We “went live” today with our second project for Queen Mary, University of London: a content management system for publishing course and staff homepages.
The system is simple and intuitive: each homepage consists of a single page of HTML, and doubles as an online filestore. Members of staff can upload files such as lecture notes and slides, and visitors to the page can download them simply by clicking on a hyperlink. We use the metaphor of attachments to relate this back to the familiar process of writing an email.
The main page editor screen is split into two halves: a WYSIWYG HTML editor (we used TinyMCE) and a list of attachments (complete with controls for uploading, renaming and deleting files). A separate management interface allows administrative staff to set up homepages for new courses and members of staff, assign permissions for who can edit what, and flag external pages that are held off-site and not maintained with our software.
All of this new functionality is integrated into our existing software for registering students on courses. Members of staff access all their pages through a control panel that displays only the information they need, and everything is nicely integrated with QMUL’s IDCheck single sign-on service.
Behind the scenes, the code for the CMS is based on a prototype for our new component-oriented web UI library, LyluxUI. We still have a way to go before the code is ready for open release, but it will eventually be available for public consumption alongside our other open source libraries, Snooze and Unlib.