CommonSpot Update

Share

Good afternoon,

It has been about a month since the CommonSpot upgrade.  We made it!

This was a huge upgrade for both the backend administration and the contributor interface. There have been many changes for all of us. We know you have experienced quite a learning curve getting up to speed with this new version.  We appreciate your efforts.

From the backend of CommonSpot, quite a few items were completed starting with the servers that were upgraded from 32 bit to 64 bit, then the databases were switched to UTF-8, followed by ColdFusion being upgraded from v8 to v9, and finally we could upgrade CommonSpot from v5 to v7.  Wow, that was a lot!

For all of you, our contributors, you were presented with an entirely new interface to learn.  Plus, there were strict browser requirements to get used to.  As you report issues to us, we are finding solutions or contacting the vendor for a solution.  We appreciate your patience as we work through these issues.  We have fixed many of them, but there are still a few outstanding.

Outstanding Issues

Here are the issues that you have reported that are currently outstanding.

  • When you are editing a page and click on a link in a Formatted Text box, it doesn’t take you to the page.  In the previous version, clicking the link would take you to the page. Currently, you can use the Tools>>Find or Reports>>Pages, Templates, Uploaded Documents. We are contacting the vendor for a solution.
  • Occasionally the browser window greys out.  Reloading the page is required.  We are contacting the vendor for a solution.
  • Occasionally “MyCommonSpot” tab bar disappears.  Reloading the page is required.  We are contacting the vendor for a solution.
  • Adding words to the dictionary gives an error in IE9.  We are working on this.
  • Occasionally logging in using IE9 doesn’t work.  We are contacting the vendor for a solution.
  • Occasionally on the 770 wide templates, pages are being cached in the “Printer Friendly” view.  “Printer Friendly” is currently disabled.  We are contacting the vendor for a solution.

Here are a few solutions, enhancements and best practices we would like to share with you.

Solutions

  • When using a 960 theme, switching themes will show a link to “return to previous page”.  Clicking this link fixes the problem.
  • When viewing a page that you want to edit and the URL starts with www.ecu.edu, change “www” to “author”.  This will take you to the page on the author server where you can login to make changes.
  • If you have a simple form that was created by someone else and you aren’t able to edit the form fields, contact us.  We will need to change your permissions for the form.

Enhancements

  • Login button added. When viewing a page you want to edit and the URL starts with author.ecu.edu, you should see a “Login” button in the top left beside the “ECU word mark” (logo).  Click this button to login.
  • Subsite Tools button added.  Once you are logged in to author a page, you should see a “Subsite Tools” button in the top left beside the “ECU word mark”.
  • Submit Ticket added to Subsite Tools.  Once on the Subsite Tools page, you will see a “Submit Ticket” button.  This will allow you to quickly submit a ticket to us regarding a page that you are having difficulty with.
  • Responsive Design has been implemented on all 960 pages.  This will allow pages to be displayed properly for all devices whether it is a mobile phone or a desktop browser.

Best Practices

  • Be sure to use one the supported browsers for contributing/authoring/editing in CommonSpot.  See list of vendor-supported versions.  Most of the problems we have encountered were because an unsupported browser was being used.
  • When you are experiencing a problem, try the following:
    • Clear your browser cookies and cache
    • Reload the page and force your browser to bypass the local cache.  Follow the directions for your specific browser below:
      • Chrome
        • Windows: Hold down the Ctrl key and press the F5 key.
        • Mac: Hold down the Cmd key and press the R key.
      • Firefox
        • Windows: Hold down the Ctrl key and press the F5 key.
        • Mac: Hold down the Cmd key and press the F5 key.
      • Internet Explorer
        • Hold down the Ctrl key and press the F5 key.
      • Safari
        • Hold down the Shift key and press the Reload toolbar button.
  • Resize your images before uploading to CommonSpot.  This will improve the load time of the page.

If you have suggestions for other solutions or enhancements, please feel free to share them with us by sending us an email, or posting on yammer.  Using yammer to share information is helpful.  If you are having an issue, be sure to put in a ticket as we do not monitor yammer like we do the ticketing system.

If you are having an issue, please submit a ticket using either the new ticket location mentioned above or via the Help Desk at ithelp.ecu.edu

Again, thank you for your patience and please continue to share your feedback with us so we can continue to improve.

 

Simple Image Editors on the Web

Share

Because of a conflict with the progressive design stylesheet we’re using, which adjusts the size of your web page to the visitor’s screen size, the ability to scale a photo within the CommonSpot image dialog box has been turned off.  This means that, while you can add a border or space around an image through CommonSpot image tools, you can no longer resize (scale) from this feature.  Images and graphics need to be sized correctly before being placed on your web page.

For those of you who don’t use PhotoShop, Becky has created a great tutorial introducing two FREE online photo editors that are super easy to use–even for beginners!

iPiccy requires no registration and is easy to use for cropping a picture or resizing.  fotoflexer doesn’t require you to join or register, either, and has many fun special effects. For a great explanation, see this Simple Image Editing

For those Mac or Windows users who decide to try either of these editors, please Yam your experiences using either eidtor on the CommonSpot User Yammer Group.

