Auxiliary Sites

Overview

The Auxiliary Sites feature in OU Campus is a way by which users can navigate to other file locations other than the OU Campus staging server when they are inserting images, links, or media onto a page.

When users browse for files, they will first be directed to the directory in which they are currently editing a page, or the location configured in either the site settings or with a directory variable for images and media. However, when using the filechooser, users can select from a list of auxiliary sites in the drop-down menu found in the top right hand of the modal. After selecting an auxiliary site, users can browse for pages, media, or other files that reside on that server.

Auxiliary Sites Drop-Down in Filechooser Modal

Auxiliary sites are typically used as repositories for media, such as images and video. Note that the auxiliary sites drop-down menu also lists the staging server and any publish targets, if Multi-Target Publish is in use.

Here is an example of how auxiliary sites can be used. A directory variable is in use for the alumni directory that automatically opens the filechooser to the default images directory, which is /departments/alumni/images/. Users frequently also need access to an image that is located in the main images folder for the institution, which is simply /images/. In this case, the auxiliary site can be configured for that /images/ directory, so the user does not have to tediously navigate to it each time. It can be selected from the drop-down for easy access.

Auxiliary sites can either be on the same production server and identified as its own site location, or it can be a completely separate server, such as a media server where all current media is housed or a document repository. In order to configure an auxiliary site, the administrator must have the FTP account settings. It is not possible to link to a public-facing site, such as Flickr, as the connection is made via FTP. The connection is read-only, and media and files cannot be uploaded to another server via the file browser.

As many auxiliary sites can be added as necessary, and when configured in the account settings, apply to all sites within the account. If more fine-tuned control is required, auxiliary sites can also be created at the site level, which will limit access to that auxiliary site to the site in which it was created. Any auxiliary sites configured in an individual site’s settings are appended to any auxiliary sites set in the account settings.

Auxiliary Sites Panel

Setting Up an Auxiliary Site

An auxiliary site can be configured in Account Settings or Site Settings, either inside the SuperAdmin interface or inside the normal OU Campus interface. Adding an auxiliary site at the account level specifies that it is available to all sites in the account. Adding an auxiliary site at the site level makes it available only for that site. The configuration options are identical at each level.

This functionality does not create the files or folder structure for the auxiliary site; it only allows OU Campus to retrieve files from an already existing FTP location. When these fields are populated, a back-end regex ensures the entries follow the expected syntax for each specific field. When viewing on-screen, note that the fields in bold are required. The setup fields for auxiliary sites are similar to those when configuring a site.

Auxiliary sites can be configured in the following locations:

  • Setup > Account > Auxiliary Sites panel
  • Setup > Sites > Edit > Auxiliary Sites panel
  • Within the SuperAdmin interface, Accounts > Edit > Auxiliary Sites panel

Note that auxiliary sites cannot be configured when creating a new account or site; the feature can only be accessed by editing an account or site that has already been created.

  1. From the Auxiliary Sites panel, click Add.

    New Auxiliary Site
  2. The New Auxiliary Site modal is displayed. The field names in bold indicate required items.

    New Auxiliary Site Modal
  3. From the New Auxiliary Site modal, configure the fields as follows:
    • Site Name: Required. Enter a user-friendly name for the auxiliary site that will appear in the insert link, image, and media modals, e.g. "Images of Buildings" or "Videos." Note that the drop-down menu in the filechooser may include auxiliary sites as well as publish targets, so it may be necessary on the part of the administrator to develop a taxonomy to help users distinguish among available sites and servers.
    • Server: Required. Enter the host name or IP of the FTP server where the site is hosted. For example: training.oudemo.com
    • FTP Type: Required. Three options are available for FTP Type:
      • SFTP: Secure FTP
      • FTP: Active mode for FTP
      • Passive FTP: PASV mode for FTP
    • Username: Required. Enter the user name for the FTP account.
    • Authentication Type: Choose either Password or Public Key.
    • Password: Required. Enter the password for the FTP account. If Public Key is selected for Authentication Type, this field will not appear.
    • UMask: Choose either User writable or User + group writable.
    • FTP Root: Required. Enter the FTP location for the auxiliary site. For example: /public_html/_resources/videos
    • FTP Home: Optional. This should be a subdirectory of FTP Root.
    • FTP Directory: Optional. This is where users are placed within the system by default when logging in. This should be a subdirectory of FTP Root.
    • HTTP Root: Required. Enter the URL equivalent of the FTP Root. This is what is appended to the FTP path. It is required to specify the HTTP protocol prefix (http://) as well as include the trailing slash (/). For example: http://videos.gallena.edu/_resources/videos/
    • Available To: Optional. Specify the group of users who will have access to this auxiliary site. The default value is Everyone.
  4. Repeat the steps for any additional auxiliary sites to be created and click Save.

Editing an Auxiliary Site

The auxiliary site settings can be edited after the initial addition of the auxiliary site with the exception of the Site Name field. To edit an auxiliary site:

  1. Click on the name of the auxiliary site in the Auxiliary Sites panel.
  2. The Edit Auxiliary Site modal will appear.
  3. Edit any information as necessary and click Save.

Deleting an Auxiliary Site

To delete an existing auxiliary site, click the grey X icon next to the auxiliary site name. This functionality does not delete files or folders from the auxiliary site, it only allows OU Campus to disconnect from the site so that it is no longer be available as an item on the drop-down menus.

Best Practices

There are some important things that an administrator should be aware of when creating an auxiliary site. 

  • The validation for the various fields in the New/Edit Auxiliary Site modals does not guarantee that the information is correct, merely that it follows proper syntax. It is the responsibility of the administrator to supply the correct FTP address, username, password, etc., in order for the site to function correctly.
  • When entering the HTTP Root information, the http:// requires a forward slash (/) at the end of the URL.
  • Creating an auxiliary site in OU Campus does not create a new site or server; it simply allows OU Campus to retrieve files from an already existing site.