Blogs by date "April 2014"

Using the new elFinder File Manager

Version 2.3.0 includes a new modern File Manager which (in the long run) will make it much easier to manage and work with uploaded files.  In general, elFinder follows an 'operating system' paradigm, so it should be fairly logical to begin using, but it is much different than the old Exponent File Manager.elFinder File Manager

Some of the (new) elFinder features include:

  • True file folders for easier file organization
  • Drag and Drop file upload and moving (CAUTION: while you can move a file, it may break any references within WYSIWYG text since they are embedded as hard reference links instead of as an expFile object)
  • File cut/copy/paste
  • Single 'pane' file management and upload, instead of the old separate file uploader
  • Command toolbar to access most actions directly
  • ​Item option (context) menus
  • 'Touch' enabled to work with mobile devices
  • Integrated file archive creation and extraction (not available on windows servers)
  • Icon and details folder views

To enable the new elFinder file manager, open ''Configure Website' from the Exponent menu.  Then select the 'File Manger' tab and select 'elFinder' as the system file manager.  For the time being, the elFinder file manager is only an option and not the default file manager.

How to use these new features:

  1. Basic Window Layout
    • As with most modern file mangers there are three basic areas or panes in the elFinder window
      • Toolbar - is located at the top of the window
      • Folder Tree Pane - is located to the left side of the window.  The folder hierarchy can be collapse or expanded and the pane width may be adjusted
      • File Pane - this is the largest area of the window which displays all the file in the current folder or those matching a search request
    • elFinder also uses context menus which appear on folders, files, or the File Pane background
  2. File Uploads
    • ​​The easiest way to upload files into the file manager is to simply drag them from your PC desktop/file manager and drop them on/into the folder you choose.
    • You may also click on the 'Select files to upload' toolbar button, or choose the 'Upload files' context menu item from the file pane.  This will present a window to drag/drop files, to paste a file, or open a file select dialog to choose the files to upload.
  3. File Selection
    • The easiest way to select a file when the file manager is opened from within an editor or edit item dialog, is to simply double-click the file.
    • You may also click on the 'Select files' toolbar button, or choose 'Select' from the context menu for the file(s)
    • You may select more than one file by using the control/shift method or a drag box.
  4. File Operations/Management
    • You may cut, copy, paste, duplicate, rename, delete, or preview a file using the appropriate toolbar button or context menu item
    • You can display the files in the file pane as either large icons or a detailed list
    • You can sort the displayed files by name, size, kind, and date, in ascending or descending order
  5. Image Editing
    • elFinder includes integrated image resizing, cropping, and rotation using the 'Resize & Rotate' command
    • For more advanced editing, we now use an online service called Pixlr to provide full graphics editing features.  
    • As is the case with all commands, you can use the toolbar button or the context menu which will present you with a dialog to select either the full-blown Pixlr editor or Pixlr Express which has fewer features.
  6. Exponent File Management
    • The options to change file sharing, image title, image 'alt' title are now found in the 'Info' dialog of the file which can be displayed via toolbar or context menu
    • The 'sharing' status is changed instantly, but the 'title' and 'alt title' require you click on the 'update' button for the change to take place
    • You'll also see additional details such as file type, size, dimensions, file owner, etc...
    • There are also details about the file/folder found in the 'status' bar at the bottom of the window
    • There is also a 'Preview' command available to display/play images, videos, & mp3 files
  7. File Search
    • There is a built-in search feature using the input box in the toolbar.  Simply enter the phrase, press 'enter' and all the files in the system matching that phrase will be displayed, regardless of their folder location.
    • Click on the 'x' button or select a folder in the folder tree pane to clear the search.
  8. Transfer (back) to the Insert/Modify Link Dialog
    • If you are inserting a 'link' to a page into an editor instead of a link to a file, you can switch to the dialog with a list of pages available, the option to select a module on a page, or to switch back to the file manager.  This button is found on the toolbar to allow you to switch back to the Insert/Modify Link window.  It is located next to the toolbar 'Help' button.

Overall, we think you'll be pleased with the new elFinder File Manager and find it much simpler to use.

 

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer

Which WYSIWYG Editor to Choose?

Version 2.3.0 includes a second optional What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWG) editor called TinyMCE.  While in most cases you'll probably want to stick with the venerable CKEditor, TinyMCE will work on Android devices, where CKEditor does not.TinyMCE WYSIWYG Editor

To enable the TinyMCE editor, open ''Configure Website' from the Exponent menu.  Then select the 'WYSIWYG Editor' tab and select 'TinyMCE' as the system text editor.  For the time being, the TinyMCE text editor is only an option and not the default.

In addition to working on an Android device, TinyMCE offers most of the features found in the CKEditor.  However, some features are not as advanced as with CKEditor.  TinyMCE also offers a menu bar which may contain additional commands not found in the toolbar.

You may not have a need to use the new TinyMCE editor, but we offer it for those requiring WYSIWYG editing on Android based devices.

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer

Preparing to Upgrade to v2.3.0

Version 2.3.0 is the follow-up to version 2.2.3 and was given a version bump due to the many new features added.  It also marks a 'slowing down' of version releases as it's purposely been five months since the last release.  While it doesn't require as many changes as the move to v2.2.0 (which deprecated all the old 1.x code), it would still be wise to note and adhere these following changes.

