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ActivDesk Manual - Chapter 6
  ActivDesk Manual

Index

1. Installation
2. The basics in 20 minutes
3. Administrator Functions
4. Support Tickets
5. The User Manager
6. Template Manager (Customization)
7. The Knowledge Base
8. The End User Interface

6. Customization (Look & Feel)

    6.1 How to implement a global template
    6.2 Customization Basics
    6.3 Template Basics
    6.4 How to edit templates
    6.5 What is the variable words in the templates/HTML files?
    6.6 How to use images in templates
    6.7 General Template Guidelines
    6.8 How to use template includes
          6.8.1 What is template includes?
          6.8.2 How to create a template include
          6.8.3 How to include template includes inside your templates
    6.9 Template Trouble Shooting

 

6.1 How to implement a global template

Short explanation of what a Global Template Implementation does:

This functionality has been created to rapidly implement any design containing your logo, graphics, headers, footers, CSS, etc. so that all ActivDesk functions and options takes on your own original look and feel. If you have a template or design ready then this can be implemented within minutes so that all ActivDesk functions end users see contains your own branded look and feel or design.

Customizing all individual templates used by ActivDesk can be time consuming. For this reason the 'Global Template Implementation Tool' has been created to globally change all templates to a specific look and feel that takes out the need to edit each ActivDesk template to implement a specific design or look and feel. The global template implemented could contain your logo, graphics, headers, footers, CSS, etc. The 'global template' to be implemented mentioned here is just a normal HTML file containing your logo, graphics, headers, footers, CSS, etc. Once uploaded all ActivDesk templates automatically changes to the global template and all ActivDesk functions (like category displays, logins, search pages, etc.) are embedded with the global template HTML code. After the global template has been implemented, almost all ActivDesk templates will take on this look and feel. After the global template has been implemented you can then edit templates individually for specialized needs or other needs.

How to implement a Global Template:

ActivDesk uses HTML templates for the look and feel of your Search Engine & Directory. The templates can also be thought of as skins. All aspects of the templates can be customized to your liking. You can use any type of design. Note that ActivDesk uses no HTML code of it's own. It relies on the HTML code obtained from the templates to put everything together. The templates are ordinary HTML files.

You can edit all templates used for all end-user-functions ActivDesk provides by going to the ActivDesk Control Panel >> Template Manager

To implement a Global Template go to the ActivDesk Control Panel >> Template Manager >> Implement Global Template and follow the instructions provided to you.

After you implemented a Global Template you can come back to this section to find out how to customize specific templates for specific functions.

Important Note: When implementing a global template all existing templates will be overwritten and changed to fit the look and feel of the global template. If you made any changes to existing templates then those changes will be lost when implementing a global template.

 

6.2 Customization Basics

Everything displayed to end-users of the Support Desk System is template driven. The templates can also be thought of as skins. The templates are ordinary HTML files. To edit these templates go to the ‘Template Manager’ in the Control Panel.

 

6.3 Template Basics

The templates that are used by ActivDesk are just ordinary HTML files. The only exception is that the templates or HTML files contain variable words that ActivDesk uses for pointers where it needs to place data. You can open the HTML files with your favorite web editor or with what ever you prefer and edit away.

 

6.4 How to edit templates

You can edit the templates from the Template Manager. To go to the Template Manager, go to the Control Panel. Then click the 'Template Manager' tab. Click on any of the template links in the Template Manager to edit templates.

Templates can be edited by copying and pasting the HTML code directly into your web editor when editing templates from the Template Manager. Once you have changed the template contents, you may copy and paste it back into the edit box and save it.

You may also open the template files directly with your web editor to edit them. The templates are stored inside your ‘data’ directory. You can get the file names from the ‘Template Manager’ inside the Control Panel.

 

6.5 What are the variable words in the templates/HTML files?

The variable words are enclosed by !! or %% characters. Examples of such variable words are:
%%date%% or %%pages%% etc...

Variable words are replaced by chunks of data supplied by ActivDesk when users browse the ActivDesk Support Control Panel or Knowledge Base. The location of the variables in the templates acts like pointers where ActivDesk substitutes the variable words with data. 

For example: %%date%% is replaced by the current date.

Note: It is very important that most of these variable words are present in your templates. Without them ActivDesk may not function correctly. Only remove variable words if you know what the variable words does.

 

6.6 How to use images in templates

To make use of images in the templates, you must use a URL link to indicate their locations. For example:
<img src="someimage.gif"> will not work. You have to indicate the entire URL where someimage.gif is located. For example:
<img src="http://www.yourdomain.com/someimage.gif">

 

6.7 General Template Guidelines

A lot of the templates work in combination with each other and others work independently where they are not combined with other templates.

The moment you open (with your web editor) a template you should know or have a good idea where it is to be used. The easiest and best way to know exactly how the templates work is to experiment and play around with them. If something goes wrong you can just go back and restore the default templates that were present when you first installed ActivDesk. You can go back to the original templates by clicking the ‘Restore Default’ button when editing templates from the ‘Template Manager’.

 

6.8 How to use template includes

6.8.1 What is template includes?

Template includes works with ActivDesk like SSI (server side includes) would work with a web-server/web-site. Template includes are pieces of HTML code that you can include in any of the templates used by ActivDesk. The pieces of HTML code could be menu bars, footers, headers, search boxes, etc.

You could for example create a template include that will be a menu bar that you would like placed on the left side of all the pages of the Knowledge Base. Without template includes you would have to open each template and insert the menu bar. With template includes you just insert a variable word inside any template and the HTML code that is contained within the 'template include' is replaced by the variable. In the event where something of your menu bar changes, you just edit the 'template include' and the rest of the templates containing the menu bar via the 'template include' changes.

6.8.2 How to create a template include

Go to the Control Panel and click on the Template Manager tab. Now click on the ‘Create/Edit Template Includes’ link. A popup window will appear.

Go to the ‘Add New Template Include’ form in the popup window and enter a name and some text or HTML code to the text box. Then click the ‘Add new Template Include’ button.

6.8.3 How to include template includes inside your templates

Template includes will be listed in the 'Template Include' Popup-Window when template includes has been added. To view the 'template includes' available go to the Control Panel >> Template Manager >> Create/Edit Template Includes

When viewing the 'Template Includes' there will be a column section called 'Include text to use in templates' that displays an ActivDesk variable. The variable is a word enclosed by %% characters. Use this variable word inside any of your templates to include the contents of the 'Template Include' in the templates of your choice. To use 'template includes' inside your templates, go to the template manager and edit your templates by adding the include variable word at the location where you would like the contents of the include to be displayed.

 

6.9 Trouble Shooting

Everything worked but when I customized my templates a lot of things stopped working.

In the event where things are not working as they should after editing a template, you can restore the default template or templates that came with ActivDesk. (Factory default template) To restore the default templates of ActivDesk go to the Template Manager in the Control Panel. Click on the template name that you edited in the template manager. A popup window will appear with the template's HTML code. There will be a button called 'Restore Default'. Press this button and the original working template will be restored. Try editing this template again.

Also ensure that you have the correct variable words inside your templates. These are the words enclosed by %% and !! - If the necessary variable words are not present then some things might not function correctly.

Keep in mind that HTML errors can also cause template problems.

 

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