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Classic CommonSpot V4.6 to V5.0 Differences

The pages in this collection of user guides for classic CommonSpot still partially reflect V 4.6, so this commentary on the differences between V4.6 and V5.0 is not yet quite obsolete.  We are currently using V5.1, but there are very few differences between V5.0 and V5.1 with respect to the user interface for authoring.


Other Resources


Template Edits Caution

One pagemaster has reported an innocent mistake that destroyed page-specific content on two dozen pages, irretrievably:  while editing a template, delete the un-used, un-defined, tabular layout elements that serve as placeholders for page-specific content.

In the prior version of CommonSpot, these were easy to recognize:  they had a short, wide box outline whose contents included a round tool icon on the left with four squares forming a square, and then a line of gray tool text, "Click here to define the layout."  In version 5, the appearance is much less distinctive:  there is a standard gear-wheel tool icon at the left, and plain clickable tool text, "click here to define the tabular layout element."

Be very careful when deleting anything from a template!


Browser Choice

On the whole, authoring on V5 is better behaved with FireFox 2 than with Internet Explorer or FireFox 3, even on Windows XP, where you have had the choice; see the more complete discussion.


Logging In and Out

The login process does not require a pop-up window or new tab; it uses the main window instead, hence is faster.  You will probably not have to click in the "Oak ID" field before you start typing; a click or a "tab" keystroke will take you to the "Oak Password" field, and then a "return" or "enter" keystroke (or a click on "Log In") will submit your credentials.

If you have not changed your OAK password since October 1, 2007, then you will have to change it before the new login process will work; (follow the obvious link on http://www.ohio.edu/oit/services/myaccount.cfm).

The "Logout..." choice on the Page View menu now does effectively log you out, without having to close the browser window.  Do make a habit of using it, as there are also other beneficial side-effects.

You will no longer have to re-authenticate if you shift between authoring and read-only servers.


Standard Tool Icons

The three top-center icons have moved to the top-right and become rectangular tabs (in the same order, left-to-right):

  • the "Knowledge Maps" icon is now the "Tools & Information" tab;

  • the "View Modes" icon is now the "Page View" tab (with the current view identified at the left margin of the tab row); and

  • the "Page & Template Management" icon is now the "Properties & Actions" tab.

In Author or Edit mode, at the top middle, just to the left of the Tools & Information tab, are three new icons:  "Show Container Tools," "Show Element Tools," and "Show New Element Links."  Clicking on them switches back and forth between showing and hiding various categories of tool icons on the page itself.  Many of those tool icons overlay the content, so this is a useful feature during proofreading.

In Author or Edit mode, clickable tool text (such as "click to insert new element" or "click to define the textblock") is now black, instead of gray, and is therefore easier to read.


Making Changes

After going to Author or Edit mode, clicking on an existing object does not bring up the window to change that thing; instead, to change an object, click on the gear-wheel tool icon overlaying the upper-left corner of the object, and select from that menu.  Usually, the choice nearest the gear icon will let you change the content of that element.  If the choice you want isn't visible, click on the "more" choice at the lower-left of the menu.  As before, if your mouse leaves the menu box, it collapses with no choice.  Unlike before, when you pop the menu up, your mouse is not adjacent to the very edge of the box!

Instead of an extra, round, bright-yellow, work-in-progress icon, the tool icon at the top-left of the element changes from a gear into a rectangular, paler-yellow, work-in-progress icon, whose menu includes the regular element tool choices plus the work-in-progress choices:

  • what was "Submit change for publication" is now "Submit";

  • what was "Submit entire element for publication" is now "Submit Element"; and

  • what was "Submit entire page for publication" is now "Submit Page".

There is also a thin, yellow border around the element that has WIP.

Adding an element makes the containing layout element (e.g., table) show as WIP, with its gear icon replaced by the yellow WIP rectangle and with its outline yellow.  Therefore, adding an element creates two WIP icons, and you cannot publish a new element in a single step without publishing the whole page; you can still publish a change to an existing element in a single step without publishing the whole page.  If you publish a change, but the new content does not appear in read mode, then go back to Edit mode and check to see if there is an outer container that still has a rectangular yellow WIP tool instead of the gear icon (if there is, it should be on the left margin, above the new content that is not yet showing).


Specific Differences

In V4.6, background colors (page, table, row, and cell) could be specified, for example, as "CC6699" or as "#CC6699"; in V5.0.2, on the other hand, only the latter will work - the # is now required.  If you have pages whose content is no longer visible, or whose appearance has been degraded by missing background colors, this is very likely to be the reason.

In order to see the cell-properties tool icons, e.g., to fix cell background colors, you must be displaying container tool icons (controlled by the "Show Container Tools" icon at the top-middle).  Find the primary table tool icon (four squares in a square) for the table whose cell-properties icons you want (the table-tool icon will be at the upper-left corner of that table), follow the table outline across to the upper-right corner of that table, and click on the tool icon for that table that has a triangle point-down above an underscore.

On a newly created page that is built on the unofficial_pages1 template, it may be necessary to reload the page, or to click once or twice on the "Show Container Tools" icon at the top middle, in order to reveal the tool text, "click here to define the tabular layout element," that will permit you to get started.

Simple Text Block and Formatted Text Block headers default to identical text as the block contents (they used to default to bold at the same size); the face and size can be adjusted afterwards through the Fonts choice on the gear-wheel element tool menu.

When building a link:

  • in FireFox, the first dialog box no longer hides behind the RTE;

  • the icon in the Page Gallery listing for CommonSpot pages is now a small greenish round blob; and

  • after the link is built, while in Author or Edit mode, clicking on the visible part of the link follows the link, in the same window, without having to use Preview mode.  If you stay in Read mode on the target page, then you will not lose your Author or Edit mode setting on the original page.

Validate Links has been fixed so that correct links to secure destinations (e.g., using URLs that start with "https://") are now checked for syntax and reported as "unverified" rather than being reported as broken.

The single-image element:

  • no longer displays the old, ugly-cartoon placeholder before you select the image; instead, it has text to click.

  • The fly-over text does not always default to "undefined," but for newly uploaded images it is even worse, defaulting to the browsed path and filename that the image file had on your personal computer, compromising the privacy of your choices of folder names (as well as failing to provide the information that speaking browsers should annunciate) if you neglect to change it.