In your initial Social Office Setup, each site will contain six core applications on separate pages, accessible via the top tab navigation: Calendar, Documents, Forums, Blogs, Wiki, and Members. Most of these applications also work with the smaller applications which are displayed on the Site's home page. More details on these interactions are discussed below.
Social Office's Calendar application is a complete calendaring solution. You can schedule any number of events of different types, receive alarms via email or text message, import and export your calendar, and much more. Additionally, you can import and export the calendar to the popular iCalendar format for use in other applications.
On the home page for a site, there is by default an application called Today's Events. This application will display any events currently scheduled on that site's Calendar to occur on the current date. The events are displayed based on the event's permissions—so a guest user viewing the page will only see public events, and only the creator of the event will see private events.
Illustration 7: Main Calendar View.On the Calendar page, the default view is to see the entire month of events, but you can change that to show a week or a day at a time. Arrows will appear to the left and right of the current span of time that you're viewing—you can use these to view the next day, week, or month as needed.
Illustration 8: Adding an Event
To create an event, go to the Calendar application page and click Add Event. From here, you'll be given the following options for setting up the event:
Start Date/Time: The date and time the event starts.
Duration: How long the event will last.
All Day Event: Check this box to disassociate time from the event and make it last all day.
Time Zone Sensitive: Leave this box checked to make sure that the portal keeps track of the event regardless of time zone.
Title: The title of the event.
Description: A description of the event.
Type: Select from a number of pre-configured event types. You can change these in the portal-ext.properties file.
Permissions: This field contains a check box that enables you to toggle whether the event is public or private, and the ability to configure more specific options. Clicking configure will allow you to choose in more detail what guests or members of the community are allowed to see and edit.
Repeat: If the event repeats on a schedule, select the schedule.
End Date: If the event repeats on a schedule but there is an end to the set of meetings, enter the end date.
Reminders: Select whether to send a reminder, how long before the event to send it, and through what medium (email, text message, or instant message) to send it. Note that this feature is integrated with your profile on the portal, so you'll need to fill out your mobile phone number and / or instant messenger IDs in order to use those features.
Click Save to add the event to the Calendar.
Importing and Exporting Calendars
If you're migrating to Social Office from an existing platform, there's a good chance that you already have significant amount of Calendar data that you don't want to lose. To help make your life easier, Social Office supports importing calendar data in .ics format.
To import an existing Calendar, go to the Calendar application page
Scroll down to the bottom and click Import
On the Import screen you can click Choose File and select the .ics file to import to the Calendar.
You can also Export the Social Office calendar to .ics if necessary.
One of the keys to collaborating in a workplace is good handling of various documents which multiple members of a team might be working on simultaneously. Social Office contains a Document Library application which can help streamline this.
Illustration 9: Adding a Folder.Let's say you're a graphic designer for the marketing department and you've just finished up an advertisement for several magazines. Before you can move on to the next steps, you'll need your team and a handful of executives to review and sign off on the content.
Illustration 10: Example of Deeply Nested Folders.Because your company has only recently adopted Social Office, the first thing you'll need to do is create the appropriate folders. Using the above scenario, begin by creating a Print Advertisements folder. Because you might want people from other departments to review documents posted here, click Configure to open up additional permission options and check the box for View under the Guest field. Let's say that you also want to create a subfolder of Print Advertisements called Source Files to use for the original working files so that members of your team can make edits directly to the file. Even though anyone can view the root folder, you may not want everyone to have access to the source files, so when you create this one, you would make sure that the View option under Guest is unchecked.
You can continue to nest folders as deeply as necessary to keep things organized. In larger departments running multiple projects at once, having deep folder structures is a necessity to keep out of each others' way. Above is an example of how the folders might look in using our scenario.
To add a new document, click Add Document. After you're brought to the next screen, click on Browse. Your browser will open a dialog box that you can use to select one or more files to upload; once the transfer is complete, you can set any details of the document from the folder in which it was placed. If you click Classic Uploader, you'll be presented with a web page that allows you to set the name, description, and permissions, as well as select a single file to upload.
A very useful feature of the Documents application is that it keeps track of past versions of a file after it's been updated. That way, if any information is overwritten or removed, you can easily access an older version of the file. It also features a simple locking mechanism, whereby a user can "lock" the file to make some changes and unlock it once he or she is finished. Use this feature to prevent duplicate work or important changes from being lost in the shuffle of multiple updates.
