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ocPortal Developer's Guide: Glossary

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Here is a glossary of some of the terms that are used to describe ocPortal concepts…

  • Block, A self-contained section of output that can be used repeatedly by a comcode or module page. e.g. IOTD, or RSS/Atom Feed
  • Catalogue, A high-level abstraction of a collection of categorised entries. Catalogues allow you to determine the field names and field types that the entries in the collection ('catalogue') will hold. A site may have any number of catalogues, with entries organised in either a tree or a flat-category structure.
  • Comcode, A simple mark-up language, for use within ocPortal. Similar in use and format to 'BBCode'. Also 'Comcode-Text' and 'Comcode-XML'
  • Content, Custom data within the system; the term is used in most contexts as data specifically designed for viewing (as opposed to a member profile, for example)
  • Emoticons, Little faces to represent emotions
  • Feedback, A system for collecting and returning feedback to any resource in an ocPortal installation. e.g. Rating and posting comments on a download
  • Forum, Self explanatory, but we we do not use the term 'board'
  • Fractional Edit, A edit to a piece of data, usually a title, by interactively modifying it at the point of display
  • Hooks, Elements that plug into a module/block to provide different implementations of functionality for that module/block. For example, the stats block calls upon hooks in order to generate each kind of stat; and the search blocks calls on hooks to search each kind of content
  • Join, the process of become a member
  • Member, a user with an account; note that sometimes we refer to members, when actually the member is using the "guest account"
  • Pages, These are just pages a user might wish to view; they can be either 'comcode pages', 'html pages' or modules.
  • Page link, These are zone:page:param=value(:…) things used to access local ocPortal page screens; entry points are page links that are determinate without specific content
  • Personal post, a post either within a personal topic or within a normal topic, that can only be seen by two people and staff
  • Personal topic, a topic only seen by a select group of members (currently, the initiator and target members)
  • Point-store, The place where you spend hard-earned points on gifts such as e-mail addresses or flagrant text banners
  • Standard box, The type of box that wraps so much ocPortal content, such as side-blocks
  • CEDI, An information-storage system that is very flexible, allowing people to easily use it to post and store information on anything from plant species to a guide to TV shows (or both! ;))
  • Splurgh, A system for compressing tree structures. These compressed structures can then be decompressed by JavaScript
  • System, Some aspect of ocPortal that has an influence spanning multiple files (e.g. IOTD system, Addon system, Award system)
  • Tempcode, An intermediary format between comcode and XHTML, used for transmission and storage of pages in ocPortal. Since 2.5, a programming language.
  • Theme, A set of templates, images and CSS stylesheets that can be used on a website to completely change the layout, look and feel of the website. Different themes can be used concurrently by many members, with no impact on the system
  • Tracking, The process of tracking topics for reply via e-mail notification
  • User, someone visiting an ocPortal site, that may or may not be a member
  • Whisper, the process of create a personal post embedded within a public topic
  • Zones, Different areas of a website, each with its own security levels, layout and feel. e.g. The Admin Zone is a different zone to the Collaboration Zone

These ocPortal concepts are used to describe content:
  • Category. Categories hold entries, or sometimes, other categories, or both; they themselves tend to be designed for organisation or navigation rather than direct viewing. Galleries, forums and forum categories, or all kinds of category; even a topic is a category in some contexts, as it holds posts.
  • Entry. An entry is a piece of content that is not a category.
  • Item. An item is either a category or an entry.
  • Resource. A resource is an item, but the term is more general, and may include other things (such as files).
At the time of writing, the 'item' and 'resource' terms are often used loosely, and 'category' and 'entry' are used differently depending on the context. This is not a design flaw, but merely indicative of the diversity of context in ocPortal and the difficulty of being consistant across different contexts.


There are many other terms in ocPortal that belong to certain systems (such as 'Download' or 'Gallery'), but these won't be explained here.