Using other types of content

Adding and editing events

The Event content type allows you to create events for others to see. These events can be automatically included on the calendar portlet, and in other locations. In order to add an event:

  1. Browse to the location in the site you wish to add this. Typically, there will be a dedicated Events folder that already exists. If not, consider creating one as a way of grouping your content items.

  2. Create the new event via Add new ‣ Event

    Add new menu
  3. Complete the information as required to construct your event item. The following is a guide on what metadata corresponds to what aspect of the event:

    Metadata item Description
    Title The name of the event
    Description A short description with details about the event
    Event location Where the event is going to be held
    Event starts Date/time in the format
    Event ends Date/time in the format
    Event body text Rich text with full details about the event. Can include images, formatted text, links and more.
    Attendees List of people who are to be attending
    Event URL A web address related to the event
    Contact Details Various details about whom to contact about the event.
  4. Click Save to create your content item.

  5. If the resulting content needs to be published, then follow the instructions for Creating public content.

Adding and editing news items

The News Item content type allows you to create news items (or content to be highlighted) on eSpaces. News can be automatically displayed in a special portlet, which is automatically updated as updated news is created. News items can have a special leading image associated with them, which is automatically displayed in Summary listings and when viewing the news item itself.

In order to add a news item:

  1. Browse to the location in the site you wish to add this. Typically, there will be a dedicated News folder that already exists. If not, consider creating one as a way of grouping your content items.

  2. Create the new event via Add new ‣ News Item

    Add new menu
  3. Complete the information as required to construct your content item. The following is a guide on what metadata corresponds to what aspect:

    Metadata item Description
    Title A short descriptive title of the news content
    Description A short introduction to the news item
    Body text Rich text with full details of the content. Can include images, formatted text, links and more.
    Image An image to appear as part of the news item
    Image Caption The text that will appear under the image as a caption
  4. Click Save to create your content item.

  5. If the resulting content needs to be published, then follow the instructions for Creating public content.

Adding a Collection

Note

Collections can only be created by site administrators. If you require a Collection to be configured, please contact your site administration accordingly.

Collections are effectively a saved search, allowing a set of pre-configured criteria to be applied to site content in order to display a list of items. Some examples of Collection applications are:

  • New content - all content created on the site in the last 7 days
  • Content nearing expiry - all content with an expiration date with the next 7 days
  • Your content - all content created on the site by the current user

Essentially, any aspect of content metadata can be used to configure a Collection. To add a Collection:

  1. Browse to the location in the site you wish to add this.

  2. Create the new event via Add new ‣ Collection

  3. Enter a title for the collection, other metadata as required, and configure search terms to control the result listing.

    Collection criteria

    In the example above, the Collection displays all content created in the last 7 days. Use the selection boxes to add different search criteria. A preview of the results will be displayed and updated as your configuration changes.

  4. Once you are satisfied with the results, click Save to finish creating the Collection.

Search criteria

The search criteria for the collection can be based on any of the metadata associated with content. Some of the most common are listed below:

Title
The standard title of a content item
Description
The description associated with a content item
Tag
The keywords used to describe an item
Creation Date
The time and date an item was created
Creator
The user ID of the person who created the content
Review State
The content item’s workflow state, such as private, pending or published
Effective Date
The publishing time and date for a content item
Expiration Date
The time and date the content will no longer be available
Location
The path to where in the site the content resides on the site

Creating online forms

You can easily create web-based forms to capture information from users. Forms can be created such that the results are either emailed to a user or group of users on submission, or else saved in a local file on the site, available for download at any time. Forms on eSpaces have a large number of field types available, and one notable benefit is that your forms can be used within your site’s existing security, rather than relying on a third-party provider.

Basic concepts

A web form has this general workflow:

  • Display the front-facing form to a user. This form typically consists of a number of fields, which might include input boxes, drop-down or radio button lists, file uploads, and more.
  • The user visits the form and fills out the details.
  • The user clicks the submit button to send form information to the server.
  • The server processes the form submission, validating it (if configured) and returns any errors to the user. This might happen if a field is configured as Required but the user did not enter a value.
  • This continues until the form submission is correctly submitted.
  • The server then processes the form submission according to the actions on the form. For a typical form, this is either emailing the results to someone or storing in an online CSV file.
  • The server displays a thank-you page or similar to the user.