Only a Few Pages Showing in a Search

Share

While in the Winter 2012 intro session this morning, I finally figured out the difference between “My Pages” and “Page Finder” in Winder 2012.  Remember that “My Pages” is a listing of all the pages you’ve created–pages for which you are the owner–while “Page Finder” generates the entire list of pages, documents, etc., in your web folder.

Both features are found in the “My CommonSpot” site menu at the top of the page (the gray one), but they are each under a different category.

My Pages

For a list of the pages you created, click the “My Content” menu and choose, “My Pages…”

List of pages you created

All Items Report

Generate a list of the pages, templates, uploaded documents and registered URLs in your web folder from the “Reports” menu. This includes any item, no matter the owner. From the report, click an item to open.

List of web folder items

Firefox and CommonSpot

Share

As Belinda noted, the new version of CommonSpot only supports Firefox up to the version 10 ESR release.  I have noticed that if I try to use FF14, that many of the editing controls do not respond properly and some of the reports of problems that we have had sound like users are also encountering this problem.

So, if you want to use Firefox, make sure that you are using version 10 ESR and not any of the newer releases.

You can download 10 ESR here:  http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html

More on Missing Editing Controls in IE

Share

As an update the to previous post, here is a permanent solution to the missing control problem that makes changing the URL of the page unnecessary.

  1. Open up Internet Options
  2. Pick the Security tab
  3. Pick the Trusted Sites option
  4. Click the  Sites button
  5. Add https://author.ecu.edu/
  6. Click Close, then OK
  7. Restart IE

Everything should now work.

Missing Editing Controls in IE

Share

If you are using IE, you might encounter a problem that has come up a few times. In author mode, the links for adding new elements appear, but the links for editing existing content (the gear icons) do not, as you can see here:

To try to fix this, change the URL of the page that you are looking at from https://[URL] to http://[URL] (in other words just remove the “S” after the http.  When we do this, the controls show up:

We will get this resolved so that it doesn’t matter which address you use, but until then this workaround should help.

Pasting in Chrome and Safari

Share

As you may know, the new version of CommonSpot now supports authoring in Safari and Chrome.  But pasting into a Text-block element in these browsers is a little different than what you are used to.

Safari

To paste in Safari, you have to right-click and pick paste from the popup submenu or you can use the appropriate keyboard shortcut.

Chrome

To paste in Chrome, you first have to download a Chrome extension.

  1. Go to http://author.ecu.edu/commonspot/dhtmledit/paperthin_chrome_extension.crx and save the extension to your desktop.
  2. When the download is finshed, drag the file to Chrome to install it.  A warning will appear in the bottom left of the window.  Click “Continue”.
     
  3. Click Add when the next window appears.
     
  4. A confirmation that the installation succeeded will appear.
     

After you have installed the plugin, you will be able to paste with Chrome.  To do this, you have to use the paste button that is on the RTE toolbar (Control + V and the right click context menu do not work in Chrome).

Missing Flash Element after Upgrade

Share

We have  had a couple of reports of missing Flash elements post-upgrade.  There is a relatively easy fix you can try that has fixed all the examples that we have seen so far.

  1. Select the Flash option from the Element submenu.  A popup like this will appear:

    Click the Edit Button

  2. A new popup will appear:
    • If you have a local copy of the Flash file, skip this step. Copy the URL (labeled “1″ in the screenshot). Open http://author.ecu.edu/[copied URL] in Chrome or Firefox (IE will not work). Save the Flash file to your desktop by using File..Save As or Control + S
    • Change the type to “New Document Version” (labeled “2″).
    • Click Next
  3. Pick the local copy of the file that you just saved in the next window

Click Save to close out. The element should be working properly.

Resolution Determines the Quality of your Website’s Photos

Share

Understanding the proper resolution for an image greatly improves the quality of the photos in your website and also the load time, both important considerations for web developers.  This is the first in a series of discussions on image resolution, image size and how to edit the photos for your website using both.  Today’s post explains image resolution.

What is image resolution?

Digital images are composed of tiny dots called, pixels.  Each pixel is a different color, so all the pixels put together form the details of the image.

Pixels create image detail

The inset above is magnified to 1600% to show how the colored dots make up the details of the boy’s hair.

Resolution is the density of pixels as measured by “pixels per inch (ppi).”  The more tightly-packed the pixels into each inch of space, the more detail (quality) there is in the image.

For example, the 10 ppi image below left is blurry because there are only 10 pixels per inch in the photo.  The middle image is an improvement at 20 ppi, but is still not a very good quality.  The image on the right gives the greatest detail of the three at 72 ppi.

72ppi is standard

Is there a standard resolution for web images?

While print materials most often use a very high resolution for the most detail, the standard resolution for web images is 72 ppi.  This give the most detail we humans can see on a digital screen while allowing the image to open (load) quickly.  The next post will discuss image size.