Learning to Love _resources

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Content Management

Learning to Love _resources

resourcesNot so deep under the skin of an OU Campus™ installation is the _resources folder. It’s a vital part of the content management system and contains your templates, scripts, design, and the XSL that transforms your content.

I'll cover the folders that I deal with often, but before I do, a warning of the big, huge variety: Mucking about in this folder provides you with unique opportunities to do some damage to your site, so you should back up the folder (or the subfolder that you're going to work on) first.

First up is the includes folder containing common content and code that get displayed and dispersed across your site. The css.inc file in this folder sets the hierarchy for your style. If you're seeing dependency tags for the links to your stylesheets, you can use the Dependency Tag Info Gadget to figure out what file is being referenced. Any changes you make to the files must be published to the production server to take effect.

The css folder is where you can make design changes. You may have a bootstrap.css file in there that contains some of the design you want to change, but I would recommend leaving that one alone if you're not familiar with it. It's easy enough to toss a custom.css file in the folder and override settings.

The only thing to take note of for the images folder is that if you are not using binary management in OU Campus, your images will be on the production server, not on the staging server. Don't panic if this is empty when you first look here.

The js folder, of course, is where your JavaScript hangs out in its elitist lounge. And the php folder contains any scripts you run on your site.

The ou folder contains your templates and template control files. If you want to edit your existing templates or create new ones for your site, this is where you're going to want to be. These are XML files, so make sure you're comfortable with the language before editing existing files.

Your rss folder is most likely empty since these files get pushed to the production server. If you want to take a look at those, switch to the production server.

The snippets folder contains all the reusable code that you've created for your site. If you need a quick edit of a snippet, you can do that here.

Finally, we get to the xsl folder. These are the files that make everything tick on your site. The XSL files themselves are referred to in the beginning of your .pcf files (look for: "<?pcf-stylesheet path=",) so if you need to know what XSL file you need to edit, open up the corresponding .pcf. If you look at the top of an open XSL document and it has something like: <xsl:import href="filename.xsl" /> at the top, it is pulling in another stylesheet. So if you want to make a change to something that doesn't appear to be in the file you're looking at, the droid you're looking for could be in one of the imported files. Also, if you see <xsl:call-template name="somenamegoeshere" /> the code you want to change is most likely towards the bottom of the document you're looking at. Luckily, for you, the folks at OmniUpdate have some of the best commented code that I've ever worked with, so it's usually not that hard to track down.

That’s a quick and dirty intro to the _resources folder. It’s nothing to be scared of. Just make sure you do your backups and you should be able to tinker away or solve any issues that might arise.

Jim HeineyAbout the Blogger
Jim Heiney is the web/exchange administrator for Lock Haven University (LHU). He’s been at LHU for more than 15 years and is still amazed at how much more there is to learn (and he willingly accepts that fact) for those who work with technology. His philosophy of “never stop learning” has led him from English teacher to IT guy with a few other odd stops along the way. When not at work, he can usually be found at home with his family. In his spare time, he can be found writing, drawing, or playing the occasional computer game.

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