10 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2007 12:02 PM by cgravelle

    Clearspace Conceptual Problem

      Hi there,


      I have been evaluating the Clearspace model for a day now, and I am having a conceptual issue that will be a major hurdle for my team members should I bring this product online. We have been evaluating several more traditional wiki and collaborative document products.


      Maybe it's just been a long day but I can't seem to get Clearspace to perform in my way of thinking:


      I have a top level space. "PL Company".

      I am the head IT guy for the space as well as the administrator.

      I go into the Admin area and create a sub-space, IT Department.

      Inside IT department, I want to create sub-spaces to organize my data, such as "Backup Procedures", "Phone System Information", "Passwords", etc.

      Sounds good so far.. until I realize I'm doing all of this from inside the administration area, as an admin!


      We have an accounting team. They can't create or edit the properties of their own spaces unless they get into the admin area? ie They have to come back to me to create their main space, and all their sub spaces? That is the initial thing that I'm trying to figure out how this workflow would happen.


      Other products we have looked at let the registered user, assuming they have permissions, create a space, move stuff around, organize things to something that works well for their team. The plus side is that they are solely responsible for that content, without having to go back to the IT guy (who is not an accountant and not part of their team) when they want to move something into another space or change permissions, ie administer the space. I can assign a member of their team the ability to administer their space without them fussing around in the admin area.


      That's the first big deal. Now, back to my IT space I created up there.


      My intent is to put documents inside of these sub spaces. Here's my asset roster, here's my system username roster, etc. I am initially thrown off because unlike a traditional wiki, I can't edit the "home page" of the space. When I go to PLCompany/IT Dept/Backup Procedures, all I really have is the name "Backup Procedures" and a pile of documents inside the Space. If I could edit the "home page" for "Backup Procedures", I could write a summary of the space's content, ie


      "This location contains backup procedures for Retrospect blah blah blah. If you are interested in the extremely complicated method that our Rochester Accounting team does, click here to be directed to that location in the wiki".


      Any thoughts?

        • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem



          First, thanks for taking the time to evaluate Clearspace - we appreciate it and the feedback.


          Your first issue is one that has been brought up before, and though I swear I've seen an issue for it in our issue tracker I'm unable to find it at this moment. It is something that we do plan on adding to the front end though I can't currently say when that will be.


          Your second issue I think partially lies in the fact that Clearspace is not a wiki and thus you cannot edit every page - only the content is wikified. For this particular issue however you can edit the space's description in the admin tool to add the summary text you want to have displayed.





          Bruce Ritchie

            • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

              After another day of playing with Clearspace, I'm pleased to have it integrate with Openfire, iChat, and AD/LDAP, but I am growing more discouraged by the workflow.


              I let the Sales team play with it for a bit. I created a Sales space for them, and two sub spaces for Product A and Product B. I told them to start adding important items for the products in the spaces.


              It was literally a minute before I received my first request to add another sub space, for Prospective Customers. Not a problem. Then, another email for Product A / Research. Okay, back into the admin section I go. Then, they went to lunch and gave me a big list. Product A Prospective Customers, Product A Spec Sheet, Product A Customer Suggestions, etc. I created a few more sub spaces and looked at their work and it was pretty pleasant. Documents were sorted in the right places.


              Then I went and dealt with a problem elsewhere in the facility for an hour. I came back to find that since they couldn't track me down, they simply created a bunch of documents in Product B. The only thing these documents had in common with each other were that they were under the huge Product B umbrella. With no ability of their own to categorize the data, it was just a big old pile of documents in the top level of Product B Space. They tried to be creative with the names of the documents, like "Product B1-ModifcationA-TonysDraft", but that was counter intuitive because after I created the right sub spaces, they just had to go back and move the files and then manually rename them.


              Now, I know nothing about the Sales team or any of their Products. I'm just the IT guy. So they constantly have to come back to me (one person) to help them (a whole team) organize and categorize their data. That's what I can't seem to wrap my head around with Clearspace.


              Team members can create content, but only if the admin sets it up for them first. As the admin, I'm loathe to give admin access to every team leader (or every team member) just so that they can administer their own team's Space.


              We even have an Internship program here and I would love one of the more enterprising interns to organize their own Internship Space. But I'm not about to give the 18 year old intern my Admin access to the entire Clearspace installation so they can create spaces and sub spaces.


              Again I'm thrilled that the product is easy to use, looks slick, integrates very well into our existing systems, which is why I'm really hoping that I missed a simply check box in the configuration that lets people who aren't in the admin console create spaces and sub spaces.

                • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                  I too have been playing around with Clearspace for evaluation. I believe I understand your headaches. I thought I might relay some of my experiences in hopes that it might help.


