OpenLab Help pages
September 15, 2020 at 3:03 pm #8520
First of all, I want to just say that I am grateful for this community putting up with all my questions about OpenLab. I don’t know why my server has had such a rough go at it or why I seem to find more bugs than other places, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate the help I have been given.
Today I am struggling a little bit trying to get Help pages set up. As a model I am bouncing back and forth between CityTech’s help pages trying to understand how the organization works.
Problem 1: Getting the sidebar to appear on the main help page.
With the help page that was autogenerated when I installed openlab, I can’t seem to get the sidebar to appear. When I go to page templates, I have 2 different page templates that are labeled “help.” When I activate either of those page templates, my content disappears, but the sidebar is visible. When I go back to the standard template, I see my content, but no sidebar.
Is it a bug that I have two help templates? (see screenshot of multiple help templates)
Problem 2: The “Our Support Team Widget”
On my site, every picture in our media gallery is currently being shown as “Our Support Team” when the sidebar is shown. I can’t find where and how to edit what widgets are shown in the help sidebar or how to edit that specific widget.
Just a general question:
When I was looking over the City Tech OpenLab pages, I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to the help pages, they have created a simple WordPress website called using openlab for students. If you were starting from scratch creating help docs, would you use the help pages functionality in Commons in a Box or would you just build a separate WordPress site?
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.September 28, 2020 at 7:50 pm #8525RayKeymaster
I can confirm both bugs.
For the first issue, you can temporarily patch
page.phpwith the following: https://github.com/cuny-academic-commons/openlab-theme/pull/294/files
For the second issue, you can temporarily patch
sidebar-help.phpwith the following: https://github.com/cuny-academic-commons/openlab-theme/pull/295/files
For your general question, that’s going to be a decision that you and your organization will have to make. If you need something more comprehensive, then a new sub-site housing further documentation and perhaps using a theme better suited as a knowledge base could be something to consider.
At the moment, the OpenLab theme doesn’t use a widget sidebar for help pages. So if you wanted to customize the sidebar with additional widgets, that is not currently possible. Keep an eye on this ticket for updates: https://github.com/cuny-academic-commons/openlab-theme/issues/219
Hope that helps.September 29, 2020 at 10:44 am #8526
I applied both patches and of course, they work just as you described. Thanks for the response and the fix.October 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm #8535Charlie EdwardsParticipant
Hi Ed – a belated note to say hi and that we’re delighted to have you here – you’ve definitely surfaced some bugs, to the benefit of others. So please don’t hold back! 🙂
Re the OpenLab for Students (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/openlabforstudents/), we just created it – along with Teaching with the OpenLab for faculty (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/teachingwithopenlab/) – in response to the pandemic, but are kicking ourselves for not doing this sooner! 🙂 We built them both as standalone sites as they’re being integrated into programs run by other teams at the college (e.g. student orientation), so a modular approach seemed like the right way to go.
Our Help on the City Tech OpenLab has accreted over many years and we are aiming to do some reorganization (hopefully this year, though with everything that’s going on it’s hard to commit to a timeline). It’s also on our list to come up with a more robust Help solution for CBOX OpenLab.
In the meantime, of course, you’re very welcome to leverage anything we’ve created. Bear in mind that, while they’re very similar, there are some differences between the City Tech OpenLab and CBOX OpenLab.
The City Tech OpenLab’s Help does use some custom functionality, as you’ll have seen. Bree can give you more details about the plugins we’re using, and we’re happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Finally, you might also be interested to know that we just heard CBOX OpenLab will be receiving funds from the CUNY-wide OER initiative enabling us to create a WP plugin that will allow members to export any site for others to import into their own installation, and vice versa. (This is necessary because the existing WordPress exporter doesn’t include images and other uploaded files, but instead downloads them from the source at the time of import; because of group privacy and other settings we need everything to be bundled into a zip.) This will make it much easier for people to share content across WP installations.October 8, 2020 at 12:22 pm #8536
We ended up creating a subdomain. We felt like that gave us the possibility of using a theme that was designed to be a knowledgebase. Thanks for openly licensing your content! Our help pages are cloned from yours for now. (My student intern is working on this project, and I will continue to help her as she does this work, including giving a better attribution to OpenLab for the original work)
If the clone tool is still being developed, you might want to look into how Pressbooks does it’s clone feature. As another large system built on top of WordPress multisite, they created an API where one Pressbooks can clone another Pressbooks even if they are not on the same system. First, it checks to make sure the site is openly licensed, and only if it is it can make a new copy for you.
There are definitely some major differences between the intention and format of Pressbooks vs OpenLab, but since they have similar architecture underpinning it (WordPress Multisite) and the Pressbooks code is all openly licensed, it may be worth looking into.October 8, 2020 at 12:36 pm #8538BreeParticipant
Hi Ed,Just to follow up on Charlie’s message, these are the plugins we use for City Tech OpenLab Help:
And I’m happy to answer any other questions I can!October 8, 2020 at 1:02 pm #8539Charlie EdwardsParticipant
- Ambrosite Next/Previous Post Link Plus – for next/back navigation
- Category Order and Taxonomy Terms Order – to determine the order of categories (which are used for the sidebar menu)
And thanks, Ed – we’ll take a look!
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