There are two places where you can lock a file. While viewing the list of files in a folder, you can simply click on the lock icon, or while on the Edit screen, you can click Lock.
Illustration 11: This file is currently not locked; clicking on the lock icon will lock it.To access more options for a file or a folder, click on the icon that looks like a wrench. you'll be presented with a menu containing the following items:
Edit: Change the details of the file or folder. Clicking on this for a file will enable you to upload a new version as well as leave comments or ratings. This way, discussions about a document are kept with the document itself.
Permissions: You can define who can view or edit a file or folder.
Delete: Remove the file or directory. Removing a directory will also remove any subdirectories and files contained in that directory.
View (Files only): Clicking on view will allow you to download a file, leave comments, or rate the file. You're also provided with the WebDAV URLs if you wish to access this file through your operating system. All of this page's functionally is duplicated on the Edit page.
Editing a File
The Edit screen is where most of the action is going to happen. There are a large number of fields on this page, and it can be confusing at first. Let's take a moment to go over the purpose and function of each field:
Name: This is the name of the file that is always displayed. You can upload a file with a different name, but this will remain the same.
Version: This displays the current version of the file. Each time the file is updated, Social Office will increment the version number.
Size: The size of the file on disk.
Number of Downloads: The number of times a user has downloaded the file.
Download: A link to download the file.
URL: This is a URL that you can provide to users who may need access to a file hosted on the Site, but aren't members of that Site. Please note that in order for this to work, the file permissions must be set so that a guest can view it..
WebDAV URL: Fills the same purpose as the URL, but with the WebDAV protocol.
Folder: Displays the folder where the file currently resides. You can click the Select button, to move the file to a different folder.
File: By clicking Choose File, you can select a new version of the current file to upload. The location of the file you choose is displayed here.
Title: You can change the displayed name of the file here. As noted above, simply uploading a file with a different name will not change the name of the file in Social Office.
Illustration 12: The screen for editing or updating existing files.
Description: You can fill in any notes or details about the file that other users will need to know here.
Tags: Tags are used throughout the site to enable users to search properly categorized data more quickly. For more information on tagging, see Chapter 5: The Control Panel.
Save, Lock, Cancel: You can save any changes you've made, cancel those changes, or lock the file for editing as described above.
Ratings: Each user can rate a file, by giving it anywhere from 1 to 5 stars. This could be useful for peer or executive review of files.
Comments: Along with rating a file, users can also leave comments. This is useful for discussion about the file.
Version History: You can view past versions of a file; this can be useful for tracking down specific changes to a file or to recover information that was accidentally removed in a newer version.
Social Office has a Blogs application which allows you to provide a blogging service to your users. Each site will have its own unique blog, and by default, all members of the site can post blog entries. Let's go over how to use the Blogs application to create an optimal blogging system.
Illustration 13: Initial view of the Blogs application.On the Blogs page, you'll see three main options: Subscribe to this Blog, Add Blog Entry, and Permissions. Clicking on Subscribe to this Blog will bring you to the RSS feed for this blog. This enables you to publish your blog as a feed to various feed readers that your users might be using.
Click on Permissions and you'll be presented with a screen where you can set which users have to ability to blog. If you want to limit this to specific users, you can create a User Role for bloggers in the Control Panel and give that role permissions to add entries here.
The core functionally of this application is of course, writing blog entries. Click the Add Blog Entry button to get started.
Title: This is the title of the blog entry. It is displayed at the top of the post.
Display Date: You don't have to make the blog entry appear immediately. If you prefer to have it display later in the day or a few days later, you can set the display date here.
Content: The content entry area consists of two parts: the text entry field and the toolbar. The text entry field is where you do your typing, and the toolbar controls text formatting as well as embedding images, videos, or even adding various emoticons to the post. You also have the option to use either the default WYSIWYG text editor or enter your own HTML.
Tags: The tags field give you the option to add tags to your entries to make them easier to find with Social Office's search feature. You can find more information about tagging and categories in Chapter 5: The Control Panel. Clicking Suggestions will automatically generate possible tags from your entry based on looking for keywords in your text.
Save Draft, Publish, Cancel: Clicking on Save Draft will save your work. Note also that as you type, the entry is automatically saved as a draft at periodic intervals. This gives you peace of mind in using the application from within your browser, as you won't lose your entry in the event of a browser crash or network interruption. Publish will save and post your entry on the Blogs page, and Cancel will discard all of your work and send you back to Blogs page.
