ocPortal Tutorial: Creating sub-communities (and sub-sites)
- Zones (different zones may be created for each sub-community, located under a URL beneath the main site, with their own set of pages)
- Redirection pages (using redirection pages, common modules, such as the download module, may be made to appear as if they are running from individual zones)
- Categories, and virtual roots (using a combination of separate categories [and sub-branches there-of] for different sub-communities, and the 'virtual root' system, it can be made to appear that each sub-community has their own catalogue/download/gallery
- Comcode pages, Chat rooms, Polls, IOTDs (all these support individual creating and referencing, such that different instances can be presented to different sub-communities)
- Banners, Calendar (all these support category based referencing such that a division between sub-community interests can be created)
- Sub-forums (different communities can be given their own branch of the discussion forums, with the OCF 'Clubs' feature providing special support for this)
- Themes (different themes may be applied to different zones, giving sub-communities individual looks)
- Usergroups and access privileges (members of sub-communities may be grouped by usergroup, and permissions assigned accordingly)
- Custom profile fields [OCF users only] (custom profile fields can be made so that they only apply to a single usergroup: thus allowing specification of user data that applies only to specific sub-communities)
Table of contents
Multi-Site-NetworksFor some sites, it is advantageous to be able to create a whole website for each sub-community, each with its own settings, yet sharing a single member database and forums. This is possible using an ocPortal configuration known as a 'multi-site-network' and essentially involves separate ocPortal installs that are tied together by sharing a forum database. ocPortal provides special features for multi-site-network sites, and there is separate tutorial on them: as they involve separate installs, most of the features described in this tutorial are not necessary.
Advantages to using a multi-site network:
- Full control
- Cleaner administrative separation
- Special multi-site-network features, such as the 'netlink' system
Disadvantages to using a multi-site network:
- Overhead of additional configuration and maintenance
Adding a new zone for our Church Of Santa subcommunity
- Welcome (/)
- Admin Zone (/adminzone) – Where ocPortal is configured
- Collaboration (/collaboration) – Where privileged members may access collaboration tools
- Site (/site) – Where the majority of the ocPortal modules are, by default
- Docs (/docs) – Documentation
- CMS (/cms)
- Forum (/forum) – For OCF users only
Viewing our zone (in its custom theme)
To finalise the zone, FTP details will be needed so ocPortal can create the directory structure properly
To change the logo image for a zone, add a theme image named '<zone-name>-logo'. By default zones use the logo image of the Welcome Zone.
Managing redirection pages
Adding a download category for the NewTown Parish subcommunity
Optionally, this redirection may be 'transparent' such that the user doesn't know a redirection is in place, and thus sees the page as if it was in the zone they accessed it from; for security reasons, with a transparent redirection the user still needs permission to view the page as it would be in its original location.
Redirections are useful for a number of reasons, including:
- Sharing modules between zones
- Making short-cuts to zone/page combinations
- Making it so obvious URL mistakes can be automatically corrected
- When moving pages, a redirect may be placed so that links are not broken
To reach the Redirects module go to the Structure section of the Admin Zone, then the 'Redirects' icon.
Viewing the download category we added, we can find the virtualisation URL
- download categories
- catalogue categories
The virtualed download category
Here are some step-by-step instructions:
- Browse into the forum you'd like to be the virtual root. You need to be logged in as a staff member when you do this
- Look at the breadcrumbs. You should see the final (rightmost) link in the chain is also a link. This might appear strange, because you're already on the page so why would a link be shown? The reason is that it is an anchor to let you create a virtual root link
- Click the link
- You should see now you have set a virtual root
- Take the URL you're at and put it on your menus as required
Adding a new usergroup
OCF allows you to choose which secondary usergroups a member is placed in when they join. Setting of default usergroups allows you to give people permission "by default", but to take it away if they abuse it without having to put them onto a different rank progression. For example, a 'debates' forum could be created and only the 'Civil Debater' usergroup given access; the 'Civil Debater' usergroup could be a default usergroup, meaning all have access by default – however, members who demonstrated an inability to debate in a civil manner could be removed from it.
It is also possible to give members a choice from a number of primary usergroups when they join. This is especially useful for what I call 'role-based communities', where different members use the website in such a way that is distinct to their role on it. By assigning usergroup according to role, it is possible to use various ocPortal features in order to customise the site for each role provided.
Managing the members of a usergroup
Members may apply to join usergroups if they wish, and the usergroup leader or administrators may decide to accept or decline their application; members may also choose to 'resign' from a usergroup. All usergroup membership management is performed on the usergroup-view page.
You can attach new rank images to usergroups on the usergroup editing screen. The usergroups admin module (which allows selection of a usergroup to edit) is available from the 'Security' section of the Admin Zone.
ClubsThe OCF system provides a clubs feature. Clubs are special usergroups:
- that can not have special permissions (they are not shown in permission editing interfaces)
- that may be joined and left like ordinary usergroups (via secondary usergroup membership)
- that come with their own forum (privileges to this are automatically assigned when the club and forum are created and cannot be revoked through the ocPortal permission editing interfaces)
- may be added by ordinary members
The club forum has default permissions that only allow website staff and club members into it. The club functionality provides no special moderation controls – so by default the forum would need to be moderated by the website staff, rather than self-moderated. As it is a regular forum, additional permission changes can be achieved manually (for example, creating a new usergroup for the club's management and assigning moderator permissions over the forum to members of that).