In the CommonSpaces (CS) context, minisites are small "virtual" sites corresponding to dedicated views of a few "reserved" top-level communities. They were conceived to support stakeholders of medium-size research initiatives and are provided by an experimental extension of the CS platform.
The main features of a CS minisite are:
- it is accessed with a dedicated domain name (the first part of the URL of any web page inside it);
- it provides a focused, non-dispersive view of the CS content and functionality related to the associated community;
- all public content inside it is indexed by search engines with the CS domain, and accessible to anyone at both domains; so, it adds to the shared CS resources;
- the community administrator can enroll in it, by its own initiative, any user already registered to CS, thus bypassing the usual procedure based on the user applying for membership and the administrator accepting the application;
- the look of a minisite can be slightly customized;
- from a technical viewpoint, a minisite re-uses almost entirely the CS software and relies on the same database; but, since it requires dedicated indexes for instant search and sparks off additional peocesses, it needs some additional computing and maintenance resources.
Press releases are listed by language and by date (in reverse order) in a page accessible from the About menu. They can be viewed inline or downloaded as PDF files. If the user language is one of the 3 languages originally supported by CommonSpaces (English, Italian and Portuguese), the most recent press release available for that language, if any, is displayed in a popup window when accessing the page.
The members of the Editorial Staff can load the press release files in the folder associated to their project and publish them by editing the associated documents. Documents present in the folder are recognized as being press releases by including the "press" or "_pr_" string in the document label or the file name (case doesn't matter). Currently, the language must also be coded in the name as a 2-letters suffix preceded by the dot character (to yield endings such as .fr.pdf or .pt.pdf or the like).
The members of the Editorial Staff can use featured items to define the content and the layout of a number of featured boxes, to be used in the automatic composition of the homepage, and possibly of other dashboards.
Featured items can be created and edited only through the "admin" UI provided by the Django framework, on which the CommonSpaces Platform is built. The "admin" section is accessible, to authorized users only, from the "tools" icon of the black user bar.
A featured item
- refers to a featured content: a project, a resource (OER, LP, ..) or another user generated content (blog entry, ..)
- or defines a small box containing a short text.
Featured items are grouped in panels; each panel includes a lead item, wich doesn't refer to any featured content, and zero, one or more items referring each to a user generated content (UGC). The lead item, which gives the name to the panel, can contain a text to be shown in a box.
A featured item includes the following fields, besides an internal system ID and creation/modification date:
- group name (mandatory); the items whose boxes should be composed in a panel must have the same group name
- is lead (YES/NO); one and only one lead item exists per panel (with the same group name)
- text (optional); currently, used only for lead items
- featured object; refers the content to be shown in short form inside a box; currently, can be a Project, a Learning Path or an OER
- sort order (positive integer); the sort order of a lead items impacts the ordering of the panels in the page; the sort order of other items impacts the ordering of the items with the same group name in a panel
- priority (integer); not used currently; could be used in future by the composition algorithm to include/exclude boxes and/or panels if the candidates are too many
- publication state; featured items are created in a DRAFT state; a lead item must be in the PUBLISHED state to allow the associated panel to be shown; the other items must be in the PUBLISHED state to be shown inside their panel
- start publication time (optional); can limit the time span in which a panel/box is shown
- end publication time (optional); can limit the time span in which a panel/box is shown
- user; the user that has created the featured item (not the referred content).