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#107606 (In Topic #20969)

Fan in training

Arranging a logical members home page

I would like to Thank Jason very much for his help regarding some of this below. However, because it entails more substance I thought it prudent to start a new topic.

First of all, I would like to explain that I found ocPortal by perusing the pages of Hotscripts. OcPortal is probably the most comprehensive CMS I have come across that is free. I have used Joomla and currently use Social Engine for one website. I know ocPortal has everything I need for the site I have in mind, and I realise getting it configured is going to take some time. However, learning how the system works is challenging. I’m willing to put in the time, but some answers are hard to find if you don’t word the question correctly. Please forgive me if I haven’t searched the right phrases.

Two of the more obvious procedures are giving me grief at the moment, and I’m trying to wend my way through the doc’s files to find answers. If anyone can help or point me in the right direction for the following, I would be forever grateful.

 A: Registering: (Join)

1.) When someone clicks on join, I would like them to have a choice of three possibilities right off the bat. They are:

(a) Guest: If they choose this option they are able to (view) look through most of the site to see if it’s something they would like to join, but that’s all.

(b) Member #1: If they choose this option they will be charged $X.XX per month and have availability to most all of the features, privileges and permissions.

(c) Member #2: If they choose this option they will be charged $X.XX per month and have full availability to all features, privileges and permissions – including the ability to advertise products and services to other members.

B: Modular’s – Blocks – Panels

What is the method used to arrange “panels” on the home page. (I looked at the website linked to Jason Verhagen’s signature and his panels are placed in a more logical position than mine. For an example, his login box is situated on the top right of one site and visible in the left panel of another. Is there a way to “order” these panels that I have overlooked?

And I guess while I’m here, can someone tell me if I can turn off points to everyone except admin and/or moderators? I don’t want to use points to progress through “ranks” because they are paid memberships. Also, I would prefer to be able to award points to a member myself if that’s possible.

I know that’s quite a chunk, but it did say “ask anything you like”.


Best Regards


The problems we have created cannot be solved
at the level of thinking that created them
"Albert Einstein"

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Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris GrahamLiked by RichT)  

Community saint

This is going to be another one of my rather lengthy replies ;)

If I'm not being clear enough in some areas, post some follow up questions and I'll add more details.

For A, there are some different options available. One option that is available during ocPortal installation is to create a two zone web site that will give you a Welcome Zone for guests and a Site Zone for registered members. If you didn't select that option during setup, you can manually create a second zone using the Zone Editor (AdminZone>Stucture>Zones>Add Zone). The registration and membership options may not work exactly like you want, but I haven't played around much with this type of setup so I can't say for certain. I think the way it will work is you will have to allow guests (non-members) to create a free account first before they can purchase a membership. This initial signup would be for the (a) Guest option and you would have a usergroup setup specifically for these non-paying members. By default in ocPortal, this would be the Newbie usergroup. You could rename that usergroup to something like Registered Guest (AdminZone>Security>Usergroups>Edit Usergroup). Guests and Registered Guests could be restricted to the Welcome Zone, and this Welcome Zone is where you will be able to provide access to some content and features as well as a link to the page that allows the usergroup subscription purchase. Then you would need two more usergroups for Member #1 and Member #2 members and link them to Usergroup Subscriptions (AdminZone>Setup>Usergroup Subscription). If Member #1 and Member #2 are going to have access to the same content but with some different privileges, then you probably only need one additional zone for members only. Once you've got your usergroups, usergroup subscriptions, and zones defined, you will need to set privileges for these zones and for the various modules, content, features, and options available to guests and members. All of that can be accomplished through AdminZone>Security>Global Privileges and AdminZone>Security>Permission Tree Editor. There are tons of things there to configure and it's easy to get lost. To make things a little easier, uninstall any ocPortal addons you don't absolutely need and delete any sample pages and unneeded catalogues and comcode pages that were installed with the default ocPortal installation. At the start I said there are different options available. It should also be possible to achieve this with a single zone and careful use of permissions. And if you have membership groups that will have access to completely different types of content, using a separate zone for each membership group would be a good way to segregate the different types of content and prevent paying members from viewing content available to other membership groups.

