Composr Tutorial: Running a collaboration hub: the Collaboration Zone

Written by Chris Graham (ocProducts)
Composr includes many features that allow your website to function, in whole or in part, as an on-line collaboration tool. Many of these features are, by default, pooled together and placed in the 'Collaboration Zone', a Composr zone available, by default, only to staff and Super-Members (if the latter group exists).

A Super-Member is a member who is not staff, but is granted additional access based on their need to access collaborative resources. There is no hard-coded concept of a Super-Member in Composr but the default configuration for the Collaboration Zone is to grant access only to staff and the 'Super Members' usergroup. You may configure access however you desire.


Virtues of on-line collaboration

The Internet, combined with Composr, is a powerful tool for online-collaboration. It provides the ability for people across the world to work together; but even when used by people working in the same building it can still be a great aid in the sharing and organising of information.

Composr can be used to organise shared documents, provide a forum for discussion, make announcements, structure information, chat from across the world, and a lot more.

Default settings

By default, some resources (Comcode pages, menu links, and catalogues), are created in the Collaboration Zone:
  • A 'Projects' catalogue (so that super-members can advertise projects they are working on, to solicit help with them)
  • A page about how the Super-Member can request webhosting-space
  • A link for the Super-Member to manage their author profile
These may be used, deleted, or moved, according to your specific needs.

File/Media library

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The File/Media library

The File/Media library

(Click to enlarge)

The File/Media library is a tool to allow sharing of files, located at:
Content Management > File/Media library

The library provides the ability to upload, download, and delete files, and organise files into folders.

The File/Media library has two main purposes:
  1. Sharing media with the staff team, for use in content
  2. A general shared drive for collaborators

There is no pre-determined organisational scheme to the library. However, members may decide by convention to store personal directories under names matching their usernames.

You may wish to embed library files into some other content, such as a news article. You can use a file selector for this. Go to add a new Comcode tag (from the button in the WYSIWYG editor / above the text-area) and select the media tag.

Important – Security

There is nothing stopping ordinary users from downloading from the file/media library if they have the URL to a file.

This is sometimes useful, but you should be aware that if files are given guessable filenames, they will not be secure.

Other Super-members

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The Super-members fellows page

The Super-members fellows page

(Click to enlarge)

The Collaboration Zone includes a page listing all members that have access, with links to information relating to them, and to contact them. It exists to make sure super-members are aware of each other, and to facilitate easy communication between them.

Additional resources that may be used

The following are not by default set up for specifically for Super-Members, but may be:
  • Blogs (Personal news categories)
  • Personal galleries
  • Private forums
  • Private chatrooms
  • Sole access to any Composr feature, such as the download system, or Wiki+.

If a Composr website is intended solely for collaboration, and the collaborators are trusted, it might be a good idea to make each of them staff, rather than a super-member.

Concepts

Super-Member
A member given access to collaboration facilities
Collaboration Zone
The zone where isolated collaboration facilities are located
File/Media Library
A tool to allow members to store their own files

See also


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