There can be variations on the above, given a specific form, but typically, this is the general process.

Creating a new form

To add a new form:

  1. Browse to the location in the site you wish to add the form.

  2. Use Add new ‣ Form Folder to begin creating your form.

    Add new form folder
  3. Configure the form accordingly.

    The only option you’re required to specify is the Title field, which will dictate the heading and name of the form being displayed to users, exactly the same way as other Title fields on other content do.

    For other options, see Form options

  4. Click Save to create the form.

Once your form is created, you’ll see a default form that looks a little like this:

Newly created form

Form options

Here’s a description of the options available for forms, which can be configured by editing the given form via the Edit link.

Option Description
Title Short, descriptive title of the form
Description A medium-length description of the form’s purpose or action.
Submit Button Label The text to display on the form’s submit button
Show Reset Button Select to show a reset button on the form, allowing the user to clear their entry and start over Reset Button Label
Reset Button Label The text to display on the form’s reset button, if enabled.
Action Adapter Select which of the actions the form should take after submit. If first creating a form, you’ll just see ‘Mailer’ for emailing results. Others can be added later.
Thanks Page Configure which page to show after the form has been submitted. Typically, this will thank the user, or give them further instructions.
Force SSL connection Force the form to be shown over a secure (SSL) connection. Your site must be configured specifically for this functionality. Consult your site administrator if in doubt.
Form Prologue Rich text to display above the form. You may want to introduce your form, explain what it does, add friendly images, and more.
Form Epilogue Rich text to display below the form. You may want to sign off and say thanks here.

Using the Quick Editor

Your form also comes with a simple Quick Editor, which allows you to drag and drop fields onto your page, as well as easily edit and update your other form features. You should familiarise yourself with Form fields and Form features so you know what functionality is available.

Example form quick editor

Form fields

Once your form is created, you can add any number of fields to the form. Each of the fields has a different purpose. To add any of these to the form, either use the Quick Editor (see Using the Quick Editor), or otherwise click Add new ‣ [field type], selecting the type of field you wish to add. You can hover your mouse over a field to see its description rather than needing to rely on this list.

Example form fields
Field Description
Captcha Field Verification field the user must complete. This prevents misuse and spam.
Checkbox Field True or false field where the user can choose to select or deselct the box.
Date/Time Field Field that captures either a date, or date and time.
Decimal Number Field Text field that validates input to ensure decimal numbers are entered.
Fieldset Begin Marker indicating the start of a fieldset (group of fields)
Fieldset End Marker indicating the end of fieldset (group of fields)
Fieldset Folder Folder-like entity that can contain fields.
File Field Upload field for files from the user. Use with caution as users may upload undesirable files. Files uploaded are attached to mail sent on form submission.
Label Field Basic label-only text field. Useful for displaying some short text.
Lines Field Input field for multiple lines of text (such as a list of text values)
Multi-Select Field Selection list or checkbox list for multiple values.
Password Field Input field for passwords (protects visible input with stars or dots).
Rating-Scale Field Multi-question field for rating a number of questions
Rich Label Field Basic rich-text content to display on the form (no input).
RichText Field Rich-text content editor for capturing formatted content from the user.
Selection Field Single-selection field using either a drop-down list or radio buttons.
String Field Basic single-line text input field.
Text Field Multi-line text input field.
Whole Number Field Text field that validates input to ensure integers are entered.

For each field, you will be presented with a number of different options for customising that field. Have a read of each different option to get an idea as to what they do. The most common options across fields are:

Option Description
Field label Short, descriptive title of the field for display on the form.
Field help A medium-length description of the field’s purpose or similar help text.
Required Whether the field is required or not. If this is enabled for a field and the user does not enter a value, the form will error during user submission.
Default The default value to display on the form. This can be used to help guide the user.

Other fields will have options like maximum length (for text fields), available options (for selection or multi-selection fields), and so forth. You can add new fields and change options with the knowledge you can easily change things as you need at any time.

Once you’ve added your form field, you can see the result of the rendered field by clicking back to your form.

Form features

In addition to fields, there are also a number of form helpers that you can use. These are added into your form in the same way as fields, by using the Add new drop-down menu, and locating the relevant entry.