Permissions: Like almost anything else in Social Office, you have the ability to restrict what users can view or comment on your entry. You can also allow other users to edit it (in the case of a team blog).
Allow Incoming Trackbacks: If you're running Social Office on the Internet and not an Intranet, you might want to enable trackbacks to make it easier to track when other bloggers link to your blog. This could also potentially be useful on larger Intranets to reference other blogs that are part of other Social Office or Liferay Portal installations.
Illustration 14: Adding a Blog entry.Trackbacks to Send: If you're referencing another blog that supports trackbacks in your post, you'll want to make sure that they receive the proper credit. Entering trackback URLs in his field will notify the owners of the other blogs that you referenced them in your post. Once you have finished your blog entry, click Publish. You'll go back to the list of entries, and you'll see your entry.
Social Office's Forums are one of the most widely used collaboration features provided by the product. The application is a state of the art forum application similar to many forums in which you may have participated. There are countless web sites out there where it's clearly evident that there is no link whatsoever between the main site and the message boards. In some cases, users are even required to register twice: once for the main site and once for the message boards. By providing a message boards application along with all of the other applications, Social Office can provide a unique, integrated approach, which is essential when creating an environment for people to work together and collaborate. We've already taken care of the integration of applications, so you can concentrate on using the tools we provide to streamline your workflow and improve the efficiency of business processes.
The Forums application is very straightforward to set up. To start, you'll want to configure who has access to the Moderator functions of the Forums, so click on Permissions.
Illustration 15: Editing Message Board Permissions.Permissions
This page allows you to define which roles have the ability to add a category of threads or to ban abusive users from the forums. Select the roles and permissions you want to configure and then click Submit. You may want to set up a specific User Role for this. User Roles are covered in Chapter 5: The Control Panel.
Adding Categories and Mailing Lists
You're now ready to add categories to your forums. Click the Add Category button. Enter a name for the category and a description of the category. At the bottom of the form is a check box which allows you to enable the mailing list function.
The mailing list function works in concert with the message notification emails. If a user subscribes to a message board category, he or she will get emails when someone posts messages to that category. Enabling the mailing list function allows those users to simply reply to the notification messages in their email clients, and those replies are posted to the thread automatically.
To enable this functionality, you'll need a mail account for the category. Once you click the check box, a number of other options will appear.
Email Address: Enter the email address of the account that will receive the messages.
Next, there are two tabs: Incoming and Outgoing. These define the mail settings for receiving mail and for sending mail. The Incoming tab has the following options:
Protocol: Select POP or IMAP.
Server Name: Enter the host name of the mail server you're using.
Server Port: Enter the port on which your mail service is running.
Use a Secure Network Connection: Check this box to use an encrypted connection if your server supports it.
User Name: The login name on the mail server.
Password: The password for the account on the server.
Read Interval (Minutes): Social Office will poll the server at this interval looking for new messages to post.
The Outgoing tab has the following options:
Email Address: Enter the email address that messages from this category should come from. If you want your users to reply to the categories using email, this should be the same address configured on the Incoming tab.
Use Custom Outgoing Server: If you need to use a different mail server than the one that's configured for the portal, check this box. If you check the box, a number of other options will appear.
Server Name: Enter the host name of the SMTP mail server you're using.
Server Port: Enter the port on which your mail service is running.
Use a Secure Network Connection: Check this box to use an encrypted connection if your server supports it.
User Name: Enter the login name on the mail server.
Password: Enter the password for the account on the mail server.
When finished adding your category, click Save. Add as many categories to your forums as you wish. Note that categories can have subcategories. You can add a number of top-level categories and then click on each one to add categories under that (to an unlimited level). For usability reasons, you don't want to nest your categories too deep, or your users will have trouble finding them. You can always add more categories as your forums grow.
Using the Forums
Upon seeing Social Office's Forums application, your users will immediately recognize that the interface is similar to many other implementations they've seen before. Forums are nothing new to the Internet, and many people have been using them for quite a long time. For that reason, Social Office's forums will seem very familiar to your users.
