecolleges.edu])
When a group of subpages and their parent is set to display as an individual unit, they become a subsection of the Five College site. Every externally maintained site on the fivecolleges.edu domain is technically a subsection of that domain.
Content comprises all of the text, images, multimedia, and other files that are added to the website. Content is basically anything that is not automatically generated by the system when it is added to the website.
Content as an element of the website is separate from pages. Editing content does not alter the fundamental features of pages.
Content is added to pages through content items. Content items have three important features:
- They all control the addition, organization and/or display of content.
- They all contain areas (form fields and tools) into which content is placed.
- They all contain a set of behavior settings.
- Some content items are better than others for adding basic text to pages; some are better for adding files and others are better for organizing specific information. See a list of avaialable content items and a description of what they do.
- While some of the form fields and tools of all kinds of content items may look the same, different kinds of content items will not contain the same exact sets of form fields and tools.
Generally, the same kind of form field or tool will behave the same way in one kind of content item as it does in another kind.
Different kinds of content items display content differently. The form fields and tools that content items contain may be different from one another for that reason.
Every page added to the website is given a special address by the system containing a number. The number is overridden by the page's URL name, but the page can still be accessed by its number, as well as its URL name.
Every piece of content added to the website is also given the same kind of special address. Any individual piece of content can be viewed by itself, separately from the page(s) it resides on or the other content items it appears with on that page, when accessed by its number.
These specially addressed pages and pieces of content are called nodes. The implementation of nodes enables content to be organized, edited and shared between pages in many different ways. For example, many content items, even of different kinds, can be be used to display content on one, single page; different pages can share the same exact content generated by a particular kind of content item.
Here is an analogy of how the system (website), pages and content work separately and together:
- Think of the website as a kitchen we're designing. Besides appliances and furniture, we need to add cabinets to our kitchen.
- The cabinets are the pages of our website. The cabinets are represented in this analogy by empty boxes within which shelves will be added.
- Different kinds of shelves that behave differently from one another can be added to the cabinets. For example, some shelves might stay in place, while others swing out and still others are a kind of lazy susan. These shelves are the different kinds of content items. Once the shelves are installed inside the cabinets, we can put our dishes, food and cleaning products away.
- The dishes, food and cleaning products (and anything else) that we're putting away on the shelves of the cabinet is content.
- The cabinets, shelves and the items on the shelves can be rearranged in relation to each other and the kitchen, but their basic properties will stay intact, with room for enhancement over time.
Every page has settings that allow you to set certain aspects of the page (page name, URL name, the page's permissions, whether the page is a subpage or the parent of a new section, etc.). Page settings also allow you to move and delete pages.
Every kind of content item has special settings that control some of its behavior.
The settings of pages and the behavior settings of content items also control the permissions on those areas, respectively.
Permissions control who can view content, edit content and page aspects, and change settings. Both pages and content items contain permissions settings.
Permissions on pages restrict users from:
- being able to view the content on pages;
- editing aspects of pages (Page name, URL name, etc.);
- editing or modfiying the settings of pages (including adding, deleting and moving pages).
Permissions on content allow users to:
- edit particular content items added to pages.
Default permissions of the system make every page publicly viewable (without log in) and editable (with log in) by owners of pages. An owner of a page is the person who created it.
To restrict who views pages and content, or to expand who can edit pages and content, more permissions need to be set according to user accounts.
Self-instruction for working with permissions may be posted to "Help with the Five College website" at some time in the future.