                  Like your sales team, I started making hierarchical structure of subspaces for different categories. Sometimes I found that there wasn't a lot of content that would be placed into these sections and I came across a "best practice" that mentioned using tag groups instead of multiple levels of sub spaces. For example, you could have a sub space of Product A and one for Product B. Within this space, you would see all the documents, but if you wanted only the marketing material, you could select the "Marketing Material" tag group. Or if you wanted technical docs you could select the "Technical" tag groups.


                  Also, with respect to the admin of specific sub spaces, you can delegate rights to specific users for specific sub spaces. In the Admin console, under Spaces, you can select the permissions tab. Here is where you would change who has admin permissions. Please note however, that under the main title, Admins & Moderators, it states which Space you are currently in. If it is the top level, you will be providing global permissions. This is not what you want! Click the change space link and in your case, select the "Sales" space. This will allow you to "Grant New Permissions" to a user to administer that specific sub space. They can login to the admin console with their user/pass (not yours) and will only have access to specific items. This will also allow your sales team to create new sub spaces within the sales space, or add/modify tag groups as mentioned above. Similarly, the 18 year old will have their own space to administer without access to administer anything else on the site.


                  I hope that this helps somewhat in your evaluation endeavors.





                    • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                      Yes - I also suggest the Tag Groups as a solution. It has the added benefit that tags can be in many groups which means that you are not bound by a strict hierarchy. Whilst 80% of content may fit nicely into a strict hierarchy, you always have some stuff that could be 'filed' in different locations.


                      There is also a main application capability 'Create Tag Group' that enables new tag groups to be created without recourse to the admin console. However, their does not appear to be an edit action. This is a problem, as new tags will always be appearing and the tag group will need to be edited.


                      There is a tag group management capability via the console, but you'd need to use the restricted access method to the admin console suggested.


                      I'll post a feature discussion if it's confirmed that you can't edit a tag group in the main application.

                  • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                    You can also use a blog page assigned to the overview tab to serve as a landing page for each space.

                      • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                        Where is the option to set a blog page (or documnet) as the main landing page for a space? I have been poking around in the admin area for the space and can't seem to locate it..


                        And thanks for the tag group suggestion. I'm going to head back into the installation and play around with organizing things that way. Kind of reminds me of the paradigm shift my brain had to make when I started using Gmail ("How can I create a new folder?!?").

                          • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                            hi plochner,


                            I believe that you can set a blog as the primary page for a community by adding a blog to the community (Admin Console --> Communities --> Settings --> Blog Settings --> Add Blog) and then set (if it's not already set) that blog as the primary blog.  That should change the default view on the community homepage to show the blog.





                              • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                                Oddly enough for me the What's New section in verison 1.0.1 provided a list of what's new for all documents, but the upgrade to version 1.1 only showed blog posts. These instructions helped me to get the What's New back to showing all documents. Thank you.


                                That being said however, is there a way to have a specific blog show content, but also have a summary of new documents? Am I correct in assuming that I would have to modify a template (and which one), duplicating the What's New section in the template but modifying the copied section to ignore the blog setting, forcing it to show all the new docs?


                                Thanks again.

                                  • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                                    hi cgravelle,


                                    That being said however, is there a way to have a specific blog show content, but also have a summary of new documents?

                                    I'm assuming you're talking about the homepage of a community, not the homepage of Clearspace.  In the version we just released (1.1.1), if you've assigned a blog to a community and set it as the primary blog, we show the blog and also the 5 most recent documents and threads.  If you want to modify this page, you can override /template/global/community.ftl. The threads and documents are listed on / around lines 871 to 915.





                                      • Re: Clearspace Conceptual Problem

                                        My apologies, I was actually speaking of the homepage of Clearspace. I see that if I enable a blog for the homepage of a community, it also lists recent documents.


                                        Specifically, what I was looking at was the homepage of Clearspace. I can have it either view a list of new documents, or have it provide a blog aggregate. Rather than having to edit the Introduction in the Admin settings, I would use the Blog to provide content on the initial page. However, I would also like to have a short list of What's New documents without the user having to click on the links for Discussions, Documents, or Blogs just right of the What's New title. This is an option for viewing an extensive list, but the most recent will help reduce the time users spend finding what is actually new every morning.


                                        It looks like for the template I would have to edit is /template/global/main.ftl duplicating the What's New section but focusing on the "#list content as object" section. Is this correct? I understand I run the risk that if I turn off the blog for the main page the listing of new objects will be repeated twice, but I believe I am somewhere in the right vicinity.


                                        Thanks again.