Threads can be viewed in many ways. At the left of the page is a set of quick links: Categories, My Posts, My Subscriptions, Recent Posts, and for administrative users, Statistics and Banned Users. The Categories tab allows users to browse the categories for an appropriate place to post a thread. The My Posts link shows all of the posts for the user who's currently logged in. This is a convenient way to get back to a conversation you had once in order to retrieve some pertinent information. The My Subscriptions link allows a user to manage thread subscriptions. If you lose interest in a particular topic, you may want to visit this tab and unsubscribe from a thread. The Recent Posts tab shows all posts from all categories by date, so you can keep up on all the most recent discussions in the forums.
For administrators, the Statistics link shows the number of categories, the number of posts, and the number of participants in your forums. It also has a list of who the top posters to your forums are. The Banned Users tab shows all of the users who have been banned from posting on the forums.
To post a new message thread, go to the Categories link, click on a category, and then click on the Post New Thread button. You'll see a message editing form. The body field on this form is different from that of the other applications in Social Office. The reason for this is to support BBCode, which is a standard form of markup used in many message board products. Users who have Moderator access to the board can modify the priority of messages. You can also use the editor to quote from messages that you're replying to.
Illustration 16: Editing a forums post. You can see the emoticons that are available in the editor, insert emoticons, add preformatted text, and more.Messages that are posted to the forums are shown by default in a threaded view, so that replies are attached to the proper parent message. This makes it easy to follow along with conversations.
When viewing a message board thread, users are given several options. At the top right of the thread are three icons, allowing users to view threads in a flat view, in a tree view, or in a combination view. A flat view shows all of the messages in the order in which they are posted. A tree view shows all of the messages in a threaded view, so that replies are next to the messages they are replying to. A combination view shows the threads at the top as subjects only, with the flat view underneath.
When viewing a thread, users can click links allowing them to post a new thread, subscribe to the thread they are viewing, or if they have administrative access, move a thread to another category. Subscribing to a thread causes Social Office to send the user an email whenever a new message is posted to the thread. If you have enabled the mailing list feature for the category in which the thread resides, users can simply reply to these messages in order to post back to the thread, without having to visit your site.
The Forums application is also highly integrated with Social Office's user management features. Posts on the message board show users' profile pictures if they have uploaded one for themselves, as well as the dates that users created an ID on your site.
Forums Administrative Functions
The Forums application provides for the day-to-day administration of the message threads. You may wish to separate this function out by a role, and then delegate that role to one or more of your users. That would free you up to concentrate on other areas of your web site. To do this, you can create a role called Message Board Administrator.
This role can be scoped by Social Office or a Site. If you have a Social Office scoped role, members of this role can administer any Message Boards in any Site to which they have access. If it's a Site scoped role, members of this role can administer a Message Boards portlet in only the Site in which they have the role.
Go to the Control Panel and create this role. Once it's created, click Actions → Define Permissions. Click the Portlet Permissions button. Browse the list until you find the Message Boards portlet and then click on it. You'll then see a screen which allows you to configure the various permissions on the portlet.
Grant the permissions you wish message board administrators to have and then click Save. You can then add users to this role and they will inherit the permissions.
Message Board administrators can perform all of the functions you have already seen, including creating and deleting categories and posting threads. In addition to these, a number of other functions are available.
Many times a user will post a thread in the wrong category. Administrators may in this case want to move a thread to the proper category. This is very easy to do. First click on the thread. If you have administrative access, there is a link at the top of the thread labeled Move Thread. Click this link. You'll be presented with a simple form which allows you to select a category to which to move the thread and a check box which allows you to post a message explaining why the thread was moved. This message is posted as a reply to the thread you're moving. When finished, click the Move Thread button and the thread is moved.
Users with administrative access to the forums can delete threads. Sometimes users begin discussing topics that are inappropriate or which reveal information which should not be revealed. In this case, you can simply delete the thread from the forums. This is easy to do. First, view the list of threads. Next to every thread is an Actions button. Click Actions → Delete to delete the thread. This doesn't prevent users from re-posting the information, so you'll need to be vigilant in deleting threads or consider the next option.
Unfortunately, sometimes certain users can become abusive. If you wind up with a user like this, you can certainly make attempts to warn him or her that the behavior he or she is displaying is unacceptable. If this doesn't work, you can ban the user from posting on the forums.
Again, this is very easy to do. Find any post which was written by the abusive user. Underneath the user's name / profile picture is a link called Ban this User. Click this link to ban the user from the forums.
If after taking this action the user apologizes and agrees to stop his or her abusive behavior, you can choose to reinstate the user. To do this, click the Banned Users tab at the top of the Forums application. This will show a list of all banned users. Find the user in the list and click the Unban this User link.
