Category Archives: Announcements

Recent changes in web browsers may affect how you use CommonSpot.


Most browser companies are moving to prevent programmatic access to the system clipboard. That means that the buttons in the Rich Text Editor (RTE) for Cut, Copy and Paste are prevented from working in Chrome and Firefox. Using Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V still work.
IE 10 still allows programmatic access to the clipboard.

The PaperThin Chrome Extension (free in the Chrome store) uses a feature in Chrome to allow those buttons to work.

PaperThin is testing IE 10 on Windows 7 for any other issues that may have come out of the recent (Feb 27) automatic push of the IE 9 to IE 10 upgrade.

You can use Internet Explorer 10 with CommonSpot if you press F12 and choose IE 10 Compatibility Mode. In straight IE 10 mode, access to the CommonSpot Dashboard is met with an eternal spinning dialog. We are testing a fix for this issue. Stay tuned.

Microsoft released a tool to prevent the automatic push:

Firefox 10 ESR was also automatically upgraded to Firefox 17 ESR last week. So far there seems to be no issues with Firefox 17 except Cut/Copy/Paste operations in the RTE. We are currently testing a work-around for this issue.


Attempting to get into the Dashboard with IE 10 results in spinning cursor.


Hit F12 and change to Browser Mode: IE 10 Compatibility View


Cut, Copy and Paste does not work with Firefox 17 ESR


Get the FireFox 10 ESR version

CommonSpot Upgrade Scheduled for August


The web team is now in the testing phase for the latest version of CommonSpot.

So, here’s the plan–barring unforeseen circumstances–

July 1, 2012
The testing server opens to all contributors. We’ll be sending the URL so you can access your testing site. The testing server includes a copy of the ECU website plus the new version of CS. You’ll be able to play around with the new features, create pages, etc., without jeopardizing your current site.

August 1, 2012
The upgrade–the new CommonSpot version is loaded.

Please remember these are projected deadlines–sometimes project steps take longer than expected. However, we’ll announce delays and changes here.

Through the rest of June and July we’ll be posting “sneak peek” videos here and also on the CommonSpot Blog Upgrade 2012 page. The full introductory video will be posted June 29th.

Also, be sure to register for the hour-long, f2f upgrade overview sessions available on the ECU Training Calendar also scheduled throughout July.

In the Works – Responsive Design for ECU’s Website


Responsive design simply means that a web layout adjusts to the size of a device’s browser window (including the screen resolution).  So no matter if a user is viewing your page on a desktop, laptop, iPad, smart phone or TV, your important information is sized to the screen in a readable form.

Even better for designers, there’s only one layout to create, not one for regular screens and then another for a mobile version.

How does this Work?

Responsive design uses a “media query” to detect the height, width and resolution of the user’s browser and then adjusts the layout accordingly through the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).  Properties such as display width, page orientation, pixel resolution and other device features determine which style sheet is used to render the page for a user.

As the browser window narrows, columns/containers stack one on top of the other so that the page narrows and lengthens to fit the screen.  Font size and images are reduced.  For larger devices, columns, fonts, images and other features expand to their fullest size into a more horizontal layout.

Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” solution for the size of a web page, a media query allows a designer to target styles based on device properties like screen size or layout orientation.

All of this resides in the default page code, so ECU’s department designers are no longer required to

  • Create separate mobile versions of their web pages
  • Manually update two sets of pages

What do ECU webmasters need to know?

  • Once this feature is live, a mobile version is automatically available for new pages created using the 960-pixel templates.
  • Pages based on the old 770-pixel layout cannot take advantage of the responsive style sheet.
  • Images  for new pages should be cropped and sized for the space—not scaled—so they load faster and display appropriately on any size device.

When will this happen?

Currently in the testing phase, the Web team intends to transition ECU departments and colleges to this new feature throughout the summer.  Web administrators will be contacted beforehand.  It’s important to note again that only new pages created from the 960-wide templates will use the responsive design style sheet.

Updates and Upgrades for 2012


Happy New Year, CommonSpot contributors! We’ve had our holiday fun, and now it’s time to turn attention to 2012 projects. CommonSpot has several updates going on this year—new site design, new themes and a new version upgrade—

New Site Design Launch. On January 23, the header and footer of every ECU CommonSpot page will update to the new design. The page in between the header and footer—the sections we contributors maintain—will remain the same until updated by individual department contributors. There’s no set deadline for departments to convert their pages. However, once users see the new themes, they’ll probably start planning the project! Other goodies in store for website contributors are a wider page, from 770 pixels wide to 960 pixels wide, a darker paragraph font and restyled headings. Templates, pages and menus are still authored the same, but now there’s a new look with flexible styling.

New Themes Launch. These industry-standard, accessible, user-friendly themes are based on divs rather than tables. A “div” is just webspeak for “content container,” and brings our pages up to current standards. Both the wide template and themes will be available to contributors by January 23.

But enough of the background explanation—the REAL advantages to using the new themes include:

  1. Easy to use.  Some versions only require your content while other “bare bones” versions allow Web designers to tinker.
  2. Wider format.  New pages are 960 pixels wide so there’s more content near the top of the page. Users can scan your information faster with less vertical scrolling.
  3. Flexible Changes. Once old pages are transitioned to the new format, change the look of a page at any time by choosing a different theme. No cut and paste, just pick a new theme from the drop-down list to update a page’s style. “Preview” allows a peek before making the look permanent. You can even use a different theme for pages based on the same template.

So, where do you start? Don’t worry, we’ve got several resources in store for users. First, register for one of the hands-on demos in Austin 309 ( We’ll also be posting to the CommonSpot Users Yammer group (—feel free to post your own experiences and questions as well. Instructions will be posted in the CommonSpot blog ( along with blow-by-blow posts describing my experiences updating the ITCS website. A “playground” is also being created where users log in from home or office to create demo pages using the new templates and themes (a separate post will introduce this site in the coming days).

CommonSpot Upgrade. During the summer of 2012, we’ll turn our attention to the CommonSpot version upgrade.  The latest version boasts a brand new interface and updated administrative tools for contributors.

So, even though there are some big changes coming our way, they’re so cool and easy to do that this may be one of the most painless projects you’ve ever undertaken.

Yammer Group for Users Now LIVE!


Okay, CommonSpot Contributors…you asked for it, and here we go!  The CommonSpot Yammer Group is now up and running.

This forum is a place where you, the users, can post ideas, tips, discuss questions and collaborate on all issues CommonSpot, plus find the latest news and announcements about upgrades, training and the ECU website.

To join, navigate to, click the login button and sign in.  From the “Groups” category on the left, click the CommonSpot Users Group link.  The group interface will open with a button to join.  Click the “Join” button.

Once approved, you can post comments, ask questions or reply to a colleague’s post.

Just remember, problems with your site or access should continue to be reported through the IT Help Desk 252.328.9866/1.800.340.7081.

Welcome to the CommonSpot Users Blog


We will try to keep you informed of new developments and matters of interest for users of CommonSpot here at ECU.  At the same time, I hope that you will share your comments, and if you would like to be a contributor (i.e. able to create posts) just drop me a line or leave a comment and I  will be glad to add you to the author list.