Since the points question ties in with usergroups I'll answer before getting to B. For the points question, I'm not completely certain about this one and it probably depends on whether you really have a need for points for anything other than usergroup rank progression. If you still need or want points but just don't want to use the ranking with usergroups, you can remove any default usergroups that aren't necessary. And then check the remaining usergroups to be sure the Promotion Target option is set to N/A. You can do that in AdminZone>Security>Usergroups>Edit Usergroup and look under the Promotion Target column of the list to see which usergroups are tied to point ranking. You may also be able to prevent new points from being awarded in AdminZone>Setup>Configuration>Points Options, where you can set all of those options to 0 to prevent those points from being awarded. But other addons and features may also tie into points that aren't listed there. One of them is the usergroup configuration that allows gift points to be awarded daily for being a member of a usergroup, so it probably won't be a straightforward easy to completely shut off points for non-admins. There was some similar discussion about the points addon that might be relevant here:

For B, I'll start by clearing up some possible confusion of terms so you don't get even more confused when going through ocPortal documentation and tutorials. Panels in ocPortal (such as left_panel and right_panel in the zone editor) will be referring to larger chunks of a web page. In this case, the right panel and left panel will be referring to the entire right column and left column of the web page. In these columns (or panels) there are blocks and any other custom content you wish to place there. The blocks can be menus or ocPortal-specific items like login, site stats, users online, calendar, etc. You can use ocPortal comcode, tempcode, and HTML (though HTML needs to be enclosed with html or semihtml comcode tags) as needed in these panels. To edit the blocks or content in these left and right panels, login to your web site as an admin and scroll down to the bottom of one of these panels to find the 'Edit in zone editor' link. That will take you to the zone editor for that page and will let you edit the left and right panels as well as the comcode page content that displays in the middle column. From there, click the Edit tab of the right and left panels to begin editing. You can rearrange the blocks or cut and paste blocks from one panel to the other to get the desired arrangement. Some blocks may be surrounded by tempcode (code that uses curly braces like this: {+START,some tempcode logic}[block]block_name[/block]{+END}​​​​​​​. I don't recall off the top of my head if tempcode is used in the panels with a default installation of ocPortal, but if you see it and need to move a block that has some associated tempcode, then you also need to move the tempcode with the block. Tempcode can be used in panels as a way to hide certain member-specific blocks from guests or to hide certain guest-specific blocks from members. For additional reference on panels, is the tutorial that will give you some more insight into the structure of ocPortal web pages and how panels fit together. To summarize, panels (panel_left, panel_right, panel_top, and panel_bottom) are just special comocode pages that help make up the structure of an ocPortal web page. Just one other thing to keep in mind is panel_top and panel_bottom don't refer to header and footer of the web page. I believe panel_top is added just under the header area and the panel_bottom is added just above the footer area. One last bit of info; these panels can be created and edited on a per zone basis, so you can have a different set of panels for each zone. 
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Hi Dave,


Unfortunately usergroup subscriptions are not yet integrated with the join process.

Here's the tracker issue for that:
0000887: Integrated pay at signup - ocPortal feature tracker

If members join it does provide subscribe links in the personal stats block, so it's not awful right now, but I'd like to see it tightly integrated in a linear flow too.

I would not advise naming a group Guest, as that conflicts with the notion of a user that has no account (what we call 'Guest'). If you did it you'd need to go through lots of language strings changing the existing Guest to something else (e.g. Anonymous).


It's Comcode, i.e. a document. Each block is a Comcode tag, and the tags are placed in sequence. You can therefore cut and paste to move it all around.

You can delete the other rank groups if you like. You can also set lots of point settings to zero, and turn off post count for forums. Also edit usergroups to remove initial points. I think that largely will do what you want, with post count being a victim to it. Or you can just disable points entirely (remove the addon).

Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
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  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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