Special features  
Image Standard image for inclusion in pages or thank you pages.
Page Standard page content. May be useful for extra help pages for forms.
Thanks Page A thank-you page that can be displayed after a form submission is successful. One is added automatically to new forms. Configure which Thanks page to use via the Edit tab on your main form.
Mailer Adapter Enables a form to email submission results to recipients. Enabled by default for forms, but you will need to configure your email address for sending.
Save Data Adapter Enables a form to save its data in a online-stored file. Users’ submissions are added into this CSV or TSV file and it can be downloaded at any time by a suitable user.
Custom Script Adapter Run custom script upon a form submission. Requires Manager rights to create and use.

Common tasks

Form submissions should be emailed

Your form can be configured such that data being entered gets emailed to you, or a number of specific email addresses (or email aliases or lists). To do this:

  1. Browse to the form on your site.
  2. Your form may already have a Mailer Adapter configured. Click the Contents tab and look for an item called Mailer in the listing.
    1. If this exists, you should click its link, and click Edit to edit this instead.
    2. If not, use Add new ‣ Mailer Adapter to add this feature to your form.
  3. Configure the mailer adapter accordingly. Look under each of the collapsed sections to reveal options. For example, you can:
    • Configure the Recipient and their email address
    • Add CC and BCC recipients
    • Configure the email’s subject
    • Add extra text to display in the body of the email
    • Configure which fields should be sent within the emails
  4. Use the Save button to either update or create your mail configuration. Any form submissions will start sending email immediately.

It is possible to add multiple Mailer Adapters onto your form if you have specific email requirements to different people. For instance, you may want only a certain subset of people to be emailed with certain data or with a specific subject line. Make sure you test your form before making it live!

Form submissions should be securely saved online

Your form can be configured such that data being entered gets saved into a secure location on your site, and is able to be downloaded by users with appropriate permission later.

Important

Forms that capture files from users using a File Field can only be emailed as attachments. They cannot be stored on your site or associated with a Save Data Adapter.

Warning

Your saved data structure will get out of sync with existing data if you change your form’s structure, add fields or remove fields, after receiving submissions. If you plan to update your form, ensure you Clearing saved form submissions first.

To do this:

  1. Browse to the form on your site.
  2. Your form may already have a Save Data Adapter configured. Click the Contents tab and look for an item called Saved Data (or similar) in the listing.
    1. If this exists, you should click its link, and click Edit to edit this instead.
    2. If not, use Add new ‣ Save Data Adapter to add this feature to your form.
  3. Configure the save data adapter accordingly. Look under each of the collapsed sections to reveal options. For example, you can:
    • Configure the fields to be saved
    • Configure extra technical data to be saved. The REMOTE_ADDR and HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR record the IP address of the incoming submission, and the HTTP_USER_AGENT field captures the user’s reported browser.
    • Select the download format for your file (either comma-separated or tab-separated). Don’t change this after receiving form submissions.
    • Include column names in the output as the first line of the file.
  4. Use the Save button to either update or create your configuration. Any form submissions will start capturing data immediately.

Testing your form

After adding some fields, and customising the form helpers, view your form using the standard View link to ensure it appears as you’d expect.

The form is fully functional as you see it, so you can interact with the form and even submit it to check the results and ensure it works correctly.

Important

Remember that if you have a Save Data Adaptor within your form any testing you perform will be saved inside its local storage. Thus, you may want to clear your tests before considering the form live. See Clearing saved form submissions for details.

Similarly, if you have configured a Mailer Adaptor to send email responses, then these will be triggered as well.

Downloading saved form submissions

Note

This is only applicable if you created a Save Data Adapter for your form.

Once visitors have been submitting your form, you will either find yourself wanting to get access to the saved data.

  1. Browse to the form on your site.
  2. Click Contents to locate the Save Data Adapter on the form.
  3. Click the link for the Save Data Adapter in the listing.
  4. Click the saved input link in the middle of the page.

The downloaded file can now be opened in any desktop program for analysis, including Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice, or anything that supports CSV or TSV file formats.

Clearing saved form submissions

Note

This is only applicable if you created a Save Data Adapter for your form.

Warning

Clearing data is permanent and irreversible. Always take a copy of your data before performing this action.

  1. Browse to the form on your site.
  2. Click Contents to locate the Save Data Adapter on the form.
  3. Click the link for the Save Data Adapter in the listing.
  4. Click the Clear Saved Input button on the page.