Sometimes a thread will go on for a while and the discussion completely changes into something else. In this case, you can split the thread where the discussion diverges and create a whole new thread for the new topic. Administrative users will see a Split Thread link on each post. To split the thread, click the link. You'll be brought to a form which allows you to add an explanation post to the split thread. Click Ok to split the thread.
Administrative users can edit not only their own posts, but also all others. Sometimes users will post links to copyrighted material or unsuitable pictures. You can edit these posts, which allows you to redact information that should not be posted or to censor profanity that's not allowed on your forums.
Permissions can be set not only on threads, but also on individual posts. You can choose to limit a particular conversation or a post to only a select group of people. To do this, click the Permissions link on the post and then select among the Delete, Permissions, Subscribe, Update, and View permissions for the particular role to which you want to grant particular access. This function can be used to make it so some privileged users can post on a certain thread, but others are only allowed to view it, or any combination of the above permissions.
Social Office's Wiki application, like the Forums application, is a full-featured wiki application which has all of the features you would expect of a state of the art wiki. Again, though, it has the benefit of all of the features of the Social Office platform. As such, it's completely integrated with Social Office's user management, tagging, and security features.
So what is a wiki? Put simply, a wiki is an application which allows users to collaborate on information. This, of course, has many applications—the most famous of which is Wikipedia, which is a full encyclopedia developed collaboratively by users from all over the world, using a wiki. Another example would be Liferay's wiki, which is used for collaborative documentation for the Community Edition of the product.
A wiki application allows users to create and edit documents and then link them to each other. To accomplish this, a special form of markup is used which is sometimes called wikitext. Unfortunately, the proliferation of many different wiki applications resulted in slightly different syntax for wikitext in the various products, as each new wiki tried to focus on new features that other wikis didn't have. For that reason, a project called WikiCreole was started. This project resulted in the release of WikiCreole 1.0 in 2007, which is an attempt to define a standard wiki markup that all wikis can support.
Rather than define another wikitext syntax, Social Office's Wiki application supports WikiCreole as its syntax. This syntax is a best-of-breed wiki syntax and should be familiar for users of other wikis. The application provides a handy cheat sheet for the syntax on the page editing form, with a link to the full documentation if you wish to use some of WikiCreole's advanced features.
Navigating in the Wiki application
You'll start on the default page, which is called FrontPage. Initially, of course, it's blank—you'll have to fill it with your own wiki content. On the left are the Quick Links, which contain a set of navigational links:
Manage Wikis: This link takes you to a list of available wikis, with options to make administrative changes.
FrontPage: Takes you to the main page of the main wiki.
Recent Changes: Takes you to a page which shows all of the recently updated pages.
All Pages: Takes you to a flat, alphabetical list of all pages currently stored in the wiki.
Orphan Pages: This link takes you to a list of pages that have no links to them. This can happen if you take a link out of a wiki page in an edit without realizing it's the only link to a certain page. This area allows you to review wiki pages that are orphaned in this way so that you can re-link to them or delete them from the wiki if they are no longer relevant.
Search: Enter a term here and click the Search button to search for items in the wiki. If the search term is not found, a link is displayed which allows you to create a new wiki page on the topic for which you searched.
Getting Started with the Social Office Wiki
The Wiki application can contain many wikis. By default, it contains only one, called Main. If you wish to add, modify, or delete wikis, click on the Manage Wikis link in the quick links. You'll see that the Main wiki has already been added for you.
Clicking the Add Wiki button brings you to a screen which allows you to give the wiki a name and a description. You can also set up some default permissions. When you create a new wiki, it'll appear in a list at the top of the main page of the application.
Next to each wiki in the list of wiki nodes is an Actions button. This button contains several options:
Edit: Lets you edit the name and description of the wiki.
Permissions: Lets you define what roles can add attachments to wiki pages, add pages to the wiki, delete pages, import pages to the wiki, set permissions on the wiki, subscribe to the wiki, update existing pages, and view the wiki.
Import Pages: You can import your data from other wikis. This allows you to migrate off of another wiki which you may be using and use the Social Office wiki instead. You may wish to do this if you're migrating your site from a set of disparate applications (i.e., a separate forum or a separate wiki) to Social Office, which provides all of these features. Currently, MediaWiki is the only wiki that's supported, but others will likely be supported in the future.
RSS: This will bring you to an RSS feed of updates to the wiki.
