Sites in OU Campus consist of a storage location on the staging server, log in credentials to connect to a production server, and independent access permissions. Within an OU Campus account there can be several sites. The following sections provide information regarding the aspects of site creation and set-up. They include the actual site set-up procedure in OU Campus itself as well as tips for using a content management system.
Cascading Style Sheets Overview
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the backbone of good site design. Regardless of the look and feel you're trying to achieve, and regardless of how your site is built, CSS provides the power to build a site with maximum long-term flexibility. Major face-lifts can be made to your website by simply changing a single CSS file (or a few CSS files). The golden rule of CSS is to use it everywhere, all the time!
Repurposing Content and XML/XSL
Repurposing content is a way to create multiple file output types from one source file every time a page is published. Output to XHTML, XML, text, CSV, and practically any other file type automatically. Your source files must be stored in an XML format to repurpose content in this manner. These XML files are known as Publish Control Files (PCF) on the OmniUpdate staging server. When published, PCF files are processed differently than HTML files. They are processed using OmniUpdate's built-in XSLT engine, thereby allowing the use of XSL to determine the output format. Using multiple XSL files signals the XSLT engine to output multiple files simultaneously.
In OU Campus, you can pick and choose when and where to use XML and XSL. It is not common practice to offer multiple file output for each and every web page on your site. The best type of page for your website is a web page (HTML or XHTML). When a "print friendly" page is offered (even if this is every page on your site), a CSS at-rule can be used and might avoid the need for multiple file output.
XML content can be marked with standard tags that provide XSL and other languages the ability to parse and modify the content before it is styled by the CSS and output to the web page. The XSLT transformation engine processes XML and XSL stylesheets thereby allowing your site to be reconfigured easily. Templates allow the ultimate separation of content from design.
Decide when more than one physical file should be stored on the server. Think about how CSS might allow you to keep only one web page that can be displayed differently for different browser types (web, mobile phone, print, etc.). Then consider when you need to go beyond what is possible with CSS alone. While OmniUpdate's XSLT transformation engine offers incredible power, it comes at a cost. Writing the XSL code necessary to perform the transformation of XML into multiple files goes significantly beyond the basics of web development.
When it comes to management efficiency over the long-haul, server-side includes (SSI) offer unmatched benefits. Use server-side includes wherever it's possible to externalize content that's re-used in various places. For example, headers that are used on all section pages (or globally on the entire site), footers, global navigation, etc. Server-side includes can be updated once, but affect large sections of the website with a single publish. Control the schedule of when a global design element is published, and it is a powerful way to time major changes to the site.
Assets in OU Campus are another way to re-use different types of content. An asset can be created at an administrator level and users can simply use the Asset Chooser to select bits of source code, a specific image, or block of text. Assets can also be used in conjunction with the live delivery platform (LDP) to to add interactive features such as comments, forms, and image galleries.