UW Web "Common Look and Feel" Implementation

The CSCF implementation of the UW CLF makes us of a database backend to store side menu options. These options are hierarchical and a CGI-based system automatically generates the menu contents based upon the contents of the database. Server-side includes (SSI) are used to make the actual files edited by users as simple as possible.

Using the Common Look and Feel

To start using the common look and feel, simply start with the sample file at http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/cscf/web/template.txt. To see what this file looks like on the web, visit http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/cscf/web/template. Note that you must download and start from the .txt sample, not the “what this file looks like” link.

The left-hand menu is hierarchical and can be edited. Portions of the menu structure can also be hidden, meaning they will only be visible from within themselves. If you would like to be able to edit your portion of the menu tree, please contact Isaac Morland.

More information is available at http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/cscf/web/.

Implementation Components

Each virtual host has its own document root containing the documents to be served by that virtual host. Files that are part of the CLF implementation are mapped into the /templates/ URL space using an Apache Alias directive in the main server configuration. This means that /templates/ on all virtual hosts is the same set of files.

Differences from other UW CLF Implementations

The most important difference is in the side menu, which is fully hierarchical and editable by web authors. Authorization is hierarchical so for example the person in charge of /grad/ can be given access to change only the menu items corresponding to children of /grad/. The menu items which appear on the front page correspond to top-level directories and are editable only by somebody with authority over the entire web server.


Menus are stored only in the database, so there is no way to create a program-generated menu subtree, for example for a set of archives where it might be nice to generate options for every year automatically.

-- IsaacMorland - 03 Mar 2006

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Topic revision: r4 - 2008-08-11 - IsaacMorland
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