Subscribe: A user can subscribe to a wiki node and any time a page is added or updated, Social Office will send an email to the user informing him or her what happened.
Delete: Deletes the wiki node. To go back to your wiki, click on its name in the list of wikis.
Adding and Editing Wiki Pages
By default, there is one page added to your wiki, called FrontPage. To get started adding data to your wiki, click the Edit link at the top right of the application. You'll be brought to a blank editing page.
You can now begin to add content to the page. Notice that there is a very convenient "cheat sheet" which can help with the wiki syntax. You can use this syntax to format your wiki pages. Consider for example the following wiki document:
== Welcome to Our Wiki! ==
This is our new wiki, which should allow us to collaborate on documentation. Feel free to add pages showing people how to do stuff. Below are links to some sections that have already been added.
This would produce the following wiki page:
Illustration 17: Adding a wiki page
This adds a simple heading, a paragraph of text, and several links to the page. Notice that the links are red, instead of the normal blue color. This indicates that the page behind that link doesn't yet exist, and therefore needs to be created. If you click one of those links, you'll be brought immediately to the editing screen you were on previously when you edited the front page, except this time you'll be creating the page behind the link you just clicked. Social Office will display a notice at the top of the page stating that the page doesn't exist yet, and that you're creating it right now. As you can see, it's very easy to create wiki pages. All you have to do is create a link from an existing page.
Note that at the top of the screen you can select from the Creole wiki format and the HTML editor that comes with Social Office. We generally recommend that you stick with the Creole format, as it allows for a much cleaner separation of content and code. If you want all of your users to use the Creole format, you can disable the HTML format using the portal-ext.properties file. See the Liferay Portal Administrator's Guide for further information on this configuration file.
At the bottom of the page editing screen, you can select categories or tags for the article. Categories are a hierarchical list of headings under which you can create wiki pages, and tags are lists of topics covered by your articles. Both allow you to organize your content for searching. Tags can be created inline; categories can be created using the Control Panel in the Tags and Categories section.
When viewing a page, you can view its details by clicking the Details link which appears in the top right of the page. This allows you to view many properties of the page. There are several tabs which organize all of the details into convenient categories.
The Details tab shows various statistics about the page and also contains a few actions that you can perform on the page.
Title: Displays the title of the page.
Format: Displays the format for the page—either Creole or HTML.
Latest Version: Displays the latest version of the page. The wiki application automatically keeps track of page versions whenever a page has been edited.
Created By: Displays the user who created the page.
Last Changed By: Displays the user who last modified the page.
Attachments: Displays the number of attachments to the page.
RSS Subscription: Displays links which allow you to subscribe to the page as an RSS feed in three formats: RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and Atom 1.0.
Email Subscription: Contains links allowing you to subscribe to the entire wiki or just to this page.
Advanced Actions: Contains links allowing you to modify the permissions on the page, make a copy of the page, move (rename) the page, or delete the page.
This tab shows a list of all of the versions of the wiki page since it was created. You can revert a page back to a previous state and you can also compare the differences between versions by selecting the versions and then clicking the Compare Versions button.
Incoming / Outgoing Links
The next two tabs are for incoming and outgoing links. These are wiki links to and from the page. You can use this tab to examine how this page links to other pages and how other pages link back to this page.
The last tab is for attachments. You can attach any file to the wiki. This is mostly used to attach images to wiki articles which can then be referenced in the text. Referencing them using the proper WikiCreole syntax renders the image inline, which is a nice way to include illustrations in your wiki documents.
In order for a site to function properly, it must have members. Site owners have the ability to allow anyone to join or to restrict membership to invitation only. They also have the option to allow anyone to view the site or to restrict site viewing to members only. Individual applications within each site also have configurable permissions as to whether they can be viewed or edited by anyone or only by members of the site. In most cases you'll want to restrict membership of a site, but allow everyone to view certain sections of the site.
As an example, a company's Marketing Site might have, among other things, a Brand Style Guide and a Marketing Events Calendar. These are things that they would want accessible to various people in the company, such as web developers or retail associates. They would not, however, want everyone to view specifics on upcoming promotions still in development—or the time and locations of meetings with vendors. Using Social Office, you can easily separate items like this—with some documents and items on a Calendar being viewable to everyone, while others would be invisible to everyone who wasn't a member of the site.
