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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


ocPortal Tutorial: Choosing how to publish

Written by Chris Graham, ocProducts
When it comes to deciding how to release information, things can be difficult with ocPortal. Not due to complexity, or lack of features – but because ocPortal offers so much to choose from, that you actually have the opportunity to sit back, and think, 'which is best for me?'.

This tutorial will summarise the main ways to release information in ocPortal, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.

There are other ways of releasing information in ocPortal not mentioned here, such as newsletters, and other less-obvious ways. However this tutorial focuses on published and archived forms, rather than the full range.


The ways

The main ways to release information in ocPortal are:
  • Comcode pages
  • News articles
  • Catalogues
  • Wiki+
  • Discussion forums
  • Downloads

Comcode pages are usually the most appropriate way of releasing permanent information, as they are standalone, and thus not cluttered with additional module-specific information and navigation mechanism, and not linked in with any complex metaphor.

News articles are great for releasing "update" information. They are permanently archived and linkable, and thus may be used for permanent information, but this will only really be desirable for uses such as journals due to the explicit dating of the material.

Catalogues store information in a database-like fashion, with a strict record format that the stored information must comply with. This is therefore very appropriate for holding records, but feels forced for holding documents.

Wiki+ is a very adhoc system, and designed as a community database (but not in the formal sense of a database with records). It is great for storing structured information when presentation is less important than efficiency of use.

Discussion forums are even more adhoc from Wiki+, and whilst they can be heavily structured, they are designed to hold transitory information. Two distinct advantages are the efficiency that moderation features provide, and the fact that users tend to 'lurk' on forums and thus information released through forums reaches them fast.

Downloads may be used to release information indirectly, essentially via archive.

Comparison table

Comcode pages News articles Catalogues Wiki+ Discussion Forums Downloads

User submittable

Not really

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Supports validation

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Quick to add (to)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Automatically indexed

No, except on site-map

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Clean

Yes

Moderately

No

No

No

The content is not on the page: it is provided there.

Regularly browsed

No

Moderately

No

No

Yes

No

Structured data

No, unless you use custom Comcode tags for this

No

Yes

No

Moderately (via post templates)

Any file type can be presented for download.

Transitory

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Easy to re-organise

No

No (and you wouldn't!)

No

Yes

Yes, very!

No



See also