The navigation showall_Flydown view for a bootstrap based theme now includes all the associated markup in the view instead of in the theme template.  Therefore if you use this view or have based your custom theme on 'bootstraptheme' (it is the default menu for the boostraptheme) you MUST edit your theme templates (including subthemes)

  • The older code looked something like:
    <!-- navigation bar/menu -->
    <div class="navigation navbar <?php echo (MENU_LOCATION) ? 'navbar-'.MENU_LOCATION : '' ?>">
      <div class="navbar-inner">
        <div class="container"> <!-- toggle for collapsed/mobile navbar content -->
          <a class="btn btn-navbar" data-toggle="collapse" data-target=".nav-collapse">
          <span class="icon-bar"></span> <span class="icon-bar"></span>
          <span class="icon-bar"></span> </a>
          <!-- menu header -->
          <a class="brand" href="<?php echo URL_FULL ?>"><?php echo ORGANIZATION_NAME ?></a>
          <!-- menu -->
          <?php expTheme::module(array("controller"=>"navigation","action"=>"showall","view"=>"showall_Flydown")); ?>
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="navbar-spacer"></div>
    <div class="navbar-spacer-bottom"></div>
  • This is simply replaced by:
    <?php expTheme::module(array("controller"=>"navigation","action"=>"showall","view"=>"showall_Flydown")); ?>
  • Depending on which exponent version you created your theme from (first shipped w/ v2.2.0), you may not have all those lines above.  In fact, in v2.2.0, the menu was a theme custom menu simply call 'showall'

There may be duplicate Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs.  We include an optional upgrade script to correct this issue, but do NOT run it automatically.  Duplicate SEF URLs can cause issues when using the new 'Workflow' feature.

If your pages/content seems to have disappeared for non-admin users, you should first (re)run the 'Fix Sectionrefs' upgrade script.  If that doesn't fix the problem, you need to ensure the 'Disable Privacy Feature' is selected found in 'Confgure Website' Exponent menu item, under the 'Display' tab.

If you have manually loaded the 'jQuery' script, it may be colliding with the auto-loaded jQuery script.  The BEST method to ensure that jQuery is auto-loaded, is to set the theme framework (in the theme template/subtheme templates) to either 'jquery'.  jQuery is also auto-loaded with the bootstrap theme frameworks.  Documentation found here.

Again, not a lot of earth shattering changes required, but we always recommend doing a test before upgrading a production web site, just in case.

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer

Using the new Workflow Feature

Version 2.3.0 includes a new optional feature called 'Workflow'.  This feature allows greater control over a multi-user site, especially where there are many users adding new material which should be edited or approved prior to being visible to the public.  'Workflow' adds 1) Revisions, and 2) Approval.Workflow Revisions

'Workflow' is activated or deactivated using the 'Exponent' 'Super-Admin Tools' menu.  Workflow is currently enabled within the Blog, News, & Text modules.  A 'Workflow' enabled module can be identified on the Manage Modules view. Once 'Workflow' is activated creating or updating module items behaves differently depending on the user's permissions.

Revisions – in a very basic sense, revisioning creates a new copy or revision of a module item each time the item is edited/saved.  This affords an opportunity to ‘roll back’ or ‘undo’ an edit.

  • Revisions are ‘reported’ on the standard view with a badge displaying the revision # next to the ‘Edit’ button/link.
  • Revisions are ‘managed’ in the Edit item view. 
    • Revisions are initially hidden within a collapsed container below the standard edit area…with the most most recent at the top of the stack.Revisions
    • The ‘revision’ being edited will be highlighted
    • A previous revision may be activated by 1) clicking on that revision, and 2) when the display refreshes with the new data, saving the item
  • Currently, old revisions can NOT be manually removed, so you will have a permanent history of all edits to that item.  However, it is possible to set the max number of revisions by manually editing the config.php file (no UI exists yet).

Approval – in a very basic sense, approval adds a layer of ‘moderation’ before content may be presented to a basic user with no permissions.

  • Without an ‘approve’ permission, the user will only see (interact with) the most recent ‘approved’ item revision (if any).
  • All new/edited items will be saved as un-approved revisions unless the user has 'approve' permission:
    • If a user WITHOUT 'approve' permission edits an item,
      • they will be editing the most recent approved revision which will be saved as an un-approved, but newer revision
    • With an ‘approve’ permission, the user will see the most recent item revision which may then be ‘approved’ using the new ‘Approve’ button/link.
      • Creating/Editing, then saving an item will automatically approve it
      • Turning on ‘Preview Mode’ will display the most recent approved revision (if any)
      • An un-approved item will be ‘displayed’ on the standard view with special highlighting (yellow background and red border) which disappears on ‘hover’.Unapproved Revision
      • Currently, you can NOT un-approve a revision, therefore you are required to either leave it alone (unedited, unapproved), edit it (will be saved as approved), or simply approve it as is.
  • The ‘Approve’ permission is tied to the ‘edit’ and ‘create’ permissions.  It applies to ALL items in the module the user has ‘edit’ permission with…therefore the ‘create’ permission with an ‘approve’ permission only allows (automatic) approval of that user’s items, but not all items in the module, you must also grant them the ‘edit’ permission…e.g., if you can’t edit it, you can’t approve it.
  • As a reminder, Admins and Super-Admins are ALWAYS granted ALL permissions, and a 'manage' permission grants ALL permissions (for that page/module).

One thing to consider before activating 'Workflow'

  • Non-admin users MUST specifically be granted an 'approve' permission to create/edit items for display, otherwise that revision must be approved before it is displayed.  So, until you grant 'approve' permissions, the admin(s) may be busy approving all new content.

And a big caution before de-activating 'Workflow'

  • When you de-activate workflow, ALL revisions except the most recent approved revision will be permanently removed!

In most instances, 'Workflow' may not be of use.  But if you are in a multi-user environment where you need to control what actually is displayed on the site, you now have a new tool.

 

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer