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Sitemason - Build on Us

Customizing the Administration Interface

In addition to creating a custom template, developers can customize the administration interface too.  Sitemason® consists of a set of pre-defined Tools (News, Page, Gallery, Calendar, and more).  Each Tool comes with its own set of pre-defined fields and labels that are appropriate to that Tool.  However, many times the vast majority of the fields will go unused or will need to be used for a different purpose than was originally intended.  For example, perhaps you need to use the "Title" field to store someone's name.  In such a scenario, having the ability to add, remove, rename, and otherwise customize the fields would be advantageous.

Sitemason allows you to quickly and easily customize the interface to suit the specific needs of your project.  In addition to altering a standard Sitemason Tool, you can create an entire new Tool to fulfill a specific purpose.  For example, Sitemason does not have a Staff Directory tool, but using Sitemason's custom tool and custom interface functionality, you can easily create your own Staff Directory Tool, with the exact fields and layout that you require.

Custom interfaces and custom tools make the task of administering the website much easier, since the content editors are presented with an interface that is customized to the website and absent of fields that would otherwise go unused.  It also opens up a plethora of possibilities by allowing you to add programmed logic to not only the template, but also the interface.

Interface customization is done through Javascript.  More information on this topic will be presented in the Interface Customization chapter.

Developing Templates

In Sitemason®, a template is the file or set of files that translates the data contained in Sitemason into a working website - the template defines that website's design and layout.  Though the layout can differ from page to page or from section to section within a website, the template's programmed logic dictates any such differences and there is only one production template assigned to any hostname at any time (so anytime you visit www.example.com, one and only one template will be called by the Sitemason system).  Sitemason templates are programmed using PHP, an extremely popular and proven scripting language.

The template accesses the data residing in Sitemason from the development library - a set of code that automatically fetches the data from your Sitemason website and translates that data into objects that are made available to your template.

Further discussion of the template and the development library can be found in the next chapter: Creating Website Templates.