The standard permissions available to users are Add Discussion, Delete, Delete Discussion, Permissions, Update, Update Discussion, and View. These are very granular throughout the various applications, so you have a lot of flexibility in determining who can do what, not just for the application itself, but for specific files, events, discussions, or just about anything else.
Other Site Options
While the applications we've been describing above are included by default in Social Office's Sites and are where users are going to spend the majority of their time, there are a few other tools and configuration options that you'll want to know about when you're setting up Sites.
Illustration 18: Add Applications DialogAdding/Removing Applications
By default, there is a fairly large number of applications on users' personal home pages and the Site home pages. In some cases, you may want exactly what's there by default, but in others, you may want less or more.
If a user has permission to remove a particular application, an X will appear in the top right corner of the application box; clicking the X will remove the application. If a user has permission to add an application to a page, they will see an Applications button at the top of the screen. Clicking on it will display a menu on the left side of the screen with a list of applications that they can add to a page. The applications are organized by category.
Users own their personal home pages and are free to make changes to them. Any changes made by one user affects only his or her personal home page. Site home pages, on the other hand, belong to the Site, so changes made by one user will affect all users of that Site. This is why only the Site Owner, Social Office Administrator, or someone given increased permissions via User Roles in the Control Panel can modify the Site home page.
Illustration 19: Layout Selection.Along with adding or removing applications, pages have customizable layouts. Each page has a selectable Layout template (accessed through the Layout button at the top of the screen). Simply choose the best layout for your page. You can also drag and drop individual applications anywhere on the page; however, the layout template will determine the size and shape of the Application box, as well as details of its exact placement on the screen.
You can also apply layouts to Site and personal home pages. We suggest experimenting with a variety of layouts to determine what works best for your site and your users.
The Announcements application is Social Office's main method of conveying information to larger groups of users at once. You can make announcements to all other users or only to members of a specific site.
The Announcements application is displayed in two places: the user's home page and the site home page. The Announcements application displays different information for each user based on the user's site membership. For example, if a user is a member of the Sales site, but is browsing the home page of the Marketing site, he will see announcements from Sales in the Announcements application, not announcements from Marketing.
By default, only Administrators or site owners can post announcements. They can also create a User Role (via the Control Panel) with the ability to post announcements. See Chapter 5: The Control Panel, for more information about creating User Roles.
Illustration 20: The Add Announcements Screen.
To create an announcement, a user with sufficient permissions simply needs to click the Add Announcement button and fill in the necessary fields:
To: This is the Site where the announcement is posted. If a user is accessing this application through a Site home page, or if he or she can only make announcements for one Site, this will only display one value. However, if a user with announcement privileges on multiple Sites accesses the application from his or her personal home page, he or she will see a selection box with all of the available Sites.
Title: You can enter a title here that serves as the headline for the announcement.
URL: This field enables you to set a URL for the announcement. This is useful if you want to link directly to the announcement from somewhere else.
Content: This is where you enter the main content for the announcement. Unlike some of the more advanced text entry fields in other applications, this field only accepts plain text characters.
Type: You can set the type as General, News, or Test, depending on what type of announcement you're making.
Priority: Mark this as Important or Normal. Marking an item Important will make it stay persistently above all Normal entries until you edit the entry and change its priority, delete it, or the item expires.
Display Date / Expiration Date: You can set a date range for when the item will first appear and when it will stop displaying. You can use this feature to have announcements post or expire off the list when you're unavailable to manually make changes. By default, all announcements expire one month after they are first posted, but you can increase or decrease the amount of time each item is displayed.
Clicking the Manage Entries button will bring you to a screen displaying all announcements and allow you to edit or delete them. You can use this to fix any errors in existing entries or to remove unwanted entries. You can also add entries from this page.
Illustration 21: Manage Entries Screen.Chat
The Chat application is integrated throughout the whole of Social Office. It's a convenient way of allowing your users to IM each other when they're logged into your web site at the same time. It appears as a bar at the bottom of every page—displaying who's logged on, whether they're available, and any chats the logged-in user has open.
The Chat application is very simple to use. To change the settings, click Settings. Here you can set your status (online/offline) or have the application play a sound if someone sends you a message when the window or tab is in the background.
Additionally, the application shows the number of your friends online. To chat with one of them, click the Online Friends link, click the friend's name, and then begin chatting. That's it! You can have multiple chats open at a time, and even have one or more of them minimized. Your friends are anyone that shares membership of a Site with you.